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Netanyahu ordered Trump to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil: Analyst

Press TV – April 22, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered US President Donald Trump to end exemptions from sanctions for several countries buying oil from Iran, says an American political analyst

Rodney Martin, a former congressional staffer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV after Netanyahu praised Trump for not renewing waivers that allowed eight countries to buy oil from Iran without getting sanctioned.

Last November, the US enforced sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking and energy sector. However, it agreed to grant waivers to China, India, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea and Taiwan, allowing them to continue buying Iranian oil.

Netanyahu said on Monday that Trump’s decision “is of great importance for increasing pressure” on Iran.

The White House made the announcement earlier in the day saying “Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May.”

“This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The waivers were scheduled for renewal on May 2.

“I have no doubt that Netanyahu requested if not outright ordered the US State Department via Donald Trump vie AIPAC, via Trump’s Jewish Zionist donors and supporters. And I think he ordered that this policy be implemented. So Israel and Netanyahu are very pleased,” Martin said.

“On a broader scale, it further exposes the fact that Israel has a greater network of influencers in US political system, and not Russia,” he stated.

The analyst said that it’s “a glaring example” that Israel meddles in US policy.

After Trump’s announcement, oil prices on Monday spiked to their highest levels since October. Brent crude rocketed past $74 a barrel, its highest point this year.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

US Iran sanctions amount to aggression against entire world: Nasrallah

Press TV – April 22, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced US economic sanctions against Iran, describing the punitive measures as “an act of aggression” against all world nations.

“US efforts to increase economic pressure on Iran, especially its pledge to drive the country’s oil exports to zero, will have negative repercussions and will affect the entire world, including the US itself,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday evening.

He then called on world nations to stand up against “US arrogance,” pointing out, “The tyrannical US government has no respect whatsoever for international law and regulations.”

Nasrallah also lashed out at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for following in US footsteps and joining Washington’s economic pressure campaign against Iran.

The Hezbollah chief also roundly rejected media allegations that the Israeli regime is planning to launch a surprise war against Lebanon this summer.

“There is very little likelihood that Israel would launch another war on Lebanon. The Israeli army is not prepared for any aggression against the country. I personally don’t think such a thing would happen,” Nasrallah highlighted.

The Hezbollah chief also dismissed claims of infighting between Russian and Iranian forces in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr as well as the northern province of Aleppo, stating that Saudi-owned al-Arabia television news network has “disseminated such lies.”

“Saudi-backed media outlets are spreading lies and fallacies about Hezbollah, Iran and the region to a large extent,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah secretary general then slammed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for spreading terrorism and chaos in countries like Yemen, Sudan and Libya.

Nasrallah also blamed Wahhabism for the emergence of regional terrorism and Takfiri terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh.

Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, freely preached by government-backed clerics there, and inspiring terrorists worldwide. Daesh and other Takfiri terror groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths as “infidels” and then kill them.

“There are many agents in the Middle East, who are pushing for sectarian strife to serve the interest of the Zionist regime (of Israel). All those seeking to colonize the region will only raise public awareness,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah touched upon the economic crisis in Lebanon, demanding greater cooperation and unity among Lebanese political factions.

“All Lebanese parties agree that Lebanon is suffering from serious financial woes. They are all involved in coping with the economic crisis. Resolving Lebanon’s problems requires patience and efforts by all political parties. Ministers affiliated to Hezbollah, lawmakers as well as specialists have already prepared a number of draft solutions for Lebanon’s economic crisis,” Nasrallah underlined.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Combatting Anti-Semitism: Washington Goes to War for World Jewry

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | April 21, 2019

One of the most extraordinary displays of Jewish power in the United States took place in the State Department press briefing room on April 11th though it went virtually unreported in the mainstream media. It involved the introduction to the media of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan S. Carr, who had been sworn in earlier that day by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Carr, who will “lead United States policies and projects aimed at countering anti-Semitism throughout the world,” is a former Los Angeles prosecutor, who is, of course, Jewish, and ran for Congress in 2014 declaring that he was a “reliable vote for Israel.” He believes U.S. support for Israel should be “constant, unequivocal and bipartisan.” Carr speaks Hebrew, boasts about his visits to Israel every year and is a protege of GOP casino magnate and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

The State Department already has an Office of International Religious Freedom which inter alia seeks to “Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries” while also “identify[ing] and denounce[ing] regimes that are severe persecutors on the basis of religious belief.” It would seem that the International Religious Freedom office has all the bases covered, but there is apparently the Jewish exception rule that operates across the federal government and even at state levels. Jews, definable both as a religion and an ethnicity, clearly require more protection from government than other groups even though they are the most wealthy and politically powerful segment of the population both in the United States as well as in numerous European and Anglophone countries where they have a significant presence.

Here in America, Jewish organizations already benefit directly and grossly disproportionately as recipients of over 90% of Department of Homeland Security discretionary funds to protect their buildings and offices and such largesse is also the rule in countries like Britain and France. Holocaust education is mandatory in nearly all school districts, presumably to depict both Israel and Jews in a favorable light, and legislation to penalize or even criminalize any criticism of Israel is now in place in a majority of American states. Criticism of Israel is already regarded by the federal government as de facto anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism is itself considered a hate crime, subject to harsh penalties.

The United States is now committed to protecting Jews worldwide, with Carr putting it this way in a comment he made at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in February, shortly after he was nominated: “My office was created by law and designed to protect the Jewish people throughout the world. Think about that. The world’s greatest power is focused, by law and design, on protecting the Jews.”

