MORE FAKE MEDIA NEWS AND SOME DOWNRIGHT LIES

Again we were witnesses to a notorious staged farce last weekend in Paris with ringing declarations about the so called “Middle East Peace Conference”.

Pack of Trump-Lies!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

More than 72 statesmen, diplomats, and representatives of different organisations met to debate the two-state solution, a solution which has never been feasible because nobody really wanted it and because of the non-existent peace process.

Neither Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nor Palestinian President Abbas or a Trump representative sat at the table, so in practise people debated in their own circle. Although President Hollande praised the two-state solution as the objective of the international community, in the end he was left empty-handed, and as the final communiqué was written only with considerable difficulty, it was not worth the paper it is written on. They were embarrassingly intent on not upsetting the new Trump administration thereby confirming our worst fears. (1)

And as has been the case for decades, again Israelis and Palestinians were invited to renew their engagement for a “two-state solution” and to renounce unilateral steps which would prejudice the result of direct negotiations.

“Unilateral steps” are the uninhibited Israeli settlement activity on the occupied Palestinian land with its land grab to judaizise Palestine. The whole world wants the “two-state solution” as emphasized by French Foreign Minister Ayrault, and confirmed by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier who even warned against the possible consequences which in the end would even endanger Israel’s security! However, the “international community” failed to implement its “will” because its whole interest is only concerned with the “Jewish State” and its security which serves to strengthen the occupation regime. It is no secret that the Israelis do not want peace, but all of Palestine without a Palestinian population.

The constantly repeated assertion that only the two parties concerned can find a peaceful solution is also a false conclusion. However, there have been ongoing negotiations for decades, and what did they achieve? On one hand, the “Jewish occupation state” is stronger than ever and spreading like an octopus. The economic contacts which should be extended refer to Palestinians and Israelis, but ultimately only helps the “Jewish State” which becomes more and more powerful, while the occupied Palestinians without rights become weaker and weaker. In fact, Netanyahu was right when he said that the conference was useless. He has even won because the Conference in Paris was not a platform for new UN resolutions, and this was what the Netanyahu regime was afraid of before the conference.

This final communiqué lacked bite and proposals for a solution so that the only alternative is the continuation of the wide-ranging boycott against the “Jewish State”, as long as this does not stop the illegal occupation of Palestine and does not withdraw behind the frontiers of 1967 and it does not become a state with internationally recognised frontiers and does not violate the legal right of return of the expelled Palestinians to their homeland, as recognised by international law.

Nothing of all this can and could be expected, therefore Netanyahu, awaiting for Trump, speaks of the last gasp of the conference and even puts it at one and the same level with the Islamist terrorism by comparing the statesmen having gathered there with its motivation. His conclusion is that they would destroy all hopes for peace.

Although the whole community of states gathered in Paris denounces the construction of settlements as the main conflict point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it does not renounce to the criticism towards the Palestinian “terrorist” attacks. This is so mendacious, because again people try to put the two parties at one level and so the cause is confused with the effect. The cause of the Palestinian resistance is the illegal occupation and dispossession, and the effect is the legitimate resistance against that. Of course, Netanyahu and his regime have a completely different perspective. They defame this legitimate resistance against the permanent construction of settlements on the stolen land, the decades-long occupation, the daily reprisals and the hopelessness as Palestinian “terrorism”.

Netanyahu, who feels strengthened by Trump, Kushner, and Friedman, is feverishly awaiting for the inauguration of Trump on 20 January, because he thinks that with the new president a new era will begin, which will be a calendar of the superlatives.  Already an unexpected boom of settlement construction, as we can already notice, involves the “Jewish State”, looking forward to a new chapter in the “eternally undivided capital Jerusalem” after a possible relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump did not only personally invite Netanyahu to this ceremony, but he also invited twenty of the most infamous settlers’ leaders. What a sign and what a provocation! As you can imagine, all this was organised by the Trump whisperers Kushner and Friedman. In his inaugural speech, Trump will also explicitly talk about Israel. So it will be really interesting. However, we should not be afraid of “tomorrow, which will be different from today and is very near”, and of which Netanyahu spins yarns.

There have been enough negotiations, and again without any tangible results. The collective responsibility Ayrault talks about and which should promote negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is no more than a useless sentence. Netanyahu’s refusal to come to Paris was symbolic, but why were the Palestinians denied participation at the conference? Why was the hypocritical community of states not able to recognise that there is a Palestine which must finally become a free and independent state and this is the collective responsibility towards Palestinians.

However, it is not the two-state solution which has been obsolete since a long time. Since decades, Palestine has been judaized without any restriction, and this was possible thanks to this hypocritical community of states. It has been done absolutely nothing against the Zionist ideology that requires a Jewish state: Eretz Israel. As a consequence, the occupied Palestinians have been living until now under the illegal occupation, in a region full of settlements, without any chance to get a viable, connected state on their territory.

All of this was not even mentioned. The Jewish occupiers were simply allowed to carry on as they please. What do submissive reproaches against the settlement politics help, if Israel gets more and more military aid in absurd amounts and the “Jewish State” continues its aggression wars and the Gaza genocide by always presenting them as “self-defence”, so that Western politicians from Merkel to Obama show solidarity with the Jewish State again and again. And what an eyewash when we always talk about the “moderate” Palestinians, if it is about the collaborateur Abbas, while the democratically elected Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is demonised as terrorist. Under these conditions there will never be peace. And probably this peace is also not desired. The “Jewish State” is an important ally of the so called alliance against terrorism. German ministers and politicians of the Social, Green, and Christian-Democratic Party are zealously trying to imitate Israeli methods. They talk without any restrictions about the uninhibited administrative detention for suspects and “endangerers” according to the Israel model where this method has been applied for a long time against innocent Palestinians. Did we not have this in the past? At that time it was called protective detention to protect us from these agitators! So I cannot agree with the goodwill of some left-wing people who evaluate Trump only from Putin’s point of view although even in this direction there are only contradictions. (2)

Trump and Co. will learn us to fear, from the beginning commercial war, racism, wall construction, and Israel politics, and also by his “out of the Nato”, since this does not concern the Nato itself but only wants that the defence costs we have to carry have to amount at least 2% of the GDP. And all this is in the sense of Merkel, the eulogized “leader”. (3)

Between lies and Trump the world seems to hover between shock and euphoria.

 

Written FOR

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S MIXED FAREWELL LEGACY

The good news …..

President Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s sentence

The commutation was part of Obama’s Tuesday announcement of 209 commutations and 64 pardons.

Full Report HERE

BUT …. Clemency denied for Leonard Peltier

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him.

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him.

 

Our hearts are heavy today. President Obama has denied Leonard’s application for a commutation. His name appears on the January 18 list of commutations denied by Obama as issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Leonard’s attorney Martin Garbus was also notified. (Pardon Attorney’s Letter)

Today, in an email, Leonard said, “If I should not [receive clemency] then after we are locked in for the day I will have a good cry and then pick myself up and get myself ready for another round of battles until I cannot fight [any] more. So, don’t worry. I can handle anything after over 40 years.”

It’s hard to bear such a blow, though. And make no mistake — Leonard has been hit hardest of all. But let’s not mourn so very long. Instead, let’s move ever forward. Channel your grief and anger in a positive way. Remember that Leonard still needs our help. He needs quality health care and a transfer to a medium security facility, among other things. We’ll always work towards freedom for Leonard, but these actions may help to make his life more bearable until freedom is won.

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him. Send cards and letters to:

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Thank you for your hard work and determination. Blessings to all of you.

Please stay tuned.

In solidarity,

International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

TODAY’S TOON ~~ DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR SYRIA AND YEMEN

Image by Carlos Latuff

    So It Goes Double Standards


So It Goes
Double Standards

 

ECO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

EcoPeace Middle East is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. Our primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. In so doing, we seek to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. EcoPeace has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.

Big jump in the River Jordan

Big jump in the River Jordan

Eco Peace Middle East – environmentalists for peace in the region

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How was Eco Peace Middle East founded and with which aims?
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“EcoPeace” was  founded on December 7, 1994 at an historic meeting held in Taba, Egypt.  We came about as environmental non-governmental organizations from the Middle East met with the common goal of furthering sustainable development and peace in their region. For the first time ever, Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian environmentalists agreed to join forces in an effort to promote the integration of environmental considerations into the regional development agenda.
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How do you advocate environmental issues at a political level?
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EcoPeace’s “top-down” (advocacy) programs are based on research, on the publication of policy briefs, and on the holding of events that highlight the national self-interest of each side in advancing our policy recommendations.  Mutual gain is the focus and goal of our advocacy work vis-a-vis decision makers at the regional and international levels.
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What  bottom-up strategies do you undertake?
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Our bottom-up approach is about educating local constituencies to call for, and lead, necessary cross-border solutions to regional water issues. Despite the ongoing conflict, bottom-up programing facilitates the advancement of community interests in cross-border environmental solutions

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How has civil society been responsive so far to your initiatives?
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Yes, very much so, and that is due to our “bottom up” approach, where we work with community members in our “Good Water Neighbors” (GWN) project.  This is what an external evaluator said about this project: “The GWN’s strategy of long-term deep work in the communities, sustaining a cross-border communication network, and insisting on addressing practical tangible results and interests, rather than just peace or cooperation in general, bears fruits.  It changes the discourse of those involved with the project and many have adopted the narrative of environmental peacebuilding / cross-border cooperation that the GWN project advances into their professional and personal lives.”

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Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
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Yes.  Again, local authorities and institutions are all part of our community project “Good Water Neighbors”.  We convene meetings with mayors and municipal representatives from both sides of the border, Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian, to discuss shared environmental challenges and work with them to develop and propose solutions that would benefit them both (all).  Sometimes these meetings are small, if it’s about a more local (but still cross border) problem, but we also have annual regional meetings, much larger, that focus on the larger issue of water in the region.

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Written FOR

BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP CREATED BY THE HORRORS OF WAR

“We had no choice but to believe that together, we could face our new fate.”

Adli (right) and Mansour (left) on top of al-Muntar hill, the highest point in the Gaza Strip, near where Mansour was injured in an Israeli strike.

Adli (right) and Mansour (left) on top of al-Muntar hill, the highest point in the Gaza Strip, near where Mansour was injured in an Israeli strike.

A Gaza friendship

When Adli Ibeid went to get his car repaired in a shop in Shujaiya, a neighborhood near Gaza City, in February 2010, he had no idea that he would make a new friend whose life would become profoundly intertwined with his own.

“I heard of a skilled car electrician in the neighborhood. I went there to repair my car and I met Mansour for the first time,” Adli said.

Mansour al-Qirim, the electrician, “was a very energetic, polite young man with a big smile. We grew closer to one another until we became good friends.”

They came to rely on one another as each would be gravely injured in separate Israeli attacks the following year.

“We had no choice but to believe that together, we could face our new fate,” Adli, now 25, said.

Adli was the first of the pair to be injured.

“I was walking near a group of children who were playing soccer in al-Mansoura street in March 2011. Suddenly, they were targeted by an Israeli airstrike,” Adli said. “I tried to help them, but another missile hit the area, leaving me with serious wounds.”

Adli was injured during a week of extensive Israeli airstrikes and shelling, alongside increased rocket fire from Gaza. Fourteen Palestinians, including six civilians, were killed, and 52 more – the vast majority of them civilians, including 19 children – were injured.

Adli lost consciousness on his way to the hospital, and the emergency medics thought he had died. He was taken to the morgue and left there until his father came to identify his son.

Adli’s father sensed his son breathing.

“I felt everything but couldn’t do anything, until I heard my father’s screams,” Adli recalled.

After spending three days at the intensive care unit at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, Adli regained his consciousness to discover that he had lost his left leg.

“At first, I was shocked, but over time, I accepted the reality and looked towards the future,” he said.

Adli eventually traveled to Egypt for surgery which improved his condition. When he returned to Gaza, his friend Mansour was waiting for him.

Mansour visited Adli regularly and encouraged him to have faith and patience. “It was very difficult to see my friend in such a situation,” Mansour said. “I didn’t know that I was going to have the same fate soon.”

Mansour would need to take the same advice he had given to his friend.

“In 2011, I was moving steadily towards the life of which I used to dream. I got my own workshop after mastering the craft as a car electrician,” Mansour, now 23, said. “I was an ambitious and successful 18-year-old young man.”

This was all turned upside down in August that year.

“I was passing by some of my neighbors, near al-Muntar hill, when they were directly attacked” in an Israeli airstrike, Mansour recalled. “I stayed in a coma for 10 days and when I got out of it, I realized what had happened to my leg, in addition to losing two of my fingers.”

