IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL AL QUDS DAY IN TIMES SQUARE

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ GAZA REMEMBERED ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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Adding insult to injury

Adding insult to injury

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SPOOF ~~ ISRAEL ‘CELEBRATES’ THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR IN GAZA

Spoof by Latuff

Spoof by Latuff

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YET ANOTHER GAZA FLOTILLA SPOOF

Another spoof by Latuff

Another spoof by Latuff

Yesterday’s Spoof

Spoof by Latuff

Spoof by Latuff

SPOOF ON ISRAELI PIRACY

 

Spoof by Latuff

Spoof by Latuff

Israel seizes activist flotilla headed to Gaza

Naval special forces take control of ship, which carried 20 activists including MK Basel Ghattas, without violence.

 

Full report HERE

ISRAELI TREASON AGAINST HUMANITY

Don’t tell me Israel is too civilized and wouldn’t indulge in the unthinkable. The truth is that Israel would unhesitatingly embark on the unthinkable should the humanity go into a brief moment of slumber.

This is why humanity must remain vigilant because the Israeli snake is venomous and treacherous.

zionist-snake11

Israel murdered, maimed thousands of Palestinian civilians, knowingly and deliberately

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
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A report issued Sunday by the Israeli occupation army on last year’s genocidal blitz in the Gaza Strip claimed that Israeli forces didn’t intentionally target Palestinian civilians.

The report, issued belatedly and scandalously fraught with half-truths, selective data taken out of context and containing a preponderance of sheer lies, seems to be intended to counter growing international convictions that Israel did commit real war crimes and crimes against humanity during its 50-day devastating aggression on Gaza last summer.

However, it seems that Israel’s task of exonerating itself of manifestly damning charges related to war crimes is not going to be easy.

Indeed, the irrefutable facts available to the UN, the Red Cross and other neutral third parties should be sufficient to condemn and convict Israel as a murderous state.

There are also thousands of testimonies by on-the-ground eyewitness who have presented credible and honest narratives of the atrocities which killed and maimed thousands of civilians including hundreds of children.

It is really hard to believe that thousands of civilians were killed inadvertently or by mistake or as a result of collateral damage. Believing such claims would be an insult to human intelligence.

True, Israel is constantly shielded from international condemnation, especially punishment, by the United States, Israel’s ultimate guardian-ally, as well as the governments of Western Europe.

But in this age of open skies and internet, it is imperative for all honest men and women around the world, irrespective of their religion or race, to expose the brutal ugliness of this criminal entity called Israel. This is the very least humanity should do on behalf of the helpless victims.

This is very crucial because Israel is convinced it is above the laws of man and God and unbounded by the international norms.

And should the world, God forbid, continue to fail to call the spade a spade, especially when the proverbial implement is seen in the hands of our grave-diggers, and I am not speaking metaphorically, it should be a foregone conclusion that Israel could or probably would eventually embark on the unthinkable vis-à-vis its helpless victims.

I don’t know for sure how the unthinkable would be played out on the ground. However, 67 years of the Israeli experience should be more than sufficient to invoke and remember Stalin and his Gulags, Hitler and his concentration camps, Pol Pot and his genocidal crimes and Bashar El-Assad and his sectarian massacres.

Don’t tell me Israel is too civilized and wouldn’t indulge in the unthinkable. The truth is that Israel would unhesitatingly embark on the unthinkable should the humanity go into a brief moment of slumber.

Israel calculates that apart from a brief outburst of half-hearted denunciations and some vociferous demonstrations in some western capitals, the world powers, particularly the US, would just “let it pass” and probably content with issuing indifferent calls on “all sides to exercise self-restraint.”

I really don’t know if the macabre Israeli calculations are accurate or not. However, from our bitter experience with the West especially since the Second World War, Israel seems ostensibly correct in its prognosis of western moral bankruptcy.

Indeed, a West that is looking on rather passively as Assad with active support from the Russians, the Iranians and Hizbullah is slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, is decidedly unlikely to experience an awakening of moral conscience if and when the Israeli death machine gangs up on the Palestinians.

Genocidal Israelis

Israel is not Denmark or Sweden or even Britain. There is a definitely genocidal mindset in Israel which millions of Europeans and North Americans cannot easily detect due to many years of sustained brain-washing by Zionist-influenced or Zionist controlled media in the West.

Several years ago, an Israeli settler leader named Daniela Weiss from a colony in the northern West Bank delivered a hair-raising speech to dozens of fanatical Gush Emunim settlers in Hebron.

In her brief tirade, the gung ho settler leader told the fanatical multitude that the best way to deal with the Palestinians was the Joshua’s way, an allusion to Biblical massacres carried out by Biblical Israelites against indigenous Canaanite tribes.

The speech, met with loud cheers, didn’t raise many eyebrows in Israel, neither in the media nor in the government.

Hence, the claim that Israelis or Jews wouldn’t allow the government of Israel to resort to genocide against the Palestinian is based more on wishful thinking than on any convincing arguments.

Today, the Palestinian people owe their survival as a people to the good-will of the international community.

But the continuity of this good-will cannot be taken for granted. This is why humanity must remain vigilant because the Israeli snake is venomous and treacherous.

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IS IT TOO LATE FOR A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE?

Expecting Netanyahu to work for peace would be very much like expecting a ship to sail on land. This is because Netanyahu and peace are an eternal oxymoron.

Is it too late for just peace in Palestine?

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to adopt brazen mendacity and dishonesty as his modus operandi vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

In fact, one would exaggerate very little by saying that Netanyahu is probably the most dishonest political figure in Israel ever since the racist Jewish entity came into being in Palestine 67 years ago.

In the past two weeks, Netanyahu made a plethora of statements voicing his desire for the resumption of the moribund peace process with the weak Palestinian Authority.

This is of course not the first time Netanyahu makes such statements.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have been making all sorts of mendacious statements expressing an ostensible desire for peace with the Palestinians.

However, these statements were always proven to be utterly false, which shows that Netanyahu is not just an ordinary liar, but rather a malicious one par excellence.

Just ask any European leader who has dealt with Netanyahu how he views the Israeli premier and if he thinks he has any credibility. The answer would be a clarion “No.”

Indeed, how can we possibly trust a man who voices a desire for peace with the Palestinians while doing everything in his ability to kill any remaining prospects for peace?

In fact, expecting Netanyahu to work for peace would be very much like expecting a ship to sail on land. This is because Netanyahu and peace are an eternal oxymoron.

There is no doubt that a country that has built hundreds of colonies on land that belongs to another people and transferred hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live on land that belongs not to them doesn’t have genuine peace on its agenda.

This is the truth Netanyahu is trying to conceal or blur by way of making all sorts of theatrical statements especially when meeting with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Unfortunately, many or most of these dignitaries, especially from Europe and North America, lack the moral courage to tell Netanyahu “you are a liar” either explicitly or implicitly.

But Netanyahu is a big liar in his own right.  What else can be said of a leader who claims to be working for peace while actually killing it with all strength and determination?

Red herrings

In his firewall of defense against  growing international awareness that Netanyahu and peace contradict each other, the Israeli premier, a visionless politician who thinks a more aggressive hasbara discourse can make up for  political wisdom, Netanyahu has been claiming that the international BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) against Israel is actually making peace more distant.

