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Dear PETA, Israel’s animal rights record leaves a lot to be desired

By Zarefah Baroud | MEMO | June 15, 2021

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised Israel last week for being the first country to ban the sale of animal furs. Such legislation is worthy of praise, of course, but in the case of Israel any praise, especially regarding its ethics towards animals, is completely misplaced.

Throughout the country’s short history, Israel has repeatedly exposed its worrying position on environmental justice with its state-protected environmental terrorism and deliberate military attacks on animals. The military offensive against the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009, for example, killed hundreds of Palestinians, as well as many animals, particularly those sheltered at the Gaza Zoo.

“This camel was pregnant, a missile went into her back,” Gaza zookeeper Emad Jameel Qasim told Gulf News at the time. “Look, look at her face. She was in pain when she died.”

According to Qasim, when Israeli soldiers entered the zoo, they made their way to the lion enclosures and shot the animals at point-blank range. Monkeys nearby tried to flee. Some were shot inside their enclosures, while others attempted to hide in clay pots and adjacent offices, only to be hunted down and killed in the most brutal of ways at the hands of the “world’s most moral army”. Many of the animals that weren’t killed by Israeli bullets starved to death because the people taking care of them were trapped in their own homes due to the Israeli bombardment.

Rather than a condemnation of Israel’s attacks on all living beings in Gaza, less than a month later PETA took it upon itself to come up with a solution to the so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The campaign group appealed to the Israeli Defence Ministry to install a “pro-vegetarian mural” on both sides of Israel’s apartheid wall and barriers in the West Bank and Gaza adorned with the phrases “Give Peas a Chance” and “Nonviolence Begins on Your Plate: Go Vegetarian”. PETA has made it perfectly clear through statements such as these that, like the lives of the people of Palestine, the lives of Palestinian animals are not worthy of mention.

PETA poster [PETA]

Unfortunately, 2008/9 was not the only time that Israel has attacked Gaza Zoo. In 2014, during the occupation state’s so-called “Operation Protective Edge”, Israeli forces bombarded the zoo again, killing more than 80 animals. A number of the zoo’s lions had to be taken elsewhere to recover from the trauma they suffered, a privilege that no Palestinian human beings are afforded.

During that same assault on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian farmers were devastated by the bombing of their agricultural land and livestock. Ali Alommor, a Palestinian farmer in Gaza explained to Middle East Eye that his donkeys were vital for his livelihood and that of his family. However, the Israeli offensive left his donkeys “riddled with bullets” and one looking like it had been run over by a tracked vehicle, such as a tank or armoured bulldozer, as it tried to flee. Another farmer, Sami Abu Hadaeid, had to flee from the bombing, leaving his beloved sheep behind. All 30 of the animals were killed before he could return. They were either shot and decapitated by soldiers or were crushed underneath the rubble of their shelters. Israeli tanks also killed more than 500 cows that supplied many Palestinians with milk, supporting the livelihoods of sixty families. Similarly, in 2017 an Israeli F-16 aircraft fired a missile at a chicken farm in Gaza. The roofs of the enclosures collapsed, killing hundreds of the birds.

Israel’s lack of humanity and concern for Palestinian life has always been extended to include the local environment, livestock, and crops. Whether that be the state-protected illegal settler arson attacks on Palestinian olive groves, toxic waste dumping in the West Bank, or the destruction of Gaza’s water treatment infrastructure leading to the dangerous pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli regime has remained consistent in its positions towards Palestine’s people, animals, and wildlife habitats.

At the very least, it is irresponsible for PETA to applaud any action by the Israeli government, considering Israel’s brutal legacy of violence towards Palestine’s environment and the animals it sustains. The activists within the organisation would be better off campaigning for animal rights in the territory occupied and controlled by the colonial state. Anything less diminishes their credibility.

See also:

Critics of conditions in Gaza Zoo expose the value placed on Palestinian lives

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Friedman’s Last Gasp

By Jonathan Cook – New Left Review – June 10, 2021

Thomas Friedman’s recent column in the New York Times reflecting on Israel’s 11-day destruction of Gaza is a showcase for the delusions of liberal Zionism: a constellation of thought that has never looked so threadbare. It seems that every liberal newspaper needs a Thomas Friedman – the UK’s Guardian has Jonathan Freedland – whose role is to keep readers from considering realistic strategies for Israel-Palestine, however often and catastrophically the established ones have failed. In this case, Friedman’s plea for Joe Biden to preserve the ‘potential of a two-state solution’ barely conceals his real goal: resuscitating the discourse of an illusory ‘peace process’ from which everyone except liberal Zionists has moved on. His fear is that the debate is quietly shifting outside this framework – towards the recognition that Israel is a belligerent apartheid regime and the conclusion that one democratic state for Palestinians and Jews is now the only viable solution.

For more than five decades, the two-state solution – of a large, ultra-militarized state for Israel, and a much smaller, demilitarized one for Palestinians – has been the sole paradigm of the Western political and media class. During these years, a Palestinian state failed to materialize despite (or more likely because of) various US-backed ‘peace processes’. While Americans and Europeans have consoled themselves with such fantasies, Israel has only paid them lip-service, enforcing a de facto one-state solution premised on Jewish supremacy over Palestinians, and consolidating its control over the entire territory.

But in recent years, Israel’s naked settler-colonial actions have imperiled that Western paradigm. It has become increasingly evident that Israel is incapable of making peace with the Palestinians because its state ideology – Zionism – is based on their removal or eradication. What history has taught us is that the only just and lasting way to end a ‘conflict’ between a native population and a settler-colonial movement is decolonization, plus the establishment of a single, shared, democratic state. Otherwise, the settlers continue to pursue their replacement strategies – which invariably include ethnic cleansing, communal segregation, and genocide. These were precisely the tactics adopted by European colonists in the Americas, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Friedman’s function in the Western media – conscious or not – is to obfuscate these historical lessons, tapping into a long legacy of unthinking colonial racism.

One of the central pillars of that legacy is an abiding fear of the native and his supposedly natural savagery. This has always been the unspoken assumption behind the interminable two-state ‘peace process’. A civilized and civilizing West tries to broker a ‘peace deal’ to protect Israel from the Palestinian hordes next door. But the Palestinians continuously ‘reject’ these peace overtures because of their savage nature – which is in turn presented as the reason why Israel must ethnically cleanse them and herd them into reservations, or Bantustans, away from Jewish settlers. Occasionally, Israel is forced to ‘retaliate’ – or defend itself from this savagery – in what becomes an endless ‘cycle of violence’. The West supports Israel with military aid and preferential trade while watching with exasperation as the Palestinian leadership fails to discipline its people.

Friedman is an expert at exploiting this colonial mentality. He often avoids taking direct responsibility for his racist assumptions, attributing them to ‘centrist Democrats’ or other right-minded observers. Coded language is his stock in trade, serving to heighten the unease felt by western audiences as the natives try to regain a measure of control over their future. In some cases the prejudicial framing is overt, as with his concern about the threat of an ascendant Hamas to women’s and LGBTQ rights, couched in an identity politics he knows will resonate with NYT readers. But more often his framing is insidious, with terms like ‘decimate’ and ‘blow up’ deployed to cast Palestinians’ desire for self-determination as violent and menacing.

Friedman’s three-layered deception

Friedman’s promotion of the two-state model offers a three-layered deception. First, he writes that the two-state solution would bring ‘peace’, without acknowledging that the condition for that peace is the Palestinians’ permanent ghettoization and subjugation. Second, he blames the Palestinians for rejecting just such ‘peace plans’, even though they have never been seriously offered by Israel. And finally, he has the chutzpah to imply that it was the Palestinians’ failure to negotiate a two-state solution that ‘decimated’ the Israeli ‘peace camp’.

