AMERICA IS QUICK TO ACCUSE, BUT SLOW TO PROSECUTE

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The US Government is usually silent when one of its citizens is either savagely beaten or even murdered by the Israeli establishment.

BUT ….

Finally they are talking about this;

BUT AGAIN ….

Let’s see what they do about it.

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US accuses Israel of targeting Abu Khdeir’s family

State Department says concerned ‘members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest’ by Israel, after 2 cousins arrested.

From

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The United States on Wednesday charged Israel had targeted members of a Palestinian family whose teenaged son, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and killed in July along with two cousins, who are US citizens.

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in East Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from an East Jerusalem street and later found burned alive.

Israeli police arrested six suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others.

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Mohammad Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and murdered.
Mohammad Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and murdered.

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The death of the Palestinian teen – thought likely in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli yeshiva students in late June – sparked rioting and helped unleash the conflict under way in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel’s arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, a US citizen. He said he was beaten in detention and has since been freed and returned to Florida.

Tariq Abu Khdeir after being released from Israeli detention (Photo: Reuters)
Tariq Abu Khdeir after being released from Israeli detention (Photo: Reuters)

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On July 28, another cousin of Abu Khdeir, also American, was arrested in Israel as well, the State Department said Wednesday.

Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf identified him as “Mohammed Abu Khdeir,” which would mean his name is the same as his murdered cousin’s.

“We can confirm that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, was arrested on July 28. The US consulate general in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance. A consular official visited him on August 14. The consulate is also in contact with Mr. Khdeir’s family and his lawyer,” Harf said.

Yet “we are concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel.

And “we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Harf added.

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BhO7W1

#FergusonUnderFire ~~ 90 YEAR OLD HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ARRESTED

FERGUSON UNDER FIRE …

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Hedy Epstein, 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor, Arrested During Michael Brown Protest

DOES ISRAEL WANT HAMAS ABOVE OR BELOW GROUND?

Where do the U.S. and Israel want Hamas: as part of a transparent political system, or in underground tunnels?

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Palestinian unity is no substitute for a viable political system

Where do the U.S. and Israel want Hamas: as part of a transparent political system, or in underground tunnels?

By Sam Bahour

Palestinian “unity,” reconciling tensions between Hamas and Fatah, is being revered as the foundation that can extract Gaza from the misery wrought upon it byyet another brutal Israeli military onslaught. The devastation from what Israel called “Operation Protective Edge” is overwhelming: nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead, over 10,000 wounded and paralyzed, and a third of the 1.8 million people in Gaza homeless. Added to this human tragedy is the rabid destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. Palestinian political “unity” requires an operating political system, which is something that Israel dismantled long ago with official Palestinian acquiescence. Anyone seriously wanting to see Palestinians survive this latest Israeli attack should support the reemergence of a fully operating Palestinian political system, rather than just the replacement of a pair of failed political monopolies with a reconciled but leaderless political duopoly.

File photo of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: PPO/Thaer Ghanaim - Handout)

If this newly founded Palestinian “unity” was cemented in a strategic political agreement and emerged from a unified political system that was representative in nature, one may have hope. But it was not. It is a unity of Fatah and Hamas, two non-representative political entities, one more militant today than the other, but both equally squeezed into a political corner that not only challenges their strategies to end the nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation, but also casts doubt on their political legitimacy.

On June 3, 2014—more than a week before three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank were reported kidnapped and murdered—I made the following comments on the Middle East Eye website and on my Facebook wall regarding the unity agreement reached in Cairo on April 23, 2014:

 

Palestinians have finally created what has been coined as a “unity government” after nearly eight years of paralysing division between the two largest political parties, Fatah and Hamas. This step is extremely overdue, but should be welcomed nevertheless for what it is: a baby step in the right direction, finally accepting government for what it is, a branch of politics and not some technocratic institute.

The Palestinian political spectrum is much more colourful than the bipolar duopoly that this new government depicts. If Palestinian decision-makers are serious about reconstituting an operating Palestinian political system, then no time should be wasted in passing a political party law so new political groupings, mainly youth groups, can organise politically, and then subsequently be allowed to enter elections for all levels of Palestinian governance—starting with the PLO and ending with the Palestinian Legislative Council.

In the meantime, US and Israeli threats against the government because Hamas has joined it are strategically misplaced. One must ask, where does the US and Israel want Hamas to be: in a transparent political system, or in underground trenches? Regardless, the Palestinian government is not any other country’s business unless, that is, they allow Palestinians to choose the Israelis we accept to lead Israel.

On July 3, 2014, the Israeli Air Force conducted 15 air strikes in Gaza supposedly directed at Hamas targets in response to a rocket attack from Palestinian militants. The subsequent bombardment of Gaza during July cut short the unified government’s efforts to take serious steps forward to solidify the unity agreement.

In a fury to stop the mass killing and destruction that came with the latest aggression against Palestinians in Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attempted to leverage the still-fresh unity agreement. Abbas appointed a “unity delegation” to negotiate with Israel indirectly, given that Hamas refuses to negotiate directly, for a permanent ceasefire.

Negotiating a ceasefire agreement was not planned to be the first act of the unity government, but Israel successfully disrupted any planned unification of the Palestinian political system by imposing the latest humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Instead of beginning organizational tasks such as reunifying ministries, integrating Gaza’s security personnel into the national security institutions, merging two legal systems, and holding national elections, the “unity government” effort morphed into a “unity delegation” to deal with the ceasefire. There is a huge difference between a unity government based on a unified political system and a “unified delegation” focused solely on saving what remains of the Gaza Strip.

Given the horrific carnage in Gaza, few in the West will even recall that the Israeli government lashed out against any unification of the Palestinians, threatened to cut funding, and took punitive measures to further entrench their state of military control over the West Bank. A very plausible argument can be made that massive destruction of Gaza and rampaging in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were all orchestrated to ensure Palestinians remain divided and Hamas continue to be perceived as a legitimate threat to Israel, providing the perfect justification for not ending the Israeli occupation.

Members of the Al Kaferna family stand in their flat which was destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, August 4, 2014. They went back to quickly salvage a few of their belongings during a short ceasefire. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

With the ceasefire being the centerpiece of “unity,” I posted these remarks in the Middle East Eye on August 8, 2014:

 

The sheer use of the word “ceasefire” is insulting. It depicts an artificial symmetry that the Palestinians have fell for, even though reality on the ground is totally contrary.

For a fragile, non-representative, Palestinian unity delegation to be engaged in “ceasefire” negotiations with their military occupier (it means little if done directly or through intermediaries) sets up Palestinians for an Oslo-like phase, where, no matter what is agreed, the Palestinian side will be signing away rights that have been stripped from them by Israel for decades.

These rights, first among them protection, should be secured by Third States under their obligations toward the Fourth Geneva Convention, without the need for “resistance” or “ceasefire” talks.

A “ceasefire” simply reinforces the false impression that there is some hint of symmetry between Palestine and Israel. There is not! Furthermore, to be conducting these “ceasefire” talks [in Cairo,] the capital of a country that participates in the siege of the Gaza Strip, should be an embarrassment to every member of the Palestinian negotiating team, first among them Hamas.

After all the dead are buried in Gaza and the mourning process comes to a close, politically we will be exactly where we were two months prior to this tragedy: living the illusion of unity in the absence of a legitimate political system. Meanwhile, the reality of military occupation keeps us physically and politically fragmented, led by unelected leaders, and sustained more than ever by foreign donors who have their own agendas. These are the ingredients for yet another round of violence.

 

Written FOR

#OperationCeasefire ~~ THE TRUCE THAT ALMOST WAS LOOKS UNLIKELY NOW

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Things were almost looking good until Netanyahu realised that Peace could mean the end of his political reign …

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Netanyahu: No Gaza deal without ‘answer’ to Israel security needs

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet
meeting in Tel Aviv on Aug. 10, 2014 (AFP Baz Ratner)
JERUSALEM (AFP) (VIA) — Israel will not agree to any long-term ceasefire in Gaza at indirect talks in Cairo unless its security needs are clearly met, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.”The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” Netanyahu told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“Only if there is a clear answer to Israel’s security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding,” he said, as Israel’s negotiating team made its way back to Cairo for indirect talks with Palestinians over a long-term arrangement to end more than a month of bloodshed in Gaza.

The Egyptian-brokered talks, which were due to resume on Sunday, are taking place during a five-day lull in the fighting between Israeli and Gaza’s Hamas de facto rulers which is due to expire at midnight on Monday.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinians would not back down from their demands, central of which is a lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the enclave, and that the outcome of the talks was in Israel’s hands.

“We are committed to achieving the Palestinian demands and there is no way back from this. All these demands are basic human rights that do not need this battle or these negotiations,” Abu Zuhri told AFP.

“The ball is in the Israeli occupation’s court.”

But Netanyahu warned that Hamas, which he said had suffered a major military blow, would not walk away from the Cairo talks with any political success.

“If Hamas thinks it will make up for its military losses with a political achievement, it is wrong,” he said.

“If Hamas thinks that by continuing the steady trickle of rocket fire it will force us to make concessions, it is wrong. As long as there is no quiet, Hamas will continue to suffer heavy blows.

“Hamas knows we have a lot of power but maybe it thinks we don’t have enough determination and patience, and even there it is wrong, it is making a big mistake,” he said.

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And from the ziopress
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Netanyahu: Israel’s security needs must be met

As Israeli delegation lands in Cairo for ceasefire talks, Cabinet convenes, minister say Israel’s security must top agreement; Minister: ‘It’s better for us if Palestinians are ones who say no to deal’.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed indirect negotiations currently underway in Cairo regarding a long term ceasefire in Gaza, and said that Israel’s security needs must be addressed. Earlier Sunday, before the Israeli delegation to talks arrived in Egypt, Palestinians said chances to reach a deal were low.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. ,” Netanyahu said.

“If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken,” he added.

“We are a strong and determined people. We have seen this in the amazing revelations of strength and resilience in the past weeks on the part of both our soldiers and our civilians. We will continue to be steadfast and united until we achieve the goals of the campaign – the restoration of quiet and security for all Israelis,” the prime minister said.

“We are in the midst of a military and diplomatic campaign,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting, in which ministers were said to be discussing the ceasefire, as well as a military contingency plan should talks fail to yield results.

“From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel,” the prime minister said, adding that “Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings.”

According to the prime minister, “In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is also a member of the Security-Cabinet, said that “we must demand safety for Israel’s residents. We must make sure that they feel safe and we cannot complete this operation without them feeling secure again.”

Lapid further noted that “we must create an international mechanism to make sure they are safe.”

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “the most important thing for Israel is the demand that Gaza be demilitarized.” When asked about the Palestinian demand that Gaza get a seaport, the minister said such a port would be a “duty-free for rockets – and in the future Scuds (missiles).

“We will continue talks in Cairo, but we cannot give up on the issue of demilitarization.”

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who is leading a group of ministers objecting to negotations, called on Israel to leave talks, and implement the unilateral proposal he has been promoting for the last two weeks.

“The current situation in which we are biting our nails waiting for the response of a murderous terrorists group must end. We must stop the negotiations with Hamas and take our fate into our own hands: Humanitarian (aid) yes, terror no,” Bennett said.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, a rightist from the Yisrael Beitenu party, slammed the government from the right, and said “Hamas is managing us, we are being led,” he claimed,

“Israel is attempting to reach calm at any price. This is only a temporary calm. In all the previous rounds of fighting after calm was reached we got a more aggressive response. We are turning Hamas into an international player.”

Little optimism as talks start again
Talks in Cairo started again Sunday morning, with the Israeli delegation arriving while the Cabinet convened. The Egyptian government persuaded both sides late Wednesday to adhere to a new five-day ceasefire, extending an earlier three-day agreement in order to allow more time to thrash out a longer-term truce.

