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Annexing the Aquifers: Israel and the Water Crisis in Occupied Palestine

By Fareed Taamallah | Palestine Chronicle | May 28, 2020

Last week, the Palestinian Water Authority blasted Israel for significantly reducing the amount of water allotted to the West Bank. “We are facing this crisis as we enter the summer season, a time of the year when people are usually in need of more, not less water,” PWA leader Mazen Ghneim was quoted as saying.

In my neighborhood in Ramallah, every year during the summer months, we hardly have water in the pipes. Water runs only one day a week. So, all the households must follow the water distribution schedule to plan their house activities such as doing the laundry and house cleaning. Some Palestinian communities in the West Bank are linked to “joint” water networks that serve illegal Israeli settlers. During the dry summer months, water valves leading to the adjacent Palestinian communities are routinely shut off by Israeli authorities, so that the settlers do not suffer water shortages.

The water shortage in the Palestinian territories is not a nature-related water crisis, but rather a result of the Israeli occupation which exploits over 85% of the water resources.

Facts and Figures

Israel controls the main three trans-boundaries aquifers in the occupied Palestinian territories. The first and the biggest one is the West Bank (mountains) aquifer which is fed by rainfall and generates 679 mcm of water per year. The second is the Jordan river which provides Israel with an estimated 450 mcm per year. Palestinians are denied access and supply of its water. The third is the coastal aquifer which generates 450 mcm of water for Israel and 55 mcm for Gaza.

Palestine has a good precipitation rate. Ramallah, for instance, has an annual rainfall average of 615 millimeters which is almost as much as London at 620 mm.

According to the Palestinian water authority report of 2012, around 784 mcm of rainfall is estimated to have recharged the groundwater systems in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, Palestinians are allocated only 375 mcm of that groundwater, while Israel consumes 2,346 mcm annually.

The Oslo Agreement

The water problem started from the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestine but was exacerbated with the Oslo II interim agreement between the PLO and the Israeli government in 1995. The Oslo Agreement stipulated “the equitable utilization of joint water resources for implementation in and beyond the interim period.” But in reality, this has never happened.

The agreement which was supposed to be an interim period of five years bounded the development of Palestinian water resources and was framed on the assumption that Palestinian water needs were 70–80 mcm per year and that the interim water development must be managed through a Palestinian-Israeli mechanism. The topics of ‘common interest’ (water being one) would be further delineated under the permanent status negotiations.

The failure to reach a permanent agreement has meant the inequitable distribution of the West Bank groundwater resources with 15% allocated to the Palestinians and 85% to Israel.

As indicated in the Oslo Agreement, a Joint Water Committee (JWC) was established to oversee all water and wastewater related projects in the West Bank. JWC is made up of an equal number of representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, respectively, and decisions are made by consensus. This gave Israel a veto power over all Palestinian water resource projects and blocked any request by the Palestinians to drill a new well. Wells built or rehabilitated without Israeli-issued permits are systematically destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces.

Water Apartheid

While the Palestinian communities are facing drought and water shortages, the Israeli settlements – located in the same geographical area – are enjoying an abundance of water supplies, allowing settlers to fill their swimming pools and irrigate their gardens and fields. The lack of access to adequate quantities of water necessary for livestock herding and food production leaves Bedouins, livestock owners and farmers particularly vulnerable.

Israeli agricultural settlements in the West Bank, particularly those in the Jordan Valley, enjoy up to 6 times the amount of water of the nearby Palestinian communities. In the Palestinian town of Tubas, the consumption rate is 30 liters per person per day. However, residents of the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Beda’ot, consume around 401 liters per day, according to B’Tselem.

While the Palestinian population has doubled, water availability has decreased. According to the World Bank report of 2018 “With the West Bank and Gaza population of approximately 4.8 million growing at an average annual rate of 2.8 percent, the domestic supply gap is projected to be about 152 and 135 million cubic meters respectively”.

Israeli hydro-hegemony has left Palestinians with a deficit water budget. They have been forced to purchase from Israel around a quarter of domestic water supplies to make up for this deficit.

According to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, the daily per capita water consumption rate is around 88 liters. By comparison, the daily per capita water consumption in Israel is 257 liters. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 100 liters of water per capita per day as a minimum. Palestinian consumption is less than the minimum.

In the Gaza Strip, the water situation is even worse. The severe lack of water caused by the Israeli brutal blockade since 2007, has led to a heavy reliance on the underlying portion of the Coastal aquifer as Gaza’s only water supply.

The 2 million inhabitants extracted about 180 mcm in 2017, but this quantity is obtained via unsafe pumping that jeopardizes the sustainability of the source, while the total recharge is only one-third of extraction. The direct consequences of over pumping are seawater intrusion and uplift of the deep brine water; as a result, 97% of the water is undrinkable and does not match WHO quality standards of accepted guidelines for potable water resources.

Annexation Plan

Israel is controlling the two main Palestinian water resources in the West Bank (the Jordan River basin in the east and the western mountain aquifer) which supply Israel with about 900 million cubic meters of water annually.

Through the annexation of the West Bank areas expected this summer, Israel aims to keep the West Bank aquifers behind the new Israeli borders by retaining control of the settlement blocks adjacent to the basins, in particular, the Jordan Valley and the Salfit area where my hometown of Qira is located.

That annexation will perpetuate the high Israeli water-consumption levels while denying basic Palestinian needs and force Palestinians to depend on Israel for water, thus preserving the status quo of a dramatic unjust division of water resources, dimming any hope for a viable Palestinian state and peace in the region.

– Fareed Taamallah is a Palestinian journalist, a farmer, and a political activist based in Ramallah.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

Pro-Israel PAC Funds Go to Democrats To Keep Them in Line

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June/July 2020, p. 32

Election Watch

By Delinda C. Hanley and Dale Sprusansky – Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

It’s ironic that despite the Trump administration showering gifts on Israel (moving the embassy to Jerusalem, accepting the annexation of the Golan Heights and giving a green light to annexing even more of the West Bank), the pro-Israel Political Action Committees (PACs) gave most of their cash to Democrats. And we don’t even count Super PACs, which can raise funds from individuals, corporations, unions, and other groups without any legal limit on donation size. For those pay a visit to http://www.OpenSecrets.org.