Mansour was injured when Israel carried out approximately 30 airstrikes from 19 to 21 August, killing seven Palestinians and injuring 30 more. Palestinian fire from Gaza killed an Israeli civilian and injured six others. A Palestinian child was also killed, and six others injured, when a rocket fired from Gaza fell short of its target.

After months of treatment, Mansour was released from hospital.

“I went through a regime of physiotherapy which helped me regain my muscle flexibility, especially after the coma,” he explained. “Moreover, I had some surgeries in my leg and my head where I had sustained shrapnel.”

The two friends decided to stick together as they faced their new reality.

“We knew that everything would be easier as long as we’re together,” Mansour said. “I do almost everything with Adli.”

Adli said: “Luckily, we have the same foot size and the same taste in shoes. When we buy a pair of shoes, I take the right shoe and Mansour takes the left one. We also split the cost.

“Furthermore, we drive a motorcycle together to go to the market, to the gym, or even to the corniche.”

Their burdens remain, though their friendship makes them more bearable.

“It took us some months to believe that we could live a normal life again,” Adli explained. “I tried to go back to my previous job as a clothes salesman, but I couldn’t stand in the shop for long hours. I’ve been looking for another job.”

The Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank pays a monthly stipend to Palestinians seriously injured by Israel. But, according to Adli, “It’s not enough, especially because I’m responsible for my family.”

For Mansour, who is no longer able to work as a car electrician, providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities is a national and humanitarian duty.

“No one will hire us, even if the job is in the scope of our abilities. We won’t surrender to our disability. In fact, all we want is to participate positively in society.”

The friends have not been able to acquire artificial limbs. Prosthetics are in high demand in Gaza, and the waiting list for fittings is long, due to repeated Israeli attacks on the territory.

“We wait for an opportunity to travel to Egypt in order to get fitted for artificial limbs, despite their high prices,” Mansour said.

But there are new joys the friends are able to share, alongside the new challenges.

At his parents’ insistence, Mansour married, and in August, he and his wife’s first child arrived.

“My beautiful daughter, Zeina, is the most amazing thing that ever happened for me. I get up every morning to see her smile and to pray for her to have a better tomorrow,” he said.

Adli, who also married recently and whose wife is expecting their firstborn, looks forward to the future, without forgetting the past.

“Five years ago, I was declared dead in the morgue. Today, I have a family and dreams to achieve. I would never be here without having Mansour beside me.”

SOURCE and more photos

OUR DREAMS ARE DEMOLISHED WITH OUR HOMES ~~ VIDEO

“To finish building this house and get married – these are my dreams, that’s it, but apparently they don’t want it.”

Related Post (Click on link)

Demolished dreams

 

THE TWO -STATE SOLUTION’S SILVER BULLET

If the international community cannot come to recognize the State of Palestine before Trump takes office, the State of Palestine may ultimately be reconstituted from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

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The Two-State Solution’s Silver Bullet

By Sam Bahour

If the international community, led by the U.S., is serious about preserving the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the upcoming French-hosted international peace conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reframe the way forward. Recognizing the State of Palestine would politically contribute to ending Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This single act may be the silver bullet to save the two-state solution.

Such an act would acknowledge the asymmetric balance of power on the ground and finally acknowledge in law—prior to a peace agreement—that the international community envisions the end-game ultimately being two states. This could serve as a platform for future actions to engage both parties to act in their internationally-aligned strategic interests. Anything less, or muddying the waters by including this move in a basket of other issues, would likely further delay a real Middle East Peace Process.

In Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks on Middle East Peace he took pride that “The United States recognized Israel seven minutes after its creation” in 1948. This recognition of Israel happened without Israel having a defined eastern border, a supposed prerequisite for statehood. Is it too much to ask the U.S. to support the recognition of the State of Palestine in the same fashion, without a defined western border?” This is exactly what the Palestinian’s request for full UN membership to the UN Security Council in 2011 stated, recognition with Palestine’s western border being “on the basis of the pre-1967 borders,” which is “in accordance with the relevant [UN] resolutions,” along with the need to “resume and accelerate” negotiations of our shared border with Israel.

When the U.S. threatened to veto the 2011 application for full UN membership, the Palestinians, in a strategic move, requested that it be sent to a UN Security Council committee for further deliberations pending a more opportune timing. The following year, on 29 November 2012, a General Assembly resolution was passed that “Decide[d] to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status” and “Expresse[d] the hope that the Security Council will consider favourably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations.” The majority of the world’s countries have unilaterally recognized the State of Palestine and 138 countries upgraded Palestine’s UN status when they voted in favor of Resolution 67/19.

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s total rejection of the international community’s efforts to attempt to save the two-state solution, France is preparing to receive some 70 countries on January 15 to convene an international Middle East Peace Conference which aims to preserve the two-state paradigm. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed France’s effort, but for the average Palestinian the news of yet another conference on Middle East peace is like making a groundbreaking announcement that Starbucks sells coffee.

Those living under the daily brunt of Israeli military occupation are right to be skeptical. There is a long list of failed peace efforts all the way from UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine (November 29, 1947), Count Folke Bernadotte proposals (1947-1948), UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), the Rogers Plan (1969), UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973), the Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982), the Oslo Accords (1993), Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998), Camp David 2000 Summit (2000), The Clinton Parameters (December 23, 2000), the Taba summit (January 2001), the Tenet Plan (June 13, 2001), the Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002), the Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003), the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005), the Kerry Principles for Middle East Peace (December 29, 2016) to name just the main efforts and, sadly, the list seems likely to grow.

To avoid being added to the above list, the upcoming international conference should collectively take the single act of backing a UN Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine. Once Palestine and Israel are both recognized, the countries of the world could start to apply international conventions, treaties and understandings—just as they apply to all bordering states around the world—to the daily hurdles (from movement and trade to the use of airspace and electromagnetic spectrum) facing Palestinian existence under Israeli military occupation—as well as differentiating their own dealings with pre-1967 Israel and its illegal settlement enterprise.

The President of the Arab American Institute, James J. Zogby, recently wrote of Kerry’s end of year speech, “To some, especially Palestinians, this may seem like ‘too little, too late.’ But as someone who has been a part of the effort to create an American debate on Israeli policies, Kerry’s intervention is welcome, validating, and empowering. He laid down markers that should help liberals and progressives define a policy agenda on the Israel-Palestine conflict—exactly what we need as we enter the challenges of the Trump era.”