Given Netanyahu’s malicious character, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Israeli prime minister knows deep in his mind that he is lying and that the BDS campaign and other forms of protest against Israel are mere reactions to Israeli recalcitrance and criminal persecution and oppression of  the largely unprotected Palestinians under Israel’s military occupation.

Yes, he knows it, but, since he views malicious dishonesty as an expression of political skill and cleverness, he just goes on and on, lying and lying and lying.

The fanatics in his quarter, who are undoubtedly numerous, would rather innately hail him and praise his genius in defense of Israel. But this is a shortsighted perception, utterly devoid of wisdom.

This is because, Netanyahu’s impetuousness, recklessness and recalcitrance, which also reflect the collective mindset of many Israelis, probably a majority, is what will eventually take Israel to the abyss.

But by then, it would be too late. It is very much like a heavily intoxicated driver making a fatal traffic accident under the influence of alcohol.

As a Palestinian, I am ambivalent about the course Netanyahu and his equally self-absorbed colleagues in government are taking.

And just as the proverbial drunk driver who would refuse to heed warnings against driving under the influence of alcohol, Netanyahu, Bennett, Shaked, etc., are in no mood to listen to a word of advice and reproach.

In the final analysis, megalomaniac arrogance has more or less the same influence on mental sanity. It often leads to fatal consequences.

I don’t know for sure if there is still any real chance for a dignified and lasting peace in Palestine/Israel. But whatever chances there may still be are vanishing very rapidly before our eyes.

In light of the grim realities on the ground, this view should actually be considered an overly auspicious perception rather than an expression of doom and gloom because otherwise the vast majority of serious observers and experts would  strongly deny the existence of any real chance for peace in this part of the word. Is it too late? I hope not.

But my hope may be proven too illusive to be realistic.

 

THE UN WAS RIGHT! ISRAEL DOES NOT ABUSE CHILDREN, IT JUST MURDERS THEM!

See THIS report first …..

Israel doesn’t abuse children, it just murders them

By Khalid Amayreh
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Throughout its unglamorous history, the UN issued many scandalous reports and adopted many scandalous resolutions reflecting lack of justice and absence of moral honesty.This ever-existing symptom also reflected western hegemony over the international organization.

However, none of these reports and resolutions seems more scandalous than this week’s report which kept Israel off the List of Shame, which includes states and entities that abuse children.

This particular report is manifestly scandalous precisely because Israel is probably one of the most obscene abusers of children under the sun.

Indeed, there are a few countries in this world that can be compared to Israel in this respect.

At the top of the list of shame sits the Nazi-like Syrian regime of Bashar el-Assad which habitually and routinely murders children (and other civilians) in large numbers, either by dropping crude barrel bombs on residential neighborhoods and crowded streets or using deadly chemical agents against heavily populated areas.

To be sure, Israel uses neither crude barrel bombs nor chemical weapons to annihilate Palestinian children. Instead, the Jewish state achieves the same results by using huge laser guided bombs and missiles to destroy residential multi-story buildings, packed with civilians, including children.

Needless to say, the ultimate result of such barbarity is a little Auschwitz.

Exterminating from high altitudes is, of course, Israel’s preferred way of murdering Palestinian children and casting shock and awe in their hearts.

But it is by no means the only way. In its last year’s blitzkrieg in Gaza, Israel obliterated entire neighborhoods, such as Shujaiyya, utterly annihilating everything, including human, building and plant.

According to eyewitnesses, the scene at the bombed-out neighborhood very much looked as if borrowed from the German city of Dresden in 1945.

Killing knowingly is killing deliberately

In its last year’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israel murdered at least 500 Palestinian children, in addition to hundreds of other civilians, including many entire families.

In earlier rounds of aggression, Israel had murdered and maimed hundreds of children.

Israel has a long history of premeditatedly murdering Palestinian children. In light, one would exaggerate little by saying that Israel boasts the highest per capita rate of child-killers in the world.

Israel readily acknowledges that it kills Palestinian children knowingly.

A few years ago, this writer spoke with an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman who said that “Yes, we do know that Palestinian children are being killed as a result of our military activities, but we don’t do it deliberately.”

But this is a sheer lie, because in the final analysis killing knowingly is killing deliberately.

Indeed, mistakes in wars do occur and innocent civilians get killed. However, mistakes happen a few times not hundreds of times because in this case killing civilians becomes de facto policy.

This has always been and continues to be Israel’s policy. They kill the innocent civilians first and then, only then, the Israeli foreign ministry and other mouthpieces of Israeli hasbara (propaganda) get busy justifying the Nazi-like atrocities, mainly by concocting every conceivable lie and inventing fabulous narratives that have absolutely no iota of truth.

This reminds me of routine communiqués issued by the Israeli security forces during the first Palestinian intifada which started in December of 1987.  Then the Israeli army spokesman would issue statements like this following the murder of Palestinian boys in the streets of the West Bank.

“IDF soldiers fired into the air to disperse Palestinian rioters. Palestinian sources reported five youths killed.” The wording of the Israeli army statements made many foreign observers, utterly affronted by the brutal ugliness of Israeli dishonesty, wonders if Palestinian boys had wings and could fly.

Moral bankruptcy

The clarion failure of the UN to condemn brazen Israeli criminality and brash violation of international law underscores the moral bankruptcy of the world body.

Consequently, more states and peoples will lose confidence in the ability and willingness of the UN to foster peace and justice throughout the world. Unfortunately, this is becoming more evident as time passes.

Eventually, this could transform our world into a real jungle, an unmistakable portent signaling ultimate self-destruction.

 

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF PALESTINE TODAY?

DOCUMENTED FACTS THAT YOU WON’T FIND IN THE WESTERN MEDIA

Palestinian territories الأراضي الفلسطينية From Wikipedia

Palestinian territories
الأراضي الفلسطينية
From Wikipedia


...........Status of Palestine in 2015
.....................Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Some of this information is from a summary issued by the Negotiations
Affairs Department (an independent group advising Palestinian negotiators):

- It has been 67 years since the occupation of 78% of Palestine in 1948

- It has been 48 years since the occupation of the other 22% of Palestine
(WB and Gaza) that started 1967

- Today there are 12.5 million Palestinians 7.2 million of us are
refugees/displaced people (six million from the ethnic cleansing of
1948-1950, 843,737 from 1967 Naksa, and 345,217 internal displacement
within the green line, 57,669 internally displaced in 1967 areas.

- UNRWA has 5.4 million registered refugees and has established and
operates in 59 official refugee camps (17 unofficial camps).

-Camps are unstable. As an example 162,000 used to inhabit Yarmuk Camp in
Syria, most of them were displaced in the last three years and 1093 were
killed or died of starvation in the besieged camp. A camp Imam gave a fatwa
allowing the consumption of dog, cat, and donkey meet. Desperate
Palestinians are also drowining in the Mediterranean Sea and dying in
places like Gaza and Syria, when they run out of options. Malnutrition,
birth defects, cancer, and other health issues are skyrocketing.

-When the Balfour declaration was issued in 1917, there were some 850,000
Palestinians only 7% of us were Jewish-Palestinians (and most Jews were
also opposed to Zionism).

 - Roughly 6.5 million Palestinians still live in Palestine though they are
restricted to use 8.7% of the land (Qumsiyeh calculation) and have no
sovereignity even in those remaining areas.

