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Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take

Photo Source U.S. Embassy Jerusalem | CC BY 2.0
By Sam Bahour | CounterPunch | November 14, 2018

Israel has made a colossal mockery of the concept of security.

In debating an Israeli friend from Jerusalem, I challenged him that Israel consciously plans and uses its military might to damage the Palestinian’s national project to build a state and free itself from Israeli control. Avner, my Israeli friend, argued otherwise, buying into the Israeli state narrative that Israel is “forced” to take measures which negatively affect Palestinians because Israeli security requires it. My knee-jerk reaction as someone living and working under Israeli military occupation for over two decades, was that this was hogwash and, short of ending its illegal (note: legal occupations are temporary by definition) occupation of Palestinians, I claimed that Israel—the occupying power—could immediately take 101 measures to reduce tensions on the ground, without jeopardizing any true and rational security needs. He shrugged and said, “tell me”?

In the years to follow, I have given numerous talks on the state of affairs under Israeli occupation to groups visiting Palestine from all corners of the world. A large number of those talks were to Jewish-American groups—many participants being rabbinical students and mainstream Jewish influencers hosted by the U.S. not-for-profit Encounter—who traveled to Palestine for an Encounter Program. In a recent Encounter talk, one rabbi attentively listened as I made the same claim, Israel can take 101 actions tomorrow morning without jeopardizing security. He raised his hand and asked, where can we get that list?

So, here it is. A quick compilation, with the generous assistance of several friends here in Palestine, and with a few items selected from the umpteen reports being published about the rapidly deteriorating state of affairs. This list is not intended to be comprehensive by any means, but rather a look beyond the daily headlines to give readers, especially those who have bought into the Israeli propaganda—hook, line and sinker—that this military occupation is all about “security”.

I attempted to place a few subtitles to categorize the list, although many items are multifaceted. Space does not allow for a full explanation of each proposed action, so if anyone wants to be directed to a more in-depth explanation of any listed action, or otherwise, please feel free to reach out at the email listed below.

Before offering the list, I must state upfront and clearly, my goal in presenting these ideas is not to assist the powers-that-be to design an embellished military occupation intended as permanent. Rather, my purpose is to reveal Israel’s underlying intentions, its indefinite time frame for continued domination, and the cornucopia of diverse types of actions carefully calculated to humiliate each and every Palestinian, while structurally blocking a path to Palestinian statehood, otherwise known as the two-state solution. That noted, for those who simply cannot fathom the notion of a Palestinian state free from Israeli occupation, I welcome all efforts to get my list addressed while the occupation continues, which would align Israel’s actions somewhat better with the law of occupation, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention, 12 August 1949).

101 actions Israel could take

Gaza

1) Allow for free movement of goods to/from Gaza

2) Open the Erez [Passenger] Crossing to the West Bank 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 2 million Palestinian residents of Gaza

3) Permit Palestinians to tap their natural gas wells discovered in the sea of Gaza in 2000

4) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s land

5) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s territorial waters, expanding Gaza’s fishing zone: The Government of Israel halved Gaza’s fishing zone from 6 nautical miles to 3 nautical miles; compare that to the twenty-nautical mile limit set by the Oslo Accords. (World Bank)

6) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s air space, releasing 3G frequencies for wireless internet access for Gaza

7) Keep the Karm Abu Salem cargo crossing open (World Bank)

8) Allow solar panels into Gaza (World Bank)

Jerusalem

9) Stop stripping Jerusalemites of their Jerusalem residency status

10) Eliminate arbitrary taxation regime being applied to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially those in the Old City

11) Increase public services to East Jerusalem to align with the level of taxation paid by East Jerusalem residents and with their proportion of the entire city’s population

12) Allow daily mechanism for Palestinians’ freedom of religion, not only on the occasional holidays (entry to Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, e.g.)

Education

13) Remove barriers inside the West Bank between children and their schools

14) Stop soldiers at checkpoints from harassing school age students, stop the delaying and excessive searching of students (and teachers) coming to/from Jerusalem through the Qalandia checkpoint, especially of those who are unaccompanied by parents

15) Provide teachers open access to their workplaces, i.e. crossing checkpoints, etc.

16) Eliminate routine Israeli military forces incursions into schools

17) Allow academic/educational institutions to operate comfortably and freely within Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including East Jerusalem

18) Recognize/accredit the degrees granted by all Palestinian higher educational institution as legitimate credentials for continuing education in Israel or for professional work permits

19) Stop delaying release of textbook shipments

20) Stop delaying release of, and desist from tampering with, examination papers and answer sheets coming from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

21) Stop banning basic laboratory supplies for students’ laboratory experiments

22) Grant permits for school education/recreational trips: an entire generation has never seen the sea

23) Stop systematically targeting schools in marginalized areas like Khan al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley

24) Allow importing of educational accessories and tools: During the Microsoft International Student Competition, smart pens, circuits, and other similar materials required by participants were discarded at the Israeli border on the pretext that these educational materials were a threat to Israel’s security

25) Allow student travel. During the Microsoft International Student Competition, the Palestinian team won first place over 23 Arab countries in the innovation category and were qualified to compete in the US. One of the students, despite the student having no security issues, and with an official invitation from Microsoft and the US consulate in hand, was unable to get Israeli permission to enter Jerusalem to process his US visa.

Humanitarian

26) Stop the arrests, especially of children: Number of Palestinians who have been held in Israeli jails for periods ranging from 1 week to life, 1967-1988: 600,000; number of Palestinians arrested during the first intifada (1987-94): 175,000

27) Stop the torture: Documented percentage of Palestinian detainees who have been tortured during interrogation: 85%

28) Stop the deportations: Documented number of Palestinians deported between 1967 and 1992: 1,522; between 1970 and 1973: 785; in 1992: 415; number deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, 2002-2004: 32

29) Stop the house demolitions: Documented number of Palestinian homes in the oPt demolished by Israeli authorities, June 1967-March 2009: 24,145

30) Stop the killings: Killings during the two Intifadas: Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces and civilians, December 9, 1987 to September 28, 2000: in the oPt: 1,489; within the Green Line: 60. Number killed, September 28, 2000 – September 28, 2004: 3,234

31) Release the bodies of killed Palestinians to their families

32) Stop ripping apart bicultural families: Provide clear and easy access via family re-unification for foreign nationals married to Palestinians

33) Stop arbitrary denial of entries and restrictions on visiting foreign nationals, allowing Palestinian firms to recruit Palestinian and international talent abroad by issuance of work visas/permits for any such person who does not have a Palestinian identity card.

