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A Tale of Two Disasters: The Balkans and the Middle East

October 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Yesterday and today (October 14-15) I’ve been taking part in an interesting conference at the Patriarchate of Peć, in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo. Organized by Bishop Jovan (Ćulibrk), an old friend of Dr. Fleming’s and mine, The Balkans and the Middle East Mirroring Each Other marks the centenary of the First Balkan War and the liberation of Kosovo and Southern Serbia after four centuries of the Ottoman misrule.

The conference has brought together an eclectic group of scholars: Ambassador Darko Tanasković of the University of Belgrade, Boris Havel of the University of Zagreb, Col. Shaul Shay of BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Martin van Creveld of Tel Aviv University, Gordon Bardos of Columbia University, and myself. The proceedings were attended by Patriarch Iriney of the Serbian Orthodox Church (R) and an array of Western diplomats and military officers based in Kosovo.

On the first day Professor van Creveld caused some controversy by suggesting that there existed a significant parallel between Israel and Serbia. The former needs to give up all occupied territories, including most of East Jerusalem—he argued—just as the latter needs to give up its claim to Kosovo. Regardless of how attached both nations feel to their ancient shrines and monuments that would be left behind, van Creveld argued that “amputating the gangrenous leg” was the only way to halt the sapping of strength and resources with no end-game in sight.

Disputing van Creveld’s diagnosis, Dr. Shay said that the apt metaphor was not an amputable leg but the patient’s heart that cannot be removed without killing the patient. My own paper reflected a similar point of view. The similarities between Kosovo and the West Bank are not obvious to the uninitiated, and prima facie similarities may appear superficial: In both cases there’s a small piece of disputed real estate, rich in history, poor in everything else, and badly mismanaged by the local Muslim majority which is chronically hostile to its non-Muslim neighbors. In both cases that majority craves internationally-recognized statehood. Far more important, in my view, is the spiritual parallel, with which I closed my remarks:

Proponents of Kosovo independence scoff at the Serbs’ claim that Kosovo, with its many ancient monasteries and the site of the famous battle, represents not just any part of their country but its very heart and soul—“Serbia’s Jerusalem.” Such attitude betrays a cynical contempt for the essence of any true nation’s identity, which necessarily rests on its historical, moral and spiritual roots. Without such foundation a people ceases to be a people and becomes but a random mob. If Serbia can be haughtily deprived of her Jerusalem today, and her historical and spiritual claims are dismissed out of hand, who is to say “al-Quds” will not be demanded of Israel tomorrow as the capital of an independent Palestine? And is it not hypocritical of the United States to actively support the former while claiming to be opposed to the latter?

Turkey is the common denominator in the Balkans and the Middle East, and its return to the center stage as a regional power is a remarkable phenomenon. It is historically unprecedented for a former great power which undergoes a period of steep decline to make a comeback and reestablish its position as a major player. After the Peloponnesian War Athens was finished for all time. Following the collapse of the Western Empire, Rome has never regained its old stature and glory. After Philip II Spain declined precipitously and has remained a third-rate power ever since. The list goes on, yet Turkey appears to be an exception to the rule.

Turkey’s neo-Ottoman strategy was the theme of Professor Tanasković’s presentation. He noted that at different times and in different contexts Turkey presents itself as a Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, or NATO country, but that its most important, indeed defining feature is its Islamic character. Both the Balkans and the Middle East have been repeatedly singled out and openly named as priorities in the neo-Ottoman strategy of “Strategic Depth” as articulated by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The ultimate goal is to recreate a sphere of strictly Turkish dominance, according to Professor Tanasković. He insists that the AKP government’s neo-Ottoman strategy is not an ideological projection focused on the past. Quite the contrary, it is a constant feature of Turkish foreign policy—logical and legitimate. The Islamists are rediscovering their heritage which was interrupted by the Kemalist revolution. Neo-Ottomanism is neither good nor bad, it is a reality  based on the notion that parallel to globalization, we have macro-regionalization of the world. In reality, Tanasković went on, there is no “globalization” in world politics: in a sense we are still in the 19th century, with regional powers seeking to dominance in their zones of influence. Only the US is still hoping to transcend the spatial limitations by projecting power always and everywhere.

Professor Tanaskovic concluded by saying that Turkey may have overplayed her hand following Ankara’s decision last spring to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. That decision has changed the strategic equation in the region, and it now exposes Turkey to the possibility of both Russia and Iran coming to view it as an adversary.

Shaul Shay opened his presentation by saying that the term “Arab Spring” is flawed. The word “tsunami,” or perhaps “earthquake,” would be more appropriate. It was destructive, unexpected, and not significantly amenable to human intervention. Nothing significant enough had happened in 2010 to enable us to say that this was the trigger for what followed. In the end, Shay argued, the Islamic Evolution proved stronger than the Tweeter Revolution. The process launched by young activists using all the resources the Internet has to offer eventually paved the way for Islamist movements.  The main actors for change have been the youth, but the beneficiaries have been the Islamists—they were structured, with deep roots in society, unlike the youth who have not had time to organize. The outcomes of recent Arab uprisings have confirmed the organizational superiority and appeal of Islamist political parties in a number of countries in the Middle East. The fragile transitions from secular pro-Western dictatorships through a “democratic procedure” to the formation of Islamic regimes was a “tsunami” which has moved the tectonic plates of the Muslim societies and will provoke aftershocks that will lead to a region dominated by political Islam.

In recent years, Say concluded, we’ve seen a change in strategy used by radical Islamic organizations. Muslim Brotherhood openly seeks to establish “democracy” based upon Islamic principles. They regard liberal democracy with contempt, but they are willing to accommodate it as an avenue to power but as an avenue that runs only one way.

Historic changes taking place in both the Balkans and the Middle East are the political equivalent to the shift of tectonic plates. This is a crossroad in history and the road the nations involved take will determine our future. In the meantime we might see more Islamization there rather than Western style democracies. Where it will really lead Middle East and the rest of the world only future will tell.


Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic, author, historian, foreign affairs analyst, and foreign affairs editor of “Chronicles.” He has a BA (Hon) in international relations from the University of Sussex (UK), a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and a PhD in history from the University of Southampton (UK).

www.trifkovic.mysite.com

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Tunisia: The Game Is Not Over

October 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A week-long visit to Tunisia, in the course of which I covered some 2,000 miles by rental car, bus, SUV, and a powered hang glider, has confirmed that of faraway places we often assume to know more than we do. The first country affected by a wave of popular discontent known as the Arab Spring was full of surprises.

To start with, the country is safe for foreign visitors. There have been no attacks on tourists, either at the time of the “Jasmine Revolution” last year or during the periodic eruptions of street protests since then. The violence triggered off by that YouTube video was quickly contained. Last week, more than 50 people—most of them policemen—were injured in protests at the reopening of a rubbish dump on the resort island of Djerba, but the protesters stayed away from the hotels. Even in dusty provincial towns, where no foreigners venture, gas station attendants and cold drinks vendors invariably greeted me with a smile and a polite “bonjour, Monsieur, ça va?” This is in contrast to the barely concealed hostility I have encountered on my recent trips to the West Bank, or—over a decade ago—in Libya.

By the third day, I felt emboldened to venture on my own to the spectacular Roman city of Dougga, a three hour drive from Hammamet, where I had the ruins all to myself for over two hours. At Téboursouk, on the way to Dougga, and at Qa Afur on the way back, I stopped casually at coffee houses for refreshments—the only European for miles around. Mustached men observed the strange sight behind clouds of tobacco smoke. Before long, some bold youngsters initiated conversation. Speaking French (however rusty in my case) definitely helps: it is still compulsory in Tunisian schools, and English has not made many inroads outside the capital and the coastal resorts. (As it happens, it also helps not being an American, or at any rate not admitting to being one.) The conversation did not need to be steered to politics, as most Tunisians find it the only topic currently worth discussing. Such encounters have been invaluable in helping me form a broad picture—more comprehensive and reliable than the one visiting foreign journalists get from their Sorbonne-educated, barely-accented colleagues over cappuccinos on Avenue Habib Bourguiba.

The “Arab Spring” stereotype—a simmering volcano of fundamentalism suddenly erupting and sweeping away a secularist autocracy—does not apply to Tunisia. The causes of the revolt against Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in January 2011 were social and economic, no less than political. The country had outgrown him. Tunisia is blessed not to have much oil or gas—unlike its two neighbors Libya and Algeria—so it was forced to develop tourism, agriculture, and light manufacturing from its own resources. In contrast to the Emirates or Saudi Arabia, the Tunisians do their own work. The results have been impressive: it is the most literate Arab country, with the highest percentage of women in the workforce. It has good roads, reliable phones, clean if sometimes erratic water supply, and working sewers. Its roadsides are littered with garbage, but its living standards and the quality of its public services are second to none on the African continent. (Libya topped the chart until a year ago.)

In the final years of his rule, Ben Ali made the mistake of pandering excessively to his big business cronies, including his second wife’s corrupt family. The anger of “the street” had more to do with an uneven distribution of the fruits of prosperity and the stubbornly high unemployment rate—especially among the young—than with the kind of endemic poverty rampant in Egypt. A year later the Tunisian economy appears to have avoided the nosedive that seemed imminent after Ben Ali’s fall. The country’s budget deficit will be contained at below 6 percent of GDP next year. This year’s growth is expected to exceed 3.5 percent, and next year’s target is an impressive 4.5 percent. Inflation, interest rates and exchange rates remain under control.

Far from having absolute supremacy comparable to that enjoyed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia’s Islamic party, Ennahdha, is sharing power in a coalition that includes secularists who opposed Ben Ali’s regime and were the first to hit the streets in January of last year. President Moncef Marzouki, a suave, fluent French speaker, is one of them. Ennahdha’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, is still the most powerful player in the country, but he is likely to fall short of an absolute parliamentary majority in the elections due next year. Many Tunisians are disappointed by the graft and corruption that remain endemic a year after his party became the majority stakeholder in the first democratically elected government in the country’s history. The political process is nevertheless well established, the press is free, and not even pro-Western secularists regret the demise of Ben Ali. A recent public opinion survey released by the International Republican Institute shows that most people prefer a democratic Tunisia, however unstable, over a non-democratic system which promised prosperity and security.

A year after gaining 89 of the 217 seats in parliament, Ennahdha has seen its support slip to 30 percent. It is now challenged, even by the veterans of the old establishment. Nidaa Tounes party, led by the former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, has come from nowhere to command the support of one-fifth of the electorate. Many Tunisians—including my young casual interlocutors—object to the continuing demand of some Ennahdha deputies for the inclusion of Islamic provisions in the new constitution, including a controversial amendment making women unequal to men. The secularists, including Ennahdha’s current coalition partners and the leftists Workers’ Party, are likely to obtain sufficient support to prevent the country’s drift into Islamism.

All this is light years away from Libya next door, or Egypt further east. It was only towards the end of my tour that it dawned on me why Tunisia’s destiny is by no means sealed: there was no American intervention, which would have secured an Islamist takeover. Ben Ali gave up too soon for the U.S. to get directly involved, and there was no violence to justify calls for intervention. The “revolution” was a Tunisian affair and it has produced an outcome illustrative of Tunisian realities. It is currently the only functioning democracy in the Arab world. It is to be hoped that the Obama Administration will refrain from trying to engineer a different outcome.


Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic, author, historian, foreign affairs analyst, and foreign affairs editor of “Chronicles.” He has a BA (Hon) in international relations from the University of Sussex (UK), a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and a PhD in history from the University of Southampton (UK).

www.trifkovic.mysite.com

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Disappearing Middle Eastern Christians

September 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Fourteen centuries of Islam have fatally undermined Christianity in the land of its birth. The decline of the Christian remnant in the Middle East has been accelerated in recent decades, and accompanied by the indifference of the post-Christian West to its impending demise. Once-thriving Christian communities are now tiny minorities, and in most countries of the region their percentages have been reduced to single digits. Whether they disappear completely will partly depend on Western leaders belatedly taking an interest in Christian plight and persecution. This seems most unlikely, as the examples of Iraq, Egypt and Syria demonstrate.

In Syria the Obama administration is fully committed to supporting the rebels, although it should be well aware of the ideological outlook and long-term objectives of Bashar al-Assad’s foes. They are Sunni fundamentalists. The partnerships forged thus far are ominous. The New York Times reported last June that CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, deciding which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms. The weapons are being funneled across the Turkish border “by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.”

Syria is the region’s only remaining country where Christians live effectively as equals with their Muslim neighbors. It has the second largest Christian community in the region (after Egypt), some 2.5 million strong. Most of them are supporting President Bashar Al Assad amidst ongoing rebellion in the country because they prefer a dictator who guarantees the rights as a religious minority to the grim future that Assad’s departure might bring. According to George Ajjan, an American political strategist of Syrian origin, an existential fear about a bloody fate awaiting them—should the Assad regime fall in Syria—is the main driver behind the Christian community’s almost unanimous support of its policies:

“The secular regime of the Baath Party dominated over the past four decades by the Alawites, a heterodox Shiite sect to which the Assad family belongs, undoubtedly secured life and liberty for the Christians— although dire economic circumstances resulting from the regime’s failure to provide growth have driven many middle-class Christians to emigrate, seeking a better standard of living abroad. Taking that into account, the commonly-cited figure of 10% Christians is perhaps close to double the real number living in Syria at the start of the uprising.”

It is not to be doubted that if the Obama Administration is successful in its stated objective of bringing Assad down, the Christians in Syria will follow their Iraqi brethren into exile. The predictable consequences of Assad’s fall and the Brotherhood’s victory would be the creation of a Shari’a-based Islamic state.

According to political analyst James Jatras, it sometimes appears as if Washington’s policy toward the unrest sweeping the Middle East is impacted by a network of Muslim Brotherhood agents working in cohorts with Obama who is only pretending to have strayed from his Islamic birth (as defined by Sharia). If this scenario is even only partly correct, Jatras says, then it would be hard to see how the result would be different from the one we have:

“If the conscious goal of the policy were the final uprooting of Christ’s followers from the region of His birth and earthly ministry, it could not have been better crafted. No one can doubt that should the regime of Bashar al-Assad fall, Syria’s Christians (primarily Orthodox), already singled out for attack by the ‘democratic’ opposition, would be subject to a full-scale campaign of elimination that they (unlike the Alawites, who at least can try to defend themselves in mountain areas in which they predominate) are unlikely to survive as a living community. It is thus not too strong to accuse, in so many words, those bipartisan champions of ‘Free Syria’ who urge outside intervention of advocating Christian genocide, whether or not that is their conscious intention.”

That this scenario seems acceptable to the Obama Administration became obvious in October 2011 when Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, blocked a delegation of Middle Eastern Christians led by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai from meeting with Obama and members of his national security team at the White House. Mogahed reportedly cancelled the meeting at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood in her native Egypt. Rai has warned repeatedly that a Brotherhood-led regime would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian minority, but his admonitions are unwelcome in Washington.

Last July, the Department of State vigorously lobbied against bipartisan Congressional legislation to send “protection envoys” to the Middle East to examine the position of the Christian minorities. The State Department called the protection envoy role “unnecessary, duplicative and likely counter-productive.” In the meantime, tens of thousands of Syria’s Christians have already fled rebel-controlled areas as Islamists who dominate in the rebel ranks target them for murder, extortion and kidnapping. As George Ajjan concludes, this gradual downward demographic pressure of recent years will explode with the exodus of Christians from Syria that is occurring and will accelerate without an end to the current armed conflict:

“Should the uprising continue, with the regime losing control of more and more territory to armed rebels and law and order further breaking down, Christians will increasingly become the targets of intimidation tactics, kidnapping, and overt hostility—if not ethnic cleansing from mixed areas.”

At the same time, Administration officials pressed Egyptian generals into gradual surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country. The decision to treat the Muslim Brotherhood as a strategic partner has been on the cards at least since February 10 of last year—one day before Hosni Mubarak’s resignation— when President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an astounding statement. He told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence that the Brotherhood “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements… a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam.”

The assertion by a top-ranking member of Obama’s team that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular” defies belief. It came into being in 1928 as an outright reaction against secularism, which the Egyptian elites had largely embraced during the British dominance in the country. To this day the Brotherhood’s simple credo remains the same: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Contrary to Clapper’s assurances, the Brotherhood is an archetypical Islamic revivalist movement that opposes the ascendancy of secular ideas and advocates a return to integral Islam as a solution to the ills that had befallen Muslim societies. Today it has branches in every traditionally Muslim country and all over the world, including the United States. Its members share the same long-term goal: the establishment of a world-wide Islamic state based on Sharia law. As is to be expected, they believe that the Koran and the Tradition justify violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments, and they look upon America as a sworn enemy.

During the Cold War, Washington routinely pandered to various Islamists as a means of weakening secular Arab nationalist regimes. In the mid 1950s, the Americans even promoted the idea of forming an Islamic bloc—led by Saudi Arabia—to counter the Nasserist movement. That approach may have made some sense during the Cold War, but it certainly makes none today. The strategy of effective support for Islamic ambitions against the Soviets in Afghanistan has helped turn Islamic radicalism into a truly global phenomenon detrimental to U.S. security interests. The ridiculous notion that the Muslim Brotherhood can become America’s user-friendly partner merely proves that the architects of our Middle Eastern policy have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Egypt’s dwindling Copts have seen their position deteriorate over the past year from precarious to perilous. Already facing discrimination and harassment from Mubarak’s secular regime, they now see that things could get a lot worse under the Islamists who are now poised to take complete power. Their annus horribilis started on New Year’s Day 2011, when a powerful car bomb targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, killing 25 parishioners and wounding nearly 100 just as they were finishing midnight liturgy. The next turning point was the Maspero massacre on October 9, 2011, when 27 unarmed Christian protesters were killed and hundreds more injured, not by some shadowy Islamic extremists but by the military.  An official commission—established by the Army—has unsurprisingly absolved the Army of all responsibility for the killings.

Egypt shows that the prospect of the end of Christianity in Syria as a direct consequence of American policy is not unique, nor limited to one party or administration. The almost complete Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt already is accompanied by an accelerating Coptic exodus, as church attacks and kidnappings (mainly of girls, who after rape and supposed “conversion” to Islam are denied return to their families).

The process is accelerating. On August 1 Sherif Gadallah, a prominent lawyer from Alexandria, submitted a report to the public prosecutor demanding the exclusion of Copts from the committee in charge of forming Egypt’s constitution. That same week a sectarian crisis escalated in the village of Dahshur, only 25 miles south of Cairo, where hundreds of Muslims torched and looted Coptic businesses and homes. “As 120 families had already fled the village … the businesses and homes were an easy game for the mob to make a complete clean-up of everything that could be looted,” said Coptic activist Wagih Jacob. “The security forces were at the scene of the crime while it was taking place and did nothing at all.” The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement criticizing officials “for not dealing firmly with the events, demanding the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, the provision of security to the village Copts, their return to their homes, and monetary compensation for all those affected.” Its adherents see the Dahshur incident as a continuation of the Mubarak-era policy of collective punishment of Copts. Renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany said, “What if the Americans acted the same way as the extremists of Dahshur; would you accept the expulsion of Muslims of America in response to Bin Laden’s terrorism?”

Egypt’s ongoing transition to what passes for democracy in the Muslim world is going to make matters far worse for the Copts, who are fearful the army and courts will not shield them from ever-greater discrimination and harassment. The Freedom and Justice Party, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, now controls the country’s parliament, and the president is a Brotherhood disciple. The adherents of political Islam are in charge. Their spiritual leader is Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who in a recent video reminded the faithful that Christians are infidels. The Sheikh’s position is in line with orthodox Islamic teaching, which may explain the fact that he is still hailed in the West as a moderate. Five years ago, a U.S. News article described him as “a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam.” As a result, according to an August 14 report in El Fegr, jihadi organizations openly distribute leaflets inciting for the killing of Copts and promising them “a tragic end if they do not return to the truth” (Islam). The letter even names contact points and a location, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those supportive of such goals should rally after Friday prayers and join forces.

“Liberation” of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship has devastated that country’s Christian community, with many taking refuge in Syria, where they are now again under threat. “At least proponents of Muslim liberation in the Middle East can claim, however implausibly, that the negative impact on local Christians is an unintended and regrettable consequence of a fundamentally humane and progressive program,” James Jatras says.

“But in the Balkans, specifically in Kosovo and in Muslim-controlled areas of Bosnia, no crocodile tears are required. The victims are Serbs, and of course they deserve everything they get. But excuses and window-dressing aside, the bottom line is the same: Washington—supposedly the great global opponent of jihad terror—in fact is the consistent supporter of militant Islamization of one country after another, with the predictable result of streams of Christian refugees, burned churches, murdered clergy, and enslaved girls. Given the collusion between our government and media, not one American in ten has a clue what our government is doing in our name and with our money.”

Iraq’s dwindling Christian population marked Christmas 2011 with bomb attacks across Baghdad that killed dozens of them. After U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from the country, Christian exodus from Iraq accelerated. “Our faithful in Iraq live in fear,” Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni complained, “they feel there is no peace, no security, so they go where they can live in peace… The government cannot ensure their lives.”

The Christian community in Iraq was some two million strong before the US-led invasion of 2003. Up to four-fifths is estimated to have left the country in recent years following a series of attacks by Muslim extremists. While they were still there, the U.S. forces did little to protect them, leaving the task to the Iraqis. On October 31, 2010, an assault on a Baghdad church left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force members dead. According to Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, “the security forces are not sufficiently prepared to ensure the protection of Christians.” He says that 57 churches and houses of worship in Iraq have been attacked since the invasion with a thousand Christians killed and more than 6 000 wounded.

At the outset of the Islamic conquests under Muhammad’s successors all of these lands were 100 percent Christian. By the time the Ottomans took over they had a Christian plurality, and in Palestine and Lebanon the outright majority. Under the British Mandate (1919-1947), Palestine officially was a Christian country. Bethlehem, for instance, had a population that was 90 percent Christian. Today, they are disappearing: Bethlehem is now less than 10 percent Christian. Among almost three million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, only 50,000 Christians remain. Within the pre-1967 borders of Israel there are six million people; only two percent are Christians. In the city of Jerusalem the Christian population has declined from 45,000 in 1940 to a few thousand today. At the current rate of decline, the Christian population will be a fraction of one percent in the year 2020, and there will be no living church in the land of Christ

If the Jewish or Muslim population of America or Western Europe were to start declining at a similar rate, there would be an outcry from their co-religionists all over the world. There would be government-funded programs to establish the causes and provide remedies, and heart-rendering Hollywood movies. The endangered minority would be awarded instant victim status and be celebrated as such by the media and academia. But the disappearing Middle Eastern Christians, or their remnant, remain invisible to the Western world. It is evidently hard to be “post-Christian” without becoming anti-Christian.


Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic, author, historian, foreign affairs analyst, and foreign affairs editor of “Chronicles.” He has a BA (Hon) in international relations from the University of Sussex (UK), a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and a PhD in history from the University of Southampton (UK).

www.trifkovic.mysite.com

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

America Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East?