-roughly 6.5 million Israeli Jews live in historic Palestine, vast majority
of them immigrants or children of immigrants. They have access to 91.3% of
the land and have physical sovereignity over 100% of it.

-Some 1500-1800 new Jewish Israeli NGOs are registered every year. Some 100
new Palestinian NGOs are registered every year. In total historic Palestine
has the highest number of NGOs per population size of any place on earth.
Many if not a majority of these NGOs (Israeli and Palestinian) increase
corruption and graft and help sustain the status quo of apartheid and
racism. A virtual industry of foreign aid is built around “peace” and
“development” but actually entrench the apartheid system.

-By contrast, millions of good people with very limited resources do
amazing work to help Palestine move forward. They include cadres of
volunteers, the International solidarity movement, student bodies around
the world, Palestine solidarity groups and more.

-In its ongoing policy of using citizens of Gaza as laboratory test
subjects for new weapon development, Israel killed in its attack in Summer
2014 on Gaza 2147 Palestinians. Most of those were civilians including 531
children and 302 women. The Israeli assault also left 11,231 injured
including 3258 Palestinian children

-Israeli Jewish public voted in the most right wing government in Israeli
history including ministers now serving that support ethnic cleansing and
massacring civilians.

- There is increasing public support in Western countries for human rights
of Palestinains and also for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to
help end racism and ethnic cleansing

- By contrast, thanks to massive lobby efforts and media control,
politicians in Western Countries are acting as Israel’s henchmen including
in efforts to combat BDS (and even suppressing free speech)

- There is increasing awareness of Western government hypocrisy/double
standard  in regards to application of International humanitarian law and
UN resolutions. This itself drives extremism and notions of “might makes
right”. Even among elites in power, they now realize that it is an
impossible mission to claim to fight spread of a religious state in Syria
and Iraq (ISIS) while maintaining a racist expanding religious state in
Palestine (Jewish State of Israel)

Bottom line: There is lots of suffering that started with Zionist
colonization and exacerbated with Arab leader betrayal but the Palestinian
cause remains strong thanks to people resistance around the world. Together
we are charting path to freedom and dignity against all odds. Key question
is what each of us is doing personally to help or hurt (looking in the
mirror).
 

IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS FOR PEACE ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial day weekend the Veterans For Peace held their annual  event at Battery Park NYC in front of the massive World War II memorial  remembering those killed in the war. Attending were the family and friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, veterans of WWII, veterans of  The Korean War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants came to the mike and spoke of those family members and friends killed in war. Chippy Dee, a Desertpeace associate, also memorialized the Palestinians: adults and children murdered by the Zionist Attack Force (also known as the IDF). As each speaker finished they threw a rose into the waters of the Hudson river. At the end of the memorial event the sad musical notes  of “taps” sounded in the park.

Photos  and Commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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SPOOF ON BLAIR’S ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related post FROM

Tony Blair Steps Down as Mideast Mediator

Reuters

Former British prime minister Tony Blair will step down as representative of the Quartet of Middle East powerbrokers at the end of June, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Blair wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that he would step down from the role he has held since 2007. “(His) decision …will come into effect at the end of next month,” a source close to the Quartet said.

No comment was immediately available from Blair’s office in London.

NAKED FACTS OF NETANYAHU’S ‘PEACE PROCESS’

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.
Peace or pieces?

Peace or pieces?

The futility of counting on Netanyahu for peace

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
It is really hard to give renewed European efforts to revive the moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians the benefit of the doubt.

But, even if we did, these efforts would hardly be proven more than just a mere regurgitation of past failed efforts.

The naked facts on the ground in Occupied Palestine underscore a completely grim outlook. Israel has more or less killed any remaining chances for a viable Palestinian state, the centerpiece of the proposed two-state solution.

Israel is relentlessly continuing to make facts on the ground, ensuring the irreversibility of present realities. But the irreversibility of present realities also means that Israel, whether we like it or not, is becoming a bi-national state de fact, at least, with as many as 50% of the population between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean (an area ruled or controlled by Israel) being non-Jews.

This non-Jewish population is expected to grow even further in proportion to the number of Jews in years and decades to come. This is a matter of science, not rhetoric or propaganda.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to make little “victories” on the international arena. But we all know these symbolic achievements won’t make any difference in the final analysis.

This is because the two-state strategy has effectively expired thanks to the ubiquitous Jewish settlement expansion.

Which means it is now too late for the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel, with a combination of pressure and inducements,  is likely to try to bully or cajole the weak PA to content itself with a diminutive “state” encompassing truncated Bantustans, cut off from each other by Jewish settlements, and isolated from the rest of the world.

However, such an imposed “solution” wouldn’t be utterly rejected by the bulk of Palestinians, and its advocates would probably be shot like stray dogs in the streets of the West Bank for their perceived treason and perfidy.

Moreover, the exclusion of the paramount right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in 1948, along with the religiously sensitive subject Jerusalem, from such a settlement would likely make it doomed from day one.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to repeat itself on the Palestinian arena for many years to come.

Fascist government

Israel today has probably the most extremist right-wing government ever since the creation of the Jewish state in Palestine in 1948.

This government is made up of the gurus of Jewish fascism, who reject the principle of peace with utter contempt. Indeed, for these fanatics, peace is a sign of weakness and tantamount to the destruction the Jewish people.

Just listen to the shockingly recalcitrant remarks made by Israeli cabinet ministers these days and compare these remarks with the Nazi discourse prior and during the Second World War.

This is more than nationalist extremism. This is odious fascism, pure and simple.

This should sound alarm bells everywhere. The collective mindset permeating in Israel today more or less resembles the collective mindset which prevailed in Nazi Germany in the few years preceding the Second World War.

Don’t tell me Jews are not capable of doing the unthinkable. You bet they are.

In the final analysis, when Jews, or anyone else, think, behave and act like the Nazi thought, behaved and acted, they become Nazi, pure and simple.

Similarly, we have to remind ourselves and others that the holocaust actually started long before Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and Dachau.

It started much earlier with Mein Kamph, the anti-Jewish laws, and then Kristalnacht, the sort of stuff we hear morning and evening these days from the mouths of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust.

No peace strategy

The truth of the matter is that Israel has no peace strategy.  Israel only has a strategy for aborting peace not making it.

The killing by Israel of the peace process and whatever hopes for peace that process may have entailed is a damning proof that Israel doesn’t want peace.

I know and the world knows that the international community knows this fact too well, but this international community is either too cowardly or too dishonest to call the spade a spade, especially when the matter concerns Israel, the world’s most spoilt child.

Yes, Israeli officials and spokesmen, along with the shipyard dogs of Israeli hasbara, would fill the ether with all sorts of arguments justifying Israeli policies, including the Lebensraum policy in the West Bank.

But any person with a modicum or honesty and rectitude knows deep in the bottom of his or heart that these arguments are dishonest, malicious and mendacious.

More to the point, Israel has been given a thousand chances and a thousand opportunities to walk in the path of peace but to no avail.

In fact, the PA reduced  itself into a Palestinian judenrat in the service of Israeli whims as Palestinian security agencies did everything imaginable to persecute, suppress, repress and torment Palestinian voices raised against the enduring Israeli occupation, all in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel.

But Israel wouldn’t reciprocate and instead continued to relate to the PA with utter disregard and utter contempt.