But to Egyptian dismay, Palestinians also seem to be playing down the chance a long-term agreement, as international efforts backing Egypt’s proposal have been rising, indicating powers like the US and UN could try to pressure the sides to reach an agreement. The US has already offered Israel assurances over its security, a report claimed.

A member of the Palestinian delegation told The Associated Press on Sunday that the gaps between the sides were still significant and that it was far from certain whether a deal could be reached before the cease-fire expires.

“We are less optimistic than we were earlier,” he said, his comments came after Hamas’ political chief Khaled Mashal said Saturday his group would not back down from a single demand.

A senior Israeli Cabinet minister told Ynet that “it is very possible that talks will end without an agreement, and it is possible that this senior is preferable in comparison to the other options currently on the table.”

A senior political source told Ynet that Israel is mulling its next steps, but said that “it is better for us if the Palestinians are the ones who say no, and this now seems to be the situation.”

Another Cabinet minister said that despite ongoing talks, and past Israeli willingness to ease restrictions on Palestinians, “it is possible we are returning to a ‘calm in return for calm’ formula.”

Cabinet minister, first and foremost Economy Minister Naftali Bennet say that any renewed rocket fire will be met with a massive Israeli response, and the Cabinet is also said to be discussing the possibility of a renewed ground offensive in Gaza should aggressions start again.

Bennett told Ynet that even though he supports unilateral moves which would better the situation for Gaza while undermining Hamas control, he believes a ground offensive could topple Hamas within a number of months.

When fighting began Israel position was that any aggression by Hamas or Gaza militants would be met with aggression, while any calm would be met with calm. The logic behind the formula was Israel’s reluctance to negotiate with Hamas, a group it, the US and many Western nations recognize as a terror organization.

Egyptian diplomats told the Turkish news agency Anatolia that Egypt is making efforts to persuade the two sides to resume the ceasefire until a final agreement is reached, rather than extend the ceasefire for a specified period of time.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE GOING?

Global public opinion has shifted decisively in favour of justice for the Palestinians. What’s needed is to turn that into unrelenting pressure for an end to support for occupation, an arms embargo and sanctions, from above and below. The horror of Gaza is a crime made in Washington and London, as well as Jerusalem.

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Gaza is a crime made in Washington as well as Jerusalem

The carnage unleashed on the Palestinians is part of a decades-old routine that depends on western support
By Seumas Milne IN
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MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS CONFLICT

An Israeli army flare illuminating Gaza on 3 August. Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPA

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Global revulsion at the mind-numbing carnage of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza seems finally to have spurred some of the western political class to speak out. The resignation of Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, inprotest against her government’s “morally indefensible” stance, emboldened Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, to demand the suspension of arms export licences to Israel.

Last week it was Ed Miliband who condemned Israel’s invasion and the prime minister’s “silence on the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians”. Even the United States administration denounced its strategic protege’s“disgraceful” bombardment of a school, while Barack Obama described Palestinian suffering as “ heartbreaking” – as if he had nothing to do with it.

Now that Israelis and Palestinians have arrived in Cairo to turn the ceasefire into something more long-lasting, perhaps it feels safer to take a stand. But a month of indiscriminate brutality in which 1,875 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed is still presented, grotesquely, as a war of Israeli self-defence – rather than as a decades-long confrontation between occupier and occupied, in which western governments stand resolutely on the side of the occupier.

And while the overwhelming majority of Palestinian dead are civilians – 430 of them children – and 64 of the Israeli dead are soldiers, it is Hamas that is branded terrorist, rather than the Israeli armed forces armed with the most sophisticated targeting technology in the world.

It’s only necessary to consider for a moment what the reaction would have been if the death toll had been the other way round to realise how loaded are the scales of western moral outrage and selective the appetite for action. And it’s only by ignoring the entire history of the conflict that it can be portrayed as the result of some wearisome ancient ethnic hatred.

This week’s centenary of the outbreak of the first world war should help. David Cameron claims it was fought for freedom. In reality, it was a savage industrial slaughter perpetrated by a gang of imperial powers to carve up territories, markets and resources.

Far from defending democracy or the rights of small nations, Britain and France ended the war divvying up the defeated German and Ottoman empires between them, from Iraq to Palestine. A century on, we’re still living with the consequences.

In my own family, both my grandmothers lost brothers in the 1914-18 war. One was George Mackay Clark, who fought with the Royal Scots in Gallipoli and the campaign to conquer Palestine. He was killed in November 1917, just outside Gaza.

Ten days earlier, a British foreign secretary had signed the Balfour declaration, which on behalf of one people promised to a second the land of a third. Palestine would be a “home for the Jewish people” provided that nothing would prejudice the rights of the “existing non-Jewish communities”, as the Palestinians were described.

So began its full-scale colonisation by mainly European settlers – something that could have happened only under colonial rule – which three decades later would lead to the establishment of Israel and the dispossession or expulsion of the majority of the Palestinian people.

Four Arab-Israeli wars on, the 44% of Palestine allocated to the Palestinian majority under the 1947 UN partition plan had been entirely occupied by Israel – and the Palestinians were fighting a guerrilla war for self-determination and the refugees’ right of return.

The other day I came across a copy of Newsweek magazine from March 1978, with a picture of an Israeli tank on the cover under the headline “Israel strikes back”. Then it was south Lebanon that Israel was punishing, not Gaza – and the “terrorists” of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation, not Hamas, that its forces were targeting.

Israel staged an even larger-scale invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and occupied the south for another 18 years. Since the Oslo agreement of the early 1990s failed to produce the Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza it was supposed to, Israel has colonised, bombed and reinvaded the Palestinian territories it illegally occupies (along with Syria and Lebanon) time and again: in 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2012.

The justification is always the same: the security of the occupier must be upheld against the resistance of the occupied and blockaded population. And at every stage Israel has had the military, financial and diplomatic support of the west, the US above all.

Despite the hand-wringing, that backing has been unwavering throughout the past month’s devastation of Gaza. Not only is Israel’s right of “self-defence” in a territory it illegally controls upheld, while the same right is denied to the Palestinians, but the US, whose military aid to Israel runs to $3bn a year, has been re-supplying it with weapons as its troops and aircraft pulverised and massacred their way through an impoverished territory from which its captive people are unable to escape.

Europe is in the same game. Britain has licensed the sale of a startling£8bn worth of military or dual-use equipment since 2010, and £42m of direct arms sales – including parts for drones and tanks used in the destruction of Gaza.

But a month on, Israel has failed to achieve its objectives. It has “mown the lawn”, as Israel’s military likes to describe its campaigns of destruction and bloodletting. But Hamas has been strengthened by its defiance and military performance; itsrate of rocket fire was barely reduced by Israel’s attacks; and the united front with other Palestinian groups Israel is so keen to destroy has been shored up by the campaign.

If the Palestinians are going to break out of their current subjection, that will have to go further. For the rest of the world it’s the outrageous big-power backing for Israel’s 47-year illegal occupation, colonisation and denial of Palestinian rights – while orchestrating an endless phoney peace process that simply allows the land grab to continue – that has to be challenged and dismantled.

Global public opinion has shifted decisively in favour of justice for the Palestinians. What’s needed is to turn that into unrelenting pressure for an end to support for occupation, an arms embargo and sanctions, from above and below. The horror of Gaza is a crime made in Washington and London, as well as Jerusalem.

 

#OperationCeasefire ~~ HOW ABBAS CAN PUT AN END TO IT

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AS THE SITUATION STANDS AT THE MOMENT VIA

From demilitarization to UN control, Israel’s leaders have their own ideas on Gaza

Relying on the Saudis, granting Abbas more power, UN control of Gaza – while senior ministers propose their plans for the days after Operation Protective Edge, yet Prime Minister Netanyahu has preferred to remain silent.

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The military campaign has not officially ended and already ministers, members of Knesset, researchers, and foundations – both in Israel and abroad – have proposed a variety of plans to change the face of the Middle East and promote a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Yet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is directly responsible for the negotiations in Cairo, has barely said a word about the end of Operation Protective Edge.

Some of the proposals are innovative while others are rehashed iterations of the same proposals which have been part of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians over the past two decades.

It remains to be seen whether the proposals are feasible, whether they are acceptable to Netanyahu, and whether they have any legitimacy with the Palestinians.

Regardless it appears that Netanyahu, who is supposedly the top policy maker, cannot prevent his ministers from suggesting alternatives – that may make it more difficult for Israel in the negotiations and in the international arena.

Peri’s Plan: Committee to demilitarize the Strip

Former Shin Bet chief and current suggested his plan even before the fighting paused and the talks in Cairo were attended by officials. During an interview with Ynet, Peri proposed an international committee to deliberate on demilitarizing the Strip and rehabilitating the war-torn territory.

Science Minister Yaakov Peri
Science Minister Yaakov Peri

“We have an opening here not only to renew the peace process but for an agreement or a regional council which will begin deliberating on an end to the conflict,” he said in the interview.

“There is an opportunity here because a moderate axis has been created in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Israel must make use of this moderate axis.”

Livni’s Plan: Let Abbas rule Gaza 

A few days after the interview with Peri, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – who has ceaselessly worked on the negotiations with the Palestinians – offered her own plan.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Resuming peace process (Emil Salman)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Resuming peace process (Emil Salman)

As Israel’s chief negotiator to the peace process, she presented a number of principles for a new arrangement in Gaza, which may win wide support in the world.

  • Immediate humanitarian assistance to residents
  • Economic support in return for demilitarization
  • Recognition of PA authority, legislation, and security forces
  • Ending of terror funding (using observers to ensure aid reaches residents and not Hamas)
  • Rehabilitation of Strip by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas
  • Opening of border crossings under supervision to prevent transfer of materials for terror
  • Resuming peace process between Israel and PA

Lapid’s Plan: Four point draft

Finance Minister Yair Lapid also delved into the diplomatic arena with a political proposal, similar to the one presented by his Yesh Atid colleague, Peri. The minister offered an international committee which included countries from both the Middle East and the West, convened to draft a proposal for the demilitarization and rehabilitation of Gaza.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Photo: Nimrod Glickman)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Photo: Nimrod Glickman)

Lapid’s plan included four points: 

  • Returning control of the Rafah border crossing to the Palestinian Authority
  • Giving the PA control over the rehabilitation of the Strip to prevent funds from reaching Hamas
  • Stipulating that safety of Israeli civilians was a condition of the rehabilitation process
  • Cementing principles to prevent the reinforcement of terror – demilitarization of Gaza, removing threat posed by tunnels and rockets

Lieberman’s Plan: UN control of Gaza

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman raised the possibility of having the UN take control of Gaza in a Knesset committee last week. “We should consider returning the mandate for the Gaza border and the Strip to the UN. This might be one of the ideas that can actually be implemented,” Lieberman said to the committee.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. UN control of Gaza (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. UN control of Gaza (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

During an interview with Ynet on Monday, Lieberman focused less on the day after the operation and emphasized the conditions Israel must achieve before Protective Edge can end.

“We must not end the operation before the bodies of our soldiers, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, are returned. It is unacceptable that all of Hamas’ members will receive their paychecks while the bodies of IDF soldiers have not been laid to rest in Israel.”

The foreign minister then categorically rejected a number of Hamas’ conditions for an extended ceasefire. “We do not agree to any release of terrorists, and we will not even agree to discuss the opening of a seaport or an airport in Gaza.”

Herzog’s Plan: Advance the two-state solution

The chairman of the opposition, Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog, also presented a proposal. Herzog said that a new coalition with similar interests had risen in the Middle East, which included Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority – and was backed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog. Two-state solution (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog. Two-state solution (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Herzog offered a multi-step proposal that begins with an immediate ceasefire and emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The second step would involve a diplomatic agreement which included the entry of PA security forces to the border crossings and granting Abbas the authority to rule Gaza as part of the unity government formed before the operation.