Even with so many Israeli dreams coming true under a Republican president, the lobby remained staunch Democratic contributors.

As presidential candidate Bernie Sanders surged ahead in the polls, a pro-Israel super PAC called Democratic Majority for Israel, went after him, airing TV attack ads on the man who would have been the first Jewish president. His crime? Sanders called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist” and blasted the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for providing a platform “for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

Sanders also said, if elected president, he would leverage the $3.8 in U.S. military aid to push Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians. Enough said. [Editor’s note: A bill to require American taxpayers to give Israel at least that much every year for the next 10 years is poised to be passed right now, unless enough people object.]

But other candidates won their fights with the pro-Israel lobby. Despite receiving more money from pro-Israel PACs than any other candidate running for a House seat this election cycle, Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) lost his March primary to a challenger from the left, entrepreneur Marie Newman.

Better known for being the last pro-life Democrat to hold federal office than his support for Israel, Lipinski was nevertheless a dependable pro-Israel vote. In 2014, Lipinski co-sponsored the Protect Academic Freedom Act, which would have denied federal funding to academic institutions supporting a boycott of Israel.

Newman, endorsed by the liberal Zionist group, J Street, issued a lengthy 12-point explainer in 2019, describing her rather mainstream views on Israel/Palestine. She expressed her support for U.S. aid to Israel, a two-state solution, and the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Notably, she did vow to oppose anti-boycott laws that threaten the rights of Americans to boycott Israel.

Lipinski had held his reliably Democratic northern Illinois seat since 2005. He lost the primary to Newman by less than 3,000 votes. Every vote counts, but not every dollar guarantees a win.


Dale Sprusansky is managing editor and Delinda Hanley is executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

‘Muzzling Freedom of Expression’: Facebook Slammed for Appointing Israeli Censor to Oversight Board

Sputnik – May 28, 2020

On 6 May Facebook revealed the first 20 members of its Oversight Board, an independent body entrusted with the final say over certain content moderation decisions for the world’s largest social media platform, the creation of which was announced in November 2018, to avoid accusations of bias over removing content deemed problematic

Facebook has been taking flack for hiring the former director-general of Israel’s justice ministry as a member of its new Oversight Board, which will be able to overturn the company’s own content moderation decisions.

Under Emi Palmor, who headed the justice ministry from 2014 until she was dismissed from her post last year, the Israeli ministry “petitioned Facebook to censor legitimate speech of human rights defenders and journalists because it was deemed politically undesirable,” insisted Palestinian civil society groups in May, writes The Electronic Intifada, an online Chicago-based publication covering the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

The groups slammed Facebook’s choice of Palmor to the international panel that will take content moderation decisions for the world’s largest social media platform.

Palmor, they warn, could potentially “muzzle freedom of expression” on the platform, censoring human rights defenders, particularly Palestinian, Arab and Muslim.

The Palestine Digital Rights Coalition, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council and the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network have been quoted as urging Facebook to “consider the grave consequences that electing Emi Palmor may have particularly on Palestinian human rights defenders and on freedom of expression online in defense of Palestinian rights.”

Palmor was employed as a top civil servant during the term in office of Ayelet Shaked as Minister of Justice.

Under Palmor’s oversight, say the groups, the ministry established a cyber unit whose efforts resulted in the removal of tens of thousands of Palestinian posts from social media platforms, with Adalah, a group advocating for the rights of Palestinians in Israel, calling into question the legality of the unit’s practices.

According to Adalah, with “no transparency or legal procedure whatsoever”, the unit directs requests to the Israeli state attorney, demanding that “Facebook and Google remove, restrict or suspend access to certain content, pages or users.”

Adalah claims the procedure leaves users no possibility to defend themselves against allegations that their posts were “illegal or warranted removal.”

The Oversight Board

On 6 May Facebook revealed the names of the first 20 members of its international Oversight Board, an independent body that will be tasked with specific content moderation decisions.

The board will govern appeals regarding content takedowns from Facebook and Instagram users, receiving cases through a content management system linked to Facebook’s own platforms.

The members – a diverse group containing lawyers, journalists, human rights advocates and other academics with expertise in digital rights, religious freedom, content moderation, internet censorship and civil rights – will discuss the case as a group before issuing a final say regarding whether the content should be allowed to stay up or not.

“We are all committed to freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights,” the four co-chairs of the board – Catalina Botero-Marino, Jamal Greene, Michael W McConnell and Helle Thorning-Schmidt – wrote in a New York Times op-ed introducing themselves to the public on 6 May. “We will make decisions based on those principles and on the effects on Facebook users and society, without regard to the economic, political or reputational interests of the company.”

In November 2018, in the wake of a New York Times report that slammed Facebook for social media misuses, the company announced the establishment of an independent panel.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark and one of the board’s four co-chairs, was quoted by CNBC as saying:

“Up until now some of the most difficult decisions about content have been made by Facebook and you could say Mark Zuckerberg… Facebook has decided to change that.”

Set to eventually comprise around 40 members, the board will begin hearing cases in the coming months.

Amid a slew of charges of bias and politically censoring content, the move is seen by many as potentially able to help Facebook avoid the accusations which it emphatically rejects.

Last December, Facebook pledged the board $130 million in funding, with the money set to cover operational costs for at least six years.

In January, however, Facebook outlined the extent to which it remained in control, in a 46-page document.

Facebook outlined the powers and limitations of the board, stating that the board’s decisions do not necessarily set precedents that the company would be called upon to adhere to in the future, and the board is limited when it comes to content it can address.

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu on Annexation Plan: Palestinians Will Offer Concession, Not ‘Israel’

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Prime Ministers office in Jerusalem on March 12, 2020. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Al-Manar | May 28, 2020

Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians are the side who will offer concession as the Israeli PM eyes implementing the annexation plan of West Bank and Jordan Valley.

“Only if the Palestinians agree that Israel has security and control throughout the territory, they will receive their own entity that (US President Donald) Trump defines as a state,” Netanyahu told Israel Hayom in an interview.

“We are not urged to offer concessions, but the Palestinians are those who will do so,” the Israeli PM added.