When the number-2 figure in the new Israeli government, Naftali Bennett was asked a few weeks ago what he would tell PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas if he met him, Bennett, with characteristic Jewish arrogance, said: “I would ask him to make me a cup of coffee.”

Bennett’s remark is by no means an unrepresentative anecdote. It actually encapsulates mainstream thinking within the Israeli political-military establishment, which makes the realization of peace virtually impossible.

THE ‘OTHER’ DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Israel shares its ‘special status’ with Egypt

El-Sisi's Scales of Justice by Latuff

El-Sisi’s Scales of Justice by Latuff

 

Related ….

US ‘deeply concerned’ by Morsi death sentence in Egypt

The United States expressed “deep concern” Sunday after an Egyptian court sentenced deposed president Muhammad Morsi and more than 100 others to death for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law,” a State Department official said.

Noting that they were preliminary sentences, the official added: “We continue to stress the need for due process and individualized judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice.

“Many of those sentenced on Saturday were tried in absentia. The court will pronounce its final decision on June 2, since under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the mufti, the government’s interpreter of Islamic law, who plays an advisory role.

Defendants can still appeal even after the mufti’s recommendation.

Morsi, elected president in 2012, ruled for only a year before mass protests spurred the military to overthrow him in July 2013.

He was among dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders detained amid a crackdown that left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead.

Morsi, sitting in a caged dock in the blue uniform of convicts having already been sentenced to 20 years for inciting violence, raised his fists defiantly when the verdict was read.

Hours after the ruling, gunmen shot dead two judges, a prosecutor and their driver in the strife-torn Sinai Peninsula, in the first such attack on the judiciary in the region.

The US State Department official said they had been “senselessly murdered.”

“We reiterate our steadfast commitment to Egypt’s security,” the official added.

 

From

More from Latuff

Collective death sentence

Collective death sentence

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Sisi's Way: on Egypt's prisons

Sisi’s Way: on Egypt’s prisons

A TRAGIC TALE OF LIFE AND DEATH UNDER THE OCCUPATION

Three decades ago the Israeli military government canceled my sister-in-law’s Palestinian residency because she studied abroad for ‘too long.’ Now, Israel is denying her one last visit with her dying father. But my family will not allow her case, like thousands before it, to be buried in silence.

An Israeli soldier locks a border fence. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

An Israeli soldier locks a border fence. (Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.com)

A tragically unexceptional story of life and death under occupation

By Sam Bahour

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
~Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

My father-in-law, Mughira Barghouty, is dying. At age 91, his health has severely deteriorated over the last six months. He has three daughters: Sawsan, Serene and my wife, Abeer. Serene and Abeer  live in Ramallah and have become full-time caregivers to their now bedridden father. Sawsan lives in Amman, Jordan. Of late, Mughira has repeated a single request: to touch his daughter Sawsan’s hand one last time. It was about to happen on the last day of April. Sawsan got all the way to the Israel border crossing, Israeli tourist visa in hand, but she was denied entry and told to go back to Amman. The family is crushed, but not surprised.

Mughira Barghouty

Mughira Barghouty

We live one floor above my in-laws, thus the bulk of calls for assistance come to my wife first. The calls are sometimes frantic, from my mother-in-law who notifies us that Mughira has fallen while trying to get out of bed. We rush downstairs, many times in the middle of the night, to deal with the situation. At other times, the calls range from mundane daily needs to assistance using the bathroom. The end of life is difficult to watch. Its ending is similar to its beginning — messy, chaotic, and fully dependent.

In such situations, the family’s main goal is to comfort their loved one. In our culture, if there is any possibility whatsoever to care for the dying person in their own home, this is the preferred option. The home truly does have a much more comprehensive meaning than in the West — and we are all engaged in a collective comforting exercise. Several months back, understanding that his health was failing, Mughira made a simple request: he wants to touch the hand of his third daughter, who lives in Amman, to bid her farewell. We immediately passed on the message to Sawsan.

Sawsan acted without delay. As a Jordanian citizen, she applied for an Israeli tourist visa — the only way a Palestinian citizen of Jordan can reach Palestine. This is done through certified travel agent. The process goes like this: you apply, pay a 50 JD (U.S. $70) application fee, then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Eventually you get a call from the travel agent when the answer comes back: you either have approval, meaning an Israeli Interior Ministry tourist visa, or you are denied and have to start all over again. If you are one of the lucky ones and get approval, you must pay an additional 70 JD (US $100) fee and place a 20,000-30,000 JD (about US $28,000-42,000) bond (to guarantee you will not overstay the visa period) and you must travel the following day. Throughout the entire waiting period, you must be ready to travel on 24 hours’ notice.

Sawsan’s first application was submitted on September 23, 2014. She was notified it was denied in December 2014. So she started all over again, submitting a second application on March 2, 2015, paying the 50 JD (US $70) application fee again. She was notified on April 29, 2015 that her Israeli tourist visa was issued. She packed her bags in a hurry and headed out the following morning to the Jordan Border Crossing (near the city of Bisan, which Israel calls Beit She’an) to Israel (90 km from Amman) with a group in the travel agent’s bus.

At the Israeli border, which she has crossed numerous times before, she approached the border control window and submitted her passport and Israeli Interior Ministry-issued tourist visa.

“What’s your father’s name?” the border control official asked.

“Mughira,” Sawsan replied.

“Where have you visited outside of Jordan?”

“UK,” Sawsan answered. Sawsan’s son, Laith, graduated with a Masters in water engineering in December 2013 from Birmingham University and both parents traveled to attend the graduation ceremony of their only child.

“And Israel?” the official smirkingly added.

Sawsan (right), her son Laith (center) and husband Khaled (left) in the UK for Laith’s Master’s degree graduation ceremony, 2013.

Sawsan (right), her son Laith (center) and husband Khaled (left) in the UK for Laith’s Master’s degree graduation ceremony, 2013.

Sawsan shook her head in agreement, but found the question odd since she is a Palestinian, born in Ramallah, and has travelled many times over this same crossing.

The official instructed her to sit and wait. Meanwhile, the busload of people with whom she was travelling sat waiting her exit so they could continue on. Sawsan become anxious. Group after group, all of which arrived after her, one from Thailand and two from India, breezed through border control. Eventually an Israeli official came and advised Sawsan that she was being denied entry into Israel. Her bus was told to continue on to Israel without her.

The Israeli official brought her two copies of a form written in Hebrew and English; she is fluent in neither. The states two reasons for the denial of entry: 1) “Prevention of illegal immigration considerations”; and, 2) “Public security or public safety or public order considerations.” Despite her protests that she could not read the documents, she signed. Five hours after arriving at the crossing, she was escorted to a bus and sent back to Jordan.

Sawsan called home to Ramallah to inform her mother and sisters. The shock, anger and sadness that ensued is the same that can be found in nearly every Palestinian home at one time or another. After all, dispossession, occupation, and systemic discriminating is the hallmark of the pain Israel has applied to Palestinian society for 70 years, ripping it apart, family member by family member.

One may ask, why is Sawsan applying for a tourist visa at all? She was born in Ramallah and was issued an Israeli residency ID number at birth. When she turned 16 Israel issued her an ID card. But Sawsan’s case, like that of so many others, has a not-so-exceptional twist. Sawsan exited the West Bank in September 1977 to go and study in Latin America. At the time, Palestinians had to surrender their IDs upon exiting the West Bank and were given an Israeli “exit permit.” To renew the “exit permit” one had to physically return every 12 months.