The third step calls for a convention of donor countries in Norway at the beginning of September, to launch an emergency fundraising campaign for the rehabilitation of Gaza.

Herzog believes that a billion dollars needed to be raised as soon as possible through the Palestinian Authority.

He said a political proposal must be drafted to lift the blockade of Gaza by opening border crossings and building a seaport under Abbas’ authority – based on international legislation and supervision – with a binding international agreement based on a Security Council resolution, which would demand demilitarizing the Strip and an end to the funding of Hamas.

The end of the multi-step process, according to Herzog, would allow for the inclusion of Hamas in the political sphere. “We cannot operate only through force,” he explained.

“We need to start a political process immediately with the aim of raising a Palestinian state. Israel must submit a far-reaching plan under which a state will be created which would maintain our security interests. It forces the administration to make a bold move.”

Netanyahu’s silence

And what about the prime minister? Up to now, despite the opportunities presented after Protective Edge – first and foremost reinforcing the relationship with Abbas – Netanyahu has no political plan.

At least, not one expressed to the public. Netanyahu has remained silent even about the day after the operation in Gaza, except for Israel’s demand for calm and an end goal in Gaza – demilitarizing the Strip.

Netanyahu. Remained silent (Photo: Yogev Atias)
Netanyahu. Remained silent (Photo: Yogev Atias)

The prime minister has hinted in one of his speeches during the operation of his close ties to various nations in the Middle East, but he has not yet presented a diplomatic draft to take Israel off the course towards international isolation towards which it is currently walking and which would improve its relations with Washington and with other Western nations.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that “the operation continues, that is why we are not discussing the day after. We note the statements made by the prime minister a few days ago, in which he spoke of the new opportunities that will appear after the operation.”

BROOMSTICKS OVER GAZA

VYING FOR THE ZIOVOTE

“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” Clinton said. Israel, she added, may have made some mistakes that led to civilian casualties, but that is what happens in the “fog of war.”

“I don’t know a nation … that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas,” Clinton said, pointing to the terrorist group’s rocket attacks against Israel and the way its fighters base their operations in civilian areas.

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Hillary Clinton Backs Israel’s Handling of Gaza

Blames Anti-Semitism for Some Criticism

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA VIA

Hillary Rodham Clinton defended Israel’s handling of the Gaza conflict and said anti-Semitism was possibly behind some of the criticism of Israel.

Clinton also appeared to back Israel’s insistence on maintaining a security presence in the West Bank and stopping Iranian uranium enrichment.

The former U.S. secretary of state made her remarks in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic.

“I think Israel did what it had to do to respond to the rockets,” Clinton said. Israel, she added, may have made some mistakes that led to civilian casualties, but that is what happens in the “fog of war.”

“I don’t know a nation … that hasn’t made errors, but ultimately the responsibility rests with Hamas,” Clinton said, pointing to the terrorist group’s rocket attacks against Israel and the way its fighters base their operations in civilian areas.

Clinton criticized the “enormous international reaction” against Israel, calling it “uncalled for and unfair,” especially in comparison to the relatively more tepid responses to the far greater death toll in Syria and Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism,” she added, “especially with what’s going on in Europe today.”

Clinton, who butted heads as secretary of state with Netanyahu over settlements, said that “dealing with Bibi is not easy.” But she noted that he endorsed a two-state solution and in 2009 accepted a 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank.

She also voiced support for his position on several fronts.

Citing the instability and fighting in Iraq and Syria, Clinton said Netanyahu was right to insist that Israel maintain a military presence in the West Bank along the Jordan River.

“If I were the prime minister of Israel,” she said, “you’re damn right I would expect to have control over security.”

Clinton also praised Israel and the Gulf states for insisting that Iran not be allowed to enrich uranium — a position that appears to be at odds with the direction that the Obama administration is heading in the international negotiations aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

“I am well aware that I am not at the negotiating table anymore, but I think it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran,” Clinton said. “The preference would be no enrichment. The potential fallback position would be such little enrichment that they could not break out. So, little or no enrichment has always been my position.”

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HillaryforPrison2016

#GazaUnderAttack~~ EGYPTIAN ‘INTELLIGENCE’S’ LACK OF SAME REGARDING PEACE IN GAZA

THIS IS WHAT THEY PROPOSE AS THE LEADER OF GAZA

latuff-abbas-settler

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WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY AND PROPOSE THIS INSTEAD?

We can call it a Troika ;)

color-obam-netan-abbas-web

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I really had to laugh when I read the following report from Ynet ….

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Egyptian ceasefire plan introduces PA control in Gaza

Analysis: Israel seems prepared to accept passage of goods, people between Gaza, West Bank; diplomats considering release of prisoners withheld during peace talks.

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Egypt’s intelligence chief, Major General Mohamed Ahmed Fareed Al-Tuhami, is taking action at ceasefire talks in Cairo to consolidate an initial agreement focused on a ceasefire and humanitarian relief.

According to the emerging agreement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) will have control over the Philadelphi Route to prevent further construction of smuggling tunnels beneath the border between Egypt and Gaza.

By following this plan, Abbas and forces under the PA would be responsible for monitoring or destroying entrances to smuggling tunnels on the Palestinian side and the Egyptians would do the same from Sinai as they have done up till now.

 

Under the Egyptian initiative, the PA would gain control of the Philadelphi Roue. (Photo: AFP)
Under the Egyptian initiative, the PA would gain control of the Philadelphi Roue. (Photo: AFP)

 

These plans for the Philadelphi Route are all part of the Egyptian ceasefire plan which would include the opening of the Rafah border crossing under control of the PA and which Abbas’ negotiators seem ready to accept within the framework of their reconciliation government with Hamas, restoring some form of control and status to the PA in the Gaza Strip.

In accordance with the current outlines drawn up by the Egyptians, Israel is required to facilitate the movement of goods at the Kerem Shalom border crossing as well as the movement of people between Gaza and the West Bank through the Erez border crossing. Israel is prepared to agree to such a deal.

The Israelis have also signaled that they are prepared to grant the Palestinians expanded fishing rights off the Gaza coast, but demand that Israeli forces will be able to monitor a security parameter from the west to the fence surrounding the Strip in order to make sure that Palestinian organizations aren’t digging new smuggling tunnels.

It’s not completely clear if the Israelis are demanding a permanent presence in the security parameter or simply the right to enter the area when there is suspicion of a tunnel being dug and about to emerge in Israeli territory.

According to the Egyptian initiative, besides having control of the Philidelphi Route and the Rafah border crossing, the PA will act as a middle man, passing funds from Qatar to Hamas in the amount required to pay some 43,000 government officials who have not been paid for quite some time.

The efforts to reach an agreement are being held mainly in Cairo, but are also taking place by telephone between the Israelis, Egypt, the PA, the US, and a few countries representing EU interests. The UN envoy Robert Serry is also involved in these efforts.

These efforts are complex, but can be easily separated into two different political fronts or goals to be achieved.

1. The involved parties are working to achieve an immediate ceasefire that will allow for humanitarian relief to reach Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

2. The general consensus is also that a long-term agreement needs to be reached that will include an international declaration to prevent Hamas’ military build up under either Palestinian or international supervision, and a large aid package to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli delegation is not currently present in Cairo, mostly because their presence isn’t necessary for talks to continue. The envoy that returned to Israel on Friday already gave the Egyptians their stance on the initial agreement.

So far, Egyptian mediators have not phoned and asked the Israelis to change or reconsider any of their terms. Therefore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can say without hesitation that he is not negotiating with Hamas while Israel remains under fire. At least for the time being, the Israeli envoy doesn’t seem to be preparing to return to Cairo, but such action is possible.

 

A rocket that fell near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council as fire from Gaza continued Saturday. (Photo: Eshkol Regional Council Spokesperson)
A rocket that fell near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council as fire from Gaza continued Saturday. (Photo: Eshkol Regional Council Spokesperson)

 

Israel, Egypt, and the PA all have mutual interests in the Egyptian initiative which intelligence chief Al-Tuhami is currently trying to sell to the Palestinians. At the moment, Hamas is standing by its demands, but according to assessments in Cairo and Jerusalem, the group will eventually agree to a ceasefire and the terms of the initial agreement. The sides will then sit and talk out the main diplomatic truce.

Prisoner release

Israel will most likely agree to release Palestinian prisoners that were denied their freedom during the last round of peace talks. This move will strengthen PA leader Abbas and at least partially meet Hamas’ demands to release certain prisoners. However, right-wing politicians in Israel deny reports regarding the possible release of prisoners who were released in the deal for Gilad Shalit and re-captured during Operation Brother’s keeper in the West Bank.

Bassam as-Salhi, a member of the Palestinian envoy to Cairo, said Saturday that the Palestinians have postponed Israel’s suggestion to release prisoners in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers.

As-Salhi spoke to Ma’an News Agency on Saturday saying that the Palestinians are refusing to discuss the subject of the soldiers in the framework of the ceasefire talks. He said that the delegates would be ready to raise the issue after their other demands were met.

 

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is making a push on the international front to come to an agreement in Gaza. (Photo: Emil Salman)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is making a push on the international front to come to an agreement in Gaza. (Photo: Emil Salman)

 

Meanwhile, in the international arena, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is pushing for an agreement that will finance the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip with funds from the US, EU and possibly even the UN while making sure to enforce strict inspection to prevent the military build up of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas proactively continues to fire rockets at Israel in relatively small amounts. Even Hamas doesn’t want to anger the Egyptians and lose points in international and Palestinian opinion. Therefore, they are simply allowing Islamic Jihad to fire the rockets while seemingly putting limits on them.

This policy allows Hamas to keep its stockpile of rockets for another day. Israel is responding to rocket fire by hitting targets picked out by intelligence efforts during the fighting including operation and control centers which were already attacked but which Hamas is trying to reoccupy.

Israel is also attacking with comparative restraint in order no to upset Egyptian efforts to reach a stable ceasefire.

SHARON’S GAZA LEGACY LIVES ON

Ariel-Sharon-2005-Announcing-Gaza-Withdrawal

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Unlike some Bloggers, I never claimed nor considered myself to be a journalist. I constantly aggregate articles and posts from other sources, especially those from the Palestinian Press, Progressive Jewish  and other Websites. This, needless to say is aggravating to many on-line zionists, which in a small way makes me feel that my mission was accomplished.

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However, I do on occasion write my own articles, the following is just one of them …

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THE LEGACY LIVES ON
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On the Hebrew Calendar, it was nine years ago today that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon forcibly expelled the Jewish Settlers who were living in Gaza. This was a move that angered the right in Israel, they saw it as a sellout, as a defeat to their occupation of lands that did not belong to them. Some on the left saw the move as a positive one which would eventually lead to self rule in Palestine. In actuality, it was the beginning of the end to Sharon’s political reign. 

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Hell literally froze over that day as far as the settlers were concerned …

CAR173.pvw

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I saw the move as an attempt to make the entire Strip Judenfrei, which would allow Israel to attack at any time without harming any Jewish residents. Perhaps that was a minority opinion, but I was proven correct just four years later when the first war in Gaza began, a war that saw over 1,400 Palestinian fatalities.

Two years later we witnessed an entire blockade of the area. This would not have been possible with the continued settlement of Jewish people. This blockade in itself started the flow of Humanitarian Aid Flotillas which also resulted in the deaths of many people.

Nor would it have been possible to continue the ethnic cleansing and genocidal policies which resulted in the second war which started 30 days ago today, a war that so far has resulted in the deaths of over 1800 Palestinians, mostly innocent civilians including women and children.

For them I mourn today, not for the displaced settlers.