One is hard pressed to find in the Constitution of the United States some mention of the “law or design” that mandated protecting one particular ethno-religious group worldwide at taxpayer expense. Nor has there ever been a referendum on the question of whether Jews should be protected by Washington no matter where they live. Indeed, if there is a religious group that is facing extinction it is Christians in the birthplace of the religion in the Middle East, but there is little advocacy on the part of the U.S. government regarding their plight because it is Israel that has been actively engaged in creating unfavorable conditions for Palestinian Christians that eventually lead them to emigrate. It is called ethnic cleansing to make the Jewish state truly and completely Jewish. Ironically, Christians are better protected in neighboring majority Muslim countries Syria, Lebanon and even in Iran.

To be reminded once again just how powerful Jewish interests are in the United States, it is only necessary to examine some of Carr’s remarks. He is, of course, an opponent of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which seeks to apply economic pressure against Israel to persuade it to end its colonization of the Arab West Bank and its ruthless suppression of the Palestinians.

Carr regards it as an “honor” to be sworn in to “fight against anti-Semitism, to the protection of the Jewish people throughout the world, and to the support for the Jewish state.” He intends to do that by “ focus[ing] relentlessly on eradicating this false distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.” He elaborated that “… if there is an organized movement to economically strangle the state of Israel, that is anti-Semitic, and the administration has gone on the record for – as being opposed unequivocally to the BDS movement and the idea that somehow there can be movements organized to deny Israel its legitimacy and not to allow Israel to participate in economic commerce in the world – sure, that is. Hatred of the Jewish state is hatred of the Jewish people, and that’s something that’s very clear and that is our policy.”

Carr, responding to a question, also discussed what is now the U.S. government’s accepted definition of anti-Semitism, that “Criticism of the policies of any country, whether it’s the state of Israel or of the United States, is entirely proper and can’t be regarded as being inappropriate. However, as you may know, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism gives as a specific example the application of double standards to the state of Israel. And so if Israel is criticized in a way that no other country in a similar circumstance is criticized, yes, that is anti-Semitism.”

A journalist asked “Having covered the Israeli-Palestinian issues for – like many other people in this room – for a very, very long time, we know that U.S. former President Jimmy Carter did refer to Israel as an apartheid state, that it’s more of a human rights issue, especially with – in terms of policy. And a lot of things that the Trump administration has done – moving the U.S. embassy, recognizing the sovereignty of Israel over the Golan Heights – as not recognized under the international community. Can you tell me why you think Israeli settlements and a boycott, which was reminiscent of sort of South African sanctions issues and divestment, is an anti-Semitic issue specifically and not really one of more of a human rights or two peoples that need to get along?”

Carr responded: “I think any comparison between the state of Israel and apartheid is offensive to its core, and anyone who makes that comparison needs to check their facts. Israel is an exemplar of a democracy with democratic values, where all citizens of Israel not only vote but have representation in the Knesset, including, by the way, in the election we saw just yesterday. And so any notion that the state of Israel, which is a shining example of a democracy and a shining example of an American ally, one of our best allies – any suggestion that the state of Israel in any way, even remotely, reflects apartheid is offensive.”

Elan Carr is living on fantasy island, but he knows perfectly well that within the framework of the United States government he can say all the good things he wants about Israel while simultaneously labeling its critics as evil, even if you have to make things up, which he does when he claims repeatedly that BDS is seeking to “strangle” the Jewish state. He certainly knows perfectly well that hatred of the Jewish state is not hatred of the Jewish people but chooses to ignore the fact that Israel is criticized for how it behaves not because of what religion it claims to represent. If it is uniquely criticized it is because its record of war crimes is unique.

And Carr also should understand but clearly chooses not to, that criticism of Israel is not equatable to anti-Semitism but for the fact that he offers a definition designed to come to that conclusion. And even if it were so, there is that pesky thing called the First Amendment. Israel is no “shining example of democracy,” nor is it an ally of the United States. It is a perfect example of an essentially racist apartheid state, worse than South Africa was before it democratized, and it is also a parasite that has completely corrupted America’s body politic, which is why Carr has the position that he holds.

Finally, the United States has no moral or legal authority to police the world on behalf of international Jewry. It does not need a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to lead it on a crusade – dare I use that word in this context – to fix the world and make it a more comfortable and enriching experience for people like Elan Carr. American taxpayers should not be required to support this kind of entitlement nonsense, particularly as Israel and worldwide Jewish communities are wealthy and powerful enough to protect themselves without having to bleed the rest of the world by virtue of an unending victim narrative that generates a guilt trip relating to events in Europe seventy years ago. Will Americans ever arrive at a point where Israel and its diaspora helpmates like Carr will just leave the rest of us alone? One can only hope.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 5 Comments

Baseline of a Desecrated Land VII: Poisoned Streams

Toxic Streams and disappearing groundwater

By Dick Callahan | September 30, 2018

“… and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” Kings 18.

Kishon: If Elijah was around today he might just tell the Israelites to kill the 450 Ba’al prophets by tossing them into the Kishon. Visualize a waterway where whatever swims or flies into it dies. The Kishon got so bad that not even bacteria could survive. Who knew that was even possible? But, Dr. Yishayahu Bar-Or, a Deputy Director with Israel Environmental Protection Ministry, says that the river reached a point where it was, “absolutely dead–even bacteria were not able to live there because it was more acidic than coca cola.”

