OBAMA’S LAST GASP ON PALESTINE-ISRAEL

Palestinians should take seriously the possibility that Obama may act because of his disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu, and because of the support such a move would have from Samantha Power and John Kerry. Any initiative would likely occur after the US presidential elections; thus the window would be from November 2016 through January 2017.

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009.  The man sitting between them is an interpreter. (  This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. ( This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama’s Last Gasp on Palestine-Israel

Overview

The Obama administration is in its final few months, and talk of a narrowing “window of opportunity” in which it can act on Palestine-Israel has gathered pace. Speculation on whether President Barack Obama will take any measures has been combined with skepticism that any measure could have a positive impact on the ground.

Policymakers have put forward a number of possible options, including a strongly-worded statement to define the Obama/John Kerry parameters for a solution to the conflict and an abstention on vetoing a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that reiterates the illegality of settlements. The administration also must factor in the international peace conference that France hosted in early June and that is set to resume between the parties themselves in September.

Al-Shabaka Policy Analysts Sam Bahour, Zaha Hassan, Fadi Quran, Sherene Seikaly, and Omar Shaban offer a range of views about what, if any, step the Obama administration could take, what Palestinian responses and pitfalls could be, and what action Palestinians should consider. Their views are synthesized below, while in the final section each analyst offers their thoughts on what Palestinians should do. Al-Shabaka Policy Fellow Tareq Baconi served as the roundtable’s facilitator.

Is the Obama Administration Really Planning a New Initiative?

There appears to be high-level interest by the American government in taking action on Palestine before the end of Obama’s presidency. The first development that signaled this interest was when Obama sent feelers to political and security officials asking them what his administration should do if it were to act.

Some said he should take a step that would make it difficult for the next president – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – to make more concessions to Israelis. Others advised him not to get involved, saying it was not worth it. Still others said the international community is waiting for someone to take leadership on the French initiative as well as on providing cover for those Arab governments seeking to normalize relations with Israel. For Obama, the challenge lies in the concern that any measure taken might lead to the deterioration of the P5+1 Iran agreement, an outcome that would be welcomed by the Republicans and Gulf states. Obama is said to seek a legacy around Palestine-Israel, while at the same time fearing that any initiative could tarnish such a legacy.

Palestinians should take seriously the possibility that Obama may act because of his disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu, and because of the support such a move would have from Samantha Power and John Kerry. Any initiative would likely occur after the US presidential elections; thus the window would be from November 2016 through January 2017.

However, the situation in which Palestinians find themselves is not encouraging. The Palestinian Authority is very weak, and Palestinians are divided, with no prospect for reconciliation nor a desire to hold new national elections. This suggests both a lack of pressure on and an absence of reason for the Obama administration to take action, particularly as the wider Arab world is also not applying pressure on the administration. Rather, they are putting pressure on the Palestinians. Further, US support of the French initiative is lukewarm at best.

What are the Options on the Table?

The most ambitious option would be Obama recognizing the State of Palestine, as 138 members of the UN have already done. The US could accomplish this by either unilaterally recognizing the state or signing on to a UNSC resolution recommending the admission of Palestine to the UN, with the possible inclusion of parameters for a negotiated resolution to the conflict. The former is unlikely, but the latter is possible, especially since the US continues to express fear of losing the chance for a two-state solution. The administration could frame such a move as merely implementing past US policy statements – starting from the George W. Bush administration and the Roadmap for Peace all the way to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. By building on these statements an Obama initiative would appear to implement what the Republicans had started. This more cautious approach may be Obama’s only option.

Obama could also enshrine new parameters through a speech or an American framework. However, a speech could be easily dismissed by incoming presidencies, and issuing a standalone framework outlining US policy might be more difficult domestically.

A localized track is another possibility. The increased presence in Palestine recently of State Department officials as well as delegations from the House Foreign Affairs Committee indicates a rising interest among high-level US officials to talk about the occupation-related obstacles to Palestinian state building and economic development. This reflects an interest in supporting Palestinians economically and determining how to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state.

The US could follow the Vatican’s example and sign a bilateral agreement with Palestine that would effectively recognize Palestine as a state. The agreement could be in the form of a free trade agreement. Alternatively, the US could take measures to enhance reality on the ground for Palestinians by putting together an economic package that supports Palestinian sovereignty and state-building priorities.

What are Potential Palestinian Responses and Pitfalls?

The Palestinian leadership is in such dire straits that it may be willing to accept any move that could seem successful, regardless of pitfalls. Indeed, Palestinian leaders may want to enshrine a new set of parameters before Mahmoud Abbas exits. In addition, by enshrining US parameters, Obama could signal to settlers that continued settlement expansion will not be accepted.

Yet setting parameters could be dangerous for Palestinians in that it could cement their weak position. New US parameters would include reference to the 1967 borders but would also include land swaps and the legitimization of settlements, as well as special arrangements for Jerusalem, which would mean less than a capital for Palestinians. The parameters could also potentially enshrine the idea of a Jewish state with very harmful consequences for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In addition, they could be dangerous for a UNSC resolution on settlements. A resolution already exists that addresses settlements’ illegality; a new resolution could risk legitimizing them rather than reaffirming their illegality.  For instance, a document that refers to prohibiting “continued settlement construction” could suggest that what is already on the ground is permissible.

A bilateral trade agreement between the US and Palestine, on the other hand, would effectively recognize Palestine as a state and delegitimize settlements. Yet while a trade agreement may implicitly include state recognition, it would also move the Obama administration away from politics and onto an economic track. The fear here is that any movement away from the political track will legitimize Obama’s desire to shift away from political issues – a move that may be embraced by the struggling Palestinian private sector.

What Should the Palestinians Do?

Sam Bahour: In the immediate future, the Palestinian leadership must remain strictly political. While this may not immediately help domestically or upgrade daily life, it will prevent watering down the issues and potential responses from the Obama administration. The most pointed political demand is to focus on direct US recognition of Palestine in the coming six-month period. In the short term, this would embarrass the stakeholders who call for two states but are unable to accept recognition. The more we can put the key players in a corner with a call for statehood, the more we can reveal that none of them are serious about statehood. We can then move on to other political framings, if the need arises.

Zaha Hassan: The likelihood that newly adopted US parameters would cause more harm than good is very high. Any explicit US recognition of the State of Palestine would certainly include qualifications that would negatively impact the Palestinian national cause. For example, there would likely be a reference that the territorial unit in which Palestinians may exercise their right to self-determination is the State of Palestine. This would have ramifications for Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Including such qualified parameters in a UNSC resolution would elevate their status to law and be difficult to undo later. To avoid the pitfalls inherent in these options, it may be safer to encourage the US to sign a bilateral trade agreement with Palestine. Signing such an agreement would have the effect of recognizing Palestine as a state as well as delegitimizing Israeli settlements and settlement products.

Fadi Quran: Key actors within Palestinian civil society that focus on BDS and the increasing economic costs of occupation should not be asked to lend their resources to possible Obama efforts. This is long-term work that needs to remain in place. We also need advocacy from civil society that focuses on international law and presents a joint document to the Democratic National Committee or to the Obama administration that clearly states what we believe our rights are and that any parameters that do not include these rights will be unacceptable. Lastly, we need to bring back voices of people that have been missing from the conversation for years into policy decisions. This means reconnecting with Palestinian voices outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For example, if Obama receives a strong call from Palestinians in Israel that establishes red lines with regard to rights, it could affect his administration’s parameters.