August 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen will have her hands full as she makes the political and social rounds at this month’s Republican National Convention.  Illena, is the only female committee chair in the House of Representatives and arguably Israel’s most ardent agent.  She is a constant thorn in the Obama administration’s side, regularly castigating the president for playing “political games with U.S. foreign policy” and being “soft on Iran” and undermining the legitimacy of Israel.  Ros-Lehtinen is a congressional cheer leader also for her Jewish voters in Florida — a key battleground in the rapidly approaching US presidential election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress yet another bill tightening sanctions against Iran while calling for US military action against the Assad regime in Syria.

The Congresswomen’s focus will likely not be on pushing the republican’s talking points regarding her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney the former “moderate Massachusetts governor” who she is aware is unlikely to win the White House. Nor, according to a source at the Democratic National Committee, frantically putting together final touches on their own Convention, to be held the week of September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina,will Ileana spend much time with or promoting Mitt’ running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan, an Ayn Rand (author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as well as founder of the Objectivism movement) follower, regularly tells audiences that “ Ayn Rand’s teachings have been one of the most profound philosophical influences of my life,”  Well, except for religion and abortion, as Ayn who passed away in 1982 was an avowed atheist and strongly pro-abortion,  the opposite of  what Ryan tells audiences he is.

Rather, Ros-Lehtinen will be meeting with local, national, and international Jewish leaders in this must win state where she has been assigned the task of reassuring them that the Republican Party is Israel’s best friend and that a recent US government draft report urging a US re-think of its relationship to Israel is the responsibility of none other than Barack Obama, and it reveals his true disdain for Israel.

Helping her smear the White House with the findings in the draft  analysis will be  William Kristol, publisher of the neoconservative Weekly Standard and Director of the New American Century, an “Israel first” Washington-based lobby “promoting joint Israeli and American political and military leadership across the globe, while bringing democracy to the Middle East”.

So what is all the fuss about?

It’s a paper entitled:  Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East, an  82 page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors concludes that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations  with  Arab and  Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.

The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.

Among the many findings that Ros-Lehtenin and Kristol and other unregistered agents of Israel will likely try to exploit politically between now and November 6, by using them to attack the Obama Administration are the following:

  • Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot  be salvaged any more than apartheid south Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;
  • The Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East;
  • The post Labor government Likud coalition is deeply complicit with and influenced by the settlers’ political and financial power and will increasingly face domestic civil strife which the US government should not associate itself with or become involved with;
  • The Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening has to a major degree freed a large majority of the 1.2 billion Arab and Muslims to pursue what an overwhelming majority believe is the illegitimate, immoral and unsustainable European occupation of Palestine of the indigenous population;
  • Simultaneous with, but predating,  rapidly expanding Arab and Muslim power in the region as evidenced by the Arab spring, Islamic Awakening and the ascendancy of Iran, as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute consistent given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries;
  • Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and  approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of  the US government which should no longer be condoned;
  • That the United States government no longer has the financial resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The more than three trillion dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel  since 1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;
  • Israel’s segregationist occupation infrastructure evidenced by  legalized discrimination and increasingly separate and unequal justice systems must no longer be directly or indirectly funded by the US taxpayers or ignored by the US government;
  • Israel has failed as a claimed democratic state and continued American financial and political cover will not change its continuing devolution as international pariah state;
  • Increasingly,  rampant and violent racism exhibited among Jewish settlers in the West Bank is being condoned by the Israeli government to a degree  that the Israel government has become its protector and partner;
  • The expanding chasm  among American Jews objecting to Zionism and Israeli practices, including the killing and brutalizing of Palestinians under Israeli occupation,  are gross violations of American and International law and raise questions within the US Jewish community regarding the American responsibility to protect (R2P) innocent civilians under occupation;
  • The international opposition to the increasingly  apartheid regime can no longer be synchronized with American claimed  humanitarian values or US expectations in its bi-lateral relations with the 193 member United Nations;
  • The Draft ends with language about the need to avoid entangling alliances that alienate much of the World and condemn American citizens to endure the consequences.

Interestingly, it notes Iran as an example of a country and people that have much in common and whose citizens have a real interest in enjoy bilateral associations (here an apparent reference to Israel and its US lobby) not determined by the wishes of other countries and their agents. It also highlights the need for the US to undertake “the repairing relations with Arab and Muslim countries including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.

The coming days will clarity the success of Israel’s in making an issue of the finding in the soon to be published draft report and the degree to which the Republican Party will gain for its findings in the race for the White House.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Message To: DNC and Zionists of America From: An American Patriot

August 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Patriotism means to stand up for one’s homeland.

It does not mean to stand up for any political party, politician or any other another state.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to address the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Among Carter’s ‘crimes’ are his 2007 book, “Peace Not Apartheid” which the ZOA claims is filled with “falsehoods about Israel, not least the vicious insinuation in its title that Israel resembles the evils of the apartheid regime in South Africa and that Jews living in Judea and Samaria, is the ‘primary’ obstacle to peace.”

According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that “Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status…even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors.” [1]

The ZOA is also up in arms over Carter daring to mention that Israel has destroyed over 40,000 Palestinian homes, which have rendered hundreds of thousand Palestinians homeless and that Gaza is an open-air prison.

The ZOA ignores the Jewish Justice Richard Goldstone’s 575-page report of September 29, 2009, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.

Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel’s targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.

US-supplied weapons enabled the 22 days of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.

During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, “Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. [2]
During Operation Cast Lead, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called “self defense.”

In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.

“Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.

“Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.

“Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.

“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” [Ibid]

Last year, I attended AIPAC’s D.C. Conference and heard President Obama speak about the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons but not a word about Israel’s still un-inspected WMD facility-which everyone in the world, except most Americans learned about 26 years ago, when Mordechai Vanunu’s photos and testimony made front page news in London’s The Sunday Times.

Obama also mentioned his visit to the Jewish Wailing Wall and how he thought about the generations who have wanted a homeland; but not a word was uttered about the generations of indigenous Palestinians who are still denied their inalienable right to return home or about the 21st century Wailing Wall: The Apartheid Wall:

Obama told of his visit to Sderot and the struggles of those residents, but he neglected to travel five minutes away into the open air prison of Gaza where 1.5 million human beings-800,000 are under the age of 16-struggle every moment of the day just to survive under a brutal siege aided and abetted by USA policy!

In 2009, I spent an evening in Sderot and learned that most everyone there would be just as happy to migrate to Las Vegas than live in Israel: Read more…



Israel’s existence is a fact of life, but what can never be accepted by people of conscience is Israel’s ‘right’ to steal land and resources of the indigenous people of Palestine and we the people of this homeland’s tax dollars that aid, abet and sustain an illegal, immoral and brutal military occupation.

All through that AIPAC conference I heard the incessant drumbeat of Israel’s rights, about the “special relationship” “shared values” “common Interests” the “Jewish State” and claims that Israel is a democracy, but Israel is not-and never has been a Democracy!

In the May 28, 1993 edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, Ariel Sharon explained:

“The terms ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ are totally absent from the Declaration of Independence. This is not an accident. The intention of Zionism was not to bring democracy, needless to say. It was solely motivated by the creation in Eretz-Isrel of a Jewish state belonging to all the Jewish people and to the Jewish people alone. This is why any Jew of the Diaspora has the right to immigrate to Israel and to become a citizen of Israel.”

Jeff Halper, American Israeli, co-founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Professor of Anthropology explained that, ”An ethnocracy is the opposite of a democracy, although it might incorporate some elements of democracy such as universal citizenship and elections. It arises when one particular group-the Jews in Israel, the Russians in Russia, the Protestants in pre-1972 Northern Ireland, the whites in apartheid South Africa, the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran, the Malay in Malaysia and, if they had their way, the white Christian fundamentalists in the US-seize control of the government and armed forces in order to enforce a regime of exclusive privilege over other groups in what is in fact a multi-ethnic or multi-religious society. Ethnocracy, or ethno-nationalism, privileges ethnos over demos, whereby one’s ethnic affiliation, be it defined by race, descent, religion, language or national origin, takes precedence over citizenship in determining to whom a county actually ‘belongs.’”[3]

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned US:

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all…and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”
Obama admitted that true friends speak open and honestly and that “the current situation does not allow procrastination. The world is moving too fast [and] the Talmud teaches as long as one has life do not abandon faith. We will never abandon universal human rights.”

It was President Harry Truman who crossed out the word ”Jewish state” on the draft of the Establishment of Israel that was cabled him and substituted ”State of Israel” which he affirmed was contingent upon Israel upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more…

As a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, America is obligated to hold ALL other Member States to it!

As an American patriot who went online in 2005 after my first of 7 trips to Israel and Occupied Palestine, all I have been saying is that when Israel honors its founding promises and America upholds its obligation as a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then YES WE CAN begin this world again by BUILDING IT according to the principals outlined and agreed to in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444320,00.html

2. http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/9-us-arms-used-for-war-crimes-in-gaza/

3. Jeff Halper, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel, Page 74


Eileen Fleming is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Eileen Fleming, Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

The Romney and Netanyahu Brotherhood

August 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The NeoCons are delighted with their new imperialist firebrand, Mitt Romney. Just look to all the familiar faces and names that surround the presumptive GOP nominee for dictator in chief. It is impossible to support the Republican Party when their foreign policy is made in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. If you belief this assessment is too harsh, explain away the recent pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall. The Moderate Voice makes a striking point on Romney’s recent visit to Israel, which is difficult to refute.

“Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.” But what Romney DIDN’T SAY was almost as striking — if not more so. Not once did he utter the phrase “peace process” nor the words “Palestine” or “Palestinian,” and that also means he never talked about or made the case for a two-state solution. Was the speech for anyone other than base Republicans? This trip to Israel felt like a primary trip, not one aimed at the general election.”

Old friends often make strange bedfellows. Back at the predecessor to Bain Capital, Bain Consulting Group, Romney and Netanyahu developed a close relationship. Well at least that is the popular perception. Sometimes the diatribes from the progressive left, like the Daily Kos, leaks out a viewpoint that only a committed Zionist appreciates. Could there be a sensitivity difference with the NeoCons?

“Romney to the New York Times:

ROMNEY: “We [Mitt & Netanyahu] can almost speak in shorthand. We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”

In December GOP Debate regarding how America should handle Iran:

ROMNEY: “I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?’”

Sounds like Romney would put Bibi First and America Second and that is very disturbing to me.

In April 2012, Romney said:

ROMNEY: “Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend, he’s an old friend”

Romney has touted his ‘friendship’ with Netanyahu as being “nurtured through meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem.”

Look, it’s no surprise that Romney is a pathological liar and is lying about his “friendship” with Bibi to garner the Jewish vote — duh — But I would urge all my Jewish friends to remember that no one, of any religion or non-religion, can believe a thing that comes out of Romney’s mouth because he lies like a smelly old, nasty rug.”

Getting past the slurs, the nature of the Romney – Netanyahu comradeship dominates the discussion. Is there a meeting of the minds or only a relationship of interests?

Another voice, Crooks and Liars, chimes in quoting Bibi, adds more skepticism:

“I remember him for sure, but I don’t think we had any particular connections,” he tells me. “I knew him and he knew me, I suppose.”

Wow . . . what an endorsement of familiarity! Sure looks like both men have something to hide. It is difficult to believe in the accuracy of Netanyahu, as the stench of his own deep-rooted rug is undeniable.

The conclusion of Yale Professor, David Bromwich makes the most probable sense. His curious assessment in the Huffington Post is insightful.