Seventy Israeli navy divers (or their widows) who contracted cancers, filed suit against multiple polluters who they maintain dumped the carcinogens into the Kishon and Haifa Bay where the men were forced to dive in training. The divers said the water burned their skin, smelled and tasted terrible, and sometimes a sadistic officer would make a sailor drink some of the water as a punishment. After thirteen years in court an Israeli judge rejected the lawsuits. Likewise, a group of fifty Israeli fishermen filed a lawsuit against the Haifa Chemicals and Fertilizers company, for illnesses they say were brought on by exposure to carcinogens released by the companies. Again, Israeli courts threw out the lawsuit.
Eventually Israel came to an agreement that it would help 92 former military divers who were compromised by training in the Kishon. A Canadian firm, EnGlobe, won the contract to dredge contaminated bottom muck. It’s no longer the most contaminated stream in Israel. Vegetation is returning to the banks and some vertebrates can be found in the water now. But it still flows past Israel’s noxious military industrial complex at Haifa which has serial toxic spills and parts of the stream bottom are still contaminated with heavy metals, petrochemicals from Israeli’s largest oil refinery, and effluent from military installations.

Yarkon: In 1997, at the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah Games, a substandard foot bridge over the Yarkon stream in Tel Aviv collapsed sending sixty-seven Australian athletes into the water. One died from trauma, three of them died and thirty-five others became critically ill from being dunked in the river’s pollution. Israel had been diverting the springs feeding the Yarkon for agriculture which reduced flow to a point where it was impossible for the stream to flush out sewage, farm runoff, and chemical pollutants. Resulting anoxic bottom sludge, stirred up when the Australians fell in, was fatal. Instead of going after the problem aggressively, Israel increased diversions and by 2000, a whopping 99 percent of the Yarkon was being diverted.

It’s not a recent phenomenon. As early as 1956 Israel tapped into the Rosh haAyin springs to send water south for irrigation. Alon Tal wrote, “It took little time for Israelis to grow used to the new stench-filled and stagnant reality. It was just another annoyance of daily life.”

Good people are doing what they can to clean up Israel’s waterways but, as in our own country, they’re working against a combined government/corporate/military triumvirate that talks about a healthy environment but in practice is apathetic, hostile, shortsighted, and flat stupid. In 2016 thousands of endangered Yarkon fish were killed by runoff from a light rail construction company contaminating several kilometers of the river because it was convenient, or cheaper, or they were reckless. In 2017 there was the massive, deliberate sewage treatment plant spill mentioned in section 6 above.

Yarmouk: Yarmouk water is better quality than the Kishon or Yarkon but is still compromised by farm runoff, heavy metals, petroleum and sewage. As noted above, in 2009 the Jordanians confirmed that Israel was polluting the Yarmouk with oil and sewage. Israel agreed to compensate Jordan with water from Lake Kinneret.

Nahal Kidron: In 2015 Israeli news service Haaretz’s excellent environmental journalist Zafrir Rinat called the Kidron the most polluted river in today’s Israel and West Bank. This is the sewage stream from East Jerusalem where Israelis impound some of the liquid, treat it, then use the water for Israeli farm produce. This illustrates a problematic aspect of Israel’s water technology. Israel is so strapped for water that when they pull sewage from streams and clean it up, they tend to use it on crops which means the depleted stream the water came from has even less water. Plus the concentrated waste often ends up back in the stream.

Other streams
Ariel Cohen of Nature and Parks Authority Environmental unit says all nine major West Bank streams are badly polluted. 2007 analysis revealed sewage, salts and heavy metals leaching into the mountain aquifer below the West Bank. Streams are Kishon, Shechem, Kana, Shilo, Soreq, Mod’in, Michmash, Kidron and Hebron. Palestinians produce estimated 56 million cubic meters of sewage per year, Israeli occupiers produce and estimated 17.5 mcm/year of which 31.5% isn’t treated. 43 km. of Hebron stream is untreated sewage water. There are 178 kilometers of sewage stream flows overall.

Estuaries
As rivers flow into the sea suspended sediments they carry settle out creating nutrient rich alluvial fans.  Estuaries that form around river mouths efficiently trap and hold nutrients which is why estuaries are among the richest ecosystems on earth. They provide spawning and rearing habitat for marine life and a healthy estuary indicates a healthy watershed flowing into it.
When polluted rivers settle out into an estuary, suspended toxins, heavy metals, agricultural fertilizer, and whatever else doesn’t belong in water, also settles out. Haaretz reports that the Israeli Health Ministry recommends a ban on fishing at all ports and marinas and on some beaches and estuaries. The February, 2018 article also notes that a quarter of the fish sampled in Haifa Bay tested over the accepted  limit for mercury.

Pumping it down: Withering nature reserves
Savvy countries play the environmental card to tourists by designating “Nature Reserves.” Israel is the lone country on earth expanding its territory by designating indigenous private lands as nature reserves, seizing them, then giving them to colonists. Whether the land belonged to indigenous people or occupiers, Israeli nature reserves are being devastated by toxic spills and by Israeli wells drawing down the water table to the point that springs and streams have no water left. What can flee does so. What can’t dies.

Some examples of falling water tables on springs
An Israeli Water Authority survey of northern spring flows between 1970 and 2011 found that output volume had dropped in 67 of 87 of the springs studied over that fifty years.