Given the upcoming “Trump era,” the recognition by the international community of the State of Palestine before it is too late could do much more than “laying down markers.” Such a move could be used to finally hold Israel accountable and levy serious costs—political, economic and otherwise—on Israel to bring it in line with international law and UN resolutions, not to mention common sense.

If the two-state paradigm fails, Palestinians and Israelis will not vanish into thin air. While Secretary Kerry’s 2014 nine-month thrust to restart negotiations was collapsing, the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna undertook a serious intellectual exercise with Palestinian, Israeli Jewish and European intellectuals, politicians and activists, to contribute to re-examining the current strategies and paradigms, proposing and exploring new perspectives, visionary discourses and alternatives to partition. A volume was produced along with the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament, titled, Rethinking the Politics of Israel/Palestine – Partition and its Alternatives, which proposes out-of-the-box thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In politics no vacuums exist and this effort reflected just that fact.

If the upcoming January gathering of states fails, the French could just sing C’est la vie as Netanyahu laughs all the way to the next settlement in the West Bank, but yet another generation of Palestinians and Israelis on the ground will pay the ultimate price for their failure.

Originally written FOR

A version of this article was first published in French at Le Monde.fr.

HARD TO STAY HUMAN IN A SEA OF HATE

An international world order that does not see the centrality or
urgency for the Palestinian issue and is complicit in the crime.

humans_respect_humans_by_rbeloniojr-d4y9ceu

SAY HUMAN/MENSCH BLIEBEN!

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

11 homes were demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities in one day
in the village of Qalanswe (occupied in 1948). The pace of home demolitions 
accelerated recently and are expected to accelerate more as Israel 
violates human rights and international law with
international impunity. Donald Trump will follow on the heels of Obama in
giving a green light for further ethnic cleansing. The conditions for
revolution are there just like they were in 1936 and 1987:

1) Political factional leadership disconnected from the people’s needs or
thoughts and the natives who dislike the existing political factions and
want serious change.

2) Most people have given up on political structures and the so called
“peace process” (an industry of talk and profit for elites).

3) A colonizer-occupier so self-assured that they have things under
“control” they actually do things like killing unarmed demonstrators or
demoliting homes or collective punishment. Israel just decided to deport
from Jerusalem 12 family members of a Palestinians who killed four soldiers
who illegally occupy East Jerusalem (International law recognizes such acts
as legitimate forms of resistance). This cockiness can accelerate the
arrival of uprisings.

4)  An international world order that does not see the centrality or
urgency for the Palestinian issue and is complicit in the crime (even
projecting Israeli flags on state buildings in Europe last week and
instituting laws that attack freedom of speech).

These conditions were present before every one of the uprisings (1881,
1904, 1912, 1921, 1929, 1936, etc). In South Africa under apartheid there
was also 14 or 15 uprisings before apartheid ended. Let us hope that this
coming one in Palestine will be the last. Netanyahu just sent his jets
attacking Syria (a violation of International law). Obama dropped 26,000
bombs in 2016 on seven countries.  We do not expect Trump to do any better!
Local leaders also do not give us chance for optimism. Abbas believes in
talking and the King of “Saudi Arabia” believes in bombing hospitals and
schools in Yemen to serve Israeli interests and keep his throne.  And as
JFK once said: once you make a peaceful revolution impossible you make a
violent revolution inevitable. It is time to think globally and act locally.

Aِِcting locally, we at the Palestine Museum of Natural History and
Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability are working hard. 
It has been another busy and productive week for us
locally. Two manuscripts were accepted for publication. We received good
news on one grant and submitted two more grant proposals. Israel gave a
permission to Prof. Zuhair Amr from Jordan to come spend two weeks with us
in Bethlehem  working on research (on land snails, shrews, geckos and
,more). The video of my denial of entry to Jerusalem revceived 5000 views
on facebook and over 2000 views on youtube (https://youtu.be/r0IIvCaxaKo).
We attended a workshop on Palestine Future (trends to 2030) and agreed to
take some action plans. We formed a committee to prepare for a national
network of museums. We received and rejected two offers of large funding
that required us to collaborate with Israeli institutions (violating BDS
rules). Even though our financial situation is difficult, our motto in the
museum continues to be RESPECT (for one self, for others, for nature).

The coming week promises even more: we are expecting more volunteers (local
and internationals), we expect three international delegations (visitors),
we expect to make two field trips, and to finish two more research
manuscripts. Please join us because we are the people we have been waiting
for! In other words change comes from us working together.
A poem about life by Mazin Qumsiyeh in English and German

‘James Bond’ of Philanthropy gives away the last of his fortune. “His name
does not appear in gilded letters, chiseled marble or other forms of
writing anywhere on the 1,000 buildings across five continents that $2.7
billion of his money paid for”

Stay Human/ Mensch Bleiben

ZIONIST OCCUPATION TAKES ITS TOLLS

When  an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 

voltaire-zion

Zionist Occupation and Expulsion Take Their Tolls!