34) Respect Palestinian water rights as defined under international law and honor applicable, signed bilateral water-related agreements

35) Stop spraying of herbicides intended to destroy crops, especially on outskirts of the Gaza Strip

36) Respect the Bedouin community’s way of life, stop the displacement of Bedouin communities

Municipalities

37) Reclassify areas currently classified as Area C if they are within defined city boundaries

38) Expedite landfill approvals: The regional landfill in Rammun (center of West Bank) took about 15 years for the Israeli side to approve

39) Expedite cemetery approvals: The new Ramallah cemetery project took about 12 years for the Israeli side to approve

40) Expedite water/sanitation approvals: The project for a central purification plant in Ein Griot has been waiting for Israeli approval for years now

41) Expedite approvals for new or improved transportation routes: The desperately needed Ramallah ring road project, a case in point, has submitted all required details and continues to await Israeli approval

Economic

42) Stop the illegal dumping of Israeli goods and services into the Palestinian markets, Stop unlicensed Israeli firms, such as Israeli telecommunications firms, from illegally selling their services to the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas

43) Stop the arbitrary delays in importation of technology products

44) Release 4G frequencies for West Bank and Gaza

45) Allow for free movement of goods within the oPt

46) Allow for unfettered imports

47) Allow for unfettered exports

48) Allow the entry of Palestinian goods into the Israeli market, as the Paris Protocol (4/94) provided for in a unique economic and trade regime named the Customs Envelope

49) Stop using an Israeli-specific “Dual Use List” for Palestinians, causing unjustified additional restrictions to importation of goods into Gaza and considerable delays and difficulties for West Bank economic projects, such as the Bethlehem Industrial Estate (BMIP)

50) Stop the extensive security checks within the West Bank which pose an economic obstacle to trade

51) Allow for delivery of large machinery/equipment/vehicles related to PA and international projects, especially for agriculture and construction

52) Eliminate all military checkpoints between Palestinian cities/villages inside the oPt

53) Provide humane/non-segregated access to Palestinians via air, sea and land ports

54) Provide PA security forces full access to all oPt areas

55) Provide PA police full control of all oPt roads

56) Stop issuing licenses to Israeli firms quarrying of Palestinian lands in the oPt

57) Remove closures to all entrances to villages and cities in the oPt, as some residents travel 90-120 additional minutes to reach destinations literally minutes away

58) Allow Palestinians full privileges on “Israeli-only” roads

59) Allow 24/7 access on Israeli-issued travel permits

60) Allow Palestinians with multi-day Israeli travel permits to lawfully stay overnight in Jerusalem and Israel

61) Eliminate the recent requirement of a so called “Magnetic Card” required to apply for an Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel

62) Eliminate the so called “BMC – Businessman’s Card” required to apply for a multi month Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel, which artificially segments Palestinian society

63) Allow ease of rehabilitation of deteriorating old cities, especially in Hebron and Jerusalem

64) De-monopolize the Israeli/Jerusalem tourism sector (tourism operators, guides, licenses, etc.), ending the demand to adhere to the “Israeli narrative”

65) Apply and enforce the laws and adjudicate violations equally with respect to all residents/citizens under Israeli jurisdiction as an occupying power

66) De-legitimize “open carry” of weapons for Israeli settlers or accord Palestinian farmers the same privileges

67) Secure Palestinian farmers yearlong access to their farm land, not only partial harvesting seasons

68) Maximize allowed farming area, especially near settlements

69) Expedite issuance of land deeds (Tabu), especially in Area C

70) Allow legal building in Areas B and C

71) Allow access to natural water sources in Area C

72) Allow postal mail and packages to reach the Palestinian Post in a timely manner: In August 2018 Israel dumped 10 tons of mail they held up from 2010

Israeli Crossings and Ports

Border Crossings with Jordan / Allenby/King Hussein Bridge (KHB)

73) Open this sole passenger crossing to Jordan 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 3 million Palestinian residents of West Bank

74) Increase the number of vehicles, load capacity of cargo loading and unloading, and operating hours at the KHB

75) Streamline the logistics for imports entering the oPt: For example, cement silos could be constructed to store bulk cement until transferred by Palestinian trucks into the Palestinian territory.

Border Crossings with Israel

76) Stop restrictions on shipments through cargo crossings from the oPt into Israel, such as limited number and capacity of cargo crossings, limited working hours, and strict security restrictions: This encourages tax evasion and unfair competition in the form of goods smuggled into the oPt by Israeli trucks that freely enter the Palestinian areas via the crossings and need not unload their cargos, unlike the Palestinian trucks. Moreover, Israeli cargo trucks are not subject to inspection by the Palestinian Authorities.

77) Stop random sampling security checks of cargo which cause cargo damage, as well as, long security checks of perishable cargo which is damaged when delayed for a long period for security inspection purposes.

78) Logistical arrangements for the entrance of goods into the Gaza Strip is an ultra-complicated and troublesome task. In addition to the very long waiting hours at Erez Crossing, the facility has unsystematic working hours with the constant possibility of sudden closure for “security” reasons.

Container Ports

79) Allow direct imports to the oPt via a Palestinian clearing agent. Currently, all kinds of raw materials and goods need to be imported through an Israeli agent. Such a procedural requirement incurs high costs for the Palestinian importer for security and customs inspection. Additionally, the Palestinian importer incurs fees of relevant bonded Israeli warehouses and storage facilities as long as the cargo is withheld in the Israeli ports for inspection purposes, sometimes weeks, months or years on end.

80) Allow Palestinians to define their own import needs. Currently the quantity, quality, destination of imported goods and materials are determined according to the outdated Paris Protocol, which provides the annual ceiling of imports per country of origin.

Area C

81) Stop the prohibition of construction in Area C: Obtaining a permit to construct any factory or plant in Area C is made unbearably difficult and the process should be streamlined, simplified, and not subject to arbitrary regulations and delays.

82) As things stand, permits issued for Area C are time-bound and must be renewed on an annual basis, causing significant delays and a barrier to investment; revise these regulations to streamline the process.

83) Streamline the exhausting “security”-driven bureaucratic procedures to establish land titles, especially in Area

84) Expand spatial plans for Palestinian villages in Area C (World Bank)

85) Grant approval to Palestinian business projects in Area C (World Bank)

Constraints on Movement and Permits

86) Issue and abide by clear and lawful policies and procedures for obtaining all types of visas for foreign visitors, including granting visas to international faculty as they return for a new academic year and eliminating denial of long-term visas to international and regional experts working in the oPt

87) Lift the military ban on Palestinian commercial drivers’ entering Israel with a Palestinian-registered vehicle: This ban is enormously expensive for Palestinian employers, who bear the added logistical costs to rent an Israeli truck for the Israeli side of the route travelled, incurring more than double the rental cost of the Palestinian truck alone.

88) Allow for permits to manage commercial operations within Israeli areas, such as the management of warehouses in these areas. Currently, the limitations on permits issued shackle Palestinian firms’ ability to manage their internal affairs.

89) Allow Palestinian clearing agents access to Israeli ports at Ashdod, Haifa or Eilat. Currently, an Israeli agent needs to be hired as a go-between with the Palestinian importer.

90) Many Palestinian companies are active in both the West Bank and Gaza. Allow permits for West Bank company staff to enter the Gaza Strip and vice versa. At present, absent such permits, staff is unable to follow up on work in progress, attend meetings, or participate in training courses.

91) Permit Palestinian firms’ shareholders to travel to/from the West Bank/Gaza Strip to attend the annual general meetings of firms they are invested in. At present, to work around this, firms incur the extra expense of arranging two venues for a meeting; one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip, to ensure an equal opportunity for all the shareholders in Palestine to attend the meetings, which are connected by video conferencing.

