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Madonna’s Fake Revolution: Eurovision, Cultural Hegemony and Resistance

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 21, 2019

Rim Banna, a famous Palestinian singer who translated Palestine’s most moving poetry to song, passed away on March 24, 2018, at the age of 51. Rim captured the struggle for Palestinian freedom in the most dignified and melodious ways. If we could imagine angels singing, they would sound like Rim.

When Rim died, all Palestinians mourned her death. Although a few international outlets carried the news of her passing at a relatively young age, her succumbing to cancer did not receive much coverage or discussion. Sadly, a Palestinian icon of cultural resistance who had inspired a whole generation, starting with the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987, hardly registered as an event worthy of remembrance and reflection, even among those who purport to champion the Palestinian cause.

Compare Rim to Madonna, an ‘artiste’ who has stood for self-aggrandising personal fame and money-making. She has championed the most debased moral values, utilising cheap entertainment while catering to the lowest common denominator to remain relevant in the music world for as long as possible.

While Rim had a cause, Madonna has none. And while Rim symbolised cultural resistance, Madonna symbolises globalised cultural hegemony – in this case, the imposition of consumerist western cultures on the rest of the world.

Cultural hegemony defines the US and other Western cultures’ relationship to the rest of the world. It is not culture as in the collective intellectual and artistic achievements of these societies, but as a set of ideological and cultural tools used by ruling classes to maintain domination over the disadvantaged, colonised and oppressed.

Madonna, along with Michael Jordan, the Beatles and Coca Cola represent far more than mere performers and fizzy drinks, but also serve as tools used to secure cultural, thus economic and political dominance, as well. The fact that in some cities around the world, especially in the Southern hemisphere, Coca Cola “flows more freely than water” speaks volumes about the economic toll and political dimension of cultural hegemony.

This issue becomes critical when a pro-Israel Madonna decides to perform in Israel, as she has done repeatedly in the past, as part of the Eurovision contest. Knowing who she is and what she stands for, her decision should not come as a surprise; after all, in her September 2009 Tel Aviv concert, she sang while wrapped in an Israeli flag.

Of course, it is essential that artists of her calibre and the contestants representing 41 different countries are reminded of their moral responsibilities towards occupied and oppressed Palestinians. It is also important that Israel is confronted regarding its unrelenting efforts to mask its apartheid and war crimes in Palestine.

Indeed, the whitewashing of Israeli human rights violations using art – also known as “art washing” – should not be allowed to continue when Gaza is under siege, where Palestinian children are shot and killed daily without remorse and the least legal accountability.

This is why such artistic events are essential for the Israeli government and society. Israel has used Eurovision as a distraction from the blood and gore that has been taking place not far from that venue. Those who laboured to ensure the success of the event, knowing fully how Israel is using the brand as an opportunity to normalise its war against Palestinians, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

But, on the other hand, should we be the least surprised? Aren’t such global music events, as Eurovision, at the heart of the western-centric globalisation scheme of cultural hegemony, which sole purpose is to enforce a capitalist view of the world, where western culture is consumed as a commodity, no different from a McDonald’s sandwich or a pair of Levi jeans?

Calling on 60-year-old Madonna to refrain from entertaining apartheid Israel can be considered beneficial as a media strategy, for it helped highlight, although momentarily, an issue that would have been otherwise absent from news headlines. However, by placing so much focus on Madonna, and whatever human rights’ values she supposedly stands for, we also take the risk of inadvertently validating her and the consumerist values she represents. More, in this Madonna-driven trajectory, we are also neglecting Palestine’s cultural resistance, the core driver behind Palestinian ‘somoud’ – steadfastness – over a century.

In response to her critics, Madonna answered, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.” In the eyes of many who are ignorant of the facts, such an answer may appear as if an ‘empowered’ response to those who are trying to sway a genuine, pure artiste from following her calling.

Madonna is an expert in appearing as if morally-guided, yet never translating such morality to anything meaningful in reality. In a speech described as “powerful” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Madonna declared during a Women’s March in Washington D.C. in 2017 “to the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger, but all marginalised people.”

Of course, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian women – who have paid a heavy price for Israeli Occupation, war and marginalisation – are not to be included in Madonna’s false revolution. And the chances are, shortly after she sings and dances in a jubilant, apartheid Israel, she will once more take on many platforms as if the Rosa Parks of revolutionary art.

While it is essential that we keep the pressure on those who engage and validate Israel politically, economically and culturally, these efforts should come secondary to embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance. Behaving as if Madonna’s stage shenanigans represent right culture while ignoring Palestinian culture altogether, is similar to academics addressing decolonisation from the point of view of the coloniser, not the colonised. The truth is, nations cannot truly rid themselves from the colonial mindset without having their narratives take the centre-stage of politics, culture and every other aspect of knowledge.

“The intellectual’s error consists in believing that one can know without understanding and, even more, without feeling and being impassioned,” wrote Italian anti-fascist intellectual, Antonio Gramsci. This entails the intellectual and the artist to feel “the elementary passions of the people, understanding them and, therefore, explaining and justifying them.”

The truth is that appealing to Madonna’s moral sense without immersing ourselves passionately in the art of Rim Banna will, in the long run, do Palestinians no good. Only embracing Palestine’s culture of resistance will, ultimately, keep the self-serving, hegemonic and cheap cultural messages of the Madonnas of this world at bay.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s War Criminals In Their Own Words

Shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators “preserves Israeli values”

By Philip Giraldi | Unz Review | May 21, 2019

Israel’s public face, sustained and propagated by a wealthy and powerful diaspora that has significant control over the media, insists that the country is the Middle East’s only true democracy, that it operates under a rule of law for all its citizens and that its army is the “most moral in the world.” All of those assertions are false. Israel’s government favors its Jewish citizens through laws and regulations that are defined by religion. It in fact now identifies itself legally as a Jewish state with Christians and Muslim citizens having second class status. Israel’s army, meanwhile, has committed numerous war crimes against largely unarmed civilian populations in the past seventy years, both in Lebanon and directed against the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza.

In response to the past year’s Great March of Return protests staged by Gazans along the fence line that separates them from Israel, Israeli army snipers have shot dead 293 Palestinians and wounded seven thousand more. Twenty-thousand other Gazans have been harmed by other weapons used by the Israelis, to include canisters from the volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets. The numbers include hundreds of children and medical personnel trying to help the wounded, which reportedly have been particularly targeted.