Nahal Betzet reserve is a small reserve in northern Israel about a mile from the Lebanese border. Hillel Glassman, a spokesperson for the Nature and Parks Authority, said, “There’s no more wildlife in the stream’s water at all…Plane trees hundreds of years old are dying amid a water shortage that began in 2000.’ The plane trees (sycamores are a type of plane tree) might all die because Nahal Betzet stream is fed by a spring which is dried up from Israelis pumping down the ground water.

Nahal Naaman is a spring fed stream where a Jewish National Fund website promoting the place claims springs produce 5,000 cubic meters of water per hour. The 2011 spring survey found the spring output “in steep decline” due to “increased pumping for irrigation and drinking water.”

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is beside a Dead Sea kibbutz named for Ein Gedi spring. The kibbutz has built a 153 room hotel/guest house complex (gardens, lawns, spa with six pools, restaurant, freshwater pool, air conditioned rooms, cable TV, etc.). Bad reviews on Trip Advisor aside, you’ve got to wonder which small oasis has been parched for such a water extravagant operation to exist there, especially since they’ve built a water bottling factory to sell mineral water from the spring while the country is in extreme drought. This company has an estimated 17 % of the bottled water market in Israel. Some years ago the kibbutz made a deal with the reserve that they would take spring water and supply the reserve with water from another stream but that is falling through. The kibbutz still takes the water, and the reserve is compromised.

(*Graphic at top by artist Kari Dunn http://kdunnart.weebly.com)

Recognition 7: Poisoned Streams: Selected Sources

07.31.2012 The Yarkon disaster 17 years later. Aytzim, Ecological Judaism by Sarah Friedman.
07.08.2000 Lawsuit reveals depth of pollution in Israeli river Los Angeles Times by Tracy Wilkinson. Israeli divers suing the government and military for debilitating illnesses contracted by diving in the Kishon.
09.11.2012 Kishon River cleanup to begin 12 years after navy divers contracted cancer HaaretzI by Revital Hoval.
11.04.2013 Court rejects suit of 50 Kishon river Fishermen who blame their illnesses on Pollution Haaretz by Eli Ashkenazi.
02.09.2018 Despite some improvement, Israel’s estuaries remain seriously polluted Haaetz by Zafrir Rinat.
10.11.2017 Pollution kills thousands of fish in Lachish River. Ynet news. by Ilana Curiel. A local diver reports that this, “happens almost every year.” Authorities diverted river to Mel Ami beach supposedly to make an escape route to the sea for fish that were still alive. Unsure exactly what is killing the fish, authorities warned people to stay away from that beach.
07.16.2016 Thousands of endangered Yarkon river fish killed by construction.
Ynet news.
02.28.2011 Sewage without borders Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat.
11.13.2017 Sewage pours into northern Betzet stream, kills fish and turtles. Jerusalem Post by Max Schindler. Thousands of cubic meters of sewage into Betzet stream.
08.07.2017 Reign of sewage in biblical valley may be coming to an end Reuters. Ari Rabinovich. 12 million cubic meters of sewage per year, [33,000 cubic meters per day], flow down from Jerusalem and West Bank. Some is collected in a large pool that is used to water sewage resistant date trees. [yuk]
05.19.2017 Israel launches criminal investigation into water treatment execs over sewage spill Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. “ongoing illegal pumping of raw sewage into the Yarkon River Basin.”
12.09.2014 Two-headed mutant salamander found in Haifa Israel 21c by Viva Sarah Press. Scientists not sure if it’s mutated because of radiation, pollution, or in-breeding from a depleted population.
06.05.2012 Sewer runs through river at heart of Israel’s most important Nature reserve. Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat.
09.22.2008 ‘Polluted West Bank streams pose threat to a third of Israel’s drinking water’ Jerusalem Post by Ehud Zion Waldoks.
09.02.2015 Most polluted river in Israel and West Bank to stay filthy because of government vacillation Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. ‘Nahal Kidron the most polluted water way in either Israel of the West Bank…’ The river is an open sewer for untreated sewage from illegal Israeli Jewish settlements and Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. The sewage flows into a reservoir where part of it is treated and piped to illegal Israeli settlements to water date groves in the occupied Jordan valley.
06.05.2012 Sewer runs through river at heart of Israel’s most important Nature reserve. Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat. Nahal Sorek is a Wadi that Israel made flow year round with the technological advancement of running Jerusalem’s sewage through it. The Israeli Water Authority came up with a scheme to build reservoirs that would hold treated sewage which would be later be pumped to irrigate Israeli crops.
09.22.2008 ‘Polluted West Bank streams pose threat to a third of Israel’s drinking water’ Jerusalem Post by Ehud Zion Waldoks. Most West Bank sewage from Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages is untreated.
08.28.2017 Report: a million Israelis take Ritalin-t type drugs Hamodia by Dror Halavy. 904.453 people give Ritalin prescriptions (or equivalents) in 2016. With half of those written in the Tel Aviv and Sharon areas.
07.16.2016 Thousands of endangered Yarkon river fish killed by construction. Ynet news.
05.19.2017 Israel launches criminal investigation into water treatment execs over sewage spill Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat
11.04.2013 Court rejects suit of 50 Kishon river Fishermen who blame their illnesses on Pollution Haaretz by Eli Ashkenazi.
02.28.2011 Sewage without borders Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat.
07.17.2013 Springs in Northern Israel Producing less water, some all dried up Haaretz by Zafrir Rinat.

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

‘Declare war on Lebanon, take out Syria’s S-300s’: Outgoing Israeli general on handling neighbors

RT | April 20, 2019

Israel has the full arsenal needed to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon and eliminate the Iranian threat in Syria, the outgoing IDF Northern Command chief boasted, warning Damascus against using S-300s to protect its sovereignty.