Sawsan’s mother was able to get her three separate renewals, the maximum allowed without physically returning; the last was valid through September 1983. She didn’t make it back in time, and ultimately ended up getting married in Amman. That a Palestinian could lose their residency status in their birthplace is routine practice of the Israeli occupation.

She didn’t reenter the West Bank again until 1987, when Israel issued her a permit to visit based on the Jordanian citizenship she had since acquired. Most recently she visited Palestine with her husband, on a tourist visa, in 2011.

Under the 1994 Israel-Jordanian peace treaty Israeli citizens do not need to request a visa in advance in order to visit Jordan. They just show up at the border crossing, similar to the one where Sawsan was denied entry, buy a visa on the spot and enter Jordan. I have yet to hear of an Israeli citizen denied entry by Jordan.

After the Oslo Accords in 1993, Sawsan hoped she could get her Israeli-issued Palestinian ID reinstated, which would allow her to visit Palestine as she wished, without having to applying a visa every time. She applied for ID reinstatement through the Palestinian Authority, which liaises with Israeli officials, in 1999. Sixteen years later, she has yet to receive any response.

Sawsan wants to know why Israel is still holding her ID hostage after all these years. She wants her residency status back so that she can visit her birthplace and family. She is aware that she may not have the chance to bid her father farewell, but she wants to ensure she can spend more time with her aging mother.

Politicians and diplomats clearly are at a loss on how to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, how to address the right of return of five million Palestinian refugees. But is it so hard to get the Israelis to return the ID of a retired West Bank Palestinian mother who was born in Ramallah? We are committed to not let this be just another case, like the thousands before it, that is buried in silence. We have hired an Israeli lawyer to take up her case.

Mughira is an uncommon name in our society. It comes from Mughira ibn Shu’ba who was one of the more prominent companions of Prophet Muhammad. He belonged to the tribe of Thaqif of Ta’if. Mughira ibn Shu’ba was one of the last companions to see the Prophet before his death. It’s ironic that our Mughira will not be able to see his daughter, who lives two hours away, before his death, because an Israeli border control official has decided so.

What a way to live, and die.

*** EDITOR’S NOTE ***

The Israeli Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority responded to +972: “Mrs. Barghouti filed a request to enter Israel a number of months ago, which was rejected by the Israeli mission in Jordan. Despite the refusal, she later requested to enter Israel as part of a tourist group. A tourist group approval is a group visa and not individual, and when it was discovered that she was actually trying to get around the embassy’s decision — she was denied entry. If she wants to bypass the mission’s decision she should appear there again and file a new application. Or an appeal.”

The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Israel’s military government that controls the Palestinian population registry, wrote about the application to restore her identity card: “Our inquiry found that the Palestinian Authority did not file a request on Ms. Barghouti’s behalf. If and when a request is filed via the Palestinian Authority, it will be examined in accordance with the regulations.”

Written FOR

Hebrew Version 

 

WHAT DO ISRAELIS REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE NAKBA?

What do Israelis really know about the Nakba? What do they think about the right of return of the Palestinian refugees?
De-Colonizer went out to meet and asked them…

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD adds the following ….

On the eve of the 67th year anniversary of the Nakba (the catastrophic
ethnic cleansing of Palestine), Benjamin Netanyahu finally formed a
“coalition government” a group of ministers who are honest about their
racist and genocidal tendencies (see article by Gideon Levy below). It
includes a “Justice” who called for murdering Palestinian mothers so that
they do not bring out more “snakes”. It includes the head of “civil
administration” who openly supports ethnic cleansing and genocide. A
government more right wing in its composition than Germany was in 1933-1939
or South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s but an honest one indeed without
double talk or hypocrisy. What is disappointing is not the make-up of the
government but the hypocritical response to it. Words from the “Palestinian
Authority” wining about the new government were accompanied by continuing
security coordination with Israel and the PA arrest of dozens of
Palestinians simply for having different political affiliation (e.g.
students who against all odds were voted to student councils at Palestinian
Universities). Geopolitically, there are now two choices: US/Israel that
attempt to dominate the Arab World and Western Asia through a class of
puppet dictators (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt) and the axis of Russia,
China, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon (led by Hizbollah) and large segments of
Iraqi society. It would be nice to have a third axis (like the non-aligned
movement led by Egypt and India in the 1960s) but it does not currently
seem possible.

Yasser Arafat managed to steer the PLO leadership to semi-neutrality or at
least flexibility in building alliances as need arose. But even acting as a
good honest broker to solve some regional disputes many times by asking
people to put the interests of their people ahead of their superpower
sponsors (then it was Soviet Union and the USA/NATO). In the time of Abu
Mazen, we see more a definitive side-taking (e.g. with Saudi Arabia against
Yemen) in a fashion that actually weakened the Palestinian cause
dramatically. The black and white attitude was applied in a way that is
like George Bush “you are either with us (USA right wing government) or
with the terrorists. In this case you are either with us (Fatah) or with
the terrorist Hamas.  There seems no room left for nuances or indeed for
diplomacy. From the agreement with Hamas, there is only the part about
holding elections for the PA that Abbas wants to implement. Other parts of
the agreement (holding elections for the PLO, economic issues etc) were
supposed to happen synchronously but they are now off the table. Meanwhile
Gaza was devastated and is still under siege (civil society is responding
and a flotilla of ships is moving to break the siege). Last time this
happened, there were martyrs and some high level PA officials ridiculed the
Free Gaza movement. Instead, it would have been nice to see PA officials
join Haneen Zoabi and Raed Salah on the boats. Alas wishful thinking for
change.

The old definition of madness still apply: repeating the same (failed)
tasks and expecting different results. And we live in a mad, very mad
world. US/Israel still fund terrorists, support dictators, and support
ethnic cleansing. Those who bet on them to help them achieve “independence”
still do not understand and still hope somehow magically, things will
change. They would be wise to listen to Russian President Putin. He was
speaking at the 70th anniversary of the win over Nazi Germany (26 million
Russian lives were lost) and was flanked by other world leaders including
China (though noticeably absent where key NATO leaders). He said, the
attempt at creating a unipolar world is failing and that we should look
towards a new system. Iran, China, most of Latin America and other
countries which long suffered from Western Colonialism agreed. President
Abbas was there but had no comment. I was reminded of Naji Al-Ali 1964. I
was reminded of Orwell 1984. I was reminded of the book Majanin Beit Lahmem
(the crazy people of Bethlehem) published 2014.

Life goes on in occupied Palestine. A Palestinian community (Susya) is
about to be uprooted. Colonial settlers and soldiers still attack native
Palestinians with impunity. Corruption and heroism happen, poverty and
greed happen, cooperation and collaboration happen, resistance and
normalization happen. Poor people struggle and rich get richer. It is hard
to cope sometimes but we keep going against all odds.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall….*

Stop whining. Long live Israel’s new and honest government

Israel’s new government won’t spout hollow slogans about peace, human rights, and justice. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis – and the world.

*
The 34th government will deserve Israel; Israel will deserve the 34th government. This is an authentic and representative government, the true manifestation of the spirit of the times and the deepest feelings of most Israelis. It will be a true government, without pretense, without makeup and without self-justification. What we’ll see is what we’ll get. Welcome to the fourth Benjamin Netanyahu government.