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death-of-ariel-sharon-2

ISRAEL LIES AS GAZA DIES

All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.
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Why Israel Lies

By Chris Hedges IN

  Palestinians evacuate a survivor of an Israeli airstrike that hit a family building Sunday in Rafah, in southern Gaza. AP/Eyad Baba

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All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives, which we dutifully insert into our stories—required under the rules of American journalism—although we know they are untrue.

I saw small boys baited and killed by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis. The soldiers swore at the boys in Arabic over the loudspeakers of their armored jeep. The boys, about 10 years old, then threw stones at an Israeli vehicle and the soldiers opened fire, killing some, wounding others. I was present more than once as Israeli troops drew out and shot Palestinian children in this way. Such incidents, in the Israeli lexicon, become children caught in crossfire. I was in Gaza when F-16 attack jets dropped 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on overcrowded hovels in Gaza City. I saw the corpses of the victims, including children. This became a surgical strike on a bomb-making factory. I have watched Israel demolish homes and entire apartment blocks to create wide buffer zones between the Palestinians and the Israeli troops that ring Gaza. I have interviewed the destitute and homeless families, some camped out in crude shelters erected in the rubble. The destruction becomes the demolition of the homes of terrorists. I have stood in the remains of schools—Israel struck two United Nations schools in the last six days, causing at least 10 fatalities at one in Rafah on Sunday and at least 19 at one in the Jebaliya refugee camp Wednesday—as well as medical clinics and mosques. I have heard Israel claim that errant rockets or mortar fire from the Palestinians caused these and other deaths, or that the attacked spots were being used as arms depots or launching sites. I, along with every other reporter I know who has worked in Gaza, have never seen any evidence that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields.”

There is a perverted logic to Israel’s repeated use of the Big Lie—Große Lüge—the lie favored by tyrants from Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to Saddam Hussein. The Big Lie feeds the two reactions Israel seeks to elicit—racism among its supporters and terror among its victims.

By painting a picture of an army that never attacks civilians, that indeed goes out of its way to protect them, the Big Lie says Israelis are civilized and humane, and their Palestinian opponents are inhuman monsters. The Big Lie serves the idea that the slaughter in Gaza is a clash of civilizations, a war between democracy, decency and honor on one side and Islamic barbarism on the other. And in the uncommon cases when news of atrocities penetrates to the wider public, Israel blames the destruction and casualties on Hamas.George Orwell in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” called this form of propaganda doublethink. Doublethink uses “logic against logic” and “repudiate[s] morality while laying claim to it.” The Big Lie does not allow for the nuances and contradictions that can plague conscience. It is a state-orchestrated response to the dilemma of cognitive dissonance. The Big Lie permits no gray zones. The world is black and white, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous. The Big Lie allows believers to take comfort—a comfort they are desperately seeking—in their own moral superiority at the very moment they have abrogated all morality.

The Big Lie, as the father of American public relations, Edward Bernays, wrote, is limited only by the propagandist’s capacity to fathom and harness the undercurrents of individual and mass psychology. And since most supporters of Israel do not have a desire to know the truth, a truth that would force them to examine their own racism and self-delusions about Zionist and Western moral superiority, like packs of famished dogs they lap up the lies fed to them by the Israeli government. The Big Lie always finds fertile soil in what Bernays called the “logic-proof compartment of dogmatic adherence.” All effective propaganda, Bernays wrote, targets and builds upon these irrational “psychological habits.”

This is the world Franz Kafka envisioned, a world where the irrational becomes rational. It is one where, as Gustave Le Bon noted in “The Crowd: A Study of the Public Mind,” those who supply the masses with the illusions they crave become their master, and “whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.” This irrationality explains why the reaction of Israeli supporters to those who have the courage to speak the truth—Uri Avnery, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Cook, Norman Finkelstein, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappé, Henry Siegman and Philip Weiss—is so rabid. That so many of these voices are Jewish, and therefore have more credibility than non-Jews who are among Israel’s cheerleaders, only ratchets up the level of hate.

But the Big Lie is also consciously designed to send a chilling message to Gaza’s Palestinians, who have lost large numbers of their dwellings, clinics, mosques, and power, water and sewage facilities, along with schools and hospitals, who have suffered some 1,650 deaths since this assault began—most of the victims women and children—and who have seen 400,000 people displaced from their homes. The Big Lie makes it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will continue to wage a campaign of state terror and will never admit its atrocities or its intentions. The vast disparity between what Israel says and what Israel does tells the Palestinians that there is no hope. Israel will do and say whatever it wants. International law, like the truth, will always be irrelevant. There will never, the Palestinians understand from the Big Lie, be an acknowledgement of reality by the Israeli leadership.

The Israel Defense Forces website is replete with this black propaganda. “Hamas exploits the IDF’s sensitivity towards protecting civilian structures, particularly holy sites, by hiding command centers, weapons caches and tunnel entrances in mosques,” the IDF site reads. “In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields,” the site insists.

“… [Israeli] officers are tasked with an enormous responsibility: to protect Palestinian civilians on the ground, no matter how difficult that may be,” the site assures its viewers. And the IDF site provides this quote from a drone operator identified as Lt. Or. “I have personally seen rockets fired at Israel from hospitals and schools, but we couldn’t strike back because of civilians nearby. In one instance, we acquired a target but we saw that there were children in the area. We waited around, and when they didn’t leave we were forced to abort a strike on an important target.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a Big Lie of his own, said last month at a conference of Christians United for Israel that the Israeli army should be given the “Nobel Peace Prize …  a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be grounded in truth and reality. While, as Hannah Arendtpointed out, the ancient and modern sophists sought to win an argument at the expense of the truth, those who wield the Big Lie “want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality.” The old sophists, she said, “destroyed the dignity of human thought.” Those who resort to the Big Lie “destroy the dignity of human action.” The result, Arendt warned, is that “history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility.” And when facts no longer matter, when there is no shared history grounded in the truth, when people foolishly believe their own lies, there can be no useful exchange of information. The Big Lie, used like a bludgeon by Israel, as perhaps it is designed to be, ultimately reduces all problems in the world to the brutish language of violence. And when oppressed people are addressed only through violence they will answer only through violence.

USA FINALLY APPALLED BY ITS OWN MISDEEDS IN GAZA

It took 28 days of killing innocent civilians to finally get the USA to speak out against it …. don’t forget it was THEY that supplied the bombs and bullets. 

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“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed.”

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obama-appalled

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U.S. ‘Appalled’ By ‘Disgraceful Shelling’ On U.N. School in Gaza

Urges Israel to Avoid Civilian Casulties

By Reuters VIA

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The United States criticized the “disgraceful shelling” at a U.N. school in Gaza on Sunday and urged Israel to do more to prevent civilian casualties in its war against Hamas militants.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also called for an investigation into attacks on U.N. schools in densely populated Gaza.

“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” Psaki said in a statement.

Psaki urged Israel again to live up to its own standards of avoiding civilian casualties as the conflict in the Hamas-controlled Gaza stretched into its 27th day.

On Wednesday, at least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in a U.N.-run school in Jabalya refugee camp were killed during fighting, and the United Nations said Israeli artillery had apparently hit the building. The Israeli military said gunmen had fired mortar bombs from near the school and it shot back in response.

Psaki said U.N. facilities should not be used as bases from which to launch attacks.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” she added.

The fighting on Sunday pushed the Gaza death toll given by Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians. Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian rockets have killed three civilians in Israel.

US TAX DOLLARS CONTINUE TO PAY FOR CARNAGE IN GAZA

The Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the US Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.

SALE ????

 Did anyone see a receipt??

This might explain why you didn’t … the weapons were already in Israel.

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

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US resupplies Israel with weapons as Gaza death toll hits 1384
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Members of Code Pink hold a vigil of civil disobedience and conduct a “die-in”
in front of the Israeli Embassy July 30, 2014 (AFP Paul J. Richards)
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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel’s supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza that killed 16 people sheltering there.Israeli airstrikes and shelling continued overnight and into the morning leaving 21 Gazans dead and dozens injured, bringing the 24-day death toll to 1,384 with 8,000 injured, according to the Ministry of Health. The Israeli military confirmed that 20 “sites” had been hit overnight.

The dead included six people, including Majdi Fseifis, 22, killed in a bombing that hit a crowd of civilians near a mosque in the Abasan area east of Khan Younis.

Also in Khan Younis, one Palestinian was killed and four were wounded in a strike that hit a motorcycle in the Ma’an area south of the city.

Mahdiya Suleiman Omar Abu Luli, 58, was killed in an Israeli strike on Khan Younis as well.

Maha Abd al-Nabi Salim Abu Hilal was killed in a strike on her home that also “seriously” injured her husband and three children. She was brought to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital.

Suleiman Baraka, 31, and Aref Baraka, 58, were also killed in a strike, and their bodies were both brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

At least 55 were wounded after the al-Hamoud house in Beit Lahiya was hit at dawn. Injuries were also reported during an Israeli strike on the home of the al-Haw family as well as against Block 7 in Jabaliya.

Israeli aircraft also targeted a house east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip belonging to Abu Abdullah Abu Huwayshal, destroying it completely.

Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian fighters and Israelis forces in the Nabahin field east of al-Bureij.

The dead overnight included Yusuf Ibrahim, 19, son of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs who died of wounds sustained in an Israeli attack on Nuseirat refugee camp the day before. Ahmad al-Luh died early Thursday in al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital as a result of injuries as well.

The deaths in the besieged Gaza Strip come on the 24th day of an Israeli assault which has nearly topped the death toll from the 2008-9 Cast Lead, the bloodiest attack on the area in memory when Israel killed 1,400 in 22 days.

Israel launched the current assault — called Operation Protective Edge — in early July as part of what it said was an effort to combat rockets, but has since changed the focus to destroying what it say are tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel.

Rocket fire into Israel increased in late June and early July after Israel launched a sweeping assault on Hamas across the West Bank, killing nearly a dozen, injuring more than 100, and leading to more than 1,000 arrests, along with nightly airstrikes on Gaza.

Hamas has insisted that any ceasefire include an end to the eight-year Israeli blockade, which has severely crippled the tiny coastal enclave’s economy and led to recurring shortages of basic goods.

Israeli authorities, meanwhile, have signaled their refusal to end the assault without inflicting heavy damage on Palestinian military capabilities.

Palestinian paramedics move a victim of an Israeli air strike on a market to an
ambulance in Shujaiyya on Wednesday (AFP Mahmud Hams)
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No blame for Israel

While both the White House and the State Department condemned the shelling of the UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on Wednesday in which at least 16 Palestinians were killed, neither would assign blame to staunch US ally Israel.

“Obviously nothing justifies the killing of innocent civilians seeking shelter in a UN facility,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged, in some of the toughest US comments since the start of the 23-day fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“Innocent Palestinians seeking refuge in these schools should not have shells dropped on them, should not come under attack.”

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said Israeli forces had hit the school, which had been sheltering some 3,300 Gazans.

But despite heated exchanges with reporters, Harf stressed that “we don’t know for certain who shelled this school, we need to get all the facts.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also condemned “those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza” and warned of rising fears that thousands of Palestinians who have been told by Israel to leave their homes increasingly had nowhere to go in the blockaded narrow coastal strip.

US officials also warned that patience with “crazy” Israeli criticism of would-be-peacemaker John Kerry had snapped.

New ammunition for IsraelThe Pentagon confirmed the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the US Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“This defense sale is consistent with those objectives.”

Two of the requested munitions came from a little-known stockpile of ammunition stored by the US military on the ground in Israel for emergency use. The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

The decision to provide ammunition to Israel could fuel controversy, coming just as Washington expresses growing concern about the deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, since the Israeli operation began on July 8.

Kirby said Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told his Israeli counterpart that the United States was concerned about the deadly consequences of the spiraling conflict, including a “worsening humanitarian situation” in Gaza, and called for a ceasefire and end to hostilities.

He also renewed calls for the disarmament of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and “all terrorist groups.”