Legal Issues

92) Streamline legal actions for Palestinian firms having issues with Israeli citizens/cheques; currently, the problem of the Israeli citizen/firm’s being subject to another jurisdiction creates manifold obstacles to prompt resolution.

93) Recognize a third country arbitration between Israeli and Palestinian businesses. If a commercial dispute arises between Palestinian and Israeli parties, Israeli laws requires that arbitration be made in Israeli areas for security purposes and for the safety of the Israeli party. This practice is a clear violation of customary international practices and norms that the seat of arbitration should be in a third and neutral country.

94) Stop the military ban on a large number of Gazan traders who have been commercially banned by Israel without due process, rendering them unable to sell or purchase goods and materials.

Quality inspection

95) Stop the discrimination in dealing with standards certificates. The required Israeli quality inspection of imports transshipped through Israel and acquiring of the Israeli Standards Certificate require a lot of time that might extend up to six months with high costs. Currently, Israeli shipments require one certificate for every product being imported, despite the number of times imported, whereas the Palestinian importer must get a new certificate for every shipment of the same product, adding time and cost to every importation of goods.

96) Allow Israeli products entering the Palestinian market to get a Palestinian Standards Certificate. Currently, the Palestinian market is flooded with Israeli products that bypass Palestinian standards certification.

Financial

97) Stop withholding/delaying the various monetary transfers to the Gaza Strip, imposing extra costs to cover transfers

98) Pay the Palestinian Authority seigniorage for their use of Israeli currency

99) Stop delays in transferring payments to Palestinian government, further indebting the PA: VAT and Import duties collected by the Government of Israel (GoI) on behalf of the PA and should be transferred monthly based on an arrangement instituted by the Paris protocol. (World Bank)

100) Stop unilateral deductions from Palestinian funds, further indebting the PA: These are deductions made by the GoI from clearance revenues to settle utility bills owed by Palestinian Local Government Units (LGUs), utilities and distribution companies to Israeli suppliers. (World Bank)

101) Transfer to the Palestinian Authority fiscal losses accumulated over the years. The signed agreements defined specific arrangements through which the GoI collects VAT, import duties and other income, or the so-called clearance revenues, on behalf of the PA and shares it with the latter on a monthly basis. Some of these arrangements have become outdated and others have not been implemented as envisaged by the agreements, resulting in fiscal losses for the PA. The quantified annual loss (excluding revenues collected by the GoI in Area C that could not be quantified due to data constraints) amounts to USD 285 million, or 2.2 percent of Palestinian GDP. (World Bank)

So, here you have it, a detailed sampling of what the Israeli military occupation means from ground zero. These and dozens of other Israeli restrictions are what mainly underlie the inability of Palestinians, individually and collectively, to create a different reality on the ground, let alone properly prepare for a free and independent state.

A longtime Jewish-American attorney friend with whom I shared this list as a draft in process responded unequivocally: These issues, he said, are not Israeli security threats; on the contrary. If they were rationally addressed, the results would serve Israeli security needs. With that, one must step back a bit and reflect on what Israel’s real intentions might be in sustaining its 50-year military occupation through the use of this vast web of “security” regulations.

Sam Bahour is managing partner of Applied Information Management (AIM), a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, a secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Group, and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com. Twitter: @SamBahour

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

John Bolton Wins “Defender of Israel” Award From Zionist Lobby Group That Helped Appoint Him

Pictured left to right: Joseph Frager, Alan Dershowitz, and John Bolton at the 2018 Zionist Organization of America awards. Photo | ZOA
By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | November 12, 2018

The ZOA, Bolton’s enthusiastic sponsor, led the campaign to remove former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from his post after railing against McMaster’s “anti-Israel” positions, most notably his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) recently awarded U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton the “Defender of Israel Award” during its annual awards dinner, which took place in New York on Sunday night.

Other awardees included U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as well as Fox News television host Mark Levin. Both Grenell and Levin are close to Bolton, with the former having served as Bolton’s spokesman and the latter having worked closely with Bolton at the Department of Justice in the Reagan administration.

Though Bolton has received several awards from the Israel lobby in the past, due to his fervent promotion of Zionism and Israeli government policy, this more recent award is notable, as the ZOA is largely responsible for Bolton’s appointment as National Security Adviser within the Trump administration.

Indeed, beginning in August 2017, the ZOA – under the leadership of its president, Morton Klein – led the campaign to remove former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from his post after railing against McMaster’s “anti-Israel” positions, most notably his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

However, McMaster had also earned the ire of American Zionists for allegedly referring to Israel as an “occupying power” and acknowledging the existence of Palestine — as Zionists at ZOA and like-minded organizations support a revisionist history of the creation of the Israeli state that asserts that Palestine as a state never existed prior to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Leaked emails reported on by MintPress earlier this year revealed that ZOA’s campaign to remove McMaster soon won the support of Trump’s top political donor, Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson. It was later revealed that Adelson had been instrumental in placing Bolton in the position McMaster vacated, as Bolton had long been a confidant of the politically influential casino magnate and Adelson had previously lobbied Trump – then president-elect – to include Bolton in his cabinet.

Bolton has not disappointed his sponsors

Since his appointment in April, Bolton has promoted and helped bring to fruition policies long supported by Adelson and the ZOA – which Adelson helps fund – as well as related groups. Under Bolton’s influence, President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA and imposed harsh sanctions against Iran, which disproportionately affect Iranian civilians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently stated that Iranian leaders would need to fall in line if “they want their people to eat,” underscoring the fact that the Iranian people are by and large the target of the U.S. sanctions targeting Iran.

In addition, Bolton has also used his role as National Security Adviser to advocate for other troubling policies in the Middle East to the benefit of Israel, such as the continuation and expansion of the U.S.’ occupation of around 30 percent of Syrian territory.

Bolton announced in July that the U.S. would maintain its military presence in Syria until the “Iranian menace was wiped off the map.” Bolton’s announcement became administration policy just two months later in September. However, just days before Bolton took over for McMaster, Trump had announced that he wanted to remove U.S. troops from Syria “very quickly.”

Ultimately, Bolton’s recent award from the Adelson-backed ZOA for “defending Israel” is the result of events that ZOA itself helped made possible. Now that Bolton – who they helped install into power – has helped bring about the very policies they had hoped he would manifest, ZOA has granted him a “prestigious” award. Perhaps it is only fitting that he receive such thanks for the service to Zionism he was installed to provide. Indeed, it is a cause and ideology that Bolton has repeatedly supported – often at the expense of U.S. government interests and even U.S. national security.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

See also:

Bolton’s Past Advocacy for Israel at US Expense Heralds Dangerous New Era in Geopolitics

Copyright © Whitney Webb, MintPress News, 2018

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For Arab eyes only: Threat of war vanishes from Israeli military’s English-language Twitter account

©COGAT
RT | November 13, 2018

A thinly-veiled threat to unleash the full military power of Israel on residents of the Gaza strip is apparently meant for Arabs only, since its English-language version is now gone from an Israeli military Twitter account.

Amid the latest flare-up of hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants both sides are also battling for hearts and minds online. Part of the Israeli messaging effort was a threat on Twitter, on the account of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a defense ministry unit that enacts policies related to civilian issues in occupied Palestinian territories.