The United Nations has reported that many of the wounded have been shot in their legs, which the Israeli army regards as “restraint” on its part. Many of those injured will likely need to have limbs amputated because Gaza lacks the medical facilities required to properly treat their wounds. Israel has bombed hospitals and blocked the importation of medical supplies into Gaza while also not allowing Gazans to leave the enclave for medical treatment elsewhere in the Middle East.

One hundred and twenty amputations have already been performed this year. Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Territories explained “You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again… [requiring] very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two-year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”

The U.N. would like to provide $20 million in assistance to enable medical treatment rather than amputations but the United States has refused to support emergency funding for the Palestinians through the Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), a step presumably taken to benefit Israel by punishing the Palestinian people.

Interestingly, a document has recent re-surfaced describing in chilling terms the Israel Army’s viewpoint on shooting protesting Arabs. One year ago former British diplomat Craig Murray posted on his blog, “Condemned By Their Own Words”, which provided a translated from Hebrew-to-English transcript of an Israeli radio broadcast that had taken place on April 21st. An Israeli Brigadier-General, named Zvika Fogel, was responding to reports of the killing by soldiers of an unarmed fourteen year-old boy. He explained in some detail why his soldiers are absolutely doing the right thing to shoot to kill Palestinians who approach the barrier separating Gaza from Israel.

General Fogel’s comments are reflective of the Israeli government view of how to control the “Palestinian problem.” Only the rights, including the right to life, of Israeli Jews are legitimate and Arabs should be grateful for what the Jewish state allows them to have.

Fogel responded to interviewer Ron Nesiel’s first question “Should the IDF [Israeli army] rethink its use of snipers?” by saying that “Any person who gets close to the fence, anyone who could be a future threat to the border of the State of Israel and its residents, should bear a price for that violation. If this child or anyone else gets close to the fence in order to hide an explosive device or check if there are any dead zones there or to cut the fence so someone could infiltrate the territory of the State of Israel to kill us …”

Nesiel: “Then, then his punishment is death?”

Fogel: “His punishment is death. As far as I’m concerned then yes, if you can only shoot him to stop him, in the leg or arm – great. But if it’s more than that then, yes, you want to check with me whose blood is thicker, ours or theirs. It is clear to you that if one such person will manage to cross the fence or hide an explosive device there …”

Nesiel: “But we were taught that live fire is only used when the soldiers face immediate danger. … It does not do all that well for us, those pictures that are distributed around the world.”

Fogel: “I know how these orders are given. I know how a sniper does the shooting. I know how many authorizations he needs before he receives an authorization to open fire. It is not the whim of one or the other sniper who identifies the small body of a child now and decides he’ll shoot. Someone marks the target for him very well and tells him exactly why one has to shoot and what the threat is from that individual. And to my great sorrow, sometimes when you shoot at a small body and you intended to hit his arm or shoulder it goes even higher. The picture is not a pretty picture. But if that’s the price that we have to pay to preserve the safety and quality of life of the residents of the State of Israel, then that’s the price.

“[And] look, Ron, we’re even terrible at it [at suppressing those pictures]. There’s nothing to be done, David always looks better against Goliath. And in this case, we are the Goliath. Not the David. That is entirely clear to me. … It will drag us into a war. I do not want to be on the side that gets dragged. I want to be on the side that initiates things. I do not want to wait for the moment where it finds a weak spot and attacks me there. If tomorrow morning it gets into a military base or a kibbutz and kills people there and takes prisoners of war or hostages, call it as you like, we’re in a whole new script. I want the leaders of Hamas to wake up tomorrow morning and for the last time in their life see the smiling faces of the IDF. That’s what I want to have happen. But we are dragged along. So we’re putting snipers up because we want to preserve the values we were educated by. We can’t always take a single picture and put it before the whole world. We have soldiers there, our children, who were sent out and receive very accurate instructions about whom to shoot to protect us. Let’s back them up.”

One might reasonably suggest that Fogel’s comments reflect a consensus among Israelis on how to deal with the Arabs. And the United States is fully complicit in the slaughter. American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has repeatedly praised the restraint of the Israeli armed forces and has blamed the Gazans for their plight. The United States continues to subsidize illegal Israeli settlements that fuel the conflict and is putting the final touches on an Israeli approved peace plan that will now and forever make the Palestinians a non-people, without a nation of their own and without any hopes for the future. Meanwhile, they are target practice for Israeli snipers. The world should be mortified by Israeli arrogance and behavior and the United States should bow its head in shame each time a pandering American politician comes out with the line “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

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

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Who Won This Year’s Eurovision: Israel or Palestine?

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | May 19, 2019

Like the Olympics, the Eurovision Song Contest has attempted to create national harmony through head-to-head competition on the basis of national demarcations. While singing or running around a track are vastly preferable expressions of nationalism than killing one another, it is nationalistic rivalry nevertheless and this automatically means that such an event is political, in spite of droning claims to the contrary.

But while recent years have seen the increasingly dated Song Contest become ever more controversial, this year’s events in Tel Aviv represented a watershed moment in public opinion. Multiple artists, activists, philosophers, politicians and even erstwhile apolitical people tried to persuade the Eurovision organisers to relocate the event to a more politically neutral place. No matter what one’s view on Palestine, Israel is more politically polarising than Switzerland and it would be difficult to find anyone who could honestly disagree. In this sense, the real Eurovision Political Contest was one between Israel and Palestine.

The fact that the contest went ahead does represent an initial victory for Israel against the Palestinian civil society activists who encouraged a relocation to a politically neutral place. While the official viewing figures are not yet in for this year’s event, these numbers will eventually offer insight into which side has ultimately won the battle for public opinion. If in fact the viewing figures are significantly down vis-a-vis 2018, this could indicate that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call for a television boycott may have had some success.

But even before the numbers are out, several things are apparent. Public perceptions of Palestine have reached a critical turning point in the western world. It is no longer fashionable to ignore the cause of Palestine. Whilst even ten years ago, many apolitical people in the west tended to automatically associate Palestine with “terrorism” while associating Israel with the opposite, at nearly 20 years since the turn of the century, today it is Palestine that is considered “fashionably victimised” while Israel is considered cold, unjust and reactionary.

It goes without saying that it is crude and vulgar to reduce the decades long suffering of Palestine to a “fashion statement”. As such, true supporters of the Palestinian people would never do so. However, one must be honest enough to realise that all political causes in an increasingly fickle western public square are eventually diluted to fashion statements once they reach a critical mass.