Such arguments are not only based on Friedman’s dehumanizing view of Arabs. They are also tied to his domestic political concerns. He fears that if Joe Biden were to acknowledge the reality that Israel has sabotaged the two-state solution, then the President might disengage once and for all from the ‘peace process’. Of course, most Palestinians would welcome such an end to US interference: the billions of dollars funneled annually to the Israeli military, the US diplomatic cover for Israel, and the arm-twisting of other states to silently accept its atrocities. But, Friedman argues, this withdrawal would carry a heavy price at home, setting off a civil war within Biden’s own party and within Jewish organizations across the US. God forbid, it might ‘even lead to bans on arms sales’ to Israel.

Friedman reminds us of Israeli businessman Gidi Grinstein’s warning that in the absence of a ‘potential’ two-state solution, US support for Israel could morph ‘from a bipartisan issue to a wedge issue’. The columnist writes that preserving the two-state ‘peace process’, however endless and hopeless, is ‘about our national security interests in the Middle East’. How does Friedman define these interests? They are reducible, he says, to ‘the political future of the centrist faction of the Democratic Party.’ A ‘peace process’ once designed to salve the consciences of Americans while enabling the dispossession of Palestinians has now been redefined as a vital US national security issue – because, for Friedman, its survival is necessary to preserve the dominance of foreign policy hawks in the Democratic machine. The argument echoes Biden’s extraordinarily frank admission made back in 1986 that ‘were there not an Israel the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region’.

Friedman then concludes his article with a set of proposals that unwittingly expose the true consequences of a two-state settlement. He insists that Biden builds on his predecessor’s much-ridiculed ‘peace plan’, which gave US blessing to Israel’s illegal settlements on vast swaths of the occupied West Bank, penning Palestinians into their Bantustans indefinitely. Trump’s plan also sought to entrench Israel’s control over occupied East Jerusalem, remake Gaza as a permanent battlefield on which rivalries between Fatah and Hamas would intensify, and turn the wealth of the theocratic Gulf states into a weapon, fully integrating Israel into the region’s economy while making the Palestinians even more dependent on foreign aid. Polite NYT opinionators now want Biden to sell these measures as a re-engagement with the ‘peace process’.

The US, writes Friedman, should follow Trump in stripping the Palestinians of a capital in East Jerusalem – the economic, religious, and historic heart of Palestine. Arab states should reinforce this dispossession by moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem. Neighbouring countries are encouraged to pressure the Palestinian Authority, via aid payments, to accede even more cravenly to Israel’s demands. (Of course, Friedman does not think it worth mentioning that Palestine is aid-dependent because Israel has either stolen or seized control of all its major resources.)

Once this subordinate position is guaranteed, divisions within the Palestinian national movement can be inflamed by making Hamas – plus the two million Palestinians in Gaza – dependent on the PA’s patronage. Friedman wants the Fatah-led PA to decide whether to send aid to the Gaza Strip or join Israel in besieging the enclave to weaken Hamas. For good measure, he also urges the Gulf states to cut off support to the United Nations aid agencies, like UNRWA, which have kept millions of Palestinian refugees fed and cared for since 1948. The international community’s already feeble commitment to the rights of Palestinian refugees will thus be broken, and the diaspora will be forcibly absorbed into their host countries.

Such proposals are the last gasp of a discredited liberal Zionism. Friedman visibly flounders as he tries to put the emperor’s clothes back on a two-state solution that stands before us in all its ugliness. The Western model of ‘peace-making’ was always about preserving Jewish supremacy. Now, at least, the illusions are gone.

Read on: Kareem Rabie, ‘Remaking Ramallah’, NLR 111.

© NEW LEFT REVIEW LTD 2021

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-Palestinian Bigotry Overshadowed by Anti-Semitism Uproar

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | June 13, 2021

In response to the recent upsurge in pro-Palestinian activism basically every major Canadian media outlet has published stories about rising anti-Semitism. B’nai B’rith claims there were more anti-Semitic incidents in May than all of last year. The government recently acceded to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) demand for an emergency summit on antisemitism, which will be led by staunch Zionist Irwin Cotler.

But comparatively little attention has been devoted to anti-Palestinian bigotry despite the publicly verifiable evidence that suggests Palestinian Canadians or those identified with them have faced greater discrimination and violence. And once again, CIJA and B’nai B’rith muddy the waters of understanding racism by conflating criticism and actions against Israel with anti-Semitism.

Let’s take a look at the record over the past few weeks:

  • On May 13 a group of Israeli flag waving individuals in Thornhill, Ontario are on video trying to fight and threatening to “run over” a small group of Palestinian activists. At one-point police pull their guns apparently fearing an Israel supporter was going to hit them with his vehicle in a bid to reach the Palestinians.
  • On May 15 a Jewish Defence League (JDL) supporter interviewed prior to the pro-Palestinian rally said he was looking to brawl. He then tells a passerby, “I used to rape guys like you in prison, bro.” Subsequently, a pro-Israel individual is caught on camera swinging a stick wildly at someone. At another point an older JDL-aligned individual is caught on camera with a knife and bat.
  • On May 16 a Zionist was photographed with a hammer in his hand at a protest in Montréal. At the same pro-Israel rally an individual rips a Palestinian flag from the man’s hand and the crowd cheers.
  • A Palestinian family in Hamilton that put up a sign on their lawn with a Palestinian flag saying: “We support human rights. #FreePalestine #OngoingNakba” had it stolen on May 24 and a note was left saying: “KEEP YOUR POLITICS AND ANTI-SEMITIC RACISM OUT OF MY COUNTRY AND MY NEIGHBOUR-HOOD. IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY COUNTRY, GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!” The theft was not caught on camera but there is a photo of the note and stolen sign.
  • On May 25 a recent immigrant from Gaza in Calgary with a Palestinian flag in his rear window films his car being cut off and stopped by a pickup truck. The motorist slams on his window, demanding to fight as he yells “terrorist fuck”, “terrorist ass” and “I have a picture of Mohammed in my car Alah”. He then laughs manically as he rips off the Palestinian Canadian’s windshield wiper.

These instances don’t count individuals — such as a social justice teacher in Toronto put on home assignment, McGill students on a blacklist, a doctor in Toronto smeared and threatened with being fired — for standing up for Palestinian rights. Nor do the above-mentioned examples count anti-Palestinian police racism. In HalifaxWindsorCalgaryHamilton and possibly elsewhere the police ticketed dozens of individuals simply for attending Palestine solidarity protests. A report from Windsor suggests — though I have no recorded proof — that cars playing Arabic music were specifically targeted by the police. There’s also a report from Hamilton suggesting that women with Hijabs received eight of 12 tickets given out at a rally.

Before detailing/evaluating the main purported incidents of anti-Semitism it’s important to mention both the discrepancy of resources the two “sides” have to document abuses and their impulse to do so. B’nai B’rith, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, CIJA and the Jewish Federations’ operate hotlines to tabulate incidents of anti-Jewishness and have significant capacity to communicate perceived acts of discrimination. They send individuals to video and photograph pro-Palestinian protests with the express purpose of discovering “proof” of anti-Jewish acts.

Not only does the official Israel lobby have greater resources to document perceived abuses and promote them through the media, it has a greater interest in focusing the discussion this way. As Israeli oppression of Palestinians has become ever more difficult to defend, the lobby’s emphasis on driving the discussion towards anti-Semitism has grown. For its part, the pro-Palestinian movement is more focused on discussing the violence meted out against Palestinians.

