WORDPRESS BOWS TO ERDOGAN’S DEMANDS

At the request of Erdogan, WordPress censors a critical Turkish blog that collects Turkey-related cartoons.

Here is a sampling of what was censored … (From the banned Blog)

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

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Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

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Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

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Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

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Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

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Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

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Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

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Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

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Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

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Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

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Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

WordPress’ censorship follows a trend started by Twitter and FaceBook, where our very own Carlos Latuff was the main target …. (Click on links)

#CensorshipInTurkey ~~ CARLOS LATUFF’S TOONS BLOCKED

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FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

EVEN THE DEAD SUFFER FROM CORPORATE GREED

See the similarities …..

In North Dakota

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And in Occupied Jerusalem …..

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Therefore, Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Souix 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

THE ELECTION THAT BRINGS THE CIVIL WAR TO MIND

I was always considered to be the rebel in my family. Years of involvement in Leftwing causes resulted in many an argument with other close relatives…

But, my views were usually respected as I never took an extremist position on anything.

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Things are different today as the nation is divided by the election tomorrow. Families as well are divided for the first time since the Civil War. It’s a pathetic thing to watch, especially from the other side of the pond.

Having left the US in 1967, I gave up my right to vote in their elections. For this I am thankful as is my son.

There is an irony to my living here on the other side of the pond, in Israel…I came here in 1984 to visit my cousins. They were ardent zionists at the time, which I wasn’t and still am not. They returned to the States soon after my visit as Israel just wasn’t what they thought it was. I decided to remain here as I saw it as a perfect opportunity to continue being a ‘rebel with a cause’ and advocate for the full rights of the Palestinian people. It made more sense to me to do that within the borders of Israel than elsewhere. If you are  regular reader of this Blog you will know that 33 years later I am still the same rebel I always was.

But, getting back to the election …. there too I am the rebel. My family, like millions of other families is divided. Some for Clinton, some for Trump. In Israel one hears “who is better for the Jews”? NOT who is better for America.

America needs a President for AMERICA …. NOT for Israel!

America needs a President that is NOT a criminal or an idiot.

SO … I endorse neither.

America needs a President that will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!

So … I endorse nether.

Watch these two videos (by my fellow rebel)before you vote ….

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TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD AND THE US ELECTIONS

On the 7th of November 1917 the Bolsheviks took power in Russia putting an end to the Tsarist dictatorship that ruled their country for decades …

On the 8th of November 2016 a different type of revolution will take place in the USA, this time putting an end to the America we once knew and loved.

Even if you believe in the principle of non-interference in other’s internal affairs, the US is interfering with all of us. Its elections are likely to influence us more they do to most US citizens…

Whichever candidate wins, the people of America and the rest of the world lose

Whichever candidate wins, the people of America and the rest of the world lose

My fellow Blogger Yoav Haifawi posted the following on his Site Free Haifa, It’s a MUST read.

Sorry America, It is not YOU, it is US (*) …

Lessons from the USA election campaign

The coming elections in the US supplied an extraordinary drama, watched with both enthusiasm and disdain almost all over the world. If this is the most important democratic election for the most influential leadership position in the world, the scarcity of the debate about the real issues at stake must make people ask substantial questions about democracy. The identity and performance of the candidates, especially Republican Donald Trump, and the fact that an enormous establishment, with millions of people and billions of dollars, couldn’t produce a more respectable candidate, must raise even more substantial soul searching questions about the human nature.

The Big Picture

Lenin once said that, while the yellow press floods us with lies about everything, the good serious capitalist press feeds us with plenty of facts and information in order to hide the big picture. In the rest of this post I will try to relate to some of the big issues that all this election campaign and all the serious fact-finding and analysis around it are either ignoring or trying to hide…

Trump promises to “make America great again”. Clinton is trying to out-perform Trump’s patriotism by claiming that mighty America is as great as ever and couldn’t be diminished. But the whole election campaign is only a small animated illustration to the fact that the USA is not what it used to be.

The people of the US are famous for their ignorance of the world outside their borders. But for the last hundred years the fate and meaning of the USA, call it “greatness” or “the big Satan” or “imperialism” or “leader of the free world”, was not about what happens inside these borders but developed around its role as the strongest and finally the only world superpower.

This time is over. And it is not over because America became any smaller. It is over because we, the rest of the world, succeeded somehow to grow.

China’s rise, USA’s decline

In 2012, in one of the first posts in this blog, I presented an optimistic view on China’s rise. Let me try to sketch here in raw lines an optimistic view about America’s decline, or rather the decline of the North American imperialism.

First ask yourself what is “America”? Talking about the United States as “America” already ignores and marginalizes most of the people living in the American continents from Canada in the north to Chile and Argentine in the south. The population of the US is hardly a third of the almost billion people that live in the Americas. This naming that ignores your neighbors is only a symbol of the disregard toward and tramping over the people of the rest of the world…

Second, how do you define greatness? No doubt, at least when we speak about the most capitalist nation, that the economy is playing a central role in it. What most readers of the mainstream media might have easily missed is the “small” fact that the US is no more the biggest economy in the world. According to “The World Factbook”, a site maintained by the CIA, in 2015 China’s GDP (measured by purchasing power parity) was 19.7 trillion dollar, almost 10% more than the US’s 18 trillion. In fact China has already become the biggest economy in the world in 2014.

But this raw measure is far from revealing the whole picture. China’s economy is in a positive momentum, while the US (and the rest of the imperialist powers in Western Europe and Japan) failed to get their economies back on their feet after the 2008 world financial crisis. To hide this we can read every day articles about the “slowdown” in the Chinese economy, which means that it is developing steadily at 6-7% yearly. In China’s planned economy they build modern cities (no shanty towns there) for 300 million people that will move from their villages to the cities over the next 15 years – that alone is like building a brand new USA or Western Europe.

The difference between a rising productive power and a declining parasitic empire is illustrated as we look at the relations of the two economies with the outside world. According to the same source, China’s exports at 2.1 trillion are 40% higher than the US’s 1.5, while its imports at 1.6 are only 70% of the US’s 2.3.

The good jobs that went to China, manufacturing everything from steel to trains to computers and smartphones, are not such good jobs any more. They don’t pay western salaries. It is just that people around the world can now buy all of these things much cheaper. This is another reason why we don’t cry with our USA brothers.

China is a different kind of world power. Its 1.3 billion people made all the way from being one of the poorest people on earth, just fifty years ago, to the top of the world economy by hard work and (relatively) good management. They are the first great world power that didn’t gain its place through occupation and exploitation of other nations. This in itself is a basic fact to think about and a major reason for optimism.