“What does it mean for an American like Romney, unskilled in international politics and innocent of the complexities of the Middle East, to back the pressure now being exerted by Netanyahu against the advice of the American president and against the advice of high-ranking intelligence and military officers in Israel? It means that Romney is not a friend of Israel so much as he is a friend of Netanyahu. Or rather, for Romney, as for the billionaires he had in tow, the personal is political. For them, Netanyahu is Israel.”

romneybibi.jpg
Romney is no foreign policy expert. His advisors play the role of the puppeteer. The strings that pull the movements of the extremities and sound like an empty echo of a true America First strategy, gives profound pause, that a new administration will work to break the stranglehold of the Zionists. Paul Craig Roberts’ article, Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?, amplifies this theme in detail.The recent Romney remakes, while in Israel on culture makes all the difference, demonstrates his bias and lack of understanding of the character of the struggle. The Atlanticquotes: ”Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.”So what exactly is the basis of a Romney relationship with Israel? According to

2012 Republican Candidates, the following is his viewpoint.

• In Mitt Romney’s opinion amidst the many critical challenges that America faces today, the threat of violent and radical Jihad and the threat of nuclear proliferation stand at the top.

• Romney cites the former President Jimmy Carter’s view with regard to bringing peace to the Holy Land and thinks the opposite. According to him, it is only helping to prevent terror and bloodshed and violence.

• Romney quotes. “State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel.”

• Romney fears that radical Islam has one goal; to replace all Islamic states in the world under one caliphate and convert the non-believers of Islam forcibly, if necessary, to Islam. He says that this plan is more irrational than the Nazi Germany policies of the 1930s and Stalin’s Cold War or the 1940s.

• Mitt Romney has committed that he would defeat the jihadists all around the world. Most of his speeches however focus on restricting Iran rather than making decisions to resolve the tension between Israel and Palestine.

• Romney requested the Arab states to stop providing weapons and financial support to Hezbollah and Hamas and instead to put pressure on the Palestinians to “drop terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

• Mitt Romney strongly supports the security wall that divides Israel from the West Bank.

Sure sounds like Netanyahu has a hand in writing the script that Sheldon Adelson dangles in front of Romney. The $10 million figure to a super PAC supporting a kosher policy position is standard practice for the “so called” culture that makes all the difference.The plastic demeanor that Romney projects on so many issues is not evident in his bellicose attitude towards Iran. The insanity of the above laundry list of genuflection to the domestic Christian Zionist and the Israeli Likudniks is evident that a Romney administration will have a deep lineup of NeoConservatives.

As for Netanyahu incessant intrusion into American politics, the conclusion of Ümit Enginsoy in the Daily News is revealing.

“In fact Netanyahu has the power to affect this U.S. election by striking Iran, shortly before the election. The effect of the strike on Iran would be unimportant compared to the election results. Romney would definitely be elected.

The best would be for Netanyahu to stay clear of this kind of a risk to Israel and the U.S. election. But this is a possibility it can play in the region. In this way in return for taking a certain risk on Israel, he would get rid of the president he has hated the most in recent years and could replace him with someone he and his country mostly respect.”

AIPAC-Romney-and-Netanyahu.jpg
If you think the Muslim Brotherhood is the major threat to Middle East stability, reconsider. The fraternity between Netanyahu and his “old friend” Romney and the cronies that come with the NeoCon package is far more dangerous. The central casting coming out of AIPAC that shapes the proposed Romney NeoCon policy is a fundamental scourge that endangers the region. The prospects of an even wider conflict, leading up to a World War III confrontation is very real with a proposed Israeli pre-empted strike on Iran.

Shades of a Pearl Harbor treachery attack by Israel are well documented. Remember the Osirakstrike. Placing America’s true interests in peril is a standard tactic of the Zionist. Buddies like Romney and Netanyahu are part of a club of opportunists. The military-intelligence-banking cabal has a plan for a greater Israel and the culture they promote ends up in a scorched earth destruction.

In a battlefield that conducts Operation Opera II, the prospect of Romney siting in the situation room with Bibi on a secured phone line calling the plays, is a total offense to any red blooded American. As long as the Republican Party allows the NeoConservative usurpers control of the nomination process, the kind of intelligent and balanced foreign policy of a Ron Paul will never be allowed to see the light of day.

There is a profound reason why the active military supported Congressman Paul in such droves. Going to war for Israel is an existential blunder for the United States. The Bain connection between Romney and Netanyahu goes to the core of trust and duty. It is time for Mitt Romney to shut the door on Netanyahu and part company.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Turkey Resurgent

August 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Almost a year has passed since we last took note of Turkey’s increasing clout in three key areas of neo-Ottoman expansion: the Balkans, the Arab world, and the predominantly Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union. Each has played a significant part in reshaping the geopolitics of the Greater Middle East over the past decade. This complex project, which remains under-reported in the Western media and denied or ignored by policy-makers in Washington, is going well for Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP (Justice and Development Party).

On the external front, Ankara’s decision to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has changed the equation in the region. Until last spring, Erdoğan’s team was advising Bashar to follow the path of political and economic reform in order to avoid descent into violent anarchy. Within months, however, Turkey has become a key player in Washington’s regime-change strategy by not only providing operational bases and supply channels to the rebels, but by simultaneously confronting Iran over Syria. The war of words between them is escalating. Earlier this week, Iranian Chief of Staff General Hassan Firousabadi accused Turkey of assisting the “war-waging goals of America. The AKP government has reinforced Turkey’s old position as a key U.S. regional partner. It is skillfully pursuing its distinct regional objectives, which in the long run are bound to collide with those of the U.S., while appearing to act at the behest of Washington and revamping its Cold War role as a reliable NATO-“Western” outpost in the region.

This newly gained credit has enabled Erdoğan to make a series of problematic moves with impunity, the most notable being Turkey’s growing support for Hamas in the Palestinian Authority and its treatment of Iraq as a state with de facto limited sovereignty. In a highly publicized symbolic gesture, on July 24 Erdoğan met Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at his official residence to break the daily fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Ties between Turkey and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, have blossomed since Turkey’s alliance with Israel collapsed following a raid by Israeli troops on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010. At the same time, Ankara’s links with the more moderate Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank, are at a standstill; Turkey wants Hamas to prevail in the Palestinian power struggle.

In northern Iraq, Turkey has developed close relations with the Kurdish leadership in Kirkuk. It has made significant investments in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region as a means of exerting political influence and thus preempting demands for full independence, which could have serious implications for the Kurdish minority in eastern Turkey. In an audacious display of assertiveness, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the Kurdish-ruled northern Iraq earlier this month without notifying the government in Baghdad, let alone seeking its approval. Turning the putative Kurdish statelet in Iraq into its client is a major coup for the government in Ankara. The partnership is based on the common interest of denying the Marxist PKK guerrillas a foothold on either side of the border. In a joint statement, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan warned the PKK that they would act jointly to counter any attempt to exploit the power vacuum in Syria. Another far-reaching albeit unstated common goal is to provide Iraq’s Kurds with a potential northwestern route for their oil and gas exports, which Al Maliki’s central government would not be able to control. The net effect is likely to be further weakening of an already unstable Iraq in the aftermath of U.S. withdrawal; yet Washington appears unperturbed by Turkey’s gambit. It is apparently unaware of the fact that, in Ankara’s worldview, “nothing can stand in the way of its dream of becoming the ultimate energy bridge between East and West.”

The Obama Administration has been equally indifferent to Prime Minister Erdoğan’s trouble-making in the Balkans. Most recently, his provocative statement last month that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the “care” of his country has caused no reaction in Washington. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to us,” stated Erdoğan during a meeting of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) provincial heads held in Ankara on July 11,recalling the alleged statement of the late Bosnian Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegović, whom Erdoğan visited on his deathbed in Sarajevo. “He whispered in my ear these phrases: ‘Bosnia is entrusted to you [Turkey]. These places are what remain of the Ottoman Empire’,” said Erdoğan. He went on to describe Izetbegović as “a legendary hero and captain,” and to declare that Turkey would “put this trust in God with high precision.”

The notion of Bosnia and Herzegovina being given as a ‘trust’ to Turkey in the name of its Ottoman legacy reflects an earlier statement by the outgoing leader of the Islamic community in Bosnia, Efendi Mustafa Cerić, who told Erdoğan that “Turkey is our Mother. That’s how it was always, and it will remain like that.” Erdoğan’s latest outburst was immediately welcomed by the leader of the biggest Muslim party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sulejman Tihić.

The notion that Bosnia has been bequeathed by its fundamentalist Muslim leader to the Turkish state is unsurprisingly anathema to the non-Muslim majority of Bosnia’s citizens. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a land to be inherited,” said Igor Radojičić, the Bosnian Serb Parliament speaker. Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Čović expressed puzzlement that Izetbegović could imagine Bosnia was his to give away as a trust. Analysts outside Bosnia also expressed outrage. Serbian historian Čedomir Antić, called the statement “an unprecedented provocation” that should be “officially renounced by Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia”. Professor Darko Tanasković, Serbia’s former ambassador to Turkey, was not surprised, however. The statement represents a political reality, he said, that Turkey sees the Balkans as a priority in its ambitious foreign policy.

Three months earlier the leader of the Islamic Community in Montenegro (Islamska zajednica Crne Gore, IZCG),Reis Rifat Fejzić, signed an agreement with the authorities in Podgorica on the status of the Muslim minority there. The Agreement stipulates that any disputes within the Islamic Community will be referred for arbitration to the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Turkish Republic (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı). This is a remarkable development: the Republic of Montegnegro—a sovereign, non-Muslim Balkan state—has formally granted decision-making powers in matters affecting some of its citizens to an institution of another sovereign and nominally still secular state. Imam Fejzić’s explanation added an interesting twist to the story. Some disputes among Roman Catholics are referred to the Vatican, he said, so it is normal for Muslim disputes to be referred to Ankara. In other words, the Turkish state is to assume the role of an Islamic Vatican for the Muslim millets of the former Ottoman Empire. The Montenegrin precedent is the model Ankara will seek to apply elsewhere. Turkish politicians have already taken an active role in mediating between the rival factions of the Muslim religious and political establishment in Serbia’s Sanjak region.

The U.S. is sympathetic to Turkey’s Balkan ambitions not only because they seem to fit in with a Western strategy of long standing, but also because Turkey is seen as a counterweight to Iran’s influence in the region. As John Schindler, the author of the seminal book Unholy Terror pointed out recently, the close relationship between leading circles in Sarajevo and Tehran harks back to before the Bosnian war. During the war the Clinton Administration aided and abetted Iranian deliveries of arms to the Bosnian Muslim side, and the SDA has always had a soft spot for Tehran. Now, however, with a potential war with Iran looming, Schindler says,the U.S. and its European allies, who have done so much to help the Bosnian Muslims for a generation, have had enough. As reported by the Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz, last week Patrick Moon and Nigel Casey, the American and British ambassadors to BiH, jointly read the riot act to Sadik Ahmetović, the country’s powerful security minister, telling him that the SDA and Sarajevo must sever their secret ties—espionage, political, financial—with Tehran:

Sarajevo officially has been given a warning to reset its course in a European and Western direction as war with Iran looms. Hard decisions will have to be made by the SDA. They have been repeatedly deferred for nearly two decades but can be avoided no longer. If the Bosnian Muslims opt to stick with Iran as tensions rise, the ramifications for them and all Europe may be dire indeed.

Bosnia’s Muslims, ever mindful of the need for foreign support in their disputes with the country’s Serbs and Croats, will likely opt for even closer links with Ankara to compensate for an eventual weakening of the Iranian connection —and they will do so with Washington’s approval. Yet again Turkey will strengthen its position in the Balkans while relying on the Western powers to do its field work.