With that in mind, let’s look at the most high-profile incidents of “anti-Semitism” cited by supporters of Israel:

  • After massive Palestine solidarity demonstrations on May 15, a knife and bat wielding JDL aligned individual was beaten up after apparently picking a fight (his photo was actually on the cover — subsequently removed — of a May 16 press release titled “CIJA Concerned by wave of violence and antisemitism connected to conflict in the Middle East”). But, even if CIJA’s showcased victim had not been associated with the violent JDL, swung a bat or held a knife would his beating have been an act of bigotry? When a counter protester fights with someone on the other side is that a political disagreement that elevates to violence or an act of bigotry? (During protests against Israel’s brutal 2014 assault on Gaza that left over 2,100 Palestinians dead, I was shoved, spat on, had my bike damaged and lock stolen by members of the JDL in Toronto. Were those acts of bigotry or would it only have been an act of bigotry if I had punched or spat back?)
  • On May 26 Global News did a two-minute video report and accompanying article on a Vancouver restaurant owner who claimed to have been a victim of discrimination. Israeli immigrant Ofra Sixto took to Facebook and the nightly news to cry discrimination, but according to credible accounts she was the racist. When a Palestinian solidarity car caravan happened to pass her Denman street restaurant, she yelled some variation of “this is how they are in their countries”, which was heard by a white male, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, walking past and another woman sitting with her family at a cafe next door heard. They objected. The man later left a negative review of Ofra’s Kitchen online saying that the owner was racist. There’s a variety of screenshots and corroborating evidence suggesting the owner instigated the racism while Sixto hasn’t provided any external evidence, screenshots or other proof of her claims. (And it’s also not exactly clear how anyone was supposed to know the restaurant was Jewish owned).
  • On May 16 — a day after thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters took over downtown Montréal — a small pro-Israel rally was held downtown. Pro-Palestinian counter protesters reportedly threw objects (rocks according to some) at the pro-Israel group. I could not find video of objects being thrown but there is video of minor scuffles between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian individuals and, as I mentioned above, a photo of a Zionist with a hammer and an individual snagging a Palestinian flag. There is also a great deal of video of the Montréal riot squad trying to disburse Palestine solidarity protesters, which suggests they were treated as the aggressors.
  • On May 18 the Montréal municipality of Côte-Saint-Luc, which is heavily Jewish, robocalled all residents to tell them not to be worried about an upsurge of anti-Jewishness (In other words, they frightened people by telling them not to be worried!) Aside from the massive pro-Palestinian demonstration on May 15 and clashes at the May 16 rally, the reason for the robocall was that two men allegedly drove through the municipality yelling anti-Jewish slurs and an Israeli flag flying on a municipal building was removed. I could not find any video evidence of the vehicle though the police detained two individuals.
  • In Edmonton Adam Zepp told Global News he was walking out of his parents’ driveway at 9 p.m. on May 16 when a car drove by with young men yelling “Free Palestine”. Forced to loopback due to the neighborhood layout, Zepp says the men subsequently said, “are there any Jews here? Any Jews live here? Where do the Jews live?” There’s no indication Zepp took down the car’s license plate or recorded the incident. In an interview a representative of Edmonton’s Jewish Federation claimed rather vaguely that others also saw a car passing by.
  • Another widely cited act of discrimination is a TikTok video of two young Arab women, reportedly students at Laurier University, dancing as they burn an Israeli flag, flush it down the toilet, puke over it and fake stab it. Purported outrage over these students “promoting violence” is extremely cynical. The groups calling this “anti-Semitism” frequently justify Israeli violence and often promote the Israeli military in Canada.
  • Many of the lesser incidents presented are placards that in one way or another link Israel to the Nazis. (Of course Nazi comparisons are generally in poor taste, but the Israel lobby regularly invokes the Nazi Holocaust so it’s hypocritical of them to complain about that.)

While all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, must be condemned, readers can judge for themselves who are the primary victims of hatred and discrimination in Israel, as well as here in Canada.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

The only Turkish boots on the ground in Palestine are on Israeli soldiers’ feet

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | June 14, 2021

When last month’s ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, thanked Iran for its support. “The Islamic Republic of Iran did not hold back with money, weapons, and technical support,” he said. Haniyeh also thanked Qatar for its pledge to rebuild Gaza after the latest devastating military offensive by Israel, which lasted eleven days and nights last month.

Similar sentiments were conveyed by the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. “All our thanks go to the Islamic Republic of Iran for its consistent support over the years to Hamas and other resistance factions,” he explained. He also briefly recognised support from Qatar, Turkey, and Kuwait.

Apart from Sinwar’s passing reference to Turkey, expressions of gratitude to Ankara were noticeable by their absence. This was despite the frequent pro-Palestinian rhetoric and denunciations of Israel by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The last time that Haniyeh thanked Turkey publically was back in 2016 over its aid efforts in Gaza.

It was clear that, after the latest onslaught on the Palestinian people, the resistance chose to recognise Iran’s help where it matters most, in the field with the armed resistance and, to a lesser extent, Qatar’s assistance for the reconstruction of Gaza.

Why has Turkey been left out, despite being a friend of Palestine? It could be something to do with the uncomfortable truth that despite Ankara’s stance towards Palestinian national liberation, it maintains important diplomatic and trade ties with Israel. The Palestinian factions know this very well. National liberation, as I have written before, will ultimately rest on a military solution, which is why Iranian support has been singularly recognised by the factions.

The status quo of the secular Turkish republic is one that is supportive of Israel. It was the first Muslim-majority country to recognise the statehood of Israel a year after its creation in occupied Palestine in 1948. The rise of Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) over the past two decades has, admittedly, coincided with diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv, especially after the Gaza flotilla attack in 2010.

While political ties have unquestionably deteriorated over the years and reached a new low with Israel’s desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque last month, business ties haven’t. According to the Turkey-based, pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya Ajansi, “When the AK Party came to power, the trade volume between Israel and Turkey was 1.4 billion dollars, today it is 6.5 billion dollars.”

The report cites data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) and says that Israel was ranked as the third-highest importer of Turkish goods last year, for a total value of $4.7 billion.

Political ties between the two countries are served by their respective embassies, which remain open. Turkey appointed a new ambassador to Israel after the downgrade in ties and withdrawal of its envoy in 2018 in protest of the deadly attacks on Gaza that year. At the end of last year, Erdogan said that Turkey would like better relations with Israel but claimed that Palestine is the “red line”. The latest and ongoing aggression, however, suggests that this is not the case.

An interesting development last month, though, was the Turkish proposal to establish an international force to protect Palestinians from future Israeli attacks. This was followed by the signing of a security agreement between Turkey and the Palestinian Authority earlier this month, modelled on a similar pact made with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA). Some have questioned what support Turkey can offer the Palestinian people beyond charitable donations, and to what extent such a hypothetical international force could really protect them. Hence, it remains to be seen if and how this security agreement will be implemented.

What is clear, is that Turkey won’t risk political, military, and economic consequences in any moves that directly affect the security of Israel. Iran knows only too well that its flagrant support of non-state actors opposed to Israeli and Western interests comes at a hefty price in terms of sanctions and attempts to isolate it. Faced with its own economic problems, Turkey will be reluctant to go down such a lonely route, even if both regional powers are arguably supporting Palestine out of ulterior motives.

In any case, the trade will continue as usual, and the only Turkish boots on the ground in occupied Palestine will be worn by Israeli soldiers. As media outlets in Turkey have reported in the past, Turkish-made military boots have been supplied to the Israeli army: “YDS is a leading supplier of boots, assault vests, and bags to armies across the world. Israeli soldiers are among those who use Yakupoğlu garments.” Tension between Israel and Turkey, said one CEO, does not affect business.

The next Palestinian uprising will inevitably involve more support from Iran, and only Arab states and non-state groups aligned with Tehran are vehemently opposed to the occupation state. Reinforcing this, Haniyeh is reportedly planning visits to both Iran and Lebanon, which will include meetings with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei in Tehran and Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. He is expected to travel after his meetings in Cairo over stalled prisoner exchange negotiations with Israel, owing to the latter’s political uncertainty. With a new Israeli government now in place, though, that may change.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

On ‘conflict’, ‘peace’ and ‘genocide’: Time for new language on Palestine and Israel

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | June 12, 2021

On 25 May, famous US actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted an apology for suggesting that Israel is committing “genocide” in Gaza.