by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, translated by Milena Rampoldi,  edited by author William Hanna
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Netanyahu and his regime reacted with customary “outrage” to the attack in Jerusalem where Netanyahu with immediate instinctiveness appeared centre stage to invent a connection between the Islamic State and the Palestinian perpetrator, Fadi al Hanbar, a 28-year-old father from Dschaba, an illegally occupied part of East Jerusalem. It is absolutely mysterious how Netanyahu arrived at this conclusion without any apparent evidence: especially since the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not due to the Islamic State, but to the decades-long illegal occupation of Palestine and the expulsion of Palestinians.
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Was this young Palestinian “attacker” not himself a victim? He had been just released from an Israeli prison, where – of course – he was detained as a “terrorist suspect” rather than a brave “resistance fighter” as was the case for those Europeans who during the Second World War fought against Nazi occupations. Currently more than 6,000 Palestinians are detained indefinitely and without trial in Israeli prisons under Administrative Detention Orders. Almost all Palestinian families at one time or another had family members who were detained or are still being detained without knowing when or if they will ever be released. Men and women, old and young, are brutally tortured and kept in unacceptable, inhumane conditions that contravene the Geneva Convention. The Apartheid regime illegally occupying Palestine does not hesitate to use its infamous secret services Shin Bet and Mossad – along with their renowned superpower ally – perpetrate murderous crimes on a global scale. Extra-judicial executions by the “Jewish Defence Forces”; barbaric attacks by illegal Jewish settlers; and targeted killings by Mossad are carried out with impunity everywhere because the “Jewish State” has granted itself the licence to kill.
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Should there be astonishment at such attacks and explicitly against soldiers who were ironically on a bus tour through Jerusalem. Furthermore, these officer cadets have been trained to go to places where they are particularly needed, and where they have to execute reprisals and operations against Palestinians. In the occupied East Jerusalem the atmosphere is tense with Palestinians fearing that after January 20 – when Trump is inaugurated as U.S. President – matters will only get worse. Will Trump for example make good on his statement that under his presidency – with help of David Friedman, the orthodox Jew, right-wing settlement supporter, and the future U.S. ambassador to the “Jewish State” – the U.S. embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem thereby violating international law? This would be a provocation of the worst kind, cemented by the illegitimate claim of Jewish Zionist-fascist hardliners and their illusion of an “eternal and undivided Jerusalem” as capital of the “Jewish State”.  
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How can the Palestinians be blamed? They have for decades been forced to live under brutal conditions and are now faced with the threat of extremist Jews with Netanyahu regime support of having a new Jewish Temple built on Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount), the Islamic holy site (“the Noble Sanctuary”) where the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock have stood for over 1,300 years. Directly after the recent attack, the Netanyahu regime decided to arrest the IS followers in the “Jewish State” without due legal process under the notorious Administrative Detention Orders that had for decades been routinely used against “troublesome” Palestinians whose illegal detention without trial has been condemned by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, B`Tselem, and Human Rights Watch to no avail while the international community with its core “values” maintained a cowardly silence!
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Five family members of the attacker have already been arrested, his house scheduled for destruction, and his body due to be buried in secret without being returned to his family whose applications for reunification with the inhabitants in the Gaza Strip have been refused by the Security Cabinet.
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Ethnic detention and illegal house demolitions – injustices tolerated by Western state communities – with even Germany always insisting on responsibility for remembrance of the past as justification for a “Jewish State,” failing to meet the responsibilities of the present for universal justice and human rights.
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Rather than continually promoting the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine, Merkel and Steinmeier should instead denounce the fascist crimes against humanity and stop the colonial terrorist zeal of their “Jewish friends”. There are no protests from Germany, the U.S. or the EU, who while expressing condolences for the attack on Israel, regard justified Palestinian resistance to persecution as being acts of terrorism.
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Because of this blatant double standard injustice there will never be peace. Only when the hypocritical “community of values” under “Christian-Jewish” leadership begins to perceive the illegal occupation as the main cause of legitimate Palestinian resistance, will there be tranquillity.
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Why should this resistance against the illegal occupation of Palestine be considered as an act of terrorism as compared with resistance to Nazi Germany’s terror! The application of double standards is always inadvisable because it will only fail at a political level. While Netanyahu – who is bogged down in the quagmire of a brutal occupation – is constantly looking for any opportunity to divert responsibility away from himself, the community of states should resist participation in, and support for this denigrating game.  
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This is a Zionist regime of a country drowning in a moral swamp – where a soldier’s cold- blood murder of an injured Palestinian lying on the ground – is celebrated by the majority of the population with even Netanyahu recognising him as a hero and brave opponent of terrorism. By reacting in this manner, Israel’s Zionist regime has forfeited any right to claims of being a democracy. Incomprehensibly, the military court has just condemned the soldier to only Second Degree murder and not to assassination. A further outrageous injustice would be if this murderer-soldier Azaria, was to be pardoned!
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Despite what Netanyahu and Western politicians want us to believe, this attack had absolutely nothing to do with Paris, Nice, Berlin, or anywhere else. The fact is that in the decades-long illegally occupied Palestinian Territories the injustice of the occupation has created a fertile ground for such resistance attacks by a hapless, denigrated, and desperate people, who have absolutely nothing to lose.  
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Meanwhile Netanyahu simply pursues self-serving policies that retain his power base by directing attention towards Iran, the Hezbollah, and Hamas. Furthermore he stokes the fire in Syria by supporting the terrorists of al-Nusra and taking the opportunity to reconnect with ISIS – which does not even operate in the “Jewish State” – so as to delegitimise the Palestinians and portray himself as the hero supporting the war against terrorism.
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This infamous conduct becomes even more so when Western politicians like French Prime Minister Hollande officially authorise targeted killings with drone attacks in Africa and the Middle East since 2013. On the list containing 17 names of those to be killed, 13 are still pending! Welcome to the club of those who have the licence to kill! With such policies, conscientiously supported by Germany and other Western alliance partners who promote such bombing, the real reason behind the “War on Terror” becomes apparent.
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This is not a Clash of Civilizations between the saviour “Judaeo-Christian values” and extremist Islamic terror, as they would have us believe, but a deliberate attempt to “Zionise” Western democracies into accepting the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. To this end, the Brandenberg Gate was illuminated in the flag colours of the Star of David which is a symbol of Israel’s illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine!

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When such an occupation becomes an Israeli right, Palestinian resistance becomes an essential obligation! 
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Originally written FOR
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Image by Carlos Latuff
In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

In the first week of 2017 Israel demolished the homes of 151 Palestinians

A PICTURE OF HOPE CAUGHT ON CAMERA

This kind of action outweighs all acts of terror!

Photo by Ezra Landau

Hope for Jerusalem! An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

Hope for Jerusalem!
An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

 

OBAMA’S FAREWELL SPEECH ~~ ‘WE COULD HAVE, BUT WE DIDN’T’

Outgoing president sheds a tear as he addresses his nation, delivering a statement inspired by the slogan that propelled him to the White House: ‘Yes we can…Yes we did.’

Even as Obama said farewell—in a televised speech of just under an hour—the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention center where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal. The political world was reeling from new revelations about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

 

Full Report HERE

ISRAELI MEDIA LIED ABOUT COLDPLAY’S CONCERTS

Yesterday I joyfully posted that Coldplay was planning two concerts in Israel and Palestine, billed as two Peace Concerts …..

It was not true according to the group.

On Monday, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that the band would play two concerts in Israel, on November 3 and 4, 2017 that would be marketed as “human rights concerts” which will be dedicated to messages of peace and unity.

On Tuesday, however, a representative for the band said the report was not true.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay denies it plans to perform in Israel

Popular British rock band denies reports it is planning two “peace concerts” in Israel.

Popular British rock band Coldplay on Tuesday denied reports that it was planning two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinian Arabs this coming November, JTA reported.