“If our freedom of movement is threatened, we will remove the threat. We know how to do that,” General Yoel Strick told Ynet News, adding that Israel will soon introduce “advanced weapons systems” to ensure it can continue to violate neighboring states’ airspace and to strike targets in Syria with impunity.

If the Syrians employ Russian S-300s against our planes, and we take them out, it will be seen as a legitimate move on our part.

While acknowledging that such a drastic move might damage Tel Aviv’s relations with Moscow, Strick expressed hope that it wouldn’t come to that. Moscow had supplied the Arab Republic with S-300 air defense systems following the downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane with 15 airmen on board in mid-September, during an Israeli raid.
Also on rt.com Israel took out ‘Iranian missile site’ in Syria… or something like that

Moscow also warned Israel that it will suppress all satellite navigation, radars and communications systems of combat planes over the Mediterranean Sea if their maneuvers threaten Russian forces. Since then, Israel has been staging its intrusions via Lebanon, where the Jewish State is trying to keep Hezbollah in check.
Also on rt.com Netanyahu confirms Israeli military shelled Syrian province to prevent ‘Iran entrenchment’

Hezbollah is inseparable from Lebanon as a country, due to the militant group’s strong political presence, the general argued. Thus, he claimed, “if it were up to me, I would recommend declaring war on Lebanon and Hezbollah” – not out of bloodlust but only to thwart the group’s alleged plot to “invade” Israel.

I have no doubt what the outcome will be… It will be a decisive victory.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Academic: Saudi arrest campaign against Palestinians

MEMO | April 18, 2019

Saudi is carrying out an arrest campaign against Palestinians in the country, an exiled academic has said according to Al-Resalah newspaper.

On Twitter, Said Bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi wrote: “In the kingdom, a new and wide arrest campaign against a number of Palestinians, another number under travel ban, their accounts were frozen and their organisations were confiscated.”

Al-Ghamdi said that these Palestinians are accused of “sympathising with the resistance in Palestine, having an interest in the issue of Jerusalem and Gaza or supporting Hamas.”

He also said that authorities arrested Saudis, who sponsored the Palestinians or employed them in the kingdom.

In early March, Saudi announced the arrest of 50 people over security concerns, they included 30 of its own nationals, six Palestinians and three Jordanians.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We

By Ramzy Baroud |  MEMO | April 17, 2019

So, what have we learned from the Israeli legislative elections on April 9?

A whole lot.

To start with, don’t let such references as the “tight race” between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his main rival, Benny Gantz, fool you.

Yes, Israelis are divided on some issues that are particular to their social and economic makeup. But they are also firmly unified around the issue that should concern us most: the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Indeed, ‘tight race’, or not, Israel has voted to cement Apartheid, support the ongoing annexation of the Occupied West Bank, and carry on with the Gaza siege.

In the aftermath of the elections, Netanyahu emerged even more powerful; his Likud party has won the elections with 36 seats, followed by Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) with 35 seats.

Gantz, the rising star in Israeli politics was branded throughout the campaign as a centrist politician, a designation that tossed a lifeline to the vanquished Israeli ‘left’ – of which not much is left anyway.

This branding helped sustain a short-lived illusion that there is an Israeli alternative to Netanyahu’s extremist right-wing camp.

But there was never any evidence to suggest that Gantz would have been any better as far as ending the Israeli occupation, dismantling the Apartheid regime and parting ways with the country’s predominantly racist discourse.

The opposite is true.

Gantz has repeatedly criticized Netanyahu for supposedly being too soft on Gaza, promising to rain yet more death and destruction on a region that, according to the United Nations, will be unlivable by 2020.

A series of videos, dubbed “Only the Strong Survives”, was issued by the Gantz campaign in the run-up to the elections. In the footage, Gantz was portrayed as the national saviour, who had killed many Palestinians while serving as the army’s chief of staff between 2011 and 2015.

Gantz is particularly proud of being partly responsible for bombing Gaza “back to the stone age.”

It mattered little to Israeli centrists and the remnants of the left that in the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza, dubbed Operation “Protective Edge”, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed and over 11,000 were injured. In that most tragic war, over 500 Palestinian children were killed, and much of Gaza’s already ailing infrastructure was destroyed.

But then again, why vote for Gantz when Netanyahu and his right-wing extremist camp are getting the job done?

Sadly, Netanyahu’s future coalition is likely to be even more extreme than the previous one.

Moreover, thanks to new possible alliances, Netanyahu will most likely free himself of burdensome allies, the likes of former Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

One significant change in the likely makeup of the Israeli right is the absence of such domineering figures, who, aside from Lieberman also include former Education Minister, Naftali Bennett and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

All the grandstanding from Bennett and Shaked, who had recently established a new party called “The New Right”, didn’t even garner them enough votes to reach the threshold required to win a single seat in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. They needed 3.25 per cent of the vote but only achieved 3.22 per cent. They are both out.

The defeat of the infamous duo is quite revealing: the symbols of Israel’s extreme right no longer meet the expectations of Israel’s extremist constituencies.

Now the stage is wide open for the ultra-orthodox parties, Shas, which now has eight seats, and United Torah Judaism, with seven seats to help define the new normal in Israel.

The Israeli left – if it was ever deserving of the name – received a final blow; the once prominent Labor Party won merely six seats.

On the other hand, Arab parties that ran in the 2015 elections under the united banner of the “Joint List”, fragmented once more, to collectively achieve only ten seats.