Meanwhile, he said that “attempts to set free Israelis held in Gaza are underway,” but noted that he “will not release Palestinian prisoners who “have blood on their hands.”

May 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Member of the Scottish parliament dismisses Palestinian Nakba as ‘self-inflicted’

Richard Lyle during First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on February 7, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. [Ken Jack/Getty Images]

Richard Lyle during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on February 7, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. [Ken Jack/Getty Images]
MEMO | May 26, 2020

A member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) has sparked outrage by suggesting that the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians when Israel was founded in their land in 1948 was “self-inflicted”.

The remark by Richard Lyle, of the Scottish National Party (SNP), was made in a proposed amendment to a parliamentary motion marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe).

More than half of the indigenous Palestinian population was expelled by Zionist militias and the nascent Israeli army between 1947 and 1949 in a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing known as “Plan Dalet”. Historians explain that this was intended to gerrymander a Jewish majority in Palestine through violent means. The Nakba is marked annually by Palestinians and their supporters around the world.

Lyle, who is the deputy convener of the cross-party group called “Building Bridges With Israel” (BBI) and has visited the Zionist state at the invitation of the Israeli embassy in London, made an amendment to a Nakba Day parliamentary motion submitted by fellow SNP member Sandra White MSP.

The motion recognised the “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages” which “led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation.”

However, Lyle’s amendment peddled an Israeli propaganda trope blaming the victims. The Nakba, he added, was “sadly a self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved.”

This triggered a backlash. Some SNP members have condemned the move, calling the motion an “insult to every Palestinian worldwide” and describing it as a “disgusting piece of revisionist history.”

“It is disgraceful to suggest that the Nakba and subsequent occupation which has led to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children is somehow self-inflicted,” insisted Nadia El-Nakla, the convenor of SNP Friends of Palestine, whose family members were and are victims of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of their land. El-Nakla added that Lyle’s comments are “abhorrent… racist and hate filled.” She called for the amendment to be withdrawn and for Lyle to apologise.

The amended motion has apparently garnered the support of just one other MSP, Conservative Adam Tomkins.

Lyle is a controversial figure in Scotland on the issue Palestine and Israel. In 2018 he was part of a BBI delegation to the occupation state. According to the Times, the trip was valued at £2,200 ($2,716) per person and was paid for by the Israeli Embassy in London. The visit was criticised sharply, especially as it coincided with Israel passing the so-called Nation State Bill. Critics, including traditional supporters of the Zionist state, have denounced the legislation as “racist”.

The MSP may face disciplinary action by his own party for his comments. SNP affiliate groups are said to be reporting Lyle to the party’s national secretary.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 8 Comments

Political ambiguity or a doomsday weapon: Why Abbas abandoned Oslo

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 26, 2020

This time, we are told, it is different and that President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is absolutely serious about his decision to absolve his leadership from all previous agreements signed with Israel and the United States.

But this time is not different, and Abbas is not serious.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the state of Palestine are absolved  … of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments  … including the security ones,” Abbas declared at an emergency meeting of his leadership held in Ramallah on May 19.

Unsurprisingly, there were no massive demonstrations reported throughout Occupied Palestine in support of Abbas’ latest decision. Aside from a few loyalists in PA-controlled media, it seemed as if the man did not utter a word, let alone cancel all agreements that justified the very existence of his Authority over the course of nearly 30 years.

The demonstrable truth is that Abbas ceased to matter to Palestinians a long time ago. However, for Israel, he mattered greatly, because his Authority has served as an additional security buffer between occupied Palestinians and the occupation army. Thanks to ‘security coordination’, Israel was allowed to fortify its occupation in peace.

Palestinians have long lost faith in Abbas as proved by one public opinion poll after another. This is not a sudden occurrence, but the accumulation of decades of failure and disappointments. Abbas’ commitment to the Oslo Accords led to absolutely nothing, except for the creation of a massive and utterly corrupt security apparatus that largely exists to ‘coordinate’ the subjugation of Palestinians with their Israeli oppressors.

Since his advent to power in 2005, Abbas and his faithful followers within the Fatah party became obsessed with their enmity, not with Israel and the United States, but with Abbas’ own Palestinian rivals, within Fatah itself – Mohammed Dahlan, etc. – and, to a larger extent, with Hamas in Gaza.

Israel mainly factored in Abbas’ many speeches in Ramallah and at the UN General Assembly in New York; despite all the rhetoric, little or no action ever followed. Concurrently, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers carried on with their systematic abuse of Palestinians, unhindered.

Not once did Abbas’ ever-growing security forces (estimated at 80,000 strong) move to block the path of a single Israeli bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home or uprooting an ancient olive grove in the West Bank. Nor did they prevent the arrest of an anti-Israeli occupation activist. Often, they carried out the arrests themselves.

Even as Israel was pounding Gaza with massive bombs and white phosphorus, Abbas continued barking insults at his Palestinian enemies. He berated Gaza’s armed resistance, yet offered no meaningful alternative to whatever version of ‘resistance’ he championed.

But if Abbas managed to co-exist under these humiliating conditions, why did he decide to cancel the agreements now? To answer this, first, let us look at the political context of Abbas’ decision.

In February 2015, Abbas threatened to sever security ties with Israel as a response to the Israeli decision to withhold millions of dollars of Palestinian tax revenues, which Tel Aviv obtains on behalf of the PA. Similar threats were made in July 2017, this time in response to Israel’s illegal measures around the Muslim holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. And again, in September 2018, when the US unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And, yet again, in July 2019, when Israel demolished Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

The latest episode, Abbas’s threat to dissolve the PA, was in response to the American announcement of the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

These are only the notable threats that registered in media coverage. In reality, Abbas has waged his ‘war’ on Israel in the form of endless threats that were always met with disdain in Israel.

The difference, this time, is because Abbas has never experienced this degree of abandonment and political vulnerability. Discarded by the Americans and disowned by the Israelis, Abbas’ credibility is at an all-time low. More importantly, the Palestinian people have long abandoned any illusion that the path of liberation will go through Abbas’ office in Ramallah.

Overwhelmed by many odds, Abbas decided to conduct what is, most likely, to be his final political act. What happens next matters little, because at this stage the 84-year-old Palestinian leader is left with nothing to lose.