Imperialism is not working any more

The hegemony of the Western powers, and over the second half of the 20thcentury the hegemony of the USA, enabled them to dictate the world division of labor and the terms of trade to the benefit of the big multinational capitalist companies. This was the source of the “good jobs” that the US and European citizens are now longing for. 80% of humanity was forced to sell its resources for cheap and work for pennies in marginalized agriculture or industry and serve as an open market for the Western developed economies.

After direct colonialism and military occupations were not sustainable any more, neocolonialism and neoliberalism served the same hegemony very well. In the second half of the 20th century, almost any local leader in the 3rd world that tried to do something to develop his country was either deposed or assassinated by agents of the USA. Look for the fate of Patrice Lumumba in Congo, Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran, Sukarno from Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile and Omar Torrijos of Panama, to name just a few.

Bloody dictatorships, regional wars, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, bombing and occupation – no cruelty was too much to force the subjugation of the third world – the vast majority of humanity – to imperialist rule. In the nineties, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there seemed to be no challenge left to the imperialist rule. By that time most 3rd world countries were under some form of sanctions by the “international community” for this reason or that. Real commodities prices, representing the terms of trade of the 3rd world, reached unprecedented historic lows (see graph taken from a study by David Jacks in NBER). The global gap between the starving majority and the prosperous imperialist center seemed widening forever.

But every party has its hangover. There came the surge of noisy protests at trade conferences and summits of the world imperialist leaders. There were the world social forums, looking for alternatives. When neoliberalism drove Argentine into an economic wall, mass mobilization casted away one government after another and brought to power (in 2003) the leftist Peronists, which refused to pay Argentine’s international debt. When, out of the blue, crazy Arab militants kidnapped airplanes and flew them into the WTC in New York, some people in the USA started to ask “why do they hate us?”

The empire tried to strike back to re-establish its authority, but somehow the world was not responding as expected. In 2002 the army in Venezuela tried to repeat the CIA coup scenario that worked so well in Latin America before, but the masses took to the streets and reinstated Hugo Chavez. When the US army occupied Iraq in 2003, it found that defeating the Iraqi army was the easiest part of it. Popular resistance made the occupation unsustainable and the ensuing US-imposed government in Iraq ended up doing business with China and closer politically to Iran, which is supposed to be the strategic rival of the US in the region. The US ended up burning about one trillion dollar in Iraq for no obvious benefit, (killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and destroying the lives of millions is nothing to count in world politics). It was about the same one trillion that were missing in its coffers when it financial system collapsed in 2008.

From Argentine to Iran, from Cuba to Sudan and Zimbabwe, when the Western powers were trying to force economic blockade of undisciplined third world nations, we’ve seen the new China factor. There is almost nothing you can’t buy in China these days. Over the last fifteen years the gap between the imperialist centers and the 3rd world started to contract. For the first time talking about “developing countries” doesn’t sound so hollow.

Dangerous curves ahead

Being optimist doesn’t mean that you should ignore the dangers ahead. One fact that makes the next period combustive is that while the USA is a declining economic power it still holds the strongest military by far. An irresponsible US president may try to use this power to try to “make America great again”. I do not think that there is a real danger that the USA can make itself the top world power again, but in the process of trying it can easily destroy humanity.

We have seen president Obama declaring his pivot to East Asia, trying to build all kind of military alliances in the region to contain China. We have read the capitalist media writing endlessly with running tears about the danger to World Peace from China building some artificial islands, while they see no danger in the easily preventable death of thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean and have little problem with the continuing killing of hundreds of thousands of Arabs in civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

Some good friends that are fed up by US interventions in our (and other) region(s) are hoping for a Trump victory. They believe it will be such a disgrace that it will accelerate the process of diminishing US influence worldwide. It could happen. You can forgive them if they are ready to sacrifice the US itself for another period of internal racist tension and upheavals. But as I see that the decline of US power is irreversible, and the main danger today is from a desperate attempt to reverse it, I wouldn’t recommend taking the pill that may kill you.

It is us, the people

I would like to finish with one more optimistic note about democracy in the USA and in general. When we speak about democracy we should look for the substance, not any symbolic representation. How much power people really have to control their future?

First start with what comes up in mind in this election, the qualities of the candidates… It is my humble opinion that the candidates in this election are not basically morally different from most candidates over the last decades. I think the main difference is that now we know much more about everything, including about the candidates past, their connections and obligations to the capitalist class, etc. The other factor that comes up in this election is that most people are angrier and less tolerant to the behavior of the candidates – only that they differ about their priority target for anger. So, even as there is no positive alternative in sight, we see that the basic balance of power between the establishment and the people is changing as a result of technological progress, education and the crisis of the system.

Second the content of democracy is not the “consumerist” free choice between Coca Cola and Pepsi, as many US elections used to be. Till now voters in Iran had more diverse options (consider Ahmadinejad vs. Khatami) and more influence about the general direction of the regime than US voters used to have. In this election for the first time a more profound option, the vaguely socialist Bernie Sanders, came anywhere close to be counted.

The US is not ripe for true change, but in this election it already raised the glass ceiling that prevented women from contesting the presidency, and it may have its first Ms President. Not a small change if you remember that women are allowed to vote there only since 1920.

The greatness of US imperialism left its people weak and helpless. It deprived them of free education and health care that are taken for granted in many much poorer countries. It made them work longer hours and be thrown to the dogs if they are not useful to the machine. If they are Native Americans, Black, Muslims or Hispanic they may be terrorized or humiliated. The only statistic in which the US leadership is unchallenged worldwide is the rate of incarceration.

While the US multinationals had the power to rule and rob the world, ordinary people could only run endlessly along the predesigned competition for career and consumerism, with minimal control over their own lives and no say about the future of their country.

Now, as the system is disintegrating, it is the time that the people will take control of their lives. The American people (from Canada to Argentine, NY & Texas included), like all the people of the world, will be the winners from the demise of US imperialism.

(*) Comment about the title

I don’t know whether you share my associations – so I may explain.

It is a common saying in “relations”, when a guy leaves a girl (or vice versa), that he tries to be nice and says: “It is not you, it is me”. Meaning, don’t blame yourself. I’m “not built for a lengthy connection”. It is intended to be polite, but as it became an easy pattern it is thought to be nasty.

I wanted to start with “Dear America” to emphasis the romantic cord – but many of my readers are too angry at “America” and may have no patience with my literature niceties…

But my American readers are really dear to me, and I hope they will find this piece somewhat consoling in these hard days.

SOLIDARITY WITH STANDING ROCK GOING VIRAL ~~ NY DEMO IN PHOTOS

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“Street by street, block by block, New York stands with Standing Rock.”