Relations between Israel and its staunch ally the United States have plunged in recent days after Kerry returned from a mission to the Middle East to try to broker a ceasefire between the Israelis and Hamas militants.

Anonymous Israeli officials have hit out at Kerry’s truce proposal, calling it “a strategic terrorist attack” and criticizing it for being a “Hamas wish-list” including moves to lift a long-standing Israeli blockade of Gaza while failing to address Israel’s security concerns, such as Hamas rocket fire and a network of underground tunnels.

And on Tuesday a fabricated transcript of a call between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went viral on social media.

Out to hurt ties?

Stressing the “unprecedented” US support for Israel, Harf hit out at Israeli elites’ “offensive and absurd” claims that Kerry backs Hamas.

She rubbished the fake transcript as “complete crap,” adding “there’s clearly people … who are putting out false and defamatory and absurd information.”

“I don’t know what else you can assume about the intentions except that they’re designed to hurt our relationship,” she added.

Washington, which has provided billions in military aid to Israel, including funding the Iron Dome shield protecting the country from Hamas rockets, was “very committed” to Israel’s security, which is “why these vicious attacks on the secretary are just crazy,” she added.

And US lawmakers are working on a package of additional military support from Washington to commit $225 million for the Iron Dome missile defense shield.

More than 100 people died in Israeli strikes across Gaza Wednesday, medics said, including 17 at a crowded marketplace, sending the Palestinian toll from the 23 days of fighting to 1,363.

On the Israeli side, the conflict has cost the lives of 56 Israeli soldiers, and two civilians, as well as that of a Thai national.

AFP contributed to this report.

CLINTONISM IS THE ISM DISMALIST OF ALL

Clintonism is worse than just Reaganism for Democrats.   It is Reaganite malware, directed at Democrats.  Once it enters the system, it spreads like a virus; and all it does is corrupt.

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Hillary as Reaganite Malware

What is Clintonism?

by ANDREW LEVINE
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There are no American politicians whose views on politics merit serious consideration for any reason other than the power they wield.  With only minor exceptions (from long ago), it has been this way since the founders’ generation passed.

From genuine (though often mindless) conviction or to enhance their electoral prospects or to further their pecuniary interests, politicians sometimes do wax “ideological.”  But they don’t work with ideas or fashion theories or practices on their basis.  They wouldn’t know how.

This is one reason why “Reaganism” is a misnomer.  It is a convenient and frequently used term, but it gives too much credit to a maleficent actor who could barely keep more than one idea in his head at a time.

“Neoliberalism” would be a better name, except that it suggests too narrow a focus on economic policy issues.  Reaganism is not just about economics; it is a retrograde political phenomenon as well.

The term denotes a theory and practice that a few currently celebrated but vastly overrated economists and political theorists concocted by reviving long dormant strains of classical liberal thought.  It is a lackluster confection, void of intellectual cogency and moral appeal.

But thanks mainly to the vicissitudes of late capitalism, it has won the day.

In the 1970s, as capitalism’s post-War reconstruction and growth phase ground to a halt under the weight of excessive productive capacity, it became obvious – especially to capitalists searching for investment opportunities – that the bad old ways had to change.

The result was a rise in the political influence of the financial sector, and a decline in the power of organized labor.

These developments paved the way for the so-called Reagan Revolution.a

No more would capitalist development, for all the harm it did, at least make most people better off materially; and no more would there be any semblance of fairness in the distribution of the benefits and burdens that come with economic growth.

Reaganism initiated a new “social contract” – according to which the handful at the top benefit egregiously, while everybody else works more and gets less.

Rising personal debt and the ready availability of shoddy goods made abroad, along with other palliative measures, masked the new reality for a while; and a series of economic bubbles kept the economy afloat.

But there is no denying the sad fact that the economic condition of most people has been stagnating or deteriorating, and that the public sphere, starved of funds, is declining even more rapidly.  This is what Reaganism does.

And because the idea that government is the problem, not the solution, is a core Reaganite doctrine, Reaganism also militates against ameliorative public programs and welfare state remedies.  In their stead, it offers the snares and delusions of free market theology.

As societies become wealthier, most people therefore become worse off – relative not just to the hyper-rich or to how they could be in a more rational economic order, but relative even to how they used to be.

It is not all Reagan’s fault; he had far less to do with Reaganism than is widely supposed.  His presidency was more an effect than a cause.

He did little, if anything, to fashion Reaganite doctrine, and he was not even good at implementing it.  At most, he believed in it, and he put his communication skills to work promoting it.

Reaganism took hold almost immediately upon the turn in capitalism’s trajectory.  Thus Jimmy Carter was America’s first Reaganite president.  But Carter only got on the track half-heartedly, and not before the final years of his presidency.

Reagan was not even the most important Reaganite leader in the early days.  That dubious honor falls to Margaret Thatcher.  It was within the government she led in Great Britain that Reaganite theory and practice fully took shape.

This is why, in the Anglophone world outside the United States, Reaganism is called “Thatcherism.”

Americans are too provincial to follow suit, but this isn’t the only reason for naming the phenomenon after the Gipper.  Since the end of the Second World War, Britain has been America’s junior partner — unable, on its own, to lead a change in the course of world events.  Even the Iron Lady could not have done all the harm she did had we Yankees not helped her out.

And so, Reaganism it is.

At first, the affliction was confined mainly to Great Britain and the United States.  Too bad for the rest of the world that this soon changed.  Capitalist politicians are all Reaganites now.

American politicians still lead the way.  Our presidents occupy a special circle of Hell.

Because these presidents are cut from the same Reaganite cloth, attaching any other “ism” after any of their names makes little sense.

The Bush family squatted in the White House longer than the Reagans, but nobody talks of “Bushism.”   Why would they?

Bush the Father was a “kinder, gentler” Reaganite; he told us so himself.  And, except for Carter, he was the best (least bad) president we have had since Reaganism emerged.  If nothing more, his presidency was the last in which foreign affairs were conducted with even a minimal degree of competence.

But he was dull, predictable, and uninspired.  He had the most trouble with what he called “the vision thing.”  He was president when Communism fell and when the Soviet Union imploded, yet his “new world order” was just the old world order with the Soviet Union missing.  There was no there, there – nothing that would leave a lasting mark.

Bush the Son left plenty of lasting marks.  But no right-minded person would want to lay claim to his legacy.

The neocons he let run the show unleashed catastrophes that are still unfolding.  And the man himself was so beyond his depth that it seems almost unfair to blame him for any of it.  But, of course, we must; he was nominally in charge.  Even so, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were at least as culpable.

In a just world, George W. Bush and his retainers would be doing hard time.  In our world, thanks to the magnanimity of his successor and his successor’s Attorney General, they have all gotten away with murder – indeed, with much worse than murder.  There is no “ism” in that.

“Bushism” is therefore a non-starter, no matter which Bush one has in mind.  “Clintonism,” however, is something else.

The term has been in circulation for some time.  People know how to use it because, as Justice Potter Stewart said of obscenity, you know it when you see it.

But what exactly does it mean?  This is far from clear – mainly because its relation to Reaganism is complicated and subtle.

With Hillary Clinton on course to run for President in 2016 – and almost certain to win if she runs, inasmuch as the national GOP will be unable to field a credible candidate – it is not even clear whether the term refers to the husband or the wife.

It hardly matters.  As an only slightly facetious metaphysician might say: “Clinton” names a supra-individual entity that takes two interdependent but analytically distinct forms.

Bill is by far the more colorful of the two because he is a horndog and a rascal who exudes meretricious charm.  For people of a certain age, it is hard not to think of him as a grown-up, unchaste, version of the Eddie Haskell character on “Leave It To Beaver.”

If that show had been revived a decade or two later, it is a good bet that many a plot would have revolved around Eddie’s dalliances with hot princesses of the trailer park and Jewish American varieties; and that his consorting with the rich and famous for fun and profit would be a recurrent theme.

Meanwhile, Hillary wears pantsuits and says dumb things – dumb even by Joe Biden’s standards.  When it comes to saying dumb things, Biden is a past master.

She is not even villainous in an interesting way; her character lacks depth.  No wonder that the creators of the Golden Age of television never bothered with a character that calls to mind anyone like her.

Character issues aside, Bill Clinton was the best Reaganite president ever – not the most visionary, not the one with the most competent subordinates, but the most effective.  No one, certainly not Reagan himself, did more to privatize and deregulate, and to undo government programs that perform worthwhile functions.

Reagan famously proposed “starving the monster.”  This is what Bill Clinton did.

Meanwhile, the real monster flourished under his rule, just as it did under Reagan’s.  The military and the already burgeoning national security state made out like bandits.

Clinton’s heart was probably never into putting Reaganism into practice; he was – and is — an opportunist, not a true believer.   But as a Democrat, he was able to neutralize the opposition and even to bring it on board.   He could therefore accomplish what Reagan and the people around him could only dream of.

This is one reason why it is hard to pin down what Clintonism is.  It seems too close to Reaganism to count as an “ism” in its own right.

Clintonism eludes easy characterization too because the Clintons, along with other right-wing Democrats, effectively purged their party of its left wing.  It is therefore difficult to distinguish Clintonite politics from Democratic politics generally.

Nevertheless, Clintonism is a useful concept – something Bushism is not.

Neither, for that matter, is Obamaism.

It is still possible, of course, that Obama will mess up so egregiously that “Obamaism,” or some related expression, will enter the political lexicon.  However, if this happens, the term will not designate a distinctive political departure.  It will be short hand for blundering incompetence.

Or for making mistakes even more disastrous than those of George W. Bush.  This could happen, for example, if the Clintonites who have taken charge of American foreign policy concoct a new Cold War.  They are working on it.

However, in the normal course of events – where “normal” includes enabling a brutal and lawless Israeli government to massacre Palestinians in Gaza – there will be no Obamaism.

As Reaganism took shape, Bertram Gross wrote about what he called “friendly fascism.”  By calling it “fascism,” his point was that Reaganism embraced a paramount fascist objective – suppressing the labor movement and then reconfiguring the relation between Big Business and the State in ways that secure the interests of both.

By “friendly,” he meant that it did this without the blatant illiberalism and organized violence associated with the fascist movements of the inter-war period (and their successors).  It helped that Ronald Reagan seemed warm and amiable, but this was not the main point.

Obama carries on in the friendly fascist tradition.  And building on the work of George Bush and Dick Cheney, he presides over a related turn in American politics.  An apt name for it would be “friendly totalitarianism.”

Bush and Cheney got it going, but Obama will be remembered for turning America into a 24/7 surveillance state, and for shredding privacy and due process rights.  He will also be remembered for continuing old wars and initiating new ones.   These things go together; perpetual war is indispensible in a totalitarian state.

He did these things and others like them without jettisoning the legitimacy-conferring friendliness Gross identified in the larger Reaganite project.  We are more thoroughly policed than ever before, but not, we think, by a police state; and we have a military as capacious as any the world has ever known, but we are unencumbered with militaristic attitudes and institutions.

Putting together such a friendly totalitarian order is an achievement on a par with realizing fascism’s aims in the ostensibly benign Reaganite way.

However even this doesn’t warrant putting an “ism” after Obama’s name.  As in Bush’s case, bad decisions and rank ineptitude don’t add up to a new kind of politics.

It might be different if there were significant positive accomplishments for which Obama could take credit.  But apart from breaking the color line, there aren’t any.   Inspiring and then dashing “hope” for “change” hardly counts.

It is different with the Clintons.  They can take credit for developing a distinctive form of Reaganism, a particularly deleterious kind.

What they concocted is hard to define, but easy enough to recognize – and oppose.

Opposition to Clintonism is not the same as antipathy towards the Clintons.  The latter is rampant throughout the land, according to the former First Lady; “a vast right-wing conspiracy” has it in for them.