The threat said Hamas crossed the red line with its latest attacks and that Israel will be responding with an iron fist. “Residents of Gaza look carefully at the pictures from Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – a picture is worth a thousand words,” said the account, citing a statement by COGAT chief, Major General Kamil Abu Rukon. A composition picture showing the aftermath of airstrikes from the 2014 war in Gaza and a recent retaliation [sic] by the IDF was supplied.

But hours later the entire thread was deleted – even though the original statement on the Arabic version of COGAT’s Twitter feed remained intact. Some commenters suggested that the Israeli officials realized that such thinly-veiled threats to Palestinian civilians are not meant for the English-speaking audiences and erased it. Others suggested Twitter could have deleted it following complaints about threats of violence by other users.

The 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza claimed almost 1,500 civilian lives, according to a UN count, and caused damage to buildings estimated at some $7.8 billion, with thousands of homes obliterated or severely damaged.

Considering that Gaza Strip is one of the world’s most densely populated areas and Israel maintains a blockade of the area, effectively trapping people inside, many critics see the military campaign as a form of collective punishment of Palestinians. Israel says Hamas is responsible for the civilian suffering, because it allegedly uses civilians as human shields.

Amid the latest violence, the Israeli forces bombed a Hamas-linked TV station, branding it a propaganda outlet that made itself a legitimate military target. The decision indicates the Israeli government’s willingness to stretch it definitions in order to justify attacking non-combatants.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel Wins 2018 Election

No matter who is elected Israel comes first

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • November 13, 2018

Judging from the mainstream media, Israel was not a major issue in the midterm election but it sure did come up a lot when candidates for office were wooing Jewish or Evangelical voters. To cite only one example, Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis criticized his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race for receiving support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and giving a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to his city. DeSantis claimed in a video clip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”

DeSantis, who sponsored the 2013 Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, charged that Gillum would not be a “friend” of Israel. In 2017, he co-founded the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, saying “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and possess similar national values. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.” Earlier this year, DeSantis drafted a proposal calling on the U.S. to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an ‘integral part’ of the State of Israel.

DeSantis boasted about his presence in Jerusalem when the U.S. Embassy was moved to that city in May and has promised as governor to visit Israel’s illegal settlements on the West Bank, which he refers to by the preferred Israeli usage as “Judea and Samaria.” He threatens critics that “If you boycott Israel, the state of Florida will boycott you.”

One might note at a minimum that for Ron DeSantis and ambitious slimeballs like him it is all about Israel due to their own political self-interest, with nothing actually in the mix for either Florida or the United States. The uninformed public buys into the narrative because it doesn’t know any better thanks to the media’s heavy slant in favor of Israel, allowing uncritical support for the Jewish state to continue under the radar unchallenged. DeSantis, a former U.S. Navy lawyer, has demonstrated that he reveres Israel even more than his former comrades in arms. In his congressional district there are a number of survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty, which was attacked in international waters by Israel on June 8, 1967, killing 34 crewmen and injuring 171 more. They report that DeSantis has been completely unsympathetic to their requests that a commission of inquiry finally be convened to determine what actually happened on that day.

In fact, Americans have never had the option of voting on the “special relationship” that Israel enjoys with the United States as no Congressman would dare run against it lest they be smeared in the media and find themselves running against an extraordinarily well funded opponent benefiting from large donations coming from out of state sources. The list of prominent politicians “taken down” by Israel is lengthy, and includes Cynthia McKinney, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, and Pete McCloskey.

It is particularly ironic that as the midterm campaigns were drawing to a close there appeared some serious investigative journalism that demonstrates precisely how Israel and Jewish groups corrupt the political process in America to provide virtually unlimited support for anything and everything that the despicable Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of war criminals seek to do. How the process has succeeded is best illustrated by the current Israeli government’s policy of “mowing the grass” in Gaza where it is using army snipers to kill unarmed Palestinian protesters. Washington not only does not protest against the in-your-face war crime, it aids and abets it with U.S. Ambassador David Friedman justifying the military response as measured and appropriate.

Another area where Washington chooses to look the other way is regarding Israel’s nuclear arsenal, believed to consist of two hundred warheads. Under U.S. law, any country that has an undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal cannot obtain American-made weapons and cannot received aid of any type. Congress and the White House pretend that the Israeli nuclear arsenal does not exist, in spite of the fact that the Israelis themselves have more than once implicitly acknowledged it and instead of cutting aid to Israel have instead increased it. It is currently $3.8 billion per year guaranteed for the next ten years, with extra money also available if needed. No other country benefits from such largess and gives in return so little.

To be sure, the groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, which appeared in 2007, pulled no punches in describing how the Israel Lobby operates in the United States. It also made clear that the relationship with Israel serves no United States national interest whatsoever and exists solely because of the corruption of the political system and the media by principally Jewish individuals and groups that are dedicated to that task.

While acknowledging the great debt to Walt and Mearsheimer, it is one thing to read about something in a book and quite another thing to see it live, which is what the new evidence of Israeli interference consists of. Several years ago, the Qatari news service al-Jazeera commissioned two investigations. The first was on the activities of the Israeli Lobby in Britain and the second was on the lobby in the United States. The material consisted largely of meetings with members of Israel’s active lobby that were secretly filmed by journalists who were pretending to be supporters and who eventually managed to penetrate some of the organizations that were most active in promoting Israel’s interests.

The British expose, in two parts, aired in January, and was based on discussions and interviews that took place between June and November 2017. It demonstrated how the Israeli Embassy in London connived with government officials to “take down” parliamentarians and government ministers who were considered to be critical of the Jewish State. It also revealed how the Israeli Embassy was secretly subsidizing and advising private groups promoting Israeli interests, including associations of Members of Parliament (MPs).

The secret recording revealed how an Israeli Embassy diplomat/spy named Shai Masot connived with a senior civil servant to get rid of Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, regarded as a supporter of an independent Palestinian state. To Masot’s additional query “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down?” the civil servant suggested “… if you look hard enough, I’m sure there is something that they’re trying to hide… a little scandal maybe.” Another alleged pro-Arab member of Parliament Crispin Blunt was also identified and confirmed to be on a “hit list.”

It was also learned that Masot had been secretly subsidizing and advising two ostensibly independent groups, the parliamentary Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Masot did, however, express concern that Israel’s control over incoming parliamentarians was not quite what it used to be: “For years, every MP that joined the parliament joined the LFI. They’re not doing that any more in the Labour Party. CFI, they’re doing it automatically. All the 14 new MPs who got elected in the last elections did it automatically.”

The documentary was initially a sensation in Britain but then, predictably, it went away as Israel’s loyal host of media scriveners took charge. Masot was recalled to Israel and Prime Minister Teresa May, as good a friend to Jewish money and power as one is likely to find, decided to do nothing. Her characteristically toothless reaction to the suggestion that her government officials might be removed by the clandestine activity of a foreign country was: “The Israeli ambassador has apologized… the U.K. has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

The four-part series by al-Jazeera on the Lobby in the U.S. was meanwhile temporarily spiked because the Qatari government was seeking to obtain the mediation of prominent American Jews to pressure the White House to help resolve its outstanding conflict with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The documentary has remained in limbo but in the past two weeks it has surfaced and is now available. Its undercover investigative journalist, a British Jew named Tony Kleinfeld, quickly charmed his way into the inner circle of Israel’s supporters where he discovered a network of organizations that act as fronts for the Israeli government. Their activities include spying on supporters of Palestinian rights and disrupting demonstrations, with a particular focus on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which Israel has particularly targeted. They also resorted to tactics like smearing critics by generating false accusations of sexual and personal misconduct, all of which was coordinated by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The ministry’s director general is Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former senior officer with Israel’s military intelligence, and is staff consists mostly of former spies drawn from Israel’s various security agencies.