At home, the parallel process of re-Islamization of the Turkish state and society is well-nigh-irreversible. The Army has been decisively neutralized as a political factor. Last February, Erdogan declared that it is not the goal of the AKP government to raise atheist generations, and he certainly has been true to his word. Earlier this month, Turkey’s Board of Higher Education appointed Islamic scholar Suleyman Necati Akcesme as its secretary-general. His duties will include appointing professors and rectors, as well as overseeing universities. Akcesme will occupy a position of direct influence over Turkey’s higher education —unimaginable for an imam in the old Kemalist setup. The influence of the shadowy Gülen Movement, a fundamentalist sect calling for a New Islamic Age based on the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis,” is becoming all-pervasive, with rich businessmen and senior civil servants donating an average of 10 percent of their income to the cemaat. According to the August 8 issue of Der Spiegel,

Gülen’s influence in Turkey was enhanced when … the AKP won the Turkish parliamentary election in 2002. Observers believe that the two camps entered into a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the cemaat. According to information obtained by US diplomats, almost a fifth of the AKP’s members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement in 2004, including the justice and culture ministers. Many civil servants act at the behest of the “Gülen brothers,” says a former senior member… 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 . . .

Sharia-inspired legislation is affecting the society at large. Turkey’s recent laws and taxes on alcohol sales are more rigorous than those in Egypt or Tunisia before last year’s revolutions. Employers are now authorized to fire any employer who comes to work having had a drink, as opposed to being drunk. Having a single glass of raki, wine or beer with lunch—perfectly common in the business community until a few months ago—may now abruptly end a career. More troublingly, Turkey now leads the world in “honor killings” of girls, with a murder rate five times that of Pakistan. As Turkish affairs expert Barry Rubin has noted, many Turks are astounded by Obama’s policy of favoring the current regime in Ankara: “the regime has thrown hundreds of people in prison without trial or evidence… and it is turning Turkey into a repressive police state,” yet the Department of State and the White House remain indifferent. Turkey’s secularists feel abandoned and betrayed.

Turkey’s shift from Kemalism via post-Kemalism to anti-Kemalism is a process of historic significance for the Greater Middle East. In 2005 senior State Department official Daniel Fried declared, absurdly, that Erdoğan’s AKP was simply the Islamic equivalent of a West European Christian Democratic party and that Turkey remains a staunch ally of the United States. The diagnosis was evidently mistaken seven years ago. Today it amounts to an unforgivable act of willful self-deception.

In the meantime Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares for discussions in Istanbul on August 11 that will focus on forming a “common operational picture” with the Turks “to guide a democratic transition in post-Assad Syria.”


Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic, author, historian, foreign affairs analyst, and foreign affairs editor of “Chronicles.” He has a BA (Hon) in international relations from the University of Sussex (UK), a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and a PhD in history from the University of Southampton (UK).

www.trifkovic.mysite.com

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

London 2012 Olympics – The Games Changer

July 18, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Red Ice Radio has gathered together some of the most important research and opinions on what might be the motivations, the plans, the symbolism, the purposes, and the potential outcomes of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Hours of interviews and examination have culminated in a body of knowledge that breaks down the mainstream narrative and alerts the public to be aware in 2012.

Listen to our entire 2½ hour Olympics Special.

Will there be death? Mayhem? Terrorist attacks?

Will terrible catastrophes usher in a new era of war and control? A New World Order?

Will the stars align and inaugurate a dynamic of peace and goodwill among humanity? A new paradigm of consciousness?

These possibilities and more have been speculated upon for the years leading up to 2012, and now that time is upon us. The London 2012 Olympics have arrived with much anticipation, but whether one sees this as a glorious time to celebrate the union of athletic champions, or instead a cause for raising alarm, is a matter debated by many.

There are plenty of clues that suggests that the Olympic “celebration” and many of the surrounding events and installations are part of an “occult mega ritual”, and one can’t help to wonder exactly who it is supposed to benefit?

According to the Greek history, the first Olympic games were dedicated to the twelve Olympian gods, and were based on ancient mythology and religion. The tradition and special meaning of the games – the heroic competition and the fantastic effort to combine mind, body, and will in a attuned whole – is what energizes the games to this day.

But what other ’special meanings’ can be found in the modern Olympic games?


Listen to the entire 2½ hour program here
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***

Ian Crane - Ian reasserts the importance of a careful approach to esoteric, occult and conspiratorial subject matters. He also talks about the phenomenal acceleration into global governance unfolding before our eyes and discusses the extraordinary militarization of London: 49,000 troops will be present for the games – but what are they guarding against?

“The London Olympics, in my opinion… are going to be used as a platform to springboard the introduction of global governance.

London is already the most surveilled capital on the planet, but of course what’s coming up in the next few weeks with the Olympics is just unbelievable. We are looking at an area of the city of London literally becoming THE most securitized place on the planet with the possible exception of the West Bank, or Gaza. It is absolutely horrendous.

We’ve got helicopter carriers in the River Thames. We’ve got anti-aircraft missiles being placed on the roofs of apartment blocks around the Olympic area…
The British government is doing its best to encourage long-serving police officers who joined up for all the right reasons to leave, to take early retirement. And what they’re being replaced with is basically thugs….
We are literally seeing the privatization of policing so what we’re ending up with is the equivalent of night-club bouncers policing the streets.

…there’s a situation here where it’s NORMALIZING these outrageous excesses.”

Listen to the interview we did with Ian Crane from May 22, 2008, that started much of this research:

Ian Crane – The New World Order’s Quest for Zion in 2012
.

Rik Clay- Rik discusses his findings about the ’Zion Olympics’ in London leading up to the end game year 2012. Rik presents a connection with numerology and synchronicity and delves into: 11:11, pyramid numerology, Solar Eclipse, September Eleventh, The Birth of Christ, Zion, and more.
Rik couples all this with the “new age” and how an “end game messiah” will be presented to us around 2012.

“ If you shuffle the Olympics 2012 logo around, you can spell the word ‘ZION’. Obviously Zion stands for the term ‘New Jerusalem’.

First thing that was brought to my mind was the poem by William Blake. William Blake wrote a poem in the 18th century called “Jerusalem”. Blake was a known 18th century esotericist with connections to the Freemasons. When we talk about Olympics 2012, we’re talking about something that’s been planned for hundreds of years…

…this occult symbology is working on the subconscious, and it’s working on the subconscious of the global population, then it’s got the ability to bring itself forward into matter.

You’ve got a number of roads that circle [the Olympic] site…
All the way around the Olympics 2012 site, which you could call “Zion” if you go with the logo, it’s biblical road names surrounding the whole site. There’s not one road name that’s not biblical. You start looking at that and you think ’what the hell is going on?’

There’s this crazy CGI ‘action film’ on how they’re going to build the Olympic 2012 stadium. This has got it all in it. Basically within 40 seconds of this video there’s four chimneys that stand like an 11:11, but then it moves into the most significant symbology you could ever see – an “Independence Day” style mother ship, little UFOs flying all around. Then it ends in robotic streetwalkers in the middle of London, stomping around the place towards the Olympic stadium.
Does this mean there is a significant event looming for the Olympics?”

David Icke - David interprets an ’energetic’ perspective on the Zion Olympics. He describes mass ritual, symbols and energy vampirism. How many people will be tuning in? What kind of energy and intention will be poured into these events from around the world?

” 2012, whatever we think about it, it’s a focus year…

And of course the most blatant and obvious symbol of the Olympics is the lighted torch. And what do they do? They light the fire and the flame goes throughout the games.
There is a synchronicity of all this, and London, and 2012, that means that it is very, very important to them.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Billions and billions of people worldwide, during the London games are going to be focused on London.

It’s all about energy. It’s all about manipulation of energy, manipulation of information fields, so that you subconsciously, subliminally manipulate people’s perception of reality.”

William Henry - William wonders if the dwellers of Sion will return in 2012. Will there be a disclosure of sorts, heralded by the London Olympics? Williams mentions the return of Quetzecoatl, the feathered serpent and explains how the symbols used during the Olympics are pointing to the opening of a StarGate. Lines blur mythology and iconography – which is light, dark, good or bad?


“You’ve got this rainbow motif going directly connected with Sion, and here we’re talking about these mascots manifesting as rainbow beings of the games…

It’s coincidental, it’s fun, it means nothing… but it might mean a lot actually. It might mean EVERYTHING.
There’s unquestionably another layer of meaning that is here to be interpreted with all this symbolism in London.

…it became clear that this is exactly how a cabal or a New World Order group would introduce this new world religion.
It would be at a global ceremony such as this…

…those with eyes to see get the message.”

Ben Fellows - Ben, an investigative journalist specialising in undercover work, warns that the security is a ridiculous sham and, worse than being simply theatre, is a real threat to the safety of all involved in the London Olympics. After infiltrating the G4S company in charge of security and seeing the alarming failings throughout, he speaks out on the disaster that’s waiting to happen.
The English Home Office now scrambles to ‘fill in the gaps’ with increased troop presence. Will this rectify anything, or is this ’outrage’ a way to dodge accountability if a terrorist event occurs?


“…This is dangerous stuff…

I’m not going to the Olympics. Everyone who knows me has actually given their ticket back … because they don’t want to go because they all feel it’s unsafe as well.

Most of the x-ray operators I spoke to in my class were scared. They were terrified. They’d turn round to me and say “Look, we’re missing, basically, major objects coming through.” I had to actually pretend to be a would-be terrorist. I was given a knife, I was given a gun, I was given this fake IED to go through. The walk-through metal detector don’t pick up the gun or the knife because there’s not enough metal in them. “Here’s a phone, here’s some keys”, and then it went off. The x-ray officer wasn’t even looking in the bag with the IED in it.

The worst case scenario is a dirty bomb, probably which is already in the stadium…

…the Olympic stadium has got quite a lot of radioactive material in the ground. They used to deal with a lot of radioactive material there. And the radioactive material that’s in the ground is something called thorium that has a half-life of about 14 billion years, or something crazy. It’s really devastating stuff…
If a bomb were to go off, even a fairly small sized bomb, thorium has a property to it whereby it becomes a lot more explosive and so it would increase the explosion.

The best case scenario, I suppose, is that they’re just incompetent and out to steal money.

Listen to our entire interview with Ben: here

Chad Stuempke - Chad looks at ancient sacred landscapes, star-gate parks, and deciphers cosmic symbolism found therein. He suggests that our symbolism originates from the cosmos – it’s subconsciously downloaded from the Artisan Architects.


“There’s a LOT of intentional symbolism going on… a lot of it’s backing up the conspiracy theories that have been swirling around, in particular the ’Zion’ and ’New Jerusalem’… in particular the rainbow symbolism, the gateway symbolism, that I believe isn’t necessarily intentional… the Illuminati, so to speak, isn’t behind it.

Over the years I’ve been watching these urban portals and cosmic parks being brought to fruition, in particular special places and special times. I’ve been watching this 2012 Olympic park being built and, coinciding the research, it didn’t take long to realize that a lot of this symbolism is the same things we’ve been looking at previously.
They’re literally bringing into fruition a cosmic park… This may be some sort of symbolic disclosure that’s emanating from the cosmos.

Both aliens and giants have made appearances in opening ceremonies over the last couple of decades. It kinda started in 1984 in Los Angeles. They lowered the… UFO, down into the stadium during closing ceremonies – it was a seven foot, eight inch, ’giant’ as the announcer said, dressed in an alien suit. It got out and talked to the crowd, saluted the crowd. He was proud of the Olympic ideals.”