“I have reflected and wanted to apologise for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide’,” Ruffalo wrote, adding: “It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful and is being used to justify anti-Semitism, here and abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”

But were Ruffalo’s earlier assessments, indeed, “not accurate, inflammatory and disrespectful”? And does equating Israel’s war on besieged, impoverished Gaza with genocide fit into the classification of “hyperbole”?

To avoid pointless social media spats, one only needs to reference the “United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. According to Article 2 of the 1948 Convention, the legal definition of genocide is: “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

In its depiction of Israel’s latest war on Gaza, the Geneva-based human rights group, Euro-Med Monitor, reported: “The Israeli forces directly targeted 31 extended families. In 21 cases, the homes of these families were bombed while their residents were inside. These raids resulted in the killing of 98 civilians, including 44 children and 28 women. Among the victims were a man and his wife and children, mothers and their children, or child siblings. There were seven mothers who were killed along with four or three of their children. The bombing of these homes and buildings came without any warning despite the Israeli forces’ knowledge that civilians were inside.”

As of 28 May, 254 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, and 1,948 were wounded in the latest 11-day Israeli onslaught, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Though tragic, this number is relatively small compared with the casualties of previous wars. For example, in the 51-day Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, and over 17,000 were wounded. Similarly, entire families, like the 21-member Abu Jame family in Khan Younis, also perished. Is this not genocide? The same logic can be applied to the killings of over 300 unarmed protesters at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel between March 2018 and December 2019. Moreover, the besiegement and utter isolation of over two million Palestinians in Gaza since 2006-2007, which has resulted in numerous tragedies, is an act of collective punishment that also deserves the designation of genocide.

One does not need to be a legal expert to identify the many elements of genocide in Israel’s violent behaviour, let alone language, against Palestinians. There is a clear, undeniable relationship between Israel’s violent political discourse and equally violent action on the ground. Potentially Israel’s next Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has served the role of defence minister, in July 2013 stated: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”

With this context in mind, and regardless of why Ruffalo found it necessary to back-track on his moral position, Israel is an unrepentant human rights violator that continues to carry out an active policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the native, indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.

Language matters, and in this particular “conflict”, it matters most, because Israel has, for long, managed to escape any accountability for its actions, due to its success in misrepresenting facts and the overall truth about itself. Thanks to its many allies and supporters in mainstream media and academia, Tel Aviv has rebranded itself from being a military occupier and an apartheid regime to an “oasis of democracy“, in fact, “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

This article will not attempt to challenge the entirety of the misconstrued mainstream media’s depiction of Israel. Volumes are required for that, and Israeli Professor Ilan Pappé’s Ten Myths about Israel is an important starting point. However, this article will attempt to present some basic definitions that must enter the Palestine-Israel lexicon, as a prerequisite to developing a fairer understanding of what is happening on the ground.

A military occupation – not a ‘conflict’

Quite often, mainstream Western media refers to the situation in Palestine and Israel as a “conflict“, and to the various specific elements of this so-called conflict as a “dispute“. For example, the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” and the “disputed city of East Jerusalem”.

What should be an obvious truth, is that besieged, occupied people do not engage in a “conflict” with their occupiers. Moreover, a “dispute” happens when two parties have equally compelling claims to any issue. When Palestinian families of East Jerusalem are being forced out of their homes which are, in turn, handed over to Jewish extremists, there is no “dispute” involved. The extremists are thieves, and the Palestinians are victims. This is not a matter of opinion. The international community itself says so.

“Conflict” is a generic term. Aside from absolving the aggressor – in this case, Israel – it leaves all matters open to interpretation. Since US audiences are indoctrinated to love Israel and hate Arabs and Muslims, siding with Israel in its “conflict” with the latter becomes the only rational option.

Israel has sustained a military occupation of 22 per cent of the total size of historic Palestine since June 1967. The remainder of the Palestinian homeland was already usurped, using extreme violence, state-sanctioned apartheid, and, as Pappé puts it, “incremental genocide” decades earlier.

From the perspective of international law, the term “military occupation”, “occupied East Jerusalem”, “illegal Jewish settlements”, and so forth, have never been “disputed”. They are simply facts, even if Washington has decided to ignore international law, and even if mainstream US media has chosen to manipulate the terminology to present Israel as a victim, not the aggressor.

‘Process’ without ‘peace’

The term “peace process” was coined by US diplomats decades ago. It was put to use throughout the mid and late 1970s when, then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger laboured to broker a deal between Egypt and Israel in the hope of fragmenting the Arab political front and, eventually, sidelining Cairo entirely from the “Arab-Israeli conflict”.

Kissinger’s logic proved vital for Israel as the “process” did not aim to achieve justice according to fixed criteria that has been delineated by the United Nations for years. There was no frame of reference anymore. If any existed, it was Washington’s political priorities that, historically, almost entirely overlapped with Israel’s priorities. Despite the obvious US bias, the US bestowed upon itself the undeserving title of “the honest peace broker“.

This approach was used successfully in the write-up to the Camp David Accords in 1978. One of the accords’ greatest achievements is that the so-called “Arab-Israeli conflict” was replaced with the so-called “Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.

Now, tried and true, the “peace process” was used again in 1993, resulting in the Oslo Accords. For nearly three decades, the US continued to tout its self-proclaimed credentials as a peacemaker, despite the fact that it pumped – and continues to do so – $3-4 billion of annual, mostly military, aid to Israel.

On the other hand, the Palestinians have little to show. No peace was achieved; no justice was obtained; not an inch of Palestinian land was returned and not a single Palestinian refugee was allowed to return home. However, US and European officials and a massive media apparatus continued to talk of a “peace process” with little regard to the fact that the “peace process” has brought nothing but war and destruction for Palestine, and allowed Israel to continue its illegal appropriation and colonisation of Palestinian land.

Resistance, national liberation – not ‘terrorism’ and ‘state-building’

The “peace process” introduced more than death, mayhem and normalisation of land theft in Palestine. It also wrought its own language, which remains in effect to this day. According to the new lexicon, Palestinians are divided into “moderates” and “extremists”. The “moderates” believe in the US-led “peace process”, “peace negotiations” and are ready to make “painful compromises” in order to obtain the coveted “peace”. On the other hand, the “extremists” are the “Iran-backed“, politically “radical” bunch that use “terrorism” to satisfy their “dark” political agendas.

But is this the case? Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, many sectors of Palestinian society, including Muslims and Christians, Islamists and secularists and, notably, socialists, resisted the unwarranted political “compromises” undertaken by their leadership, which they perceived to be a betrayal of Palestinians’ basic rights. Meanwhile, the “moderates” have largely ruled over Palestinians with no democratic mandate. This small but powerful group introduced a culture of political and financial corruption, unprecedented in Palestine. They applied torture against Palestinian political dissidents whenever it suited them. Not only did Washington say little to criticise the “moderate” Palestinian Authority (PA)’s dismal human rights record, but it also applauded it for its crackdown on those who “incite violence” and their “terrorist infrastructure”.

A term such as “resistance” – muqawama – was slowly but carefully extricated from the Palestinian national discourse. The term “liberation”, too, was perceived to be confrontational and hostile. Instead, such concepts as “state-building” – championed by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and others – began taking hold. The fact that Palestine was still an occupied country and that “state-building” can only be achieved once “liberation” was first secured, did not seem to matter to the “donor countries”. The priorities of these countries – mainly US allies who adhered to the US political agenda in the Middle East – was to maintain the illusion of the “peace process” and to ensure “security coordination” between PA police and the Israeli army carried on, unabated.

The so-called “security coordination”, of course, refers to the US-funded joint Israeli-PA efforts at cracking down on Palestinian resistance, apprehending Palestinian political dissidents and ensuring the safety of the illegal Jewish settlements, or colonies, in the occupied West Bank.