They won’t talk haughtily and they won’t spout hollow slogans. Not about peace and not about human rights; not about two states and not about negotiations; not about international law, justice or equality. The truth will be thrust in the faces of Israelis and the world. And the truth is this: The two-state solution is dead (it was never born), the Palestinian state will not arise, international law does not apply to Israel, the occupation will continue to crawl quickly toward annexation, annexation will continue to crawl quickly toward an apartheid state; “Jewish” supersedes “democratic,” nationalism and racism will get the government stamp of approval, but they’re already here and have been for a long time.

Neither Netanyahu, nor Habayit Hayehudi’s chairman MK Naftali Bennett nor that party’s faction members MK Ayelet Shaked and MK Eli Ben-Dahan, started this whole thing. They only expedited things. And there should be no shock or outrage, no bewailing the bitterness of fate. This government is a government of continuation, not a government of change.

True, some of its members are more extreme than their predecessors, but that is mainly about rhetorical differences. Even the most inflammatory appointment, of Shaked as justice minister, which reverberated throughout the world over the weekend, is less revolutionary than it seems. Shaked is blunt and violent, whereas Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, her predecessor, was delicate and proper. But Justice Minister Shaked will not have to work hard to break open cracks in our democracy; they opened a long time ago.

The best test of the nature of the regime in Israel is the test of the occupation and the war crimes: the foundations of apartheid are already deep and the war crimes remain uninvestigated. From her office in the heart of occupied Jerusalem, Livni has not made Israel more just in that respect. True, Shaked’s ideas are more nationalistic and her understanding of the essence of democracy is nil. True, many in the world were shocked that a person who identified with one of the most violent articles ever written here against the Palestinian people (by Uri Elitzur), was appointed minister of Israeli justice. But there’s no place for such sanctimoniousness. Elitzur expressed what many people are thinking.

The appointment of another racist, Eli Ben-Dahan, as deputy defense minister, responsible for the Civil Administration, should not be earth-shattering either. True, Ben-Dahan said that “the Palestinians are animals, they are not human, they are not entitled to live” – but don’t these statements reflect the true attitude of many Israelis? Ben-Dahan will speak for them. That is how Israel has been treating the Palestinians for almost 50 years; Ben-Dahan is only saying things overtly. Now he will be responsible for the Civil Administration and the whole system of “humanitarian gestures” will be torn up. Ben-Dahan is the right man in the right place at the right time. An excellent appointment.

A person who proudly says “I killed masses of Arabs” and calls them “shrapnel in the buttocks” will be education minister – and who in Israel doesn’t think that? The general of Operation Cast Lead, with its crimes, the man who contravened building restrictions, Yoav Galant, will be construction minister. Is that not a fine appointment? MK Uri Maklev of United Torah Judaism is to head the Knesset Science Committee? Does that not correctly reflect the attitude of some Israelis to science?

Stop whining. Maybe Israel’s shadow government should be more enlightened, but not its real government. It is what the Israelis chose, it reflects their true stands. And so, long live the new government.

IN PHOTOS ~~ 10 YEARS OF BDS ~~ A JOINT CELEBRATION

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

On the evening of May 6th in NYC at Alwan for the Arts the space was filled to capacity with people gathered to hear Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS campaign against Israel, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, discuss the BDS campaign as it reaches its’ 10th anniversary.  The meeting was organized by Haymarket Books.

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Barghouti began by explaining the philosophy behind boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).  It is about building awareness of the ethicality of resistance.  How does an oppressed people resist oppression without unduly harming the oppressor.  Both communities have to be humanized and the trap of collective responsibility is to be avoided.  An Us vs. Them mindset is not productive – Israelis should be encouraged to join the movement.

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The minds of Palestinians have to be decolonized.  Realizing there would be enormous resistance Zionists knew very early on that they would have to colonize the minds of Palestinians, building an iron wall there by removing all hope.  If hope is taken away the Palestinians would be defeated.  This was recognized as early as 1923 when the Zionist Vladimir Jabotinski wrote his political allies about destroying the will of the Palestinian people, “A living people make such enormous concessions…only when there is no hope left.  Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups… lose their sway….”

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Last, people have to be mobilized for goal oriented action, one with a considerable chance of success.

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Only 38% of the Palestinian people live on the West Bank and in Gaza.  12% are Israeli citizens and 50% are in the diaspora.  It is not enough to say end the occupation.  Israel has divided the Palestinians, leaving them scattered all over the world.  The 3 goals of BDS: end the occupation, full and equal rights for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return will reunite the people of Palestine.  Our goal is freedom, justice and equality.  We must have consistent pressure to achieve these goals.  That means resisting/opposing the regime that stands against this.

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Israel is feeling very threatened because the economic and cultural boycott is growing and Jewish support for BDS is also growing.  People are coming to realize that either they support a colonial venture or they don’t.  The “Brand Israel” campaign has failed.  Now the Israeli fight-back is based on propaganda and ‘lawfare’, legal challenges to BDS.  They seem not to know how to deal with this non-violent principled resistance which is demanding basic rights for the Palestinian people under international law.

Vilkomerson said that JVP fully endorses all elements of the Palestinian call for BDS and believes that it provides the best tactics to bring justice to Palestine.  JVP also wants to bring pressure on the US government not to be complicit in this struggle. There have been many victories here in this country – 60 members of congress did not go to hear Netanyahu’s speech.  JVP stands with the divestment of the Presbyterian church and with SodaStream closing their West Bank factory.  JVP also supports the many Students for Justice in Palestine chapters that have been fighting for divestment, often winning, on their campuses.

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But the closer we come to winning this fight, the stronger the push-back will be.  Big money is going into this fight against the BDS campaign from the Jewish community, including on campuses.  There are constant accusations of anti-Semitism which, unfortunately, dilutes real anti-Semitism.

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Blacks, Latinos, and young people are most likely to support Palestine and over the past year there has been an enormous growth of solidarity between the Palestinian struggle and the fight against the oppression of Black people in this country.  JVP fully supports, with feet in the streets, the Black Lives Matter fight.  JVP is an anti-racist organization that sees the Palestinian and the Black struggle as the same fight for justice and will be there in solidarity because it is a joint struggle.  BDS is a tool of anti-racist ideology.

JVP is now 3 times the size it was before the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer.  They now have 200,000 on line supporters because people are coming to recognize that the Palestinian struggle is the world’s great moral issue of our time.

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I remember when people used the phrase ‘PEPs’, Progressive Except Palestine, to describe those who were generally progressive on most issues but would not or could not support Palestinians.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that there is no such thing.  If you don’t understand and support the Palestinian struggle for human rights you  cannot call yourself progressive.

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ISRAEL’S NEW COALYNCHIA*

*UNITED TO LYNCH PALESTINE

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The Emperor's New Clothes by Latuff

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Latuff … Preparing to feed Palestine to the lions

*

Israel’s new government: Fascist par excellence

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

The new Israeli coalition government is likely to be the most extremist since Israel’s creation in Palestine 67 years ago. The composition of the government leaves no doubt as to the direction it will take and policies it will adopt at the domestic front, toward the Palestinians and internationally.