Bob Schlenker - Bob studies the hidden meanings and patterns found in religion and culture, and ties them into what is unfolding in the London Olympic Games of 2012. He warns that blood rituals and dark societies are driving humanity towards something ominous.


“I look for anything that speaks to me of an occult intent, that there’s a ritual behind it. There’s a number of themes I’ve been tracking in other places, and there’s a cross-threading with the Olympics really heavily.
It’s really sinister. It looks like there’s a threat behind almost all of it.
The nature of the mass ritual suggests some things that really need our attention.

I don’t know who is in the know and who is not, but people do give direction about these things. It’s the way of the occult operations of the Illuminati and the Masons and all the secret societies to announce in advance what’s going on.
It’s part of the rules of engagement.”

Stewart Swerdlow - Stewart cautions people to be watchful in 2012 for false flag attempts, especially under the guise of a dramatic alien war. The powers that be have been embedding symbols and scenarios into our consciousness for years, and 2012 might be the ’end game’ where they employ high technologies and mind control to subvert humanity through fear and horror, and establish a new, unimagined grip upon the globe.


“It is my belief , and I may be wrong, but this might be the perfect opportunity for the Illuminati to stage an alien invasion with billions of people focused on one place on the earth at one time. They can have anything in the sky with the Bluebeam Project, they can use the missiles to fire at them. They can make quite an event.

It’s a time of many things coming together to leave it as a simple event – the Illuminati would never let that happen, of course. It’s the year 2012, so it’s the ‘end times’ according to the Mayan calendar … It is also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is also in London, the center of the global empire, so there’s many factors coming together all at once…

It’s a very symbolic time and we can expect something to happen of a global proportion.”

***

We must all wait and see what will unfold during the 2012 London Olympic Games. It may be that all of these things may occur, or something might happen that we could not possibly have imagined or anticipated. The games might begin and end and nothing of significance will seem to have occurred on the grand stage.

Yet for a time our mass consciousness will have been captured, and the symbolism of the global Olympics will have been driven even more deeply into our psyches.

A new ’normal’ will have been established regarding high security, fractured privacy, and invasive surveillance, at least. An incredible trauma will shape us and make us more pliant and fearful, at worst.

Whatever occurs, the London 2012 Olympics will be seen and remembered as a real game changer.

Source: Henrik Palmgren and Elizabeth Leafloor | Red Ice Creations

Palestinian Territories: The New ‘Native American Reservation’

July 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Israel’s refusal to stop building illegal settlements in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is a poignant reminder the Palestinians could share a fate similar to the indigenous American Indian people of the 1800’s.

According to the author, James W. Loewen, the U.S government’s model of wiping out nearly 54 million [1] indigenous people, with the remaining numbers relocated to desolate reservations, inspired Adolf Hitler to do the same against the Jews.

“Hitler admired the American concentration camps set up for Indians in the West and often lauded them to his inner circle for the effectiveness of American aptitude for promoting starvation and unequal combat, which inspired him for his own extermination of Jews and Gypsies.[2] [Romani people],” Loewen wrote.

Noam Chomsky, the political author and professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT), believes today’s role reversal of the Palestinians becoming the indigenous American Indian people is merited, but up to a point.

“It’s bad enough, but not that bad. The leading figures of the US conquests were quite explicit about taking over everything, and ‘exterminating’-their word-anyone who stood in the way. What we’d call ‘genocide’ if anyone else were to try it,” Chomsky said.

By mid-2011, 131 illegal settlements were in the region, housing 498,000 Israeli Jews, of which the majority of settlements are on privately owned Palestinian land, not part of Israel.[3]

Israel occupies 77.5% of expropriated land, it terms, “State land”. This demographic change took more than 50 years of planning by the World Zionist organisation, a Jewish nationalist movement, exploiting Judaism, to advance colonisation in Palestine for a Jewish nation.

Integral to Israel’s land drive is an 8 metre concrete wall enclosure that surrounds illegal settlements. The idea was suggested in 1923, by the Polish Zionist, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the Jewish terrorist group, Irgun, in the Jewish Herald, stating: “This colonization can develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through.”[4]

Israel’s colonisation depends on exploiting natural resources. The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area have 37 illegal settlements of 9,500 settlers and up to 56,000 Palestinians, yet Israel pumps most of the water to its settlements, forcing the Arabs to ration water supplies. When supplies end, families risk contamination from polluted streams or make up the 67% forced to buy water in tanks from the Mekorot Company, which is expensive. [5]

To Palestinian farmer’s, water shortages limit the variety of crops grown, affecting an already crumbling economy, which Israel controls, to almost $1.83bn in lost annual revenue, [6] with complete losses in the West Bank and Gaza totalling around £4.4bn. [7]

Nazism rise to power in Germany was an important juncture for Zionism. Although, the persecution of Jews didn’t interest the Zionists, Hitler’s demise in 1945 provided the opportunity to take advantage of Jewish suffering, by sabotaging efforts to relocate Jews to other parts of Europe, instead increased Jewish migration into Palestine.

By 1946 the Jewish population rose to 602,586,[8] which was nearly four times the 1931 British Mandate population figure of 174,610, with 65% (approximately 1,339,763) being Arab as opposed to 759,717 (73.5%) in 1931.[9]

“There are multiple motives behind the settlement enterprise, such as cheap housing, but nationalist and religious ideologies (e.g. the belief the West Bank, or ‘Judea and Samaria,’ is part of the biblical ‘Eretz Israel’ play a very significant role,” said Human Rights Watch spokesman, Bill Van Esveld.

The Judaic significance refers to, ‘chosen people’ and ‘promised land’, prominent among settler motives, and forms the basis of Israeli claims over Palestinian land. Most Rabbis peddle Zionist interpretation in the Jewish Holy book, the Tanakh, focusing on (Genesis 15:18) that, ‘God promised Abraham’s descendants the land between the River of Egypt and the Forat (Euphrates)’, and in (Exodus 23:31), where ‘the border was set from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines; the inhabitants of the land would be delivered into your hand; and the people shall be driven out’.

According to traditional Jewish scholars it is not for the Jewish people to fulfil this promise but a pact between God and the prophet Elijah, yet to be delivered. Once delivered, it would signal the later arrival of the Messiah, who would redeem the Jews and all of mankind. Until then, God commands the Jews to remain in exile until it is time to be redeemed.[10] The term, ‘exile’, refers to Jews being loyal subjects to their nation of residence, and not establishing rule over the native population, including the land of Palestine. [11]

To gain unconditional public support, exploiting Judaism wasn’t enough. Zionism needed land. In 1901, a proposal was accepted by Zvi Hermann Schapira, a rabbi and professor of mathematics, to establish an institute, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), to aggressively purchase land for Jewish settlement,[12] and form a ‘Jewish territory’ in the process.

By the 1930’s the JNF using its leading influence, persuaded other land agencies to adopt its practices of retaining the legal title of the land, with leases granted to Jewish settlers.[13]

The first Zionist land purchase was in the Jezreel Valley, bought from the Sursuk family in 1925. The Judaic importance and its nearly 100,000 acres, of which at least 93,000 acres were fertile and arable, made it one of the most fertile lands in Palestine. The Sursuk family bought the land from the Turkish government for 18,000 Palestinian pounds (roughly $50,000). The Zionist movement offered Sursuk an obscene amount of 726,000 Palestinian pounds (approximately $2 million), which was accepted by the Sursuk family. [14] This kind of exploitive dealings was common practice.

Most land purchases were followed by Arab expulsion. A secret memorandum in 1930, written by Dr. A. Rupin, the Jewish Agency agriculture and settlement expert, to his Agency, confirms expulsion is built into Zionism, when he said, “Since there are hardly any more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated the land thus far, both owners of the land and tenants.”

It is believed 1270 Palestinian Arab families were removed from 13 villages. To avoid a public scandal, each family was compensated 24 Palestinian pounds (just above $50), seen as an exception to the rule, as normally Arab families received nothing, for example the land purchase of Hefer Valley, saw about 2000 Arab peasants dispossessed. [15]

The Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, dismisses the argument of the Palestinians leaving on their own accord. In his research paper, later included in his book, ‘The ethnic cleansing of Palestine’, he reveals the official version of the 1948 Arab expulsion.

“On 10 March 1948, a group of 11 veteran Zionist leaders and Jewish officers put the finishing touches to a large scale military operation for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.[16] Military orders that evening, were despatched to units, preparing Palestinian expulsion from vast areas of the country. The detailed methods included: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers; setting fires to homes, properties, and goods; expelling residents; demolishing homes; and finally planting mines in the rubble to prevent the expelled Arabs from returning. Each unit was issued its own list of villages and neighbourhoods to target in keeping with the master plan, Code-named Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew)”.[17]

Taking six months to complete its mission, more than half of Palestine’s population, over 750,000 people, had been uprooted, 531 villages destroyed, and 11 urban neighbourhoods had been emptied of their inhabitants.[18]

The squeezing of Arab lands, especially during 1948-1959, further expanded Israeli territory. Some of the villages included, the village of Umm Al-Fahm, with a population of 7000 and a land of 140,000 dunam*, by 1959 its population increased to 11,000 but the land was reduced to an astonishing 1500 dunam. The village of Tayyiba inhabited 3,500 people, with 45,000 dunam of land, by 1959 the population climbed to 7,000 but were left with only 13,000 dunam of land. The village of Tira with a population of 3100 people, owned 28,000 dunam, by 1959 the population rose to 5100 but only occupied 7,500 dunam of land. [19]

Deception was also used to expel Arab villagers, as witnessed in the Arab-Christian village of Ikrit in December 1948. The villagers were instructed by the Israeli army to leave their village temporarily, for two weeks, alleging land mines where found in the area and needed to be cleared for their safety. The residents moved to the nearby village of Rama, which became the Rama Refugee Camp, until it was safe to return.

Two weeks has now become 64 years. Instead of being resigned to their fate, in 1952 the villagers filed a lawsuit action, as they were instructed to leave for a limited time, so their property couldn’t be considered ‘absentee property’. The judges deceived the plaintiffs ruling in favour of the plaintiffs’ right of return to their land, but on condition of attaining a permit issued by the military governor. In reality, the Governor would never issue a permit. [20] The case still goes on. The court’s decision underlines how complicit the legal system is with Zionism’s policies.

Resistance also came from individuals, such as the Syrian, Shaykh Muhammad Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. He was an Imam of a local mosque in Haifa and an educator by night, teaching literacy to labourers. It was his student’s experiences, largely ex-farmers, recalling how they had to leave their lands by the JNF, which had a profound impact on Al-Qassam, who decided armed Jihad, (resistance) was necessary to end Arab dispossession, and in 1930, he formed a small militant group.

By 1935, the group raided Jewish settlements and sabotaged British rail lines, but Al-Qassam wanted a national revolution and wrote to the Arab leadership in Jerusalem, to support an armed struggle, but was rejected, as the leadership felt Arab rights could still be achieved through negotiations.

When news reached the British of al-Qassam’s vision, military units were deployed around a cave near Ya’bad in Jenin, where he was hiding, with twelve of his followers. Soon afterwards, the British soldiers pounded the area with heavy artillery. Al-Qassam, rather than surrender, took a last stand and was killed.