To the extent that she is right, the question is: why?  There is no remotely satisfactory political answer.   On the right, Reagan is worshipped, and though Reagan’s connections with Reaganism may not be as direct as is commonly supposed, it is surely relevant that Clintonism is Reaganism in practice.

A better question is why isn’t there more antipathy towards the Clintons in liberal quarters?  They certainly deserve it.

What matters more, though, is antipathy towards Clintonism.  There is almost none of that within the ranks of the Democratic Party itself.  But Democratic voters have a different view.  Anti-Clintonism surely played a role, a significant one, in Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries.

The hope of some Obama voters back then was that an Obama victory would de-Clintonize the Democratic Party.  For anyone closely following the campaign, this was a pipe dream.  Obama got mileage out of it anyway.

Not surprisingly, the illusion quickly faded.  Disillusionment got underway even before Inauguration Day, as news of the President-elect’s selections for key positions began to filter in.  Arguably, it started even before that – when Obama picked Joe Biden for a running mate.

By the time he called on Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State – a post for which she was manifestly unsuited, as would soon become abundantly clear – the shape of things to come was unmistakable.

A full-fledged Clintonite Restoration followed.  In the foreign policy field, the only sign of a fresh departure came later – with the empowerment of “humanitarian” imperialists like Susan Rice and Samantha Powers.  Even in this, though, the foul hand of Hillary was at work.

Whether or not the impulse to revive the Cold War is coming directly from her, it is surely coming from her protégés and retainers; and she is cheering them on.

Who knows why she and the others want to embark on such a risky business.  Could it be that they feel that the “war on terror,” or whatever its name in Obama-speak now is, isn’t delivering enough anymore for the military-national security state complex?

Or perhaps they realize that they’ve messed up so profoundly in the Middle East that there is nothing to do but move on — into other adventures.  This would make sense, but it is unlikely that they are thinking along these lines.  That would require a level of self-understanding beyond their grasp.

It is remarkable how little they do understand.  Can they really not realize how dangerous a Cold War with Russia – and China too – can be?   How can they not know?

This is ultimately a psychological question; the answer is therefore different from person to person.  But at a political level, the broad contours of an answer are clear enough.

It is that this is what happens when the spirit of Reaganism takes hold of the ideological descendants of Cold War anti-Communists.

For nearly four decades after the end of World War II, there were liberals who were drawn by sympathy and conviction, to support the labor movement and other like-minded popular forces that put a break on capitalism’s inherent and unrelenting drive to enrich capitalists at everyone else’s expense.

These liberals were as devoted to capitalism as any other sector of the political class, but they were less inclined than the others to advance the interests of capitalism’s principal beneficiaries.

That sensibility began to wither away as the Reaganite turn took hold; soon, it all but disappeared.  At the same time, social liberalism continued and even advanced as societal attitudes evolved.

In reaction, social illiberalism hardened on the right.  Before long, disagreements about values, not material interests, constituted the main dividing line in American politics.

This is what Clintonism is about.

It is Reaganized liberalism; Cold War anti-Communist liberalism, without its progressive economic dimension.

Clintonites are still committed to tolerance and other non-economic liberal values, but on economic issues, there is no light between them and their Republican opponents.

This describes Hillary Clinton to a tee.  Dissect her public persona and it is all there: the social liberalism, but also the economic neoliberalism and, above all, the reflexive animosity towards Russia – and China – inherited from the Cold War past.

No one could accuse Bill Clinton of being a “transformative” President in the sense that Obama thinks Ronald Reagan was.  But he, along with his wife, did transform the Democratic Party – to such an extent that it may now be beyond redemption.

Richard Nixon was able to bring Republicans and right-wing Democrats along when he opened up relations with China – because he was a man of the Right who had proven his credentials many times over.

But the people he brought along remained essentially unchanged.  They were viciously anti-Communist before, and they were viciously anti-Communist after Nixon had gotten his way.  It was all about forging a strategic choice; not changing hearts and minds.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, didn’t just bring his fellow Democrats along as he set about promoting Reaganism.  He changed them fundamentally; causing them to make the Reagan agenda their own.

This is what Hillary Clinton will do, what she has already begun to do; and it is why the prospect that she will lead the Democratic Party is so appalling.

Turning Democrats rightward was bad enough when her husband led the way a generation ago.  Imagine the consequences now, after decades of rightward drift and eight years of Barack Obama!

Clintonism is worse than just Reaganism for Democrats.   It is Reaganite malware, directed at Democrats.  Once it enters the system, it spreads like a virus; and all it does is corrupt.

As with any other virus, the best way to deal with it is to keep away from it.  When that proves impossible, Plan B is to salvage – and restore — as much as one can.

It may already be too late; having taken a Clintonite turn, the Democratic Party, never much good anyway, may by now be too damaged to save.

By this time next year, with the 2016 Presidential campaign already underway, we will know for sure.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

 

Source

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Anyone would be better than Hillary …

rivero2016

HOW TO SILENCE THE PRESS IN GAZA

Lieberman accused the Qatar-based channel of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the foreign ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Here are the steps taken ….. as seen by Carlos Latuff

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Al-Jazeera Gaza offices evacuated after direct hit by Israeli fire

Israel denies deliberate targeting of TV station, but staff claim that ‘two very precise shots’ were fired
Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building in Gaza

Al-Jazeera journalists evacuate their building after it came under fire in Gaza. Photograph: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Rex Features
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Israel‘s army has denied targeting the Gaza offices of al-Jazeera TV after the network’s correspondents reported that the building had come under fire on Tuesday.

Staff in Gaza said their 11th floor bureau was hit by two Israeli bullets as a crew was preparing to broadcast live from the balcony. “Two very precise shots were fired straight into our building,” said Stefanie Dekker. “We are high up in the building so we had a very strong vantage point over the area. But we have evacuated.” Al-Jazeera aired footage of their staff standing outside the building.

A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said no warning shots had been fired but could not confirm or deny whether there had been indirect damage to the building from firing at nearby military targets, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The incident came a day after Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for al-Jazeera to be banned.

Lieberman accused the Qatar-based channel of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the foreign ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

Al-Jazeera “has abandoned even the perception of being a reliable news organisation and broadcasts from Gaza and to the world anti-Israel incitement, lies, and encouragement to the terrorists,” he said.

“All the big networks operate in Israel, some of them are not exactly pro-Zionist, and yet as a democratic state we allow them to operate here. In the case of al-Jazeera it is not an issue of freedom of the media but of a terrorist wing that currently fights against Israel.”

A statement posted on the al-Jazeera website said: “Al-Jazeera network considers statements made against it by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a direct incitement. (It) considers (his) comments as a very serious matter. Israel is accountable for the safety of al-Jazeera teams working in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

Al-Jazeera also reported that Israel’s communications minister, Gilad Erdan, has asked Israeli cable and satellite providers to stop airing al-Jazeera, calling it an “enemy” broadcaster. The request is not mandatory.

Al-Jazeera said: “Our journalists have been doing an outstanding job in reporting to our mass audience in the region what is happening on the ground. A threat to one is a threat to all, and this is a dark sign for all journalists operating in the territory. Journalists must be protected while doing their job of giving the public information they have the right to know, helping them understand what is going on. Journalism is not a crime!”

Al-Jazeera has often come under fire in war zones and been banned, at different times, from almost every country in the Middle East. Its most recent troubles have been in Egypt, where three journalists working for al-Jazeera English were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of aiding terrorists and endangering national security.

ISRAEL WELCOMES FRANCE TO THE LEAGUE OF TYRANTS

France became the first country in the world to ban pro Palestinian demonstrations …. does this make them ‘The Only Democracy In Europe?’ (sic)

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Israel-Gaza conflict: French minister Bernard Cazeneuve backs ban on pro-Palestinian protests in Paris

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 The French Interior Minister argued the protest could threaten public order
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Thousands of protesters were expected to march in Paris over the weekend and call for an end to the violence in Gaza, as it emerged on Friday that the Israeli military had killed 296 Palestinians in the renewed conflict – including a baby, four children and a 70-year-old woman since Thursday.  One Israeli civilian and one IDF soldier have died in the 11-day conflict.

Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.

He also advised other police prefects to consider banning planned rallies on a “case by case” basis.

Videos from rallies last week reportedly showed armed LDJ vigilantes attempting to tempt pro-Palestinian demonstrators into fights.

“I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security,” Mr Cazeneuve said regarding the main Paris march, according to theMail Online.

On Friday evening, lawyers for a number of groups responded by lodging an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.

Attending an illegal demonstration is punishable by a year in prison, and a €15,000 fine – a penalty which rises to a three year sentence and a €45,000 fine if a demonstrator covers their face to avoid being identified.

Meanwhile, publicising an illegal demonstration on social media can lead to a year-long prison sentence, and a €15,000 fine. This increases to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the post sparks violence.

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French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the National Assembly in Paris (Getty)

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Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR), told the website: “France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

“This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression,” he added.

False reports following last week’s protests claimed that pro-Palestinian demonstrators had damaged synagogues during the rally, but it later emerged none of the religious buildings had been targeted.

A judicial inquiry is to be launched into the false allegations.

WHEN A GAG ORDER BECOMES A CRIME IN ITSELF

israeli-gag-order2

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Did you wonder why there was hardly a word in the Western Press about the kidnappings until the three bodies were found? The following will explain why …

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The entire propaganda campaign was set into high gear despite Netanyahu and his inner circle’s knowledge that the teens were almost certainly dead. And it was enabled by the Shin Bet’s gag order, which even foreign correspondents like The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren honored. The Israeli government refused to allow the facts from interfering with what seemed like a political opportunity.

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Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy

Max Blumenthal Writing FOR
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At a right-wing protest in Jerusalem a sign reads “May God avenge their blood” and a youth wears a sticker stating “Kahane was right,” referring to the Brooklyn-born violent settler movement leader, 1 July.  (Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)

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“Cursed be he who says, ‘Avenge!‘ “ 
—Chaim Bialik, from “On The Slaughter”

From the moment three Israeli teens were reported missing last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military-intelligence apparatus suppressed the flow of information to the general public. Through a toxic blend of propaganda, subterfuge and incitement, they inflamed a precarious situation, manipulating Israelis into supporting their agenda until they made an utterly avoidable nightmare inevitable.

Israeli police, intelligence officials and Netanyahu knew within hours of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens that they had been killed. And they knew who the prime suspects were less than a day after the kidnapping was reported.

Rather than reveal these details to the public, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency imposed a gag order on the national media, barring news outlets from reporting that the teens had almost certainly been killed, and forbidding them from revealing the identities of their suspected killers. The Shin Bet even lied to the parents of the kidnapped teens, deceiving them into believing their sons were alive.

Instead of mounting a limited action to capture the suspected perpetrators and retrieve the teens’ bodies, Netanyahu staged an aggressive international public relations campaign, demanding sympathy and outrage from world leaders, who were also given the impression that the missing teens were still alive.

Meanwhile, Israel’s armed forces rampaged throughout the occupied West Bank and bombarded the Gaza Strip in a campaign of collective punishment deceptively marketed to Israelis and the world as a rescue mission.

Critical details that were known all along by Netanyahu and the military-intelligence apparatus were relayed to the Israeli public only after the abduction of more than 560 Palestinians, including at least 200 still held without charges; after the raiding of Palestinian universities and ransacking of countless homes; after six Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces; after American-trained Palestinian Authority police assisted Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian youths in the center of Ramallah; after the alleged theft by Israeli troops of $3 million in US dollars; and after Israel’s international public relations extravaganza had run its course.

The assault on the West Bank arrived on the heels of the collapse of the US-led framework negotiations, for which the US blamed Netanyahu, and immediately after Hamas’ratification of a unity deal with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu was still smarting from the US recognition of the unity government when news of the kidnapping reached him. Never one to miss an opportunity to undermine the Palestinians, he and his inner circle resolved to milk the kidnapping for maximum propaganda value.