Canceling the Palestinian commitment to the agreements should translate into little on the ground, considering that Israel and the US have already reneged on these agreements.

The Oslo Accords were meant to be relevant up to a point, until 1999, when the final status negotiations were meant to be held as the last step before the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.

Jerusalem, like the rights of Palestinian refugees, was meant to be resolved then, not to be completely “taken off the table”, two decades later. No territorial swap, let alone annexation, was to be permitted without a bilateral agreement between both parties.

Only two components of these agreements survived Israel’s numerous violations: the ‘security coordination’ and the ‘donors’ money’, which kept the PA and its massive – but useless – army in operation.

Now that the US has withheld all funds to Abbas’ Authority, and Israel’s new national unity government has agreed, in principle, to annex much of the West Bank, Abbas is left with nothing.

By canceling all agreements, Abbas and his supporters are hoping that alarm bells sound in Washington and Tel Aviv, especially since the halting of ‘security coordination’ could prove costly to the safety of Israel’s Jewish settlers.

If Abbas was, indeed, serious in his announcement, he would have included in his speech a clear articulation of a new Palestinian political agenda that is predicated on unity – but a true Palestinian strategy was never the PA leader’s ultimate goal.

What Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to achieve, with his latest theatrics, is the establishment of a new political game, one that is based on political ambiguity, so that he is not entirely abandoned by his Western backers, or finally shunned as a collaborator by his own people.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Zionists Have Feelings Too

Words to criticize Israel are fast disappearing

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • May 26, 2020

Regular visitors to this site will be aware that I frequently write about the massive propaganda campaign being run by supporters of Israel to conceal the damage done by the Jewish state to actual United States’ interests. One of the more interesting aspects of that effort is the bowdlerization of language to extirpate some words that might have anti-Semitic overtones and to twist the meaning of others in such a fashion as to deprive them of any meaning. Providing loans at usurious rates of interest used to be regularly referred to “Shylocking” even in legal circles, named after the Shakespearean character in the Merchant of Venice. It is an obvious word just waiting around to be censored and has consequently disappeared from use.

Recently, those obvious expressions denoting ethnicity have been joined by a whole lot of words condemned by the American Jewish Committee that are a lot more subtle like “clannish,” “cosmopolitan” and “globalist.” The AJC defines the alleged anti-Semitic expression “dual loyalty” as “… a bigoted trope used to cast Jews as the ‘other.’ For example, it becomes antisemitic when an American Jew’s connection to Israel is scrutinized to the point of questioning his or her trustworthiness or loyalty to the United States. By accusing Jews of being disloyal citizens whose true allegiance is to Israel or a hidden Jewish agenda (see globalist), anti-Semites sow distrust and spread harmful ideas—like the belief that Jews are a traitorous ‘fifth column’ undermining our country.”

The AJC’s definition of “dual loyalty” would perhaps bemuse President George Washington whose Farewell Address included “… nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest… So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”

If it seems that the First President was predicting the current subservient condition of the United States vis-à-vis Israel, I will leave that judgement up to the reader. More recently, Jewish pressure groups who seek to benefit Israel exclusively have been aided and abetted by the so-called U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to suppress the use of words that cast Israel in a bad light. Most contentious is the elimination of the word “occupation” in State Department reporting to describe the wholesale illegal Israeli seizure of land in Palestine. The “occupied territories” held by Israel for over fifty years are now described as “disputed” while Jewish settlements on Palestinian land once routinely described as illegal are now legal. Friedman has expressed his approval of those “disputed” bits being scheduled for “annexation” after July 1st. Perhaps he will come up with a new word to replace annex, possibly something like “restore” or “reunite.” Or “fulfilling biblical prophecy.”

Words are important because how they are used and their context shapes the understanding of the reader or listener. In the United States there has been a concerted effort to equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism while simultaneously making anti-Semitism a hate crime and thereby converting what one might perceive as exercise of a First Amendment right into a felony. This is largely being done as part of the plan to create a legal basis to suppress the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Twenty-seven states have now passed laws criminalizing or otherwise punishing criticism of Israel, to include requirements to sign documents declaring opposition to boycotts of the Jewish state if one wants a government job or other benefits. Donald Trump has also signed an executive order to combat what he calls discrimination against Jews and Israel at universities and there are several bills working their way through Congress that can criminalize BDS in particular, incorporating prison time and punitive fines.

But when it comes to protecting Israel in speech and in writing, no one outdoes the totally cowed Europeans. It is a criminal offense to challenge the many shaky details of the standard holocaust narrative in France, Germany and Britain and now the wordsmiths are hard at work to broaden what is unacceptable in speaking or writing.

A truly bizarre story comes from England, once upon a time the mother of parliamentary democracy and a model for those who cherished free speech. One recalls that recently Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was ousted after a sustained effort headed by the country’s Chief Rabbi marshalling what one might reasonably call Britain’s “Israel Lobby.” It was claimed that Corbyn was an anti-Semite because he believed in the human rights of the Palestinian people and had also attended several pro-Palestinian events. Since the departure of Corbyn, there has been a major effort by the totally subdued Labourites to purge the party of all traces of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel and any expressions of sympathy for the Palestinians.

The new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has apparently learned how to behave from the Corbyn experience. He has been crawling on his belly to Jewish interests ever since he took over and has even submitted to the counseling provided by the government’s “Independent Adviser on Antisemitism,” a special interests office not too dissimilar to the abomination at the U.S. State Department where Elan Carr is the Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism.

The adviser, Lord Mann, who like Carr is of course Jewish, has now insisted to Starmer that the use of words like ‘’Zionist’’ or ‘’Zionism’’ in a critical context must be regarded as anti-Semitism if Starmer wants to establish what he refers to as “comprehensive anti-racism” within the Labour Party. Mann wants to confront what he refers to as “anti-Jewish racism” in Britain, saying that “the thing Keir Starmer has to do is stick with the clear definition of antisemitism, and not waver from that. The second thing he should do if he wants to really imbed comprehensive anti-racism including antisemitism across the Labour Party – then the use of the words Zionist or Zionism as a term of hatred, abuse, of contempt, as a negative term – that should [be] outlawed in the party.”