True believers in the Palestinian cause should therefore not be put off by the fact that while support for Palestine isn’t growing because thousands of otherwise apolitical westerners have discovered the speeches of George Habash, it is growing nevertheless – this necessary critical mass in public opinion has just about been reached.

In the vulgar world of politics or geopolitics, any form of positive attention is good for one’s cause and the fact of the matter is that from the debating halls of Washington and Westminster, to pop music stages throughout the western world, to social media, art galleries and “hip and cool” public gatherings, it is becoming close to impossible to hold political views that are socially fashionable whilst simultaneously favouring Israel over Palestine. In other words if one wants to be “woke” one has to be woke to Palestine.

This means that while the old paradigm for public figures involved a choice between supporting Israel and supporting Palestine, today’s question for public figures is one of favouring Palestine without reservation (Roger Waters, for example) versus showing solidarity with Palestine while calling for Israel to have its proverbial “F. W. de Klerk moment” whereby the old reactionary regime grudgingly embraces inclusivity.

Some long time Palestine supporters might find this latter view to be naive. That being said, the fact that even the less overtly pro-Palestinian option for western public figures who wish to remain fashionable is still at least somewhat pro-Palestine and in some cases is rhetorically very pro-Palestine, is indicative of the fact that the nature of the Palestine argument for westerners has changed. Palestine is no longer a symbol of “terror” in the eyes of the middle of the road westerner. Palestine is now symbolic of injustice and this is even the case among those whose demographic positions within western societies would have in the past indicated unequivocal acceptance if not support for the Israeli status quo. Beyond this, as western politics itself becomes more polarised between the haves and have-nots, it is becoming all the more natural for westerners to sympathise with those abroad who have not even their own land.

This was reflected in two ways during last night’s Eurovision Final. First of all, those actively boycotting the event had a strong presence on social media, one so strong that hardline Israel supporters were generally on the defensive. This represents a major shift from previous decades when Palestinian supporters had to be on the defence against allegations of “apologising for terrorism”. Now, among trendy westerners it is supporters of Israel who are on the defensive – having to justify their whitewashing of oppression against a people increasingly seen as the victims of supreme injustice.

Secondly, even some of those who defied the proverbial BDS picket line and performed in Tel Aviv felt sufficiently guilty about having done so. Such people ended up showing their support for Palestine while the international cameras were rolling. Most notably, the Icelandic performers held up large banners reading “PALESTINE”, complete with Palestinian flags right in front of the cameras. Then, in a reportedly unauthorised move, Madonna whose performance was the most controversial of the evening had some of her backup dancers wear both Israeli and Palestinian flags. Whilst Madonna’s move will be viewed as a cop-out by many pro-Palestine activists (rightly so from an ethical point of view), the fact that she felt the need to include Palestinian imagery at all is symptomatic of an opportunist trying to have it both ways.

Yet even this opportunistic act is indicative of the fact that supporting Palestine now presents as many opportunities for public figures as it does challenges. Compared to recent years, this is one major step in the right direction as at the turn of the 21st century, trying to do anything positive for Palestine earned one undiluted excoriation from mainstream western society. This is no longer the case.

Thus, the final verdict is this: unlike mid-1980s South Africa, it is still possible for western pop starts to perform in Israel without their careers being ruined by verdicts passed in the court of public opinion. But on the other side of the coin, it is now possible and at times even practically advisable for such pop stars to support Palestine and this of course means supporting BDS.

In the battle of public opinion, Israel is still able to mobilise its troops, but through persistence and by building a genuinely big tent of support, Palestine is now forcing many in the west to side with the victims rather than the oppressors. In this sense, the true winner of last night’s Eurovision Song Contest were the silenced voices of Palestinians whose echos are reverberating ever louder among otherwise aloof people who are becoming slowly acquainted with their conscience.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Stories from the Homeland – A Palestinian Film by Zarefah Baroud

Stories of the Homeland from Zarefah Baroud on Vimeo.

Palestinian-American young filmmaker, Zarefah Baroud talks to her aunt in Gaza, Dr. Suma Baroud and her father, Palestinian author and journalist, Dr. Ramzy Baroud about the Nakba, growing up in a refugee camp and their hope for the future.

The two siblings, one in exile and the other under siege in Gaza convey a moving personal account of their lives in the context of the larger Palestinian narrative, that of war, military occupation, resistance and sumoud.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Video, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel lost $16.8m due to halt of gas production during Gaza offensive

MEMO | May 15, 2019

Israel lost 60 million shekels ($16.8 million) from gas exports as a result of the two-day assault launched against the Gaza Strip earlier this month, a member of  the Knesset revealed yesterday.

Al-Wattan Voice reported the Hebrew newspaper Maariv saying that the loses were a result of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s decision to halt gas production at the from Tamar gas field during the attack on Gaza on 4-5 May.

Israeli Member of the Knesset Orit Farkash-Hacohen revealed that 60 million shekels ($16.8 million) had been lost as a result and this would be recouped from tax funds.

Twenty-seven Palestinians were killed during Israel’s attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, including two toddlers, two expectant mothers and one minor. Four Israelis were also killed.

Experts have said the attack was halted because Israel is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and it did not want news of the attacks to overshadow the global music event, or to deter participants and concert goers from attending.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

PA New Government Does Not Represent the Palestinian People

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | April 18, 2019

The new Palestinian Authority government has been welcomed by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, who reiterated the rhetoric reserved for occasions on which the international organisation pledges to work closely with governments in line with their agenda. “At a time of significant financial and political changes to the Palestinian national project,” Mladenov stated, “all must support the government’s efforts and work to overcome internal divisions.”

There is nothing, though, to suggest that the new PA government under recently appointed Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh is working towards reconciliation. Fatah’s insistence that Hamas must relinquish its political control of Gaza has not abated, implying that the PA agenda, as well as that of the UN, has not altered. Last year, there was an increase in the number of international statements, from UN envoys in particular, calling for a return to PA rule in Gaza. The PA, according to them, makes it easier for the UN to carry out its plans.

Mladenov’s statement referenced the previous PA government led by Rami Hamdallah, who had also advanced the call for Hamas to step aside. What followed afterwards is well documented, not least the punitive measures imposed by the PA upon the Palestinian people in Gaza in order to force civilians and politicians alike to surrender. From a PA perspective, ending the Palestinian schism means eliminating and suppressing political alternatives and challengers.

The recent news from Cairo indicates as much, with the Fatah delegation at reconciliation talks placing ultimatums upon Hamas and issuing ambiguous statements regarding the PA’s views on unity and the issue of the weapons in the hands of the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement. In the event of reconciliation, asks Fatah, “What is the need for arms?”