Weeks after the incident, it is now clear that the Israeli government, intelligence services and army engaged in a cover-up to provide themselves with the political space they required for a military campaign that had little to do with rescuing any kidnapped teens.

The disinformation campaign they waged sent a heavily indoctrinated, comprehensively militarized population into a tribalistic frenzy, provoking a wave of high-level incitement, the shocking revenge killing of an innocent Palestinian teen and rioting across East Jerusalem.

Where the chaos will end and how far it will spread is unknown. But its origins are increasingly clear.

Gagging the media, lying to teens’ parents

On 12 June, three Jewish Israeli youths, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, went missing while hitchhiking from Kfar Etzion, an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. At 10:25pm, Shaar placed a panicked call to Israeli police.

During the eerie call lasting two minutes and nine seconds, the supposed kidnappers can be heard ordering the youths to keep their heads down. Israel Radio plays in the background as Shaar repeatedly appeals for help. Then several gunshots can be heard followed by celebratory singing as the kidnappers remark, “We got three.” The teens had been killed.

It took until the next morning for the police to connect the call to a missing persons report filed by the youths’ parents. In a meeting with Shin Bet officials that day, the teens’ parents listened to a recording of the phone call.

Bat Galim Shaar, the mother of Gilad Shaar, demanded investigators explain to her why gunshots can be heard in the background, and if this meant that her son was dead.

According to Bat Galim Shaar, police claimed the bullets were “blanks.” When the car used by the alleged kidnappers was discovered burned by a roadside, the Shin Bet told her no DNA was found. In fact, bullets and blood were present throughout the interior of the car. The Shin Bet had lied to the parents of the missing teens in order to stoke false hopes that their sons were alive.

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Israeli soldiers secure the area around a burnt car near the West Bank city of Hebron on 13 June after three Israeli teens went missing the day before.  (Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)

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“When [the Shin Bet] told me finally at 6:00am Friday that the army was on the job, I felt better — as if we were in good hands,” Bat Galim Shaar told Israel’s Channel 10. “I was naïve, I told everyone Gilad would be home before Shabbat.”

Having deceived the victims’ parents, Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus moved to conceal the truth from the general public, imposing a gag order that barred the country’s media from reporting on the sound of gunshots in the recorded call to police.

According to the text of the gag order, which was first published in English at Mondoweiss, the military had forbidden Israeli reporters from publicizing “All the details of the investigation” and “All details that might identify the suspect.”

Not only did all involved in the investigation — Netanyahu, the Shin Bet, the military — know right away that the three missing teens were almost certainly dead, they had identified the two men they believed were responsible for the crime little more than a day after it occurred.

To legitimize the military’s wider goals, they withheld this information as well.

Hiding the suspects

On 17 June, Arabic-language news site Rai Al Youm reported that Israeli police and Shin Bet agents had raided the homes of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe, the main suspects, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. As a Palestinian news outlet based in London, Rai Al Youm was not subject to the Israeli military’s gag order and was therefore free to publish the names of the two accused kidnappers.

Citing a report in the Israeli online news outlet Walla! which was either scrubbed due to the gag order or otherwise rendered inaccessible, Rai Al Youm summarized an account by the father of Abu Eishe as follows: “On Saturday at dawn [two days after the alleged kidnapping was reported], special forces of the Israeli army stormed into the house and interrogated sons of the family trying to find any information that could lead them to his whereabouts but they were unsuccessful.”

Abu Eishe’s father added that the Shin Bet had also arrested his son’s wife to interrogate her about his whereabouts. An uncle of Qawasmeh remarked that four of his nephew’s brothers and his wife were arrested the day after the alleged kidnapping and interrogated.

Rai Al Youm added: “several of the military correspondents in the Hebrew media have reported last Friday on a statement attributed to a Palestinian security official in which he said that the PA [Palestinian Authority] is tracking two Hamas personnel who disappeared last Thursday [the day of the kidnapping] and that the security forces of the PA have given the information they have to Israel. And now it’s clear that this story was true and that Israel is looking for them and has charged them with being behind the kidnapping.”

Allison Deger, a correspondent for Mondoweissvisited the Qawasmeh home and confirmed that the army and Shin Bet brought several male members of the families in for interrogation on 14 June.

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The damaged family home of Amer Abu Eishe, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was destroyed by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, 1 July.  (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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In a normal high-profile criminal investigation, the names of fugitive suspects are widely publicized. Investigators prominently display posters of the wanted criminals in public spaces while police officials stage press conferences appealing for help from the public. In this case, however, Israel’s intelligence services chose to keep their suspects’ identities a closely-held secret for two weeks.

While Netanyahu and his top deputies blamed the entire membership of Hamas for the kidnapping, the Shin Bet gag order suppressed all information relating to the identities of the suspects until 26 June. As far as the Israeli public knew, the kidnappers could have been anywhere in the West Bank, in any schoolhouse or coffee house or hen house where anyone remotely affiliated with Hamas congregated.

Having manipulated an exceptionally suggestible population through the careful management of information, the military had all the political latitude it needed to rampage through cities far from the scene of the crime.

During a raid of Birzeit University near Ramallah, Israeli troops seized hundreds of Hamas flags, carting them away in trucks as though they had obtained valuable evidence. When the army bombarded the Gaza Strip, the only justification it needed was that the besieged coastal territory was governed by Hamas.

A poll released on 2 July revealed that 76 percent of Jewish Israelis approved of the army’s actions and expressed overwhelming support for the Shin Bet.

In the near term, the gag order had produced its intended result.

Rogue element

Though Qawasmeh and Abu Eishe were widely identified as veteran members of Hamas’ military wing, they comprised a rogue element that likely acted without the knowledge and against the wishes of Hamas leadership.

According to Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar, members of the Qawasmeh clan of Hebron have earned a reputation for attacking Israeli civilian targets during ceasefires between Hamas and Israel.

While an extended family of over 10,000 can hardly be blamed for the actions of some of its members, it is notable that attacks carried out by fighters from the family were privately criticized by top Hamas leaders, as Eldar explains. Hamas leadership regarded the operations as self-destructive acts of freebooting and often paid for them in the form of Israeli assassinations. In each case, the violence shattered ceasefires and inspired renewed bouts of bloodshed.

“The same is true now,” Eldar writes. “Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe have taken Hamas to a place where its leadership never intended to go.”

Hamas leadership has yet to take responsibility for the kidnapping and likely had no knowledge of its planning. As Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel notes, “So far, there is no evidence that Hamas’ leadership either in Gaza or abroad was involved in the kidnapping.” Harel adds that the fallout of the kidnapping “effectively froze the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.”

Why would Hamas leadership have authorized an operation that so clearly threatened to unravel the movement’s political achievements, wrecking the vaunted unity deal and leaving Abbas without rival in the West Bank?

The Israeli government’s propaganda blitz drowned out sobering questions like these. In turn, the gag order obstructed the flow of information that would have complicated the propaganda.

Determined to reframe the international media’s narrative around Israel’s plight at the hands of Palestinian terrorism, Netanyahu went on the offensive.

#BringBackOurBoys

On 17 June, the same day the Israeli army forcibly confiscated CCTV cameras in Beituniathat captured footage of its soldiers killing two unarmed Palestinian boys during a Nakba Day protest, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor appeared behind a lectern at the UN Mission in New York City.

“It has been five days since our boys went missing,” Prosor thundered, “and I ask the international community, where are you? Where are you?!”

Referring to the Fatah-Hamas unity government, Prosor added: “All those in the international community who rushed to bless this marriage should look into the eyes of the heartbroken parents and have the courage to take responsibility by condemning the kidnapping. The international community bought in to a bad deal and Israel is paying for it.”

Beside Prosor stood a large placard displaying the smiling faces of the three missing teens beneath a hashtag reading #BringBackOurBoys. Israel’s propaganda blitz was approaching its apex.

For days, leaders of Israel’s trained online propaganda brigades — from the Israeli army spokesperson’s unit, to the Jewish Agency, to the Prime Minister’s Office — flooded social media with the #BringBackOurBoys hashtag. Mimicking Michelle Obama’s promotion of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag that aimed to raise awareness of the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamist militants, the Israeli prime minister’s frowning wife, Sara, posted a portrait of herself on Facebook holding a card that read, #BringBackOurBoys.

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Right-wing protesters shout anti-Palestinian slogans during a rally outside the Israeli prime minster’s residence in Jerusalem, 5 July. Demonstrators hold up posters depicting the three murdered Israeli teens which read “United to bring them home.”  (Faiz Abu Rmeleh / ActiveStills)

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The social media campaign reverberated throughout Jewish communities across the US, as synagogues around the country displayed yellow ribbons in a carefully coordinated show of solidarity with the missing teens. In New York City, local politicians appeared at pro-Israel rallies, while American diplomats from US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to Ambassador Susan Rice competed with one another to deliver the most emotional tribute to the kidnapped teens.

Rachel Frenkel, the mother of the kidnapped Naftali Frenkel, was junketed by the Israeli government to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland to plead for international help in rescuing her son.

The entire propaganda campaign was set into high gear despite Netanyahu and his inner circle’s knowledge that the teens were almost certainly dead. And it was enabled by the Shin Bet’s gag order, which even foreign correspondents like The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren honored. The Israeli government refused to allow the facts from interfering with what seemed like a political opportunity.

Behind the pitiable image it affected before the world, Israeli society seethed with bloodlust. A spontaneously-created Facebook page calling for the execution of one Palestinian prisoner for each day the teens remained missing garnered more than 35,000 “likes” from mostly young Israelis in just a few days. It was called “The People of Israel Demand Revenge.”

Manipulated by a high-level campaign of deception and disinformation into believing that “their boys” were still alive, the Israeli public was about to receive shocking news.

A shallow grave

At 6am on 30 June, the bodies of Frenkel, Shaar and Yifrach were found in Halhoul at the northern entrance to Hebron in the occupied West Bank. They lay in a shallow grave on property owned by Marwan Qawasmeh, one of the two men suspected in their kidnapping and killing.

The bodies were discovered not by the Shin Bet, but by a team of volunteers from the Kfar Etzion Field School who led soldiers to the location. For its part, the army had been too busy invading Palestinian homes in areas as far away as Nablus to effectively comb the property of a suspect less than 10 kilometers from the site of the kidnapping.

Hours after the discovery, Israeli forces detonated explosive charges inside the Qawasmeh and Abu Eishe family homes. The destruction followed an announcement that the army was re-instituting its policy of punitive home demolitions against the families of Palestinians accused of terrorism.

That afternoon, Netanyahu set the tone for the national response, publishing remarks on his personal Twitter account that he had just delivered in a cabinet meeting:

Netanyahu’s comments perplexed outsiders, but for those embedded inside the tight confines of Jewish Israeli life, they carried a familiar resonance.

From Kishinev to Jerusalem

Netanyahu’s statement alludes to the final stanza of a poem by the Hebrew writer Chaim Bialik titled “On The Slaughter”:

Cursed be he who says: “Avenge!”
Vengeance such as this, vengeance for the blood of a small boy,
Satan himself has not devised-
Let that blood pierce the abyss!
Let that blood pierce the depths of darkness,
Let it eat away the darkness and there undermine
All the rotted foundations of the earth.

In Bialik’s verse, a searing lament anchored in Biblical language, the poet dramatized a brutal 1903 pogrom incited by the Russian Tsar that left scores of Jews dead in the town of Kishinev.

Bialik followed his first account of Kishinev with “The City of Slaughter,” an incendiary work admonishing the victims of the pogrom for their supposed passivity in the face of armed marauders. (Reports of ferocious resistance by the locals was conveniently overlooked.) The poem helped radicalize thousands of young Jews across Eastern Europe, inspiring the formation of self-defense committees and winning waves of adherents to the militant philosophy of Zionism. Among those most influenced by Bialik was Vladimir Jabotinsky, the right-wing Zionist activist who would later become a political benefactor to Netanyahu’s father, Benzion.