Later, Kleinfeld became involved with The Israel Project, which is a U.S. based Israeli government backed propaganda organ that claims to be “a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East.”

In a recorded conversation, Project employee Jordan Schachtel, explained the objectives and extent of a secret Facebook operation. “We’re putting together a lot of pro-Israel media through various social media channels that aren’t The Israel Project’s channels. So we have a lot of side projects that we are trying to influence the public debate with. That’s why it’s a secretive thing, because we don’t want people to know that these side projects are associated with The Israel Project.”

In another episode, the Israel on Campus Coalition’s Jacob Baime, who claimed to have a $2 million budget, described coordinating with the Israeli government, with an approach “modeled on General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq… copied a lot from that strategy that has been working really well for us, actually” using “offensive information operations.” Baime described putting “up some anonymous website” along with targeted Facebook ads so that critics “either shut down or they spend time responding to it and investigating it, which is time they can’t spend attacking Israel. It’s psychological warfare, it drives them crazy.”

Kleinfeld also met with other groups. Foundation for Defense of Democracies was revealed as yet another agent of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, its directors meeting regularly with Israeli Embassy staff in Washington. In spite of that the Treasury Department has not compelled it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). It is also registered with the IRS as a tax exempt 501(c)3 “charity.” Indeed, no Jewish organization active on behalf of Israel has ever had to register under FARA and most are classified as tax exempt charities or educational foundations. Interestingly, however, the FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer lamented in his recorded conversation with Kleinfeld that “anti-Semitism as a smear is not what is used to be.”

In another bizarre episode, Kleinfeld visited the neocon dominated Hoover Institute in California where he participated in a demonstration together with a group of bored young conservative think tankers compelled by their professors to protest against a Students for Justice in Palestine conference. The think tank fellows admit that they were “astroturfing” – rent-a-crowd activism to make a small demonstration appear much larger.

Another segment includes Israeli Lobby financier Adam Milstein, who is reported to be the principal funder of Canary Mission, which has targeted some 1,900 students and academics in its profiles since 2015, smearing them as “racist,” “anti-American” and “anti-Semitic.” Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, boasts in the film that “Canary Mission is highly, highly effective to the extent that we monitor the Students for Justice in Palestine and their allies.”

In his recording, Milstein also talks about the need to “investigate” and “expose” critics of Israel, who Milstein claims are anti-Semites, as well as “anti-Christian” and “anti-freedom” activists who “terrorize us.” His foundation also funds numerous anti-Palestinian organizations, including the Israel on Campus Coalition, StandWithUs, CAMERA, the AMCHA Initiative and the FDD. Milstein also funds and is chairman of the board of the Israeli-American Council. An Israeli-born California based real estate developer, Milstein reportedly served time in federal prison after a 2009 conviction for tax evasion.

An Israeli spy at the University of California at Davis, Julia Reifkind also described to Kleinfeld how the system worked at the campus level. She used multiple fake Facebook accounts to monitor the activities of Students for Justice in Palestine. “I follow all the SJP accounts. I have some fake names. My name is Jay Bernard or something. It just sounds like an old white guy, which was the plan. I join all these groups.” The information she obtained was then passed on to her contact in the Embassy for forwarding on to Israel to be entered into their data base of enemies.

So, Israel was engaging in interfering in legitimate political activity and also generating fake news on the social media in both 2016 and 2018, the same accusation that has been leveled against Moscow, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller seems curiously uninterested. And beyond the al-Jazeera revelations, there is also the evidence that it was Israel that sought favors from the incoming Trump Administration in 2016, not Russia. So who was actually corrupting whom?

And then there are the more overt Israeli front groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its $100 million annual budget and 200 employees, as well as the other special arrangements to pander to Israel and the powerful American Jews who have made it their mission to use the U.S. government as a mechanism to protect and nurture Israel. Last week in Los Angeles $60 million was raised by Hollywood’s finest for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), “Their Job is to Look After Israel. Ours is to Look After Them,” the website proclaims. Last month, an additional $32 million was raised for the IDF in New York City. Donations are tax exempt, to support the armed forces of a country that is currently engaged in war crimes and that has a secret nuclear arsenal.

So, Israel was technically speaking not running in the 2018 election, but it was very much in the race. Jewish Democrats are already boasting how the presence of a couple of Israel critics in the House, who will be “reeducated” on the Middle East, will make no difference, that the party will be solid for the Jewish state with more Jewish congressmen than ever before. Indeed, the “special relationship” bond will be stronger than ever. Five committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives will be in the hands of passionate Israel firsters, including Adam Schiff at the Intelligence Committee and Eliot Engel at Foreign Affairs. On the Republican side, the House is already 100% in Israel’s pocket. And as part of the White House team we have John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. Donald Trump’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman expressed the dual loyalty phenomenon best in a recent speech. The United States is his “country of citizenship” but Israel is the country he “loves so much.”

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

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas condemn Israel destruction of Al Aqsa TV station

MEMO | November 12, 2018

The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – has condemned Israel’s destruction of Al Aqsa TV station in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the movement, Fawzi Barhoum, described the targeting of the TV Channel and demolishing of its headquarters as a blatant act of aggression against journalism and all free voices dedicated to communicating the truth.

Barhoum called on international, legal and media organisations to denounce this latest act of Israeli aggression against journalism and freedom of expression.

Hamas said that Israel’s crimes would never stop Palestinian journalists from continuing their humanitarian and professional mission to expose the occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

In airstrikes late Monday, Israeli fighter jets tried to wipe the Hamas-run TV station in Gaza off the map.

Firing 10 missiles at the Al-Aqsa TV station, Israeli jets destroyed its headquarters, witnesses said.

Amid the airstrikes, the station went off the air briefly before resuming operations. Many buildings around the station were also damaged.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

Egypt tortures Palestinian resistance combatants: Report

MEMO | November 12, 2018

“We were a group of 15 combatants returning from a training mission from one of the countries that supports the Palestinian resistance. When we arrived at Cairo airport, we were taken to an underground place. We were blindfolded, handcuffed, and transferred to a number of prisons.” This is a part of a testimony of a Palestinian resistance combatant who was detained in Egyptian prisons and has been released recently.

Al-Khaleej Online will reveal in this investigation that the Egyptian intelligence and national security services tortured a number of Palestinian resistance combatants and students during their travel and study, in order to extract security information related to the Palestinian resistance.

The investigation documented a number of testimonies of more than 20 Palestinians, including those fighting in the Palestinian resistance, who were detained in secret prisons of Egyptian intelligence and national security, and subjected to physical and psychological torture throughout their interrogation period.