War and, yes, genocide in Gaza – not ‘Israel-Hamas conflict’

The word “democracy” was constantly featured in the new Oslo language. Of course, it was not intended to serve its actual meaning. Instead, it was the icing on the cake of making the illusion of the “peace process” perfect. This was obvious, at least to most Palestinians. It also became obvious to the whole world in January 2006, when the Palestinian faction Fatah, which has monopolised the PA since its inception in 1994, lost the popular vote to the Islamic faction, Hamas.

Hamas, and other Palestinian factions, have rejected – and continue to reject – the Oslo Accords. Their participation in the legislative elections in 2006 took many by surprise, as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) was itself a product of Oslo. Their victory in the elections, which was classified as democratic and transparent by international monitoring groups, threw a wrench in the US-Israeli-PA political calculations.

Lo and behold, the group that has long been perceived by Israel and its allies as “extremist” and “terrorist” became the potential leaders of Palestine! The Oslo spin doctors had to go into overdrive in order for them to thwart Palestinian democracy and ensure a successful return to the status quo, even if this meant that Palestine is represented by unelected, undemocratic leaders. Sadly, this has been the case for nearly 15 years.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s stronghold, the Gaza Strip, had to be taught a lesson, thus the siege imposed on the impoverished region for nearly 15 years. The siege on Gaza has little to do with Hamas’s rockets or Israel’s “security” needs, the right to “defend itself” and its supposedly “justifiable” desire to destroy Gaza’s “terrorist infrastructure”. While, indeed, Hamas’s popularity in Gaza is unmatched anywhere else in Palestine, Fatah, too, has a powerful constituency there. Moreover, the Palestinian resistance in the strip is not championed by Hamas alone, but also by other ideological and political groups, for example, the Islamic Jihad, the socialist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other socialist and secular groups.

Misrepresenting the “conflict” as a “war” between Israel and Hamas is crucial to Israeli propaganda, which has succeeded in equating Hamas with militant groups throughout the Middle East and even Afghanistan. But Hamas is not Daesh, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. In fact, none of these groups is similar, anyway. Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic nationalist movement that operates within a largely Palestinian political context. An excellent book on Hamas is the recently published volume by Dr Daud Abdullah, Engaging the World. Abdullah’s book rightly presents Hamas as a rational political actor, rooted in its ideological convictions, yet flexible and pragmatic in its ability to adapt to national, regional and international geopolitical changes.

But what does Israel have to gain from mischaracterising the Palestinian resistance in Gaza? Aside from satisfying its propaganda campaign of erroneously linking Hamas to other anti-US groups, it also dehumanises the Palestinian people entirely and presents Israel as a partner in the US global so-called “war on terror”. Israeli neofascist and ultranationalist politicians then become the saviours of humanity, their violent racist language is forgiven and their active “genocide” is seen as an act of “self-defence” or, at best, a mere state of “conflict”.

The oppressor as the victim

According to the strange logic of mainstream media, Palestinians are rarely “killed” by Israeli soldiers, but rather “die” in “clashes” resulting from various “disputes”. Israel does not “colonise” Palestinian land; it merely “annexes”, “appropriates” and “captures”, and so on. What has been taking place in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, for example, is not outright property theft, leading to ethnic cleansing, but rather a “property dispute”.

The list goes on and on.

In truth, language has always been a part of Zionist colonialism, long before the state of Israel was itself constructed from the ruins of Palestinian homes and villages in 1948. Palestine, according to the Zionists, was “a land with no people” for “a people with no land”. These colonists were never “illegal settlers” but “Jewish returnees” to their “ancestral homeland”, who, through hard work and perseverance, managed to “make the desert bloom”, and, in order to defend themselves against the “hordes of Arabs”, they needed to build an “invincible army”.

It will not be easy to deconstruct the seemingly endless edifice of lies, half-truths and intentional misrepresentations of Zionist Israeli colonialism in Palestine. Yet, there can be no alternative to this feat because, without proper, accurate and courageous understanding and depiction of Israeli settler colonialism and Palestinian resistance to it, Israel will continue to oppress Palestinians while presenting itself as the victim.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

I’m on a ‘hit list’ Kiev allows to silence dissent & journalism. That’s all you need to know about Ukrainian ‘democracy’

By Eva Bartlett | RT | June 12, 2021

Address issues which Ukraine, the West’s client state, does not like and you could end up on a ‘hit list’. Because that’s apparently how flourishing democracies roll…

Last week, photojournalist Dean O’Brien participated in a United Nations meeting to give his perspective on the war in Donbass, Ukraine’s breakaway region in the east. Shortly after the discussion, O’Brien came under fire from the Ukrainian embassy in the UK.

However, smears from Ukrainian officials are nothing compared to what the controversial ‘enemies of Ukraine’ database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, could bring.

In May, O’Brien and I discussed this hit list, noting that we were both on it, with photos of us published on the witch-hunt website.

“It’s a website called ‘Peacemaker.’ It’s anything but, really. It seems to be a hit list, a target for journalists or anybody that goes against the grain in Ukraine. If you’re reporting on them, they see you as some kind of threat and put you on this list,” he said.

The platform was created in 2014, shortly after Crimea was reabsorbed by Russia and the Kiev government’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine was launched. As TASS noted in 2019, Mirotvorets “aims to identify and publish personal data of all who allegedly threaten the national security of Ukraine. In recent years, the personal data of journalists, artists or politicians who have visited Crimea, Donbass, or for some other reason have caused a negative assessment of the authors of the site, have been blacklisted by Peacemaker.”

Talking about the horrors that Donbass civilians endure under Ukrainian shelling is, according to this rationale, a threat to Ukraine’s national security. As is going to Crimea, maintaining that Crimeans chose to be a part of Russia (or, as many in Crimea told me, to return to Russia) and criticising the influence neo-Nazis wield in Kiev.

“The most worrying thing is that they seem to be able to get a hold of people’s passports, visas,” O’Brien told me. “The fact that they can get ahold of your passport photo, your visa photocopies, these can only come from official government offices in Ukraine. This is a governmental website, it’s been discussed in parliament, to close it down. They’re not interested in closing it down. This website is kind of like a hit list, really.”

That might seem like an exaggeration, but people listed on Mirotvorets have been targeted and even killed.

A report by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy titled “Ukrainian War Crimes and Human Rights Violations (2017-2020)” gave the example of a Ukrainian journalist assassinated in 2015 after his personal details were published on the website.

“A few days before his death, Oles Buzina’s details, including his home address, had been posted on the Canadian-based Mirotvorets website, created with the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs. The people listed on it are recommended for liquidation and arrest, and the total number of people listed are in the tens of thousands.

According to many experts, it was the listing on the site and the publication of the home address that prompted the murder of Oles Buzina, Oleg Kalashnikov, and many other opposition figures by members of the Ukrainian ‘death squads’.

Back in 2015, Georgiy Tuka, who participated in the creation and operation of the site, stated that, of the people listed on the site, “more than 300 were either arrested or destroyed,” the report states.

When in April 2015 the Ukrainian parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovskaya launched an effort to shut the list down, the then-adviser to Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko threatened her position and stated that the work of the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He said that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.”

So the website remains active, with Ukraine’s security service reportedly stating that it did not see any violations of Ukrainian law in the activities of the Mirotvorets website.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, too, has refused to have the website shut down, ironically claiming that it’s wrong to interfere with the work of websites and the media.

Let’s remember that in Ukraine, untold numbers of journalists, activists and civilians have been imprisoned, and killed, for their crimes of voicing criticism of the government and neo-Nazi groups.