 

Early this morning a group of about 200 people, most youngish, gathered at Grand Central Station in NYC to express solidarity with the Native American people and their allies who are fighting against a pipeline being installed on their ancestral land.  Not only are sacred sites being destroyed but a rupture in the line threatens their only source of clean water.  Thousands of Native Americans and those allied with them, which includes aboriginal people from all over the globe, have been non-violently resisting for several weeks now.  They have been attacked and bitten by guard dogs, shot with rubber bullets and other projectiles, maced, gassed, tased, hit and arrested.  Still, more people arrive at their encampment.  In honor of their ancestors and their children they are standing their ground.

The demonstrators remained at Grand Central Station for about an hour with their chants, signs,  banners, and a simulated flowing stream made of blue fabric.  Then they walked along 42nd St. to the huge Bank of America Tower where they filled the lobby and spoke of the role of the banks which are funding the pipeline for financial gain but are jeopardizing the lives of the people living along it’s path as well as the ecology of the whole earth.

Everyday groups are announcing their support for the Sioux Nation and their stand at Standing Rock.  Support is coming from many human rights groups and aboriginal groups.  The Palestinian flag is flying among the tents and teepees at the encampment.  Now labor groups have joined in.  Black Lives Matter and the Dream Defenders have made strong statements of solidarity, as has Jewish Voice for Peace.   Environmental groups are joining in also.  While this struggle is being led by Native Americans many have come to realize that all of humanity has a stake in this fight and working together we are strong.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer ~~ Commentary by Chippy Dee

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ZION’S LATEST WAR WITH THE WORLD

Israel is clashing with a United Nations body tasked with honoring heritage sites after it passed a draft resolution harshly critical of Israel as the “occupying power” over Jerusalem, and both US presidential campaigns joined in rejection.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel is clashing with UNESCO for passing resolution critical of Israel as “occupying power” over Jerusalem

Israel is clashing with UNESCO for passing resolution critical of Israel as “occupying power” over Jerusalem

Trump and Clinton blast UNESCO statement on Jerusalem

Allison Deger

Israel is clashing with a United Nations body tasked with honoring heritage sites after it passed a draft resolution harshly critical of Israel as the “occupying power” over Jerusalem, and both US presidential campaigns joined in rejection.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed especially harsh words yesterday, dubbing the document submitted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as “delusional.” The group failed to mention by name the Temple Mount, a sacred site in Judaism believed to be located inside of the walls of the Noble Sanctuary, a religious plaza in the Old City that shelters the al-Aqsa mosque.

“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs released the type of barb it has frequently employed in recent months when faced with a political scuffle: a tongue and cheek video, in this case blasting the United Nations. In the clip a man with an English accent reads aloud from the Christian bible, replacing the words “Temple court” with “Haram al-Sharif/al-Aqsa mosque,” and wincing with each mention.

To an outsider, the messaging may seem confused. The video’s intended audience, American Christians, would recognize it as a jab at the United Nations for using the preferred Arabic or Muslim jargon to describe the religious complex in the Old City in their resolution, and not the terms favored by the Israeli government or many streams of Christianity, the “Temple Mount.”

While none of the phrases used by UNESCO innately negates the heritage of other religions to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, Israel views it as a word torpedo aimed at Judaism’s connection to Jerusalem. So do the Trump and Clinton camps, and the U.S. government, which voted against it.

The Trump campaign said, “The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the U.N.”

“It’s outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount,” Clinton advisor Laura Rosenberger told the JTA.

The two-page document submitted yesterday by UNESCO’s board outlined a series of allegations against Israel, charging it for destruction to the ancient plaza. The brief narrowed in on Israeli programs that harm Muslim holy sites, including construction and excavations in areas of Muslim shrines, army damage to mosques in the religious complex, tourism ventures in East Jerusalem, “segregated roads” in the West Bank and the denial of a visa for a UN monitor.

The text was not without mentions of Judaism and Christianity, the areas of contention for Israel, Trump, and Clinton.

UNESCO included a paragraph stating the “importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” In a later section it stated the Christian and Jewish connection to heritage sites in the Bethlehem area. There is no specific mention of the Temple Mount or any explicit note of unique Jewish ties to the Old City.

However, UNESCO was quick to reply that the resolution is a rough draft and will likely be significantly altered come Tuesday, according to an official with the body in Paris. The official then directed Mondoweiss to a video statement by Michael Worbs, the chairperson of UNESCO, who said he does understand the Israeli frustration. “I understand this perception,” he said, but Jewish and Christian considerations were made. 

“[B]ut [we] have also to admit for the first time, the Arab group added a paragraph saying at the beginning of the decision, saying, Jerusalem is a place of the three monotheistic religions so there is a recognition [of Judaism], although I do admit it was not balanced all over the text,” Worbs said, referencing the drafters, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.

The resolution passed the first vote yesterday by 24-6, with 26 abstentions. It will be finalized in another vote on Tuesday.

Not included in the flurry of condemnations today was the Palestinian government, which was busy holding a conference inside of the United Nations Security Council on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. If the Palestinians move forward, this will be their second attempt to seek Security Council intervention to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The roster of speakers at headquarters in New York included the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and the organization American for Peace Now.

“After almost half a century of Israeli military control over millions of people, the occupation is only deepening, while the settlements – one of the main reasons for daily violations of Palestinians’ human rights – continue to expand,” B’Tselem said in advance of its presentation. “Under these circumstances, it would be unreasonable to consider the occupation temporary or to believe that Israel intends to change this reality in the foreseeable future.”

THE TRUTH ABOUT SHIMON PERES’ LIES BEGIN TO EMERGE

Peres was a liar and cheater, he had no part in Operation Entebbe.’

For this he got the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize …

Shimon Peres’ contributions to the Zionist project in Palestine and the sufferings of the Palestinians and Arabs have not stopped once since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1947-1949.

Shimon Peres’ contributions to the zionist project in Palestine and the sufferings of the Palestinians and Arabs have not stopped once since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1947-1949.

Senior commando unit officer: Peres was a liar

Reserve Major-General Amiram Levin, who was responsible for IDF elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal’s operational planning during Operation Entebbe, attacked the late former president Shimon Peres on television this weekend.

Peres was Defense Minister in 1976, when the Israeli army carried out one of its greatest feats, the famed July 4th rescue known as Operation Entebbe that freed 102 Jewish hostages whose plane was hijacked to Uganda by Arab terrorists. The prime minister’s older brother Yoni Netanyahu, who commanded the unit that carried out the operation was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

“He never met Yoni Netanyahu. His only part in the operation was that he served as Defense Minister. Peres never met Yoni Netanyahu, he’s a liar and he had no part in Operation Entebbe,” Levin told Ayala Sasson in an interview on Israel’s TV program Shishi.

“I’ve known him for years, as both Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and as a person, too. The story with Yoni, he never met him and never spoke to him, yet he said that Yoni ‘gave him confidence.'”

Levin attacked Peres for blaming then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for opposing the operation, when in fact he had supported it.