According to these Palestinians’ testimonies, the Egyptian officers had mostly asked them about their military action, especially during the waves of escalation with the Israeli occupation, and their way of firing shells from inside the Strip.

The data Al-Khaleej Online has revealed about the Egyptian security’s torture and interrogation of resistance combatants have been confirmed by sources in the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip use Cairo Airport to travel around the world because there is no airport inside the Strip and the occupation does not allow them to travel through Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing.

The Egyptian authorities have been using the so-called “deportation” system for Palestinian travellers wishing to travel outside Egypt. A bus from Rafah Border Crossing is transferred to Cairo Airport under high-security measures. No one from inside the bus would be allowed to leave it until it gets inside the airport. The travellers are then handed over to the security authorities there.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 6 Comments

Non-Israeli Jews can sue for damages in country’s courts

MEMO | November 9, 2018

The Jerusalem District Court ruled yesterday that Jews worldwide who faced discrimination or came under attack because of their religion could file for damages in Israeli court even if they are not nationals, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

Judge Moshe Drori based the ruling on the controversial “Nation-State law” which stipulates that “Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, according to which the Jewish State is responsible for ensuring the well-being of its citizens and of those of Jewish origin who were affected by anti-Semitism”.

The paper said the ruling was passed during a case filed on behalf of two Jewish American women who were held hostages by men affiliated with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) when they hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985.

According to the paper, this is the second time that Drori has used the “Nation-State law” to issue such rulings. In September, he ruled that Palestinian resistance movement Hamas must compensate a man who was injured in one of the movement’s activities.

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

Hebron is braving a storm of Judaisation

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian youth in the West Bank city of Hebron, on 22 September 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]
By Nabil Al-Sahli | MEMO | November 9, 2018

The ongoing and intense settlement activity in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron confirms Israel’s deliberate policy to empty it of its Arab inhabitants and Judaise it. The Palestinian city remains the second most targeted area for illegal Jewish settlements after Jerusalem. The first settlement activity in the West Bank was the establishment of the Kfar Etzion kibbutz in the strategic area bordering Hebron.

We can say with certainty that Israel’s plans for the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron are no less dangerous than its Judaisation plans for Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Over the years, the Israeli settlers have turned a major section of the mosque into a synagogue. We do not doubt that the settlers intend to take over completely in the months and years ahead.

Perhaps it was precisely for that reason that the Israeli government announced recently a new settlement plan targeting the heart of Hebron in order to link the settlements built across the city by means of new illegal blocs. The government is funding the construction of a settlement on Al-Shuhada Street in the old city, taking advantage of Donald Trump’s Presidency in the US to adopt and “legitimise” its settlement policy in Palestine, even though all Jewish settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, are illegal under international law. This is especially the case in Hebron and Jerusalem, which are both earmarked for even more Judaisation.

The purpose of the latest settlement outpost in Hebron is to create a new military checkpoint to harass and increase the suffering of the Palestinians prior to their eventual expulsion. The site on Al-Shuhada Street belongs to the Hebron municipality. The occupation authorities confiscated it for use as an army base and a location for settlers’ caravans. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the announcement of the 31 settlement units to be built in the heart of Al-Shuhada Street, approved by the so-called Civil Administration and Israeli government, and funded by the latter.

A few months ago Lieberman ordered the establishment of an authority to manage the municipal affairs of the settlement bloc located in the centre of Hebron. This is a Judaisation measure taken against the city’s Palestinian inhabitants with the purpose of strengthening the powers of the settlers who had previously managed their daily affairs by means of a council, which had no “legal” status.

Israel has portrayed this as being necessary to strengthen the Jewish community in the city and as a very important move in order to continue and develop settlement expansion in the West Bank, despite the existence of Palestinian-Israeli arrangements agreed in 1997 that divided Hebron into two parts. The first was the 80 per cent of the city under the complete jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority while the remaining 20 per cent was supposed to be under Israeli security control and Palestinian civil control. Since then, the entire city was supposed to have been under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Hebron municipality (with a population of 260,000 Palestinians and 800 Jewish settlers).

For the purpose of Judaising Hebron and displacing its indigenous Palestinian people, there have been non-stop attacks since the city’s occupation in 1967. There is a consensus among all Israeli parties to establish an administration to manage settler affairs in the city and to promote settlement activity. This explains Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s practical support for intensifying settlement activity in the West Bank, which is basically an execution of the project to annex Palestinian areas to Israel by means of “legitimate” demarcation and recognition of illegal settlements, along with granting them sovereignty.

It is a well-known fact that the establishment of settlements violates all international principles and customs, as well as the UN Charter, which outlines a long series of restrictions imposed on any occupying forces, including Israel’s. The essence of this bans occupiers from settling their own citizens in areas under occupation. This has been reiterated by UN Resolutions which deny any legal status to the Jewish settlements and ban their annexation by Israel. Indeed, the resolutions call for the dismantling of the settlements, not simply “freezing” settlement activity. The settlements in Jerusalem and Hebron are covered by this requirement.

Israel’s construction of additional settlements, and expansion of existing sites, violate Palestinian rights and international laws and conventions. The decision to build settlement blocs in Hebron and establish a council to manage Jewish settler affairs in the city breaches UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Israel should be condemned for treating international law with such contempt.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 8 November 2018

Read also:

Israel settlers storm Palestinian homes in Hebron

Israel army ‘violently harasses Palestinian family at home’ in Hebron

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

The Israel Lobby in the U.S. – Documentary by Al Jazeera

Censored Al Jazeera documentary exposing the Israel lobby in the U.S.

If Americans Knew | November 2, 2018

Part 1 of 4

The documentary was never broadcast by Al Jazeera due to pressure from some Jewish groups and individuals. It was eventually leaked to a few groups, which posted some short clips. On November 2nd the first two parts finally became available to the public.

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4

For more information see https://bit.ly/2PCKgF0

For information on pro-Israel influence on U.S. Congressional candidates see https://bit.ly/2Qiq2NN

For a full list of the Israel lobby in the U.S see https://bit.ly/2QhxskD

More information and additional documentaries on the Israel lobby can be seen at https://bit.ly/2SJgcGj

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s diamond exports crash as BDS and war crimes impact

By Sean Clinton | MEMO | November 7, 2018

Fig.1 – Graph of diamond exports and trends from main exporting hubs

Israel’s gross diamond exports have crashed by a staggering 45 per cent since the 2014 massacre in Gaza that resulted in the death of over 2,200 people, mainly civilians including over 550 children.

The net value of Israel’s diamond exports has fallen even further, by 60 per cent from $11.25 billion to $4.4 billion over the period. This is about the same as the value of Israel’s total arms exports.

The Israeli diamond exchange initially blamed the decline on weak global demand and more recently on globalisation but the sudden steep decline shows that’s plainly not the case.

De Beers annual insight reports on the state of the global diamond market show demand increased slightly over the past five years.

No other diamond exporting country has suffered such a steep fall.

The Belgian diamond industry, which is a major hub for both the rough and polished diamond trade to and from Israel, has also been impacted by the steep decline in Israel’s exports.

Meanwhile India has gained market share and in 2016, for the first time ever, exported more diamonds to the USA than Israel which has traditionally supplied up to 50 per cent of the US market in value terms.