Ukraine isn’t the only country to host such a hit list. Although Stop the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) – the project of crazed US-based journalist, Lee Kaplan – named activists, including myself, for our crimes of reporting on Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza in 2008/09, the website has since changed format and is far less detailed. But cached versions show the extent of its insanity, including a clear call for our murders:

“ALERT THE IDF MILITARY TO TARGET ISM

“Number to call if you can pinpoint the locations of Hamas with their ISM members with them. Help us neutralise the ISM that is now definitely a part of Hamas since the war began.”

Others on the kill list were named for their crimes of reporting Israel’s systematic abuse and killing of Palestinians. Their personal details, including passport information, were published.

An article on this heinous website noted: “The dossiers are openly addressed to the Israeli military so as to help them eliminate ‘dangerous’ targets physically, unless others see to it first.”

Although arguably that website was the project of one lunatic and their allies, the fact that for many years it stayed active and called for the murders of international peace activists speaks volumes on America’s own values.

I’m sure these two hit-list examples are not isolated ones. Quite likely, there are similar lists targeting journalists reporting on the crimes of other countries. But they are the height of absurdity, and fascism: targeting people whose reporting aims to help persecuted civilians.

Meanwhile in Donbass, Ukraine reportedly continues its shelling of civilian areas. Recently in Gorlovka, a northern city hammered by Ukrainian bombing over the years, a mine blew off part of a woman’s leg as she gathered mushrooms.

In spite of the hit list, journalists, rightly, continue to report on these war crimes.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces shoot dead 16-year-old Palestinian boy

Defense for Children International Palestine | June 11, 2021

Ramallah — Israeli forces shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian boy today in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces shot Mohammad Said Mohammad Hamayel, 16, with live ammunition around 4:30 p.m. today during a protest in the village of Beita, located southeast of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. The bullet entered the right side of Mohammad’s chest and exited the left side, striking him in the left arm, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Mohammad was taken to the Beita field hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Israeli forces frequently use live ammunition for crowd control to disperse protesters, ignoring their obligation under international law to only resort to intentional lethal force when a direct, mortal threat to life or of serious injury exists,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Systemic impunity has fostered an environment where Israeli forces know no bounds.”

When Mohammad was killed, Beita village residents were protesting against a new illegal Israeli outpost recently established on the village’s land. In the last month, Israeli settlers have established a new illegal outpost, Evyatar, on lands belonging to Beita and two other Palestinian villages, Qabalan and Yatma, Haaretz reported this week. The outpost, which already has around 40 structures, was established on a hill that was the site of an Israeli army base in the 1980s, according to Haaretz.

Since 2013, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 168 Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with live ammunition and crowd-control weapons, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

Mohammad is the eighth child from the occupied West Bank shot and killed by Israeli forces this year. On May 5, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Said Yousef Mohammad Odeh in Odala, a neighboring village about one mile north of Beita. Israeli forces reportedly confronted Palestinian youth at the village entrance prior to Said’s shooting. Said did not pose any threat to Israeli forces at the time he was shot, according to information collected by DCIP.

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

Israeli forces are rarely held accountable for grave violations against Palestinian children, including unlawful killings and excessive use of force. According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, around 80 percent of complaints filed with Israeli authorities by Palestinians for alleged violations and harm by Israeli soldiers between 2017 and 2018 were closed with no criminal investigation opened. Of complaints where a criminal investigation was opened, only three incidents (3.2 percent) resulted in indictments. Overall, the chances that a complaint leads to an indictment of an Israeli soldier for violence, including killing, or other harm is 0.7 percent, according to Yesh Din.

An outpost is an emerging illegal Israeli settlement initially established as small communities on hilltops throughout the West Bank, generally located nearby or in between larger permanent illegal settlements. They house a few families or several settler youths living in trailers and other temporary shelters with only basic infrastructure. Funding and support from private donors and the Israeli government help to construct roads and infrastructure and eventually transform the outpost into a permanent Jewish-only Israeli settlement.

Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law. Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied territory is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 7 Comments

Blinken’s statements encourage Israel to continue its crimes: Hamas

Palestine Information Center – June 8, 2021

GAZA – The Hamas Movement denounced the recent statement of US Secretary Antony Blinken on Israel’s right to self-defense, saying that it gives the green light to the “Zionist enemy” to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people.

Hamas in a press statement on Tuesday said, “Is the killing of women and children, demolishing homes on the heads of their residents, expelling citizens from their homes in Jerusalem, attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque, assaulting journalists and breaking their hands, self-defense?”

It stressed that the occupier does not have the right to self-defense but its duty according to international law is to end the occupation and stop the aggression against the occupied people.

Hamas also condemned the continued US military support to Israel and providing it with all kinds of advanced weapons which makes the United States an accomplice in the violence against Palestinians.

“Hamas is a democratically elected Palestinian national resistance movement that exercises its legitimate right under international law to resist the occupation by all available means, including armed resistance”, it added.

The Movement demanded that Blinken and his administration abide by international law and implement international resolutions that affirm Palestinians’ right to freedom and independence and to return to their homes from which they were forcibly displaced.

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 6 Comments

Questions as Israel intelligence officer dies in detention

MEMO | June 8, 2021

Mystery has shrouded the death of an Israeli military intelligence officer in prison three weeks ago after he was accused of committing crimes that harmed the state, local media reported on Monday.

The Israeli military said that “the investigation uncovered suspicions that the officer, who served in a technology unit in the Intelligence Directorate, knowingly took actions that severely harmed state security.”

Haaretz reported the military saying: “The officer cooperated during his investigation and confessed to many of the deeds that were attributed to him.”

Information about the case was revealed after the military scaled back a complete gag order on it, but, according to the Times of Israel, key details about the affair, including the officer’s identity and the exact nature of his alleged crimes, remain barred from publication.

The Israeli military said, according to the Times of Israel, that the soldier acted alone and did not commit the actions on behalf of a foreign government, for financial reasons or as a result of a specific ideology, but rather for unspecified “personal motivations”.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported the soldier’s relatives saying: “We are confused, we are frightened and we want real answers.”

“No one has explained to us what happened.”

The soldier was arrested in August. He was found injured in his prison cell on 17 May and died later in hospital.

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

Israel Wins Big in Washington

$1.2 billion more is on the way!

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • JUNE 8, 2021

Now let me get this straight. A nation bullies and harasses a much smaller neighbor which eventually leads that neighbor to strike back with largely home-made weapons. The larger and more powerful country, armed with state of the art killing machines, attacks its basically unarmed opponent and kills hundreds of civilians, including a large number of children. It also destroys billions of dollars of infrastructure in the poorer and weaker neighbor. Almost immediately after the fighting stops, senior legislators from a third nation that had nothing to do with the war apart from supplying the larger nation with weapons appeared on the scene and promoted the lie that the larger nation had actually been the victim of an unprovoked attack by the “terrorists” running the small nation. They did so publicly while meeting with and endorsing the actions of the government officials from the large nation, which, it would seem, is about to be investigated by an international body for war crimes. They were joined by an ex-officio former foreign minister of the third nation who likewise echoed the propaganda being put out by the large nation. Several of them also promised to provide military assistance worth $1 billion so the large nation could rearm itself.

Of course, I am writing about how Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Bill Hagerty traveled to Israel over the Memorial Day weekend and bowed and scraped before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and company. During his meeting with Bibi, Graham even held up a sign reading “More for Israel.” They were joined in Jerusalem by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was in town visiting with his old friend Yossi Cohen, head of the Israeli Intelligence service Mossad, who is retiring soon.

I sometimes wonder what the Founding Fathers would think about senior legislators ignoring their constituent duties so they could instead travel overseas to pander to the corrupt rulers of a foreign nation that exhibits none of the civic virtues that the Constitution of the United States once embraced in establishing a new republic? Cruz, for example, is a particularly ambitious slimeball who clearly sees his future in the tight embrace of the Israel Lobby. He was recently on the receiving end of some bad press when he abandoned his home in Houston, at the time suffering from a prolonged electricity crisis due to storm damage, to take his family to Cancun. Cruz is a senator whose main job is promoting himself.