On Monday, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that the band would play two concerts in Israel, on November 3 and 4, 2017 that would be marketed as “human rights concerts” which will be dedicated to messages of peace and unity.

In addition, Channel 2 said, the audience at the two concerts will be comprised of both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, with tickets for the shows to be sold in the Palestinian Authority as well as in Israel.

On Tuesday, however, a representative for the band said the report was not true.

Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, recently visited Israel and reportedly discussed the possibility of the band coming for a performance in Israel for the first time ever.

Coldplay’s refusal to come to Israel has over the years produced rumors that its members do not want to come to Israel for political reasons, but Israeli producers stressed during Martin’s visit that the band vehemently denied the rumors in private conversations.

In fact, in 2016 Coldplay collaborated with Israeli directors Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia who directed the award-winning video clip for the song Up&Up.

 

FROM

COLDPLAY TO PLAY BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay to Play 2 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Concerts in West Bank

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

The concerts, set for Nov. 3 and 4, will be performed at an outdoor location north of the Dead Sea, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday.

The shows will aim to promote human rights and bring people together, The Times of Israel reported. The tickets — 50,000 for each concert — will be sold in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Coldplay, which has sold over 80 millions records worldwide, will arrive in Israel two weeks before the shows and record a song with Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Few artists have attempted similar Middle East peace-themed concerts on this scale. Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, played a concert in the Israeli Jewish-Muslim coexistence village Neve Shalom in 2006. He has since become a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Leonard Cohen made a failed attempt to play a concert in the Palestinian territories in 2009 while touring in Israel.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin is currently the artistic director for the Global Citizen Festival, which is run by the Global Poverty Project, an organization devoted to ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Two of Coldplay’s recent musicvideos were directed by Israelis.

From Coldplay’s FaceBook Page

The band fronted by Chris Martin has come under fire after posting a link to a “Freedom for Palestine” video by the band OneWorld on their Facebook page.

The song, which contains the controversial lyrics: “No matter your faith or your community/ this is a crime against humanity” and “Enough illegal occupation/ violence and racial segregation,” calls for people to rally in support of Palestine. As the chorus goes, “We are the people/ this is our time/ stand up, sing out/ for Palestine.”

LOUIS ARMSTRONG SINGS FOR PALESTINE

Not really, but it’s fitting …..

Don’t Fence Me In Louis Armstrong & His All Stars

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By Banksy

By Banksy

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ELECTION MEDDLING

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Meddling in Elections
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

"For many years I have felt that the situation in the Middle East was very
nearly hopeless.  The fundamental problem for us is that we have lost our
freedom of action in the Middle East and are committed to policies that
promote neither our own national interest nor the cause of peace.  AIPAC
(the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) and its allied
organizations have effective working control of the electoral process.
They can elect or defeat nearly any congressman or senator that they wish,
with their money and coordinated organization" Senator William Fulbright

Just so that we do not forget who really meddles in US elections and US
politics all the time

AIPAC role in US elections


AIPAC is not the only group though it is the most visible that influences
US elections to serve Israeli (not American interests). Here is a partial
listing

We have to remember that it was Israel which pushed for the war on Iraq and
damaged US Politicians who opposed the war (e.g. the Israel lobby boasts of
its influence to get rid of US congress people like Paul Findley and
Cynthia McKinney). See

 And look at The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

And then there are the billionaire Zionists like Sheldon Adelson who all
contending republicans for president court.

And who can forget that a Jewish lawyer by the name of Harry Katz talked to
head of AIPAC in 1991 and that the head of AIPAC boasted about theiur
negotiations” with Bill Clinton for support but only if the Zionists get
key cabinet positions (secretary of state and as his national security
adviser)

And can we forget that Prime Minister Netanyahu discarded protocol, snubbed
President Obama and addressed AIPAC’s US Congress in March 2015 interfering
directly in US Policy that was interested in best deal for the US (with
Iran). Thankfully, they did not succeed then to change Obama’s discourse so
they now ensured to have a successor who will annul the deal


Just last week, an Israeli diplomat was caught on tape boasting about
meddling in British elections and politics.


For more on politics, elections etc, see this chapter from my book “Sharing
the Land of Canaan” 

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. So please share these links to
show who really meddles in democratic elections. (Someone ought to write a
book)

Stay human
 

EXPOSING THE TRUTH IS LIFE THREATENING IN ISRAEL

So true in Israel today

So true in Israel today

The greatest threat to the extreme right in Israel is not terrorism, it is TRUTH.

After the conviction of the soldier terrorist Elor Azaria, the right launched a campaign to free him. The mouthpiece of the right, our local Psycho Gal has been the most vocal, which came as no surprise to anyone.

As stated above, the TRUTH is their greatest threat.

Not necessarily so in Israel

Not necessarily so in Israel

Here is the result of the anti-Truth campaign ….. FROM

Harassment and attacks against activist who filmed Hebron shooting continue

Israeli settlers attempted to break into the Hebron home of activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya and threw stones at the house Saturday evening, as he has continued to be the target of death threats and harassment after he filmed an Israeli soldier shoot a Palestinian to death last year.

In a rare move move, the soldier was convicted of manslaughter earlier this week, in large part due to the damning footage captured by Abu Shamsiyya, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers who are not held accountable for similar cases of apparent “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.

On Wednesday, the day of conviction, Abu Shamsiyya said he “feared for his life.”

Since his footage went viral the day of the shooting back in March 2015, Abu Shamsiyya has been the target of violent settler incursions on his home and has received hundreds of death threats online.

Leading up to the announcement of the verdict, Abu Shamsiyya said that members of Elor Azarya’s family — the soldier who was ultimately convicted for the shooting — broke into his home and “asked me to go to court and change my testimony.” He said he had video footage proving the incursion took place.

Israel settlers returned to his home Saturday evening, he told Ma’an, and attempted to break into his home.

Abu Shamsiya told Ma’an that settlers gathered around his house, and when they failed to break in, they hurled stones, causing minor damages.

He highlighted that large numbers of Israeli forces were present when the settlers attacked the house and soldiers intervened and drove away the attackers.

Abu Shamsiyya added that in March he had asked the Israeli army to provide him protection from settlers, as death threats began pouring in on Facebook while others attempted to bribe him to change his witness testimony.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports of Saturday nights attack.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last month condemned the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A “worrying number of complaints” have been filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which have highlighted in particular the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists “as a direct result of their important work in their communities.”

“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the report said.