There is thus little divergence from the previous government’s agenda, which is one of the reasons why Mladenov’s rhetoric about the previous and current PA governments overlaps in terms of content. As PA leader Mahmoud Abbas becomes even more irrelevant — due in part to the US efforts to ostracise any form of Palestinian representation and push through its own so-called “deal of the century” — international actors are increasingly taking over and determining the fate of Palestine’s remaining and cruelly fragmented territory.

Having a new PA government that adheres to the same definitions of reconciliation will provide the UN with a further opportunity to alter what remains of Palestine. Despite Mladenov’s praise for Hamdallah’s government keeping in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example, it is clear that the ongoing colonisation of Palestine, along with the international complicity to ensure that Israel continues to expand its presence, have impeded Palestinians from experiencing any benefits.

A little less “commitment to working with the Palestinian leadership” and more effort towards listening to what the Palestinian people demand and need would go a long way. The UN is not working to “end the occupation”, much less end Israel’s colonisation. The PA has, since its inception, followed suit. A new government that is void of different political strategies, yet has the audacity to speak about Palestinian reconciliation, does not represent the Palestinian people. Mladenov’s comments are another indication of how the new government and the UN intend to work, by persisting in the creation of a diplomatic network that isolates the Palestinian people from the politics determining their fate.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The UN is a mouthpiece for Israeli propaganda, not a threat to the colonial state

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | May 14, 2019

Only a few days before the Palestinian commemoration of the 1948 Nakba, in which the indigenous people of Palestine were massacred, displaced and ethnically cleansed to pave the way for the European Zionist colonial project, Germany issued a statement declaring its intention to oppose “any unfair treatment” allegedly exhibited at the UN towards Israel. “Germany’s historic responsibility for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel and its security is part of our raison d’être,” the German government declared. “Germany will always work, including in the UN, to ensure that Israel’s right to exist is never called into question.”

Germany deliberately chose to issue its statement on the 70th anniversary of Israel becoming a full UN member state. On this day, despite purportedly championing human rights, the UN abdicated its responsibilities in order to embrace a new colonial power and celebrate its own role in the process of normalising colonialism. The UN has also conveniently and consistently overlooked the fact that Israel’s membership of the organisation was conditional upon it allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their land.

At the UN, Israel faces no threats whatsoever. Its recent bombing of Gaza and official statements from the international community testify to this fact. Yet Germany has jumped on the bandwagon, claiming that Israel is treated unfairly in the international arena and citing its allegiance to the settler-colonial state as a “historic responsibility”. Does Germany also extend the same sentiment and diplomatic commitment to other minorities murdered during the Holocaust?

Israel was a planned political project mooted in the late nineteenth century, as historical documents and research show very clearly. The Holocaust facilitated its implementation but did not create the demand for a “Jewish State”. However, historic responsibility and Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid state are incompatible. Furthermore, such responsibility which Germany has towards all of the minorities murdered in the Nazi era does not cancel out the collective historic responsibility towards Palestinians, from which the entire world has absconded.

Meanwhile, Germany has also attributed its stance to the “firm belief that the UN lies at the heart of the multilateral, rules-based order” for achieving peace and security. It is a fact that the UN has excelled in neither, not least in terms of the impunity with which Israel is allowed to act. The German government, therefore, is merely affirming its commitment to the propagation of ongoing human rights violations which, of course, suits Israel’s interests.

At a time when the least that the international community can do is shift its attention to the Nakba commemoration, Germany is determined to score diplomatic points for Israel which have more to do with the ongoing colonisation of Palestine than Nazi horrors during the Second World War.

“Israeli interests” constitute nothing more than wanting an international commitment against the decolonisation of Palestine. In its statement, Germany is refusing the possibility of questioning Israel’s right to exist, in line with Israel’s purported security and “self-defence” narrative and justification for its violence against Palestinians.

Why not turn the narrative around? Surely, just as Israel demands unconditional support for its existence, Palestinians have a greater claim and legitimacy in asking why the people and their land were ethnically cleansed. If justice truly existed, the UN — and Germany — would not hesitate to call Israel’s creation and existence in such a manner into question. As things stand, however, the UN continues to be a mouthpiece for Israel and its allies, while Palestinians are butchered by the colonial entity that does not hesitate to profit from terms such as “historic responsibility”.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Deal of the Century

Trump Team and Netanyahu conspire to sell out the Palestinians

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • May 14, 2019

In the aftermaths of both the First and Second World Wars national borders were readjusted to suit the victors and entirely new countries were created from the ruins of the empires that had collapsed as a result of the conflict. The process continued with the end of the Soviet Union but the new states were constituted within an already existing ethnic and linguistic framework. More recently, the United States has engaged in imperialism-lite, with “regime change” programs seeking to lop off the governments of existing nations by coercion or through military invasion, replacing them with Quislings supportive of Washington’s continuing dominance exercised from “over the horizon.”

But regime change too is falling out of favor, even if it is currently being pursued in both Venezuela and Iran, eschewing using armed force in favor of “economic warfare” intended to make life so miserable for the inhabitants of the targeted country that they will rise up in revolt and remove their leaders. So far regime-change policies have been a disappointment, with major failures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya that relied on military interventions that converted stable countries into hotbeds of insurgency and unrest.

Given all of that, it is extremely audacious for the White House to consider going back to the old Sykes-Picot model of 1916 and seeking to impose a peace plan that will include reordering borders for Israel/Palestine, something that has been tried before in various forms by presidents named Carter and Clinton without any success. The new plan, which is already being touted as the “Deal of the Century,” has been the product of a group of Orthodox Jews working for senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, together with representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and the U.S. (sic) Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. There are no Arabs or Muslims (or Christians) on the team but there have been numerous discussions with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and, of course, Israel. Israel has clearly been allowed to see the nearly complete report and has likely participated in drafts as it moved along, but it is not clear what access the Arabs had to it. The Palestinians, of course, played no real part in the process and the Lebanese, a frontline state confronting Israel, also were not a party to the deliberations.

All of the Kushner team supports Israel’s settlements, which are illegal under international law and contrary to long-standing American government policy, which rather suggests that an open consideration of all the complex issues involved was unlikely to have taken place. Whether there are any actual American interests involved in the plan is unknown, but, given the make-up of Trump team, it is likely that there was an assumption that what is good for Israel is also good for the United States. Donald Trump has announced that the plan, which is apparently complete but for some minor tinkering, will be unveiled in June.