Cruz used the opportunity provided by his presence besides the exalted Netanyahu to denounce President Joe Biden for his Administration’s failure to help Israel while it was under attack by the terrorist hordes. Before he left for Israel he stated that he intended “to hear and see firsthand what our Israeli allies need to defend themselves, and to show the international community that we stand unequivocally with Israel. Far too many Democrats morally equivocated between Israel and the terrorists attacking them, and fringe progressive Democrats went even further with wild accusations and conspiracy theories.”

After a day spent touring Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system before viewing damage in Ashkelon in Israel from the Gazan rockets, which he commemorated with a weepy self-video demonstrating his empathy for the Israeli dead, he said that Biden’s calls for Israel to seek a cease fire had “emboldened” the “Hamas terrorists.” He elaborated that “The longer Joe Biden shows weakness to Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran, the more you’re going to see terrorist attacks escalating.”

But it was Lindsey Graham who has to be awarded the prize for being completely oleaginous in the presence of Netanyahu, holding up a sign reading “More for Israel” while practically swooning in the presence of the great leader. He said, with a grin, “The eyes and ears of America is Israel. Nobody does more to protect America from radical Islam than our friends in Israel.”

Flattery will apparently get you everywhere you want to be as Graham is surely aware that Israel is a strategic liability for the United States and its brutality is in fact a recruiting tool for radical groups. Holding up his sign, Graham then asked, “So what can you expect, my friends in Israel, in the next coming days and weeks from Washington? More.” For the home audience he then elaborated on a tweet what “More” would mean. “Great meeting this morning in Jerusalem with Israeli PM Netanyahu. ‘More for Israel’ to help protect and defend from Hamas rocket attacks.” Graham later reported to Fox News that Israel would be sending Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Washington to negotiate the request for the $1 billion increase in military aid to restore its “deterrent” after the savage bottle rocket attack by Hamas. He elaborated “It will be a good investment for the American people. I will make sure in the Senate that they get the money.”

Since the Senate Committee is packed full of Democratic Party Zionists, Graham knows for sure that his support for giving Israel the money will be approved in committee to go to the House for a final vote where it will be also be approved. And the White House is actually signaling that the Treasury check will be somewhat bigger, to the tune of $1.2 billion. A smiling Netanyahu demonstrated that he knows how to say thanks for the freebee, telling Graham “No one has done more for Israel than you, Senator Lindsey Graham, stalwart champion of our alliance and we have no better friend. You’ve been a tremendous friend and a tremendous ally.”

The third Republican Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, a former Trump Ambassador to Japan, is a bit of a non-entity compared to his superstar traveling companions, though he, like Cruz, is unfortunately on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has taken the lead on authorizing immediate resupply of Israel’s weapons. And he too got into the game of kissing Israel’s posterior, posting a media release on his Senate website saying “Cruz and Hagerty Land in Israel to Assess Damage from Hamas War: Americans watched in horror when Hamas and other Iran-backed terrorists in Gaza recently launched thousands of rockets at innocent men, women, and children in Israel. I’m joining Senator Cruz, my colleague on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to visit Israel and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies after they endured the worst terrorist attacks in recent years because I want to see firsthand what more the U.S. can do to strengthen our vital alliance with Israel at a time when terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah and terror-sponsoring regimes in Iran and Syria are making the Middle East more dangerous…”

Pompeo also did his bit, enthusing over his attendance at the retirement party for Cohen. He tweeted how it was “Great to be with good friends in Tel Aviv!” He clearly has acquired the presidential pretensions disease and knows which button has to be pressed first.

One notices immediately the complete lack of any expression of sympathy for the hundreds of Palestinians who were killed by Israel in what was a war that was provoked by the home seizures, armed mobs of settlers in remaining Arab neighborhoods and attacks by soldiers and police on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. After that, one notes that these clowns pretending to be senators are people who were elected and generously paid by American citizens, not by Israel, yet they seem to believe it is completely appropriate to be spend time in that country meddling in someone else’s war on behalf of a rogue state. If anyone is worthy of impeachment, it is they, but never mind, neither the Zionist dominated US national media nor the Establishment will make any such demand, quite the contrary. Be that as it may, their behavior is despicable and is symptomatic of type of corruption that is preceding the decline and fall of what was once a great nation.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

What happened in the ‘torture room’ at Israel’s police station in Nazareth?

IMEMC | June 7, 2021

Lawyers from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel have collected multiple sworn affidavits testifying to rampant, systemic Israeli police attacks and brutal beatings of Palestinian protesters, innocent bystanders, children, and even attorneys inside Nazareth’s police station during the period of protests in the city in May.

The graphic testimonies from victims, attorneys, and paramedics on the scene tell a story of systemic Israeli police brutality and physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the northern city, and indicate that Israeli officers ran a “torture room” inside the Nazareth police station – an informal term whose initial use may be traced to the recent detainees and lawyers on the scene.

Adalah submitted a formal complaint to senior Israeli officials today, Monday, 7 June 2021, regarding serious failures on the part of Israeli police and investigators in Nazareth that amount to grave criminal offenses, starting on 9 May 2021 and continuing for a number of days.

In their letter, Adalah attorneys Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and Wesam Sharaf highlighted brutal, overt Israeli police violence in Nazareth in breach of the rights of Palestinian citizens grabbed off the street and held in the station, including the rights to liberty, dignity and bodily integrity, as well as the right to counsel and due process.

Israeli “police officers led the detainees to a room located on the left side of the entrance corridor to the station, forcing them to sit on the floor handcuffed, to lower their heads towards the floor, and began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.”

Most of the violent arrests of and attacks on Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city were carried out by Israeli special police forces, including undercover mista’aravim officers posing as Palestinians. Israeli officers would continue beating, shoving, and choking detainees while walking them from the scene of their arrest to the city’s police station.

Additional testimonies indicate Israeli police prevented Palestinian detainees in the Nazareth station from receiving urgent medical care for wounds resulting from beatings and attacks by officers, also another extremely serious criminal offense.

Almost every night during the Nazareth protests, ambulances were summoned to the police station and wounded Palestinian detainees were evacuated to the city’s hospitals. Other detainees appeared in court following their arrests displaying clearly visible signs of abuse and violence, including stitches on their head, facial swelling, scratches, and extensive bruising.

Sworn testimonies collected from attorneys on the scene indicate Israeli police in Nazareth also attacked them and their colleagues, who were seeking to provide legal aid to Palestinian detainees, used force to distance them from the station, seized telephones and even detained a lawyer.

Adalah demands immediate criminal probe of Israeli police torture

“What happened inside the police station in Nazareth amounts to torture and ill-treatment, and requires the immediate opening of a criminal investigation to examine the circumstances and conditions of the protesters’ detention at the station – including the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in the violence,” Adalah attorneys wrote in the letter.

Faiz Zbedeiat, 21, university student, Nazareth resident

The protesters stood in a circle … and I stood about 6-7 meters away from them. After a while, a police officer approached the scene and announced over the loudspeaker that the gathering was forbidden and demanded that the participants disperse. When I heard this, I stepped back so that it was clear that I was not part of the rally. I was on the phone with a friend, and a second after I hung up, the cops threw a stun grenade into the street. Suddenly, I noticed a Border Police officer running towards me, and when he got to me he punched me in the nose. I immediately said: “I’m standing far away [from the protest], what have I done? I didn’t do anything.” He suddenly started yelling at me, cursing me, hitting me again, and he said, “Don’t talk to me, talk to the interrogator.” I immediately said that I was not resisting… Two more policemen arrived, grabbed me and pushed me towards another Border Police officer who grabbed me, hit me, and tried to slam my head against the wall. I asked why they were hitting me when I’m not resisting. I even I put my hands behind my back even though they didn’t handcuff me. Nevertheless, the same Border Police officer hit me in the nose with the walkie-talkie that he was holding. I raised my hands above my head to protect myself, and this angered him and he started cursing and threatening me.