Amnesty International released a statement Wednesday saying that the conviction of Elor Azarya “must pave the way for justice for unlawful killings.”

“Today’s conviction of a member of the Israeli forces is a rare occurrence in a country with a long record of using excessive and unwarranted force, and where soldiers who may have committed crimes under international law very seldom face prosecution. The verdict is a small step in the right direction and offers a glimmer of hope that soldiers who commit unlawful killings may no longer go unpunished,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Sadly, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Time and again we have witnessed cases where Israeli forces appear to have carried out unlawful killings, displaying an appalling disregard for human life. The authorities’ repeated failure to hold anyone accountable for flagrant violations has fostered a culture in which unlawful killings have become acceptable,” said Philip Luther.

Amnesty international said that they sent a memorandum to Israeli authorities in Sep. 2016, citing at least 20 cases of apparently unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces, of which at least 15 of those killed were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life.

The video that helped get the conviction ….

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And the man behind the camera ….

 Imad Abu Shamsiyya

Imad Abu Shamsiyya

“NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU!”

Here is what happened  in video and why even this short encounter reveals at least six violations of International law.

NO CHRISTMAS IN JERUSALEM FOR YOU

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

January 7th is Christmas for my family (Eastern Christian traditions). After we had our large gathering of a few hundred members of the Qumsiyeh clan, and paying visits to my sisters and the older people in my family, I tried unsuccessfully to visit Jerusalem (both with my US passport and with my Palestinian ID). The idea was to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and have dinner in Jerusalem.

I used to be a high school teacher in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only 4 miles away and is a suburb of Jerusalem. The economies were/are inter-dependent and for five thousand years were inseparable. That is until Israel decided to separate us after they signed the Oslo agreements in 1994 (one of many reasons why these sell-out agreements entrenched apartheid and colonization). I am not allowed to enter Jerusalem on my American passport because I am a Palestinian who does not get a visitor visa on my US passport (I hold green card resident ID in my own country). Most Palestinians are not allowed to their own city of Jerusalem except with special permits. On occasions (like Muslim and Christian holidays, Palestinians above a certain age (males over 55) are allowed. In this case they claimed that Shabak (Israel Internal Security) said that even if I was above 55 I am not allowed and that if I try to come through again I would be jailed (lack of due process not withstanding). While I was questioned, the bus from Bethlehem had left and we were forced to then walk back in the cold weather.

The Israeli policies of separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem and denying us entry are violations of International law and many are considered war crimes. Here are the violations that these soldiers and the Israeli government are guilty of based on International law:

1) Israel’s changes to borders of the municipality of Jerusalem to include parts of Bethlehem (illegal for occupiers, several UN resolutions),

2) Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem (both West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem are not Israeli per the UN resolutions that Israel itself agreed to implement when they became members of the UN),

3) Israel’s establishment of 23 Jewish only settlements/colonies in Bethlehem is a war crime and the fact that such Jewish settlers cross over without requiring tasrih (permit) is racist,

4) Israel cannot prevent freedom of movement between one occupied town (Bethlehem) and another occupied town (Jerusalem),

5) Building walls and fences inside the 1967 occupied areas is also illegal (International Criminal Court Ruling 2004),

6) That the “shabak” can give direction to prevent people like me from crossing simply because we advocate non-violent resistance (I wrote a book on the subject) is contrary to both local law (supposed freedom of speech, due process) and International law (e.g. violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

These colonization tactics are nothing short of state terrorism. This indignity was a disappointment in Christmas but we have the peace of Christmas in our hearts and the silver lining is that this provides another motivation for us to redouble our efforts to end the ongoing crimes against humanity. Others suffer and even get injured, jailed or tortured so we are still grateful. May 2017 bring us closer to ending this nightmare of apartheid, close to return of Palestinian refugees, closer to justice, and closer to peace.

Stay Human!

original

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ HUNGER IN GAZA

A ‘meal’ you definitely wouldn’t want to be invited to …

Because of extreme poverty Palestinian family in Gaza cooks chicken feet & toes 💔

Because of extreme poverty a Palestinian family in Gaza cooks chicken feet & toes 💔

CARRIE FISHER’S SENSE OF HUMOUR FOLLOWS HER TO THE GRAVE

The vessel for the ashes? An extra large Prozac pill doubling as an urn, showing that Carrie Fisher’s sense of humor about just about everything, including her mental illness, lives on.

Fisher spent years as a mental health advocate and even battled mental illness herself. In her interviews and in books, Fisher worked to break the stigma around mental illness and divulged her bipolar disorder over a decade ago.

tumblr_oiv25j2akx1qaleloo1_500

Carrie Fisher’s Ashes Placed in Giant Prozac Pill Urn

Todd Fisher brought the cremated remains of his sister Carrie Fisher to the private memorial for their mother Debbie Reynolds on Friday in Los Angeles.

The vessel for the ashes? An extra large Prozac pill doubling as an urn, showing that Carrie Fisher’s sense of humor about just about everything, including her mental illness, lives on.

“Carrie’s favorite possession was a giant Prozac pill that she bought many years ago. A big pill,” Todd explained to Entertainment Tonight. “She loved it, and it was in her house, and Billie and I felt it was where she’d want to be.”

Todd also shared how he and the rest of the family are doing in the wake of the two deaths.

“Everybody’s as settled as we can be, and we’re not going to go any further,” Todd told reporters. “We’ll have a bigger service down the road for the public and all the family friends, but this was a private family service and we’re — it was fitting and it was beautiful.”

The date for the memorial hasn’t been set, but Todd noted that there are still ways to commemorate the late actresses.

“We have so much of them that was left behind,” he added. “All of my sister’s words and all the movies, and all the things that they created. That’s what we need to remember.”

Fisher spent years as a mental health advocate and even battled mental illness herself. In her interviews and in books, Fisher worked to break the stigma around mental illness and divulged her bipolar disorder over a decade ago.

Some of Fisher’s remains were buried with her mother.

NETANYAHU’S ART OF HIDING THE TRUTH BY TWISTING WORDS

The abuse of human beings starts with the abuse of language.

Orwell taught long ago, you don’t need fancy language when you’re speaking the truth.

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Netanyahu’s Dangerously Twisted Words Hide the Truth

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued two public statements. When the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution criticizing settlements, Netanyahu attacked it for not condemning Syria. When Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration’s decision to let the resolution pass, Netanyahu attacked him for not sufficiently condemning the Palestinians.