Those who follow the so-called peace process are likely aware that a document in Hebrew purporting to be the Deal of the Century plan has been recently leaked by an Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and which also has been linked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Adelson, as the major donor to the Republican Party in the U.S., is somewhat of a bridge between Netanyahu and Trump and the document would not have appeared without foreknowledge by Adelson himself as well as the prime minister and president. The authenticity of the document has been debated, however, and the White House has claimed it was both “speculative” and “inaccurate,” but, in its defense, it is very close to what Jared Kushner revealed in comments made a month ago.

There has been considerable speculation regarding what the document and the peace plan it proposes actually mean. Though it forces both sides to make some concessions, including the creation of a Palestinian capital in part of Jerusalem, it is heavily favorable to Israel and to Netanyahu’s vision for Jerusalem and the West Bank. Even the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem would, for example, be under Israeli municipal control.

Signatories to the deal outlined in the document would be Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority with the United States serving as the guarantor of the agreement. It would create a Palestinian state called “New Palestine,” which would consist of the Gaza Strip and those parts of the West Bank that do not have Israeli settlements. Arab residents of Jerusalem, even if they live in the Jewish area, would be citizens of New Palestine, not of Israel. To maintain the status quo created by the division of Jerusalem, no Arab or Jew would subsequently be able to buy a home in the region controlled by the other community. New Palestine would have an airport on land currently in Sinai leased to it by Egypt and there would be a seaport in Gaza. New Palestine and Gaza would be linked by a road running through Israel and controlled by it to guarantee “security.”

To make the deal palatable to Palestinians, there would be $30 billion in economic investment over the first five years, coming from the United States, European Union, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. New Palestine will have police to suppress potential trouble makers but no armed forces. Israel will control the Jordan River valley but New Palestine will have two crossing points into Jordan. The U.S., as the enforcer of the deal, will cut off all aid to any party that refuses to sign the agreement. It threatens to use its control over the Swift dollar denominated international banking system to block all money transfers from any source to the Palestinians if they do not sign, similar to the squeezing that is currently being applied to Venezuela and Iran.

It is quite plausible that Netanyahu leaked the document to create controversy that would lead to Kushner having to go back to the drawing boards. The wily and unscrupulous prime minister likely sees no gain in the agreement as he is obtaining most of what he wants from Trump incrementally without conceding anything at all to the Palestinians. And he has already committed himself to virtually complete annexation of the West Bank, meaning that the creation of any kind of legitimate quasi-independent Palestinian state would be an obstacle to achieving that goal.

Even if Bibi were to go along with the plan, it would be a bad deal for the Palestinians. Without a military or control of its own borders it would be a state without any real sovereignty and, if all the Israeli settlements were to be excluded from the new nation, it would have control over only 12% of historic Palestine. The Kushner plan would mean a green light from Washington for a Greater Israel that would include 88% of the land regarded as Palestinian when Israel was created and stolen since that time. The New Palestine 12% would also be broken into smaller bantustans-like entities surrounded by Israeli roads and settlements and Israel will also be certain to obtain control of the region’s water resources.

If the Palestinians object to the way they are being treated, the United States as guarantor, as noted above, could step in and work with Israel to cut off their money, just as takes place currently, to punish them when they do not toe the line. It is, meanwhile, difficult to imagine that any circumstances might arise that would impel Washington to cut money going to Israel.

One of the more interesting details of the alleged plan is the demand that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad disarm completely, surrendering their weapons to Egypt. If they refuse, the White House would endorse and support Israel’s personal attacks directed against the groups’ leadership through the use of extrajudicial assassinations.

The leaked “peace” plan is so one-sided, harsh, and catastrophic with respect to any possible viable Palestinian state that it must be true. It is a Netanyahu dream document but for the fact that the Israeli leader would prefer to achieve what it outlines by stealth without giving anything as a sop to the Palestinians. If it fails to convince its audience, which includes a number of Arab states required to donate tens of billions to the cause, it will be back to square one with Israel continuing its creeping annexation of Palestinian land with the United States looking the other way. And speaking of the United States, what’s in it for the American people? Nada. Zilch. Nothing at all. So much for Make America Great Again.

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

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

With the US-Iran War Ball Now Rolling, Could an “Accident” or “False Flag” Serve as Pretext?

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 13, 2019

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran threaten to boil over, the probability of a provocation or “accident” that would provoke hostilities between the two countries is higher than ever. U.K. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, openly stated as much on Monday, telling reporters in Brussels that the U.K. was worried of a conflict breaking out between the U.S. and Iran by “accident with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.”

Yet, current and past events make it clear that such an “accidental” provocation is unlikely to be purely accidental in nature, as forces in the U.S. and Israel have been actively pushing for a U.S.-led war with Iran for years and have a track record that demonstrates little inhibition about using an “accident” or “false flag” to drag the country into a war with the Islamic Republic.

Notably, the state of Israel — in an event long since buried by the government and corporate media — has previously staged such a “false flag” by targeting an American naval vessel, killing 34 Americans, in order to blame the attack on Egypt and drag the U.S. into a war with several Middle Eastern nations in 1967. However, Israel is not alone in this, as the CIA as well as neo-conservatives serving in the Bush administration, led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, have planned “false flags” that involved the murder of American servicemen and civilians in order to justify miltiary action against U.S. adversaries. 

In this two-part series, MintPress explores the troubling evidence that preparations for another such “false flag” are well underway. In this first installment, current events in relation to U.S.-Iran relations and the role of Israel in the ratcheting up of tensions will be examined, while the second installment will focus on Israel’s past of conducting “false flags” to goad the U.S. into wars on Israel’s behalf as well as efforts by former Vice President Dick Cheney to conduct a “false flag” pitting American sailors against American sailors disguised as Iranian naval forces to justify a conflict with Iran.

Bolton, taking a page from Iraq 2003 playbook, sets ball rolling

Since National Security Advisor John Bolton sent out a dramatic press release announcing the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group as a warning to Iran on May 5, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen dramatically, a development that Bolton — who has long advocated regime change and a pre-emptive war against Iran — likely welcomes. As MintPress recently reported, that press release was intentionally vague, allowing justification for a military response to any number of incidents, whether committed by Iran or alleged “proxies” of Iran, including groups over which Iran’s government has no control.