Their loss of three seats, compared to the previous elections, can be partly blamed on factional and personal agendas. But, that is hardly enough to explain the massive drop in Arab voter participation in the elections: 48 per cent compared to 68 per cent in 2015.

This record low participation can only be explained through the racist ‘Nation State Law”, which was passed by the right-wing-dominated Knesset on July 19, 2018. The new Basic Law, declared Israel as the “nation-state of the Jewish people” everywhere, relegating the rights of the Palestinian people, their history, culture and language, while elevating everything Jewish, making self-determination in the state an exclusive right for Jews only.

This trend is likely to continue, as Israel’s political institutions no longer offer even a symbolic margin for true democracy and fair representation.

But perhaps the most important lesson that we can learn in the aftermath of these elections is that in today’s Israel, military occupation and apartheid have been internalised and normalised as uncontested realities, unworthy of national debate. This, in particular, should summon our immediate attention.

During election campaigns, no major party spoke about peace, let alone provided a comprehensive vision for achieving it. No leading politician called for the dismantling of the illegal Jewish settlements that have been erected on Palestinian land in violation of international law.

More importantly and tellingly, no one spoke of a two-state solution.

As far as Israelis are concerned, the two-state solution is dead. While this is also true for many Palestinians, the Israeli alternative is hardly co-existence in one democratic secular state. The Israeli alternative is Apartheid.

Netanyahu and his future government coalition of like-minded extremists are now armed with an unmistakably popular mandate to fulfil all of their electoral promises, including the annexation of the West Bank.

Moreover, with an emboldened and empowered right-wing coalition, we are also likely to witness a major escalation in violence against Gaza this coming summer.

Considering all of this, we must understand that Israel’s illegal policies in Palestine cannot and will not be challenged from within Israeli society.

Challenging and ending the Israeli occupation and dismantling Apartheid can only happen through internal Palestinian resistance and external pressure that is centred around the strategy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

It is now incumbent on the international community to break this vicious Israeli cycle and support the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle against Israeli occupation, racism and apartheid.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Israel is holding 22 Palestinian journalists behind bars: NGO

Press TV – April 16, 2019

A non-profit organization representing journalists, writers and broadcasters says nearly two dozen Palestinian journalists are currently being held in harsh conditions in Israeli jails contrary to various treaties and international law.

The Journalists Support Committee (JSC), in a statement released on the eve of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day – which is marked on April 17 every year, highlighted that four journalists are being incarcerated under the so-called administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

“The Israeli occupation arrests [Palestinian] journalists for their opinions and then hauls them before military courts using racist laws,” the statement read.

The JSC further noted that the practice violates international rights conventions guaranteeing freedom of the press.

The NGO then condemned Israel’s practice of arresting journalists or banning them from entering certain areas.

Palestinian journalists Ahmad Abu Hussein and Yaser Murtaja succumbed to Israeli-inflicted gunshot wounds last year, while covering anti-occupation protests along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied land.

The Tel Aviv regime has thus been seeking a media blackout on the criminal acts of its soldiers, with Israeli cabinet ministers authorizing a contentious bill in mid-June 2018 that would criminalize the filming of certain military activities.

Under the proposed legislation, those found photographing, recording or filming Israeli troops “with the intention of undermining the spirit” of the army “shall be liable to five years imprisonment” and those “intending to harm” Israel’s security could be given 10 years in jail.

The bill, which has been widely censured as an attack on media freedom, needs several parliamentary votes to become law.

In recent months, Israeli troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking condemnations of the regime’s military.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel confiscates 51,000 dunams from Jordan Valley

Ma’an – April 16, 2019

TUBAS – The Israeli authorities confiscated 51,000 dunams and isolated five villages in the Jordan Valley area in the northern occupied West Bank, an official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA) reported.

Mutaz Bisharat told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the Israeli authorities confiscated 51,000 dunams, isolated 5 villages and seized control over water springs, agricultural machinery and solar cells.

Bisharat added that the Israeli policy is very clear in isolating villages of the Tubas district, pointing out that these areas were marked as closed military areas banning their owners from entering without an Israeli-issued permit.

He stressed that Israel aims to expel Palestinians from the area under its plan to seize the Jordan Valley area.

The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control.

International rights organizations consider the continuation of the Israeli campaign which targets Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, whether though confiscations, demolitions or evictions under the pretext of holding military exercises, as a violation of international humanitarian law.

Since the beginning of the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Israel has confiscated hundreds of thousands of dunums by declaring it state land.

Israeli authorities in 1968 banned Palestinians from registering their lands and subsequently took advantage of previously low rates of land registration to confiscate areas currently or previously in use by locals but not registered as such.

The confiscated lands are then used to construct Jewish-only settlements on the land, while further confiscation often uses the pretext of the settlements’ security.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Palestinian prisoners reach agreement to achieve demands, end hunger strike

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | April 16, 2019

Palestinian prisoners have reached an agreement with the Israeli prison administration to achieve their demands and suspend their hunger strike, the Battle of Dignity 2, on Monday, 15 April. The agreement came as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were engaged in their eighth day of a collective hunger strike.

According to the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, the agreement includes the installation of public telephones in the prison sections, which prisoners would be allowed to use three times a week for 15-minute calls, as well as stopping the installation of cell-phone jamming devices. In addition, the repressive measures and sanctions imposed in the past year upon the prisoners will also be lifted, while fines imposed on prisoners in recent struggles inside the prisons would be reduced. Hundreds more prisoners have been set to join the hunger strike in the coming days, especially 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the agreement also included provisions to transfer the women prisoners from Damon prison to another detention center; the prisoners have repeatedly cited harsh, difficult conditions unsuitable for human life in the Damon prison. In addition, sick prisoners would be returned to the previous section in the Ramleh prison clinic, an area that was considered better than their current location.