Al-Qassam’s efforts were not in vain, who instantly became a symbol of resistance, epitomising the Palestinian land struggle. His martyrdom triggered the great Arab Revolt (1936-1939). His legacy lives on with the military wing of Hamas named after him, Ezzedeen al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

By the time Britain’s rule expired on 14 May 1948, the newly Zionist-aligned U.S government emerged as the leading global political power, and using its influence, forced the voting U.N nations to accept the two-state resolution, which the Palestinians rejected, giving 56% of the land to the Jews and 42% to the Arabs, the remaining land went to Christian and other small minority groups.[21]

The pressure for U.N Nations to vote was acknowledged by James Forrestal, the U.S Minister of Defense at the time, in his memoirs, stating, “The methods used to pressure and to constrain the other nations within the U.N. were close to scandalous.” [22]

Since then, political elites have conspired to view the Palestinians as the ‘unseen’ people, which is emphasised with the ‘peace’ broker, the U.S government, forging strong economic and political ties with Israel, while ensuring there are no Palestinian agreements in dismantling illegal settlements and reclaiming civil rights equal to the Israeli citizens.

Palestine’s full admission to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), in October 2011 is a historic small step for the Palestinians to address its rights with some authority, and with at least 112 countries endorsing Palestinian statehood, the pressure to be given full U.N membership, is growing and cannot be ignored for much longer.

Notes

*One dunam is approximately 1,000 square metres

1 Denevan, William. “The Native Population of the Americas in 1492”. 2nd edition Publication. 1992.
2 Loewen, James W., “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong”. Touchstone, Simon & Schuster. 1995.
3 Peace Now Settlement Watch Team, Report-“Construction of Settlements upon Private Land-Official Data”, March 2007.
4 Jabotinsky, Vladimir. The Jewish Herald (South Africa). “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)”. November 26, 1937.
5 Ma’an Development Center, Parallel Realities: Israeli Settlements and Palestinian Communities in the Jordan Valley, 2012.
6 7 The economic cost of the Israeli occupation for the occupied Palestinian territory, A bulletin published by the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy in cooperation with the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ), September 2011.
8 Palestine 1946: District and District Centers during the Mandate period. Source: Palestine Remembered
9 Census of Palestine 1931, Volume I. British Mandate of Palestine.
10 Leizer Fishberg, Jews Against Zionism group.
11 Rabbi Cohen, Ahron. “Declaration on ‘the Palestine issue’ by Neturei Karta of the UK”. 25 June, 2003. (Accessed 26 June 2012).
12 The composition of the group that met is the product of a mosaic reconstruction of several documents, as demonstrated in my book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006). The document summarizing the meeting is found in the Israel Defense Force Archives [IDFA], GHQ/Operations branch, 10 March 1948, File no. 922/75/595, and in the Haganah Archives [HA], File no. 73/94. The description of the meeting is repeated by Israel Galili in the Mapai center meeting, 4 April 1948, found in the HA, File no. 80/50/18. Chapter 4 of my book also documents the messages that went out on 10 March as well as the eleven meetings prior to finalizing of the plan, of which full minutes were recorded only for the January meeting.
13 Lehn and Davis 1988: 24, 86-7.
14, 19 Fouzi el-Asmar, “Zionist land-aggression in Israel/Palestine”, 4th Edition. English translation by Uri Davis, 4th Edition.
15 Arakhim, (Hebrew Newspaper), “The Arab Population in Israel”, No. 3, 1971, p.10
16 The historian Meir Pail claims, in From Haganah to the IDF [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Zemora Bitan Modan, n.d.), p.307, the orders were sent a week later. For the dispatch of the orders, see also Gershon Rivlin and Elhanan Oren, The War of Independence: Ben-Gurion’s Diary, vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 1982), p.147. The orders dispatched to the Haganah brigades to move to State D—Mazav Dalet—and from the brigades to the battalions can be found in HA, File no.73/94, 16 April 1948.
17 On Plan Dalet, which was approved in its broad lines several weeks before that meeting, see Uri Ben-Eliezer, The Emergence of Israeli Militarism, 1936–1956 (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1995), p. 253: “Plan Dalet aimed at cleansing of villages, expulsion of Arabs from mixed towns.”
18 Ilan Pappe, white paper, p.7, “The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.
20 Yediot Aharonot, Hebrew newspaper. 30 June 1972.
21 Pappe, 2006, p. 35 Pappe speech given by the Pakistani representative to the U.N Sir Zafrullah Kahn on 28 November 1947
22 “Forrestal’s Memoirs”, p.363, N.Y., The Viking Press. 1951.


Ridwan Sheikh is a guest columnist for Veracity Voice

Ridwan Sheikh is the former editor of grassroots U.K activist group, Stop political terror, (Cease to Exist), which focused on U.K terrorism legislation and highlighted cases of prisoners detained without charge.

He currently is the editor of www.policyelite.co.uk and has a post graduate diploma in Journalism from London School of Journalism.

How High Will Obama Jump For Israel?

June 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Netanyahu to Obama regarding November’s election: When we say “jump” you answer, “how high”!

Presidential candidate Barack Obama is being targeted by the US Israel lobby from A to Z, (Ackerman, Gary & Aipac to Zuckerman, Mort & the Zionist Organization of America) as no American President seeking re-election has been in the country’s 236 year history.

Israel’s duel loyalty agents, as well as more fair minded American Jewish voters have historically intimidated and influenced US presidents seeking reelection, especially those in a tight race, with various financial and political threats and rewards.  That’s part of the American political game and obviously plenty of other lobbies do it also.

And it pays off. From Truman’s recognition of Israel’s declaration of statehood during his tough reelection fight in 1948 when Chaim Weizmann and other Jewish leaders swarmed the Oval Office to Carter’s Camp David sell-out of American humanitarian values during his Democratic party splitting 1980 re-election challenge from Ted Kennedy.  For more than 60 years the Zionist lobby has used cash, real & fake polls, and tactics ranging from threats of exposing sex-capers and corruption to withholding or delivering Jewish votes in key states like Florida, New york, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to achieve maximum obeisance to Israel’s goals. One might agree that all these tactics are part big leagues American politics.

According to  long time Israeli diplomat, Abba Eban, President Truman would not have supported a Jewish state were it not for  “a crucial $25,000 gift made by Jews to Truman’s vice presidential aspirations in 1944 and that in 1948 American Jews helped Truman again, this time to finance his campaign at a “desperate time”.    According to Eban,”No historian would question the judgment that without the support of, and political pressure from, American Jewry, Israel’s emergence could not have been conceived.” Eban concluded that the Zionist’s lobby’s “extraordinary solidarity and tactics” enlarged Israel’s power beyond the limited dimensions of its space and size.”

Concerned that Truman was too pro-Arab, Zionists enlisted Eddy Jacobson, a friend of Truman’s to sway the President to see Ezer Weizmann once again, despite Truman’s earlier ban on Zionists due to their “harassments.” Truman at first refused. He wrote on February 27, 1948, to Jacobson,  just as the Nakba was ethnically cleansing  nearly 800,00  Palestinians from their homes and lands, that he would not learn anything new from Weizmann, and added: “The Jews are so emotional, and the Arabs are so difficult to talk with that it is almost impossible to get anything done.”  Nonetheless, after considerable persuasion which Jabonson claimed involved large amounts of campaign donations, Truman wrote Jacobson, “You win, you baldheaded SOB. I will see him.”

Concerning Camp David, Jimmy Carter explained a couple of years ago during a  question and answer period following a lecture at the American University of Beirut that “the Jewish lobby was relentless with pressure tactics of various sorts and Begin lied to me about Israel’s willingness to make peace with the Palestinians. I regret to have to admit to you that we caved to their political pressure.”

One could perhaps feel for Obama and his campaign staff given what they are reportedly experiencing today, especially since America’s most powerful lobby has become even stronger since the 1980’s. Their tactics are many and aimed at sapping Obama’s will to do what American national interests require. One is Bill Clinton’s reported deal, being talked about on Capitol Hill, with Israeli officials to assure that if Obama is defeated Hillary will make his/her move and lock up the 2016 Democratic primaries and the general election with plenty of attendant joy for Tel Aviv.

The power to make credible demands on Obama involve much more that Jewish votes since they make up a bit less than 2% of the American electorate. Yet, even the smallest group can make an electoral dent if they move in unison and that may happen regarding Obama among those Jewish voters and Christian Zionists who put Israel first. Obama’s fate, though, is more closely tied to the Jewish vote in states Florida and Pennsylvania where they made up 4% of the 2008 electorate in both of these states.

Statistics being used by the Zionist lobby to pressure the increasingly jittery Obama campaign include recent polls. The Republican Jewish Coalition claims that 30% of Jewish voters who support Romney, represents the “highest level of Jewish support for a Republican presidential candidate in 24 years.” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks recently stated that if the Jewish vote poll numbers hold in November, they will spell “a disaster” for Obama.

In the 2008 election, Jews supported Obama by a 57 percentage point margin 2008 1.1 points (57 x 0.02) of his popular vote margin. A recent Gallup poll has Jewish voters still in Obama’s camp, but only by barely 35 percentage points. That is the lowest percentage for a Democratic presidential candidate among the Jewish electorate since 1988. A recent Gallup polls reveals a 10-point drop in Jewish voter support (22% in New York) or five points worse than Obama’s shrinkage among all registered voters compared with 2008.

The Israel lobby knows, and they know that Obama’s campaign staff knows, that any diminution in his support from Jewish voters will have a major impact in a very tight election. They both realize that Obama needs to retain his 2008 Jewish vote levels and campaign cash – or risk defeat. . In a close election, one point either way could make the difference as it did in Florida’s 2000 election.

So what price is being demanded of the Obama campaign for Zionist lobby support between now and November 6th?

They include, but are not limited to the following:

-Obama must freeze Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” and block European Union pressures on Israel over the settlement and human rights issues;

-Israel wants Obama to pressure the government of Turkey to cancel the 5/28/12 indictment of four senior Israeli military commanders, who have been charged in a Turkish court in connection with the killing of nine Turkish citizens in 2010 on broad the Mari Marmara, one of the ships of the Freedom Flotilla.  Warrants have been issued for the arrest of former Israeli military chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, the former head of military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, head of the navy, Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, and head of the air force, Brigadier General Avishai Lev. Israel wants them withdrawn.  According to an aid of Senator John Kerrey, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) of the US State Department has advised the US Senate Foreign Relations committee that the Israeli attack on the Mari Marmara constituted an international crime which involved lethal and excessive force and resulted in the killing of nine civilians and the wounding of at least 50 others.  The State Department further advised Congress that while Israel carried out an inquiry into the attack, that inquiry failed to meet the requirements of international law. Israel has not prosecuted anyone who killed those on board the Mari Marmara;

-A green light to attack Iran in case the Zionist leadership decides to do it;

-An unequivocal White House commitment that the 2012 Democratic Convention Party Platform will back the 5/17/12 passed resolution (H. Res. 568 adopted by vote of 401-11) affirming that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and opposing any reliance on a policy seeking to contain a nuclear-capable Iran;

-That the White House force US Senator John Kerrey, Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee to expedite a vote on a similar resolution in the Senate (S. J. Res. 41) which remains on hold in Kerrey’s committee.

- That the White House publicly endorse the 5/23/12 Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act (S. 2101), which would dramatically escalate the level of sanctions against Iran and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law.

-A public pledge by Obama that the US will attack Iran and Hezbollah if either retaliates against Israel for its bombing of the Islamic republic.

-More money for fourteen new Research & Development projects for the Israeli military;

- Free convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard,

-More visible White House support for various congressional resolutions supported by Israel, ranging from those targeting Iran, Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians.