Furthermore, it has since been revealed that the “intelligence” Bolton used to frame the deployment and the rationale for future U.S. military action against Iran was from the Israeli government — which has long pushed the U.S. towards war with Iran. In addition, several unnamed U.S. officials stated soon after that Bolton and other Trump administration officials had greatly exaggerated the nature of this intelligence and overreacted. MintPress has noted on several occasions Bolton’s history of distorting intelligence to conform with a specific narrative or in order to promote specific policy actions and this tendency of Bolton’s was also recently noted in a New Yorker profile on the current National Security Advisor.

It was subsequently revealed that a few days prior to Bolton’s press release, Bolton had made a “highly unusual” visit to CIA headquarters to discuss Iran. NBC News reported that the “extremely rare” choice to hold this meeting at the CIA instead of the White House’s Situation Room likely meant that the purpose of the meeting was “to brief top officials on highly sensitive covert actions, either the results of existing operations or options for new ones,” based on statements from five former CIA operations officers and military officials.

That meeting, as noted by the political and financial news site ZeroHedge, “hearkens back to the Bush-Cheney White House’s direct intervention over Iraq intelligence in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, which involved the VP and his staff making multiple personal visits to CIA headquarters and the Pentagon to pressure the intel analysts into conforming to a preferred ‘narrative.’” Yet, the emphasis on “covert actions” in relation to Iran suggests that something much more sinister may be afoot.

Indeed, in the weeks since that press release and the “highly unusual” CIA meeting, the U.S. has deployed more military assets towards the Persian Gulf and Secretary of State Pompeo has made several abrupt schedule changes in order to discuss Iran with various countries. Notably, the Trump administration has also announced the end of waivers that have allowed some foreign companies to continue buying Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions.

The situation has forced Iran to respond, with Iran announcing that it would begin withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal — which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from over a year ago — as the U.S.’ economic war against Iran shoots to another level.

Perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Western media, particularly U.S. media, have been heavily promoting the Iranian “threat” since soon after Bolton’s Mary 5 press release, in yet another striking parallel to the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, particularly notable in this case is that much of the “intelligence” that has been used to justify these recent moves by the Trump administration has come from Israel’s government, led by the recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose desire to goad the U.S. into a war with Iran is an open secret.

One potential pretext already in play in the Persian Gulf

On Sunday, reports surfaced that several oil tankers were the victims of “sabotage” while sailing towards the Persian Gulf near Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is located just outside the Strait of Hormuz. Fujairah’s government initially denied that any “sabotage” took place and maintained that its port facilities were operating normally after media reports from Iranian outlet PressTV and Lebanese outlet Mayadeen reported on a series of “explosions” on unidentified ships in the area.

The UAE’s foreign ministry later confirmed an incident in the area but said no casualties or spills occurred and notably did not provide details as to the number or nationalities of the ships involved nor the groups responsible for the alleged attack.

However, Saudi Arabia subsequently claimed that its tankers had been affected by this act of “sabotage” and that the targeted tankers had been approaching the Strait of Hormuz on route to load oil destined for the United States. Saudi Arabia, like the UAE, did not blame any country for the attack. A Norwegian-registered oil tanker experienced hull damage after striking “an unknown object,” potentially suggesting the attack was caused by an explosion of a sea mine or the result of a torpedo or other projectile launched underwater. Notably, the U.S., U.K. and France held a “mine warfare drill” in the Persian Gulf just last month and past Western media reports have characterized sea mines as “Iran’s favorite military asset.”

Iran rejected any responsibility for the attack and Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned against a “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners.”

However, the timing of the sabotage came right on the heels of statements made by the U.S. and Israeli governments that have led some to blame Iran or suggest Iranian responsibility for the attacks — despite the lack of evidence made public and the decision by both the Saudis and Emiratis, long-time adversaries of Iran, from blaming any country for the incident or describing any specifics about the attack.

This past Thursday, the U.S. Maritime Administration — a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation — stated that “Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait or the Persian Gulf.” The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently headed by Elaine Chao, who was paid $50,000 for a five-minute speech to the Iranian exile group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), known to actively seek regime change for Iran. Other top U.S. officials, such as Bolton, have also been paid hefty sums for appearances at MEK events, where they have openly advocated for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

In addition to warning from a U.S. department headed by an official with links to an Iranian opposition group actively seeking regime change, Israeli officials “leaked” information on Israel’s Channel 13 on Saturday that Iran was allegedly planning to target Saudi oil assets in the region. According to the unsourced report, as cited by the Times of Israel, the Iranians were “considering various aggressive acts” against American assets or those of its regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The report also claimed that Iran had considered targeting American bases in the Gulf, but rejected it as too drastic and instead had decided to target “Saudi oil production facilities.”

In light of recent events, as well as the corporate media’s willingness to suggest Iranian culpability despite little to no publicly available evidence, it appears that this recent attack — regardless of who was responsible — could be seized upon by officials in the U.S. or Israel eager to see tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate.

Netanyahu: “America is easily moved”

It is an open secret that Israel’s government, particularly under Netanyahu, has been eager to see the U.S. engage in hostilities with Iran. The main driver for this is the fact that, while Israel has since forged alliances with several Arab-majority nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Iran and its regional allies — namely Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Syria — oppose Israeli objectives for the region and those of its allies. More crucially, Iran is arguably the country that is most supportive of Palestine and the major barrier to Netanyahu’s plans to annex Palestine’s occupied West Bank, a promise on which Netanyahu rode to reelection last month. Now more than ever, Netanyahu wants Iran’s government out of the way.

Netanyahu has openly stated that he views the U.S. government as a vehicle for fulfilling Israeli objectives and believes that Americans are easily manipulated, by Israel in particular. For instance, in a video recorded in the early 2000s — later broadcast on Israeli TV and subsequently reported on by Consortium News — Netanyahu “brags about how he deceived President Bill Clinton into believing he [Netanyahu] was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them. The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward, and wonderment at, a malleable America so easily influenced by Israel.”

In the video, Netanyahu states:

America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. They won’t get in our way; 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy later asserted that the video reveals Netanyahu to be “a con artist who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes” and that the current Israeli prime minister’s attitude is unlikely to “change over the years.”

Now, with the Trump administration having shown its willingness to favor Israeli interests in the Middle East, Netanyahu has apparently sensed that the hour has come to push the U.S. towards war with Iran. For instance, the Trump administration organized a summit aimed at securing “peace and security in the Middle East,” to which Iran was not invited. The New York Times described that summit as follows:

…Leaders of Israel and Arab states met publicly again, at an international conference in Warsaw staged by the Trump administration. But the goal of this meeting, drawing officials of some 60 nations, was not peacemaking. It was to rally support for economic and political war with Iran, for which the United States has found little enthusiasm among allies since withdrawing from the 2015 deal that restricts Iran’s nuclear program.”