The Israeli opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, has labeled the new government “the weakest, the most extortionist, and narrowest government in Israel’s history.” Writing on his Facebook page, Herzog described the new coalition as one “of no responsibility, no governance and no stability.” These epithets and descriptions can be viewed as controversial, coming from the leadership of a political party that lost the recent elections.

However, from a third-party perspective, e.g. a Palestinian view point, and in light of the composition of the new coalition, we can assume that the next Israeli government will be the most fascist, most extremist, most pugnacious and most anti-peace government in the Jewish state’s history.

The government will include explicitly murderous elements, including Ayelet Shaked, who openly called for murdering innocent civilians, including children.

The new government will be a government of settlers, for the settlers and by the settlers. Indeed, with a fanatical settler leader the aforementioned Shaked becoming “Justice Minister,” it is expected that the entire justice system in Israel will be manipulated in the service of the fascist-minded settlers and their crazy ambitions, namely the seizure of more Palestinian land and property as well as the possible expulsion of many Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

Needless to say, the settlers’ strategy is to establish a racist Jewish state, “unspoiled and uncontaminated by goyem.”

The new government is also expected to complete the process of killing and burying the already moribund peace process.

Given the clear-cut fascist mindset of the bulk of its coalition partners, the new government will strongly resist any potential international pressure coming from the West, including Israel’s guardian-ally the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and right-wing allies already view U.S. President Barak Obama with utter contempt. Netanyahu’s obvious disrespect of the man in the White House was brazenly illustrated shortly before the Israeli elections, when the Israeli premier flew in the face of the White House by delivering a speech in Congress, against the wishes of Obama.

One Israeli commentator intimated that Netanyahu’s unspoken words then sounded like this:  ‘I, not Obama, call the shots, in Washington.”

Now, with the Republican Party sheepishly groveling at Netanyahu’s feet, the self-absorbed Israeli premier is likely to display more arrogance and recalcitrance, not only vis-à-vis the helpless Palestinians but also in his approach to the rest of the world.

Open war on the Palestinians

The new Israeli government is likely to seek to further narrow Palestinian horizons as never before. This might include a number of draconian repressive measures against Palestinians including a marked escalation in land seizure, a marked escalation in house-demolition and a marked escalation in the especially cruel policy of detaining Palestinian activists for prolonged periods without charge or trial.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel under the new government would probably perfect the already hermetic blockade of the coastal enclave. Moreover, Israel may be allured to carry out another war of aggression on Gaza, if only to appease the sadistic urges of various coalition partners.

This week, Israeli “defense” minister Moshe Yaalon, who will retain the post in the new government, on Tuesday said Israel would attack entire civilian neighborhoods during any future assault on Gaza or Lebanon.

“We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” Yaalon was quoted as saying at a conference in Jerusalem this week.

The next government is also likely to give the manifestly fascist settlers a free rein to harass, torment, dispossess and even murder innocent Palestinians. The unbridled settler violence could eventually lead to a bloody showdown between Israel and the Palestinian people as the weak Palestinian Authority (PA) would find itself in an unviable situation, being utterly unable to protect its own citizens from the unrestrained ghoul, while having to rely on Israel for its very survival.

More provocations at al-Masjidul Aqsa

In addition to settler violence, it is widely expected that the new Israeli government will give Messianic Jewish extremists a carte blanch to carry out more provocations against Muslims at the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.

This could trigger a huge conflagration in the region as no other issue has the potential of galvanizing Arabs and Muslims against Israel. This in turn would create real problems for neighboring states, such as Jordan and Egypt, which have peace treaties with Israel.

All in all, a brazen Israeli insolence, met with official Arab impotence, would probably make extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda and IS, ever more appealing to the disillusioned masses. Even relatively moderate political groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic liberation movement, could lose some of its luster in favor of the more radical groups. Moreover, in countries such as Jordan, popular indignation and rage would reach unprecedented levels.

This situation might induce certain regional powers to “fish in troubled water” by creating, financing and even arming “Houthis-like cells” for the purpose of destabilizing certain Arab countries. This would be more than just “creative anarchy and chaos.” It would be a nightmare coming true.

Coupled with the inevitable collapse of the  peace process, or whatever has remained of it, a heightened tension over al-Masjidul Aqsa, accompanied with various levels of violence and bloodshed, would make this summer distinctively “hot,” as the region might witness  paradoxical forces moving in opposition directions, including millions of people boiling with anger, regimes struggling  rather desperately to survive in the face of simmering discontent in the Main Street, and, of course, a recalcitrant Israel hell-bent on fulfilling its Messianic aspirations

From my vantage point here in the West Bank, will continue to hope and pray for peace. However, the looming portents don’t seem auspicious at all. They look rather very very gloomy.

THE ISRAELI ROAD TO THE ABYSS

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Israel heading to the abyss

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

Group photo of the 'Elders' from May, 2010

Group photo of the ‘Elders’ from May, 2010

 

As a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders, former US president Jimmy Carter made some interesting remarks during a brief visit to the West Bank this week.

The group, founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007 and  includes former presidents from several countries, was barred by Israel from visiting the Gaza Strip, thoroughly devastated by a sustained Israeli bombing campaign last summer, which lasted for 53 days.

Much of what Carter said was actually regurgitation of past platitudes repeated ad nauseam by the former American president.

He urged Palestinians to hold elections in order to end the de facto division between the West Bank and Gaza, as if holding elections in occupied Palestine or even ending the rift between Fatah and Hamas were the mother of all problems.

Likewise, Carter didn’t comment on the likelihood that Israel (and probably the PA as well) wouldn’t accept the outcome of any elections in case Hamas, the Islamic liberation group, emerged as the main winner.

Not malicious, but naïve

I am not accusing the man from Georgia of ill-will or harboring any malicious intentions. But I do think that the former president is being overly naïve, too trusting and probably a little misinformed.

I believe it is imperative that Carter and his colleagues ought to have an accurate prognosis of the situation on the ground. They ought to understand that Israel has effectively killed any remaining chances for the two-state solution. The ubiquitous proliferation of Jewish settlements in every part of the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, has irreversibly eradicated any remaining possibility for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

It is really mind-boggling that this outstanding fact is being ignored or belittled by people who are supposed to be intelligent and wise.

Is this a conscious or subconscious effort to retain a semblance of hope for peace lest people suddenly find themselves face to face with a reality they never wanted to see?

No Room left for Palestinian state

Well, the world at large, including Muslims and Jews, ought to be courageous enough to come to terms with reality, namely that there is no room left for a Palestinian state and that alternative solutions need to be sought.

But, unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to be sought for resolving the seemingly perpetual conflict.

Indeed, with the two-state solution practically eliminated, there are only two alternatives left.

First, the establishment of a unitary state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean in which Jews and Arabs live together in peace and equality. But such an idea is anathema for Zionism as it constitutes its ultimate antithesis.

A unitary state, irrespective of the name, would effectively put an end to Israel as it has been since its creation in Palestine 67 years ago. Moreover, the clear Arab demographic advantage over Jews in mandatory Palestine (Israel and the occupied territories) would eventually lead to a state with a clear if not overwhelming Arab Muslim majority in a matter of few decades.

Zionist strategists are aware of these prospects, but they seriously lack the means (or ideas) to defer or circumvent these prospects.

They propose perpetual apartheid, application of more repression against the Palestinians, narrowing their horizons, economic pressure, even forced emigration, as “suggestions” to save the Zionist enterprise.

But these suggestions, which express frustration on the part of the Zionist movement, could cause Israel to face even more existential perils endangering Israel’s very survival. Apartheid is not easy to sustain, and ethnic cleansing on a wide scale would be tantamount to genocide. Would the Jews, the victims of Nazi Germany, seek to emulate their former tormentors and grave-diggers in order to achieve goals that differ little from those of the Third Reich, namely maintaining an ethnically and religiously pure state?

I have no doubt that Zionist leaders will miss no opportunity to trigger wars, hunt for “opportunities,” create alibis, spread chaos and turbulence in the region and beyond in order to seize the chance to expel the Palestinians, or most of them, using a combination of  mass murder and  mass terror.

But that would be the ultimate Holocaust. It would also be an act of suicide as well for Israel and Jews alike.  Indeed, Israel, already a pariah state, would become the object of intense hatred and vilification by the rest of the world and Jews everywhere in the world would suffer the consequences of their state’s folly.

Similarly, millions of Muslims around the world would become suicide bombers targeting Jews and their supporters. IS would grow and expand a thousand fold, with governments and security agencies utterly unable to stem the tide of millions of youths joining its ranks.

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom and I don’t see into the future. However, from the intensive experience of 50 years of closely observing Israeli behavior, I honestly believe that such scenarios are not outside the realm of possibility. They could happen. History does repeat itself, if only because most men don’t learn from their blunders. And Israeli leaders are not driven by wisdom or morality, but rather by arrogance and evil millenarianism, very much like Hitler was. We know the rest of the story.

Open-ended conflict

The alternative to establishing a unitary state in Palestine/Israel is open-ended conflict. I think this is what will eventually be the case. This is sad, but inevitable. But it does mean that Israel will have to live by the sword for eternity. Israel is not a small isolated state living by itself in a remote region. Israel is in the heart of the Arab world, and within a few decades, will be surrounded by 600 million hostile Muslims, seething with hatred and indignation for everything Zionist.

In short, all future scenarios facing Israel are negative if not nightmarish, which means that Netanyahu, Bennet, et al, are taking Israel to the abyss. 

FROM BALTIMORE TO JERUSALEM ~~ #BlackLivesMatter

Image 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Related report from Mondoweiss

Baltimore Is Here’: Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem

Ben Norton*

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Police clamp down on an Ethiopian Israeli protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi

Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on the evening of April 30 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Haaretz reports that approximately 1,000 protesters gathered, principally from the Ethiopian Jewish community.

The citizens condemned racism and police brutality toward the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling for the end of impunity for cops who harass them.

A video released of a white Israeli police officer attacking a black Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv on April 26 angered many in the Ethiopian Israeli community, which is disproportionately targeted by Israeli police. The video shows officers pushing Demas Fekadeh, an Ethiopian Israeli soldier, to the ground and beating him.

Zionist Union Member of Knesset Shelly Yachimovich remarked in a Facebook post “It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect that if [Demas Fekadeh], the soldier who was hit, was a light-skin soldier, preferably with an Ashkenazi appearance, he would not have sustained harsh blows without consideration from police.”

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Haaretz)

This is by no means an isolated incident. In March 2014, an Ethiopian Israeli by the name of Yosef Salamseh was in a public park with his friends when police approached him. They accused him of breaking into a house, a claim he adamantly denied. The cops then attacked him with a Taser gun, kicked him, handcuffed him, shackled his legs, threw him in a police car, and detained him in a nearby police station. His family later found him unconscious and tied-up. A few months later, he died. Police claimed it was a suicide.

In the wake of the incident, Salamseh came to be known by many as “Israel’s Michael Brown,” referring to an 18-year-old black American man who was walking down the street with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri when white police officer Darren Wilson shot him nine times, three times in the head.

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

An Ethiopian Israeli blocking a police vehicle in a protest against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Lior Mizrahi)

Numerous journalists reported that the Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Jerusalem were chanting “Baltimore is here!”, connecting their struggle against racist brutality in Israel to the struggle of black Americans against racist brutality in the US.

Civil unrest emerged in Baltimore on April 25, in response to the police killing of Freddie Gray, an innocent, unarmed black man who was arrested for looking at a police officer in the face and then running away. While in police custody, Gray’s voice box was crushed and his spine was 80% severed. Baltimore police later accused him of injuring himself, although video footage was released of cops pummeling Gray. In the video, Gray can be heard asking for his inhaler, as he had trouble breathing, and appears to be incapable of walking, because of the brutal beating he suffered. (Police also harassed and later arrested the man who captured the attack on camera.) A medical expert revealed that it is virtually impossible that Gray injured himself.

Black Israelis have tied their own struggle to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US—a civil and human rights movement that emerged in response to the constant police murders of unarmed, innocent black Americans at the hands of white police—not just by drawing connections between Baltimore and Jerusalem, but furthermore by launching an Israeli offshoot of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” campaign.

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police brutality outside of Netanyahu’s house, in Jerusalem on April 30 (Photo: Keren Simons)

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews reportedly also gathered outside of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s house, in protest of racist police violence.

Israeli police sprayed protesters with “skunk water” to break up the protests. Israeli forces do the same to peaceful Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank. There are also numerous recorded instances of occupation forces spraying skunk water into Palestinian homes.

According to police, some Ethiopian Israeli protesters in the largely peaceful demonstrations were also throwing stones—a protest tactic in which Palestinians living under military occupation in the occupied territories also engage.

The intense racism people of African descent face in Israel is well-documented. Many journalists have written of “Israel’s Disgustingly Racist Behavior Towards Ethiopian Jews.” The self-proclaimed Jewish state has forcibly sterilized Ethiopian Jews,refused to take blood donations from Ethiopian Members of Knesset (referring to it as “the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood” they avoid), and even refused to wed Ethiopian Jews, expressing doubts that they are “truly” Jewish.

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli police officer uses his baton to attack a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

2/3rds of Ethiopian Jewish children in Israel live in poverty. Many Ethiopian Jews are forced to live either in ghettos or illegal settlements. These gaping disparities and this structural racism have led to critics calling Israel an Ashkenazi-supremacist state and Zionism a white-supremacist movement, one that is itself anti-Semitic in its oppression of non-Ashkenazi Jews.

Scholar Hanan Chehata describes Israel as the “promised land for Jews… as long as they’re not black.”

Jews of African descent are not the only ones to suffer from the Ashkenazi supremacy of Zionism. Since its earliest days, Mizrahi Jews (those of Middle Eastern descent) have faced systematic discrimination in Israeli society. In the 1950s, Israel forced Mizrahi Jews to live in poverty in tents in shantytown-like transit camps while Ashkenazim were given hotels.

In the decades since, Mizrahim have continued to endure systemic racism. This intense oppression led to the creation of the Israeli Black Panthers, in parallel to the revolutionary socialist Black Panther Party in the US. Former Israeli Black Panthers still protest Israeli racism against Mizrahi Jews today.

* About Ben Norton Ben is a freelance writer and journalist. His work has been published in CounterPunch, Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams, ThinkProgress, and ZNet, among other publications.

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Photos from solidarity demo in New York

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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MAY DAY IN PHOTOS

The Worker’s Song

Union Square, New York City

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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