In his crude appropriation of Bialik’s verse, Benjamin Netanyahu recast the Russian pogromist as a Palestinian militant, drawing a seamless line between the Jewish nightmare of pre-war Europe and the present-day Israeli experience. In Netanyahu’s view, the “human animals” of Palestine had inherited the genocidal spirit of the Tsar’s mobs and would repeat their crimes unless Jews were prepared to fight.

Of course, Israeli Jews are the exact opposite of turn-of-the-century shtetl dwellers girding themselves against pogroms and ethnic cleansing. Unlike the persecuted outclass of Eastern Europe, Israeli Jews comprise a nuclearized, high-powered military that lord over an outcasted, largely defenseless Palestinian population with full support from the world’s lone superpower.

For his part, Netanyahu shares more in common with the Russian Tsar who incited against religious minorities to deflect from his political problems than he does with Bialik, the itinerant scribe who channeled the pain of his society’s weakest members.

The exploitation of historical Jewish persecution has been a constant feature of Netanyahu’s rhetoric, on bold display during a nationally televised speech last October when he baselessly accused the Palestinian national movement of a direct role in the Holocaust.

This time, amidst a dangerously pressurized atmosphere, his demagogy helped set in motion a wave of vigilante violence that threatened to engulf the whole of Israeli society. Then he shrank from public view, maintaining a conspicuous silence for several days while the extremist elements he emboldened took control of the streets.

“Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism”

As mobs of Jewish youths fanned out across central Jerusalem to chant “Death to Arabs!” and search for Palestinians to assault, active duty Israeli soldiers took to Facebook to demand revenge, posting photos of themselves with the weapons they were aching to use.

With an Israeli public opinion poll taken after the Israeli teens’ funeral showing the far-rightJewish Home party gaining ground on the right-wing Likud, Israeli political upstarts rushed to issue calls for blood vengeance and the “annihilation” of Hamas. Ayelet Shaked, a rising star of the right-wing Jewish Home party, published a call for the genocide of Palestinians on Facebook that earned thousands of “likes” from Israelis.

Rabbi Noam Perel, the secretary general of Bnei Akiva, the world’s largest religious Zionist youth movement, upped the ante on fanaticism when he called for turning the Israeli military into an army of avengers “which will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins.” Akiva’s appeal alludes to the first book of Samuel, in which the biblical character David kills two hundred Philistines and brings back their foreskins as evidence that he had done so.

Against the backdrop of fever-pitched incitement, a small car entered the back streets ofShuafat, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, on 2 July. Behind its darkened windows were angry young men hunting for Arab boys.

Following a botched kidnapping of a ten-year-old boy in the same neighborhood the day before, a group of men grabbed a 16-year-old named Muhammad Abu Khudair, threw him in their car and sped away. Abu Khudair was found dead the next morning in the woods of Givat Shaul just west of Jerusalem with burns over 90 percent of his body.

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Protesters in the Palestinian city of Arara in the north of present-day Israel throw stones at Israeli police during a demonstration following the murder of Muhammad Abu Khudair, 5 July.  (Yotam Ronen /ActiveStills)

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As they did after the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens, the Shin Bet imposed a gag order on the investigation, seemingly hoping to delay the news that Abu Khudair was the victim of Jewish extremism. And as before, the police flooded Israeli media with disinformation, this time by insinuating the murdered teen had been killed by members of his own family for being gay.

The Electronic Intifada has obtained CCTV footage showing the faces of the alleged killers of Abu Khudair just as they abducted him. The video was concealed for several days from the Israeli public under a new Shin Bet gag order. When the police finally arrested the suspected killers of Abu Khudair, they curiously staged a simultaneous press conference about an unrelated killing a young Jewish woman, suggesting without any clear evidence that she had been the victim of a Palestinian terrorist.

On 4 July, an autopsy revealed that Abu Khudair’s killers had burned him alive. Protest and rioting spread from Shuafat across East Jerusalem and into areas of northern Israel. Meanwhile, Jewish nationalists took to Facebook to organize more lynch mobs.

Netanyahu surfaced briefly the day before at an Independence Day ceremony at the US consulate in Jerusalem. With US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro seated by his side, the Prime Minister was forced to confront the binge of racism that he helped inspire.

Speaking in English for the consumption of his American hosts, Netanyahu declared, “Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism — they have no place in our democracy. And it is these democratic values that differentiate us from our neighbors and unite us with the United States.”

Outside, the chaos showed no sign of ebbing.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist and bestselling author. His latest book isGoliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013, Nation Books).

IN MEMORIAM; JULY 4th, 1776

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July 4th should be a day of celebration… a day of joy. Today, it is merely another day on the calendar. The United States is no longer the proud independent country it was meant to be. Even worse, it has become the country that has been instrumental in the denial of independence to other nations, just to name a few….
Palestine
Afghanistan
Iran
Iraq
There are more….. many more.
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What once was the example that the world looked to for guidance has become one of the most feared entities among the nations…. feared both from the outside and from within.
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We have watched with great pain the withering away of constitutional rights guaranteed to its citizens. We have watched with the same pain its citizens stripped of health care and education so billions can be spent on illegal wars and support to illegal nations.
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What happened to the America that we all once loved and admired?
Is there anyone there who can promise CHANGE and actually mean it??
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THAT PERSON MUST BE FOUND QUICKLY.
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Celebrate what was…… and hopefully what will be again soon….
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THE REVENGE OF ZION

Spider of Zionism

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the pack, calling the killers of the youths “human animals” and stating “Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay.” Netanyahu specifically used the word “revenge” hinting at what he may have in store. But many went even further.

 

Israelis demand blood after youths’ bodies found

ALL OF PALESTINE HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED

All of Palestinian society is a kidnapped society. Like many of the Israelis who performed “significant service” in the army, many of the readers of this column, or their children, entered the home of a Palestinian family in the middle of the night by surprise, with violence, and simply took away the father, brother or uncle, with determination and insensitivity. That is kidnapping, and it happens every day. And what about their administrative detainees?

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Separation barrier in Jerusalem with Dome of the Rock in background Photo by Alex Levac

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The Palestinians: A kidnapped society

We are incapable of understanding the suffering of a society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.

By Avraham Burg (FOR)
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Our hearts are in pain over those three teenage boys whose identities we did not even know a moment ago, but who now belong to all of us. Each of them looks like my own son, the son of every one of my friends and their friends.

Like many people, I hope with all my heart that the moment will come when we see them alive among us, and that all this tension dissipates into blissful relief. I hope, with real trembling, but I cannot and do not want to ignore the silenced truth that surrounds their kidnapping.

Those three boys are truly unfortunate. They are unfortunate because of the trap of fear in which they have been captured, the uncertainty and the fact that their lives are in great danger. Our hearts are in pain, and go out to them and their families because of how, in a single moment, they had to step into the glare of publicity. And these teenagers are unfortunate because of the lie in which they have lived their lives — lives of supposed normalcy that were built upon the foundations of that greatest of Israeli injustices: the occupation.

Now let us turn from their wretchedness to our own. For us, a dramatic or traumatic event is always a very clear, refined and transparent moment. All the plans and failures, the fears and hopes, burst out.

Here are Israel’s shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country’s hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbors, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits.

Suddenly everything erupts, is expressed in its very essence, emerging from the darkness into the sunlight. This is precisely the moment to examine intentions — because, as said, everything is out in the open.

First, Netanyahu’s hollowness. Not much needs to be said about it. After all, he is the one who guided all the Israeli-Palestinians talks into the tight corner of the prisoner release issue. He is also the one who, with his own words, violated Israel’s commitment to release the last group of Palestinian prisoners. He is also the one who maneuvered the Palestinian Authority into the corner of unifying with Hamas.

So what exactly is he complaining about, with his dramatic and schmaltzy comments and gestures? His immediate, conditioned, unconsidered response shows that he was just waiting for this moment, if only to say “I told you so.” And now that he has, the real question surfaces: What exactly is he telling us? The painful answer: Nothing at all.

Israel’s left wing, too, which is supposedly dignified, has become the gaping mouth of the carp stuffed with some sort of gray substance, lying on the Passover seder plate of the gluttonous right wing. The latter, too, are embroiled in a disgraceful fight over a piece of the pie of legitimacy that belongs to the sticky consensus.

How can it be that not one of them has gotten up and said: Everyone who is on the other side of this black line bears the responsibility. It is not pleasant, but it is the truth. And it is never pleasant, after all.

Before there is a kidnapping — why talk? Nobody is listening anyway because things are quiet. And the moment they kidnap, we must not talk (as the executive director of Peace Now said), since our kidnapped ones are gone. And once it all ends (in what could be, God forbid, a personal tragedy or a collective tragedy that nobody cares about), why should we talk? Everybody is busy once again with Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, the FIFA World Cup or the next scandal.

So this is also a pure moment of insulation. Not the insulation of homes which we are used to, but the insulation of hearts. Few people on the right and the left – except for Gideon LevyUri Misgav and a few other cautious and frightened commentators – are trying to grasp the deep roots of the kidnapping.

We absolve ourselves by saying, “They handed out sweets” after hearing about the kidnapping. Their happiness makes us glad, since the happier they are over our suffering, the more exempt we are from taking an interest in them and their suffering. But there is no way around it: This is a sort of happiness that demands deeper study and understanding.

All of Palestinian society is a kidnapped society. Like many of the Israelis who performed “significant service” in the army, many of the readers of this column, or their children, entered the home of a Palestinian family in the middle of the night by surprise, with violence, and simply took away the father, brother or uncle, with determination and insensitivity. That is kidnapping, and it happens every day. And what about their administrative detainees?

What is all this if not one big official, evil and unjust kidnapping that we all participate in and never pay the price for? That is the fate of tens of thousands of detainees and others under arrest, who stayed, or are staying, in Israel’s prisons – quite a few of them for no good reason, falsely imprisoned on false pretexts. The vast majority of them have been exposed to the appendages of military justice, and none of us cares a whit.

All these things have turned the topic of the prisoners into the main subject in the lives of the occupied society. There is not a single household without a detainee or prisoner. So why is it so difficult to understand their joy and our pain, fears and worry notwithstanding? It was, and can still be, otherwise.

However, as long as the Israeli government shuts all the gates of freedom, flees from all real negotiations that could solve the conflict, refuses to make good-will gestures, lies and blatantly violates its own commitments – violence is all that remains for them.

It has already been proven any number of times that kidnapping sets one free. It seems once again that Israel understands nothing but violence. What does that say about us? This response of ours — which ranges between “They deserve it” and “They are all terrorists,” to “I am following orders” and “I did not know what was going on” — says more about us than it does about them.

Despite the enormous and inspiring success of Breaking the Silence (an NGO that collects testimony from soldiers who’ve served in the West Bank), our own total silence is still the loudest thing around us. We are willing to go out of our minds over one odd and troublesome Pollard, a lone kidnap victim or three kidnap victims, but we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.

This, too, needs to be said and heard during this moment of clarity — and as loudly as possible.

 

 The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

ABBAS PRAYS FOR PEACE BY PREYING ON PALESTINE

Last week Mahmoud Abbas’ defunct Palestinian Authority signed a conciliation agreement with Hamas. This week he joined his fellow zionist Shimon Peres at the Vatican so the two athiests could pray for Peace in the presence of Pope Francis. 

Later in the week Palestinian journalists who oppose his leadership were savagely attacked while covering a demonstration in the Occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

And the attacks on the journalists are part of a wider crackdown by Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas against Palestinians who oppose his rule or mobilize for Palestinian rights.

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Video: Journalists “savagely” beaten by Palestinian Authority forces

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