There can be no doubt that one of the most important and the most vulnerable sector of the Israeli economy is feeling the impact of Israel’s blood-drenched brand image.

Fig. 2 – Israeli manufacturing exports declined sharply after 2014 led by a 45% fall in diamond exports. The 2012 fall in diamond exports was due to the discovery of major fraud in the Diamond Exchange.

The global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has highlighted jewellery industry links to Israeli human rights violations which are funded to a significant degree by revenue from the diamond industry. Both appear to be impacting the Israeli diamond industry particularly hard with exports down a further 6 percent in H1 2018.

The situation has become so serious that Israel is now offering to pay air fares as well as provide free hotel accommodation to attract buyers to Tel Aviv. Although the jewellery industry and NGOs have remained silent about Israel’s leading role in the diamond supply chain human rights activists have campaigned to expose it.

In 2012 activists first revealed the linkage between the Steinmetz Diamond Group (SDG) and the Givati Brigade of the Israeli military which was responsible for the 2009 massacre of the Samouni family in Gaza, a suspected war crime documented by the UN Human Rights Council and others including Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

This set in motion a series of actions that continue to reverberate through the upper echelons of the diamond industry. When the Anglo American owned De Beers Group put a Forevermark Steinmetz diamond on display in the Tower of London in honour of the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee the Inminds human rights group staged regular protests outside the Tower.

A member of the Samouni family in Gaza recorded a video appealing for the blood diamond to be removed. The diamond was removed a few months later without any of the fanfare and publicity that accompanied it’s unveiling. It hasn’t been seen or heard of in public since.

Sotheby’s Diamonds is a 50:50 partnership between Sotheby’s, the famous auction house, and Diacore, the now rebranded Steinmetz Diamond Group.

Since 2012, Inminds has staged a number of protests outside Sotheby’s premises in Bond Street, London, highlighting the link to Israeli war crimes.

In January 2013, Sotheby’s CEO and board were sent a registered letter alerting them to the damage to their reputation and the risks to their brand posed by their partnership with the Steinmetz Group. Months later in Geneva, in a blaze of global publicity, Sotheby’s auctioned the Steinmetz Pink, a specimen diamond. It was bought by a syndicate of investors lead by Isaac Wolf for a world record US$83 million. The pre-auction publicity and spin gave no indication that the diamond was tarnished by association with Israeli war crimes in Gaza and was, therefore, a blood diamond. Four months after the auction it was revealed that the investors defaulted and Sotheby’s were forced to take the diamond into inventory costing them millions.

In April 2017, in a much quieter event, the blood diamond was auctioned in Hong Kong and bought by Chow Tai Fook for $71 million.

The Isaac Wolf syndicate wasn’t sued.

Diamond buyers and sellers attend the International Diamond Week (IDW) in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, east of Tel Aviv on February 14, 2017. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Sotheby’s continues to partner with Diacore despite the fact that the Steinmetz Foundation “adopted” the Givati Brigade which stands accused of war crimes.

As news of the default became public it was also disclosed that Beny Steinmetz sold his interest in SDG to his brother Daniel and the company was rebranded as Diacore. Some observers believe this was an exercise designed to distance leading diamond brands including Tiffany’s, De Beers, Sotheby’s and Forevermark from the tarnished Steinmetz brand which is indelibly linked to the Samouni massacre. Evidence supporting this was leaked in the Panama Papers which showed that in 2015, Beny Steinmetz was still involved and asked Mossack Fonseca to backdate the transfer of his power of attorney to his brother to 2013.

Further indications that jewellers are shunning diamonds linked to Israeli human rights violations emerged earlier this year when it came to light, via a Tiffany & Co Form 10-K submission to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, that the iconic diamond brand had terminated a supply agreement with a Steinmetz owned mine in Sierra Leone. Tiffany’s loaned Steinmetz $50 million to develop the mine and was one of their leading buyers.

Tiffany’s divestment came following pressure from human rights activists who exposed the fact that Tiffany’s sourced diamonds from a miner that donated to and supported suspected Israeli war criminals.

Although Tiffany & Co divested from a Steinmetz mine they continue to conceal the identity of the companies they buy 25-35 per cent of their polished diamonds from. Tiffany’s customers cannot, therefore, know where their jewellery comes from as alluded to by their new CEO Alessandro Bogliono in Tiffany’s Sustainability Report 2017.

“Our customers place great value on sustainability. They want to know where their jewellery comes from, how it is made and how the jewellery-making process impacts the planet as well as its people and communities. Tiffany & Co. holds this kind of transparency dear and, through this creation of shared value, we have a unique opportunity to build meaningful, lasting relationships with our customers. We are committed to sharing more with them — and all of our stakeholders — about what, exactly, Tiffany is doing to achieve sustainability for our business and for the planet as we very broadly define that goal: enriching the people and places we reach through our business; minimising our environmental impact; improving industry-wide practices; and channelling the power of the Tiffany brand as a force for positive change in the world.”

Given Israel’s leading role in the industry and the absence of a statement from Tiffany’s stating, as they have done with Zimbabwe and Angola, they do not buy diamonds from the apartheid state, it is likely Tiffany’s are sourcing diamonds from companies in Israel.

Fig. 3 – On June 1st, Rajan al-Najjar, a 21 year old paramedic, was shot dead by an Israeli sniper as she treated wounded civilians in Gaza.

Diamond companies in Israel employ people who have served in and are members of the Israeli army, have openly funded and supported attacks on the defenceless residents of Gaza, have been widely implicated in serious fraud and who discriminate against non-Jews who make up 20 per cent of the population.

Furthermore, Tiffany’s haven’t paid reparations to the Samouni family or any of the victims of the Steinmetz supported Givati Brigade. Mitigation for damage caused is a key component of “responsible sourcing” as outlined in the OECD Due Diligence Guidelines to which Tiffany and Co, a member of the UN Global Compact, claims it is committed.

Although revenue from the diamond industry is a significant source of funding for an apartheid regime that has killed over 210 Palestinians including women, children, medics and journalists and injured and maimed thousands more with live ammunition in besieged Gaza in the past six months alone, jewellers fraudulently claim diamonds processed in Israel are responsibly sourced and conflict-free.

This blood diamond cover-up and fraud is perpetuated by public companies and governments who collaborate to shield rogue regimes in Israel, Zimbabwe and Angola that they depend on to keep their coffers full, bolster dividends for shareholders and provide fat pension pots for c-suite executives.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), the blueprint of which was drafted by the World Diamond Council, is the primary vehicle facilitating the ongoing blood diamond trade.

Although the remit of the KP is deliberately restricted to banning rough diamonds that fund rebel violence, jewellers use it to claim other blood diamonds are conflict free even when they fund war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Shamefully, Amnesty International, Global Witness, Human Rights Watch and Impact (Partnership Africa Canada), that the public rely on to expose the blood diamond trade and speak up for the victims, have said and done nothing to hold the diamond jewellery industry to account for funding Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Fig.4 –The diamond industry has created a matrix of bogus schemes, warranties, standards and codes of practices to con consumers and facilitate the trade in blood diamonds that fund rogue regimes

The silence of NGO’s on Israel’s blood diamond trade means the Kimberley Process charade continues to con most people and can keep mainstream media focused on the mining sector in Africa. Meanwhile, high street jewellers launder cut and polished blood diamonds labelled responsibly sourced and conflict free to unsuspecting customers.