In both responses, the Israeli leader illustrated George Orwell’s famous insight: The abuse of human beings starts with the abuse of language.

“At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria,” Netanyahu declared after the UN vote, “it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel.”

The first clause is a non-sequitur. Yes, Syrians in Aleppo and elsewhere are suffering more than Palestinians in the West Bank. Yes, the UN should be doing more to relieve their plight. But the test of whether Israeli settlement policy deserves international condemnation is whether Israeli settlement policy is morally wrong, not whether other governments deserve condemnation more.

By Netanyahu’s logic, the UN shouldn’t condemn Bashar al Assad’s crimes either. After all, only 500,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war; ten times that many have died from violence in Congo. So unless the UN criticizes Congo’s leaders ten times as often, Assad can claim to be the victim of a double standard, too.

Netanyahu’s logic would also have ensnared the American Jewish organizations that in the 1970s protested the Soviet Union’s refusal to let Jews emigrate. After all, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and Idi Amin in Uganda were committing far worse human rights abuses at the same time. Why didn’t Jewish groups focus on those?

When it comes to Syria, there’s reason to doubt Netanyahu’s sincerity. Just days after denouncing the UN for its inaction there, he reportedly instructed Israeli diplomats to skip a vote on creating a UN commission to gather evidence of Syrian war crimes because he feared alienating Vladimir Putin. But regardless, the UN’s action or inaction on Syria doesn’t excuse Israeli settlement policy. A lesser evil is still evil.

If the first half of Netanyahu’s sentence is irrelevant, the second half is untrue.

In the West Bank, Israel is not the “one true democracy in the Middle East.” It’s not a democracy at all. It’s not a democracy because Palestinians — who comprise the vast majority of the West Bank’s inhabitants — cannot vote for the government that controls their lives: the government of Israel. (Yes, Israel subcontracts certain governing functions to the Palestinian Authority, but it still controls the entire area. Israel’s army — and the army of no other nation — can enter any square inch of the West Bank anytime it wants and arrest anybody it wants, including members of the Palestinian Authority itself). If Israel really were a democracy in the West Bank, and millions of West Bank Palestinians could vote in Israeli elections, Netanyahu wouldn’t be Israel’s prime minister.

Five days later, after Kerry gave a speech defending the Obama administration’s decision to let the UN resolution pass, Netanyahu tried a different tack. Settlements aren’t the problem, he insisted, the Palestinians are.

“This conflict is not about houses, or communities in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza district or anywhere else,” Netanyahu declared. “This conflict is and has always been about Israel’s very right to exist…The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict.”

But that’s a false dichotomy. Yes, the refusal of some Palestinians to recognize Israel stands at “the core of the conflict.” So do settlements, in part because they encourage the very Palestinian rejectionism that Netanyahu decries.

Palestinian politics is neither monolithic nor unchanging. In the early twentieth century, Palestinian leaders fought to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. In the mid-twentieth century, they fought to undo it. Then, gradually, dissident Palestinian thinkers began arguing for a change of strategy. Although they deeply regretted Israel’s creation, they accepted that it was now irreversible. Palestinians, they argued, should recognize Israel in hopes of winning their own state alongside it in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This shift in Palestinian strategy culminated in the PLO’s declaration, at the start of the Oslo Accords in 1993, that it “recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” (The Palestinian National Council ratified that declaration by amending the PLO’s charter in 1998.)

Hamas, and even some in the PLO itself, disagreed. And when it comes to recognizing Israel, Palestinians have been divided ever since. Observers can debate where the balance of Palestinian opinion lies. But the key point is this: settlements undermine the Palestinians most willing to accept Israel’s right to exist.

The entire strategy behind recognizing Israel, after all, was that doing so would help win Palestinians their own state. The more Palestinians see settlements eating away at that future state, the more they conclude that recognizing Israel was a mistake.

Listen to Salam Fayyad, a Palestinian leader that even Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s ambassador to the United States, has praised for his commitment to peace. Before stepping down as the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister in 2013, Fayyad told The New York Times’ Roger Cohen that, “The occupation regime is more entrenched, with no sign it is beginning to relinquish its grip on our life. There are more settlements, more settler violence, more intrusiveness into all aspects of Palestinian life.” As a result, Fayyad declared, “I represent the address for failure. Our people question whether the P.A. can deliver. Meanwhile, Hamas gains recognition and is strengthened.”

As evidence that settlements don’t matter, Netanyahu and his allies often point to Yasser Arafat’s refusal to accept Ehud Barak’s two state offer in 2000 and Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to accept Ehud Olmert’s in 2008. But the actual history of those negotiations proves exactly the opposite.

At the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000, Barak proposed annexing nine percent of the West Bank. For their part, the Palestinians proposed that Israel annex only 2.5 percent. Why the discrepancy? Because Barak wanted to incorporate 80 percent of Jewish settlers into Israel while the Palestinians felt that such a large annexation would imperil their state’s territorial contiguity.

Eight years later, the two sides disagreed again. Olmert proposed that Israel annex 6.5 percent of the West Bank; the Palestinians said they could accept an annexation of no more than 1.9 percent. As Bernard Avishai has reported, one of the biggest sticking points was Ariel, Israel’s fourth largest settlement, which the Palestinians insisted Israel dismantle because it juts deep into the northern West Bank.

Obviously, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators clashed over other issues too: Jerusalem, refugees, the Jordan Valley. But in both negotiations, the settlements clearly made reaching a deal harder. Believing that dismantling large settlements like Ariel was politically impossible, Barak and Olmert insisted on annexing sizable chunks of the West Bank. Believing those annexations would make their state non-viable, the Palestinians refused.

Today, because the settler population is larger, those gaps would be even wider. It’s academic because unlike Barak or Olmert, Netanyahu has never offered a map of the kind of Palestinian state he could accept. What he offers instead is rhetoric: cutesy Americanisms like “Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”

But there are realities that public relations-lingo can’t obscure. By creating one law for Jewish settlers, who enjoy Israeli citizenship, free movement, due process and the right to vote for the government that controls their lives, and another for Palestinians, who live as non-citizens under military law, Israel in the West Bank has become a “brutal occupation force” that is “making the lives of millions unbearable.” Those words come from Avraham Shalom and Carmi Gillon, two former heads of the Shin Bet.

Their English isn’t as polished as Netanyahu’s. But as Orwell taught long ago, you don’t need fancy language when you’re speaking the truth.

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