Sherene Seikaly: The challenge with which people like Cornel West are confronting the  Democratic Party is one indication of the tremendous gains that student activists and BDS supporters have made on campuses throughout the United States. We can take this momentum and build on intersectional, cross-sectional solidarities. These can put forward a simple call to end the siege of Gaza. Although this moment feels quite dark vis-à-vis the US political landscape – if Hillary Clinton wins, one of her first domestic targets will be activists and BDS, for example – it nevertheless has a lot of radical potential to put forth demands. The Palestinian Authority has essentially been anemic to aspirational demands; we could work to challenge them on this anemia and push them to engage the intersectional momentum we are now witnessing.

Omar Shaban: The strengthening of civil society in Gaza and the West Bank is highly needed. Funds in the West Bank have influenced the way civil society has been weakened, preventing it from pressuring the Palestinian Authority. We need to work on making civil society more independent and capable of defending Palestinian rights rather than being bought. We also need to work to get Hamas to understand what happened in Tunisia in terms of the moderation of political Islam – in essence, we need to create knowledge in Gaza about such options for Hamas.

sam_bahour_17-10-2008
Sam Bahour

Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Sam Bahour does business consulting as Applied Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development with a niche focus on the information technology sector and start-ups. He is also the Chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He helped establish PALTEL and the PLAZA Shopping Center. Until recently, he served on the board of trustees of Birzeit University and was the University’s treasurer.  He is also a Director at the Arab Islamic Bank and the community foundation Dalia Association.  Bahour is co-editor of HOMELAND: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (Olive Branch Press). He writes frequently on Palestinian affairs and his work is posted at www.epalestine.com.

 

NO MATTER WHO WINS, PALESTINE LOSES

Once again, Palestinian Freedom has been put on the ‘back burner’ as far as the US Presidential contenders are concerned ….

 

Bernie Sanders Backers Fail To Insert Criticism of Israel in Democratic Platform

In its last round of debates, the Democratic Party once again refused to insert language seen as pro-Palestinian into its platform.

The party’s platform committee, convened in Orlando for two days of voting on proposed amendments to the platform, maintained the language agreed upon in the earlier round of debate and defeated amendments aimed at criticizing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, demanding “an end to illegal settlements” and supporting the re-building of the Gaza Strip.

Read more HERE 

Republicans Prepare to Drop Mention of ‘Palestine’ From Platform

Taking yet another shift to the right on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, the Republican Party is poised to drop reference to Palestinians from its platform and to reinforced the call for keeping Jerusalem “undivided” under Israeli rule.

According to a CNN report based on a leaked first draft of the platform presented to party’s platform committee, the 2016 platform will not include any direct mention of Palestine or the Palestinians when discussing ways of bringing peace to the Middle East.

Support for a two-state solution has been a mainstay of all Republican administrations and although little progress has been made to realize this solution, it has always been the cornerstone of both Republican and Democratic parties’ approach to the conflict.

More HERE

And on the other side of the pond, Britain’s new Prime Minister had the following to say in this video. Mrs May delivered a speech to the Bnei Akiva, Britain’s largest Zionist youth movement, to celebrate the creation of Israel, the colonial settler-state founded on the bones and in the houses and farms that had been stolen from the Palestinian people.

 

HELP US BRING A MESSAGE TO ISRAELIS

Five years ago I posted a book review about NO MORE ENEMIES. The time has come to bring this masterpiece to the Israeli public …. it can only be done with your help.

Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestinians, and of Israelis, of all our children and grandchildren, in the Middle East and everywhere else, has an interest in making No More Enemies available to Israeli Jewish readers in Hebrew. This crowdfunding campaign was launched to pay the fee for the guy who is translating the book into Hebrew. I urge all advocates of a sane shared future in Palestine/Israel and globally to help today. Donate! Spread the word!

(See below for details)

Moving beyond despair — the Hebrew version…

By Deb Reich

Since publishing No More Enemies in English in 2011, I have been approached often by Israelis who have read the English original. Seeing its importance for Israelis (and Palestinians), whose country serves as the case study around which the book is written, these readers have implored me to get the book translated into Hebrew so that every Israeli can read it… urgently.

The idea is to move beyond fear and hopelessness to open a new doorway into an alternative shared future in Israel, Palestine, and beyond…

Because I write only in English, the object of this crowdfunding project is to pay the cost of a professional Hebrew translation and its wide distribution in a digital edition, and (next phase, once the translation is paid for) a print edition in Hebrew, translation into Arabic, and more.

Please join with me in moving us all forward another step on the path to a better shared future for our children and grandchildren.

What readers are saying about No More Enemies:

–Drop everything and read this book! The world will be a better place. – Melinda Thompson, Chair, Middle East Committee, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, USA

–I love No More Enemies. It’s an inspiring, splendid book.  – James Adler, Cambridge, Mass, USA

–I’ll be spreading the word about No More Enemies — especially among those most fearful  of giving up the conflict (isn’t that a paradox!). – Gale Courey Toensing, journalist, Connecticut, USA

–A must read. –Patrick M., International aid worker, South Asia

–In No More Enemies, Deb Reich states it clearly: ‘It’s not the people . . . it’s the paradigm.’  
Civil rights activist Minnijean Brown-Trickey of the Little Rock Nine,
writing as a scholar in residence, Clinton School Center on Community
Philanthropy, “Confronting Racism, Past and Present, to Heal Ourselves
and Heal the World.”

–If you want to move beyond war, then I recommend No More Enemies by Deb Reich. –Lora Lucero, nomad blogger at Why Gaza?, former adjunct professor of law at UNM-Albuquerque, USA

–Inspiring and powerful… a priceless book, showing the way to reparation without retribution.  
L. Janelle Dance, Assoc. Prof., Sociology and Ethnic Studies, Univ. of
Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and Senior Researcher, Center for Middle Eastern
Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

 Here’s how you can back this project …. 

http://www.nomoreenemies.net

TO CRY AND LAUGH, SIMULTANEOUSLY ~~ BOOK REVIEW

“Remember, whatever you do in life, for them you will always, but always, be an Arab. Do you understand?”

If you are Palestinian or Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, or simply human, you will enjoy these short stories tremendously. If you are none of the above, then just buy the book and place it on your bookshelf for all to note in awe the powerful one word title, Native, which says it all!

To Cry And Laugh, Simultaneously

By Sam Bahour

2016-06-29-1467244652-7016276-Native217x327-thumb (1)

Palestinian-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua should be commended for writing this book, as should be the publishers who took on the task of bringing it to the English reading community. Where diplomacy has failed, politics has stumbled, and common sense remains a rare commodity, one hopes that Kashua’s shrewd satire and political barbs can break open closed minds and pave the way for a breakthrough for Palestinians and Israelis. If not, Kashua is fully content in just making the reader laugh, then freeze, knowing the words are reality, then cry, as he pokes fun at everyone, mostly himself.

Kashua’s poor wife! She seems like such a wonderful person, loving and caring, but she is the target of his relentless attacks and haphazard lifestyle. I’m actually considering starting a humanitarian drive to support her, a sort of Brexit, maybe we’ll call it Kaexit. You’ll understand after you read the book.

This book of short stories is organized into four parts based around specific timeframes, as is each story. The parts are: Warning Signs (2006-2007), Foreign Passports (2008-2010), Antihero (2010-2012), The Stories That I Don’t Dare Tell (2012-2014). For anyone living in Israel/Palestine, or even having an inkling of knowledge about the places, the ability to relate to the story lines is immediate. Kashua dives much deeper than the superficial political issues; he enters his home, family, culture and so much more. The most volatile chapters are when he enters his own mind; read with caution, always remembering that satire comes from reality.

Given I read this book while on a vacation with my family in the US, it took on even more of a meaningful read. Kashua writes, “There are Israelis who say that only after leaving the country did they realize how illogical life is there, how stressed they were, and how all of a sudden there are different concerns now. Concerns related to work, to everyday life, to the weather, and mainly to the family.” He could have easily replaced “Israeli” with “Palestinians,” as he frequently does, and all would have remained true. Kashua comically amplifies the convoluted reality in both Palestine and Israel, which is causing the younger generations to voluntarily walk out and relocate to saner corners of the world—I would add, only to find those new corners are called Brussels, Paris, London and Orlando, all with their own share of convolution.

As Kashua walks the reader through his family’s decision to leave Israel and emigrate to Chicago, he writes, “I must help my children understand that Israel is not the end of the world—that if, God forbid, they don’t succeed there and they feel ostracized, different, or suspect, or when reality blows up in their faces, they’ll know that there are other options. It’s true that they’ll be different, but in a different way. They’ll be immigrants, and maybe they’ll have an accent, and they’ll feel a little strange. But they’ll be strangers in a strange land, and not in their homeland.” That last line says it all! Palestinians, be they citizens of Israel or residents living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, awaiting their long-delayed state, are all being made to feel like strangers in our own land. The result will be tragic.

Kashua repeats a phrase that his father repeatedly told him, “only the beginnings are hard.” Let’s believe that and hope that new beginnings don’t have to include one reaching a point where they can no longer live in their own homeland, but rather restart their lives right at home.

Reviewing this book evoked a serious contradiction in my mind. On the one hand, the book deserves to be read and commented on in its own right, having been written in Hebrew and translated into English. It’s a book aimed at our funny bone, but the underlying truths are too close to home. A hopeful takeaway from this heartfelt effort is that more Palestinian citizens of Israel are making their voice heard, in other than Arabic, which holds the hope that as more people, especially Jews around the world, get a peek into what Israel has become, change will be forthcoming.

The Saqi Books website states, “Sarah Cleave, publishing manager of Saqi Books, who acquired rights from Abner Stein in association with the Deborah Harris Agency, said ‘Native is a wickedly sardonic, moving and hugely entertaining collection that offers real insight into the lived experiences of Palestinians in Israel.’” This is so true.

If you are Palestinian or Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, or simply human, you will enjoy these short stories tremendously. If you are none of the above, then just buy the book and place it on your bookshelf for all to note in awe the powerful one word title, Native, which says it all!

Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life
By Sayed Kashua
Saqi Books (acquired UK and Commonwealth rights)
April 2016

Review written for Huffington Post

NEW TOON ~~ TURKEY, THE VIEW FROM GAZA

Image by Carlos Latuff

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

Related FROM

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

Haidar Eid

Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties six years after an Israeli naval attack that killed 10 Turkish activists and 9 years after the imposition of a deadly siege that has left Gaza unlivable.

What do we, Palestinians of Gaza, feel about it?

To put it mildly, we are dismayed and angered as must be the families of the 10 victims of the Mavi Marmara incident. This deal leaves us under a hermetic, medieval siege that amounts to what the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls “incremental genocide.” Needless to say that the deal also violates the boycott guidelines which Palestinians civil society issued in 2005. In fact, it is not unlike normalizing diplomatic and economic ties with South African apartheid.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the Turkish branch of Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) who ruled Egypt for a year and failed to open the Rafah crossing and lift the siege. Hamas, the Palestinian branch, has also added misery to the lives of the besieged of Gaza through its strict rule and absence of any political vision. Now, the Ikhwan of Turkey strike a deal with apartheid Israel at the expense of Palestinian basic rights!

To add insult to injury, Hamas has issued a statement “expressing its gratitude for Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to help the residents of Gaza, which are in line with Turkey’s principled support of the Palestinian cause”! And Hamas leader Ahmed Yousuf made it clear that “Turkey has done all it could to lift the siege and help the Palestinians of Gaza. The regional changes have made it change its policy and accept the easing of the siege instead! We can’t expect more than this from Turkey.” (my translation)

Defenders of the Turkish government, namely Islamists, are up in arms to justify the unjustifiable. The Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal has nothing to do with Gaza, and everything to do with Israel’s, and to some extent Turkey’s, interests.

In fact, the Ikhwan never fail to let u down. They don’t want to acknowledge that the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal is a slap in the face of ethical and moral decency for the mere fact that Turkey has ended up asking for Israel’s help to lift the siege on Gaza.

So what does “lifting the siege” mean?

It basically means opening the six crossings to Gaza, the keys of  which are in Israel’s hands, and allowing the flow of all kinds of goods, especially essentials, to and from Gaza; and providing Gaza with electricity and clean water; and guaranteeing the freedom of movement of the 2 million Palestinians of Gaza.  This also means opening the Rafah crossing 24/7.  This is the responsibility of the occupying power, namely Israel. But even this does not meet the minimum basic rights of the Palestinian people: freedom, equality, and justice. No normal relations with apartheid Israel should be resumed without the latter complying with International law that guarantees Palestinian basic rights.

A quick reading of the deal proves that it is a stab in the back of Gaza. Improving the conditions of oppression, or rather slowing down the genocide, is a form of complicity because Gaza for the Turkish government is just a humanitarian case. In a nutshell, the Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful!

The “incremental genocide” continues.

HEY SANTANA ~~ DON’T PALESTINIAN CHILDREN MATTER TO YOU?

Santana, Cancel Your Gig in Israel!

Watch and share this video urging musician Carlos Santana to respect the call for boycott and stand on the right side of history by cancelling his gig in Israel!

 

Santana isn’t just a rock legend – he’s a respected, devoted advocate for children around the world.

Israeli soldiers and police have killed more than 1,800 Palestinian children since 2000. Every year the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children.

But when members of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and JVP- Bay Area attempted to deliver our petition signed by 25,000 urging him to cancel his upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, staff at the office literally locked the door, closed the blinds, and refused to receive it.

Santana himself knows there’s a crisis here – in 2010 he canceled a show in Tel Aviv because of Israeli human rights violations. And Palestinian children are facing the same, and ever worsening, oppression by the Israeli government.

Let’s insist Santana get’s the message: share this video today!

TURKEY IN TOONS

It’s all about money and gas finds ….

Images by Carlos Latuff

CmBeeidWgAI6r6p

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Criminals in love By Carlos Latuff

Criminals in love

Related Report from Reuters (Click on link)

Israel, Turkey restore ties in deal spurred by energy prospects

A LOOK AT EUROPE THROUGH PALESTINIAN EYES

Looking at the British poll to exit Europe, we cannot just say “we told you so”. We cannot feel happy seeing Europe collapse even though we here in Palestine suffered and continue to suffer from European colonization (yes Zionism that created Israel is European colonization).

zionist-eu

Europe

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

I wrote several articles over the past 20 years suggesting for the sake of Europe’s future to develop a more independent foreign policy and end US led NATO’s adventurism whether in Libya or the Ukraine. But looking at the British poll to exit Europe, we cannot just say “we told you so”. We cannot feel happy seeing Europe collapse even though we here in Palestine suffered and continue to suffer from European colonization (yes Zionism that created Israel is European colonization).

This vote was focused mainly on fear of immigration (not economy as many expected) and this epidemic of fear of the brown people is afflicting the US and Europe and is stoked by Zionist xenophobes. It was not surprising that all of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire peddled for Brexit (British exit). The stock markets collapsed, gold prices surged, and there is a general panic as the rich bankers who control/issue the money do not know what to do. The US Federal Reserve is panicking because interest rates are already so low and can’t be lowered so much further to “simulate the economy.” The economy is bad in Europe and the US because it is a war economy. For example, some three trillions were spend on the Iraq war (for Israel).  These wars to fragment the Arab world even further than what Sykes-Picot created in 1916 (100 years ago) are backfiring and are the real cause of the calamity in Europe (epitomized by what they call a refugee crisis and economic stress). Perhaps the chickens are coming home to roost? In the US a similar pop culture promoted by Hollywood and other media peddled xenophobic islamophobia to serve Israel, peddled endless wars (divide and conquer), and peddled a diversionary silly culture to draw attention away from the major challenges to a livable world (especially climate change). These Zionists challenged the principled BDS campaign hypocritically crying “anti-semitism” while peddling Islamophobia. The witch hunts in 2016 are reminiscent of the 1950s McCarthy communist scare.  We were thus not surprised that this same Zionist controlled media repackaged the Florida shooter as a “Muslim terrorist” but Madeen was clearly a lunatic gay guy who drank heavily and frequented gay bars regularly and was psychotically depressed for rejection. Without understanding this massive media campaign we cannot explain the popularity in oppressive societies of people like Avigdor Lieberman (“Israel”), Donald Trump (USA), and Boris Johnson (England). The fact that they all support Zionism should give us a hint.

What is clear is that people need to worry about the future of the so called “Western Civilization” as it is clearly in decline. When asked about Western Civilization, Mahatma Gandhi was reputed to have said “I think it would be a good idea”! Many people especially the majority of the globe that is not “white” are worried about this civilization. Wrting in the Guardian, Lola Okolosie said “ The paradox of this referendum has been that those who have experienced the highest levels of migration turned out to be the least concerned about it. Fear of the unknown often underlines bigotry and xenophobia. We know that.” Her article makes more interesting points and is worth reading.

Europe went through the Middle Ages for ten centuries (medieval period), a period not much different from the disarray and religious fervor gripping the Arab world today. Europe paid a heavy price for the transition from these dark ages to the renaissance and then they had the set-backs of colonialism and nationalism (including WW1 and WW2). I am hopeful that Europe will not slip back and its people learned from the past.  Now the focus is on the Arab world to finally rise out of the disarray and weakness into an era of science and technology and knowledge based decision making (our own renaissance) and this is inevitable. But then in 100 years (if climate change has not killed us all), we hope we will not be back into the colonial or nationalist mentality whether here or in Europe. Zionist colonialism like all other colonialism is already struggling to stay alive in a sea of native rejection in the 21st century. There is so much we can learn from history of Europe and we must all consider it our human history. Humanity is evolving and we must work together to make sure it evolves in a good sustainable direction.

Good news according to a friend (Mai): “Two years ago, Presbyterians passed divestment by a razor thin margin of just 7 votes. This year, they moved boldly forward with huge majority votes on further strong measures. Meanwhile, the Unitarians achieved a majority on their first attempt at divestment (remember, the Presbyterians took 10 years!)…In addition, Re/Max issued a statement to the Presbyterians prior to their Re/Max vote (which passed) that they will no longer profit from Israel’s illegal settlements properties- see links below”

http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4806

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http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/presbyterians-announces-settlements/?utm_campaign=trueanthem

SOMETIMES COMMENTS SAY IT ALL …

babf80378ed5c0f214537bb60490c933

A post from yesterday received a comment that says it all ….

SUNDAY’S TOONS ~~ A LOOK AT THE NEW BRITAIN

And the comment … 

If the Palestinians had been able to restrict immigration during the first half of the twentieth century, this website would not be necessary.

ISRAEL MUST PAY OVER $21 MILLION FOR ITS CRIMES … BUT

… One can’t help wonder how much of this will actually go to the Martyr’s families with the criminal Turkish Government acting as the broker.

ISRAEL to pay over $21 million to families of Mavi Marmara

As part of the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey, Israel will pay the families of the ‘peace activists’ who were killed attacking IDF soldiers a total of $21 million; Turkey to drop charges at ICC
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Criminals in love By Carlos Latuff

Criminals in love
By Carlos Latuff

The following is quite slanted to favour the zionist point of view (… see below for a more honest account of the attack)

Israel is to pay out over $21 million to the families of the Turkish “peace activists” – killed while attacking IDF troops with axes, knives, and steel bars – as part of the framework of a reconciliation deal signed with Turkey on Sunday.

The Turks were killed on board the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel at the head of a flotilla – sponsored by a group called IHH – attempting to sail to Gaza. The ship was boarded after repeated attempts to have the ship sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod so that their “humanitarian aid” could be sent to Gaza via the proper channels.

A press conference is to be held at 1:00pm in Rome where the official announcement of the reconciliation agreement will occur.

Video footage that surfaced from the event shows the soldiers being brutally attacked once on board the vessel, with some even being kidnapped for a short period of time.

A high ranking political official said that “the issue of the $21 million dollars was settled three years ago. The money will be transferred only after a law which terminates all ongoing legal proceedings in Turkish courts against Israeli officers involved in the Marmara incident is passed in Turkish parliament. Why did the agreement take so long? Because of the Gaza blockade and terror coming from Turkey.”

Following the Mavi Marmara incident, an investigative committee headed by Former Supreme Court Justice Ya’akov Turkel was established to investigate. The committee’s report, which came out in 2011, said that IHH activists cut the railings of the ship with circular saws to create steel rods with which to attack the soldiers, despite attempts from vessel’s crew to stop them.

Regarding the decision to attack the soldiers, the Turkish document reported that “members of IHH acted violently against IDF soldiers on the Mavi Marmara, and had armed themselves with different types of weapons which could have caused death or serious injury. The activists also used firearms against IDF forces during the event.”

The captain of the ship reported that he was shocked by the “considerable number of weapons” which were on the ship.

Meanwhile, the head of the naval commando unit which took over the ship said in his testimony before the committee that the violent reaction to the takeover of the ship seemed planned. “No ordinary civilian knows how to fight in the dark while wearing a gas mask for an extended period of time, knows how to steal a weapon (from a soldier), and knows how to cock it and shoot it without flinching. That is, unless they were trained to do it beforehand.”

One of the naval commandos who was on the ship and was forcibly taken into the cargo hold by the “peace activists” testified that “(the activists) were all well built, and it seemed as if they’re goal was to attack us.”

He continued, explaining that it seemed that the activists were comprised of several different groups. “It seemed to me that there was one group which was equipped with weapons with which to attack us, and while they were taking me below deck, there was another group with cameras taking pictures of me. I also heard women screaming in English ‘hit him!’ amongst other things.”

One of the commanders said that he has no doubt that “the terrorists on board the ship planned, organized, and expected the incident, and planned to kill soldiers.” He explained that “they were prepared like a military unit – they had gas masks and bullet proof vests, and had both firearms and melee weapons. They had a well organized military structure which was divided into units, and the units spoke amongst each other using walkie-talkies.”

A high ranking Israeli official claimed that one of the main parts of the reconciliation agreement is that the IDF soldiers and commanders who took part in the operation to capture the ship will not be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Also in the agreement is a clause which commits Turkey to preventing Hamas attacks on Israel and Israeli citizens from or on Turkish soil.

Earlier negotiations between Israel and Turkey included the issue of returning two captive Israeli citizens from Hamas—one of them Avra Mangisto, and a Bedouin resident from the south of Israel—in addition to the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. The final agreement, does not mention this, and Hamas is not included as a party in the agreement. According to an Israeli official, Israel requested and received a letter from Erdoğan instructing Turkish agencies to work toward settling the matter of Israeli captives and its missing soldiers.

In response to their being attacked, IDF soldiers opened fire on the passengers aboard the Marmara, killing nine Turkish citizens, one of whom was also a US citizen. By this point, Turkish-Israeli relations were already tense over Operation Cast Lead in 2008, but the altercation on board the Marmara seemed to cross a line, as Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv following the incident. It has since then been demanding that Israel apologize for the event and appease the victims’ families, with Israel refusing and claiming that the actions of some of the protestors were blatant acts of terrorism.

During the negotiations process between the two countries, Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly been concerned that current Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman would foil the agreement. Among other statements, Lieberman was quoted as saying that developing closer ties with Erdoğan was ridiculous, that Erdoğan is akin to Goebbels’ successor and that Turkey itself harbors top Hamas terrorists, including those responsible for the 2014 kidnapping and murdering of the three Israeli boys from Gush Etzion in. During their own negotiations to have Lieberman’s party Yisrael Beytenu join the Coalition, Netanyahu made it clear to him that he sees reaching a conciliatory agreement with Turkey a very important goal, and that he expected Lieberman not to stand in its way.

Source and photos

A more honest account of the Israeli attack can be seen in THIS report from the Guardian

Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla sparks international outrage

Israeli navy stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a flotilla of vessels crewed by pro-Palestinian activists
*
And HERE, Survivors of the attack speak of the piracy on FaceBook

Mavi Marmara survivors speak out against Israeli “whitewash”

NYT ACTUALLY PRINTS SOMETHING THAT FITS

Every so often something seems to slip by the zionist dominated Copy Desk at the New York Times ….

Here’s the latest one … sent By Sam Bahour with the following comment …

Anyone who has heard me give a talk during the past 6+ years has heard me speak of this crossing the wall phenomena. Now, finally, the NYT has caught up.

‘All the Pro Israeli News that’s fit we print’

‘All the Pro Israeli News that’s fit we print’

Smugglers in West
Bank Open Door to Jobs
in Israel, and Violence

A thriving industry allows West Bank residents to get past what Israelis call a security barrier. It has a dangerous side effect: Attackers sneak through as well.

‘MISTAKEN’ ETHNIC CLEANSING

The army has admitted the Palestinians were bystanders, saying they were “mistakenly hit” while soldiers were responding to reports that Palestinians were throwing rocks and firebombs on a highway that runs between Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the town of Modi’in.

Relatives of Arif Jaradat, a 22-year old who was fatally injured by Israeli occupation forces, mourn over his body during his funeral in Sair village near the West Bank city of Hebron, 20 June. (Nasser Shiyoukhi/ AP Photo)

Relatives of Arif Jaradat, a 22-year old who was fatally injured by Israeli occupation forces, mourn over his body during his funeral in Sair village near the West Bank city of Hebron, 20 June. (Nasser Shiyoukhi/ AP Photo)

Down syndrome man, child, killed by Israeli soldiers

Charlotte Silver

Israeli soldiers opened fired on a car of young Palestinians returning from a late-night pool party celebrating Ramadan, killing 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran and injuring four others.

The army has admitted the Palestinians were bystanders, saying they were “mistakenly hit” while soldiers were responding to reports that Palestinians were throwing rocks and firebombs on a highway that runs between Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the town of Modi’in.

But the mayor of Beit Ur al-Tahta, Mahmoud’s home village, said the boys’ vehicle was not attacked when it was on Highway 443, but on a smaller road that isn’t used by Israeli drivers.

The highway was built on land expropriated from Palestinians in the occupied West Bank but is reserved for Israelis.

Mahmoud’s father told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that the car his son was in was driving on an underpass beneath Highway 443 when it was fired on.

“As they approached the passage, a car stood on the bridge, next to a man with a gun who opened fire on the vehicle,” the elder Badran said.

“As far as I could understand, some of the passengers jumped out of the vehicle and some remained inside, and were hit, including my son who was very seriously wounded and died a short time later.”

The Palestinian news website Quds tweeted these photos of Mahmoud.

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A total of seven people were in the vehicle when it was fired on. Three of the injured passengers were taken to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah and another to an Israeli hospital.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that soldiers prevented paramedics from attending to the injured Palestinians for over 90 minutes.

The Palestinian health ministry reported that the three teens treated at the Palestinian hospital had bullet wounds in the head and chest.

Israeli soldiers detained the other two passengers, according to their father.

The Israeli army has opened an investigation into the shooting, but such investigations have been criticized for habitually whitewashing incidents in which Palestinians are killed or injured.

According to the Israeli army, an Israeli and two tourists were injured at 1am on Tuesday after a firebomb and rocks were thrown onto Highway 443. A group of soldiers arrived at the scene and reportedly chased after a stone thrower. That is when they shot at Mahmoud Badran’s car.

The Palestinian Authority has called the shooting a “coldblooded assassination.”

“The most loveable person”

In a separate incident, a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome died Sunday evening from wounds sustained when Israeli forces raided his hometown of Sair in the occupied West Bank over a month ago.

Arif Jaradat was shot in the abdomen on 4 May when Israeli forces raided his village.

He is the 14th Palestinian from Sair to be killed by Israeli forces since last October.

Jaradat’s father, Sharif, told Agence France-Presse that his son went outside when he heard villagers confronting soldiers.

“He got about 10 meters from the soldiers and put his hands in the air,” Sharif Jaradat said.

He added that his other sons were there and shouted to the soldiers in English and Hebrew not to shoot.

“There were seven soldiers there; they started to leave but one came back and fired,” Jaradat said.

Arif Jaradat was treated at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, where he died on Sunday.

On Monday, Jaradat’s family held a funeral attended by dozens of relatives and neighbors.

“He was the most loveable [person] in the village,” his father told AFP.

Beaten by mob

On Saturday night, a mob of bystanders in Tel Aviv beat an unconscious man they believed to be a Palestinian who had intentionally crashed his car into a restaurant.

The man, who later died, reportedly had a heart attack at the wheel, causing him to lose control of his car and crash into the crowded restaurant.

In addition to the driver, who was in his 50s, two customers were killed and six were injured in the accident.

According to reports, customers pulled the unconscious driver from his car and immediately began beating him.

ON VIDEO ~~ ISRAELI ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY ITS RACISM

WHEN RACISM IS THE NORM

A new video portrays a ‘nightmare scenario’ in which Jerusalem residents elect a Palestinian mayor.

Israeli peaceniks release racist video to ‘save Jerusalem’

By Mairav Zonszein

One would think a group that calls itself “Save Jewish Jerusalem” would hail from the right side of the political spectrum. But when it comes to maintaining Israel’s demographic dominance, it seems there isn’t much of a difference between the Right and Left.

The initiative, which seeks to maintain control over Jerusalem through further disenfranchising its Palestinian residents, released a racist videoon Wednesday, portraying a scenario set in 2020 in which an Arab is elected mayor of the city, after its Palestinian residents (nearly 40 percent of the population) decide to vote in municipal elections. Despite having the right to vote, Palestinians have largely boycotted Jerusalem’s municipal elections for the last 50 years in protest of Israel’s occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem.

In the video, which its creators fashioned as a horror-thriller, revolves around a Palestinian political leader trying to convince a group of militants that the only way to get Jerusalem back is to do exactly what Netanyahu warned about on election day last March: go to the polling stations “in droves.”

After years of trying to kill Israeli Jews in a variety of ways, the leader tells the militants that it is time to “beat them using their own weapon: democracy,” and convinces them that every Palestinian resident in the city should take advantage of their right to vote in municipal elections, since they are the majority. (The video assumes that by 2020, Palestinians will constitute over 50 percent of Jerusalem’s population).

The video then shows a Palestinian man armed with explosives and guns walking to a polling station. When he arrives he puts down all of his weapons down and instead wields his new weapon — a blue ID card. The video then flashes to two months later, when the leader of the group has become Jerusalem’s new mayor. The leader is congratulated over the phone with an “Allahu Akbar” and “the Temple Mount is in our hands,” a direct reference to a similar quote by Lt. Gen. Mordechai “Motta” Gur, whose IDF division captured the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 War. A large picture of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is seen behind the new mayor’s desk, straddled by photographs of Netanyahu and Rabin.

The video is offensive and blatantly racist, portraying all Palestinians from East Jerusalem as violent and solely interested in wiping out Jewish Israelis. It is as if the systematic discrimination against Palestinians in access to water, housing, classrooms, infrastructure does not exist.

“Save Jewish Jerusalem” advocates that Israel “disengage” from the 28 Arab villages it annexed in 1967 (which today comprise East Jerusalem), relinquishing the residency rights of around 200,000 Palestinians in order to “repair the damage of the 1967 historic mistake” and ensure Jerusalem can maintain a large Jewish demographic majority. From the website:

Most of the Palestinian Arab villages annexed to Jerusalem in 1967 will be excluded from the sovereign territory of Jerusalem. IDF and other security forces will enter and operate in the villages that have been separated from Jerusalem – just the way they are currently operating in villages and areas of the West Bank.

Thus the group proposes that East Jerusalem — which is already occupied as far as the world is concerned — be put under direct military occupation. The only difference is that it wants Israel to strip all the Palestinians who live there of their remaining rights, thereby making East Jerusalem just like the West Bank, expanding and entrenching occupation further. It even boasts that such a “disengagement’ would lift the “heavy economic burden on Jerusalem and Israel” by “saving taxpayers an estimated NIS 2 to 3 billion (about $525 to $788 million) per year.

And what about all the Jewish settlements built over the Green Line that have been annexed to the city? They get to stay: “Full sovereignty and municipal unity and uniformity will be in force on all Jewish Jerusalem, including Jewish neighborhoods built after the Six Day War. Jerusalem will also include the Old City, the “Holy Basin” and the original Jerusalem neighborhoods surrounding them.”

The group, Save Jewish Jerusalem, is mostly made up of former generals and other ex-military careerists and politicians (mostly male, mostly of Ashkenazi origin) who identify as part of the Israeli peace camp. It includes Shaul Arieli, one of the lead negotiators of the Geneva Initiative, and Ami Ayalon, the former Shin Bet head and Labor Party MK who launched a two-state peace initiative with Sari Nusseibeh in 2003. Last month the group launched a billboard campaign posted around Jerusalem with the messages, “Shuafat is not our Jerusalem,” “Jabal Mukaber is not our Jeruaslem,” in reference to two East Jerusalem neighborhoods. It is noteworthy that out of 33 founders, there is only one woman.

Other than its explicit racism, the video — and the initiative as a whole — is a total affront to the notions of civil and democratic rights, treating the right of individuals to have a say in who represents them as a privilege to be given or taken away. It completely disregards the reality on the ground for Jerusalem’s disenfranchised Palestinians, and assumes that further separation between Palestinians from Israelis will somehow make the city a safer place for all to live.

 

DEFINING TERRORISM

Why is this not being reported as an act of terrorism?

Turkish border guards ‘kill 11 Syrian refugees’ in indiscriminate shooting

Turkish guards watch over Syrian refugees at the border AFP/Getty Images

Turkish guards watch over Syrian refugees at the border AFP/Getty Images

Turkish border guards have killed at least eight Syrian refugees, including several children, as families were “fired on indiscriminately” after attempting to cross into the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

At least eight others were injured, according to the UK-based violence monitor, with the death toll likely to rise due to the number of people in “critical” condition.

Full report HERE

*

Why was this not called an act of terrorism?

Gaza flotilla raid

The Gaza flotilla raid was a military operation by Israel against six civilian ships of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” on 31 May 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Nine activists were killed in the raid. The flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Full report HERE

The victims

The victims

zionists even had the chutzpah to joke about this incident

So where do we draw the line and call it terrorism when that’s what it obviously is?

A HOT AND DRY RAMADAN IN PALESTINE

Ramadan 2016: Israel ‘cuts off water supply to West Bank’ during Muslim holy month

 Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan Image by Carlos Latuff


Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan
Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have claimed.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have reportedly been left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, at a time when temperatures can exceed 35C.

The northern city of Jenin, which has a population of more than 40,000, said its water supplies had been cut in half by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company. Jenin is home to a refugee camp, established in 1953, which contains 16,000 registered refugees.

Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, told Al Jazeerathat in some areas people had not received water for more than 40 days.

He said: “People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity.

“Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.

They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.

“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading.

“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene  the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”

Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories researcher, said the reports were “alarming”.

He told The Independent: “Israel already allows Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources in the occupied West Bank, with unlawful Israeli settlements getting almost unlimited water supplies which enable settlers to maintain lush gardens and even fill up numerous private swimming pools.

“Water is a basic need and a right. Mekorot should restore any water supplies to Palestinians it has cut off and the Israel authorities should end their discriminatory water policies, lifting all arbitrary restrictions it currently imposes on Palestinians’ access to this vital resource.”

According to UN guidelines, 7.5 litres per person per day is the minimum requirement under nornal conditions but in some areas of the Palestinian territories the minimum requirement is much higher.

The municipality of Jenin, several villages in Nablus and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages claimed to have suffered cuts to their water supply.

Almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water, and require permission before collecting it themselves, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories.

Mekorot could not be reached for comment.

Source and photos HERE

LATUFF (AND 8,000 OTHERS) THREATENED BY THE ‘JEWISH BRIGADE’

Here is an email received by Carlos Latuff …. and 8,000 other BDS Activists

ClQDmKlWIAENvJD (1)

 

“Dear boycotters” (in French), warned (in English): “We have are a very particular set of skills, skills We have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like you.“Boycotters should understand, we will be scalping you one by one, group by group, organization by organization.”

Here’s a report of this Internet hate activity (Click on link)

“Jewish Brigade” email threatens BDS activists

Another report (Click on link)

French pro-Israel group threatens to ‘scalp’ thousands of BDS activists

And here’s what this hate can result in ….

 Friend of Palestinians, Syrian refugees murdered by a nazi Image by Latuff

Friend of Palestinians, Syrian refugees murdered by a nazi
Image by Latuff

Related report here  (Click on link)

Labour Friend of Palestine Jo Cox slain

Jo Cox, fifth from left, with other MPs who joined Labour Friends of Palestine’s in 2015. (Labour Friends of Palestine)

Jo Cox, fifth from left, with other MPs who joined Labour Friends of Palestine’s in 2015. (Labour Friends of Palestine)

WATCH AS ISRAELIS CELEBRATE 49 YEARS OF JERUSALEM’S NAKBA

Tens of thousands of Israelis took hours to stream through the monumental Damascus Gate and weave their way through the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, eventually reaching their final destination, the holy Western Wall plaza, where they were treated to musical performances and a series of speeches by top religious and political officials.

‘Worship God By Nakba’: Jerusalem march celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor

Dan Cohen and David Sheen FOR

The Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City was cleared of its Palestinian inhabitants on the eve of the Ramadan holiday, June 5, to make way for a flag procession by Jewish religious nationalists, celebrating Israel conquering the eastern half of the city 49 years earlier.

Store owners, street merchants, and shoppers preparing for that evening’s celebratory feast were driven out of the lanes that fell along the route chosen by march organizers and approved by Israel’s Supreme Court. From a safe distance behind police barricades, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem watched silently as ultra-nationalist Jews paraded through the quarter, singing songs of praise to Yahweh and calling for the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews.

Almost all of the shops along the march route shuttered their doors, while some took the added measure of taping over their door locks, to prevent paraders from sabotaging them, a common occurrence in previous years.

Tens of thousands of Israelis took hours to stream through the monumental Damascus Gate and weave their way through the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, eventually reaching their final destination, the holy Western Wall plaza, where they were treated to musical performances and a series of speeches by top religious and political officials.

A determination to assert Jewish sovereignty in the Muslim-majority areas of Jerusalem’s Old City was not the only cause of concern for some marchers. Opposition to a government plan to partition the Western Wall into gender-segregated and gender-mixed prayer areas also occupied some of the paraders.

In recent weeks, pressure from Netanyahu’s Ultra-Orthodox coalition partners convinced him to renege on his prior commitment to support the construction of a mixed-gender prayer area at the southern stretch of the Western Wall. The flag march was an opportunity for conservative religious forces to reassert their adamant opposition to any concessions to liberal Jews at the holy site.

Some marchers wore stickers and held aloft flags that criticized the proposed plan for an egalitarian prayer space. The traditionalist campaign materials read: “You don’t divide a heart – You don’t compromise on the Kotel [Western Wall]”. At the end of the march, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch echoed these sentiments in a celebratory speech, claiming that the current layout of the site – gender-segregated according to Orthodox rules – should not be tampered with:

“May the call go out to all the Jews of the world, whoever and wherever they are: The Western Wall is a place that unifies and consolidates. It is forbidden to allow arguments to rip holes in the beating heart of the Jewish nation. Here we must act according the tradition of the House of Israel, the House of the father, the eternal tradition of Israel. At the Western Wall plaza, with God’s help, people will continue to pray next to one another, religious and non-religious, Jews and non-Jews. Because as it says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer by all nations’ – because of unity, and because of Jewish tradition. From here we issue a call to leave the Western Wall as a unifier and a consolidator. We earned the kindness of God, in order to return here, for the sake of unity. Don’t ruin it!”

But Rabinovitch’s remarks were measured, bereft of some of the harsh language he has used in the past towards liberal Jews. One enthusiastic young parade participant sporting a gay pride sticker on her backpack was also spotted in the crowd. Her presence would seem to indicate that event organizers had sufficiently camouflaged their reactionary intentions, making the march more palatable to at least some liberal Zionists.

As Orly Noy reported last week in the liberal Israeli news site Local Call, there were concerted efforts to improve the optics of the march in the eyes of onlookers. Police reduced the size of the flagpoles they permitted to be carried into the Old City, confiscating planks that could be used to attack Palestinian people and property. Some Israeli youth sporting stickers calling to ethnically cleanse the country of Palestinians covered them up when they noticed they were being filmed.

But the theme of driving non-Jews out of Israel was not driven out of the march – it was only tamped down by authorities, in order to give the event a thin veneer of respectability. Stickers calling to expel Palestinians from the land reading, “There is no coexistence with them – Transfer Now!”, were freely distributed at the march by far-right activist Baruch Marzel. Jewish youth chanted “May your village burn!” as they marched towards the Old City. Once inside, they called to worship Yahweh by committing more Nakba’s, embracing the Arabic term for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that Israel carried out in 1948.

By minimizing the most overt calls to kick Arabs out of the country, event planners managed to rebrand the country’s largest annual “Death to Arabs” rally as a family-friendly show of support for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. Those that stand to gain from the mainstreaming of the march, however, are not only advocates of one apartheid state, or advocates of fast-track-ethnic-cleansing. Also hoping to gain from the march’s normalization are advocates of building a Jewish temple on the al-Aqsa compound.

Once considered a marginal movement of messianists, Jewish Temple advocates have made major inroads in recent years. More Israeli Jews than ever before are visiting the compound annually, and increasing numbers of Israeli legislators are voicing support for a change in the status quo of the site. A long list of government officials, both religious and secular, have called to officially sanction Jewish religious rituals on the mount. WithTemple Movement leader Yehudah Glick entering the Knesset late last month as a member of the Likud list, efforts to apply Jewish sovereignty to the mosque compound are only expected to increase.

At the flag march itself, many of the participants wore T-shirts that prominently featured drawings of the Jewish Temple that messianists hope to build and T-shirts portraying the existing Islamic Dome of the Rock with calls for its elimination. At the massive celebration held in the Western Wall Plaza at the end of the march, one high profile Israeli official after another used the opportunity to call for the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies that call for a Jewish temple to be built where a mosque has stood for more than a thousand years.

Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall site for over two decades, told the crowd: “We ask to be worthy of complete redemption, to return to the Temple Mount, pure and holy.” Rabinovitch added: “We are now living in the prophecy, and praying for it to be complete.”

David Lau, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis, and the son of a former chief rabbi, said: “Already by next week, as we are graced with the Pentecost holiday, grace us with making a pilgrimage, as we were graced by your first steps to stand here, grace us by showing us the construction of the Temple and cheer us with its renovation, returner of priests to their [Temple] worship and Levites to their singing and music-making.”

Moshe Leon, Jerusalem city councillor, said: “Here, facing the site of the Temple, as we set our eyes towards the holy mount, we all pray for a full redemption, to the building of the Temple speedily, in our era.”

Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, said: “Between the river and the sea will only be the State of Israel. There are not two states west of the Jordan. And the Temple Mount is ours! And it is not to be divided, not with the waqf (Muslim religious authorities), and not with anyone else! Sovereignty is within the power of the State of Israel, it must use it and implement it all the way. We say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is time for sovereignty. It is time for sovereignty on the Temple Mount.”

The underlying ideology of the march was best exemplified by the only event speaker who is not a resident of Israel, but rather its primary patron, the United States: Simon Falic. Chair of a large chain of duty-free stores in the US, Simon “Simcha” Falic was honored with a slot on the program because his family is the top contributor to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages the Jewish holy site, under the auspices of the prime minister.

Last week, Ha’aretz investigative reporter Uri Blau revealed that the Jerusalem Day flag march is funded by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. In years past, Blau has also exposed that the Falic family is the top contributor to Netanyahu’s personal election campaign, and also the top contributor to Lehava, a violent Jewish Supremacist street gang that follows the teachings of far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane and attacks mixed Jewish-Arab couples. Lehava regalia and other Kahanist identifiers were spotted along the parade route and amongst the Western Wall revelers.

At the Western Wall celebration, Falic reassured the crowd that Israel’s 49-year military occupation of territories conquered in 1967 is morally justified. He also urged Israelis to visit Mount Zion in far greater numbers:

“Forty-nine years ago, the Israel Defense Forces conquered Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. We should be proud of it! There is no shame in it! Better to be conquerer than conquered. They say we have 70,000 participants here today. Next year: 170,000 are waiting for you. There are more devout friends waiting for you. Brothers, come, we need half a million people here.”

The directive to increase the number of Jews who visit the al-Aqsa mosque compound is a declared tactic of the Temple Movement. Vastly expanding the Jewish presence on the site is part of its strategy to create the political pressure necessary to force the Israeli government to alter the status quo of the site and permit augmented Jewish activity there.

Once exclusive control of the mount has been wrested from the hands of the Jordanian waqf, Jewish messianists hope to build a Yahwist temple on the site, replacing prayer with daily animal sacrifices and turning Israel’s somewhat-secular ethnocracy into a full-fledged Orthodox theocracy. Under religious rule, all non-Jews who refuse to sign a contract committing themselves to a special subset of Jewish laws reserved for gentile subjects would be deported or put to death.

By discouraging only the most overt manifestations of base racism while simultaneously infusing the event with ultra-nationalist sentiment and messianic fervor, organizers managed to frame the parade as moderate and mainstream, even though the march route dispossessed Palestinians temporarily and marchers openly voiced unbridled hopes of soon dispossessing them permanently.

ON VIDEO ~~ ISLAMOPHOBIC PINKWASHING OF ORLANDO MASACRE

Bibi Netanyahu Statement on the Orlando Terror Attack

“In Orlando, a terrorist walks into a nightclub and murders nearly 50 human beings. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters cut down in cold blood.

They did nothing wrong. They were dancing with friends, they were enjoying music with loved ones.

Why did the terrorist murder them?
Because he was driven by a fanatical hatred.

He targeted the LGBT community because he believed they were evil.

Now, the murderer wasn’t alone.

Regimes and terrorist organizations around the world ruthlessly persecute the LGBT community.

In Syria, ISIS throws gays off rooftops.
In Iran, the regime hangs gays from cranes.

Too many people have remained silent in the face of this awful persecution.

This week’s shooting wasn’t merely an attack on the LGBT community. It was an attack on all of us, on our common values of freedom and diversity and choice.

Radical Islamist terror makes no distinction between shades of infidel.

This week it was gays in Orlando. A few days before that it was Jews in Tel Aviv. Before that it was music fans in Paris; Travelers in Brussels; Yazidis in Iraq; Community workers in San Bernardino; Christians and journalists in Syria.

All of us are targets.

We believe that all people are created in the image of God.

ISIS, by contrast, believes that all people who aren’t just like them deserve to die.

We will not be terrified into submission.
We will fight back. And we will triumph.

Today I ask you to reach out to friends in the LGBT community. Comfort them.
Tell them you stand together, we stand together as one. And that you will always remember the victims.

Tell them they will never be alone, that we are all one family deserving of dignity, deserving of life.

I have no doubt that those who seek to spread hate and fear will be defeated.

Working together we will defeat them even faster.

We need to stand united, resolute in the belief that all people regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their race, regardless of their ethnicity, all people deserve respect, deserve dignity.”

-Bibi Netanyahu

WOULD YOU PAY $1,600 TO LOOK LIKE THIS?

Just in case you are wondering where your US Tax dollar$ are going …

Benjamin Netanyahu Spent $1,600 for Haircut on New York Trip

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly last October (Photo: AP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly last October (Photo: AP)

 By Marcy Oster

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to New York last fall for the U.N. General Assembly cost more than $1.7 million, including a $1,600 haircut.

An itemized list of the trip’s expenses was released Tuesday by the Jerusalem district prosecutor’s office after a Ramat Gan attorney filed for the information under Israel’s Freedom of Information Law after being stymied in his efforts to see the list. Haaretz first reported the existence of the list and its contents in its main Hebrew-language edition Wednesday, and that the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign ministry tried to suppress it.

Most of the expense of the six-day trip at the end of September and beginning of October was the flight, which cost $1.5 million. The prime minister does not have the use of a private plane and must rent one for such trips.

Among the other expenses on the list reported by Haaretz: make-up artist, $1,750; wine bought for the prime minister, $64.20; chocolate, $4.

Other line items include: removal of furnishings from the hotel rooms, $3,500; storage of the removed furniture, about $16,000; laundry for Netanyahu and his wife, $210; meals for Netanyahu and his wife, $1,860.

The Israeli Consulate in New York and the Israeli mission to the United Nations, under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry, handled the details and paid the bills, according to Haaretz.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not offer any comment in response to a JTA request asking about the expenses.

In May 1993, the Belgian-American hairstylist Cristophe Schatteman gave President Bill Clinton a $200 haircut while Air Force One was sitting on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. It was dubbed “the most expensive haircut in history,” according to Wikipedia.

OCCUPATION TO BLAME FOR TEL AVIV TERROR ATTACK

At least one elected official had the guts to speak the truth!

Tel Aviv Mayor Blames Terror Attack on Israel’s Occupation

“You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright.”

The 'savage' himself!

The ‘savage’ himself!

The mayor of Tel Aviv blamed the terror attack that killed four Israelis on the occupation of Palestinian lands.

Hours after two gunmen opened fire in a chic shopping district, Mayor Ron Huldai said the Jewish state’s half-century rule over Palestinians was fueling the violence.

“You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright,” Huldai told the Jerusalem Post.

The mayor was joined by Israeli Arab lawmakers in a plea for peace after the deadly attack.

They said civilians “on both sides” should be removed from the conflict and denounced the possibility that Israel will embark on a retaliatory campaign of collective punishment.

Even when asked about reports that West Bank Palestinians celebrated the murders, Huldai refused to take the bait. He insisted that the occupation, which he said “I know and I was a part of,” was the real culprit.

“Leaders need courage to not just talk,” Huldai said.

Israel’s right-wing government ministers wasted no time in lashing out at Huldai and other leftists, insisting that he was whitewashing terror. Deputy Defense minister Eli Ben-Dahan said Arabs were terrorizing Jews in the Holy Land even before the state of Israel was established, let alone when it seized the West Bank.

“They are the delusional ones,” Ben-Dahan said.

 

Written by The Forward Staff

 

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