Hilde Hardeman is the EU chair of the Kimberley Process in 2018. Indications to date suggest that she, like others before her in South Africa and Australia, will ignore the latest call from human rights activists for Israel to be suspended from the KP until those responsible for massacres in Gaza are brought to justice and held to account.

Some voices in the jewellery industry are speaking out. The most recent example being the Ethical Jewelry Exposé: Lies, Damn Lies, and Conflict Free Diamonds, from Marc Choyt and his team at Reflective Jewellery. The exposé peels back the layers of bogus schemes “through the metaphor of Russian nesting dolls, with eight layers of babble obscuring the nefarious truth hidden at the core”.

The exposé leaves readers in no doubt as to the magnitude of the fraud being perpetrated by the key stakeholders in the diamond industry, particularly the Responsible Jewellery Council which is now chaired by Signet Jewellers Vice President of corporate affairs, David Bouffard. Signet Jewellers source many of their diamonds from companies in Israel.

The successive withdrawal of human rights organisations from the KP, including Global Witness, Impact Transform, International Alert, Fatal Transactions and Ian Smillie – a key architect of the Kimberly Process scheme – has removed the fig leaf and left its exponents exposed with their bloody diamonds in full view.

Scrambling to conceal the blood diamond trade, the industry’s most recent and emerging addition to the matrix of deception, is the use of blockchain technology to digitally log all transactions a diamond undertakes from mine to market. While the technology has the potential to give consumers the information needed to make an informed decision about the ethical provenance of a diamond, the detailed information will only be available to “authorised users” as “privacy controls” will prevent consumers from accessing “sensitive data”.

Diacore, of the Steinmetz Group, was one of the first companies in a trial conducted by De Beers Group of their blockchain system, Tracr, earlier this year. It is clear, therefore, that blockchain will provide another layer of cover for the blood diamond trade while consumers are kept in the dark.

As the EU chairs a Kimberley Process plenary meeting in Brussels from November 12-16 it will be interesting to observe the corseted language emanating from the spin doctors. No doubt they will inform the public that the major reforms aimed at strengthening the KP and giving added assurance to consumers have been agreed. But one thing is for sure, any reforms that are agreed will not extend to banning blood diamonds that fund rogue regimes guilty of gross human rights violations in Israel, Zimbabwe or Angola.

Read:

Why Israel sees BDS as a ‘strategic threat’

EU urged to end trade in Israel diamonds

Israel’s $72m war chest to fight BDS comes to Brussels

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hollywood Stars Raise Record $60m for Israeli Army

MEMO | November 6, 2018

Hollywood celebrities raised a record breaking $60 million for the Israeli military at the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (FIDF) annual gala last week.

This year’s sold-out Western Region event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel welcomed more than 1,200 supporters of Israel, including prominent actors and singers like Ashton Kutcher, Pharrell Williams, Gerard Butler, and Katharine McPhee.

“We are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave men and women of the [Israeli army].” said FIDF National Board Member and Chairman of the event, Haim Saban. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honours in my life.”

The event featured a programme that told the 70-year history of Israel through the accounts of soldiers and the military’s various campaigns against the Palestinians.

It also included several contributions from former and current Israeli soldiers.

Last year, FIDF raised $53.8 million at the same event; contributions have been increasing annually for the past three years. In 2015 the gala raised $31 million, half of this year’s total.

According to a press release by the organisation, the funds raised will be used to “provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in need … crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.”

Last month, the FIDF’s New York event raised $32 million for members of Israel’s occupation forces, attended by many of the city’s most prominent business people and philanthropists.

Among the biggest donors to the gala were Or Lachayal – an organisation which works to “strengthen the Jewish identity of the Israeli army” – which pledged $2.5 million and Nefesh B’Nefesh – which promotes Jewish immigration to Israel – which pledged $1.3 million.

FIDF has a long history of fundraising for Israel’s occupation forces; it operates 20 offices across the United States and Panama, according to its own website.

Support for the army from US organisations and the US government has been a cornerstone of Israel’s ability to continue its ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In October, the largest ever US military aid package to Israel – worth $38 billion over a ten year period – entered into force.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 10 Comments

Normalizing External Narratives in Palestine’s Spaces for Education

Palestinian students in a school of the UNRWA. (Photo: via Facebook)
By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | November 6, 2018

In collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the EU launched a competition across schools in Gaza and the occupied West Bank called “Know Europe”. The aim, according to EU Deputy Representative Tomas Niklasson, is “to introduce ourselves again to students of Palestine: introduce our values, culture, history, and identity” and affirm the bloc’s purported commitment to supporting Palestinians.

This educational endeavor is tantamount to forcing gratitude for symbolic recognition, decades after colonial conquest and entrenchment. Yet the reasoning behind the competition, according to the press release, is that “the European Union has a lot in common with Palestine and the region”. Palestinians know there is no comparison, yet this misconception is now being normalized through education, despite the obvious differences between a bloc of countries and Palestine’s disappearance.

Is it for educational purposes that the EU is introducing a sliver of normalized and depoliticized education for Palestinians? Or is the aim to promote the international agenda of obstructing the colonized population’s right to learn of the international community, in this case, Europe, through its own experience?

The competition is not proof of Europe’s support for Palestine – it is a publicity stunt for the benefit of the EU itself that simply requires Palestinian students as participants. To hold this competition at a time when, more than ever, Palestinians require support for their own narratives to be disseminated internationally shows that international exploitation of Palestine and Palestinians knows no bounds.

In doing so, the colonized population is coerced into a type of learning that promotes a purportedly outward-looking framework, while Palestinians are contending with two violations which the EU has actively ignored: restrictions on freedom of movement, particularly in Gaza where this right has been annihilated, and the Palestinian Right of Return.

Furthermore, why does the EU assume that its founding principles are worthy of dissemination? The competition is labeled “interactive,” yet the interaction follows the traditional formula of a colonized population participating in a decided agenda.

There is no space for Palestinian narratives, yet it is possible to find space for the EU to share its identity with a population that finds its identity bludgeoned by the international community. Will the imparted values include the EU’s insistence on the two-state framework, its support of the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s purported right to defend itself?

Surely there is enough awareness that, at an international level, the colonial depiction of Palestine doesn’t aid Palestinian rights and self-determination. Given the leverage that the EU has over Palestine in terms of politics and diplomacy, this competition will make a spectacle out of participation and Palestinians will gain nothing in terms of their rights.

For an entity that claims to be supportive of the Palestinians, the competition only shows the bloc promoting its self-interests and appeasement of Israel. The EU would have served a better purpose if it had encouraged the celebration of Palestinian history, memory, and narratives. A population that has excelled in education, despite colonial violence and appropriation, deserves more recognition than for its youth to participate in a scheme which continues to deflect focus away from the realities of Palestinian displacement and loss of territory.  The disappearance of Palestine necessitates more attention than the EU and its omniscient presence.

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 11 Comments