Notably, during that meeting, Netanyahu wrote in a since deleted tweet that the summit was “an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

In the wake of the Warsaw summit, Netanyahu has since claimed that he was responsible for the Trump administration’s decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terror group, a move that dramatically increased the risk of a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, especially given that Iran subsequently responded by declaring the U.S. military’s Central Command a terrorist organization.

Now, with Netanyahu feeding Bolton “intelligence” that Bolton has greatly exaggerated in order to justify their common goal — a U.S. war with Iran — and also “predicting” dubious “sabotage” attacks near the Persian Gulf, Israel’s government has revealed itself to be a driving force behind the spiking tensions between the two countries.

Equally troubling is the fact that world leaders are now openly positing that an “accident” or “false flag” provocation will be used to provoke such hostilities.

For Netanyahu, it’s now or never for a U.S.-Iran war

With the Iran nuclear deal in tatters, one consequence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has been to push Iran to renege on aspects of the deal, from which the U.S. has already long since withdrawn. The goal, by all appearances, is to use Iran’s plan to breach parts of the deal as justification for further aggressive actions against the country by claiming that such breaches, instead of a response to U.S.-led economic warfare, are a sign of an intention to develop nuclear weapons.

With waivers for the purchases of Iranian oil now ending and Iran’s president announcing that Iran will end compliance with some aspects of the deal if Europeans do not find a meaningful workaround for U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration — and the Iran hawks within — seem to have their ducks in a row.

While there has long been concern about a U.S.-Iran conflict, several situations have arisen that have made this push for a regime-change conflict with Iran of extreme importance to both U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.

For instance, Syria’s government is set to take the Idlib province, after which Syria will turn its attention towards the Israel-controlled Golan Heights and the U.S.-occupied area of northeastern Syria. Israel was revealed to be the “brains” behind the Syria conflict and has been actively preparing for hostilities with Syria and nearby Lebanon since last year, following the failure to overthrow Syria’s government. Syria holds a mutual defense pact with Iran, meaning that it will join a conflict with Iran if Iran is threatened, thus preventing Syria’s government from focusing its efforts on retaking areas occupied by the U.S. and Israel.

If the U.S. and Israel wait until Syria consolidates control over Idlib, they will be facing a much stronger adversary in Iran’s closest regional ally than one distracted by a pocket of Al Qaeda-dominated terrorist groups in its north.

Yet, the clearest indicator that the push for war is very much in earnest is the intention of Netanyahu to effectively destroy Palestine. Several analysts, including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, have long maintained that Israel’s and Netanyahu’s main reason for wanting a war with Iran is to “have Iran bloodied the same way we did to Iraq” so that Iran “would no longer be able to support Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere.” In other words, Netanyahu wants Iran out of the picture so it can no longer provide material or financial support to groups that resist Israeli occupation.

Having won reelection in part because of his promise to annex the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu worries that Iran and its regional allies will strongly oppose that annexation and may even go to war over it, particularly if the fate of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem is threatened. Now, with the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” also set to be made public in less than a month, that deal’s push to enable the annexation is also threatened by the regional bloc led by Iran that still supports Palestine. If Netanyahu is able to eliminate Iran as a regional power, he will have eliminated the greatest single threat to both his plans for complete annexation and the enactment of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century.”

With top officials in the U.S. government and much of the media failing to push back, Netanyahu finally has a window of opportunity — albeit one that is shrinking — to push the U.S. to war with Iran and it appears that he, along with his allies in the Trump administration, plans on taking it.

As Part II of this series will show, Israel’s government and Bush-era neo-conservatives have a track record of enacting and planning “false flag” attacks to embroil the U.S. in foreign wars and that playbook would include provoking the U.S. into a war with Iran.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Fox News contributor calls for destruction of Palestine

Ma’an – May 13, 2019

BETHLEHEM – An American author and Fox News contributor called for Palestine to be “flattened” on Twitter after Israeli warplanes carried out over 300 airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, claiming the lives of 27 Palestinians, including an infant and a toddler.

Last week, Janie Johnson, posted a tweet on her personal Twitter account, in which she advocated for the complete destruction of Palestine and genocide of its people, suggesting no one “would miss it.”

Johnson’s tweet that has since been deleted, read, “Can we flatten Palestine already? Who would miss it?”

Johnson was responding to a tweet by an Israeli journalist, who was describing how “fearful” the situation was during the escalation between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza.

Although Johnson removed the tweet, social media users condemned her genocidal rhetoric, with many mentioning they reported it on Twitter.

One social media user posted, “What type of person do you have to be to straight up advocate for genocide?,” while another wrote, “Fox News contributor deleted this tweet calling for literal genocide.”

Another user responded, “Ms. Johnson, with her 208K followers, calls for genocide against the defenseless Palestinians. It is deeply disappointing how well hate and racism sells in America.”
Fox News has not yet commented on the matter.

Johnson’s tweet came after Israeli warplanes carried out 340 airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip, killing a total of 27 Palestinians, including a four-month-old infant, 14-month-old toddler, and two pregnant mothers, and at least 154 others were injured, while the Hamas movement launched over 600 rockets into southern Israel.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s common denominator: Why Israel will continue to bomb Gaza

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 13, 2019

On May 4, Israel launched a series of deadly airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip, prompting a response from various resistance groups. At least 25 Palestinians were killed and nearly 200 people wounded in the Israeli attacks. Four Israelis were also killed by Palestinian rockets.

The clashes were instigated by Israel, when the Israeli military killed four Palestinians in Gaza on May 3. Two were killed while protesting along the fence separating Gaza from Israel. They were participating in the Great March of Return, a protracted Palestinian non-violent protest demanding an end to the Israeli siege. The other two were killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a Hamas post in the central Gaza Strip.

Why did Netanyahu choose such timing to bomb Gaza? It would have made more sense to attack Gaza in the run-up to the general elections. For months before the April 9 elections, Netanyahu was repeatedly accused of being soft on Hamas.

Although desperate for votes, Netanyahu refrained from a major operation against Gaza, because of the inherent risk in such attacks, as seen in the botched Israeli incursion into Khan Younis on November 11. Netanyahu could have lost a highly contested election, had he failed.

Following a victory, the soon-to-be longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister has the necessary political capital to launch wars at whim.

Israeli politics featured heavily in the latest Gaza onslaught.