The National and Islamic Forces held a press conference in Gaza City to highlight the prisoners’ final statement. “The battle is not over; the hardest phase of this struggle is to implement what has been agreed upon,” the prisoners wrote, noting that previous agreements have been repeatedly broken by the Israeli prison administration.

They saluted the prisoners in section 4 of the Negev desert prison and section 1 in Ramon prison who were attacked by Israeli repressive forces, noting that “their great sacrifices underline that freedom and dignity are… human rights that cannot be denied.” They saluted Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, occupied Palestine ’48 and exile and diaspora, as well as supporters of freedom around the world, journalists and prisoners’ centers, that stood with the prisoners in their struggle. The statement particularly saluted “the people and leadership in Gaza,” noting their unity in commitment to the struggle.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest salutes and greetings to all of the Palestinian prisoners on this occasion of victory. These achievements follow on many historical accomplishments of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, on the front lines of the Palestinian liberation struggle, extracting their victories through great sacrifice, with their bodies and lives on the line. As Palestinian Prisoners Day approaches, we emphasize our continuing dedication to work for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners and the freedom of Palestine from the river to the sea.

Mohammed Tabanja, Hussam al-Ruzza, Khaled Farraj

In addition, we urge people around the world to continue their solidarity activities to support the Palestinian prisoners, throughout the coming days, months and years, until their freedom is achieved. In particular, we emphasize the cases of three Palestinian prisoners who remain on hunger strike: Hussam al-Ruzza (61), Mohammed Tabanja (40) and Khaled Farraj (31). Al-Ruzza has been on hunger strike since 19 March – nearly one month – while Tabanja and Farraj have been on hunger strike since 25 March. All are held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, and their detention has been repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed.

They are among nearly 500 Palestinians out of approximately 5,500 Palestinian prisoners jailed with no charges and no trial for indefinitely renewable periods under administrative detention. The end of administrative detention is a long-time demand of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and supporters of justice and liberation around the world. Join the call to free Hussam al-Ruzza, Mohammed Tabanja, Khaled Farraj and all Palestinian prisoners!

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Dances to Israel’s Tune

More wag-the-dog means war for America

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • April 16, 2019

So newly reelected Israeli monster-in-chief Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted, with a grin, that America’s President Donald J. Trump followed through on his proposal to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group. Bibi was smiling because the timing of the move, one day before the Israeli election, strongly suggests it was done to assist him against what had become a very strong opposition challenge. That Trump likely colluded with Netanyahu to blatantly interfere in the election has apparently bothered no one in Israel or in the tame American media.

The gift from Washington came on top of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, threatening members of the International Criminal Court if they try to prosecute Israel for war crimes, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, removing the word “occupation” from the State Department’s assessments of human rights infringements on the West Bank, eliminating relief funding for Palestinian refugees, leaving the U.N. Human Rights Council because it was too critical of Israel, and looking the other way as Israel declared itself a state only for Jews. Washington also ignored the bombing of hospitals, schools and water treatment infrastructure in Gaza while Israeli army snipers were shooting unarmed demonstrators demanding their freedom.

The labeling of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group is particularly disturbing as it means that the United States military by virtue of the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) now has a mandate to attack the IRGC wherever it appears, including in Syria or even in the waterway the Straits of Hormuz, where the guard has regular patrols in small boats. It is a de facto declaration of war and it comes on top of a number of deliberate provocations directed against Iran starting with the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) one year ago, which led to the unilateral imposition of harsh sanctions directed against the Iranian economy to bring about a popular uprising as well as regularly repeated false claims that Iran is the leading “state sponsor of terrorism.” Next month, the U.S. will begin enforcing a unilaterally declared worldwide sanction on any and all Iranian oil sales.

Netanyahu pledged to annex Israeli settlements on the largely Palestinian West Bank if elected, which is undoubtedly a move cleared in advance with the Trump team of foreign policy sociopaths as it de facto puts an end to any delusional speculation over a possible two-state negotiated solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. It will also lead to a massive upsurge in violence as the Palestinians object, which is neither a concern for the White House or Netanyahu, as they are assuming that it can be suppressed by overwhelming force directed against an almost completely unarmed civilian population.

And Trump will no doubt expect Bibi to return the favor when he is running for reelection in 2020 by encouraging American Jews who care about Israel to support the Republicans. Trump is focused on his own electability and is absolutely shameless about his betrayal of actual American interests in the Middle East, possibly because he has no inkling of the actual damage that he is doing. His speech last week before the casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson-hosted Jewish Republican Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas was a disgusting pander to a group that includes many key players who have little or no concern for what happens to the United States as long as Israel flourishes. The only good news that came out of the meeting was that Adelson himself appears to be “gravely ill.”

Trump at times appeared to be speaking to what he thought was a group of Israelis, referring to “your prime minister” when mentioning Benjamin Netanyahu and several times describing Israel as “yours,” suggesting that deep down he understands that many American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. At another point, Trump declared that “The Democrats have even allowed the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party and their country,” apparently part of a White House plan to keep playing that card to turn American Jews and their political donations in a Republican direction before elections in 2020.