“I was present during that conversation, that critical government discussion. [Peres] is a trickster, he played no part in the operation. His only connection is that he was serving as Defense Minister, but in fact he did absolutely nothing,” Levin emphasized.

“Peres was just a pipeline, [then-IAF Commander} Benny Peled was absolutely terrific – but Peres wrote the history and he was a liar,” concluded Levin, decrying what he called the “industry” of praising Peres after his passing.

Peres’ funeral was attended by thousands, including President Obama, Prince Charles of England and other important diplomatic and international figures.

 

Source

REMEMBERING THE ‘MEN OF PEACE’ WHO OPPRESSED PALESTINIANS

Wiesel and Peres dedicated their lives to a project that deflects Jewish culpability in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Though world leaders will gather for Peres’s funeral in the coming days, Jews need to mourn aspects of the violence Wiesel and Peres enabled. The idea of Jews simply finishing the job that Wiesel and Peres began, viewing their legacy as simply unfinished, won’t do either.

Israel has embarked wholesale on the displacement and ghettoization of the Palestinian people. The trajectory Wiesel’s and Peres’s life is a dead-end for Palestinians and Jewish history, if one believes that without an ethical center, Jewish life is truncated, if not voided altogether.

Shimon Peres never expressed regret over Qana operation that killed over 100 civilians, “[I'm] at peace with it.”

Shimon Peres never expressed regret over Qana operation that killed over 100 civilians, “[I’m] at peace with it.”

Shimon Peres, Israel’s greatest ambassador, will be remembered for enabling oppression of the Palestinians

The world is awakening to the news of the death of Shimon Peres, the last liberal lion of the founders of the state of Israel. He was 93 years old. Yet the real meaning of Peres’s life will be decided in the future. That future is troubling. It has already arrived.

As a military and political person, Peres did it all from the beginning of the state of Israel. Peres fought for the new born state of Israel, held many and varied political offices during the course of Israel’s history, including Prime Minister and President, played a key role in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons and encouraged and augmented Israel’s settlement project in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

As important was Peres’s role in portraying Israel as a Jewish and democratic state around the world. In this latter project, so important to Israel and Jews in the Diaspora, Peres succeeded magnificently during most of his long life. Yet, it is exactly here that Peres faltered in his later years, partly as his age increased but more importantly because the tide of history turned. Today, portraying Israel as a refuge for Jews, as innocent, under siege and as a beacon of light, is unacceptable. It is impossible.

From the beginning, Palestinians knew a different Israel and, with time, more and more Jews do, too. Though Peres will be widely celebrated in the upper echelons of American and European power in the coming days, like Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust sage, who died some months ago, Peres will be remembered for enabling a narrative of Jewish innocence and redemption that was, also, something much more sinister from the beginning.

With Peres’s death, the issue of the future of Israel and Jewish life becomes more urgent. Though, again like Wiesel with the Holocaust, Peres sought to create a lasting legacy enshrined in Jewish history, now their legacy and Jewish history itself are in doubt. Building on the legacy of the Holocaust and Israel seems dubious. The ground beneath our feet is uncertain.

Entering the Jewish High Holiday season, a time of reflection and confession, what are Jews to do? Wiesel and Peres dedicated their lives to a project that deflects Jewish culpability in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Though world leaders will gather for Peres’s funeral in the coming days, Jews need to mourn aspects of the violence Wiesel and Peres enabled. The idea of Jews simply finishing the job that Wiesel and Peres began, viewing their legacy as simply unfinished, won’t do either.

Israel has embarked wholesale on the displacement and ghettoization of the Palestinian people. The trajectory Wiesel’s and Peres’s life is a dead-end for Palestinians and Jewish history, if one believes that without an ethical center, Jewish life is truncated, if not voided altogether.

Was Shimon Peres’s life wasted, culpable, to be derided in Jewish history and the history of peoples around the world, including and especially the Palestinian people? In the coming days, we will hear more about Peres’s accomplishments than explore the content of these dissident thoughts. To speak about the end of Jewish innocence will be seen as a betrayal.

Perhaps a rabbi or two will parse Peres’s life during the upcoming Days of Awe. More likely, however, most rabbis, like our political leaders, will laud Peres’ life and further postpone the confession so central to the Jewish future.

#InIsrael ~~ MORE PINKWASHING TO COVER UP WAR CRIMES

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Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency for Israel and a prolific tweeter, called the ad “awesomewashing.” He was playing on the term “pinkwashing,” an accusation often levied against Israel that the government uses its record on gay rights to hide its crimes against Palestinians.

Full-page ad featuring a family with two dads in the weekend edition of Israel's most-read newspaper, Israel Hayom.

Full-page ad featuring a family with two dads in the weekend edition of Israel’s most-read newspaper, Israel Hayom.

Israel’s Right Wing-Paper Features Ad With Gay Dads

Israel Hayom, Israel’s right-wing newspaper affiliated with the ruling Likud party, surprised some by printing a full-page ad for a Nissan Sentra with two gay fathers this week.

The ad depicted a family of four with two young fathers and their school-age son and daughter with the phrase “Put your family in the Sentra.”

Avi Mayer, spokesman for the Jewish Agency for Israel and a prolific tweeter, called the ad “awesomewashing.” He was playing on the term “pinkwashing,” an accusation often levied against Israel that the government uses its record on gay rights to hide its crimes against Palestinians.

Another Twitter user, @ledoorpink, replied, “The issue is not two dads, that’s natural, but a $34,000 for a Nissan Sentara, that’s very unnatural.”

Israel Hayom is funded by Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate who donates to many pro-Israel causes, and is widely seen as a mouthpiece for the Likud Party.

Individual politicians in Likud have supported LGBT rights, but the party was lambasted earlier this year when the government coalition torpedoed a series of pro-LGBT bills.

OBAMA’S FINAL ACT AGAINST PALESTINE

Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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Will Obama’s final act be the liquidation of Palestinian rights?

Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal.

It is a time-honored Washington ritual.

Given his passing reference to Palestinians and Israelis in his final speech to the UN General Assembly, however, it might seem like there is not much chance of that with Barack Obama.

“Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” Obama told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday.

It was classic Obama: tricky and deceptive language that seeks balance where there is none – equating alleged Palestinian “incitement” with real Israeli colonialism and occupation – and floating lofty goals belied by his actions.

The most glaring of these, of course, is Obama signing off on the record 10-year, $38 billion dollar military giveaway to Israel.

This weapons windfall caps a term during which Obama aided and abetted two devastating Israeli assaults in Gaza, as well as the ongoing siege, and offered Israel every diplomatic protection as it built more settlements on occupied Palestinian land, exceeding even the frenetic pace of colonization during the Bush administration.

Obama is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday, where he will reportedly push Israel to make progress towards the so-called two-state solution.

All Netanyahu will need to do is smile and nod politely for the cameras, knowing that the president has already given away any potential leverage by signing the massive military deal.

But make no mistake: Obama still poses a continuing danger to Palestinian rights as long as he remains in the White House.

Canceling Palestinian rights

In recent weeks, think tankers belonging to the peace process industry have launched a new campaign urging Obama to support a UN Security Council resolution before he leaves office that would enshrine the two-state solution.

But what it would actually do is write into international law an abrogation of Palestinian rights, offering Palestinians no more than a pale bantustan. It would renege on the right to return of Palestinian refugees, a right that the UN has guaranteed. It would, moreover, recognize Israel’s claimed “right” to discriminate against the indigenous Palestinians solely because they are not Jews.

France floated a similar initiative last year, which, as I explained at the time, would have fatally undermined Palestinian rights, but thankfully it went nowhere because the US would not support it.

The most thorough elaboration of this approach now comes from Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group.

In a New York Review of Books article this month, Thrall calls a UN resolution laying out the parameters for the partition of historic Palestine into ethnically segregated Palestinian and Jewish states a “last chance” for Obama to “salvage his legacy.”

Thrall claims that “many in the administration” are hoping that this will indeed be Obama’s final act.

“Any resolution the US supports will contain clauses that are difficult for each side to accept,” Thrall writes. “The most troublesome issues for Israel are that the borders will be based on the pre-1967 lines and that the Palestinian capital will be in Jerusalem. The most onerous clauses for the Palestinians relate to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the absence of a timeline for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and a resolution of the refugee problem that would rule out anything but symbolic return to Israel.”

He affirms that the resolution would need to “offer some sort of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state,” in effect granting Israel a legal license to be racist.

It would also force on Palestinians what Thrall calls “entirely new concessions to Israel.”

“Settlements that existing Security Council resolutions call to dismantle would gain legitimacy as parts of a potential land swap,” Thrall writes.

Thrall, who enthusiastically supports this approach, is clear about the political realities: “It is a safe bet that on the majority of … issues, a US-supported resolution would favor Israeli positions over Palestinian ones.”

Abrogating UN resolutions

Another figure pushing for a UN resolution is Carl Bildt, the former Swedish foreign minister and high representative – diplomatic speak for unelected ruler – of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Obama, Bildt writes, “should push for a UN Security Council resolution that establishes new parameters for a future peace accord and replaces UN Security Council Resolution 242, which dates back to the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria.”

In other words, Bildt and Thrall want UN resolution 242 – which for all its shortcomings and omissions is at least clear on the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” – replaced by a new resolution that actually blesses Israel’s decades of ethnic cleansing and land theft under the banner of “peace” and a “two-state solution.”

Israel’s certain resistance to such an approach should not be taken as evidence that a resolution would somehow be good for Palestinians. Its rejectionism is simply based on long-standing policy that Israel should never be bound by any international rules no matter how ineffectual or favorable they are.

As Thrall acknowledges – and this is also where the grave danger lies for Palestinians – the Palestinian Authorityleadership would probably welcome such a resolution, dedicated as Mahmoud Abbas has been to abrogating Palestinian rights when it comes both to refugees and settlements.

Dennis Ross, that stalwart of the Israel lobby who has – absurdly – served as peace envoy for several presidents including Obama, has also weighed in on the potential impact of November’s presidential election on the prospects for such a resolution.

“I suspect that if [Donald] Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Ross said at a Zionist conference in California last week. “If [Hillary] Clinton wins, I suspect he [Obama] would be more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurts her.”

But either way, Ross said, Obama “would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.”

No friend of Palestinians

Thrall kicks off his New York Review of Books piece by revisiting Obama’s early connections to the Palestinian community, particularly in Chicago: “He had met, dined with, and attended the lectures of such figures as Edward Said, the most famous and eloquent Palestinian critic of the Oslo accords, and he had offered words of encouragement to Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian activist, writer, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and leading advocate of a one-state solution.”

On the strength of this, Thrall asserts that when the president came to office, “Palestinians looked to Obama as a potentially historic figure capable of ending their occupation.”

That was certainly true for wishful thinkers and the ill-informed. But let me set the record straight. Thrall’s knowledge of Obama’s dining with Said, and his “encouragement” to me, comes from an article I wrote in 2007, when the then senator from Illinois was in the early stages of his presidential primary campaign, titled “How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.”

The point of the article was not to offer hope, but to warn that despite Obama’s connections to the Palestinian community, he had already eagerly adopted the hardline positions of the Israel lobby as he became more politically ambitious.

“Palestinian Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico,” I wrote about Obama’s ditching of anything resembling a just and principled position on Palestine.

I predicted more than once that Obama would be a disastrous president for the Palestinians and that the hopes so many invested in him were delusional. Sadly, I was right and the think tankers were wrong.

Instead, as I wrote days after Obama’s election in November 2008, Palestinians should invest their efforts in building up their own power and broadening their movement – particularly through boycott, divestment and sanctions – because no US administration would ever support their rights unless compelled to do so.

The best we can hope for now is that in his final months in office Obama will do no more damage to add to his poisoned legacy on Palestine.

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.

AD OF THE DAY ~~ HILLARY’S PRESCRIPTION DRUG

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COLOUR CODED PALESTINIANS

Defense Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Israel to colour-code “good” and “bad” Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Launched this month, as much of the world was on holiday, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should.

Defence minister since May, Lieberman has been itching to accelerate Israel’s annexation by stealth of the West Bank.

Quislings and propaganda

His “carrot and stick” plan has three components. First, he intends to sideline the Palestinian Authority (PA) in favour of a new local leadership of “notables” hand-picked by Israel.

Preferring to “cut out the middle man”, in his words, he will open a dialogue with supposedly more responsible Palestinians – business people, academics and mayors.

Next, he has established a new communications unit that will speak in Arabic over the heads of the PA in the West Bank and its Hamas rivals in Gaza directly to ordinary Palestinians.

An online campaign – budgeted at USD 2.6 million – will seek to convince them of Israel’s good intentions. The Palestinians’ problems, according to Lieberman, derive from corrupt and inciteful national leaderships, not the occupation.

And finally, his Defence Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Sticks and carrots

Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, from which Palestinian attacks have been launched. Presumably night raids and house demolitions will increase, while closures will further curtail freedom of movement.

Palestinians in green areas will reap economic rewards for their good behaviour. They will be given work permits in Israel and the settlements, and benefit from development projects, including the creation of Israeli-controlled industrial zones.

This week the Haaretz daily reported that Lieberman is convinced that all the Palestinians can be attributed to Abbas’s “reign of corruption”. In briefings he has stated that the Palestinian leader “doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment. The entire system of management there has failed.”

It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless. Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinians were “stupid and lacking self-respect” and could be “bought with economic perks”.

Lieberman’s longer-term goal is to persuade Palestinians – and the international community – that their aspirations for self-determination are unattainable and counter-productive

Failed old policy

Israel has tried that approach before, as Palestinian officials pointed out. Decades ago, Israel sought to manage the occupation by imposing on the local population Palestinian collaborators, termed “Village Leagues”. Armed by the Israeli military, they were supposed to stamp out political activism and support for the PLO.

By the early 1980s the experiment had to be abandoned, as Palestinians refused to accept the leagues’ corrupt and self-serving rule. An uprising, the firstintifada, followed a short time later.

Israel’s agreement to the PA’s creation under the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was, in part, an acceptance that the occupied territories needed a more credible security contractor, this time in the form of the Palestinian national leadership.

Disorganised resistance

Whatever Lieberman and others claim, the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza are the last parties to blame for the recent wave of Palestinian unrest. The attacks have been mostly carried out spontaneously by “lone wolves”, not organised groups. Many occur in Jerusalem, from which all political activity is barred.

Abbas has described the “security coordination” with Israel as “sacred”, aware that his PA will not survive long if it does not demonstrate its usefulness to Israel. His security services have subdued Palestinian resistance more effectively than the Israeli army.

Bereft of regional allies and a credible strategy, even Hamas has chosen quiet since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its lethal wrecking spree in Gaza in 2014. It has kept the tiny coastal enclave locked down. Rocket fire – one of the few remaining, if largely symbolic, ways to confront Israel – all but ceased long ago.

The silence from Gaza was briefly disturbed a week ago by a rocket fired by a small group linked to the self-styled Islamic State. Despite Hamas’s disavowal of the attack, Lieberman demonstrated his new big stick by bombarding government sites in Gaza in a show of force unseen over the past two years.

Grassroots rage

The futility of this approach – blaming the official leaderships for the roiling frustration and resentment of those they formally lead – should be self-evident.

Ordinary Palestinians, not officials, endure the endless expansion of settlements and the resulting takeover of their agricultural lands. Ordinary Palestinians, not their leaders, face daily abuses at checkpoints and in military raids. Reports at the weekend suggested soldiers were deliberately kneecapping youths at protests to permanently disable them.

Round-ups, torture, military courts that always find the accused guilty – these are the rites of passage for Palestinians in the West Bank. For Palestinians in Gaza, it is slow starvation, homelessness and a random missile rain of death.

An Israeli strategy that failed decades ago – before the PA even existed – is not going to succeed now. Social media campaigns and paltry handouts will not persuade Palestinians they are nothing more than a humanitarian problem.

They are not about to shelve their dreams of liberation just because Lieberman colour-codes them in red and green.

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

OLYMPIC IMAGES ~~ ISRAEL’S PRIVATE GAMES

While is  celebrating closing ceremony Israel continues the murdering games of airstrikes

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A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

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Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson's hand. (Photo: Getty images)

Islam El Shehaby refuses to shake Or Sasson’s hand. (Photo: Getty images)

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the “Jewish people” and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for “poor sportsmanship.”

One day before El-Shehaby’s refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

While the Olympics are without a doubt an athletic competition, they are also, and to an equal degree, about the countries that send these athletes to the games. At the end of the day, and at the end of the games, we have a countdown of medals by country. And even as the Games are said to be about nations coming together, they are really yet another venue for pitting nations against each other. When any athlete competes, their country and their country’s flag is displayed as prominently as their own name. The winner’s national anthem is played during the medal ceremony, and all are expected to show their respect to that country. It is no surprise that the formidable gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been pilloried by her compatriots for her refusal to place her hand on her heart during the US national anthem, (even though she was otherwise very respectful), and one of the most iconic political images in Olympics history remains the raised Black Power fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Of course then, the snubbing by Lebanese, Egyptian, and Saudi athletes of members of the Israeli delegation is a political act. And of course, Israel has complained that these athletes “are bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.”

The actions of these athletes are in keeping with the Palestinian call for global solidarity in the form of BDS, including the sports boycott of Israel. A sports boycott is an individual gesture with the greater immediate negative consequences suffered by the person engaging in it, as they will likely be disqualified from further competition. Yet the Arab athletes who refused to normalize with the Israelis have been criticized as violating “etiquette” and “the Olympic spirit.” Which drives one to wonder, is this yet another venue where Israeli exceptionalism wins, as the violent, racist state is left off the hook, not held accountable for its assault on Palestinian athletes?

Over the recent years, Israel has prevented Olympics-bound Palestinian team chiefs from leaving the country. It had restricted their freedom of movement, making it basically impossible for them to practice in adequate facilities, and it has shot at the ankles of Palestinian soccer players. Where was the criticism when these crimes were committed? Two years ago, an international campaign to ban Israel from FIFA, because of its human rights violations, had failed to pressure the international organization into censoring that country.

When no official organization is willing to hold Israel accountable, individuals can do so. The snubbing by some athletes of the Israeli delegation is a noble gesture in a political arena, and it is incumbent on us to appreciate it for what it is: a refusal to normalize with a country that bombs young boys playing on the beach, prevents young swimmers from reaching a pool, and prohibits Olympic hopefuls in Gaza from training with their compatriots in the West Bank. We then can surely appreciate the exquisite irony of the separate buses at the Olympic village for the delegation from a country that builds separate roads for its Jewish citizens, transporting them to their Jewish settlements in illegally occupied territories.

While the Olympics athletes were competing in Rio, another game was being played halfway around the world with an overt political message as well: we will not be cowered into “civility” towards an apartheid state. In Glasgow, Scotland, fans of Scotland’s Celtic FC had organized an event to “Fly the Flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” during a game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.  The Facebook page of the event is clear about its understanding of the political reality of Israel, as the organizers explain that the display of flags would be to “invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”

The fans had been warned by UEFA that they could face fines or the closing down of part of their stadium if they flew the Palestinian flag. But, as John Wight writes, “Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and against apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.”

Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere. And as the game began, Palestinian flags appeared everywhere in the stands. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Israeli team in defiance of UEFA rules, and at the risk of the Celtic FC being penalized. Yes, flying the flag was without a doubt an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it was also a rejection of the system behind the oppression of the Palestinian people; a rejection of apartheid, colonialism and racism. The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at the Celtic FC game showed an understanding of shared experiences of discrimination, disenfranchisement, dispossession, and a rejection of the Zionist narrative. Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.

Beyond the boycott of consumer products in grocery stores, BDS has so far dealt a major blow to Israel’s image. Artists continue to cancel scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv, academic associations are voting to boycott complicit Israeli institutions, churches are screening their portfolios to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal practices, and the recent events in Scotland and at the 2016 Olympics are the principled athletes’ way of saying: we do not normalize with the representatives of a pariah state. Before these gestures get spun into anti-Semitic incidents by Zionist hasbara, it is incumbent upon BDS activists and organizers to explain the context of the snubbing, the defiance, and the refusal to engage in “good sportsmanship” with a country that violates the most basic human rights of an entire people.

THE LATEST ISRAELI BEX ALERT ON VIDEO

facebook-israel

Direct from Netanyahu’s FaceBook Page

I’m going to say something now that some of you will not believe. But I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true.

Does he really think that we are all stupider than he is??

 

I’m going to say something now that some of you will not believe. But I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true.

I, the Prime Minister of Israel, care more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.
Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.

That sounds incredible, right?

But consider the following:
A few days ago, the world learned that Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, stole millions of dollars from humanitarian organizations like World Vision and the United Nations.

Innocent and impoverished Palestinians were denied vital aid supplied from nations around the world.
Hamas used this stolen money to build a war machine to murder Jews.

I want you to think about that. Let that sink in.

Hamas stole critical support for Palestinian children so that they could kill our children.

So I ask you—who cares more about Palestinians?

Israel, that facilitates the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, every single day?
Or Hamas, that robs Palestinian children of that very same aid?

Israel, that treats wounded Palestinians from Gaza in its hospitals?
Or Hamas that prevents injured Palestinians from getting help?

Imagine, just imagine, where we might all be if Palestinian leaders cared as much about helping their own people as they did about hurting our people. The Palestinian people deserve better.

And today, I express my deepest sympathy with innocent Palestinians and those well-meaning nations who generously donated money to help them.

The cynicism and cruelty of Hamas is hurting all of us.
It’s hurting peace.

THE LATEST IN TOONS ~~ PUTTING THE SCREWS TO SYRIA AND PALESTINE

Images by Carlos Latuff

Erdogan's First Day of School at Kremlin Related report HERE

Erdogan’s First Day of School at Kremlin … Related report HERE

*

Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map -

Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map –

Google blames a malfunction for removing the terms “West Bank” and “Gaza Strip” from its map of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

“There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’. We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area,” said a Google spokesperson in an email to Mondoweiss.

The bug Google blames for the erasure of the labels set off a wave of outraged Tweets and Facebook posts in the last several days, although the deletion reportedly occurred as early as July 25th. The Palestinian Journalists Forum issued a widely circulated denouncement of the removal.

“The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the PJF said, according to Turkish Radio Television (TRT).

Andrew Kadi, a co-chair of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, told Mondoweiss that he feels Google is part of the problem when it comes to recognizing the occupation. Although the United States and United Nations have repeatedly in the past declared Israel’s military to be an occupying force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that obvious declaration has fallen out of style. Google’s omission of the word makes this amnesia possible.

“I just searched Palestine on Google Maps and it brings up Israel basically. Israel is labelled like Israel, like lots of different parts of what is now recognized as Israel, but you do not have a label that clearly states that the Golan Heights is occupied. You don’t have anything that clearly states that the West Bank is occupied. Although you have the Green Line you have nothing that indicates that East Jerusalem is militarily occupied. And these aren’t my definitions, these are the international definitions, recognized by every country including the U.S. So it’s odd,” Kadi said.

The debate over Google’s alleged bug “overlooks that Google has not been correctly labelling these areas correctly anyway.”

Kadi said that for someone unfamiliar with the history of the region, then these dashed lines, labelled in fine print “1949 Armistice Line,” don’t mean anything. If you wanted to fact check whether the Palestinian territories are occupied or not, Google’s map wouldn’t tell you much.

“If they want to be treated as a geographical information resource, then they have to take that more seriously. At a minimum, of meeting the international community’s definition of the Occupied West Bank, Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan Heights,” he added.

Kadi also expects that Google’s investment in Israel, and its purchasing of Israeli navigation app Waze, might have inspired the “bug” to happen.

Bug or not, “Google is benefiting from the country that’s erased us,” said Kadi, who is Palestinian-American.

Waze, and human error, was at least partially to blame for a deadly incident this winter, when two Israeli soldiers wandered their vehicle into the Qalandia refugee camp, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and ended up pinned down by a firebomb, Newsweek reported. In rescuing the wayward soldiers, Israeli forces killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man Iyad Amr Sajdiyeh. Citing a report in Haaretz, the March, 1 Newsweek article details how the Israeli military put in force “Hannibal” orders that allow for commanders to place Palestinian civilians in danger to prevent the capture of Israeli troops. Waze said the soldiers were not using the feature that prevents accidental navigation into Palestinian areas.

“Waze has and is continuing to work directly with the relevant authorities to decrease such mishaps from occurring, but unfortunately there is no ability to prevent them altogether as ultimately some prudence is in the driver’s hands,” Julie Mossler, a representative for the company, told the magazine.

The blindness of the tech industry to the mortal danger of occupation can endanger Palestinian and Israeli lives in other ways, the Daily Dot reports. Some roads are restricted to settlers solely. The author, Jonathan Brown, explains:

“If you’re Palestinian, to travel on Google-endorsed roads, you’ll need to secure a series of permits and agreements, which the Israeli authority now hands out less frequently with each passing year,” Brown wrote in 2014. “Exceptions might be made for a journey to Jerusalem, for prayers at Al Aqsa, but probably only during Ramadan. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) calls some roads in this network ‘sterile roads.’ For Palestinians, use [of] these are prohibited entirely.”

Imagine taking your Google Maps app back in time, to Mississippi in the 1960s, and driving as an African American person through a “sun down town,” where police would arrest people of color if discovered outside after dark. Unless Google wrote the grim reality of Jim Crow into your phone, you could be driving into a lynching. The same thing applies in for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, and living near settler neighbors who threaten them.

As Google labors to fix the bug, some observers of Israel/Palestine have noted that the erasure of the words “West Bank” and “Gaza” inadvertently reflect a reality that hardly gets mentioned in American discussions of the region: the huge degree of control Israel exerts over the West Bank and Gaza. The fact of military domination renders talk of a “two-state solution” divorced from the fact that Israel and its Occupied Palestinian Territories operate as an effectively single but deeply dysfunctional and unequal political entity.

Kadi said that one of his first reactions to seeing the words removed was how much it made Palestine/Israel look like a single country. The Oslo-mandated Palestinian Authority failing to coalesce under military occupation into a sovereign government, quelle surprise, has lead to a the popularity of a “rights-based” approach becoming more popular, Kadi said.

One prominent social media figure appeared to endorse a single, equitable state as the solution to Israel/Palestine’s woes.

Dena Takruri, a correspondent for AJ+, Al Jazeera’s digital first, Facebook news reel, reshared a previous video piece about the immensity of the Separation/Security/Apartheid Fence/Barrier/Wall, with this telling take:

“If only it was one state with equal rights for all, as Google’s maps suggest…” Takruri wrote.

FROM

Hey Google it's called Palestine not Israel ! you can remove it from the maps,but can't remove it from our hearts!

Hey Google it’s called Palestine not Israel ! You can remove it from the maps,but can’t remove it from our hearts!!

FUNNY ELECTION IMAGES

This Could Be Our Next First Lady. In this outfit he looks a lot like the late “Queen Mom” of England.

bc

Dealing with Ms. Potty Mouth

Finally turning over her EMails

 President Obama’s farewell speech

DEPORTING SOLIDARITY FROM ISRAEL

Israel is not the first to use deportation as a weapon …..

 

This video is meant to demonstrate by music + images that the immigration problem isn’t new, but has a long history. This video takes no political position concerning immigrants or immigration, but is meant to honor Woody’s song, Arlo’s singing, and the many immigrants who have worked, suffered, been deported, etc.
This is just a slide show using Woody Guthrie’s classic song as sung by his son Arlo and public domain (I believe) images; hopefully this will not violate any Fair Use copyright guidelines. All music performed by Arlo Guthrie, video/music collage edited/created by Dulcimerea.

Deporting Solidarity: One activist’s experience being detained in Ben Gurion airport

Moara Crivelente

Scattered inscriptions written with toothpaste and food on the bunks and walls of an Israeli facility at the Ministry of Interior Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) declare: “for each International Solidarity Movement you deport back home, ten more will come!”  Me and many before me read those words as we waited for our deportation. After hours of interrogation at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, we received a 10-year ban from entering the State of Israel for “security reasons.” With no further explanation, we were declared a threat.

During the seven-hour wait at the airport, I was repeatedly interrogated and questioned. Right from the start, I was told by two security officers that it has already been decided: I was getting deported, unless—said the one who played the role of the “good cop”—I cooperate.

To “cooperate” meant to tell them about every corner I had been in and every person I had met in Palestine on previous visits. They demanded I say that I witnessed Palestinian protesters throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers during demonstrations I attended—which they supposedly already knew of from pictures taken by the IDF. I was calm and I answered their questions obligingly until they asked me for my cellphone’s password. I told them that I was a PhD student conducting research, and my purpose of visit was to take a course on International Law in Ramallah with Al-Haq organization, but I refused to give them my password or my contacts.

To gain access to my phone meant that Israeli security forces would gather names of activists and Palestinian “culprits.” In 2014, Gary Spedding, a British activist, went through something similar. Israeli forces collected messages and contacts from his phone and he was deported, after being accused of possibly causing tumult if he were to be allowed inside the country, due to his activity on social media.

I had interactions with Israeli agents where I was ordered and moved around, taking me from one room to another. From border services, where they took my picture and collected fingerprints, to a room where my body and my luggage were fully searched, to another room where I waited—and this I only understood later, since I was given no information—for the transportation to the facility where I was detained. From there I got a new order, “Get in the car.” I was alone with two agents; I sat in the backseat of a van with metal plaques blocking the driver’s cabin.

Only when we reached the facility did I get information about my flight back, which was leaving in nine hours. There I met a young Australian woman who had been waiting for four days and would only leave on the fifth. We were granted one phone call, food, ten minutes in the yard and a door that locked from the outside. We waited. At some point there were nine of us in a room with five bunk beds, much like a cell. Most of the detainees were women from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Uzbekistan that were planning on touring in Israel and Palestine but were denied entry.

The Australian woman was also declared a threat: she participated in a protest in Bil’in on a previous visit, a village I had also been to. There, an organization called the “Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall” administers weekly protests against the Israeli occupation which took its toll on the village by reinforcing detentions and extending the Israeli separation wall to engulf agricultural land. The resistance has been partly victorious, and the wall’s course had to be slightly diverted. The committee’s own coordinator, Abdullah Abu Rahmah, who was already imprisoned before, is waiting for a new trial for new accusations.

I was taken by car from the detention center directly to the airplane’s door. An agent escorted me inside the aircraft and delivered my documents (which had been in their possession the whole time) to the flight attendant.

Deporting solidarity

It is within Israeli policy to deport activists who demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian cause to end the Israeli occupation. That is not news. In 2003, for instance, eight members of the International Solidarity Movement, all European and North American, were deported because they were protesting against the confiscation of Palestinian land to construct the Israeli separation barrier near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Protestors were also moving roadblocks near Nablus to call attention to the obstacles Palestinians face in movement on their own land.

In 2011, about two hundred activists were detained and deported upon their arrival at the Israeli airport. A Haaretz news article from July of that year informs that a group of twenty-five people who were suspected of being “pro-Palestinian activists” had their entries denied. Sixty-nine others had already been questioned and deported in the same period of time. Israel’s Ministry of Transport had also delivered airline companies a list with the names of 342 other people who were barred from boarding planes to Israel.

Another Haaretz article from the same month states that “Israel has thus far been successful in preventing the entry of 200 passengers wishing to come to Israel as part of the Welcome to Palestine campaign, which had organized a ‘fly-in’ to the Middle East this weekend for solidarity visits in the Palestinian territories.” This only reveals a fragment of Israeli tactics of persecuting any demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Academic campaigns and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) have been the most visible targets. Israeli harassment of Palestine activism does not stop there: Israeli human rights groups are also infringed upon. Breaking the Silence, an Israeli platform for soldiers to come forward and give testimonies about the crimes and atrocities they have witnessed and participated in with the Israeli Defense Forces, is an example of such organizations.

There are numerous cases of Palestinian deportations by Israel since the beginning of the military occupation. From 1967 to 1992, according to B’Tselem, Israel has deported 1,522 Palestinians from their own territories. In 2002, 32 people were deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip for “administrative reasons,” with no charges or trials against the deportees, and without their defenses being heard.

A 10-year ban

Brazilians do not need visas to visit Israel, and Israelis do not need visas to visit Brazil. However, I doubt that a sum of deportations from either countries would be balanced, let alone for political reasons. In 2015, two other Brazilians from Palestinian descent were denied entry on a solidarity visit, part of a group of social movements coming from the World Social Forum in Tunisia. They were also banned from returning to Israel in the future.

Going back to Palestine is not an option for the next 10 years—unless the Israeli Embassy grants a “special permit,” or until the Palestinians can finally control their own borders. If this experience results in an appeal, it would be for the end of the Israeli occupation. After all, that is the target: solidarity with the Palestinian people and a joint struggle for a free Palestine.

TOOSDAY’S TOON ~~ #PokemonGo BANNED IN IRAN

Pokemon Go Banned in Iran Due To “Security Concerns”

Pokemon No. For real this time.

Full report HERE

Fleeing from Morality Police:  Cartoon on Iran's #PokemonGO  Ban  Posted by Linda Hemby

Fleeing from Morality Police: Cartoon on Iran’s #PokemonGO
Ban
Posted by Linda Hemby

 

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