Perhaps not surprisingly Lord Mann’s comments came during an online discussion with the Antisemitism Policy Trust’s director Danny Stone, one of the major components of Israel’s powerful U.K. Jewish/Zionist Lobby. A majority of British Members of Parliament of both parties are registered supporters of “Friends of Israel” associations, another indication of how Jewish power is manifest in Britain and of how spineless the country’s politicians have become.

Mann added: “If he does that, it gives him [Starmer] the tools to clear out those who choose to be antisemitic, rather than those who do so purely through their ignorance as opposed to their calculated behavior. I think he is seeing tackling antisemitism as one of those things that will be shown to mark that he is a leader.”

So, in Britain you are still presumably free to criticize Zionism, but not Israelis, as long as you do not use the word itself. If you do use it in a critical way you will be one of those presumably who will be “cleared out [of the Labour Party] for choosing to be antisemitic.” Do not be alarmed if similar nonsense takes hold in the United States, where already criticism of Israel, such as it is, eschews the word Jewish in any context. Fearful of retribution that can include loss of employment as happened to Rick Sanchez at CNN, the few who are bold enough to criticize Israel regularly employ generic euphemisms like the “Israel Lobby” or “Zionism,” ignoring the fact that what drives the process is ethno- or religious based. However one chooses to obfuscate it, the power of Israel in the United States is undeniably based on Jewish money, media control and easy access to politicians. When the friends of Israel in America follow the British lead and figure out that the word Zionist has become pejorative they too will no doubt move to make it unacceptable in polite discourse in the media and elsewhere. Then many critics of the Jewish state will have no vocabulary left to use, nowhere to go, as in Britain, and that is surely the intention.

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

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 6 Comments

Salam Taha: 82 days of interrogation in the al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

The following article, by Palestinian writer Hind Shraydeh, was originally published in Arabic at Hadf News :

Salam and Rubou’

The different meanings of “Peace”

To some who hold power and authority, “peace” is linked with settlement and accommodation, with privileges they aspire to obtain in exchange for crumbs of the historic Palestine. Salam, on the other hand, whose name in Arabic means “peace,” exemplifies another meaning for the term.

Salam Taha was born in the village of Deir Abu Misha’al, situated northwest of Ramallah city. He adores the sea, although he was deprived of enjoying it due to the occupation. Salam usually escapes from the noise of the city to Khirbet Al-Rachniyeh east of the village, to relish the green views of his secret place, gazing towards the occupied Palestinian coast, confronting his feelings with absolute silence, and spending time in spacious verdant fields.

“He is the most shy among us but the bravest too,” says his friend at university.

Arrested while caring for his child

Israeli military soldiers raided Salam’s house after exploding its door to make their entry. They attacked Salam, forcing against the wall and cowardly hitting his body with their rifles.

It was four o’clock in the morning, when Salam was awake caring for his one-month baby, Cana’an. He never knew it is going to be his last turn in the ongoing rotation with his wife, Rubou’  or that he would be unable to look after his child for quite a long time.

Salam was tied to the kitchen chair, while military soldiers ransacked his place, turning it upside down. They were looking for his older mobile phone, which was directly in front of them the entire time, but they claimed not to notice it while acting in such a vicious manner.

Salam remained placid, as if he was unbothered, and mocked the soldiers’ actions, an attitude that angered the chief officer, who tried to provoke Salam by cursing his wife Rubou’ and directing profane insults at her while she prepared some milk for her child to calm his continuous crying during the assault. He stared at the chief officer with a shaming look, as if asking, “Is this the way you are raised to respect mothers?!”

He hummed a melody, with unidentifiable lyrics, repeating the only recognized words of it, which were “you may.”

After the extensive vandalism inside the house, the Israeli soldiers handcuffed Salam’s hands and grabbed him tightly from the shoulders. Rubou’ quickly knelt down on the ground, trying to put her husband’s shoes on with all care and diligence.

Salam saluted her, saying, “It will not take so long… I will come back soon.”

“This is how my husband was abducted on a Friday at dawn, 30 August 2018, only two days before his master’s degree studies commenced, as he was registered in the International Studies Program at Birzeit University,” Rubou’ says.

Salam with baby Cana’an

Earning his undergraduate degree with several interruptions

Over 80 students at Birzeit University are currently imprisoned in Israeli prisons. 20 of them are held under administrative detention, without any charges or trial. Their detentions are based on the “predictions” of the area commander of the Israeli military occupation, that these students might pose a “security threat to the state of Israel.” The rest of the students face indictments in military court, mostly revolving around involvement in student activities inside the university.

Salam earned his BA degree in political science with a minor in public administration. His undergraduate studies were frequently interrupted by arrests, which extended the normal duration required to finish his studies,” Rubou’ stated.

There are students whose first university degree take them double the time they actually need to complete all their university requirements, in addition to courses related to their specialty. Students fail to join their classes, due to their repeated detentions, and yet try hard to resume their studies again at an older age with younger cohorts and sometimes different generations than the ones that launched their academic journey with them.

Last week, three more student leaders were abducted by Israeli soldiers, just days before the end of the semester: Izz Shabaneh from the village of Sinjil, Mehdi Karajeh from the village of Saffa, and Basil Barghouthi from the village of Beit Rima.

Salam’s secret weapon

The Sunday after the invasion, Rubou’ knew that her husband is being held at Al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem, where Salam remained for 46 days of harsh interrogation, during which he was banned from seeing his lawyer. Salam visited Jerusalem not as a tourist visiting the Dome of the Rock or the Holy Sepulcher, but rather stuck in an underground dungeon with numerous torture methods that are hatefully designed in order to drain the prisoner’s will. Fluorescent lights were switched on 24/7, causing him a severe headache and irritating his eyes, coupled with echoes of endless screaming and low temperatures directed on his body by an air-conditioner were only some of the examples of the constant pressure and inhuman treatment.

After three months of detention, Rubou’ decided to take the risk in order to cheer her husband up and transfer to him good feelings to help him stay strong and carry on with a brave heart. She decided to provide her husband with a secret weapon while attending his court session.