Netanyahu is in the final stages of forming a new coalition, yet another government of the like-minded far right, religious zealots and ultra-nationalist politicians which, he admits, is not easy.

“It’s not a simple job, and there are different aspects – giving out portfolios, control over the state budget and many other challenges,” Netanyahu said at a Likud party meeting on April 30.

If Netanyahu succeeds, he will form his fifth government – 4 of them consecutively. However, his main challenge is to reconcile among the various potential coalition partners.

Netanyahu wishes to include six parties in his new government: his own, the Likud, with 35 seats in the Israeli Knesset (parliament); religious extremist parties: Shas (8 places), United Torah Judaism (8), Yisrael Beiteinu of ultra-nationalist, Avigdor Lieberman (5), the newly-formed Union of Right-wing Parties (5) and the centrist Kulanu with 4 seats.

“Netanyahu is keen to include all six parties in his government to provide a semblance of stability and prevent a narrow majority that will be at the mercy of a single disgruntled party threatening to quit,” reported the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post newspaper.

But how is Netanyahu to maintain peace among vastly different allies and how is that relevant to the bombing of Gaza?

Netanyahu bombed Gaza because it is the only unifying demand among all of his allies. He needed to assure them of his commitment to keeping the pressure on Palestinian Resistance, of maintaining the siege on Gaza and ensuring the safety of Israel’s southern towns and settlements.

Barring that, there is little that these groups have in common. Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu and the ultra-Orthodox parties barely agree on some fundamental issues. For example, Lieberman has been pushing for a draft law requiring ultra-Orthodox conscription in the Israeli army, vehemently rejected by Netanyahu’s religious allies.

Although the election performance of Lieberman’s party was hardly impressive, his influence goes beyond numbers. Lieberman had resigned his post as a Defense Minister last November in protest of Netanyahu’s supposed “capitulation to terror”, but he has formed a strong alliance with Israel’s southern towns bordering the besieged Gaza Strip.

For years, Lieberman has expressed solidarity with them and, in return, has manipulated this whenever he wishes to pressure or challenge the Prime Minister.

Lieberman has exploited the notion among residents and settlers in southern Israel and the Occupied West Bank that they are being mistreated compared to their compatriots elsewhere.

Gaza after Israeli strikes on 5 May, 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Gaza after Israeli strikes on 5 May, 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Following a truce between Israel and Gaza factions last November, for example, hundreds of settlers protested their “second class status”, demanding greater government support to protect their “security” against Gaza. Interestingly, these border towns have been at the centre of a significant economic and demographic growth over the last few years, which has been stimulated by the Israeli government’s investments in the area.

Seeing themselves as the heirs to the Zionist founders of Israel, residents of these towns believe that they are the defenders of the Zionist vision.

Despite their continuous complaints, southern Israeli communities have seen constant growth in economic opportunity, thus population. This fact has placed these areas at the centre of Israeli politicians’ radar, all trying to win favour with their leaders and obtain the support of their vastly expanding economic sectors.

This recent electoral strength has made the demands and expectations of Israeli southern community leaders a focal point in mainstream Israeli politics.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that one of the conditions placed by Lieberman to join Netanyahu’s coalition is the intensification of the Israeli siege on Gaza and the liquidation of the Gaza resistance.

Although Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, has lost the elections, he wishes to stay relevant in mainstream politics by appeasing to Jewish settlers and residents of southern Israel. During the Israeli army’s attack on Gaza on 4 May, Gantz joined the chorus calling for more Palestinian blood.

“We must strike hard, in an uncompromising manner, in any way the army will recommend, with military and intelligence considerations,” he told Israeli Channel 13. “We must restore the deterrence that has been eroded catastrophically for more than a year.”

Following the death of 4 Israelis as a result of Gaza rockets, Israeli politicians jockeyed to show support for southern residents, demanding yet more violence. The euphoria of support inspired the mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi, to call for the invasion of Gaza.

The latest attack on Gaza was meant to serve the interests of all of Netanyahu’s possible coalition partners. Alas, although a truce has been declared, more Israeli violence should be expected once the coalition is formed because, for Netanyahu to keep his partners happy, he would need to keep pounding Gaza persistently.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Massive demonstration in support of Palestine in London on the 71st anniversary of Nakba

Palestine Information Center – May 12, 2019

LONDON – Thousands of people gathered on Saturday for a demonstration in London, called for by the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) and allied organizations, especially Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), to mark the seventy first anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), which coincides this year with talk about a new deal that will liquidate the Palestinian issue.

The rally was attended by many important personalities, something which the president of the Manchester branch of PFB, Baha’ Bader, considered to be a reflection of the acceptance of the Palestinian narrative despite the omnipresence of Zionist narrative.

For his part the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Husam Zumullut, stressed the utter rejection of the Palestinian people and their leadership of all that has been leaked about the suspicious deal.

In the meantime, the Chairman of PFB, Hafiz Al-Karmi, renewed a call for the British Government to apologize for the historical mistake of what is known as the Balfour Declaration and work for protecting the Palestinians.

The Palestinian student, who came to Britain recently to study, Ahed Al-Tamimi, was present at the rally to stress that she is going to continue her struggle in defense of Palestinian rights.

Labor MP, Richard Burgon, saw in the masses that attended the rally a message of support for the Labor Party’s plans to recognize the State of Palestine and stressed the Palestinians’ right to live in peace.

The spokesman for the PFB, Adnan Humaidan, accused the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, of being biased in favor of the Israeli occupation and of closing her ears to the calls of the demonstrators to stop arming and supporting the occupation while turning a blind eye to its crimes such as the killing of the baby Saba Abu Arrar and thousands of Palestinian children before her.

The demonstrators carried placards against the American President, Donald Trump, and his suspicious plans against the Palestinians and called for support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The speech of the British Palestinian youth, Leanne Mohamed, was received with a lot of applause. She participates in and speaks at most demonstrations that support Palestinian rights. She was disqualified from participating in the finals of Jack Petchey Speak-out challenge because of her insistence to talk about Palestine.

While another British Palestinian youth, Haneen Khalil, gave a speech in the name of OLIVE for Palestinian Youth. She stressed her rejection to negotiations with Israel before it agrees to the right of return of all Palestinian refugees.

In a message that was read on behalf of the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, at the demonstration he said: “We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of the rights and justice of the Palestinian people. The labor party is united in condemning the human rights abuses taking place in Gaza and the Israeli forces shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators for simply demanding their rights under international law.”

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment