CANADA ~~ NOT AS PROUD AND FREE AS YOU MAY THINK

How does one explain Canada’s contradictory foreign policy regarding Palestine and Israel?

Trudeau’s ‘human face of neoliberalism’ is nothing but a carefully-constructed mask meant to hide the hypocritical and militant policies that Canada continues to lead.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) in a meeting with with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: via Rabble.ca, file)

The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s New Jews?

By Ramzy Baroud

How does one explain Canada’s contradictory foreign policy regarding Palestine and Israel?

On December 4, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, praised Canada’s commitment not to follow the footsteps of the US Donald Trump Administration by transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

But there is little worth praising here. Respecting the internationally-recognized status of Jerusalem is a legally-binding commitment to international law. The fact that the US chose to violate the law, hardly makes the opposite act heroic in itself.

Only five days earlier, on November 30, Canada joined a tiny minority of states, including Israel, the US, Australia, and the Marshall Islands to vote ‘no’ against a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution titled, “Peaceful Settlement on the Question of Palestine.”

The Canadian government that is keen to present itself as a model, neoliberal, progressive country, even the antithesis to the US’ hawkish policies, voted against a resolution that calls “for intensified efforts by the parties … to conclude a final peace settlement.”

If you find such behavior confusing, then you are not paying attention. Canada has not changed at all. It is our understanding of Canadian foreign policy that has almost always been marred with a genuine lack of understanding.

And there is a good reason for that. The Canadian government has mastered the art of political branding. The only period in modern American history that is comparable to Canada’s successful political propaganda was the presidency of Barack Obama.

Obama has deported 2.5 million immigrants, compared to the 2 million deported by his predecessor, George W. Bush; he dropped more bombs and did his utmost to bail America’s most corrupt financial institutions; yet somehow many liberals thought of him as the ideological marriage of Che Guevara and Malcolm X, with the refined eloquence of James Baldwin.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau – seen as the ‘human face of neoliberalism’ – is an even more successful brand than Obama. Unlike the former US president, there is very little discussion about Trudeau’s undeserved credentials.

While positioned as the political opposite of former conservative Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, they are both committed to the ideology of neoliberalism.

Trudeau’s ‘human face of neoliberalism’ is nothing but a carefully-constructed mask meant to hide the hypocritical and militant policies that Canada continues to lead.

Nothing exemplifies Trudeau’s duplicitous policies than his horrific record on Palestine.

And before the Trudeau fan-club impulsively reacts to the above assertion, marvel at this fact: In the first 18 months of his mandate, Trudeau voted against 16 UNGA resolutions that were critical of Israel.

It has been argued that Canada’s foreign policy and its UN voting records are often inconsistent. This, however, seems to apply only to the Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

When Trudeau defeated Harper, many breathed a sigh of relief, particularly because of the latter’s blind support for Israel.

So is Trudeau really different, deserving of this much affection, to the point of adoration?

Let’s consult the facts.

The page on Trudeau government’s website entitled, “Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict” is almost an exact replica of Harper’s, with one notable exception. On Trudeau’s page, his government recognizes “experience of Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, who were displaced after 1948.”

The above is a misconstrued version of history that has been injected by Zionists whenever the rights of Palestinian refugees – who were displaced by Jewish militants during the 1948 ethnic-cleansing of Palestine – is brought up.

The very first ‘key issue’ for Trudeau’s government is “Support for Israel and Its Security.”

Trudeau claims that his government’s assessment of UN resolutions is guided by “its merits and consistency with (Canadian) principles.”

Harper seemingly defied these ‘principles’ on numerous occasions, notably when his government voted against UN Resolutions critical of Israel: 66/17 in 2012; 67/23 and 68/15, in 2013, 69/23 in 2014.

But Harper’s exit did not usher in a new moral age for Canada. On the contrary, Ottawa’s love affairs with Israel intensified.

Aside from carrying on with the same anti-Palestinian attitude at the UN, on November 24, 2015, the Trudeau government even voted against UNGA Resolution 70/15, which reaffirmed the “illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem.”

Such a vote even goes against Canada’s own declared position on the illegal Jewish settlements.

This should not come as a surprise, though. Hypocrisy and double-speak have become a prominent feature of Canada’s foreign policy. Take Ottawa’s stance on terrorism, for example.

In its ‘key issues’ on Israel and Palestine, the Canadian government “condemns all acts of terrorism”, but it later qualifies what that means in actuality.

“Canada has listed Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and other groups as terrorist organizations,” it elaborated. Not only did it fail to link any Jewish group as terrorist, or, at least, emphasize the need to prosecute war criminals (in this case, Israeli leaders), it linked Palestinians and Arabs only to acts of terrorism.

According to this logic, only Arabs seem capable of carrying out acts of terror.

But what if Palestinians decided to use popular, non-violent and democratic means to display resistance? They did and were still condemned for it.

In 2016, with much personal enthusiasm by Trudeau himself, the Canadian Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of a motion that condemned the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

Since then, Trudeau has made his anti-BDS policy a fixture in his government’s attitude towards the Palestinians.

Last month, he sank to his lowest point yet when, in a speech he made to apologize for Canada’s immoral act of rejecting Jewish refugees escaping Nazi atrocities in 1939, he directly linked BDS with anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism is far too present,” he said, as “Jewish students still feel unwelcome and uncomfortable on some of our colleges and university campuses because of BDS-related intimidation.”

Linking BDS with his country’s disgraceful anti-Semitism against refugees decades ago might have been a masterful stroke by his pro-Israeli speechwriters. However, swapping historic hate for Jews with modern hate for Palestinians shows that Canada has learned nothing from its sordid past.

Trudeau and his government will certainly be judged by future generations, as his predecessors were judged for their past sins, for choosing, despite the passage of time, to stand on the wrong side of history.

THREE AGAINST TWO MILLION …. AND YET THEY ARE WINNING

In a Washington Post article on Thursday 19 July, President Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East advisor Jared Kushner, US Zionist Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and special Mideast adviser Jason Greenblatt, another ardent Zionist,  sought to overlook Israel’s  real crimes against humanity inflicted repeatedly  on  some two million helpless Palestinians languishing under a Nazi-like siege imposed and maintained by Israel.

 

Image by Marina Grechanik.

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Khalid Amayreh responds to the Three Zionist shapers of  Trump’s Palestine policy 
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In a Washington Post article on Thursday 19 July, President Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East advisor Jared Kushner, US Zionist Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and special Mideast adviser Jason Greenblatt, another ardent Zionist,  sought to overlook Israel’s  real crimes against humanity inflicted repeatedly  on  some two million helpless Palestinians languishing under a Nazi-like siege imposed and maintained by Israel.
 
The three Zionist supremacists, whose loyalty is first and foremost to international Zionism and only second to   Donald Trump,  accused the Palestinian Islamic Resistance group, Hamas, of producing “misery for the people of Gaza”, saying that unless Hamas unilaterally recognized Israel, abided by previous agreements and renounced resistance to Israeli aggression “there is no good option.” The trio, who ostensibly adopt the political views of the Israeli far right, including the Jewish settlement movement, offered to give humanitarian aid to Palestinians in return for recognizing Israel and terminating all forms of resistance to the Israeli occupation army.
 
 The 11-year draconian siege is apparently meant to punish Gazans for electing Hamas which refuses to recognize Israel for religious and moral reasons.
 
This writer is thoroughly familiar with a long list of US diplomats and peace envoys to the Middle East  ever since William Rogers who initiated the Rogers’ peace plan  in the late 1960s, which Israel rejected. But frankly I have never  been affronted by such brazenly and fanatically one-sided diplomats who so shamelessly adopt the manifestly fascist views of the Israeli right while pretending to maintain a semblance of neutrality between Israel and her enduring victims.
 
 The trio seem, at least from this writer’s vantage point, so lacking in rectitude and scandalously ignorant of the basic issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict We are talking about a group of  ideological fanatics who tend to think  the 100-year conflict began yesterday. For example, they miserably fail to understand that the almost desperate but determined Palestinian resistance to unmitigated Israeli oppression is made inevitable by incessant Israeli aggression as well as concerted efforts to subjugate and humiliate one of the most ancient peoples of the Middle East whose only “crime” is its resilient quest for freedom and independence..  Kushner, Greenblat and Freidman simply don’t know that the Palestinians are putting up a last-ditch defense for their very survival in the face of powerful and immensely callous Zionist movement which succeeded in having the US government at its beck and call.
  
Kushner and Grerenblat, it is manifestly clear, are accustomed to dealing with corrupt Arab despots who have little moral credibility  and who  virtually view America as their God on Earth. Well, Gentlemen, I have some news for you:  There are Arabs of a different mantle who are not eager to be America’s puppets or agents.
 
The three morally bankrupt Zionist officials urged Hamas to recognize Israel just like other Arab countries in the region did. Well, since when were these undemocratic and grossly dictatorial entities a role model for the Palestinian people to adopt, emulate or imitate?
 
Moreover, the three Jewish-American diplomats conveniently forgot to tell us which Israel they were asking us to recognize? Is it Israel according to the UN partition plan of 1947? Is it Israel with the pre-`1967? Is it Israel with Jerusalem and the Haram Sharif? Or, indeed, is it Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates?
 
More to the point, the three Zionist fanatics shamelessly demanded that Hamas  ought to recognize Israel, even  in the absence of  a reciprocal Israeli recognition of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian  state with East Jerusalem as its capital!
 
As we all remember, the PLO did recognize Israel in the context of the hapless Oslo Agreement. And we saw and endured (actually continue to endure) the bitter harvest of that scandal called the Oslo Accords. Hence the question: Must we repeat  the same blunder to appease and  please Israel firsters?
 
The PLO gave Israel everything the Zionist state demanded. It gave Israel  a free  and solemn recognition, it gave up legitimate armed resistance which is perfectly lawful under international law. It gave up our national honor and dignity, all in order to demonstrate our good will and sincere commitment to peace. And what did we get from Israel in return? Well, we got  150 new colonies, and a police state without a state called the Palestinian Authority.. 
 
As to Israel itself, it has been growing bolder and bolder in denying us our most  basic rights as human beings living in our ancestral homeland.
 
It would be misleading to think that the Nazificaion of Israel has been consummated and completed with the adoption by the Israeli Knesset  of the so-called Nationality Bill into a law.  Nay! Much is still coming up, and just as the Nuremburg laws in Nazi Germany were only a stage, the Nationality Law will be proven sooner or later  a mere small detail in the Nazification of Israel.  I am not a Prophet of doom and gloom, but the writing is on the wall and I would be utterly foolish to pretend that I am just having a nightmare.
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Mazin Qumsiyeh adds ….
de facto and now de jure racism/apartheid
 Finally, the Israeli Knesset puts it into words/law and is now de jure as
well as de facto racist/apartheid "Jewish nation-state" . The new "law"
violates international treaties and norms (including the 1976 International
Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid).
But on the bright side no one can now defend Israel as a "democracy" since
it is now not by practice alone but by clearly worded "law" that it is an
apartheid racist state for and by the Jewish people (imagine if a similar
law about "whites" or "christians" was instituted in any other country). 
See the following links

israel-adopts-racist-jewish-nation-state-law

israels-nation-state-law-apartheid-is-a-process/

israel-passes-controversial-nation-state-bill

Images by Latuff

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AIPAC MUST BE DEEMED A FOREIGN AGENT …. NOW

The U.S. has laws in place that forbid foreign governments from wielding certain kinds of influence or lobbying. Every foreign country represented in Washington by foreign agents must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

It’s Time For AIPAC To Register As A Foreign Agent

M.J. Rosenberg

 

This weekend, 18,000 Americans from all over the country are coming to Washington to participate in the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference.

AIPAC is one of the leading forces behind the Israel lobby, joined in recent years by the ascending Christians United for Israel. Other Jewish “pro-Israel” organizations are niche affairs, representing particular constituencies on the left or right. But it’s AIPAC that is the registered lobby on Capitol Hill and it is AIPAC whose clout on matters relating to Israel exceeds the clout of the National Rifle Association on matters related to guns; while the NRA’s sway is almost entirely over Republicans, AIPAC has historically drawn its support from both parties. Is there any place but AIPAC that not only gets Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the same room, but gets to hear them in near total agreement?

But there’s something strange, too, about AIPAC. Consider Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks at last year’s conference: “Every freedom-loving American stands with Israel — because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.”

How can America’s representatives declare that any other country’s fight – even one as close to us as Israel is — is our fight, its cause our cause, its values our values?

It’s precisely this kind of over-identification that George Washington warned against in his 1796 Farewell Address. “A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils,” said Washington. “Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists… betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

To protect against this kind of passionate attachment, the U.S. has laws in place that forbid foreign governments from wielding certain kinds of influence or lobbying. Every foreign country represented in Washington by foreign agents must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Under its terms, the country in question is absolutely banned from participating in or influencing American elections. Every contact the agents have with Congress must be reported to the Department of Justice, along with how and where they spend their resources.

This law applies to Canada as much as it does to Russia (although Russian interference in our political process is now one of the biggest issues in our political life). It also applies to Israel.

But it does not apply to the Israel lobby as represented by AIPAC, which is heavily involved in our political system, funding candidates who are perceived to be “good on Israel” and defunding incumbents who fail to subscribe to the favored foreign state’s agenda.

How does AIPAC get away with it?

It gets away with it because AIPAC’s founder, I.L. Kenen, came up with a legal loophole by which AIPAC is defined not as a lobby for a foreign state but for Americans who support that state. It’s a critical distinction that makes AIPAC’s dominance over US Middle East policy possible.

I worked at AIPAC directly for Kenen, back in the 1970s before moving on to Capitol Hill. He told me that he came up with the AIPAC formula — AIPAC as an American organization lobbying for Americans — so that AIPAC would be legally permitted to engage in politics and not have to reveal its activities. A devoted American and liberal Democrat, Kenen believed American and Israeli interests and values weren’t likely to diverge anyway, so what’s the problem?

After Kenen retired, Israel and AIPAC took a rightward turn, and he saw the mistake he made. Toward the end of his life, Kenen was outraged by the AIPAC leadership with its unquestioning support of the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade against Gaza, and other right-wing Israeli policies. He hated what he saw as AIPAC using its political power to keep the United States government and other influential Americans and perhaps most importantly, the media, from straying from the Israeli line.

Not only was AIPAC making it hard for the United States to restrain the Israeli government; it was weakening forces inside Israel that were trying to do so. The Israeli peace camp needed the United States on its side, but thanks to AIPAC, the United States could not help our natural Israeli allies. Of course, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was actively seeking peace and an end to the occupation, that was the moment AIPAC chose to separate itself from Israel, resulting in Rabin’s blistering exhortation that it get the hell out of his way. By the time of his death, Kenen was thoroughly alienated from the organization.

Now is the time to undo Kenen’s mistake. It is time to require AIPAC to register as what it is: a foreign agent. It will still be able to advocate for Israel but as an Israeli lobby, which admits to getting its marching orders from the Israeli government. What it would not be able to do is direct campaign money to politicians. Let’s see how many vice presidents, senators, and representatives show up at its conferences then. Let’s see how many of its Israel-right-or-wrong resolutions pass the House 435-0. Let’s see if presidents are still afraid to say what they think about the occupation and the denial of democratic rights to Palestinians.

I began this piece by referring to AIPAC as the major component of the “pro-Israel” lobby. Actually, it isn’t. It is a lobby for the Israeli right and for a status quo that has turned Israel into an international pariah. That is not the way it has to be.

In 1995, when the peace-seeking Rabin was gunned down by a rightwing Israeli zealot, more foreign leaders attended his funeral than had attended any similar rite since John F. Kennedy’s. Poll after poll showed Rabin, the man who negotiated honestly and directly with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to be among the most admired people in the world.

Today, Netanyahu and AIPAC (which has kept the United States government firmly behind Netanyahu’s policies) have turned Israel into a source of dissension even among American Jews.

No, AIPAC is not a “pro-Israel” lobby. It’s the Netanyahu lobby and our laws should treat it as such, for Israel’s sake even more than our own.

As for the thousands of Americans gathered in Washington this weekend, they need to know one thing: they are not supporting the dream of a secure, democratic Israel at peace with its neighbors and the world. They are, unwittingly, supporting a right-wing political agenda that is placing Israel in ever-deeper peril and, frankly, jeopardizing its very existence.

 

IN PALESTINE, DESPITE IT ALL, THERE IS HOPE IN THEIR EYES

It remains a remarkable era that we live in and it is getting more “interesting” every day. Take for example the poke in the eye that the Zionists did through their vassal president Donald Trump in deciding that the date to move the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem will be May 15.

Will he or won’t he? (Image: Carlos Latuff)

We see hope in their eyes

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

 

This is very significant because that date is Nakba Commemoration day when against the wishes of the vast majority of inhabitants, a Jewish apartheid state was created by force of arms. Before and after that date, the largest post-WWII ethnic cleansing happened. Most of the native people of Palestine (of various religions) were pushed out and 530 towns and villages were depopulated. Today 7.5 million are refugees or displaced people. 6.3 million live under direct Israeli racist rule. None have sovereignty over their lands. Immigrant Ashkenazi White European elites rule the apartheid state. The 1.6 million Palestinians who had lived under martial law until

1966 and then given some citizenship “rights” but are subjected to further ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, colonial settlement expansion just as much as the Palestinians in the Gaza and the West Bank. There is a meticulous and vicious program of slow genocide in Gaza. In Jerusalem (West Bank), there are more and more pressures to Judaicize the city by programs of denial of residency and recently the escalation of pressure on Christian and Muslims to strip them of Church and Mosque property by overtaxing them to bankruptcy in order to take their church and mosque property.

This week the Christian Churches including the Church of the Sepulcher closed their doors in protest. To my knowledge, this has never happened before (in 2000 years!). The world politicians are silent and the Palestinian authority (representatives) issue feeble sounds of pleading for the world community to implement International law and also to protect the Palestinian people. Yet, they all continue their failed policies and do not admit they made any mistakes. As any rational reader of history knows, rights are never begged for from your oppressor. Oppressors must be forced to give up their powers. Resistance must be built up in ALL its forms sanctioned by International law (also see 4th Geneva Convention). Mahmoud Abbas whose term expired years ago and whose health is deteriorating (wish him to finally retire!) gave a speech at the UN Security Council in which he admitted that his authority basically works for the Israeli occupiers.

Thus, the first and main obstacle now to liberation, return of refugees, and self-determination in Palestine is the Vichy government in Ramallah. It is long past time to end the charade of Oslo and create a real “Palestine Liberation Organization”. To be clear: PALESTINE is all of Palestine not to “disputed” (per Israeli language) 22% of it (WB & Gaza) for which they have been “negotiating” endlessly. LIBERATION as in Liberty not accepting apartheid or the racist notions of a “Jewish state” (this also includes right of native Palestinians to return to their homes and lands).

ORGANIZATION as people organizing to capturing the amazing energy of the 12.5 million Palestinians around the world. That requires participatory democracy not a clique of comprador elites (term limits of 6-8 years are good idea for all leaders).

Watch this video by ProMosaik about a poem by Mazin Qumsiyeh.

 

PHOTOS OF THE DAY ~~ APARTHEID LOVE FEST

Mural believed to be the work of Australian graffiti artist Lushsux; with face hidden by headdress, man identifying himself as Lushsux says he hopes his painting would draw attention to Palestinians stuck in ‘an indoor prison.’

(Photo: Reuters)

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(Photo: Reuters)

Full report here (Click on link)

 Trump and Netanyahu share a kiss on West Bank wall mural

WEEKS’ END TOON ~~ WHO’S BEHIND THE ISIS ATTACK ON IRAN

The revelation comes a day after Reuters reported that the US risks being branded a war criminal for its support of the Saudi war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of innocent civilian casualties.

Image by Latuff

Did ISIS do Israel’s, Saudi Arabia’s, and USA’s bidding in Iran?

Related ….. (Click on link)

Leaked Clinton Emails Confirm Saudi Arabia, Qatar Funding ISIS

IT’S OFFICIAL ~~ ISRAEL IS THE 51st STATE OF THE USA

Diplomats, politicians, and community leaders celebrate Jerusalem’s liberation in unique ceremony connecting Israel and America.

Joint Congress-Knesset event marks Six Day War

In a unique, first-of-its-kind event, the US and Israel are holding simultaneous broadcasts of a trans-Atlantic celebration taking place in both the Knesset and US Congress.

NOT EVERYONE CELEBRATED THE OCCUPATION!

We can’t celebrate 50 years of occupation – but we can celebrate the just future we’re building together

ISRAEL BACKS SAUDI’S LATEST CONFRONTATION WITH QUATAR

Israeli officials have gleefully endorsed the position of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a growing confrontation with Qatar, the most public acknowledgment yet of the deepening alliance between certain Gulf states and Tel Aviv over their common enmity towards Iran.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Please bring another chair for Netanyahu to make the club complete…

Israel backs Saudi Arabia in confrontation with Qatar

Meanwhile, evidence has emerged of close cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and a key Israel lobby group to pressure Qatar over its support for the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia and several of its satellite states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a blockade, cutting land, sea and air links to the country.

Regional media reported that shelves in stores in Qatar, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia, were quickly emptied as residents feared a prolonged closure could lead to food shortages.

Justifying its decision, Saudi Arabia has accused Doha of “grave violations” such as “adopting various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and al-Qaida.

Israel’s “opportunity”

Israeli officials were quick to offer their support to Saudi Arabia.

“New line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand,” Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy, proclaimed on Twitter. “No longer Israel against Arabs but Israel and Arabs against Qatar-financed terror.”

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that the crisis was an “opportunity for cooperation” between Israel and certain Gulf states.

“It is clear to everyone, even in the Arab countries, that the real danger to the entire region is terrorism,” Lieberman claimed. He added that the Saudi-led bloc had cut ties with Qatar “not because of Israel, not because of the Jews, not because of Zionism,” but “rather from fears of terrorism.”

Chagai Tzuriel, a top official in Israel’s intelligence ministry, told The Times of Israel that Qatar was a “pain in the ass” to other “Sunni” Arab states allied with Israel.

Israel’s former defense minister Moshe Yaalon also expressed backing for the Saudi-led sectarian coalition. “The Sunni Arab countries, apart from Qatar, are largely in the same boat with us since we all see a nuclear Iran as the number one threat against all of us,” he said at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia continued to escalate the situation, suspending the license of Qatar Airways and ordering its banks to sell the Qatari currency.

Who supports “terror”?

While Saudi Arabia offered no evidence for its charges against Qatar, the accusations are rich coming from a regime that has been one of the biggest sources of funding to so-called jihadi groups going back decades.

But like Saudi Arabia, Qatar too has been accused of financing or allowing money to flow to ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups in Syria.

Israel has also had no problem with al-Qaida linked groups, and even ISIS, in Syria, offering them various kinds of cooperation and material support.

So the source of Saudi ire must lie elsewhere. Qatar has for years, along with Saudi Arabia, been part of the counterrevolution to thwart or reverse the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.

Qatar was taking part in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, before being kicked out of the coalition this week.

The two-year bombing campaign in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and brought the impoverished country to the brink of famine.

But Qatar has often found itself backing different horses: Doha supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, while Riyadh has backed the regime of Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the army chief who led the 2013 military coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood president in Cairo.

These differences had soured relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia for years.

But Saudi Arabia may have been emboldened to act now, after US President Donald Trump gave full endorsement to strengthening a Saudi-led anti-Iran alliance during his visit to Riyadh last month.

Targeting Hamas and Iran

Qatar has continued to host the leaders of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas and has been under pressure to expel the group’s officials – Israeli media claims that Qatar did expel two officials are unconfirmed.

But the biggest difference appears to be that Qatar has not been willing to fully sign up to the Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran.

A deal in April in which Qatar allegedly paid about $700 million in ransom to release members of its royal family abducted by an Iran-affiliated group in Iraq reportedly enraged officials in other Gulf states.

Qatar also reportedly paid about $300 million in ransom to several al-Qaida linked groups in Syria, according to The Financial Times.

Also in April, Qatar lifted a self-imposed ban on developing a major maritime natural gas field it shares with Iran, which would necessitate cooperation between the two countries, according to the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz.

Things came to a head around the time of Trump’s visit and his summit with regional leaders.

Qatar’s national news agency published comments attributed to the country’s leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, calling Iran “a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored” and asserting that “it is unwise to face up against it.”

Tamim also purportedly said his country’s relations with Israel were “good.” Qatar has flatly denied the statements are real, claiming that the news agency’s website and social media accounts were hacked.

But the Qatar-based network Al Jazeera has cited the fake comments as a trigger for the crisis, accusing Saudi Arabia and its allies of using them as a pretext to move against Qatar.

UAE embraces Israel

Another factor is the close relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Hacked emails published by The Intercept reveal coordination between the Emirates ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, and the neoconservative pro-Israel think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The emails reveal “a remarkable level of backchannel cooperation” between the Emirates and the think tank, which is funded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to The Intercept.

The email exchanges included complaints from the Israel lobby group about Qatar’s support for Hamas “terrorists.”

An agenda for a meeting between leaders of the Israel lobby group and Emirates ambassador al-Otaiba scheduled for this month includes such items as “Qatar support for radical Islamists” including Hamas, Qatar’s “destabilizing role in Egypt, Syria, Libya and the Gulf” and the role of the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera network.

It also includes ways to reduce the influence Qatar gains from hosting a major US air base.

One of the items on the agenda is “Political, economic, security sanctions.”

The agenda is evidence that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – a key player in Israel’s anti-Palestinian propaganda – was gearing up to deliver in Washington the anti-Qatar message coming from Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates.

US role

The leaked documents reveal that the Saudi-led bloc is troubled by the influence Qatar gains by hosting the massive American al-Udeid air base.

But this is precisely why the US, the overall imperial power, has no interest in a squabble among states that it views as vassals.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed the importance of US ties with all the states involved and offered to mediate, urging the feuding rulers to “remain unified.”

The US military lauded Qatar for its “enduring commitment to regional security” and affirmed it had “no plans to change our posture in Qatar.”

Qatar has taken these messages as signs of strong US support, but as ever Trump was quick to throw everything into doubt.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, appearing to directly endorse the Saudi-led campaign against Doha.

“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” he added. “They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism and all reference was pointing to Qatar.”

“Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism,” the president asserted. More likely, Trump is pouring gasoline on an already burning region.

A long-term goal of Israel has long been to divide Arab powers against each other, to “let them bleed,” as the official Israeli doctrine on Syria goes.

Whatever happens next, Israel will continue to benefit from the chaos and divisions that only strengthen its hand.

TOONS OF THE DAY ~~ WITH TRUMP: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Images by Carlos Latuff

The message of the Orb

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US and UK Complicity in Saudi War Crimes in Yemen.

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As always, the world turns a blind eye

ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN UNITED

The past few weeks saw American Muslims lending a helping hand to repair damages due to vandalism in Jewish cemeteries …

Finally, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak …

A crowdsourcing campaign by a Jewish federation in Michigan is raising money for a local mosque damaged in an arson attack.

We are one!

Michigan Jews Launch Online Drive For Torched Mosque

A crowdsourcing campaign by a Jewish federation in Michigan is raising money for a local mosque damaged in an arson attack.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor has raised more than $3,000 since the campaign launched Monday on the Crowdrise website. Most of the donations are between $18 and $100, many of them anonymous.

The building housing the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti, which also serves as a mosque, was destroyed in the March 11 fire.

A 16-year-old boy was identified and questioned as a suspect in the arson, as well as the arson a week earlier of a vacant house on the same block. Police do not believe the attack was a hate crime, according to reports.

The teen was released to the custody of his parents pending the filing of charges.

 

PALESTINE HOPED TO BE GREAT AGAIN UNDER TRUMP ~~ IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN

While the US continues to turn a blind eye to settlement expansion, the international community and the EU in particular are left with the responsibility of ensuring that everyday life in the Palestinian enclaves does not collapse. Time for a rethink, argue policy analysts Sam Bahour and Mousa Jiryis

Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict

Resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict

Expect nothing from Trump

By Sam Bahour and Mousa Jiryis

If Donald Trump′s statements about abandoning the two-state solution are actually true, then a sovereign Palestinian state is no longer consistent with US foreign policy. Indeed, most commentators would be inclined to agree that this era will witness an unprecedented acceleration in settlement building and retroactive licensing of outposts built on private Palestinian land. Donald Trump, it appears, will do nothing to stop or rebuke such a policy, having watered down the tired old US rhetoric of ″settlements are an obstacle to peace″ to settlements ″may not be helpful″ to peace. So their construction can continue, indefinitely.

In light of this reality, Europe must recognise that ″the US leads″ approach to resolving the conflict is doomed to failure. There appears little possibility of the elusive peace happening anytime during Trump′s presidency. Historically, the US-leads approach has typically served to give Israel′s settlement enterprise time and space to further entrench itself, thereby making the realisation of a two-state solution increasingly impossible. It is blindingly clear – in light of two decades of failed negotiations under US auspices – that US leadership of conflict resolution efforts is pointless and counter-productive.

Independent European approach long overdue

If Europe′s policy is to achieve two states for two peoples, it will have to pursue an independent policy position that circumvents the Americans. Europe′s political influence in this arena has long been negligible, given US primacy in conflict resolution.

In short, Europe has relied on the wrong leadership for too long. This tragic, historic mistake has not only cost European taxpayers billions, but has also led to a reality that is the diametric opposite of what European policy-makers intended. After 24 years, reliance on American ″leadership″ has led to the creation of numerous Palestinian Bantustans, surrounded by an occupying military power that continues to occupy with impunity, bankrolled by European taxpayers: the EU and its member states are by far the largest donors to the Palestinians.

Israel – delighted that another party is willing to subsidise its military occupation – continues to expand and consolidate its settlement enterprise, with the support of large sections of the American public and government.

Historically, the US and EU have shared a common objective of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the framework of a two-state solution. With the assumption of Trump to the presidency, the Republicans now control all three branches of US government, with majorities in both the House and Senate. This has coincided with a significant shift to the right in the GOP′s policy to Israel-Palestine. By contrast, Europeans have moved towards recognition of the State of Palestine. Sweden′s recognition is now official while parliaments in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Luxembourg, not to mention the European Parliament, have all approved recognition.

America is part of the problem

America supports occupation. Europe inadvertently subsidises occupation. This regrettable logic is an accurate description of current reality. The Trump administration will do little to antagonise its own party or risk the wrath of Israel′s influential pro-settlement lobby in the US. Trump will continue to advocate a hands-off, ″it′s up to the two parties to decide″ approach. As a result, Israel, which has all the power, has little incentive to concede, while the Palestinians, who have no power, and are supposedly ″protected″ under international law, are left to their despair.

The continuing domination of mediation efforts by the US has created a perverse reality which dictates that there is no peace; and no traction towards peace at any time in the near future. While commentators have busied themselves picking at the rotting carcass of the so-called peace process and apportioning blame for its failure, few have dared to state the obvious: America is part of the problem, not the solution.

Protected by its patron

Israeli intransigence and blatant violation of international law is fuelled by its belief that, no matter what it does, the US will always insulate it from meaningful rebuke. Palestinian desperation is driven by a conviction that America′s overwhelming support to Israel makes negotiations pointless, as Israel has little incentive to concede when it receives so much money, weapons and political support for its settlement project.

In summary, under Trump′s leadership, the US will undoubtedly turn a blind eye to settlement expansion, while the international community and the EU in particular will be left with the responsibility of ensuring that everyday life in the Palestinian enclaves does not collapse, through massive injections of aid monies – a state of affairs inspired by Israeli excesses ad infinitum made possible by US support or indifference.

So what can Europe do? Europe can ′roll up its sleeves′, play power politics and take on the occupier, without waiting for American leadership to produce results. If the experiences of Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and South Africa are anything to go by, an occupier or an apartheid regime will only change its ways with a nuanced combination of sanctions, international isolation and, as a last resort, military force.

The EU must rise to the occasion and demonstrate to its constituents that European money and credibility are more important than indulging in American charades of impartiality. It is clear that America has no moral or political qualms with Israel remaining an occupying force.

Once Europe finally acknowledges this reality and moves on, it will find the strength and legitimacy to propose policies of its own, in line with its European neighbourhood objectives and its own moral standards.

 

Written FOR

LATEST ROUND OF LAND GRABBING, MUSLIM HATRED AND WALLS

During the radical change in the USA, where after the US presidential election the whole world just looks at decrees and tweets by the narcissistic “national socialist” Trump, the Netanyahu regime masterfully knew how to press ahead with Zionist raids, racist laws, and the Judaisation of Palestine.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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When land grabbing, wall construction, expulsion, and Muslim hatred become reason of state!

By Evelyn Hecht-Galinski,English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

It cannot be said more appropriately than it was expressed by the right-wing Likud Member of Parliament and Minister of Science Ofir Akunis to describe Zionist politics: “Whole Israel is ours, undivided, this is beyond dispute.” (1)
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With the unjust law adopted by the Knesset last week the Zionist State wants retroactively tolegalise 4.000 settlers’ apartments built on stolen Palestinian land. This will pave the way to avoid evacuation of “illegal wild” settlements and outposts. If we consider that in reality all Jewish settlements in Palestine are illegal! In the meantime, the liberal  Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the illegal and just evacuated outposts Amona and Migron was financed by a Netanyahu regime fund of more than 1 million US dollars,”lent” to the extremist Aman Settlers’ Organization! For years, Amana has been one of the most dangerous and active settlers’ movement, developed from the Gush Emunim movement founded in 1978, and is behind the foundations of the “illegal outposts”. This way, the “Jewish State” purposely supports these “wild illegal” settlers. Also the Palestinian shepherds and farmers are regularly attacked and injured by Jewish settlers of the outpost, under the watchful eyes of the “Jewish Defence Army”. No Palestinian is safe from these Judaic extremists (2) (3) (4).
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With this law, the colonisation and annexation of the complete illegally occupied West Bank is definitively initiated as final solution of the Judaisation. And it is also more than beyond belief if the hypocrital community of states, including the USA, criticise the construction of settlements, but do nothing to stop this Zionist plunder. Since Trump’s inauguration as US president, more than 5000 new illegal Jewish settlers’ apartments have already been authorised. And almost every day new settlement units are planned. Apparently before this week’s trip to Washington Netanyahu wants to compete with the real estate mogul Trump to see how far he can go with Trump and Kushner, Bannon and Co. (5)
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The same can be said about the racist “Muezzin Law” rapidly adopted by the Netanyahu regime and openly opposed to Muslims and Islam while discriminating against them. Between 11 PM and 7 AM no muezzin calls from the mosques are allowed. The new provocation shows how it is about religious freedom in the “Jewish State”. However, as the Palestinian-Israeli Deputy Aiman Odeh says: “The muezzin call has been heard for a long time before the racist government of the Netanyahu, and will continue to be heard for a long time”. (6)
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Similar to the provocations of Jewish extremists and Knesset Deputies on the Haram-al- Sharif or the arbitrary prohibition by Jewish occupiers against Palestinian men who were not allowed to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque! (7) (8)
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This racism of the Netanyahu regime and its laws fit seamlessly into the desires of the right-wing populist Geert Wilder who asked for a prohibition of Islam, the Quran and for the shut-down of mosques in the Netherlands. (9)
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Another significant story: At the new inauguration of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes in the Benedictine Abbey in Tabgha at the Genezareth Lake, destroyed by an arson of young Jewish extremists, Christians and Jews met. Cardinal Woelki came from Cologne, and also the President of Israel, Rivlin, was there. A shame that the German ambassador in Israel, von Goetze, thanked the Israeli Authorities for their good protection of the Holy Sites! 
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Five perpetuators were arrested after the murderous attack. Three were released. The costs of the damage was of approximately 1,5 million Euros. The “Jewish State” paid only 370.000 Euros. 400.000 Euros were paid by the Archdiocese in Cologne, and 500.000 came from private donors. It is unbelievable, that no imam was invited because it was not part of the protocol. However, it was exactly the Muslims who provided food to the abbey after the arson, and gave money for the reconstruction! (10)
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And in Berlin the situation is similar. For the election of the new German President before the election there was a “closed” church service in the St. Hedwig Cathedral, but without Jews and Muslims. A protected church service for the Christian political elite; so much for the democratic understanding of Presidential Elections and “Berlin Values”! (11)
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So if today Trump and Netanyahu meet, we have to wonder about the meeting of these two alpha animals.
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For what concerns missing credibility, Trump and Netanyahu are very closed one to another. This makes their politics so dangerous because they recklessly present themselves to achieve their objectives. While Netanyahu’s objectives are well-known (“Eretz Israel”, combined with a bit of corruption and hunger for power), Trump has more diffused, overlapping goals. Between “America First”, self-promotion, megalomania, and his companies and the desire to promote Wall Street, this president is driven between twitter and the attempt to make world politics. And at the moment, as the prize winner and psychiatrist Paul Krugman says, this “mentally ill” president does not seem to really succeed in it. (12)
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Trump’s wall construction at the Mexican border, the ban for citizens from seven Muslim countries, and the isolation of immigrants, are rightly criticised all over the world. Drone attacks against civilians and preventive murders are executed day by day by the USA, the “Jewish State” and many “values alliances”. But for the “Jewish State” the situation is different. Even if Netanyahu constantly rebuilds the illegal Apartheid wall of more than 9 metres high cutting deeply through the illegally occupied Palestinian land, and it was even subterraneously extended to the concentration camp in Gaza, there is not open criticism. Although the “Jewish State” since its foundation has been applying the “Muslim Ban” as state policy, a Muslim/Palestinian is banned from entering the country, violations of the international and human rights laws, the genocide in Gaza and targeted assassinations and attacks against a sovereign state are execused, the “Jewish State” is part of the Christian-Jewish community of values. (13)
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For sure, Netanyahu during his visit will focus on Iran by trying to convince Trump to revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran, in particular after the recent missile test. He will present Iran as the most aggressive and dangerous country and will bring into play his favourite lie, the imminent Holocaust.  Let us hope that he will not succeed! 
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So when Trump and Netanyahu meets on 15 February, we have to be curious how they will deal with matters such as the settlements policy, the provocation of the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or the dying Gaza, the concentration camp forgotten by the hypocritical world community. It is to be feared that neither Trump nor Netanyahu will care about Palestinians as their ethnic cleansing is being executed with impunity by the Netanyahu regime violating Palestine more and more.
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In fact, all states represented at the UN should have immediately opposed the incredible interference of the incompetent general secretary. Since the UN general secretary Guterres should not depend on the US Trump’s mercy. His proposal to nominate the former Palestinian Premier Salam Fayyad as new UN envoy to Libya, as successor of the German Martin Kohler, which is a better choice must not be destroyed! Fayyad  was chosen because of his competency and not as representative of Palestine. And here the US envoy to the UN Haley is wrong. In the meantime it is rumoured that the former Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, against whom in Belgium a warrant was issued because of war crimes, will be compensated with a high UN office for Israel. Incredible! (14) (15)
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While the holocaust is more and more used to justify the politics of the “Jewish State” and to distract from its own racist politics, by committing  crimes and by violating victims, Palestinians and the Nakba are more and more discredited. Norman Finkelstein, himself son of Holocaust victims, and author of the book “The Holocaust-Industry” who at the end of January gave a considerable seminar at the Max Planck Institute in Halle, described this phenomenon in a most peculiar way. And as many Israel critics he is denigrated by the Israel lobby and its Christian-Zionist supporters. In particular by the eternal “green agitators” Volker Beck and the Springer Press. (16) (17)
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The activities of the “Israel lobby and its willing sayanim become more and more bolder. This hasbara trace slashes right through the country, from Hildesheim, Halle, Göttingen, Freiburg and now also against the well-known liberation theologian and Islam expert Farid Esack, as guest professor in Hamburg. And again Volker Beck is at the Israel frontline and defends the occupiers state by protecting it from any critics. I really ask myself why the Green Party has not already initiated a party exclusion procedure against this moraliser, while the percentages in the surveys are continuously going down. In contrast to the punishable drug consumption, the authorisation of sex with minors and paedophelia, Israel critic is still exempt from punishment! (18) (19) (20)
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However, what can you expect from a “Jewish State” whose morality has sunk so deep, that even the dead body of assassinated Palestinians who died resisting the illegal occupation, are used as “negotiation mass” against any Geneva Convention? When has this occupiers’ state complied with any convention, law, or resolution? (21)
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If land grabbing, wall construction, expulsion, and anti-Muslim hatred become state policy, then it is time that the BDS campaign is supported also by the official politics to get justice in a free Palestine!
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P.S. In fact, the high EU representative Federica Mogherini declares that BDS is legal and that the freedom of expression is a precious value. (22
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Written FOR

THE DEAL TO ERASE PALESTINE COMPLETELY

The clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

Clearest message from new Israel aid package is that US sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation

US aid deal gives green light to Israel’s erasure of Palestine

The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion to $3.8bn a year – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.

Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.

In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.

American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Obama in November’s election.

In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.

In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.

Netanyahu’s agreement to such terms has incensed Israeli loyalists in Congress such as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who had been fighting Netanyahu’s corner to win an even larger aid handout from US taxpayers. He accused the Israeli prime minister on Friday of having “pulled the rug from under us”.

As Ehud Barak, Netanyahu’s former defence minister, also pointed out in a series of TV interviews in Israel, the deal fails to take into account either inflation or the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.

A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.

Netanyahu preferred to sign the deal now rather than wait till the next president is installed, even though Clinton and her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, are expected to be even more craven towards Israel. That appears to reflect Netanyahu’s fear that the US political environment will be more uncertain after the election and could lead to long delays in an agreement, and apprehension about the implications for Israel of Trump’s general opposition to foreign aid.

Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even the New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.

Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.

But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.

Almost no one implicates the US in Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria, however, would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own large nuclear arsenal.

In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.

The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.

Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.

The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.

But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash with Israel and its loyalists in Congress over Palestinian statehood.

Some believe that Obama signed the aid agreement to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Netanyahu into making peace.

Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate the unity necessary to confound critics of the aid deal.

If Obama really wanted to pressure Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.

Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act again the Palestinians with continuing impunity and lots of US military hardware.

AMERICAN TAXPAYERS TO PAY MORE IN THE FUTURE TO KEEP APARTHEID ALIVE

As if 30 Billion a year was not enough …..

“This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history.”

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$38B Israel Aid Deal Is Political Boon for Benjamin Netanyahu — and Barack Obama

When Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting national security adviser, was tasked with heading the team negotiating a new 10-year military aid package with the United States, Prime Minister Netanyahu set forth the guidelines: “If you reach $3.5 billion a year, you’ll get a gold medal,” Nagel recalled Wednesday, hours before signing the agreement in Washington. “If you get $3.3 billion you’ll get a silver medal; and if you get $3.1 billion you’ll get the bronze.”

Nagel brought home something in between silver and gold, finalizing a $38 billion 10-year agreement, made up of $3.3 billion a year in military aid and another $500 million a year for missile defense systems, which was previously handled separately.

But this Olympics-style competition was more than about money. It was also about two world leaders seeking vindication.

One, in Jerusalem, wanted to disprove the notion that he harmed bilateral relations with his country’s greatest ally by picking a fight with its leader.

And the other, soon to leave the White House, was looking for the ultimate seal of approval for his support to the Jewish State. Both ended the race legitimately claiming victory.

“This deal illustrates a simple truth,” Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message hours after the agreement was signed. “The relationship between Israel and the United States is solid and powerful. It does not mean that we don’t have disputes now and then, but these are disputes you have between family.”

National Security Adviser Susan Rice, the Obama administration’s highest ranking official at the signing ceremony, noted the historic nature of the deal.

“This is the single largest pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history,” Rice said. “And that’s not an accident. It’s a reminder of the United States’ unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Obama and Netanyahu, reaching the final stretch of their troubled 8-year marriage, now have a document proving that years of personal tensions and deep distrust have not infected the bilateral relationship.

And just like in any Olympic competition, it took a lot of sacrifice to get to the winner’s podium.

For Netanyahu, it meant to some extent turning his back on Republicans in Congress, the Israeli leader’s willing partner in battling the Democratic administration. For Obama, reaching the finish line required bending over backwards in an effort to convince Israel to agree to accept his $38 billion gift.

At the State Department’s Treaty Room on Wednesday afternoon, it was the working-level officials’ moment in the limelight.

Israeli and American national security experts who have been engaged in three years of negotiations trying to iron out the details of the massive aid package, were all on hand to see the deal come to life. Secretary of State John Kerry popped in after the signing for a quick photo op with negotiators. Israel’s ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer, once a political lightening rod for Obama administration officials, sat in the front row, as did his American counterpart Dan Shapiro. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came to show their support, alongside several Jewish organizational leaders.

The deal, which will go into effect in 2019, is aimed at helping Israel deal with regional threats by using the American aid to purchase advanced U.S. defense equipment. It will replace the current 10-year $30 billion deal, which did not include the missile defense component, funded each year separately by Congress.

The new deals folds missile defense aid into the larger military assistance package, thus assuring Israel a predictable funding source for the program, but at the same time stripping Jerusalem from its ability to use Congress for extra funding beyond the agree upon amount. It also does away with a unique arrangement Israel enjoyed which allowed it to spend a quarter of the American assistance money on purchases within Israel. This benefit will be phased out gradually ending completely in the last year of the agreement.

Israel’s starting point, according to officials involved in the talks, was set at $45 billion, a sum representing Israel’s needs and hopes, rather than a realistically achievable goal. Throughout the lengthy talks, in which, according to Nagel, thousands of slides were presented and every single piece of equipment was discussed, “from the most advanced jets to the last truck,” the final subtotal began to emerge – higher than the previous deal, but less than Israel had wanted.

As negotiations entered the final stretch, it became clear that lack of trust still exists between the Obama administration and Netanyahu’s government. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham offered Israel to push in Congress an extra $300 million in aid, a move seen as unacceptable by the Obama administration which feared the reemergence of the Netanyahu-Congress nexus in attempt to bypass the president.

The administration demanded that Israel make clear it will not seek any further funding from Congress, except for special emergency needs a result of an armed conflict. Netanyahu had to promise Secretary Kerry, in writing, that Israel will adhere to this commitment, and to further commit that if Congress, on its own volition, decides to increase aid to Israel in the next two years, Israel will give back the money. According to Nagel, Netanyahu told Graham, one of his top supporters on Capitol Hill, that given the choice between getting another $300 million from Congress now and securing a deal with Obama for the next decade, he will chose the latter.

But even after having to concede to limiting Congress’s role in aid to Israel and to giving up the possibility of spending aid money in Israel, Netanyahu still had plenty reason for celebration.

Critics of the Israeli prime minister have argued that his insistence on fighting Obama on the Iranian nuclear deal rather than using the moment to leverage Israel’s bargaining power to reach a better aid deal, has cost Israel billions in military assistance. By the time Netanyahu was ready to finalize the deal, they argued, it was already clear that Congress cannot block the agreement and Israel’s position became politically irrelevant. Dermer insists this is not the case. At no point, he said, even at the height of the nuclear deal dispute, did the U.S. indicate it would be willing to be more generous in its aid offer in return for an Israeli retreat.

Netanyahu now gets to show his critics at home that his insistence to fight Obama on the Iranian nuclear deal did not cost Israel its future relationship with America. A $3.8 billion annual check from Uncle Sam will help embolden Netanyahu’s message, as will the symbolic fact that Dermer, the architect of Netanyahu’s 2015 Congress speech, was posing for pictures with Secretary Kerry after the signing ceremony.

Obama has also gained significantly from finalizing the deal before leaving office.

The administration made every effort to drive home the notion that the new Memorandum of Understanding represents a historic measure. Rice called it an “unprecedented commitment to the security of Israel.” Obama, in a statement, said the agreement was “just the most recent reflection of my steadfast commitment to the security of the State of Israel.” Just like Netanyahu, Obama has critics too, accusing him of being unfriendly to Israel in his years in the White House. Now, his legacy is cemented by a signed agreement and a hefty dollar amount he can use to dispel these claims.

US IS FUELING ISRAEL’S CIVIL WAR

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern  city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ  File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

An Israeli UAV Hermes 500 flies over the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beer Sheva, on June 30, 2016 during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli pilots. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ
File photo of an Israeli drone (AFP)

US should withhold military aid until Israel recognises Palestinian sovereignty

US fueling Israel’s civil war

Sam Bahour

Israel is a very special country. Its history is like no other. Maybe that’s why its civil war, which is well underway, is almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a stable country. Upon closer inspection, Israel is a powder keg already in the process of the most significant societal and political implosion of its history. While a total meltdown is not inevitable, the US continues to provide the fuel for Israel to continue driving drunk on power.

On one side of this civil war is the elected government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a bunch of the most extremist politicians one can find, several illegal settlers themselves. Aligned with the government are a cohort of settlers in the West Bank, which have surpassed their widely acknowledged role as the largest impediment to peace and have become an electoral consistency that is hard to reckon with.  Supporting this camp in Israel are party faithful that in any other country would be called outright racists. You can find some of them at Israeli soccer games chanting “Death to the Arabs.” A few have actually made that chant a reality.

On the other side is everyone else, albeit unable to see themselves on the same political side. In this camp are many Jewish Israelis who voted for Netanyahu, some more than once, and have watched their candidate move Israel to the most isolated position it has ever witnessed. These Israelis do not feel any safer today than they did when Netanyahu first ran for office. Added to this group are the second, third and fourth class Israeli Jewish citizens who traditionally vote Likud, against their best interests, and they make up the bulk of Israel’s poverty-stricken class; they sometimes are referred to as Mizrachi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and the like. Then there is the 20 percent block of Palestinian citizens of Israel. This Palestinian constituency comprises the third largest elected block in the Knesset, but no other Israeli Jewish party deals with them; thus is the extreme state of racism inherent in the Israeli political system.

These two warring sides are fiercely at each other’s throats to claim the nature of Israeli society. The government has embarked on a tragic course to complete the process started in 1948 when Israel was established, to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian inhabitants. The other camp, however fragmented, understands that Palestinians are never going to disappear into thin air and seek their government to end the nearly 50-year military occupation so Israel can reenter the community of nations with some sense of normalcy.

We are told to believe, ad infinitum by Israel’s most senior officials and an endless stream of flashy media clips, that Israel is a “light upon nations,” and brought the world high-tech, modern agriculture, and even cherry tomatoes. Israel brags that it is a “start-up nation” and Intel, Microsoft and HP, just to name a few multinationals, have all enthusiastically setup shop in the country. What these exaggerated quips and polished marketing tools do not tell us is that Israel is at a point where it is at war with itself.

The social inequality in Israel has reached epic proportions. As reported in Haaretz in 2015, as of 2013 “Israel remained at the bottom of the OECD rankings for measures of inequality and poverty.” Added to this acute class strata, indigenous Palestinians who make up one-fifth of Israel’s population are dealt out of the Israeli melting pot. Jewish Israelis are divided to the point where physical altercations frequently occur across race divides in the streets of Tel Aviv. Additionally, imported foreign labor, brought to replace the traditional Palestinian labor force from the West Bank and Gaza, are tearing Israel at its already fragile seams.

The “start-up nation” started up because Israel acquired, by the use of brute military force, land and water, the two key ingredients to statehood in the Middle East. Israel thrives because the US has chosen to relieve it from its full financial burden as a nation by granting it over $120 billion since its founding. Furthermore, all of this start-up buzz is a result of research and development spending by the military, without which there would be no start-up sector to speak of. This external budget support frees Israeli funds to do other business.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently negotiating President Obama for a 10-year military aid package to the tune of $40 billion. This new package follows President George W. Bush’s administration’s generous 10-year aid package of $30 billion. Historically, the bulk of these funds have been earmarked for Israel to purchase US weaponry, but the current package under negotiations allows Israel to spend the money in Israel. These monies are Israel’s slush fund. With these funds at its disposal, no wonder Israel can afford to offer multinationals 10 and 20-year tax incentives. In 2014 alone, it was reported that “Intel, the US chip giant, will invest $6bn in the upgrade of its main manufacturing plant in what will be the biggest single investment by a foreign company in the country [Israel]. The company will receive a grant of $300m over five years and will pay a corporate tax rate of only 5% for a 10-year period.” With that kind of financial underwriting, I can make the roof of my house a start-up nation.

Part of that other business that the US indirectly funds allow Israel to pursue its continuation of repressing by military occupation 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US Department of State registers in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – year in and year out how Israel violates human rights. US human rights attorney Alice Lynd, with the assistance of her husband, Atty. Staughton Lynd, documented these report’s human rights violations in a pamphlet for the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW). Yet, US policy remains uninformed by these reports. Israel laughs all the way to the bank as they continue to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territory and entice multinationals to come to Israel to do business.

Don’t do it President Obama. This is an unwise use of US tax dollars. If for some unorthodox political reason, you must agree to this (which I do not buy into), then make sure today’s fundamentalist, right-wing Israeli government finally walks up to the plate and takes the move that is inevitable, recognising the State of Palestine, not to mention ending their occupation. Actually, the world is awaiting the US to make the same recognition. Better yet, take Israel’s hand and head to the UN Security Council and pass the pending resolution which upgrades Palestine’s status at the UN to a full member state. Later, both countries, Israel and the US, can decide when to extend direct recognition.

If Israel refuses to accept recognising the State of Palestine, the ultimate act to save the rapidly vanishing two-state paradigm, then hold the military aid package and take bold political action before you leave office, grant US direct recognition of Palestine. When the incoming president is faced with the wrath of Israel and the pro-Israeli lobby for this US recognition, the new administration will have a $40 billion card to subdue them. Maybe by then, these funds can be leveraged to get Israel to end their military occupation once and for all.

It’s sad that tax dollars are used in such a fashion, but if that is how the US works, then let it work for peace, not to continue fuelling Israel’s civil war, which will ultimately spill over to yet another armed clash with Palestinians under occupation. As a Palestinian-American, born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I have an obligation to my two daughters and all Palestinian children, as well as all of Israel’s children too, to speak up before we all end up paying the price, again, for US inaction, or worse.

 

Written FOR

IRONIC TOON ~~ MANDELA HONOURED BY HIS CAPTORS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Same US that now exalts Mandela as hero, was responsible for his imprisionment

Same US that now exalts Mandela as hero, was responsible for his imprisonment

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Nelson Mandela has been honored at his memorial by President Obama and countless other world leaders, but a piece of information about his historic life was largely overlooked during the tributes to the late-South African president: The role of the CIA in his imprisonment. A CIA agent inside the ANC provided the South African apartheid government with the location of Mr. Mandela so they could arrest him decades ago. 

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Related report and photos HERE ….

Former diplomat admits CIA involvement in Nelson Mandela arrest

Revelations from a CIA operative indicate that the American spy agency was behind the arrest of Nelson Mandela in 1962. Mandela was perceived to be a risk to the US due to alleged ties with the Soviet Union.

WEEK’S END IN TOONS ~~ SYRIAN CEASE FARCE

Images by Carlos Latuff

US and Russia talk peace, make war, in Syria

US and Russia talk peace, make war, in Syria

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US, Russia and the Syria cease-fire

US, Russia and the Syria cease-fire

CNN: “U.S. announces ceasefire for Aleppo after talks with Russia” –

A ceasefire is in effect in one of the most war-torn cities in Syria, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday. The United States and Russia concluded arrangements for a cessation of violence in Aleppo and surrounding areas, according to a department statement.

The two countries ended talks Tuesday and are closely monitoring whether the ceasefire sticks. Violence has decreased but continues, according to State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner.

Foreign Policy: “MSF Blasts U.S., Russia, Syria, and Saudi for Hospital Strikes” –

In a stinging rebuke, the president of French medical relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres on Tuesday accused several governments, including the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, of either directly attacking medical workers or participating in coalitions that have done so.

Speaking in a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the protection of health care workers, MSF leader Joanne Liu said four of the council’s five permanent members — Britain, France, Russia, and the United States — “have, to varying degrees, been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year.”

Those coalitions, Liu said, were responsible for strikes on medical targets in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. But the attacks on medical workers reach far beyond those countries, endangering health workers in Iraq, South Sudan, and Somalia. The world, Liu warned, is “facing an epidemic of attacks on health facilities, impeding our ability to do our core work.”

“Stop these attacks!” she urged the council’s big powers. “You … must live up to your extraordinary responsibilities and set an example for all states.”

The council’s meeting took place as medical workers have come under renewed attack in Syria, where [Russian-backed] government aircraft last week bombed a hospital in Aleppo, killing [55] people, including three children and one of the city’s few remaining pediatricians. On Tuesday, [US-backed] rebel rocket fire again struck a hospital and maternity clinic, killing three women, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

FROM

AFTERMATH OF STUPIDITY ~~ ‘LEFTIST’ ARRESTED IN ISRAEL TRYING TO FLEE COUNTRY

Read THIS post first to get a background

Israeli Activist Says He Helps Kill Palestinians Who Sell Land to Jews

A man whose actions must not be condoned! Ezra Nawi. Photo from WIkimedia Commons

A man whose actions must not be condoned!
Ezra Nawi. Photo from WIkimedia Commons

‘Pot calling kettle black’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Friday that the report “unmasked radicals among us, whose hatred for settlements has pushed them over the edge to the point of delivering innocents for torture and execution. Those who encourage murder cannot continue to hide behind the hypocritical pretense of caring for human rights.”

Far-left activist at center of storm arrested trying to leave country

Ezra Nawi, filmed in television expose saying he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill those who sell land to Jews, is stopped at airport

A key figure from a left-wing Israeli group was arrested at Ben-Gurion airport on Monday as he tried to leave the country, days after being filmed in a television investigation that has rocked the halls of power.

Ezra Nawi, a Jewish far-left activist from the Ta’ayush group, is reportedly suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Nawi, a prominent campaigner for Palestinian rights, featured in a television investigation last week in which he was recorded saying that he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill Palestinians who sell land to Jews.

Channel 2 reported Monday that during the afternoon police who were watching the suspect followed him to the airport. Although at first officers assumed he was going to meet incoming travelers, it soon became clear he was trying to leave the country as he tried to check in for a flight.

Police arrested Nawi and took him away for questioning.

Police confirmed they arrested a leftist activist but declined to give his name, though it was carried in several media reports and revealed by two lawmakers not bound by secrecy rules.

A recording of Nawi was aired on Thursday by the investigative television program Uvda, on Israel’s Channel 2.

In it, Nawi is heard speaking about four Palestinian real estate sellers, whom Nawi said mistook him for a Jew interested in buying their property.

“Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” Nawi is heard saying in reference to the Palestinian Authority’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”

The broadcast sparked a political storm, with right-wing politicians and activists pointing to it as proof that left-wing groups are not necessarily interested in human rights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook Friday that the report “unmasked radicals among us, whose hatred for settlements has pushed them over the edge to the point of delivering innocents for torture and execution. Those who encourage murder cannot continue to hide behind the hypocritical pretense of caring for human rights.”

In the Palestinian Authority, the penal code calls for capital punishment for anyone convicted of selling land to Jews. This law, which Palestinian officials defended as designed to prevent takeovers by settlers, has not been implemented in Palestinian courts, where sellers of land to Jews are usually sentenced to several years in prison.

A number of murders in recent years have been rumored to be related to the sale of land to Israelis, though the murders have remained unsolved.

Nawi was also documented obtaining information from a Palestinian who believed Nawi was a Jew interested in purchasing land. Nawi is seen saying he intends to give that information to Palestinian security officials as well. According to Uvda, an activist with the human rights group B’Tselem helped Nawi set up the would-be seller in a sting operation in which the seller would be arrested.

The recordings and footage were collected by right-wing activists who secretly recorded Nawi.

 

Source

VIDEO ~~ DID AMERICAN ‘CHARITIES’ FINANCE THE LAST WAR IN GAZA

Were common household items purchased with tax-exempt charitable funds used to help the Israeli army kill Palestinians in Gaza?

The video below provides evidence that equipment likely purchased with tax-deductible US donations was used in Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 551 children.

In the video, members of the Israeli army’s Golani Brigade preparing to deploy to Gaza during the assault thank donors to an organization called Connections Israel for donations they have made.

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Full report HERE

Was gear bought by US charity used by Israeli army during Gaza attack?

MONDAY’S TOON ~~ THANK YOU MR. SISSI!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Egypt Killing of Mentally Ill Palestinian, With Blessings from Israel.

Egypt Killing of Mentally Ill Palestinian, With Blessings from Israel.

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Related video (in Arabic)

Man caught on film walking naked through Mediterranean sea and crossing into Egyptian territory where he is shot by security forces.

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