How is that possible if even a tissue is not allowed to pass through the punitive inspections and searches?! She took extra care of her outfit, wore her favorite jacket, closed its buttons, and luckily succeeded to pass through the first inspection, the second one through an automatic inspection machine, and the last personal one, that looks like two harassing hands passing an electronic stick over your body. After she waited outside in the cold for hours, the security guard notified Rubou’ that it was time for Salam’s trial. She walked into the court room with her surprise and unbuttoned her jacket, where Salam was able to see his son Cana’an’s smiling face printed on Robou’s T-shirt. For two minutes long, the security guards were frozen in place. They did not know how to deter such a secret weapon!

Rubou’ laughed while recalling the incident, saying: “I felt that we had won a victory … the guards were frozen and did not know what to do! They think they can abolish the longing in our hearts, but we proved them wrong. This was my way of resistance and standing by Salam’s side.”

82 days of harsh investigation in the Al-Moskobiyeh slaughterhouse

Salam did not sleep for so long, he was immensely pale, and bleeding from his wrists due to the tight shackles around them. The prison administration employed a number of interrogators who created stories and fake scenarios about our family to weaken Salam. Some of their fabrications were about me, his wife, and our son Cana’an, found dead in a car accident, others were about bringing me for interrogation in a room adjacent to Salam’s cell”, Rubou said, recalling what Salam told her in one of her visits.

Rubou’ with Cana’an

Many deceptions and malicious tricks were practiced by the Israeli intelligence agency, known as the Shabak, in order to put pressure on Salam, with one sole aim: Extracting confessions from him in order to celebrate their delusional victory and prove their domination over Palestinians.

“Before his recent arrest, Salam underwent a colonoscopy, as he suffers from colon problems, stomach pains and hemorrhoids that caused him bleeding during the interrogation. The lawyer submitted Salam’s medical papers explaining his condition, but the fascist regime did not care about his medication, and refused to let him go to the bathroom frequently,” Rubou’ says.

The Israeli occupation deliberately mistreats prisoners, providing them with poor and inadequate health care in an attempt to exhaust the captives. As punishment for Salam’s steadfastness, the illegitimate military court sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

Just two weeks before the end of his sentence, when Rubou’ was wondering about the color of the dress that she planned wear to welcome her partner home, and the unique outfit she is preparing for her son Cana’an to wear, only two weeks before Salam’s sentence ended, the Israeli military forces sent him to the slaughterhouse of Al-Moskobiyeh once again. Salam underwent thirty-six days of cruel interrogation with an agitated and hysterical frequency, during which he was once again prevented from meeting with his lawyer.

Eighty-two days is the cumulative time of interrogation Salam has gone through, while the “civilized” world and the luckier youths of the colonial project live in isolation from the tragedies of the occupation, perhaps by playing soccer or baseball and setting some exciting plans for their travels to the Maldives. Eighty-two days of interrogation, and yet the occupation steals years from Palestinian youth: Their future, their families and their children.

Meanwhile, international human rights organizations act like Pontius Pilate, when he washed his hands of guilt for the blood of Christ. Such organizations’ roles are to adopt “codes of conduct,” or issue informative brochures, or to express their “mild” concerns about a rough death that happened in a sacred spot in the far reaches of the earth, called Palestine.

Salam is still detained without trial in the Eshel desert prison, after he was arbitrarily transferred in mid-March from Ofer prison overnight as a punitive measure, as a result of which he had to sleep a full night in the “Ramla crossing-point”, a place where prisoners are gathered before they are distributed to other prisons. This happened at a time when the occupation claimed to be cautious and to stop unnecessary movement between prisons, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“You may build a huge wall around me, and another wall around you, the enemy of the sun … Still I will not compromise” lyrics of an Arabic song

Eshel Prison differs in its structure from other prisons; it is more isolated and brutal. The square yard, known as the fora, in which the prisoners spend their outdoor time is covered, so that they do not see the sky at all, nor the sun’s light. It is not available all day, but only for specific hours, and it is also far from the prisoners’ rooms. When released prisoners describe this prison, some say: “The bathroom in Eshel does not accommodate a chubby person, and the showers are narrow. All can be coped with except the climate of the desert, the high humidity and temperature in the morning and extreme cold at night”.

Salam spends most of his time reading and trying to maintain a healthy pattern by playing sports. He keeps humming his favorite song, as he walks in the fora: “You may steal the last inch of my land… You may feed the years of my youth to the prison … You may put down the flame I keep rising… You may prevent me from kissing my mother …You may defeat the dreams I have for tomorrow. You may deprive my children of wearing their Eid holiday outfits… You may build a wall and yet another taller one… In that act you assure to the world that you are the enemy of the sun. Still I will not compromise. Until the last pulse in my veins, I will continue fighting,” an Arabic song by Lebanese singer Julia Butros,

Fatherhood on hold

“It is not easy to raise a child on your own, while the pictures of the baby’s father are hung on the wall”, Rubou’ said. “Cana’an will turn two years old in July, while he does not know his father. I finally obtained a permit to visit Salam after being banned for almost a year. The long-anticipated permit allowed me to visit my husband three times only before the spread of COVID-19, after which visits were suspended.”

“We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die”

“To see my husband in front of me through an insulated partition and isolating glass without being able to touch his hand, and to speak to him through telephones which the jailers control, is not easy at all. This increases the pain in my heart,” Rubou’ says. “Salam and I experienced a beautiful love story at university, which was completed in our marriage, and Cana’an is the fruit of our love.”

“With all the suffering that I live alone with Cana’an, and all the decisions I have to make, serving as mother and father at the same time, I return to remember what we insisted on highlighting in our wedding card. ‘We were born in pursuit of joy, and for joy we die.’ This is our conviction, and this is our belief in which we live every day, and we will raise our children to follow it as well,” Rubou’ concluded.

Salam and Rubou’s wedding card

Hind Shraydeh is a Palestinian writer and human rights advocate. She is also the wife of Palestinian prisoner Ubai Aboudi, the Executive Director of the Bisan Center. We encourage you to join the 1 June Day of Action for Ubai Aboudi and to sign the Scientists for Palestine petition supporting him.

Translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

US military presence in Iraq aimed at protecting Israel’s security, interests: PMU leader

Press TV – May 25, 2020

A high-ranking official with Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, has strongly denounced US military presence in his country, saying such a deployment is meant to safeguard the security and interests of the Israeli regime.

“There is a national and courageous will, which rejects the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil. There have been talks of US intentions to withdraw from Iraq, but we doubt them,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, was quoted as saying by the Lebanon-based and Arabic-language al-Ahed news website on Monday.

He added, “The US [military] presence in Iraq is meant to protect the security and interests of the Israeli regime. Neither are we warlords nor thirsty for blood, but rather patriots looking for the dignity and sovereignty of the Iraqi nation.”

“If the withdrawal [of US troops] does not take place, the foreign occupier must know that Iraqis will not accept the presence of its forces. The Americans, who will open negotiations [on the extension of their presence] in June, must remember the centenary of the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 against British forces,” Khazali pointed out.

He also praised the sacrifices made by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of PMU, who were assassinated along with their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport early on January 3.

Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill two days later, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the targeted killings.

Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejected any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

Biden Condemns Pro Palestinian BDS Movement

teleSUR | May 21, 2020

Left-wing activists in the U.S. rejected assertions by the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, who said criticism of Israel too often drifts towards anti-Semitism before he declared his opposition to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement (BDS).

“Criticism of Israel’s policy is not anti-Semitism,” Biden said during a phone call with donors earlier this week. “But too often that criticism from the left morphs into anti-Semitism.”

The call was part of a virtual fundraiser hosted by Dan Shapiro, a former ambassador to Israel, and Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University.

Biden was asked how to respond to anti-Semitism among progressive activists in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“We have to condemn it, and I’ve gotten in trouble for doing that,” the former vice president said. “Whatever the source, right, left, or center.”

The Biden campaign later released a policy paper saying it “firmly rejects” the BDS movement, a nonviolent initiative launched by Palestinians in 2005 to pressure Israel to comply with international law and defend Palestinian human rights.

Biden said the movement “singles out Israel – home to millions of Jews – and too often veers into anti-Semitism while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices”.

Leaders of the BDS movement replied that Democratic voters should be endorsing the movement instead of rejecting it.

“By rejecting BDS, Joe Biden endorses U.S. complicity in Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, colonialism, and apartheid, and supports depriving Palestinians of our fundamental human rights,” the group said.

Biden has struggled to unite a Democratic Party deeply divided between moderates and younger progressives who gravitated towards Biden’s rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has withdrawn from the election.

The progressive wing has been outspoken in its opposition to Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, particularly under right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

May 23, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 2 Comments

Senate Committee slips through $38 billion package to Israel

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | May 22, 2020

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee secretively passed a bill yesterday to give Israel a minimum of $38 billion over the next ten years despite the ongoing devastation to the US economy by coronavirus policies.

The bill – S.3176 –  will now go before the full Senate. Since the legislation has already been passed by the House of Representatives, if the Senate passes the bill, it will then go to the president to be signed into law.

The bill was passed by the committee under two unusual circumstances and with almost no public awareness.

First, Senate Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) refused to allow a livestream of the meeting, despite the fact that the Senate Rules panel had recommended that extra efforts be taken to ensure public transparency while the Capitol is closed to the public and the presence of reporters is severely limited. The Senate’s Press Gallery Standing Committee of Correspondents had objected strongly to Risch’s decision.

Second, the bill was passed without being named, debated, or even discussed, even though it would set into law the largest such aid package in U.S. history. There has been no US mention of the bill by US mainstream media.

The massive package is particularly noteworthy in light of the current devastation to the American taxpayers who will be footing the bill – over $10 million per day. In recent months approximately 30 million Americans have lost jobs, 100,000 small businesses have already closed forever, and over seven million are at risk of doing so.

The bill was voted on as part of a package of 15 bills that were voted on “en bloc” (all together).

After Senator Kaine said he didn’t know what the list contained, Risch responded: “I’m not trying to pull anything here… this was circulated among the staff.”

Risch then rapidly listed the numbers, but did not give the titles. There was then a voice vote and the motion passed unanimously. (See video below.)

Democratic members of the committee had voiced strong objections to blocking a livestream of the meeting because of a different agenda item. After the meeting, Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released a video of the meeting.

None, however, voiced any concern to giving a massive aid package to a country widely documented as a major violator of human rights.

Neither did any Democrats on the committee object to requiring American taxpayers to give Israel over $7,000 per minute when many Americans are suffering catastrophic financial difficulties.

Democratic committee members Menendez, Ben Cardin, Cory Booker, and Chris Coons, like many of the Republican members, are particularly known for being under the influence of AIPAC and the Israel lobby and receiving pro-Israel campaign donations. Many of the members are co-sponsors of the bill.

The bill, entitled “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020,” expands and sets into law a memorandum of understanding agreement signed by the Obama administration with Israel in 2016. This agreement is nonbinding and not required by law. It also set the $38 billion as a ceiling.

The legislation just passed by the committee would make this disbursal legally required, and, in addition, it would make the $38 billion a floor rather than a ceiling. In other words, the amount of money could legally go even higher.

Given the power of the pro-Israel lobby, combined with the fact that U.S. media are not informing Americans of this use of their tax money, the likelihood is that US money to Israel will go up in the future – possibly even this year.)

Most Americans say they feel the US is giving Israel too much money. Israel has received more US tax money than any other country – on average, about 7,000 times more per capita than others around the world.

The Council for the National Interest has posted a petition against this year’s installment, $3.8 billion. So far, it has been signed by close to 2,000 people.

The portion of the meeting that passed the bill:


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 5 Comments

Why does Israel celebrate its terrorists: Ben Uliel and the murder of the Dawabsheh Family

Israeli media and Zionist apologists everywhere are busy whitewashing Israel’s globally-tattered image using the rare indictment of an Israeli terrorist, Amiram Ben Uliel, who was recently convicted for murdering the Palestinian Dawabsheh family, including an 18-month-old toddler in the town of Duma, south of Nablus.

The conviction of Ben Uliel by an Israeli three-judge court on May 18, is expectedly celebrated by some as proof that the Israeli judicial system is fair and transparent, and that Israel does not need to be investigated by outside parties.

The timing of the Israeli court’s decision to convict Ben Uliel of three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder was particularly important, as it followed a decision by the the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to move forward with its investigation of war crimes committed in Occupied Palestine.

Considering how Israel’s extremists, especially those living illegally in the Occupied West Bank, are governed through a separate, and far more lenient system than the military regime that governs Palestinians, the seemingly-clear indictment of the Israeli terrorist deserves further scrutiny.

Israel’s apologists were quick to celebrate the verdict by the court, to the extent that Israel’s own internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, known for its notorious torture methods of Palestinian prisoners, described the decision as “an important milestone in the battle against Jewish terror”.

Others labored to separate Ben Uliel’s grizzly attack from the rest of Israeli society, implying that the man was a lone wolf and not the direct outcome of Israel’s unhinged racism and violent discourse directed at innocent Palestinians.

Despite the clear indictment of Ben Uliel, the Israeli court was keen on accentuating the point that the Israeli terrorist acted alone and that he was not a member of a terrorist organization. Based on that logic, the court argued that the judges “could not rule out that the attack was motivated by a desire for revenge or racism without Ben-Uliel actually being a member of an organized group.”

Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, is lead by police for his sentencing hearing over the 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents [AVSHALOM SASSONI/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Amiram Ben-Uliel, a Jewish settler, at his sentencing hearing over the 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler, Ali Saeed Dawabsheh and his parents [AVSHALOM SASSONI/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

The verdict was a best case scenario for Israel’s image under the circumstances, as it deliberately absolved the massive terrorist network that spawned the likes of Ben Uliel and the Israeli army that protects those very extremists on a daily basis, while whitewashing Israel’s deservedly bad reputation as a violent society with an unjust judicial system.

But Ben Uliel is, by no measure, a lone wolf.

When the Israeli terrorist, along with other masked assailants, broke into the house of Sa’ad and Reham Dawabsheh at 4 am on July 31, 2015, he was clearly on a mission to elevate his name within the ardently racist, extremist society which has made the murder and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians a sort of a divine mission.

Ben Uliel achieved his objectives completely. Not only did he kill Sa’ad and Reham, but their 18-month-old son, Ali, as well. The only surviving member of the family was 4-year-old Ahmed, who was severely burnt.

The murder of the Palestinian family, little Ali in particular, quickly became the source of joy and celebration among Jewish extremists. In December 2015, six months after the murder of the Dawabsheh family, a 25-second video clip that went viral on social media showed a crowd of Israelis celebrating the death of Ali.

The video showed a “room of jumping, dancing men wearing white skullcaps, many with the long sidelocks of Orthodox Jews. Some of them are brandishing guns and knives,” The New York Times reported.

“Two (of the celebrating Israelis) appear to be stabbing pieces of paper they hold in their hands, which the television station identified as pictures of an 18-month-old child, Ali Dawabsheh.”

Despite Israeli police claims that they were ‘investigating’ the hate fest, there is little evidence to suggest that anyone was held accountable for the unmitigated celebration of violence against an innocent family and a toddler. In fact, Israeli State prosecutors later claimed that they had lost the original video of the dancing extremists.

The celebration of Israeli terrorism carried on unabated for years, to the extent that on June 19, 2018, Israeli extremists chanted openly, taunting Ali’s grandfather as he was leaving an Israeli court, with such obscene slogans, as “Where is Ali? Ali’s dead,” “Ali’s on the grill”.

The heinous murder of Ali and his family, and the subsequent trial were added to an array of other events that starkly challenged Israel’s carefully concocted image of being a liberal democracy.

On March 24, 2016, Elor Azaria killed a Palestinian man, Fattah al-Sharif, in cold blood. Al-Sharif was left bleeding on the ground while unconscious after, per Israeli army claim, trying to stab an Israeli soldier.

Azaria received a light sentence of eighteen months, soon to be freed in a massive celebration, like a conquering hero. Israel’s top government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, supported the cold-blooded murderer throughout the trial. It will not come as a complete surprise if Azaria claims a top position in the Israeli government at some point in the future.

The celebration of murderers and terrorists like Ben Uliel and Azaria, is not a new phenomenon in Israeli society. Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli terrorist who killed scores of Palestinian worshippers while kneeling for prayer at Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in 1994, is now perceived as a modern martyr, a saint of biblical proportions.

In such cases, when the nature of the crime is so overwhelmingly violent, the extent of which forces itself on global news media, Israel is left with only one option – to use the indictment of ‘Jewish terrorism’ as an opportunity to reinvent itself, its ‘democratic’ system, its ‘transparent’ judicial proceedings, and so on. Meanwhile, Israeli media and its affiliates worldwide labor to describe the collective ‘shock’ and ‘outrage’ felt by ‘law-abiding’, ‘peace-loving’ Israelis.

The murder of the Dawabsheh family, although one of numerous acts of violence perpetrated by Jewish extremists and the Israeli military against innocent Palestinians, is the perfect case in point.

Indeed, a quick look at the numbers and reports produced by the United Nations indicates that the Jewish settlers’ murder of the Palestinian family was not the exception but the norm.

In a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in June 2018, UN investigators spoke of an exponential rise of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians.

“Between January and April 2018, OCHA documented 84 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers resulting in Palestinian casualties (27 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (57 incidents),” the report read. That trend continued, at times markedly increasing, with very little accountability.

The Israeli rights group, Yesh Din, has been following up on the small percentage of settler violence cases that were opened by the Israeli military and police. The group concluded that, “of 185 investigations opened between 2014 and 2017 that reached a final stage, only 21, or 11.4%, led to the prosecution of offenders, while the other 164 files were closed without indictment.”

The reason for this is simple: the hundreds of thousands of Jewish extremists who have been transferred to permanently settle in the occupied territories, an act that starkly violates international law, do not operate outside the colonial paradigm designed by the Israeli government. In some way, they too, are ‘soldiers’, not only because they are armed and coordinate their movement with the Israeli army, but because their ever-expanding settlements lie at the heart of the Israeli occupation and its continued project of ethnic cleansing.

Therefore, Jewish settler violence, like that committed by Ben Uliel, should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society as a whole. It follows that settler violence can only end with the end of the military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and with the demise of the racist Zionist ideology that spews hatred, embraces racism and rationalizes murder.

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 4 Comments