Trump also told the Republican Coalition audience how he came to a decision on recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He described how “he’d been speaking to his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, as well as U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his Israel adviser, Jason Greenblatt, over the phone about an unrelated issue when he suddenly brought up the Golan Heights.” Trump shared how “I said, ‘Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I’m working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie.’ After the advisers filled him in, Trump said he asked Friedman: ‘David, what do you think about me recognizing Israel and the Golan Heights?’ Friedman, apparently surprised by the suggestion, reacted like a ‘wonderful, beautiful baby,’ Trump said, and asked if he would ‘really … do that.’ ‘Yeah, I think I’m doing it right now. Let’s write something up,’ Trump said he responded, prompting applause and cheers from his audience in Las Vegas. ‘We make fast decisions and we make good decisions.’”

Putting the Trump story about the Golan Heights in some kind of context is not really that difficult. He wanted an answer to please Netanyahu and he went to three Orthodox Jews who support the illegal Israeli settlements and have also individually contributed financially to their growth so he was expecting the response that he got. That he was establishing a precedent by his moves on Jerusalem and the Golan apparently did not occur to him as his administration prides itself on having a foreign policy vision that extends no longer than the beginning of next week, which is why he hired Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams. And then there is always the doleful Stephen Miller lurking in the background as well as the three musketeers of Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman for really serious questions relating to why acceding to the wishes of parasite state Israel should continue to be the apparent number one priority of the government of the United States.

Donald Trump neither poses nor answers the question why he feels compelled to fulfill all of the campaign pledges he made to the Jewish community, which by and large did not vote for him, while failing to carry out the promises made to those who actually did support him. The absurd Jewish Republican Coalition narrative about how Trump gave Israel the Golan Heights should have resulted in a flood of opprobrium in the U.S. media about his profound ignorance and fundamental hypocrisy, but there was largely silence.

The nonsense going on in Las Vegas in front of a lot of fat cats who regard the United States as little more than a cash cow that they control as well as in the White House itself unfortunately has real world consequences. America is being led by the nose by a well-entrenched and powerful group of Israeli loyalists and this will not end well. The U.S. doesn’t even have a Middle Eastern foreign policy anymore – it has a “to do” list handed by Netanyahu to whomever is president. The fact that the current man in charge in Washington is either so ignorant or so deluded as to allow the process to escalate until the U.S. is drawn into yet more catastrophic wars is beyond regrettable. U.S. foreign policy should not depend on the perceptions of Kushner and company. It should be based on real, tangible American interests, not those of Israel. Someone should explain that to the president.

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 councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli businessmen, officials cancel Bahrain visit amid national outcry

Press TV – April 15, 2019

An Israeli delegation of merchants and officials has canceled its planned participation in a business conference in Bahrain amid growing national outcry over the Persian Gulf kingdom’s warming ties with the Tel Aviv regime following years of clandestine contacts.

A spokeswoman for Israel’s Economy Ministry said a planned visit to Bahrain this week by Israel’s Economy Minister Eli Cohen had been “delayed because of political issues.”

A group of around 30 Israeli business executives and regime officials was scheduled to participate in the event, which is organized by the US- based Global Entrepreneurship Network and will run in Manama from April 15 to 18.

At least three Israeli speakers, including the Israel Innovation Authority’s deputy chief, Anya Eldan, were scheduled to speak at the event.

“While we advised the Israeli delegation they would be welcome, they decided this morning not to come due to security concerns and a wish not to cause disruption for the other 180 nations participating,” the organization’s president Jonathan Ortmans told Reuters.

Earlier this month, Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim strongly denounced the Manama regime’s decision to host an Israeli delegation in the business conference.

“Hosting and greeting the Zionists at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, is a bold step on a dishonorable path; that of humiliation, capitulation and shamelessness,” he said in a statement carried by the Arabic-language Lua Lua television network.

Sheikh Qassim further underlined that the Israeli regime tops the list of Muslim world’s enemies, and that Manama’s plan to host Israeli delegates was in line with its attempts to compromise and normalize ties with the enemy.

This is a clear sign of the Manama regime’s disregard for Islam and the will of the nation, the top cleric pointed out.

Last month, members of the Bahrain parliament issued a statement, rejecting the visit.

“Parliament stresses its support for the just cause of the brotherly Palestinian people, and it will remain a priority for the Bahraini and Arab people,” the statement read.

It added, “The end of the Israeli occupation and the withdrawal from all Arab land is an absolute necessity for the stability and security of the region and for a fair and comprehensive peace.”

Some street protests were also held in Manama in condemnation of the planned visit.

Russia’s RT Arabic television news network reported on March 4 that Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, the speaker of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly, together with his Emirati and Egyptian counterparts had opposed a paragraph in the final communiqué of the 29th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Jordanian capital city of Amman, which demanded an end to efforts aimed at normalizing ties with Israel and condemned all forms of rapprochement with the occupying regime.

The paragraph stated that “one of the most important steps to support Palestinian brethren requires the cessation of all forms of rapprochement and normalization with the Israeli occupiers. Therefore, we call for resilience and steadfastness by blocking all the doors of normalization with Israel.”

On February 17, a report published by Israeli Channel 13 television network said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had held a “secret meeting” with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita last September.

Additionally, the Warsaw conference, a US-sponsored gathering that was held in the Polish capital on February 13-14, brought together Netanyahu and representatives from a number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabic, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.

The Israeli regime also recently re-launched a “virtual embassy” in a bid to “promote dialogue” with the Persian Gulf Arab states.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment