domingo, 5 de novembro de 2017

USA & Israel vs Palestine: The malicious time game

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Dubious purge in Saudi Arabia

During the 100 years that followed the Balfour Declaration, Yishuv (Jewish settlers in Palestine) became Israelis, and the zionists' got themselves a more powerfull godfather. From Britain to the United States of America, the passing of the torch of Palestinian ethnic cleansing came naturally.
A book, by a well informed American journalist, has just come out in the US revealing the complicity between the USA & Israel on the growing occupation, expropriation and war crimes in Palestine.
In Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jeremy R. Hammond, publisher and editor of the online "Foreign Policy Journal", makes a convincing case that the US government has routinely collaborated with Israel to block a genuine peace process, avoid compliance with international law and co-opt the mainstream media.
Hammond traces the conflict from the rise of Hamas in Gaza in 1987 through the U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood in 2012. His chapters on “Operation Cast Lead,” The Goldstone Report and the Gaza Flotilla Incident (“Murder on the High Seas”) are especially revealing of the U.S.-Israel complicity.
With 70 pages of detailed notes to support his case, the author cites as continuing U.S. policies:
. Refusal to accept a two-state solution;
. Refusal to negotiate with Hamas;
. Refusal to call Israel to account for war crimes;
. Opposition to Palestinian statehood; and
. Co-option of the mainstream media.
. The following are the book’s significant conclusions:“Two-state solution”
In the wake of the 1967 war, the unanimously approved UN Security Council 242 laid the legal foundation for the two-state solution that we know today.  Among other things, the Resolution provided for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and “acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” Although both the United States and Israel have accorded lip service to Res.242, the book shows how both countries have worked in tandem to block its implementation. According to Hammond, U.S./Israel policies “are not premised on the equal rights of all human beings and are not intended to achieve the fulfillment of a just settlement through the application of international law.”
On the other hand, ignoring repeated Hamas offers of a ceasefire and a readiness to accept two-states, both Israel and the U.S. have consistently refused to negotiate with that organization, either alone or in concert with Fatah. In 2006 the U.S. refused to recognize the democratically-elected government in Gaza, plotted unsuccessfully to overthrow it and later failed to stop Israel’s collective punishment of Gazans for their election of Hamas.
As to war crimes, Hammond says that the U.S. government “condemned only the violence committed by Palestinians while giving its blessing to Israel’s onslaught.”  Both Israel and the U.S. rejected the Goldstone Report and other reports that documented IDF war crimes. A constant theme during the 2009 war on Gaza and beyond has been the refusal of Israel and the USG to acknowledge the demands of international law (e.g. mandates against the use of white phosphorus munitions and the bombing of civilian places).  As American-made arms devastated Gaza, the USG declined to criticize Israel for its attacks on schools, mosques and apartment buildings.  Hammond’s chapter on “Operation Cast Lead” is replete with examples of Israeli war crimes that the USG repeatedly failed to condemn.
Palestinian statehood too is postponed year after year to serve Israel's interests of occupying the West Bank. 
Opposed by the U.S. and Israel in its effort to achieve statehood, the PA attempted to secure international recognition through the UN, initially by joining UNESCO.  Facing certain opposition by the U.S. in the Security Council on a bid for full UN membership, the PA managed to secure from the General Assembly an upgrade of its status to non-member observer state.  Along the way, Palestinians faced dire threats of aid cut-offs and other sanctions.
Throughout the volume, Hammond cites mainstream media articles that make Israel appear the victim.  There are, for example, a number of New York Times articles that either applaud Israeli attacks on Gaza (e.g. “Israel Reminds Foes That It Has Teeth”) or blame the Palestinians for initiating conflict when the facts are otherwise.  Parroting IDF reports, western journalists have regularly emphasized Israeli losses without citing Palestinian casualties. They have tended to equate military violence, as if the Palestinians had a war machine remotely equal to Israeli might.
In its detailed review of the USA’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obstacle to Peace convincingly exposes USG complicity with Israel in blocking the peace process, undercutting a two-state solution (despite pious words to the contrary), resisting the demands of international law, disregarding war crimes, endorsing the Gaza blockade and opposing Palestinian statehood.  The book also offers abundant evidence of pro-Israel bias in the mainstream media, the result of which has kept most Americans in the dark.
What the book doesn’t do is explain why Israel has continued to earn the unquestioning support of the American Congress and why the mainstream media has acted as an echo chamber for Israeli spokespersons.  Is it only the backing of Zionist or Evangelical Christian constituents that fuels pro-Israel policies?   Or could it be the money that flows from the lobbyists of AIPAC-affiliated organizations to fund political campaigns, reward elected officials and offer lawmakers all-expense junkets to Israel?  Perhaps the author’s next volume will answer those questions.
In the meantime Jeremy Hammond has produced a valuable record of a U.S. collusion with Israel that resounds to the detriment of Palestinians, disrespects international law and shames America. 
A familiar tune that anti-zionist international journalists such myself have been singing fo a long time. But when it is sung by an American corporate media journalist, it sounds louder. Let's hope the book will be read and have a good impact on behalf of Palestine.

Abby Martin, in 2012 and 2014 explains "hasbara"

In recent years, the working assumption of the Israeli security establishment has been that there is not enough negative energy among Palestinians in the territories that could lead to an eruption of grass-roots violence along the lines of the first and second intifadas. The moderating agents that operate against this kind of violence have been stable: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ rule, which from the start opposed the use of violence; the growing strength of the Palestinian security apparatuses, which enforce law and order throughout the West Bank; and primarily the Tanzim, the largest armed Palestinian organization, remaining outside the circle of violence and under the control and restraint of Abbas. Recent months, however, have seen a fundamental shift in this assumption.
The intelligence branch of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its head, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevy, presented a strategic warning to the Cabinet a few months ago about the possibility of all-out violence erupting on the Palestinian front. The warning reappeared Sept. 25 in the yearly intelligence assessment report distributed to military correspondents.
After years in which the heads of the Israeli security and intelligence branches repeatedly said that the stabilizing and moderating agents on the Palestinian front are much stronger than the inciting agents, the impression now is that a reversal is taking place in front of our eyes. True, it is happening slowly, and it is still reversible, but it cannot be denied that the prediction of a third intifada or another round of violence between Israel and Gaza is gaining traction in Israel’s higher échelons.
It seems that the main reason for a violent eruption is rooted in Gaza. The deteriorating humanitarian situation there, plus the imminent completion of the enormous underground wall that Israel is constructing — which will almost completely neutralize Hamas’ cross-border tunnel threat — light up all the warning lights on the Israeli side. The person primarily responsible for raising the alarm regarding the situation in Gaza has been, and remains, Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the territories.
In 2017, as opposed to previous years, it is not only Gaza on the warning list, but the West Bank (which was Judea and Samaria at Jesus' time), is also considered in danger of an eruption. Ironically, now that the so-called individual intifada has been halted, worry on the Israeli side is only intensifying. It is not the terror attack in Har Adar on Sept. 26 that is worrying to Israeli security. That shooting, carried out by a Palestinian who worked for years in the Israeli settlement where he carried out the attack, is viewed as anomalous. The real problem is the forces bubbling under the surface.
The warning signs all concern Abbas, the eternal Palestinian leader. Abbas is the current elephant in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian living room. He is 82 years old, in poor health and rather depressed in spirit. His diplomatic horizon is narrow, and his options are decreasing, one by one. Israel — despite all its intelligence agencies, experts and capabilities — does not know what the “day after” will look like. As far as is known, the few discussions on the issue have thus far been paltry and inadequate, without a point. No one in Israel has any idea who will step into Abbas’ shoes when the day comes, whether the Palestinian Authority will fall apart and descend into chaos or who or what will take control of the territory in filling the inevitable vacuum.
Israel is not only worried about the day after, as even the “day before” — the last leg of the elderly Palestinian leader’s journey, in other words, these very days — raises numerous questions and presents unsolvable conundrums. The more time that passes, according to Israeli assessments, the less Abbas has to fear and the less he has to lose. Thus, he can allow himself to be more daring. All the calculations and considerations of the past are disintegrating. Anything that happens now will be designed to create an “Abbas legacy” for future generations. What might possibly happen, according to Israeli sources? Abbas might lose his discretion, sense of judgment or his cool. He might gather his strength or just lose interest. Any guess is as good as the next.
Israeli leaders’ main concern is the Tanzim being coopted to join in a round of violence against Israel. Recent years have seen relative peace and quiet in the West Bank (with the exception of the individual terror wave that erupted in September 2015). This quiet is attributed to the work of the Palestinian security apparatuses and the Tanzim being removed from the equation. One order from the leadership in Ramallah, however, could rouse it. This is the most disturbing scenario and cause for concern for Israel in the coming period. The higher-ups in military intelligence and in the Palestinian General Security Services admit that this is not a “reasonable” scenario, but one that is called in Israel an “extreme” scenario. “Extreme” scenarios in the Middle East, however, have a propensity to materialize at the worst possible time.
To all this, one must add the fact that members of President Donald Trump’s peace team continue to drag their feet in the region and are not supplying the goods that the Palestinians expected to receive. Despite renewed promises by Trump that he is determined to present a program in the near future, it seems that no one in Ramallah is convinced of this. After a short period of euphoria, the Ramallah leadership now understands that Trump will not offer them what former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were also unable to provide.
Meanwhile, Israel faces a dilemma. On the one hand, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not really interested in a renewal of the peace process or any other presidential peace initiative. On the other hand, such an initiative could calm the Palestinian street as well as the Palestinian leadership, at least temporarily. Since Netanyahu is the best wizard at playing the “time game,” it could be that, ultimately, an initiative will become his preferred option.

On another front, Israel's defence minister - who is no other than the extreme-right Avigdor Lieberman - may acquire new draconian powers, including the ability to impose a wide range of restrictions on citizens.
For the moment, a Knesset committee has postponed a vote on an ammendment that will give the defence minister the authority to issue administrative detention orders or other restrictions, while limiting the oversight of the Attorney General or the courts over these orders.
The new bill is part of effort to place measures into the law books that have, until now, been implemented using emergency measures from the British Mandate period, from 1919 to 1948.
Last year, the Knesset passed an "anti-terrorism" law, but "several clauses dealing with administrative detention and restraining orders were excluded. Now they want to "plug the gaps" and expand the authority of Lieberman.
Such detentions have been used against Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank for decades. And in the last years it has expanded in Israel against its own citizens, Palestinians Christians & Muslins and also activists Israeli Jews.
Now Lieberman is taking a further step, asking for far-reaching authority while limiting legal oversight over these procedures. The bill will allow the defence minister to "sign an order forbidding a person to leave the country, to leave a specific area, to keep certain objects or talk to certain people, or even work at some jobs. It also includes a general amorphous clause, which allows the minister to impose any kind of limitation on any Citizen if there is a 'reasonable possibility' that he or she may harm state security.
A Haaretz editorial describes these "draconian measures" as "befitting a totalitarian regime, not a democratic state".
Has Israel ever been a democratic state? Not the Israel that I've known for the last 35 years and the one I learned from History.
The Knesset is playing a dangerous game. Specially when one knows that Avigdor Lieberman is an outlaw who lives in an illegal colony in the West Bank and a warmonger who has recently said that the next war waged on Israel’s northern front will not only be against Hezbollah in Lebanon, but also Syria, and hostilities will also include the Gaza Strip. Avigdor Lieberman made his comments in a speech to army officers at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday.

“The next war in the north will not only be the Lebanese front, but rather a united front made up of Syria and Lebanon. The next war will be fought on both fronts [north and south].” This, obviously, implies that Gaza will again be a target for an Israeli military offensive.

Such predictions, he suggested, do not reflect the sensitive reality in the region; war may occur from one moment to the next, or overnight. “Everything suggests that we must plan for a serious ground invasion, and there is no invasion without strong fire. Our tanks must provide such strong fire, just as the air defence must prevent great losses for Israel.”


Following last month's lethal attack by a Palestinian worker on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank Zionist colony of Har Adar, there have been disagreements between the Israeli government and the IDF (Israeli occupation forces) over what measures should be taken to reduce the number of such attacks and whether steps should include the collective punishment of Palestinians. As if Israel has never yet used collective punishment.

It would be laughable if the the main tool for collective punishment - preventing Palestinian workers from entering Israel - wasn't so tragic. Or in harsher terms, it is another step toward separation, closure, and isolation. Which is certainly not a new concept for Israel.

Let's not forget that the millions who for years have been under siege in Gaza and who are subject to the whims of the Israeli government, whether it is a war with thousands of casualties, disconnecting the Strip from electricity, forbidding the entry of electrical equipment or the exit of the sick are victims of collective punishment, which is forbidden by the Geneva Convention.

And for decades Palestinians in the West Bank have been living under a permit regime in which Israel decides who will be able to travel where and when. He ignores the mass arrests; the checkpoints and closures; and the cinder blocks and and makeshift checkpoints in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — perhaps because all of this has become routine for non-Jews.

And let’s not forget the fact that following every act of violence by a Palestinian, the Israeli occupation army immediately puts his village or town under closure. His family members have their permits revoked, their homes are demolished, and their residency rights are subject to revocation.

One cannot suppress a popular uprising for dozens of years and maintain an occupation for 50 years without collective punishment. Although the army has been playing the role of the “responsible adult” over the past few years — as the sole voice tempering the nationalistic bombast of the political echelons — but in reality the IDF (Israeli Occupation forces) remains the central body that maintains the occupation. There is no doubt that the decision to revoke work permits from tens of thousands of Palestinians will be a drastic step. But like we have learned for 50 years, Israel has many sticks and very few carrots up its sleeve, and it does not hesitate to use them.

Meet five Palestinian children who go to school in the Old city Jérusalem

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