The cops dragged me, grabbing me by the head and forcing me to look down. I was taken to the police station a few minutes’ walk away. On the way to station, the same cops continued beating me even though I wasn’t resisting at all. On the way, we met a policeman who appeared to be an officer, and he started laughing and said to them: “Did you only arrest him? That’s not enough. We need more.”

[In the Nazareth police station], police brought more detainees into the room, some of them minors who were nevertheless held together with us rather than being separated. At this point, the cops started beating us and kicking us with their feet and batons. [My friend] who was next to me, received a blow that caused a head wound which began to bleed. The blood could be seen on the floor. I told him he should ask for immediate medical attention, but he was afraid that if he asked for help they would beat him again. The cops kept saying “Close the door.” No one was allowed to raise their head; whomever raised his head or spoke was beaten more. I saw one guy who had a broken nose, his face covered in blood, and yet they kept hitting him inside the room. One of the police officers had an M-16 rifle and I saw that he used it to hit detainees. There was a moment when I could take a glance back and see that a police officer who was beating the detainees was masked.

The cops hit us in the back, slapped us in the face. I personally was hit in the back. They tried to hit me in the head but I dodged the blow, so they hit me in the stomach and slapped me in the face. I remained calm and composed the whole the time, but those who resisted or reacted were beaten more. The cops kept trying to provoke us, they cursed and threatened us. For example, during the adhan (Muslim prayer), they started laughing and saying “Pray that God will get you out of here.” After awhile, a police officer approached me and whispered in my ear, threatening me. He cursed my mother, my sister, and my wife. He then asked, “Did you understand?” I didn’t answer, and he immediately slapped me in the face. He asked me again: “Do you understand?” I still didn’t answer and he slapped me again in the face. Finally, he said “Go explain to your friends”. He pushed me back down to the floor and hit me again.

I saw deliberate humiliation of the detainees. I saw one of the cops kicking a detainee in the leg. Another officer came over and said to him “That’s not how you beat someone,” and kicked the detainee harder. The two cops started laughing.

Omaiyer Lawabne, Nazareth resident

On the eve of Eid el-Fitr and the last day of Ramadan, my brother and I and two other friends decided to go out and celebrate with two friends. We left the house around 21:00, and went to the “Checkers” store near the parking lot on Hagalil Street in Nazareth. I parked the car there, and we went to withdraw money from an ATM. I immediately noticed many police forces in the area, some of whom were well-equipped and looked like special units, as well as a demonstration that was taking place nearby. When I saw this, I started to walk away slowly in order to distance myself a bit. At one point, I looked to my right and saw a police officer in full gear running towards me with his fist raised in the air. The officer hadn’t appealed to us, hadn’t called out to us, hadn’t demand that we identify ourselves or stop. As soon as he saw us, he came running towards me with his fist raised in the air. But the thing is, we were just standing there, away from the demonstration, in a place where no one was gathering.

When I saw the police officer running towards me, I was scared, and I knew he was going to hit me. Out of fear, I started running. I wanted to stop and explain to him that I hadn’t done anything, but when I looked back I heard someone call out “Throw it, throw it,” and I realized that they were referring to stun grenades. The cops started throwing grenades at me, and I kept running because I knew that if I stood still I could be badly wounded by the grenades… While I was still running, one of the policemen raised his hand and hit me in the left eye, and I fell to the ground.

I covered my face while begging the cops who surrounded me to release me because I hadn’t done anything. Suddenly, one of the cops started kicking me in the face and head, stepping with his boot on my head and then on my shoulder. Several cops gathered around me as I lay on the ground. They began to hit me, both kicking and punching. I felt intense pain all over my body, from my head to my legs. One of them started kicking me in the artery behind the ear. At that moment, I thought I was going to die.

After a few minutes, two of the cops dragged me to the city police station. I tried to explain to them that I hadn’t done anything, but when I tried to speak they started punching me in the stomach… I saw that every detainee they brought into the station, they would slam his head against the door. I tried to keep my head away from the door as I didn’t want a scar that would stay with me for life but they still tried to slam my head against the door.

When we entered the station, we continued straight and turned left through a doorway. One of the officers immediately started cursing me and my family, and another slapped my face. There were a lot of detainees in the room, and I was shocked to see that they looked like prisoners of war: They were forced to sit on the floor, with their legs folded under their bodies and their heads held down. One masked officer was walking around the room with an object in his hand – I couldn’t tell if it was a club or something else – but everyone who raised his head was hit on the head with this object. They pushed me down into a corner and I lowered my head and curled up. Nevertheless, the same police officer hit me hard on the head with that object.

Seconds later I felt a great pain in my head, I saw that there was a large amount of blood coming down from a head wound, and I felt very dizzy… When they saw this, the police dragged me out, and ordered me to put my head under a tap of water. I told them I wouldn’t put my head under the tap because it would aggravate the pain and aggravate the bleeding, that they are also not doctors, and I didn’t need diagnosis by cops but rather professional medical treatment. One of the cops told me to shut up and hit me on the stomach. I felt threatened so I followed his orders and put just part of my head under the tap, so that it wouldn’t harm the wound. The officer then told me to “put my whole head under the faucet”, held me by the neck, and forced me to put the wound under the faucet.

A few minutes later two paramedics came to me. As soon as they saw me, they immediately decided to take me to the hospital… When the ambulance arrived, the officer who hit me in the head demanded to explain to the paramedics what had happened. I replied that the officer had beaten me with some object, but the officer – in an attempt to cover up my accusation – rejected my explanation and said, “Wrong. You were hit by a rock” [thrown during the demonstration]. I replied that I was not at the demonstration at all, and that police had in fact photographed me at the entrance to the station without any wounds and without bleeding, so it could be seen that I was therefore wounded only after being brought into the station.

That night I was released from hospital directly home rather than back to the police station. I couldn’t sleep for two nights because of the pain and dizziness. I couldn’t eat because of pain from the blows to my stomach. If I tried to eat, I would start vomiting. My chin hurt and I couldn’t speak well. It was the first time I had been arrested, an arrest that I believe was illegal, pointless, and very violent. Since then, I have not been summoned to the police station for any questioning or to provide testimony.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

Belfast urges expulsion of Israeli envoys from UK, Ireland

Press TV – June 6, 2021

The City Council of Belfast in Northern Ireland has approved a motion calling on the governments of the UK and Ireland to expel Israeli ambassadors over the occupying regime’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The document, passed with votes from left-wing parties, urged Belfast municipality to call on London and Dublin “to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.”

Speaking at the voting session, Socialist councilor Fiona Ferguson said, “I think the expulsion of ambassadors is a first step – a preliminary step – to greater action, but it’s an incredibly important and symbolic step.”

Ferguson, who has tabled the motion, demanded that the UK and Ireland lead by example and answer “the call from Palestinians across the world who have asked for ambassadors to be expelled.”

The resolution states that Israel’s military operation in Gaza amounts to the “ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians” and that the regime’s “illegal settlement expansion, represents flagrant breaches of international law.”

It further says normal cooperation with Tel Aviv is “untenable” at a time when “a growing list of human rights organizations has determined that Israel’s actions amount to apartheid.”

“The council recognizes the rich history of solidarity and activism in this city from all communities for Palestine, including very recently when a huge demonstration called for an end to Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians; and that such solidarity on the part of our citizens can be an important tool in dismantling support for Israel’s actions,” the motion reads.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian students and activists staged a sit-in protest in front of the Irish Foreign Ministry in Dublin.

They blocked the entrance to the ministry, waving signs urging Ireland to expel the Israeli envoy.

Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, after Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Apparently caught off guard by unprecedented rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and 1948 others were wounded.

June 6, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments