Al Zahera neighborhood, south Damascus…
This brief update is not focused on the ever deteriorating grave conditions of Palestinians and Syrians displaced and often trapped inside dangerous areas in Damascus, where this observer had been visiting some of the 24 former Damascus public schools currently being used as shelters.
Rather it seeks to highlight the esprit de corps, solidarity, resistance, and good will among Palestinians here is Damascus who were forced from Yarmouk and other camps and how they are huddled and preparing for a harsh winter which one senses these frigid nights is not far off.
This is not to gainsay that every shelter is a very fragile social existence for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) as aid agencies here refer to them. In the former schools there is no mazot (fuel oil) currently available to fire-up the furnaces and the among the needs at all the shelters are for “high-thermal” blankets, food, medicines winters clothe and shoes and knitted caps for the kids trekking early in the morning to government schools in the neighborhoods.
Thanks to the continuing cooperation between the Syrian government, particularly the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) many former public schools have been made available as emergency shelters. Additionally, the MOE has created double shift in many schools offering youngster a 7 a.m. to noon shift followed by a noon to 5 p.m. shift.
Prior to the armed conflict in Syria, Yarmouk, a suburb just south of Damascus city, was home to over 160,000 Palestine refugees. In December 2012 and in the months since, armed conflict has caused at least 140,000 Palestine refugees to flee their homes in Yarmouk, as armed opposition groups established a presence in the area, with government forces controlling the periphery. Between December 2012 and June 2013, civilians could still access UNRWA assistance at the Zahera entrance to Yarmouk. However, from mid-July 2013, Palestine thousands of refugees have been trapped in the area, with little or no access to shops or freedom of movement.
At among the 4 school-shelters in south Damascus near Yarmouk camp and the 8 in the nearby neighbored of al-Vvahra, some of which this observer visited, “The Fayadeen” elementary public school currently houses 56 families- half of them Palestinians totaling 260 people. At “Fayadeen” there is a clean large make-shift kitchen where
approximately half a dozen families use at one time based on a schedule. The Syrian government and some NGO often deliver emergency food packages—most designed to feed a family of five for 15 days. “Fayadeeen” school also has a heavy duty Italian electric washing machine donated by a Palestinian businessman and which is shared by all. There is a high level of sanitation and sheds housing toilet are clean. Three times a week medical teams arrive to administer free government health care. US sanctions have cut off some urgently needed medicines, particularly for cancer patients and cases where weekly doses of medicines are required but often only monthly doses are now available. Shelter rules are enforced. For example, if a family does not enroll their 6-15 year old children in local public schools they are evicted. This observer was briefed at length and shown around by two Syrian professions basketball players on the National team, Hani and Mohamad who have placed their careers and family life on hold to manage four school shelters in a south Damascus.
Several Palestinians in the school shelters have been asking this observer if he has news about their countrymen still trapped inside Yarmouk. There is of increasing concern because their families report that desperately needed humanitarian assistance is still not able to be not delivered nor have repeatedly promised “humanitarian corridors” opened, This despite and despite UNRWA’s numerous appeals and efforts, 32,000 Palestinian civilians and others who remain trapped in Yarmouk have had little or no freedom of movement or access to humanitarian assistance and in addition to facing death and serious injury from the armed conflict, Yarmouk’s civilian residents are exposed to psychological trauma, malnutrition and a lack of health care. The UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement on the humanitarian situation on Syria adopted on 2 October, 2013, among other stipulations called on all parties to grant full humanitarian access and “to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
Hope among the more than 100,000 refugees displaced from Yarmouk camp rises and sinks with on again off again announcements that militia will leave the camp to civilian Palestinian administration. Just this week a claimed settlement involving intense negotiation mediated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to end the fighting in Yarmouk camp suffered collapsed, after opposition fighters close to Hamas insisted that they be included among the groups that will subsequently manage the affairs of the camp. PLO officials had recently arrived at a preliminary agreement with the various Palestinian factions and opposition armed groups that would lead to a ceasefire but excluded Hamas and the PFLP-General Command led by Ahmed Jabril. Within 72 hours another and still showing life signs, another proposal was announced on 11/22/13. Under the terms of this “agreement”
Palestinian Popular Struggle Front Khaled Abdul Majid , that “the armed groups in the Yarmouk camp aka the“Palestinian Resistance Alliance factions” would be withdrawing from the camp “very soon”. In statements to Al-Watan, Abdul Majid said: “What is happening in Yarmouk is that most of the armed factions have reestablished contact with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – The General Command, as well as the factions of the Palestine Resistance Alliance, after the initiative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (to solve the camp’s crisis) failed. These factions thus expressed their willingness to regulate their situation, handle the issue and withdraw from the camp.” He continued that the discussions with these groups were conducted via mediators, or in some cases through contacts with some of them.
This observer has witnessed the fact that since 11/17/13 almost complete calm has been prevailing over Yarmouk. Services teams from the Palestine Aid Committee have been cleaning the camp’s streets and removing the dirt mounds. This observer has been invited inside Yarmouk to witness this process. Government permission is required and date of entrance is not fixed.
Some refugees from Yarmouk are hopeful but during interviews the past two days most expressed doubt that this latest initiative will succeed any more than the previous dozen. The coming few days will provide the answer.
Palpable fear is also evident because of the fast approaching winter with rumors of severe cold this year, A condition that will be much more severe among the 250 camps in the nearby Lebanese Bekaa valley particularly for the 25 plastic wall and roof make-shift tents in 25 emergency refugee camps that are particularly flood-prone and shared by Syrian and Palestinian refugees.
Our brother and sisters keeper…
Hopefully subsequent updates on the Palestinian condition in Syra will allow for rather more detail regarding many examples of Palestinians helping Palestinians regarding community assistance to their sisters and brothers. But a brief example about a wonderful family is fixed in this observers mind.
It relates to the Khalid al Jrahi family from Haifa now living in “Taher al Jazari” public school shelter. Mr. al Jrahi granted permission to this observer to use his name publicly because he wants friends and relatives with whom he has lost contact since the events of December 17, 2013 which leveled some of his neighborhood in Yarmouk, to know that his family is alive and relatively well.
What a spectacular family. Including five teen-aged and early 20’s girls and two boys. What deeply impressed this observer is the esprit among these sisters, their charisma, charm and dedication to helping others among the approximately 260 refugees sharing the school while eschewing complaints about the own plight. The Al Jrahi family lives in a space probably ten feet wide and 20 feet long. Foam mattresses are neatly stacked along the walls and pillows and clothing stacked in the corners. A clothes line runs along one side of the room which is walled by an UNHCR white and blue lettered plastic tarp separating their neighbors. Shocking? Yes, but inspiring certainly. The girls, whose English is quite good explained why and how they set up a school for pre-K’s in this and one other shelter. How organized it is. They showed me the ‘teaching manual’ they wrote and explained how they run their schools with occasionally donated pencils and crayons and notebooks for thee tots donated by a Palestinian NGO’s or even foreign visitors.
We did not discuss politics but two of the sisters reminded me of Jane Austen’s character Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. Hala is the sensible and reserved eldest of al Jrahi family daughters. She is in charge of the lesson plans for the informal ‘sisters schools’ in the shelter and carefully instructs her younger impetuous Zeina on school rules for the children, trying to keep her attention and her younger sister focused. Hala showed this observer her English grammar notes that she in learning from a tattered UNWRA grammar book. She points to her perfect cursive hand written notes and asks me about “present participles”, “dangling modifiers” and “past perfect tense”! When I last even heard these terms it was half a century ago and I have no idea what the even mean– if I ever did which is questionable.
Her younger sister Zeina is all Austen’s character Marianne, and refuses to check her emotions and dramatically insists that she is ready to return to Yarmouk “despite the dangers even if I am killed going back home!” Her mother Fatima grimaces and Hala is disapproving when Zeina insists that she should teach the children dancing in the street outside the closed in-shelter as well as tree climbing so they “can properly express themselves under the sky.”
Rather wistful and not wanting to leave this family or the shelter, this observer and his companion left the wonderful Al Jrahi family wondering if Ms. Sense or Ms. Sensibility would triumph or if these two remarkable sisters in fact constituted a good balance to one another as they serve their fellow countrymen in emergency shelters.
On July 3, President Mohamed Morsi was ousted. Coup authority replaced him. It did illegitimately. His supporters want him reinstated. They’ve been camped out in Cairo for weeks. SCAF threatened to roust them.
Tensions remained high. Morsi supporters have been repeatedly attacked. Hundreds died earlier. Many others were injured. Scores are imprisoned. Arrests follow regularly.
Ahead of Wednesday’s action, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said:
“Law and order has to be in place, and people need to have access to their homes and work and so on.”
“Ultimately, this situation has to be resolved very soon.” He claimed efforts to end sit-ins would be “consistent with the law.” He lied saying so. More on that below.
Interim President Adly Mansour convened an emergency National Security Council meeting. Top SCAF and civilian officials attended.
Crackdowns were planned. Muslim Brotherhood officials urged Morsi supporters to join sit-ins. They called on Egyptian security forces to remain nonviolent, saying:
“We remind our sons and brothers from the great Egyptian army and the men of the Interior Ministry to not attack their peaceful brothers or besiege them or shed their blood.”
Morsi’s under house arrest. He’s at an unknown location. State agency Mena said he’s charged with conspiring with Hamas, killing prisoners and officers “deliberately with prior intent,” kidnapping officers and soldiers, spying, attacking public buildings, and setting fire to Wadi el-Natroun prison.
It claimed doing so helped him escape. During 2011 anti-Mubarak protests, he and other Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested and detained. Morsi said local residents freed them.
Ahead of Wednesday’s crackdown, SCAF threatened to “turn its guns” on pro-Morsi supporters, saying:
“We will not initiate any move, but will definitely react harshly against any calls for violence or black terrorism from Brotherhood leaders or their supporters.”
Its officials warned of civil war. What follows Wednesday’s crackdown remains to be seen.
On August 14, AP headlined “Egypt police storm 2 Pro-Morsi Camps in Cairo,” saying:
“Egyptian security forces, backed by armored cars and bulldozers, swept in Wednesday to clear two sit-in camps of supporters of the country’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out at both sites.”
Numbers killed and injured aren’t confirmed. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) spokesman Walid Al-Haddad said 600. Another 9,000 were wounded, he added. Scores were arrested.
Another MB spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad claimed up to 2,000 killed and 10,000 injured. Intensive gunfire was heard. Official reports downplay numbers. Bodies were taken to makeshift morgues.
Senior MB leader Mohammed el-Beltagy estimated 300 deaths. He called on police and military forces to rebel. He urged Egyptians to protest publicly, saying:
“Oh, Egyptian people, your brothers are in the square. Are you going to remain silent until the genocide is completed?”
Hours later he was arrested. Witnesses said security forces used live fire on Morsi supporters. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s spokesman, Michael Mann, said:
“The reports of deaths and injuries are extremely worrying. We reiterate that violence won’t lead to any solution, and we urge the Egyptian authorities to proceed with utmost restraint.”
Most EU countries are NATO members. Belligerence and other forms of violence are official policy. Ashton’s concern for Egyptian lives lacks credibility.
She, other EU leaders and Washington don’t give a damn about SCAF ruthlessness. They care plenty about it making world headlines.
They want reports of state-sponsored violence suppressed. They want business as usual continued. They want it out of sight and mind abroad.
They want Israeli interests addressed. They include destroying Gaza’s tunnel economy, keeping Rafah crossing closed, and joint IDF/SCAF attacks on Sinai-based pro-Morsi Islamists.
Days earlier, SCAF promised to roust Morsi supporters. Around 7AM, they acted. Clashes occurred in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Aswan, Assiut, Minya, and other cities nationwide.
By mid-morning, state television said security forces finished breaking up Cairo sit-ins. Bulldozers began clearing makeshift camps.
Major roads into Cairo are blocked. Railway authority officials said trains in and out of the city were stopped. So are others serving major cities nationwide. It’s “for security reasons to prevent people from mobilizing,” they said.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said security forces have “total control” over Nahda Square. “Police forces removed most tents.”
Access to the area was blocked. Egypt’s major state daily Al Ahram said the interim government warned “it would react sternly to acts of sabotage and attacks against state institutions.”
An official statement said:
“In accordance with government instructions to take necessary measures towards the sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahda, and for the safety of the country, security forces started taking measures to disperse the sit-ins early Wednesday.”
“The government insists on moving forward with the future roadmap in a way that guarantees that no faction will be excluded from participating in the political process which will achieve a democratic transition.”
It bears repeating. Egypt’s no democracy. Junta power rules. Appointed President Adly Mansour and other interim officials serve at its pleasure.
Events are fast moving. Egypt’s central bank ordered commercial banks to close branches in conflict areas. Some had power shut off.
The Ministry of Antiquities ordered Giza Pyramids closed to visitors. Cairo’s Egyptian museum was closed. MB officials are charged with inciting violence and/or conspiring to kill protesters.
MB’s London office said:
“The world cannot sit back and watch while innocent men, women and children are being indiscriminately slaughtered. The world must stand up to the military junta’s crime before it is too late.”
Egypt’s a tinderbox. Cairo’s a virtual war zone. Ousting Morsi along with unaddressed major grievances has millions nationwide enraged.
Blaming victims is policy. Egypt’s government made baseless accusations, saying:
“The government holds (MB) leaders fully responsible for any spilt blood, and for all the rioting and violence going on.”
Egypt’s Interior Ministry claimed it intercepted phone calls calling on supporters to attack police stations. Planned assaults were foiled, it added.
MB officials were arrested. Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb urged restraint. He did so on state television. He opposed Morsi. He backed his ouster. He comments lack credibility.
Clashes erupted across Egypt. Minya, Assiut and Sohag Christian Coptic Churches were torched.
In Bani Suef south of Cairo, police cars were set ablaze. Clashes threaten to continue.
Interim President Mansour said diplomacy ended. SCAF gloves are off. Egyptian security forces are notoriously hardline.
Ahead of Wednesday’s crackdown, Robert Fisk asked:
“Why does the Egyptian crisis appear so simple to our political leaders yet so complicated when you actually turn up in Cairo?”
State media create “fantasies.” They claim SCAF “follow(ed) the will of the people” ousting Morsi. They exaggerated opposition crowds. They called them “the largest political demonstration(s) in history.”
Numbers reported suggested over half the adult working age population turned out. Unlike early 2011, “the country kept running.”
John Kerry claimed SCAF intervened to restore democracy. “Thank God for the Egyptian army,” Fisk added. He did so with tongue in cheek.
Le Monde’s Alain Gresh headlined his latest article “Shadow of the army over Egypt’s revolution,” saying:
The Muslim Brotherhood “faced a destabilisation campaign by the former regime, with the dissolution of the elected parliament, the police refusing to maintain public order and protect its premises (significantly the interior minister was reinstated in office after 30 June), and the courts acquitting former Mubarak officials.”
Media pluralism didn’t follow Morsi’s ouster, said Gresh. Some TV stations were banned. Journalists were arrested.
Ruling officials are hostile to critical foreign media. Interim leaders maintain “a ministry of information.” Doing so’s not a good sign.
State media ignore pro-Morsi demonstrations. Hundreds of thousands participate nationwide.
“A textbook example is the coverage of the repression of a sit-in organised by the Brotherhood on 8 July outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard, during which at least 50 people were killed,” said Gresh.
“Army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali told the Associated Press: ‘What excessive force? It would have been excessive if we killed 300.’ ”
“The English-language website Madamasr has posted damning witness statements, especially one by a cameraman working for an opposition television station, which showed images of soldiers shooting at the crowd, for no reason.”
Interim President Mansour has links to the Mubarak regime and Saudi Arabia. He worked there for over a decade.
He published a constitutional declaration. It gives him full executive and legislative powers for six months. It does so ahead of elections.
Egypt’s government is dominated by neoliberal hardliners. They force-feed austerity on millions of poor people. They have added pain in mind. Doing so risks turning a tinderbox into a raging inferno.
Observers wonder “whether Egypt will ever see pluralist elections again, now that its first democratically elected president has been overthrown,” said Gresh.
Mansour and other interim officials remain silent about MB repression. Ignoring it means support.
Mohamed ElBaradei’s an apparent exception. He resigned saying:
“(T)he beneficiaries of what happened today are those who call for violence, terrorism and the most extreme groups.”
“It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear. I cannot bear the responsibility for one drop of blood.”
ElBaradei wants to be Egypt’s president. Perhaps he believes resigning now makes it possible later. Allying with state-sponsored repression assures rejection.
Gresh wonders what’s next for Egypt. “How long will it be before people are put on trial for having demanded Mubarak’s resignation in 2011,” he asked?
“Perhaps the aim is to provoke the Brotherhood into resorting to violence, so as to allow a reinstatement of the state of emergency in the name of the war on terror.”
“Or the excuse may be the instability of the Sinai region, which predates Morsi.”
All sides vying for power and influence must “learn from their failures.” They must “abandon their secretive culture.”
Shutting MB and other Islamists out risks “pushing them on to a radical path that could cost Egypt dear(ly),” Gresh concluded.
On Wednesday, a state of emergency was declared. Martial law’s in effect. Major city 7:00PM – 6:00AM curfews were imposed. It’s effective until further notice.
MB supporters won’t back down. They pledged to die rather than quit. One Morsi protester perhaps spoke for others, saying:
“We don’t care about death. We believe in one thing. When your time to die comes, you will die.”
“So will you die as a courageous martyr, or as a coward? That’s the point: we want to die as martyrs.”
They want Morsi reinstitated. Civil war’s possible follow. MB spokesman Gehad El-Haddad twittered:
“8 hours of mass killings & not a single sane person in Egypt or in world 2 stop this!! Over 2,000 killed and & over 10,000 injured & world watches.”
Egypt’s a virtual war zone. Anything ahead is possible.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
No Shame on Pennsylvania Ave…
Beirut — Fatou Bom Bensouda, the Gambian-born deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), was never Washington’s first choice to succeed the inveterately self-promoting elitist ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
And it is doubtful that key Obama administration officials have changed their minds this week given Ms. Bensouda’s impassioned invitation on 6/27/13 to Palestine, urging its accession to the Rome Statute and the ICC, the former signed and ratified, as of this month, by 122 states with 31 additional countries, including Russia, having signed with ratification pending in their legislatures.
Visiting Al Jalil UNWRA high school across from Shatila camp here in Beirut recently, this observer was asked several questions by students and staff and the most frequent inquiry, which came as no surprise, concerned why the Lebanese government, even those who claim to support the Palestinian cause, still have not acted in Parliament to grant Palestinian refugees the same elementary civil right to work and to own a home that every refugee everywhere, even in Zionist occupied Palestine, have long enjoyed.
The second most commonly asked question, did surprise me a bit and it was why the Palestinian leaders in Ramallah have not joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to challenge the criminal, apartheid regime in occupied Tel Aviv and hold it accountable under international humanitarian law for crimes against Palestinian prisoners and more than a dozen equally brutal campaigns that target the indigenous population increasingly being condemned internationally.
From my time visiting Al Jalil School, it became clear that the students and faculty want their country, Palestine, to join the ICC. One is advised that this sentiment is the same in all 54 Palestinian refugees’ schools in Lebanon and this insistence mirrors virtually all Palestinian, camps, groups and NGO’s with whom I have discussed the subject.
The new ICC Prosecutor Bensouda is also encouraging Palestine to join the International Criminal Court, as she prepares for the cases that are likely to be filed with the ICC in the coming months. Addressing this week’s Transitional Justice and International Justice the Arab World conference, she declared that her office believes Palestine qualifies to join the ICC after the UN General Assembly voted to admit Palestine as a non-member state last November.
The ICC prosecutor’s office is rumored in The Hague to be particularly impassioned and focused on those areas in which their chief, Ms. Bensouda, has particular international legal expertise. With the main area being international crimes comprising the category of continuous crimes against humanity, which, arguably, since 1948, have been most egregiously committed by the last 19th century colonial enterprise that still brutally occupies Palestine.
Prosecutor Bensouda and her ICC staff is reported to be particularly intent on investigating continuing violations of basic humanitarian principles, standards and rules and both have spoken about the case of Palestinian Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a cancer-sufferer who died in Israeli custody on 6/25/13 after the Israeli government rejected repeated international calls and protests for his release. This, even as its officials conceded that Mr. Abu Hamidiyeh was no threat to society and could likely be successfully treated if allowed medical treatment for his life threatening condition. One ICC investigator, who asked for anonymity, stated that she and her colleagues considered the actions of the Netanyahu government with respect to the Abu Hamidiyeh, and similar cases, to be “sick!”
The White House and its allies are not pleased by prospects for an eventful next few years at the ICC. What have particularly unnerved outgoing UN Ambassador, Susan Rice and Israeli PM Netanyahu, are the 5/23/13 comments of Ms. Bensouda during the 38th FIDH Congress in Istanbul which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Rome Statute which created the ICC.
“Gone are the days when those who commit international crimes, could be cleansed of their atrocities through a mere hand shake and a scribble of their initials on a piece of paper which purports to bind them to conditions that they have no intention of ever observing.” She added: “My challenge is to consolidate what has been achieved, to build on from it, and to answer victims’ calls for justice. That is the promise made in Rome and that is the promise we cannot fail to fulfill”.
One the several “going out the door” comments Ms. Rice made on cleaning out her UN office on her way to become President Obama’s National Security Adviser, was basically a reiteration of her livid expressions made following last fall’s UN General Assembly vote giving Palestine its new international status. When asked if she considered the UN vote a repudiation of the Obama administration and her personally, Ms. Rice scolded:
“That resolution is not going to take them closer to statehood, or to the ICC! It may actually make the environment more difficult for them and public references to the “State of Palestine” do not make it a sovereign state. Any reference to the ‘State of Palestine’ in the United Nations, including the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ in the invitation do not reflect acquiescence that ‘Palestine’ is a state,” she said.
It may be recalled that in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the UN Security Council immediately following the 11/29/12 General Assembly vote, the permanent UN observer of Palestine reiterated his delegation’s position that ”all Israeli settlement activities are illegal, constituting grave breaches of article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus constituting war crimes, as further determined in accordance with article 8 (2) (b) (viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable for all of the war crimes it is committing against the Palestinian people.”
This letter was cited by the most recent UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report of February 2013, which also found Israel, as an occupying power, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for ”transferring parts of its civilian population into territory that it occupies.”
Adding to all its currents problems, is this week’s announcement that President Obama’s “favorite general,” Retired Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright will likely cause yet more serious problems for the administration when details of his suspected leaks of information about a covert U.S.-Israeli cyber-attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program, for which he is expected to soon be arrested and indicted. Coming on the heels of the Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks case, Washington is said to have no patience whatsoever, for Palestine making more problems and opening an ICC Pandora’s box.
Ramallah is being flooded with threats this month from Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, now on his 5th visit to the Middle East in as many months, Jordan’s King Hussein and reportedly, several others. The message for Mahmoud Abbas is that the Palestinian Authority risks a cut-off of funds and US dis-engagement from any “peace process” as well as the scrapping of the rumored “mega economic & development package” which Kerry aids are currently finalizing, if Palestine goes anywhere near the International Criminal Court.
It’s a tough call for President Mahmoud Abbas and his supporters because Hamas wants Palestine to immediately file cases against Israel at the ICC and so it appears, do a large majority of Palestinians, in Lebanon and internationally.
Many Lebanese and Syrian supporters of this regions Resistance culture, increasingly led by Hezbollah, are chastising, for a number of reasons, their former Islamist ally Hamas. Pillorying them with accusations that the latter are ingrates who are creating a host of problems for Hezbollah and its support for the Syrian regime, during the continuing crisis. Unnecessary problems, it is frequently asserted, that inure to the benefit of their mutual arch enemies, the Zionist colonizers of Palestine and their American and Arab enablers.
An outsider living near the center of the security zone in Dahiyeh, South Beirut, including this observer, hears from friends and neighbors both sides of this rancorous ‘domestic argument’. Having respect for, and being a supporter of both, one feels a bit awkward– rather like a good friend of a married couple, who are engaged in an increasingly acrimonious marital spat.
While sympathetic to each friends seemingly legitimate complaints with the other, one does not want to take sides for a few reasons with one being the risk of appearing disloyal to mutual friends and alienating perhaps both while being labeled a weak charactered “friend betrayer.”
Yet one cannot disagree with the Palestinian community in both Syria and Lebanon who repeatedly assert that they want to stay neutral in the Syrian crisis, whick appears unlikely to end anytime soon. Palestinian refugees, who have manifold problems in Palestine as well as Syria and Lebanon, want to stay sidelined from internecine conflicts and focus on trying to survive and staying focused on confronting their only enemies, those being the ones who stole and are still living on their land and villages.
Some supporters of Hezbollah and the Palestine Resistance seek to avoid exhibiting dirty laundry to public view, but given the voracious craving of media outlets linked to various local parties and foreign sponsors, there is much pressure and opportunity to condemn each side by broadcasting, some real but many illusory, Hezbollah-Palestinian cross border conflicts. This mutually destructive phenomenon is becoming commonplace and appears to be spreading.
Hezbollah’s local Palestinian problem started to form in the spring of 2011 as the Syrian crisis quickly gained momentum. Some Palestinians joined the rebels and nearly 28 months into the maelstrom, unknown numbers continue fighting the Assad government. But the numbers do appear to this observer to be a tiny fraction of the unemployed, discouraged Palestinian youth, facing a bleak future because they are bared by Lebanese law from even the most elementary civil rights to work or to own a home. Some have succumbed to the allure of $ 200 per month, free cigarettes, and an AK-47 and have joined one the literally hundreds of militias operating in Syria with affiliated jihadists currently scoping out and probing Lebanon.
Some point out those Palestinian refugees in Syria should not be seen as betraying those who have helped them most. This includes the undeniable fact that Palestinian refugees in Syria have been granted by its government, for more than six decades, rights to education, medical care, housing, employment, even with the government, as well as preferential treatment in many instances. In addition, Syria has granted them identity and travel documents, on a basis that no other Arab League country has ever granted them. This despite decades of Arab potentates blathering interminably about supporting the ‘bloodstream and sacred cause of Palestine.”
So there is festering resentment among some when certain media blare that Palestinian groups such as Hamas, are with the rebels and are insisting that Hezbollah fighters not enter Syria under any pretext. Hamas stands accused of closing their Damascus offices, accepting a $ 400 million grant from Syria’s nemesis Qatar, and of joining the US-Israel axis by harming their own people as well as undermining the Resistance to the Zionist regime in the process. Certain other Palestinians in camps such as Yarmouk in Syria and Shatila in Lebanon tacitly accuse Hamas of abandoning the Palestinian cause and misguidedly sparking sectarian strife with Hezbollah. Others argue just the opposite and blame Hezbollah.
Some Palestinians are also said to be carrying guns for the Saida, Lebanon based, Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir, the imam of Sidon’s Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, while supporting his anti-Hezbollah-Assad regime movement which is trying to unite Sunnis, who make up roughly 85% of the world’s Muslim population, to eliminate Shia Muslims.
Syrian government forces claim that Hamas has even trained Syrian rebels in the manufacture and use of home-made rockets. Some Hezbollah fighters go further and complain that they taught Hamas many of their battlefield skills and they turned around and used their fighting skills and IED’s against Hezbollah forces in al-Qusayr and are preparing to do the same, with larger numbers, in the coming battle for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
Many supporters of Hezbollah believe Hamas and some other Palestinian factions were being needlessly provocative when a few officials issued an unusual admonishment of Hezbollah on 6/17/13, calling on their ally and mentor of more than 20 years to direct its firepower at Israel and demanding that it withdraw from Syria. “We demand of Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria and call on it to leave its weapons directed only at the Zionist enemy,” read a statement allegedly from Hamas, posted on the Facebook page of its deputy political leader Moussa Abu Marzouq.
Despite its withdrawal from Syria in early 2012, Hamas, as an Islamic organization as opposed to some of its individual members and a few officials, has been wary of publicly criticizing Hezbollah for its military support of the Assad regime. On 6/5/13, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Araby reported that a schism existed within Hamas regarding its attitude toward Hezbollah. Hamas’s military wing, the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, reportedly endorsed the alliance with the Syria-Hezbollah axis, while its political leadership opposed it. Some have questioned the accuracy of this report.
Other more petty accusations have been made by some Hezbollah supporters, for example that Hamas and perhaps others had prevented some Palestinian camp residents in Ein el Helwe and Jalil camp near Baalbek, from burning refugee aid packages provided by Hezbollah for Syrian and Palestinians forced to flee Syria. The reasons cited were that the Palestinians felt they could not, given moral Islamic values, accept “blood” gifts, even of much needed food.
This observer met with some Palestinian leaders from different factions and is satisfied by their explanations that this was not the case. Hezbollah has given emergency aid to all the Palestinian camps. What happened with the symbolic burning of a few parcels was entirely politically motivated and organized by certain salafists in Saida and a few troublemakers from the pro-Saudi/US factions, including rump elements from the so-called pro-western March 14 alliance. That issue has now been resolved by Palestinian popular committees and the Hezbollah donors and hopefully will not recur.
Some Hezbollah partisans complain that certain Palestinian factions have circulated rumors in the media accusing the Resistance of wrongdoing and thereby are in effect collaborating with the US and Israel to divide and weaken the National Lebanese Resistance.
Yet additional criticism of certain Palestinian factions, specifically Hamas, relates to the nature and future of the movement’s relationship with the state of Qatar which is accused of essentially appointed itself godfather of all the Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood movements in the region. According to some criticism, Hamas’s change of stands has caused the movement to lose the credibility and popularity that it once enjoyed from diaspora Palestinians and the Arabs.
The Palestinians’ Hezbollah Problem
Revisiting the “marital spat” analogy, some of the accusations against certain Palestinians mirror those made against Hezbollah.
Some Lebanese analysts and some camp Palestinians have warned that Hezbollah’s foray into Syria is fueling a Sunni-Shiite polarization that threatens to feed extremism on both sides and catapult the conflict to the wider region
Syrian opposition groups reported on 5/30/13 that Hezbollah had ordered Hamas’s representative in Beirut, Ali Baraka, to leave the country immediately over Hamas’s public support for Syrian rebels fighting Assad. Baraka denied the report, telling Lebanese media and his neighbors there was no change in the relationship between the two organizations. Baraka’s assessment may be a bit understating the reality, but it is not too late to fix this problem. As of today, this observer’s kitchen balcony overlooks over the Hamas office in central Haret Hreik and it is clear that the Hamas office is still functioning.
The Hamas disagreement with Hezbollah still stands but both parties have agreed to discuss it by holding a series of meetings. In response to a question on this subject, former Foreign Ministry undersecretary in the ousted government in Gaza Ahmad Youssef, pointed out that Hamas needs and very much wants the support of all the powers and sides in the region to face the colonial Zionist implantation, what some refer to as “the 9th Crusade.” Youssef explained: “We needed and still need Iran and Hezbollah. However, the movement’s position is that this behavior had damaged the relations which we wanted to be close and strong with the party.” Next month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abass will reportedly visit Lebanon to meet with Palestinians who fled Syria for Lebanon as is expected to attempt a Hamas-Hezbollah Musalaha or reconciliation.
The Resistance to the Zionist colony has multiple pillars two key ones of which are Hezbollah and the Palestine National Movement, which itself is becoming international, given that world opinion increasingly opposes the illegitimate apartheid regime still clinging to occupy Palestine. Both of these powerful forces as well as a growing number of others, including hundreds of militia now fighting in Syria, share one, if not other, common objective which must not be squandered by relatively soluble problems. And that bond is the shared reason d’etre to liberate every inch of occupied Palestine from the river to the sea and to return-by all means necessary. They share a moral, religious duty to struggle until victory in achieving the full right to return for the rightful indigenous inhabitants and their off-spring, from the 531 Palestinian villages that were ethnically cleansed 65 years ago. It is latter who, post liberation, who will decide, based on one person one vote without religious preferences, for all Jews and Arabs who choose to live in peace, how best to rebuild and administer Palestine on the basis of absolute equality before the law.
Neither Hezbollah or certain Palestinians now fighting each other in Syria, and god-forbid soon in Lebanon if the US-Israeli is successful in achieving this project which both are investing in, need the 2-cents worth of advice from this foreign observer.
But surely most from each camp will agree that this is not the time for Hezbollah and the Palestinians to use their over stretched resources to right perceived wrongs claimed to have been inflicted by the other. There will be time enough to discuss that, if either group is still feeling unjustly wronged, after Palestine is freed from its racist colonial yoke.
Obama Is Making Us De Facto Allies Of Al-Qaida…
Thursday, while he was ringing in Gay Pride Month with LGBT revelers, a staffer, Ben Rhodes, informed the White House press that U.S. weapons will be going to the Syrian rebels.
For two years Obama has stayed out of this sectarian-civil war that has consumed 90,000 lives. Why is he going in now?
The White House claims it now has proof Bashar Assad used sarin gas to kill 100-150 people, thus crossing a “red line” Obama had set down as a “game changer.” Defied, his credibility challenged, he had to do something.
Yet Assad’s alleged use of sarin to justify U.S. intervention seems less like our reason for getting into this war than our excuse.
For the White House decided to intervene weeks ago, before the use of sarin was confirmed. And why would Assad have used only tiny traces? Where is the photographic evidence of the disfigured dead?
What proof have we the rebels did not fabricate the use of sarin or use it themselves to get the gullible Americans to fight their war?
Yet, why would President Obama, whose proud boast is that he will have extricated us from the Afghan and Iraq wars, as Dwight Eisenhower did from the Korean War, plunge us into a new war?
He has been under severe political and foreign pressure to do something after Assad and Hezbollah recaptured the strategic town of Qusair and began preparing to recapture Aleppo, the largest city.
Should Assad succeed, it would mean a decisive defeat for the rebels and their backers: the Turks, Saudis and Qataris. And it would mean a geostrategic victory for Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, who have proven themselves reliable allies.
To prevent this defeat and humiliation, we are now going to ship arms and ammunition to keep the rebels going and in control of enough territory to negotiate a peace that will remove Assad.
We are going to make this a fair fight.
What is wrong with this strategy? It is the policy of an amateur. It treats war like a game. It ignores the lessons of history. And, as it continues a bloodbath with no prospect of an end to it, it is immoral.
In every great civil war of modernity — the Russian civil war of 1919-1921, the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939, the Chinese civil war of 1945-49, one side triumphs and takes power.
The other loses and lives with the consequences — defeat, death, exile.
What is the likely reaction to our escalation from humanitarian aid to military aid? Counter-escalation. Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are likely to rush in more weapons and troops to accelerate the progress of Assad’s army before the American weapons arrive.
And if they raise and call, what does Obama do?
Already, a clamor is being heard from our clients in the Middle East and Congress to crater Syria’s runways with cruise missiles, to send heavy weapons to the rebels, to destroy Assad’s air force on the ground, to bomb his antiaircraft sites.
All of these are acts of war. Yet under the Constitution, Congress alone authorizes war.
When did Congress authorize Obama to take us to war in Syria? Where does our imperial president get his authority to draw red lines and attack countries that cross them?
Have we ceased to be a republic? Has Congress become a mere spectator to presidential decisions on war and peace?
As Vladimir Putin seems less the reluctant warrior, what do we do if Moscow answers the U.S. escalation by delivering on its contract to provide A-300 antiaircraft missiles to Damascus, which can cover half of Israel?
Obama has put us on the escalator to a war already spilling over Syria’s borders into Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, a war that is now sundering the entire Middle East along Sunni and Shia lines.
He is making us de facto allies of the Al-Qaida-like al-Nusra Front, of Hamas and jihadists from all across the region, and of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi just severed ties to Syria and is demanding a “no-fly zone,” which one imagines the United States, not the Egyptian air force, would have to enforce.
Our elites shed tears over the 90,000 dead in Syria. But what we are about to do will not stop the killing, but simply lengthen the duration of the war and increase the numbers of dead and wounded.
At the top of this escalator our country has begun to ascend is not just a proxy war with Iran in Syria, but a real war that would entail a disaster for the world economy.
If the ouster of Assad is what the Sunni powers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt demand, why not let them do it?
Anti-interventionists should demand a roll-call vote in Congress on whether Obama has the authority to take us into this Syrian war.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
This article was originally published at Creators
Hundreds of Turkish police officers backed by armored cars moved in on Istanbul’s Taksim Square early Tuesday morning and reclaimed the site after pulling out on June 1. By midday bulldozers had removed barricades of paving stones and corrugated iron. The crackdown surprised protesters, hundreds of whom had been sleeping in a makeshift camp in the adjoining Gezi Park. Some threw stones and incendiary devices in response, but the authorities are now in control of the focal point of Turkey’s most widespread anti-government protests in decades. Prior to the police action the protests appeared to be diminishing, with fewer demonstrators gathering in Taksim on Monday night than at any time since the unrest started on May 31.
That the unrest is abating has been evident from the muted reaction of the markets. In recent days the lira registered a modest decline, reaching the October 2011 level against its dollar/euro basket, but this may be seen as good news for Turkey’s export-oriented economy. The cost of insuring Turkish debt against default rose slightly but not alarmingly: it the same now as in August of last year, well below crisis levels.
A further sign of government confidence is the continuing clampdown on the Turkish army top brass. On June 6 a criminal court in Ankara approved an indictment filed by the prosecutor’s office under which 102 retired officers (76 of whom are in prison) will be tried for allegedly staging the military coup in 1997. Right now there are 450 active and retired officers accused of either toppling former governments, or making plans to unseat the current government. As The Daily Zaman’s columnist Lale Kemal noted the other day, this raises the issue of the state of the morale of the Turkish Armed Forces at a sensitive time.
In the early days of unrest, street protests in Turkey were compared in the Western media to the misnamed “Arab Spring.” The comparison was inaccurate: no regime change was on the cards, no foreign money and logistics were in evidence, and outside a few hotspots in Istanbul, Ankara, and a few other cities Turkey’s life went on as usual. The government remained firmly in control of the state apparatus, the police proved obedient, and the army—already purged of hundreds of senior officers and no longer a significant political factor—stayed silent.
Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-old, increasingly personal rule is being challenged, but that challenge comes from unexpected quarters: from his fellow religious conservatives who resent his authoritarian style and arrogance.
There are many influential Turks of Islamist persuasion—both within and outside the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party)—who are increasingly disenchanted with Erdogan. They have not been adverse to the drift away from secularism at home and to the assertive pursuit of neo-Ottomanism abroad, but they believe that the power of “the Sultan” (as Erdogan is known among his friends and foes alike) needs to be curtailed. While they do not identify with the values and aspirations of the secular and liberal urban middle class which has provided the backbone of protests, some religious conservatives see recent unrest as an opportunity to persuade the “Sultan” that he needs to listen to the neglected pashas and viziers.
For the first time since he became prime minister 11 years ago, some AKP-friendly media outlets have started to criticize Erdogan, following his near-paranoid reaction to the demonstrations. His calling protesters looters, drunks, marauders, extremists, and foreign agents, his ominous hints that his “patience is running out,” and his calls for counter-rallies by his supporters have not played well with Turkey’s more cautious conservatives, especially in the business community, who see his combative style as counterproductive. They are uncomfortable with Erdogan’s portrayal of the protest as a struggle between the “white Turks” (non-religious, upper-class, urban elites) versus the ‘black Turks’ (socially conservative, lower-middle and working class Sunnis from Anatolia). Even in his hitherto reliable power base in the Anatolian heartland, President Abdullah Gul—Erdogan’s long-time ally—is now mentioned as someone who could pursue the long-term AKP project of de-Kemalizing Turkey with greater caution and tact.
The real test will come later this year, when Erdogan will try to change the constitution and inaugurate an authoritarian presidential system. On June 6 Foreign Affairs published an interesting article by Halil Karaveli which aptly summarized the “Sultan’s” problem: “Erdogan’s own party members sense the changing tide. Indeed, even before the protests, there was widespread uneasiness within the AKP ranks. Most AKP parliamentarians had little enthusiasm for Erdogan’s plan to change the constitution and introduce an executive presidency. His scheme would have concentrated all power into the hands of a supreme leader, a position that Erdogan covets, basically neutering all other government officials.”
There is unease with Erdogan in Washington, too. Nobody in the U.S. Administration wants a regime change in Ankara, but some old Turkish hands advocate more strongly worded criticism of Erdogan’s methods as a means of reining him in. His switch from neutrality to support for the rebellion in Syria a year ago was welcomed in Washington, but his continuing public advocacy of intervention is becoming wearisome in view of Bashar’s recent battlefield successes. His open support for Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, and his close links with the putative Kurdish statelet in northern Iraq, are also deemed problematic in Washington—not to mention his strident criticism of Israel, which has decisively turned Israel’s friends on the Hill against him.
The protesters cannot threaten the overall architecture of Turkish politics because the majority of Turks are in agreement with the dual policy of de-secularization of the state and capitalist-based growth. That growth has been impressive, almost on par with China after Deng, but it has not dampened political and cultural tensions. There is an inherent discrepancy at work between the Islamic stamp on the country’s cultural and political scene which Erdogan has imposed, and the deepening gap between Turkey’s haves and the have-nots which the decade of prosperity has produced. The AKP-connected new oligarchs, in many ways similar to their uncouth Russian and East European counterparts, are Erdogan’s creation. Thanks to their party political affiliations they have profited from massive government-financed construction projects—like the proposed redevelopment at Taksim that triggered off the protests two weeks ago. To a devout yet poor, unemployed or underemployed Turk, increasing social stratification is incompatible with Erdogan’s advocacy of Islamic moral and social values which are deeply egalitarian. The losers in the process of Turkey’s transition in the villages generally do not oppose further de-secularization, but their loyalty to Erdogan personally should no longer be taken for granted.
Erdogan is in trouble because the harmless Istanbul protests showed him to be an intransigent autocrat and his rivals within the establishment sense his weakness. Having scored his third consecutive election victory in 2011, Erdogan focused on empowering his core constituency through a crony capitalism. He also pushed through a series of measures for state enforcement of conservative religious mores, like banning Turkish Airways flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and restricting the sale and consumption of alcohol, which even his supporters see as unnecessarily divisive and potentially destabilizing. Abroad, they feel that he has overplayed his hand on Syria. Most Turks, AKP supporters and Kemalists alike, are opposed to Erdogan’s support for the Syrian rebels and advocacy of foreign intervention, which is perceived as an “American,” rather than “Turkish” policy. By overplaying his hand on Syria, Erdogan has forfeited his hoped-for role as the leader of the Islamic Greater Middle East. His foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s policy of “zero problems with all neighbors” has failed, not only in Syria, but also vis-à-vis Iraq and Iran, both of which support Bashar.
A powerful Sunni imam, Fethullah Gülen, may decide Erdogan’s political future. Little-known in the West—although he has lived in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania for years—Gulen controls a global empire of media outlets (including Turkey’s top circulation daily), charities, businesses and schools now known simply as Hizmet (“The Service”). Shortly after the military coup in 1997, the army leaders started a purge of the movement. Gülen went abroad, was tried in absentia for seeking to overthrow Turkey’s secular order, but he was cleared in 2006, after Erdogan came to power. His is by far the most powerful religiously-based movement in Turkey, described as the country’s third power, alongside Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian AKP and Turkey’s decreasingly influential military. “While the group is often described as ‘shadowy’ or ‘mysterious,’ this is inaccurate,” according to journalist Claire Belinski, based in Istanbul. “Quite a bit is known about it. Its behavior is both observable and predictable.”
Having supported Erdogan’s rise to power in 2002, Gülen was able to expand his network within the political establishment. The two men had a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the “cemaat,” as the former’s network is known. Already by 2004 one-fifth of the AKP’s members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement, including the justice and culture ministers. In 2006, former police chief Adil Serdar Sacan estimated that the “Fethullahcis” held more than 80 percent of senior positions in the Turkish police force. As we noted in these pages last August, for all his philanthropic pretenses Gülen controls a fundamentalist sect calling for a New Islamic Age based on the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis.” By now it is all-pervasive, with many rich businessmen, judges and senior civil servants donating an average of 10 percent of their income to thecemaat.
Gülen now feels strong enough to engineer Erdogan’s comeuppance that will not disrupt the regime while increasing the power of his followers. The rift between Erdogan (a fellow imam) and Gülen is now in the open. Speaking in the U.S. last week, the latter effectively blamed Erdogan for the protests: “Are the ones at fault those who were unconcerned, who underestimated [the protest] by labeling it as ‘this and that’? … If innocent people are killed, if some are choked with gas bombs and if some are blind enough not to see this, the fire could rage.” Shortly before the protests erupted Gülen warned against the arrogance of power, saying “even if a person is a believer, they can morally be a pharaoh… He may always look at people from on high, telling them ‘stay in your place’.”
Gülen seems to think that the power structure will not be unduly strained if Erdogan is weakened or even replaced. The army has been neutered and there is no strong leader in the ranks of secularists and liberals. The protesters have unwittingly aided Fethullahcis, ominously Stalinist in their steady march through Turkey’s institutions, against Erdogan’s Trotsky-like zeal for rapid re-Islamization.
Beirut — A number of analysts and security experts who specialize in intelligence and security subjects in Lebanon and France have expressed this week shock at the way many Western authorities, including several in Europe and the United States, are avoiding engagement with the Syrian authorities and thus missing important avenues to help end the crisis in Syria.
This dismay follows increasing evidence of the grave dangers now threatening to turn Syria into a main operations base for anti-Western and anti-sectarian international jihadist groups and organizations. Some specialists spoke to “Afrique Asie” recently and expressed surprise and concern that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately ignoring the daily warnings sent out by intelligence and security organizationsin those countries including the Intelligence Community in the US with is comprised of the 16 American intelligence organizations , also referred to as “elements”. These are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),United States Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Security Agency (NSA),National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA),Army Intelligence and Security Command(INSCOM),Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), United States Department of Energy , Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI), United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A),Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI),United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI),United States Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), United States Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
One of France’s leading experts on terrorism, who visited Libya and Syria after the start of the turbulences, concluded:
“It is understandable that the that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately exploiting the Syrian revolution to punish President Bashar Al-Assad for his policies of siding with Iran and supporting organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that pose threats on Israeli security. However, the real strangeness lies in the fact that those nations are continuing to provide support, weaponry, military training and funding to the Syrian opposition and the media, with their knowledge that the class dominating the armed Syrian opposition is that of Al-Nusra terrorists who are closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda.”
Discussing the reasons preventing those authorities from changing their stance, the acknowledge expert concluded that Western political authorities, including the White House, believe that the Salafist movement’s attacks can be controlled through countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Hitherto, the relationship with Bashar Al-Assad has proven his independence as well as his adherence to the policies that bound him to Iran and other anti-Israeli organizations. However, French, European and American security officials perceive this differently.
Most Western intelligence apparatuses sounded out their danger sirens pointing to the necessity of cooperating with Syrian security authorities. This is because the Syrian intelligence is still considered the most effective party facing Salafist movements in the Middle East, and the Syrian army is fighting “terrorist/jihadists” on a daily basis. In this context, the Syrian intelligence never lost the penetrations it had into Al-Qaeda and other Syria-based Salafist movements as part of it work of planning to neutralize future terrorist attacks. To this end, Syrian intelligence committed substantial resources and senior officers in pursuit of international terrorists who are currently based in Syria, but who are laying the groundwork for terrorist attacks soon to be executed in European capitals.
While the United States and its Western allies are offering military, media, financial and political aid to thearmed opposition in Syria, allied with Al-Qaeda and like movements, the Syrian intelligence continues to fight against terrorism on behalf of the world, but with no assistance from countries whose interests and people they are work to protect.
One expert posed a rhetorical question, “Imagine that an assassination as big as that of the “Crisis Cell” officers in Syria was executed during the time when we discovered that among the victims was one of the most cooperative Syrian people with the French intelligence services in the fight against terrorism. And what have we done to protect it? Nothing.” However, as the Syrian story puts it, the Americans might well have been involved with his assassination.
In addition to the death of the “Crisis Cell” officers, in July of 2012, in a complex security operation widely believed to have been executed by the Syrian opposition, Western authorities are in pursuit of Syrians officers who helped save the lives of thousands of French and other Europeans over the past years. It is worthy to note here that one of those officers was wounded and almost killed while he was defending Western embassies under attack by” terrorists.”
When the scholar was asked whom he meant by this and replied: “It is obvious Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, the competent expert in combating Salafist terrorism who currently resides in Syria. It was through the efforts of officer Makhlouf that the Syrian authorities captured a number of terrorist cells, and thus, thwarted major operations that were being prepared for execution in Europe in general, and specifically in France.”
For his part, the security expert and former Lebanese Army General Elias Farhat, argued recently that security operations targeting senior Syrian officers do not only affect Syrian security, but are undermine operations for weakening international security and strengthening terrorists around the world. This is because the Syrian role is viewed even by the US Intelligence Community as being effective in fighting “international terrorism”, and had it not been for the cooperation the Syrians provided to Western security services, “terrorist organizations” would have succeeded in many attacks on European capitals.
Regarding the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on the Syrian officers for global security, General Farhat argued that what is incomprehensible is the self-targeting process today being carried out by Western powers because what they are doing with the Syrian security authorities is similar to refusing any help offered to save them from the monster of “terrorism.”
According to the Lebanese General, “Western authorities are providing enormous support for the armedopposition in Syria and they continue targeting senior Syrian officers, with sanctions, as well as planning and executing assassinations against the very peoples who helped save the lives of many Europeans. By doing so inlight of the internal security crisis in Syria, these authorities are curbing all future prospects for Syriancooperation.”
Indeed, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, who was largely responsible for security cooperation to combat international terrorism between the Syrians and the West in the past decade, was subject to the sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. In addition, the “Crisis Cell” operation, which participated in the assassination ofagents who were undoubtedly related to the West, resulted in the death of a number of Syrian officers who were responsible for some key security cooperation between Syria and the West. The West is killing and sanctioning many of those who provide it with help.
Walid Zeitouni, a former Lebanese Army General and an intelligence and extremist movements specialist, claims that imposing sanctions on Syrian Generals and senior security officers by the United States and Europe “is suicide carried out by Western governments. These sanctions can only be categorized under stupidity, forthe assassination of the members of the most prominent cell in Syrian security was indisputably executed by Western intelligence agents. Moreover, imposing sanctions on Colonel Hafez Makhlouf came simultaneous to him achieving a lot of security accomplishments not only in favor of Syria, but also for the benefit of international security and that of the West in particular.
The West killing senior Syrian intelligence officers who are some of the key individuals fighting terrorists who are enemies of the West while claiming to fight terrorism while they are taking measures to intensify political, economic, security and media pressure on Syria and its officers and leaders, is self-destructive for these countries.
It is these Syrians are considered among the most effective forces combating global terrorism. While Al-Qaeda and the West are working hand-in-hand in their fight the Syrian army, the West is also busy conspiring against Syria, while engaging in, and aspiring for, the formulation of yet more sanctions against the population of Syria in order to achieve a purely politically motivated regime change. These sanctions are in fact resulting in the rise to power of fundamentalist groups promoting terrorism.
Moreover, there is no benefit for Europe in such a policy, as it targets those who offer help by killing some of their officers, imposing sanctions on others, and aspiring to transfer others to the International Criminal Court. Those being punished are the same people helping fight terrorism on behalf of the world – as with the cases of Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, and the officers of the “Crisis Cell”.
In both the Makhlouf and Mamlouk’s cases, both were blacklisted and sanctions were imposed on them by the United States and Europe, preparatory to transferring them to the International Criminal Court. However, this did not detour either gentleman from continuing to combat terrorist organizations funded by the West to fight President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
These organizations are working in parallel and currently are planning terrorist and security attacks in Western capitals, despite the fact that a number of Western and Jordanian officers have repeatedly certified that Colonel Makhlouf achieved numerous successes in the field of security, especially in the fight against international terrorism. Makhlouf’s efforts resulted in saving the lives of many Westerners who were targeted in their home towns by Al-Qaeda’s assets in Syria who operate a planning center. Makhlouf also arrested a number of senior terrorists in Damascus who confessed to planning for operations that were halted through the information offered by the Syrians to the West via intermediary security organizations in the Middle East. When the French requested that the cooperation with the Syrians be restored, their request was turned down, pending the French governments ending its fighting alongside the terrorists in Syria.
Brigadier-General Mahmoud Matar, who was involved in person during the Cold War in a Lebanese-Western security operation that led to foiling a Russian KGB operation to steal a Mirage Airplane from Lebanon to Russia, told “Afrique Asie”:
“It is unfortunate that the extensive presence of Western security agents in Syria is serving the aim to fight the opponents of terrorism, which is wrong. However, I expect that the West would conduct a comprehensive review of its policy in Syria, and that security cooperation between the West and President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime be restored, since the situation is now even worse for the West than it is for Syria.”
This is one subjects that is reportedly being analyzed by the by US Intelligence Community. It is to be hoped that Washington and Brussels listen and act appropriately. If so they will avoid a steep price for their currently flawed policy.
What I have noticed is that whenever a stunning episode occurs, such as 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing, most everyone whether on the right or left goes along with the government’s explanation, because they can hook their agenda to the government’s account.
The leftwing likes the official stories of Muslims creating terrorist mayhem in America, because it proves their blowback theory and satisfies them that the dispossessed and oppressed can fight back against imperialism.
The patriotic rightwing likes the official story, because it proves America is attacked for its goodness or because terrorists were allowed in by immigration authorities and nurtured by welfare, or because the government, which can’t do anything right, ignored plentiful warnings.
Whatever the government says, no matter how problematical, the official story gets its traction from its compatibility with existing predispositions and agendas.
In such a country, truth has no relevance. Only agendas are important.
A person can see this everywhere. I could write volumes illustrating how agenda-driven writers across the spectrum will support the most improbable government stories despite the absence of any evidence simply because the government’s line can be used to support their agendas.
For example, a conservative writer in the June issue of Chronicles uses the government’s story about the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to argue against immigration, amnesty for illegals, and political asylum for Muslims. He writes: “Even the most high-tech security systems imaginable will inevitably fail as they are overwhelmed by a flood of often hostile and dangerous immigrants.”
The writer accepts all of the improbable government statements as proof that the brothers were guilty. The wounded brother who was unable to respond to the boat owner who discovered him and had to be put on life support somehow managed to write a confession on the inside of the boat.
As soon as the authorities have the brother locked up in a hospital on life support, “unnamed officials” and “authorities who remain anonymous” are planting the story in the media that the suspect is signing written confessions of his guilt while on life support. No one has seen any of these written confessions. But we know that they exist, because the government and media say so.
The conservative writer knows that Dzhokhar is guilty because he is Muslim and a Chechen. Therefore, it does not occur to the writer to wonder about the agenda of the unnamed sources who are busy at work creating belief in the brothers’ guilt. This insures that no juror would dare vote for acquittal and have to explain it to family and friends. Innocent until proven guilty in a court has been thrown out the window. This should disturb the conservative writer, but doesn’t.
The conservative writer sees Chechen ethnicity as an indication of guilt even though the brothers grew up in the US as normal Americans, because Chechens are “engaged in anti-Russian jihad.” But Chechens have no reason for hostility against the US. As evidence indicates, Washington supports the Chechens in their conflict with Russia. By supporting Chechen terrorism, Washington violates all of the laws that it ruthlessly applies to compassionate Americans who give donations to Palestinian charities that Washington alleges are run by Hamas, a Washington-declared terrorist organization.
It doesn’t occur to the conservative writer that something is amiss when martial law is established over one of America’s main cities and its metropolitan area, 10,000 heavily armed troops are put on the streets with tanks, and citizens are ordered out of their homes with their hands over their heads, all of this just to search for one wounded 19-year old suspect. Instead the writer blames the “surveillance state” on “the inevitable consequences of suicidal liberalism” which has embraced “the oldest sin in the world: rebellion against authority.” The writer is so pleased to use the government’s story line as a way of indulging the conservative’s romance with authority and striking a blow at liberalism that he does not notice that he has lined up against the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence and rebelled against authority.
I could just as easily have used a left-wing writer to illustrate the point that improbable explanations are acceptable if they fit with predispositions and can be employed in behalf of an agenda.
Think about it. Do you not think that it is extraordinary that the only investigations we have of such events as 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing are private investigations, such as this investigation of the backpacks: http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/05/20/official-story-has-odd-wrinkles-a-pack-of-questions-about-the-boston-bombing-backpacks/
There was no investigation of 9/11. Indeed, the White House resisted any inquiry at all for one year despite the insistent demands from the 9/11 families. NIST did not investigate anything. NIST simply constructed a computer model that was consistent with the government’s story. The 9/11 Commission simply sat and listened to the government’s explanation and wrote it down. These are not investigations.
The only investigations have come from a physicist who proved that WTC 7 came down at free fall and was thus the result of controlled demolition, from a team of scientists who examined dust from the WTC towers and found nano-thermite, from high-rise architects and structural engineers with decades of experience, and from first responders and firefighters who were in the towers and experienced explosions throughout the towers, even in the sub-basements.
We have reached the point where evidence is no longer required. The government’s statements suffice. Only conspiracy kooks produce real evidence.
In America, government statements have a unique authority. This authority comes from the white hat that the US wore in World War II and in the subsequent Cold War. It was easy to demonize Nazi Germany, Soviet Communism and Maoist China. Even today when Russian publications interview me about the perilous state of civil liberty in the US and Washington’s endless illegal military attacks abroad, I sometimes receive reports that some Russians believe that it was an impostor who was interviewed, not the real Paul Craig Roberts. There are Russians who believe that it was President Reagan who brought freedom to Russia, and as I served in the Reagan administration these Russians associate me with their vision of America as a light unto the world. Some Russians actually believe that Washington’s wars are truly wars of liberation.
The same illusions reign among Chinese dissidents. Chen Guangcheng is the Chinese dissident who sought refuge in the US Embassy in China. Recently he was interviewed by the BBC World Service. Chen Guangcheng believes that the US protects human rights while China suppresses human rights. He complained to the BBC that in China police can arrest citizens and detain them for as long as six months without accounting for their detainment. He thought that the US and UK should publicly protest this violation of due process, a human right. Apparently, Chen Guangcheng is unaware that US citizens are subject to indefinite detention without due process and even to assassination without due process.
The Chinese government allowed Chen Guangcheng safe passage to leave China and live in the US. Chen Guangcheng is so dazzled by his illusions of America as a human rights beacon that it has never occurred to him that the oppressive, human rights-violating Chinese government gave him safe passage, but that Julian Assange, after being given political asylum by Ecuador is still confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London, because Washington will not allow its UK puppet state to permit his safe passage to Ecuador.
Perhaps Chen Guangcheng and the Chinese and Russian dissidents who are so enamored of the US could gain some needed perspective if they were to read US soldier Terry Holdbrooks’ book about the treatment given to the Guantanamo prisoners. Holdbrooks was there on the scene, part of the process, and this is what he told RT: “The torture and information extraction methods that we used certainly created a great deal of doubt and questions in my mind to whether or not this was my America. But when I thought about what we were doing there and how we go about doing it, it did not seem like the America I signed up to defend. It did not seem like the America I grew up in. And that in itself was a very disillusioning experience.” http://rt.com/news/guantanamo-guard-islam-torture-608/
In a May 17 Wall Street Journal.com article, Peggy Noonan wrote that President Obama has lost his patina of high-mindedness. What did Obama do that brought this loss upon himself? Is it because he sits in the Oval Office approving lists of US citizens to be assassinated without due process of law? Is it because he detains US citizens indefinitely in violation of habeas corpus? Is it because he has kept open the torture prison at Guantanamo? Is it because he continued the war that the neoconservatives started, despite his promise to end it, and started new wars?
Is it because he attacks with drones people in their homes, medical centers, and work places in countries with which the US is not at war? Is it because his corrupt administration spies on American citizens without warrants and without cause?
No. It is none of these reasons. In Noonan’s view these are not offenses for which presidents, even Democratic ones, lose their high-minded patina. Obama can no longer be trusted, because the IRS hassled some conservative political activists.
Noonan is a Republican, and what Obama did wrong was to use the IRS against some Republicans. Apparently, it has not occurred to Noonan that if Obama–or any president–can use the IRS against opponents, he can use Homeland Security and the police state against them. He can use indefinite detention against them. He can use drones against them.
All of these are much more drastic measures. Why isn’t Peggy Noonan concerned?
Because she thinks these measures will only be used against terrorists, just as the IRS is only supposed to be used against tax evaders.
When a public and the commentators who inform it accept the collapse of the Constitution’s authority and the demise of their civil liberties, to complain about the IRS is pointless.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
President Barack Obama’s Middle Eastern tour, scheduled for the end of March, has triggered a wave of intense speculation about its objectives in recent days. It centers on reports from Israeli sources that Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June.
The President will allegedly bring the message that Israel should “sit tight” and let the U.S. take the stage—even if that means remaining on the sidelines during an American military operation. It seems improbable, however, that an American president needs to make a 12,000-mile round-trip to provide such reassurance to a difficult partner whom he dislikes, and whose sentiments are fully reciprocated. Last year Obama had no qualms about turning down Netanyahu’s request for a meeting following the latter’s public criticism of the Administration for its reluctance to act against Iran. It is also unlikely that Obama would let Netanyahu know of his strategy so far in advance, even if the ‘window of opportunity’ claim was true.
As for the perennial issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is an even bet that Mr. Obama will not be able to kick-start the stalled ‘peace process.’ At most, notes The Economist, Israel may accept a partial freeze on settlement construction in exchange for a Palestinian pledge not to take Israel’s settlement activity to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Both sides are primarily interested in making the opponent take the blame for the continuing deadlock. Amos Yadlin—former military intelligence chief who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Jerusalem—aptly summarized the Israeli position when he said, “We have to submit a proposal to the Palestinians, a decent proposal, a fair proposal. If the Palestinians will accept it, it’s a win of peace. If they refuse—as we think they will—then at least we win the blame game and we can continue to shape our borders by ourselves without the need to wait for the Palestinians to agree.”
It is obvious that the new Israeli government does not envisage a two-state solution as the foundation of a “decent and fair” proposal. Netanyahu’s plans for settlement construction in annexed east Jerusalem would effectively cut the West Bank in two and force a fait accompli on the status of the Holy City that no Palestinian leader would ever accept. Further settlement construction is “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” and Netanyahu knows it. His move reflects his strategic vision: a lasting peace with the Arabs is not obtainable; the conflict is structurally irresoluble; and Israel’s security therefore demands open-ended maintenance of military superiority and physical control over as much territory as possible. Meaningless concessions may be made for PR purposes—a few Palestinian prisoners can be released here, further expansion of a few settlements may be suspended there—but Israel needs to manage the conflict by maintain the status quo for many years to come.
An important element of this strategy is the assumption that the United States will continue to support it politically, militarily, and financially. Quite apart from various moral and legal issues involved, the U.S. Government appears increasingly reluctant to condone Netanyahu’s vision—which is just as well, primarily because doing so would not be in the American interest, but also because the strategy of permanent conflict management is not in the interest of Israel’s long-term survival. Israel may seem strong and secure at the moment, but its position vis-à-vis its hostile Arab neighbors is steadily deteriorating.
The wave of political changes in the Arab world over the past two years has changed the security architecture of the Middle East to Israel’s detriment. One of its consequences is that in relation to Israel the new leaders are more representative of the wishes of their people. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of the political process has enabled it to concentrate all power in its hands. President Mohamed Morsi’s skill and cunning ensured the Brotherhood’s victory at the forthcoming sham parliamentary election. For the time being, Morsi is paying lip service to the maintenance of the peace treaty with Israel. He knows that this is the precondition for continuing American aid to his country’s depleted coffers, but his long-term intentions are better reflected in his speech made nearly three years ago, in which he urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. In a television interview months later, he blasted “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” Denying Israel’s right to exist is a key pillar of the Brotherhood’s ideology and its activists murdered President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 for signing that same peace treaty two years earlier. Nothing has changed in its position. Israel’s southwestern frontier is no longer secure; and if Bashar al-Assad falls in Syria, the same will apply to the northeastern frontier in the Golan.
With the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the geographic, demographic and cultural center of the Arab world well-nigh irreversible, the entire Middle East is in turmoil. Libya is a failed state in which rival tribal militias and terrorist groups run the show outside central Tripoli and use its territory to launch attacks in Algeria. In Syria, the rebel movement is dominated by the Islamic People’s Brigade, the Islamic Dawn Movement, the Battalions of Islam, and many similar groups which share an ideology that includes a relentless hatred of Israel. If victorious, these seasoned foreign and home-grown jihadists will cause Israel to nostalgically remember three decades of peace in the Golan Heights under Bashar al-Assad and his father before him.
If the momentum of the past two years provides pointers for the future, by the end of this decade the Greater Middle East will be more firmly Islamic than at any time since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and thus more implacably anti-Israeli than ever. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heralded the shift four years ago, and Turkey has rapidly morphed from Israel’s key strategic partner in the region into a hostile Islamic power. To take but one example, speaking the the United Nations on February 27 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the international community to “put an end to the Palestinians’ suffering in the occupied territories” and urged the world “to put pressure on Israel to respect human dignity.”
Closer to Israel’s borders, it is only a matter of time before Morsi’s protégé, Hamas, prevails over the more moderate Fatah in the Palestinian power struggle. The precarious stability of Jordan—which has long acted as if it had not merely a nonbelligerency agreement, but a fully-fledged peace treaty with Israel —will be tested by sectarian tensions between East Bank Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. King Abdullah’s reluctant reforms may create a revolution of rising expectations, and lead to yet another regime change detrimental to Israel’s interests. There will be no “peace process,” of course. With the storm clouds gathering around them, many Israelis will have reason to regret the support that Netanyahu’s friends in Washington had given to the Arab Islamic Winter.
Diplomatically, Israel is more isolated than ever since 1967. The settlement enterprise is not only a security liability, rather than an asset, but also a diplomatic millstone which materially contributed to the overwhelming UN vote in favor of Palestinian de facto statehood last fall. Since then, settlement policies have elicited a chorus of condemnation, including a call for sanctions against Israel by the European union. The unelected elite running the EU is inherently hostile to a state based on the principle of blood and religion, but its antagonism to Israel is further exacerbated by rising influence of the Muslim diaspora in several key EU countries, notably France, Germany and Britain. More significantly still, Chuck Hagel’s swift confirmation has exposed the growing weakness of pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington. Two years ago, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Following the botched anti-Hagel campaign, increasing numbers of Washingtonian insiders are prone to agree with his assessment.
Demographic trends are another alarming aspect of Israel’s long-term geopolitical position, which has always been shaped by the implacable determinants of land and population. The Palestinians are adamantly insistent on the “right of return” of the descendants of some 700,000 refugees of 1948, and estimates indicate that there are more than four million of them in the PA and elsewhere in the Arab world. Over 90% of them reject the possibility of monetary compensation in lieu of that right. This is anathema to Israelis, as it would signal the end of the Jewish state, and the elusive two-state solution seems to offer the only viable defense from the demographic bomb. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the Jews are already in a minority. Since birth rates in the West Bank and Gaza remain much higher than in Israel, the Arab population of the Palestinian Authority will exceed the number of Israeli Jews by 2040. On current form, Arabs will account for a quarter of Israel’s population by that time, up from just over a fifth today.
Jewish immigration does not make much difference to the trend. It has oscillated between 15 and 20,000 over the past decade, the massive influx from the former USSR having dried up. It is noteworthy that considerably higher numbers of Jews are leaving—many of them highly skilled professionals. In 2011, the government estimated the number of Israeli citizens living abroad at between 800,000 and one million, representing up to 13% of the population.Consistent with the latter figure is the estimated one million Israelis in the Diaspora reported at the first global conference of Israelis living abroad, held in January 2011. According to the Foundation for the Middle East Peace, about 45 percent of the adult Israeli expatriates have completed at least a university degree, in contrast to 22 percent of the Israeli population. The Israeli emigrants are generally younger than the immigrants to Israel. Significantly, up to 60 percent of Israelis had approached or were intending to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport. Analysts warn that it will be a challenge for Jewish Israelis to maintain their current dominant majority of approximately 75 percent, primarily due to higher fertility among non-Jewish Israelis — nearly one child per woman greater — the depletion of the large pool of likely potential Jewish immigrants, and large-scale Jewish Israeli emigration: “Consequently, demographic projections expect the Jewish proportion of the country—which peaked at 89 percent in 1957—to continue declining over the coming decades, approaching a figure closer to two-thirds of the population by mid-century.” As a commentator noted in the London Independent noted two years ago (“Will Israel Still Exist in 2048?”), with the early pioneering spirit fading, and even the Holocaust—dare one hazard—less of a unifying force, Israel is not the same country it was 60, 30, even 10 years ago:
And demography means that it will continue to change, with the Arab, Orthodox Jewish and second-generation Russian populations increasing much faster than other groups. The Israel of the next 30 years is likely to be more divided, less productive, more inward-looking and more hawkish than it is today—but without the financial means and unquestioning sense of duty that inspired young people to defend their homeland by force of arms.
The Palestinians believe that time is on their side. The young—one-half of the population—are angry, disillusioned and more radical than their parents. As Professor Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University wrote last November, they see the ailing Palestinian Authority pegged down at bare subsistence levels, without state authority or geographical contiguity, an undeveloped economy totally dependent on Israel and foreign donors, and a Palestinian elite accorded VIP status in reward for its collaboration in maintaining the status quo:
Today there is no longer a sole Palestinian representative—Hamas is in the game too. Moreover, the talks singularly failed to produce a permanent settlement or end the occupation. On the contrary, the reality on the ground has changed for the worse, to the extent that among the New Palestinians belief in the in the two-state solution is rapidly dwindling. The young generation sees Abbas and his people at a loose end, with no practical program or longer term vision… The young people also hear him talking about non-violent resistance to the occupation, while doing virtually nothing to promote it. But the New Palestinians are already on a different wavelength.
These “New Palestinians,” increasingly drawn to Hamas in preference to the corrupt old Fatah elite, will present a greater threat to Israel’s future than their stone-throwing predecessors. They will never accept Israel’s West Bank barrier as a permanent fact of life. They will also be even more inclined than their elders to view the conflict in ontological terms—as a struggle not only for Palestinian rights and viable statehood, but also for the divinely ordained claims of the Ummah against the usurping unbelievers. It is only a matter of time before the “New Palestinians” start perceiving Israel’s rejection of the two-state model and the expansion of settlements as a welcome lapse of judgment, a single-state trap from which the Jewish state will find it hard to extricate itself. They hope that the expansion of the fortress state will eventually morph into one-state solution by other means.
They are no longer deterred or intimidated by Israel’s military superiority. The IDF performed poorly in southern Lebanon in 2006, showing itself poorly prepared for the “fourth generation warfare” against an elusive non-state opponent like Hezbollah. According to a Brookings Institution 2011 report, “The IDF’s poor performance on multiple levels—leadership, coordination, logistics, and fighting capabilities—undermined Israel’s much-prized deterrent factor, and led to the perception of defeat.” The same problem occurred in Gaza in late 2008, where Hamas could be beaten but not defeated, and with the Gaza flotilla raid in 2009, the political costs of which far exceeded the utility of keeping the city under tight naval blockade. The fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons changes but little in the equation. Of eight other countries possessing the bomb, not one has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use it, let alone by using it. Worryingly for Israel, South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the winds of change in the early 1990’s.
Netanyahu’s vision of a Greater Israel and his open-ended strategy of military containment do not take into account the shifting environment and changes within Israel, which make his approach unsustainable in the long term. From its inception Israel has faced numerous threats, but its ability to cope with them in the past does not mean that it will be able to do so indefinitely. The issue is not whether Israel should survive, but whether it has the wherewithal to survive on the basis of the flawed grand strategy to which its ruling political elite subscribes.
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
The vocal smear coming out of the orchestrated Zionist media and corridors of orthodox foreign policy on Chuck Hagel, leaves bare the myth that the Israel-First proponents have the best interests of our country at heart. Obscene attacks on the former Senator provide refreshing validation that the establishment is nervous, because the sacred canons of their imperial strategy might be questioned. Such panicky concern gives sustenance to the cause for a rational and self-interest national defense policy. The hideous Neoconservatives maintain their diabolical alliance with the Neoliberal internationalists that work for a global dominance, which serves the interests of the financial elites, while sacrificing the blood and future of another generation of American youth.
Chuck Hagel, delivered these words at the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.
“Assuring that these returning veterans are productively integrated back into society with the appreciation and recognition befitting a great nation. As we have painfully learned from the tragic misadventure of Vietnam, society must always separate the war from the warrior. We do not celebrate the Vietnam War. We commemorate and historically recognize it. As I said at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ground breaking on a cold windy March day in 1982, “there is no glory in war, only suffering.” Life is always more about the people then the event. Events are stages upon which individuals change the world. And today we celebrate those individuals who changed our country for the better… our Vietnam veterans and their families.”
The entire NeoCon agenda denigrates the agonies of naive jingoists who want to serve their country, but are duped into becoming trained assassins. Their expendability is inevitable under the command of chicken hawks and dual loyalists. The bipartisan nature of globalist foreign policy prescribes that the armed forces are directed to implement targeted violence that only benefits the powers behind the systematic destruction of the country.
Chuck Hagel: “I’m a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator”, states the obvious. Yet, such honesty has no tolerance for the NeoCon purist. Fifth columnists create the “political correct” culture that purges any loyal dissenters. Even a lefty collectivist like Robert Reich has the insight to point out why Senator Hagel is a potential threat in the article, The Neocons vs. Chuck Hagel.
“Yes, it was dumb for Hagel to use the term “Jewish lobby” instead of “Israel lobby,” but that alone shouldn’t disqualify him. Everyone in official Washington knows how much power is wielded in that city by the Sheldon Adelsons of American politics who think Israel can do no wrong.”
Up until now, the outcry against the Hagel nomination ignores his viewpoints on the Iraq War and the disaster of the Viet Nam misadventure. In A Conversation with Senator Chuck Hagel on The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, the forbidden is spoken. Challenging the warmongering of the “War Party” in Congress is taboo, as the NeoCons are all too eager to point out.
“The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform. This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies.
Vietnam was a national tragedy partly because Members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the Administrations in power until it was too late. Some of us who went through that nightmare have an obligation to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam to not let that happen again. To question your government is not unpatriotic—to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices.”
An effort to dispute the expected media attacks countered in a list published by the Washington Times, Chuck Hagel’s Record: Myths and Facts, offers another point of view.
Myth #1: Senator Hagel is not supportive of Israel
Myth #2: Senator Hagel is soft on Iran
Myth #3: Senator Hagel has been soft on Hezbollah and Hamas
Myth #4: Senator Hagel would weaken our nuclear deterrent
Myth #5: Senator Hagel would gut the defense budget
Myth #6: Senator Hagel lacks management experience
While some of the arguments in this list have a tone of an apologetic advocacy for a besieged friend, the basic impression is that he is competent and qualified to be Secretary of Defense.
Where is the balance? Regretfully, the RINO elements in the Republican Party are nowhere to be found in the defense of one of their own. Once again, the accuracy of analysis comes from the Progressive Left, Democracy Now. Regretfully, their scrutiny falls far short on their social agenda, but hits the mark on Hagel’s Middle East positions. Watch the video, Chuck Hagel Faces Tough Confirmation from Senate Hawks for Rejecting Party Line on Israel and Iran.
Skepticism about Hagel from the political elites is understandable, but objectivity on his record deserves a review of his own statements. Steve Clemons provides some historical clips of speeches by and interviews with Chuck Hagel from the C-Span video library files, on 100 Minutes on Chuck Hagel.
Again, the left leaning Huffington Post seems to be willing to state what Republicans seek to forget, in the article Neocon nightmare: The truth behind the attacks on Chuck Hagel.
“Of course, the reason the opposition to Hagel is so desperate and so focused on side-issues or made-up charges is because they don’t want a debate that would shine a spotlight on their spectacular and disastrous failure in Iraq. “This is the neocons’ worst nightmare,” says Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, “because you’ve got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force.”
The direction of American Foreign Policy needs a comprehensive reset away from the policeman of the world. Woefully, the internationalists and their global agenda demands drone bombardment redundancy. The entire world is in the crosshairs of smart weapons. Boots on the ground are now called Special Forces because of their force multiplier capacity.
Having a DOD secretary that does not place the trigger button on automatic is problematic for the bellicose enthusiasts that view the U.S. Empire as a necessary enforcement of New World Order power.
Finally, the anti-war publication Alert.net provides a succinct summary in How the Chuck Hagel Brawl Exposes Neocons and Reveals the Limits of American Power.
“After the Obama administration floated the trial balloon of a Hagel nomination several weeks ago, various neoconservative publications and pundits have waged unremitting attacks on the pick. The campaign began when The Weekly Standard quoted an anonymous Senate aide calling Hagel anti-Semitic, and gained steam when the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens echoed similar, albeit more diplomatic, sentiments. Bill Kristol’s side-PAC (he is the editor of the Standard), the Emergency Committee for Israel, bought ad time in the greater DC television market criticizing Hagel’s opposition to unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran. The Washington Post editorial board insinuated he was far too dovish for the post, citing his voting record on Iran sanctions and statements about Pentagon bloat.
These criticisms were soon buttressed by several seemingly progressive critiques of the former Senator in a not-so-odd alliance between liberals and neoconservatives against the pick (more on that below). The nomination seemed all but torpedoed until several former friends and staffers of Hagel’s fired reciprocal volleys in support, while the Obama administration observed from the sidelines, until today. Hagel’s allies outside the press read like a who’s-who of establishmentarians, from Bush Sr. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft to former Reagan Secretary of Defense (and Carlyle Group chairman) Frank Carlucci.”
The NeoCons personal attack on Chuck Hagel is necessary because they have lost the high moral ground because of their bloodthirsty policies. The Israeli-First elements and sympathizers are a prime reason why the American government is hated as a global purveyor of war crimes. The real terror that threatens our nation comes not from foreign military aggression, but from homespun despotism. NeoCon psychopaths will settle for nothing less than a suicidal destruction of our society and the Republic. Changing the foreign policy is a prerequisite for a confirmed Hagel to be an effective Secretary of Defense.
My friend RJ at http://www.topplebush.com/ just sent me a very interesting riddle: “Why are right-wingers always talking about cutting down on government spending and’red tape’ yet never ever try to cut down on military spending? Aren’t the armed forces part of the government too?” Ya got me stumped there.
Here’s another riddle I can’t seem to solve: How come us salt-of-the-earth American types who protest against all the banksters’ outrageous crimes get thrown in jail, while the criminals themselves are given ”get out of jail free” cards like it was Christmas? Except, of course, for Martha Stewart.
More riddles: “Why is it okay for Al Qaeda to be the good guys in Syria and Libya — but are the bad guys in Lower Manhattan?” I’m all confused.
Why is it okay to tax middle-income Americans for an arm and a leg but not okay to tax rich people? “I wonder.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
How come everybody bitches and moans about the obesity epidemic and the cancer epidemic and the heart attack epidemic and the autism epidemic and the bi-polar epidemic but still live on junk food, never exercise and watch too much TV? And still have enough balls left to complain about single-payer healthcare? Can someone please explain this? http://www.indiegogo.com/
How come American taxpayers get to pay for the costs of demolishing Christian and Muslim homes in East Jerusalem yet can’t get any tax relief when our own homes are being demolished in Detroit and Cincinnati?
How come statistics (and election results and Fox News) show that Americans are definitely being dumbed down these days, but no one wants to spend any money on improving American kindergartens — let alone on upgrading our colleges. What ever happened to Sputnik?
Why do people fear climate change so much but still happily drive their gas-hogs around like there’s no tomorrow?
How come I can’t resist playing free-cell solitaire by the hour when I should be out doing the laundry and saving the world?
How can anybody in their right mind vote for any candidate that spends millions of dollars on getting elected? You would think that if a politician had that kind of money he (or she) might want to just retire to the Bahamas. Or give it to us.
“Why does America need to own approximately 800 military bases throughout the ’Free World’?” Hell, if the freaking world is all that free, surely it doesn’t need all those American soldiers to keep it in line? And why does all this so-called freedom always end up costing us taxpayers trillions of dollars as well?
And how come most of “our” jobs are now located in places like China, Haiti and Burma? Isn’t that a really long commute?
And please explain the riddle of how all the top American industrial jobs here at home are now mostly being performed by prison labor? While the 1% sucks down Oxycontin and Prozac legally and the rest of us all get busted for using medical marijuana — just to make sure they have a large enough prison labor supply in jails?
And why are American labor unions that help the working class being given such a bum rap, but when Wall Street and War Street form unions that destroy the fabric of America’s economy, it’s called “Capitalism” and “Showing Initiative” – not welfare for the rich?
And why are the RepubliDems always saying that the fiscal cliff is a bad thing? If it is spozed to be such a terrible disaster, then why in the freak did they create it in the first place?
And why does 2013 still feel so much like 2012?
The United Nations General Assembly vote of 11/29/12, which some in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps are calling a “birth certificate for our country” is the latest of more than 400 UN resolutions on the Question of Palestine and a rare major victory for Palestinians after 65 years of resisting occupation.
The UN action, which was backed by an overwhelm majority of UN members with a lopsided vote of 138 to 9, may well force the Zionist regime to seriously consider a just peaceful resolution of the conflict.
With due respect to the nearly 50 percent of the UN members who voted against the historic Palestine Resolution on 11/29/12 at the General Assembly, which is to say the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru ( the world’s smallest republic covering just 8.1 square miles with a population of 9, 378)), and Palau, with its approximately 20,000 inhabitants, all former U.S. Trust Territories and currently “freely associated states” of the United States, with U.S. zip/postal and telephone codes much more closely resembling American states (51st, 52nd, 53rd and 54th) than sovereign countries, the World spoke clearly in favor of Palestinian self-determination. Indeed, the only reason these dissenting four “countries” are UN Members at all is due to cold war era efforts of Washington to stack the General Assembly in its favor by running up the numbers of its safe votes.
Over the past fortnight, as the US and Israel piled layers of threats onto their mantra of derision regarding yesterday’s historic UN vote on Palestine, both countries desperately tried to dissuade the Palestinians from scrapping their application for non-member observer state membership status with the United Nations.
Way too much did Israeli officials and their US lobby protest, thus drawing more international attention and curiosity as they kept dissing the “purely symbolic empty gesture and meaningless act.”
Naftali Bennett, leader of the extremist right-wing national religious Zionist party in Israel, Habayit Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) warned the day before the vote that “the PA bid for non-member status at the UN has very real implications on Israel, and that we must take harsh measures in response. I don’t accept the claim that this is a symbolic move,” Bennet told Israel Radio. “This is not symbolic at all. This has very practical implications. “He added: “We must tell the Arabs, if you pursue a unilateral strategy at the UN, We will pursue a unilateral strategy in annexing settlements in the West Bank.”
There is some important symbolism in the UN admitting Palestine as a non-member observer on the 65th anniversary of the November 29, 1947, adoption by the UN General Assembly of the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). On December 2, 1977, it was recorded that the assembly called for the annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (A/RES/32/40 B).
Last minute appeals by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton plus a late night pre-vote visit by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Middle East envoy David Hale to the hotel room of the Palestinian Authority hold-over President Mahmoud Abbas failed to convince him to withdraw the resolution and to include the demanded eviscerating codicils.
Secretary of State Clinton could not have been more mistaken as she insisted at her news conference on 11/28/12 that “the only path towards a Palestinian state was through direct negotiations. As I have said many times the only path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.” Few in the state department, according to congressional staff members who liaise with Clinton’s staff, believe that direct negotiations would ever lead to Israel voluntarily rejecting its current apartheid system or that the interminable “peace process” has ever been taken seriously by the Zionist regime and in fact constitute a hoax. In contradistinction, the growing reality in the Middle East and all five continents is the belief that only Resistance, with its scores of forms, will liberate Palestine from Zionist occupation.
Low balling the UN vote…
Following the 138 to 9 vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, intimated, as did the usual Amen chorus of anti-Arab & anti-Islam zealots, from the US Israeli lobby, including the likes of ADL’s Abe Foxman, that” just as predicted, anti-Semitism was lurking behind the lopsided vote” and that it all amounted, in the words of Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, “to nothing but cheap political theater that should not come as a surprise to anyone.”
The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as it does on any issue involving Palestine and Israel issued Talking Points for members of Congress and other Zionist organizations to be used when communicating with constituents and giving media interviews. AIPAC keeps close track of how many interviews each member gives and how closely they tow the Zionist line so as to help determine how much cash the particular member will receive for re-election as well as other perks.
For this crucial UN vote, the US Zionist lobby used U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) drafted a letter from these AIPAC stalwarts to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts by the Palestinian Government to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly.
In their letter, the Senators asserted that “Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations. Should you decide, however, to bypass direct negotiations and unilaterally seek upgraded status at the UN, we want to again remind you of the potential for significant consequences. As S. Res. 185 notes, any such efforts may cause consequences in regards to U.S. policy and foreign aid.”
AIPAC instructed Congress to make the following points which was included in an “urgent advisory” to every member and many staffers.
1. This UN action won’t lead to peace.
Peace will only occur through direct talks. By refusing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking recognition of a state at the United Nations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is damaging U.S. peace efforts. (nothing in this point is accurate)
2. Recognizing a Palestinian state gives legitimacy to Hamas.
The Iranian-backed terrorist group has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. By granting recognition of a state, the international community will reward Hamas for its terrorist actions, rather than condemn them
3. The United States has rejected the Palestinian approach.
President Obama has said that “no vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state” and called the Palestinian efforts at the U.N. a “mistake.”
Other talking points AIPAC told Congress to use include: while Israel Takes Steps for Peace, Palestinians run to UN , Israel Wants Talks; Palestinians Still Refuse, Palestinians Glorify Terrorists by praising the Hamas victory.
What the Zionist leaders of Israel, as they franticly try to intimidate the region by stockpiling American weapons, while grabbing more Palestinian land, fear is that the 11/19/12 UN resolution may be a game changer.
In this they are correct.
The UN action allows the Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates and de facto grants recognition of Palestinian statehood on the pre-1967 ceasefire lines while re-enforcing the wide international consensus that the pre-1967 lines should form the basis of a permanent peace settlement.
It also opens up the 17 Specialized Agencies of the UN including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Bank Group, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) as well as related and comparable organizations.
As noted this week by Al-Haq, the Palestinian human rights organization “ Under such a strengthened position within the international legal system, the State of Palestine will be allowed to formally accede to international human rights instruments and other technical United Nations bodies, thus improving protection of Palestinian rights at the domestic and international level”.
It is also to be expected that Palestinian citizens under brutal Zionist occupation will demand to use their new status to join the International Criminal Court and might press for investigations of Zionist international crimes, crimes against humanity, attempted genocide, and a host of other practices in the occupied territories. Investigating such international crimes and bringing punishment to those convicted is why the ICC was established.
Professor Francis Boyle reminds us that Palestine can also now sue Israel at the International Court of Justice and end the illegal siege of Gaza, and join the Law of the Sea Convention and secure its fair share of the gas fields lying off the Gaza coast with enormous economic benefits. Palestine can also now join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereignty over its own airspace; join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines and band-widths.
These are just some of the many reason the Obama administration, slavishly joined the Zionist leadership of occupied Palestine to defeat the UN application.
The actions of the Obama Administration and its vehement opposition to the UN vote continues to diminish the relevance of the US in the Middle East as it slides further down the wrong side of history with its client state in tow. Attempting to justify its shameful opposition to the Palestinian diplomatic undertaking in the UN, the Obama administration could only offer a weak brief from the State Department legal department accusing the PLO of acting unilaterally, in breach of signed agreements are simply parroting AIPAC talking points noted above.
Deepening Palestine’s international legal personality within the United Nations system is a legitimate presence on the world stage from which to assert rights guaranteed by fundamental principles of International Law. With more access to the United Nations system, Palestinians have gained a major political and legal framework from which to work and to encourage the international community to comply with its obligation to end Israeli crimes against them and bring Israel’s serious breaches of international law to an end.
Shatila refugee camp…
The current festive celebrations in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps reflect the intense euphoria being witnessed throughout Gaza and occupied Palestine, Arab and Muslim countries, as well as relief among people of goodwill globally.
This observer’s special friend from Shatila camp, Zeinab, (she refers to herself as ‘Miss International’ given all the Americans and foreigners we bring to meet her and her wonderful family) called last night and giggled, “This is wonderful! You must come! I and some of my friends were wearing black scarves in honor of Ashoura on our way to protest against the Israeli aggression in Gaza. Within half an hour after gathering at the Youth Center athletic field we heard the news of the ceasefire. Soon we were dancing and singing and celebrating.’!”
At about the same time, thirty miles south of Beirut in Ein el Helwe Refugee camp, Lebanon’s largest and most densely populated with nearly 90,000 people squeezed into less than two square kilometers, more sardine-canned than even Gaza city, the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) also organized a celebration of Gaza’s victory.
Established nearly half a century ago in 1965 at the time of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, GUPW has consistently achieved much for Palestinian families regardless of location or fate. Like Zeinab’s manifestation, the GUPW’s demonstration against the Zionist aggression against Gaza became a joyful rally to celebrate Gaza’s victory, and soon refugees inside and on the outskirts of the camp were dancing and singing and raising Palestinian flags.
As Lebanese journalist Mohammad Zaatari has pointed out, the women’s rally was originally scheduled to deplore the aggression against Gaza, however after a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was reached the occasion turned into a celebration with refugees hoisting banners and flags from various PLO and resistant groups while calling for the solidarity and unity of Palestinian factions to confront the Zionist occupation of their country, Palestine. “Every grain of sand!” one university student shouted, “We must liberate all of Palestine and recover every grain of sand! Jews are most welcomed to stay if they want to live in peace as equals under the law, but forget about colonization, democracy for Jews only and apartheid. They must disappear for sure!”
“We have won in Gaza and this is only the beginning,” beamed Amina Jibril, Director of the Palestinian Women Union in Lebanon. “We haven’t just won through rockets. The kids and women and civilians who were killed in the clashes were resisting every day because their mere presence in Gaza is an act of resistance itself.”
But when the cheering stops and the placards are discarded, the many joyful demonstrations throughout Lebanon subside; most of the participants will trundle back to their bleak abject existence in Lebanon’s camps worse off in many respects than Gazans.
It is true that in Lebanon, Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and Druze regularly condemn Israel and consistently support the “liberation” of Palestine and breaking the siege of Gaza. But few there are who have historically supported expanding the rights or improving the dire living conditions of the more than quarter million refugees within Lebanese borders. As one Palestinian wryly noted, the Lebanese “favor the liberation of Palestine and Gaza, but they oppose even the most basic civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon.”
Without any help from the Lebanese government or the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have no choice but to depend on the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as their sole source of support and protection. Unfortunately, UNRWA has not proved up to the task due to the United States and Israel politicizing and interfering with international donor contributions.
Most Palestinians in Lebanon who are cheering Gaza’s victory well into the night won’t have to be concerned about being late for work the next day because Lebanese law forbids Palestinians from working in dozens of jobs and professions. Today, according to UNRWA’s own statistics, only about 53,000 of the approximately 130,000-strong Palestinian labor force are employed at all. Most who are have “illegal” low paying work are often ruthlessly exploited by employers who know their workers cannot complain to authorities or collect any work benefits. This is because in 1964, the Lebanese Ministry of Labor instituted a policy under Ministerial Decree No. 17561 whereby professions in Lebanon could be limited to Lebanese citizens. The regulations prohibited Palestinians from working in some seventy job categories.
In the camps of south Lebanon, Ein el Helwe, Mieh-Meih, al Buss and Rasheideyeh, and up north in the still unrestored Nahr al Bared camp, approximately 85 percent of all refugees live in “abject poverty.” Among the states in which UNRWA operates, Lebanon has by far the highest number of “special-hardship cases,” i.e., the poorest of the poor, some 30-35 percent of Palestinian refugees.
Nor will most the temporary celebrants of the Hamas victory in Gaza have classes to attend when the celebrations finish. As of 2008, the pass rate of Palestinian students in UNRWA classes was less than 50 percent—10 percent less than their Lebanese counterparts in state schools. This education deficit alone limits the opportunities of Palestinians in Lebanon. UNRWA does operate seventy-four primary schools– of which approximately 25 percent try to educate with larger classes, shorter hours and in double shifts—and in the process, provides employment to 2,785 residents and as of 2006, was the largest employer of legal, skilled Palestinian labor in Lebanon.
According to the recently published 2012 Human Rights Watch report on the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: “They continue to live in appalling social and economic conditions. 2011 saw no improvement in their access to the labor market, despite a labor law amendment in 2010 that was supposed to ease such access. The main reason was the government’s failure to implement the amendment. Lebanese laws and decrees still bar Palestinians from working in at least 25 professions requiring syndicate membership, including law, medicine, and engineering. Palestinian refugees are still subject to a discriminatory law introduced in 2001 preventing them from owning property.”
All activists and others around the world celebrating the victory in Gaza must encourage Lebanon thru its local embassy’s and consults, their own governments, Iran and the Hezbollah led Resistance in Lebanon, as well as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt to immediately use their power and prestige, enhanced by this month’s victory in Gaza to urge Parliament to repeal the racist 2001 law that forbids only Palestinians from owning a home in Lebanon. They need to leverage the victory in Gaza to benefit Palestinians in Lebanon and assure that Parliament immediately grants Palestinians in Lebanon the same civil right to work as every other foreigner in Lebanon enjoys as does every refugee in every country in the world including Gaza. It can quickly be achieved by progressive forces that currently control Parliament using their political power to achieve these long overdue humanitarian requisites.
Indeed, if these forces will generate the political will, no more than 90 minutes of Lebanon’s Parliamentary time will be required to truly make the victory in Gaza historic while at the same time lifting the shame off Lebanon for its massive violations of international and Lebanese laws by granting Palestinian refugees the most elementary civil right to work and to own a home.
If achieved, history will forever record that it was the 2012 victory in Gaza that substantially liberated their fellow refugees in Lebanon by granting these elementary rights.
Most peoples that resist the power politics of Zionism condemn aggressive actions of the outlaw Israeli state regularly. Yet most of the western democracies that are under the control of Talmud media and Khazar finance continue to defend the apartheid policies that are designed to purge any prospect of Palestinian, right to return, to the land of their forced removal. No matter what your politics are regarding the Middle East, the indisputable fact exists that the Greater Israel design for expanded territory is a core impediment of this interminable conflict.
From the beginning, Zionists advocated a “Jewish State” not just in Palestine, but also in Jordan, southern Lebanon, and the Golan Heights as well. In 1918 Ben-Gurion described the future “Jewish state’s” frontiers in details as follows:
“to the north, the Litani river [in southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-’Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 87) Click here to view the “Greater Israel” map that was submitted by the Zionists to the peace conference after WWI.
The self-justification by Zionists for enhancing strategic security enlargement of territory never deals with the central issues. The entire concept of a homogeneous “Jewish State” under a secular Zionist regime, mocks the notion of religious faithfulness to the teaching in the Torah. The meaning of a “Greater Israel” has little to do with devotion of Jehovah.
In order to comprehend this distinction read the essay Zionism, Racism and anti-Semitism.
“Zionism is a political movement. To equate motives of politics with a religious belief is specious. Judaism is NOT equivalent to Zionism. The distinction is imperative if a correct understanding of relationships and actions, in the Middle East, are to be appreciated. A Zionist often professes their acceptance of the tenants of the Jewish faith, but a ‘true believer’ in the supremacy and survivability of a political state, can and frequently are non-believers to Judaism and the Torah. This is crucial, because it is not a condition of political allegiance to share faith in Yahweh.”
Review the deplorable history of Israeli territorial designs. The Maps Tell The Story account that displays the chart of expansionist settlements.
“Starting with the United Nations Partition Plan, 1947, the original borders for the state of Israel are quite limited. This index illustrates the significant border changes after the 1949 War of Independence, after the six day war of 1967, than after the 1982 return of Sinai and the invasion of Lebanon, and finally after Palestinian autonomy and Lebanon withdrawal in 2000.
But the most notable map is the one that identifies the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. A careful analysis of the locations and the areas that are an effective no man’s land, demonstrates the consequences of the expanded settlements. It is hard to believe that Israel will ever agree to remove their own population from these areas.”
Most discussions about Israel originate under the premise that the government in Tel Aviv has an immutable right to defend itself. Thus far, the plight of the displaced Palestinians is almost exclusively relegated to condemnation for inflicting savage terrorism. At the same time the enormous military technological offensive strike capabilities of the Israeli Defend Force undertakes carnage with a disproportionate vengeance that unmasks the true vicious hatred of non-Zionists. Conferring moral authority for IDF airstrikes equates to the same erroneous rationale and hypocrisy that NeoCon proponents shower over the U.S. bombing of al-Qaeda enclaves.
The tentative cease-fire in the latest rupture of mutual hostilities just plays into the hands of the incremental Zionist expansionists. The overriding concern in Israel is not that their Iron Dome missile system can destroy incoming Hamas Fajr-5 projectiles. Their goal is to seek cover for their intended preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
RT quotes from the account; Iran confirms military aid to Hamas, sending long-range missile technology.
“Iranian lawmaker Ali Larijani said on Wednesday his country was “proud” to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas according to remarks published on the Islamic Republic’s parliamentary website.
Larijani stressed the assistance had been both “financial and military.” On Tuesday, Larijani lauded the Palestinian missile capability, saying it had given them a “strategic [source] of power.”
Now the world press will decry Iran for their acknowledged support of Hamas. However, the Washington Post article back in 2006, Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast, grudgingly reports:
“The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.
In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.”
When did you last read that the radical IDF using American aircraft and smart bombs struck a sovereign country’s industrial facilities and slaughtered civilians as collateral damage? Full Spectrum Dominance, in the pursuit of eliminating any resistance to the New World Order is justified in the Zionist press. Simply put, the NWO is composed of many rabid Zionists that give a new meaning to the term extremist. However, in the bigger scheme of things it is No Surprise – Terrorism Is Winning.
“The reason that Terrorism is seen as the ultimate foe of governments is the nature of the warfare. Let no one mistake the stakes. Those who are willing to die to deliver chaos and turmoil are dangerous. But, more than that, they are unstoppable. Such an assessment may be unpopular but consider the facts. Regimes and prosperous societies have much to lose. Alienated and hostile adversaries that place little value on life, are no match for standing armed forces. By denying the temperament of the attacker and responding with overwhelming force, the inevitable futility of the end result; is guaranteed. Even tactics of aggressive proactive search and destroy strategy, fails to address or eradicate the underlying conflict. The battle may be won short term, but the war just continues.”
In spite of using the term terrorism, the reaction to systemic aggression often takes a violent response. This is the ultimate break with faith, principles and teachings of all the three eminent monotheistic religions. Warfare over territory is as old as history. Destabilizing Egypt, Libya and now Syria is part of a larger master tactic to isolate Iran as the only remaining obstacle to the greater State of Israel.
U.S. forces under the discredited pretext of weapons of mass destruction falsehoods dismantled Iraq. Co-opting Gaza so that Iran can be leveled from the air means that the jointly developed Israeli/American Iron Dome batteries can be deployed for incoming Iranian missiles after a sneak attack strike.
The article Hamas, Israel and the United States sums up the dangers of American involvement into a blood feud. Dominance of the region and impoverishment of the oil poor inhabitants drive the displacement of Palestinians into ghettos of expedient smart weapon annihilation.
“A regional dispute over land that was stolen with the blessing of Western Democracies is and always has been the nucleus of the eventual holocaust. What Americans are so unwilling to accept is that our own country has no duty or moral imperative to arbitrate between eternal enemies. It is a local conflict that can only destroy our own land by intervening. Making matters much worse are foreign policies that the United States acts as a neutral broker for peace.”
Just who is the rogue state in the Middle East? Israel is no ally. The political reality of domestic politics is hard pressed to poke the Jewish lobby in the eye. Nonetheless, attacking Iran in a joint operation with the IDF is pure madness. The old axis of evil rhetoric has deplorable consequences, when applied with JDAM-equipped bombs guided by a global positioning satellite system.
Hamas does not have clean hands, but when will the American public come to grips with the real reasons for the destruction of our own nation? The Western Democracies capitulated to the Zionists in the theft of Palestinian land. Khazar imposters are not Semite descendants of Abraham. Their own ruling class dupes sincere tribal Jews. Zionism puts them at risk. The “Greater Israel” expansionism is an impediment to any negotiated peace with justice.How much more blood needs to be shed to admit the obvious? Christian-Zionists bear a heavy responsibility in fostering the Likudnik mindset. Without a moral treatment of all peoples, not all the military weapons on the planet will ever impose peace. The Arab dynasties hardly champion the Palestinian cause. When desperation becomes genetically acceptable, the entire world loses its humanity. In order to eradicate unremitting bombing, the globe needs to face up to real rogue terrorism.
In the past week, the people of Gaza have been subject to some serious Israeli attacks. Some Hamas leaders and militants have been murdered and many more Palestinians - innocent civilians, babies, kids women and elders – have lost their live. Yet, Gaza is celebrating with the Hamas leadership never more popular.
So here is an interesting anecdote that deserves our attention. During the recent clashes Gazan militants launched more than 1500 rockets at Israel. These rockets caused rather limited damage with more than six Israeli fatalities. Militarily at least, this is far from a great achievement. And yet the Gazans are celebrating. Would Israelis be happy to learn that 1500 of their rockets had had such limited effect? Would any western army accept such a result at such a cost? The answer is a categorical NO. But the Palestinians are ecstatic, why, because they know they have won the battle and are now set to win the war. They won the battle, not because they killed six Israelis – actually they would have won it without hitting one single Israeli. They won it because they managed to deliver a message to Israel, world Jewry and the whole world.
For many years I have argued that the Palestinian war of the rockets should be seen as sending a message: Israelis! You are on stolen land! You took our houses, villages, cities, fields and orchards. You pushed us into the desert. You surrounded us with barbed wire. You starve us and you kill us simply to suit your political ambitions. So this rocket is a message to you all. Think about us and then look at yourself in the mirror. Enough is enough!’
For more than six decades the Israelis have dismissed this message. They surrounded themselves with ghetto walls and have sealed their skies with an Iron Dome. However, with Tel Aviv now under attack, Israel and Israelis have been confronted with their original sin.
In the last two days, the entire Israeli media has admitted the colossal defeat of the so-called Operation Pillar of Cloud. Just yesterday, the Israeli right wing Ynet wrote “Hamas stood up and won almost all fronts…. Hamas has managed to turn focus on Gaza, it made it into the centre of the political discussion.” It seems that the most hawkish Israel government ever, has failed to beat either Hamas or the Palestinian spirit. The Palestinians are stronger than ever while the Jewish State has been exposed as an impotent manic-depressive collective driven by a neurotic and impotent leadership.
If Zionism was ever there to counter Jewish diaspora ghetto paralysis, just to ensure that ‘never again’ Jews would be ‘led like lamb to the slaughter’, Netanyahu, Barak and Liebermann have proved in the past week that paralysis is inherent to Jewish political culture. Like all bullies, they are obsessed with power, but when they meet defiance, their vile paradigm instantly collapses.
Speech can provides us with an insight into what we most lack. Speech can reveal that which we prefer to keep hidden. But speech is also often rather misleading, there to shape our lies into a truthful narrative. But it is these ‘true lies’ that provide an access to the fearful-self. It is these ‘true lies’ that reveal the unconscious. So, when, for instance Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists preach to us about Jewish ‘humanism and universalism’ they are obviously lying yet are they not also expressing a yearning for such an ethos to really exist in their own culture? Similarly, when Israel refers to itself as ‘The only democracy in the Middle East’ it this not because Israel would really love to be such a true democracy? In other words, often, when we speak we demonstrate what we most lack i.e. that which we miss and desire, yet we cannot admit this to ourselves. When Netanyahu decided to designate his latest massacre as a Pillar of Cloud, he actually tried to disguise from himself and his people the fact that in reality, he is actually an impotent, and the cloud is actually one big duvet of lies, there only to conceal his shame.
Israel and the Israelis love to talk about their ‘power of deterrence’ - Israeli actions, there to deter Palestinians and Arabs from even contemplating the possibility of challenging the Jewish state. In fact, the entire Israeli foreign and military policy can be realised with reference to that power. Israel likes to see itself at the core of its neighbours’ anxiety. This explains the Israeli fascination with the accumulation of nuclear bombs and other WMDs. It explains the policy towards Iran and it also explains its brutal attitude towards the Palestinians.
Israelis are obsessed with ‘deterrence’ only because, deep down, they are aware of their own vulnerability. Israelis are fanatical about ‘deterrence’ because they know that when push comes to shove, they themselves are actually powerless. They are now exposed for what they are: a fragmented society dominated by egotistic hedonism. Israelis know that their underbelly is very soft indeed.
Israeli collective melancholia must be realised in the light of their inevitable encounter with their true nature. As Ynet admits, they have been defeated in almost every possible respect. As a society, they have been caught naked and their imaginary collective bond has proved to be a farce. In spite of Israel’s mighty, sophisticated army the Hamas leadership, together with the people of Gaza, remained defiant. In spite of relentless air raids, and till the very last moment, Hamas kept firing their rockets reminding Israelis what life in Gaza is really like. When it seemed that the IAF had done its worst (but achieved so little), the Israeli government called on its 75.000 reservists, hoping against hope that such a move would bully Hamas into surrender. Again they were wrong. Ismail Haniah made things very clear when he invited the Israeli reservists to try their luck and enter the strip. Israel was caught with its trousers down – and believe me, the vision of their collective genitalia was not a pretty sight!
‘Unconscious is the discourse of the other’ says Lacan. The fear of impotence is not the fear that you may not be up to much in bed, it is actually the unconscious nightmare that everyone around you is saying behind your back that you’re not up to much in bed. Israelis not just now admitting their impotence to themselves, they are also aware of now being seen as a bunch of arrogant, cowardly and helpless barbarians.
By the time it became clear that the Pillar wasn’t even semi-erect and the Cloud couldn’t cover even that embarrassing truth, Netanyahu, Barak and Liebermann as well as the whole of Israeli society realised that nothing was left of Israel’s power of deterrence – for the Palestinians have lost their fear.