-Regime change is Syria,

-Instruct Egypt that the price for continued US military and economic aid is to embrace the Camp ‘David accords and all its provisions requiring Egypt to “cooperate with Israel”

-Arrange for Israeli Embassy space in Cairo given that to date no one is willing to rent it any, and damp down Muslim Brotherhood calls for the recovery of Palestine;

- Support for the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 (H.R. 4133 and S. 2165), which recommends several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security. The House bill, which passed on May 8 by a vote of 411-2, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

-That the 2012 Democratic Platform and candidate Obama emphasize over the next five months the need for America to guarantee Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge over any and all combinations of adversaries on the battlefield.

Obama election year groveling to Israel was perhaps symbolized by the June, 13 2012  White House spectacle of bestowal on Israel’s President Shimon Peres of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. The PMF recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”  Peres, father of Israel’s colonial settlements, has committed myriad international crimes against the Lebanese people and Palestinian refugees, including the April 18, 1996 Qana Massacre  that  killed 106 Lebanese and Palestinians and wounded approximately 120 including four Fijian UNIFIL soldiers who were among the 800  civilians who had taken refuge in the compound. Peres sanctioned countless other attacks on civilians killing more than 14,000 civil and wounding more than 25,000 as part of various Israel aggression during his time as Prime Minister, meaning that he belongs on trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague not at a White House dinner even in an election year. Despite knowing this, Obama caved to AIPAC and Congressional campaign pressure and sullied the PMF, his office and claimed American valves.

In an email from one Congressional staffer, she explained that the lobby wanted Peres to receive this honor which disgusted many on Capitol Hill and internationally,  hoping to deflect some of the increasing condemnations  the Apartheid regime has been receiving including the recent British government’s Foreign Office in its report, Children in Military Custody has accused Israel of illegal mistreatment of Palestinian children after a report by a delegation of senior British lawyers revealed unconscionable practices, such as hooding, solitary confinement and the use of leg irons. found that “undisputed facts” pointed to at least six violations of the UN convention on the rights of the child, to which Israel is a signatory.

The report claims that youngsters are dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, have their wrists bound behind their backs, and are blindfolded and made to kneel or lie face down in military vehicles. The children are held in conditions that amount to torture, such as solitary confinement and no access to their parents.

In a damning conclusion, the report points out repeated breaches of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

In addition, Israel is a party to the Geneva Conventions, and bound by its obligations, yet Articles 76 and 65 of the 4th Geneva Convention were also found to have been breached, according to the report.

Article 76 prohibits detainees from being transported to the country of the authority which has detained them. In this case, Palestinian children were found to have been transported from the West Bank into Israel.

Article 65 states that any penal laws applied to prisoners in an occupied land must be translated into their own language. The lawyers said the Israeli authorities failed to translate Military Order 1676 from Hebrew into Arabic.

To the extent Obama convinces the Israel lobby between now and Tuesday November 6th may determine whether he is a one term President or returns for a second term with its uncertainties regarding traditional US Presidential support for Israel given that during his second term, as he has stated publicly thanks to a live media mike, he will have much more flexibility.

It is too early to know what boast Obama’s campaign might receive from the US Supreme Court’s 6/29/12 decision upholding his truly historic achievement of reforming the American health system which will provide quality health care for more than 30 million uninsured Americans.  Widespread public approval of Obamacare may significantly weaken Zionist lobby plans to control the White House as it has the Congress and how high President Obama needs to jump.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Israeli Neocons’ Second Nakba: Death By A Thousand Cuts

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It is now pretty much a matter of record that, after World War II, refugees from Europe landed in Palestine and started a massive terrorist blitzkrieg campaign, massacring thousands of Christians and Muslims in their wake.  In a vast display of ethnic cleansing similar to what had previously happened in Europe, approximately 500 local towns were destroyed, 15,000 residents of Palestine were killed and 750,000 more were expelled.  Local residents of this area (the ones who actually survived, that is) started referring to this premeditated slaughter as “al Nakba” — The Catastrophe.

And a second “Nakba” is apparently now in the works.

According to University of Chicago political science professor John Mearsheimer, “Given the right circumstances – say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest – Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions.  We should not underestimate Israel’s willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself.” http://www.silviacattori.net/article3322.html

What?

Are the land-grabbing neo-cons and faux-Jewish corporatists who now run Israel actually contemplating the instigation of an actual Second Nakba?   Holy yikes!  Are they seriously actually thinking about starting a second wide-ranging slaughter and ethnic cleansing on the scale of the first Nakba?  Perhaps under the cover of a war on Iran?  Good grief.

Both strategically and morally, that whole idea sucks eggs.

But then I got an e-mail from a Palestinian friend of mine who lives on the West Bank and he said that his village had just been brutally invaded by a needlessly-large number of highly-armed Israeli neo-con occupation forces.

“During the invasion last night,” wrote my friend, “one of the soldiers stole 1000 Nis (200€) from a moneybox of the youngest brother of my neighbor Mosab.  Mosab’s brother had been saving this money for months, little by little from his work as a vegetable farmer and salesman.  A laptop was also stolen from the house.

“Throughout the operation the soldiers fired sound grenades, a type of riot control weapon that produces a flash and a loud bang.  The sound is sufficient to make the most weathered and well-prepared person flinch in fear and when this weapon is used inside a village at night, it will not only serve to keep people awake but also to bring about memories of past atrocities that the village of Ni’lin has had to live through.

“Many villagers came out of their houses to protest the brutality of the Israeli army and were met with tear gas and more sound bombs.  The tear gas was fired straight at civilian houses which caused dozens children to suffer from tear gas inhalation.  Live ammunition was also used by the Israeli soldiers as a scare tactic.”

And, right at this very moment, this type of malicious military activity is going on constantly all over the West Bank.  Constantly.  Night and day.  Occupation armies and armed settlers constantly swoop down upon Palestinian citizens night and day.   No one is safe.  And there are all-too-many instances where the occupation armies shoot Palestinian children, shop-keepers and farmers, steal Palestinian goods, defecate in Palestinian homes and piss in their water supplies.  To say the least.

Sure, maybe some day another full-scale blitzkrieg-style Nakba invasion of armed soldiers, settlers and thugs may suddenly descend en mass upon occupied Palestine and expel every single Christian and Muslim Palestinian in “Greater Isreal” to the other side of the Jordan River, into Lebanon and Syria, or over into Egypt.  And this would be dramatic as hell and make the front pages of all the newspapers.   Sure.

But in the meantime, another “Second Nakba” has actually already begun:  The Nakba by a Thousand Cuts.

According to Mearsheimer, “There are now about 480,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories and a huge infrastructure of connector and bypass roads…  Between 1993 and 2000, Israel confiscated 40,000 acres of Palestinian land, constructed 250 miles of connector and bypass roads, doubled the number of settlers, and built 30 new settlements….   [And since then,] the Israeli prime minister has not only refused to stop building the 2500 housing units that were under construction in the West Bank, but just to make it clear to Obama who was boss, in late June 2009, he authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank.  Netanyahu refused to even countenance any limits on settlement building in East Jerusalem, which is supposed to be the capital of a Palestinian state.”

I could write more about this death by a thousand cuts but what good would it do.  The Second Nakba has already begun. And nobody seems to care — except for its victims.  History is repeating itself here.  This is so much like Germany in 1933 when corporatists started establishing prisons-for-profit and nobody cared what happened to the Jews.  And it’s also like South Africa in 1962 when corporatists took control of establishing Bantustans and nobody cared what happened to the Blacks.

And will this also be like America in a few more years, after corporatists have also seized absolute power here — and nobody will care what happens to us either?

Here’s another example of a forced population displacement that nobody cared about, one that was overseen by Britain and the United States (not by Nazis), involved 13 million Europeans and cost approximately 500,000 to 2,000,000 lives, including the lives of 7,000 children under the age of five:

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Between 1945 and 1950, Europe witnessed the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history.  Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians—the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16—were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland.

“As The New York Times noted in December 1945, the number of people the Allies proposed to transfer in just a few months was about the same as the total number of all the immigrants admitted to the United States since the beginning of the 20th century.  They were deposited among the ruins of Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves as best they could.  The number who died as a result of starvation, disease, beatings, or outright execution is unknown, but conservative estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people lost their lives in the course of the operation.”  http://chronicle.com/article/The-European-Atrocity-You/132123/?sid=cr&utm_source=cr&utm_medium=en

Are we having fun yet?

I was recently thinking about all the wars that America has been in over time, and then started listing them.  Let’s see.  There’s been America’s various wars on the Middle East, that Korean “police action”, World War I, World War II, the American Civil War, Vietnam, the Central American Wars, the Cold War and also various covert wars where other countries did the fighting but Washington supplied the cash — such as the violent and tragic fall of democratic governments in the Congo and Iran.

But when we consider the Big Picture, did any of these wars ever even make even the slightest difference — other than to make innumerable American citizens poorer and/or deader?

Even World War II, which was supposed to keep us safe from corporatism?  But did it?  Now that a kinder, gentler form of corporatism currently runs the world?  Or what about World War I, which was supposed to keep us safe for democracy?  Under Citizens United, is our democracy now all that safe?  Or take Vietnam, which was supposed to keep us safe from China — the landlord who now holds our mortgage?

Did any of these wars make any difference at all?  Other than to kill approximately one billion people and waste trillions of dollars and destroy untold resources — which we now desperately need?  Not really.  And nobody had fun during any of them either.


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

Torture In Palestine, Syria & Cleveland: Making It happen!

June 5, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

I recently attended a video presentation in Oakland given by a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, and while the speaker was describing various theater projects now being staged in Palestine, he also happened to mention several relatively unique types of psychological torture currently being implemented by Israeli corporatists and their enforcers in the occupied West Bank.

For instance, imagine that you are a Palestinian farmer and happily out plowing your land — when a bunch of rather nasty armed settlers come rampaging over the hill, beat you to a pulp and start building their own stuff on your property, right next to that old olive tree that has been shading your family since almost Christ’s birth.  And then imagine that some harsh-looking Israeli soldiers in full battle-gear also arrive on the scene in their Humvees and, rather than arresting all those evil “settler” perps who are busting your chops, they arrest YOU instead.  Okay, so it’s not fair or just or anything — but that’s life on the West Bank.  Live with it.

Then they drag you off to jail, don’t charge you with anything and hold you in indefinite detention for committing the extreme crime of plowing your own land.  Not exactly democratic or even nice — but you are used to it.  Hey, that’s life on the West Bank.

But then the Israeli corporatistas’ land-stealing goons start in to torture you too.  Well, okay.  That’s par for the course.  Tens of thousands of Palestinian farmers are being jailed and tortured regularly for the crimes of owning land and/or being Muslims or being Christians or being Jews — instead of just money-grubbing land-grabbers like Israel’s higher-up corporate mafia dudes.  But, hey.  That’s life on the West Bank.  Torture is torture.  Who needs all those fingernails.  You’ve got ten.  You can spare some.

But then Netanyahu’s corporatist goon-squad starts to carry this torture stuff a little bit too far.  First they show you photos of the corpses of your dead children — which totally freaks you out like even physical pain never possibly could.  Those are your dearly-loved babies lying there dead!  Your heart breaks.

And then someone else comes into your cell dressed like a doctor and informs you that you now have inoperable cancer, with only a few weeks left to live.  You’re stuck in this hell-hole and now you are gonna die here as well?  Good grief!

But then, when they finally release you months or years later (still without having been charged), you now discover that you never actually really had any cancer — and that your family is still very much alive.

But it’s really hard for you to just shrug this off too, saying, “Hey, that’s just life on the West Bank.”  Because it is not, not just “Life on the West Bank”.  It is mind-gaming sadistic torture of the worst kind.  And it’s not done in the name of Judaism either — because what kind of screwed-up religion would ever do something as truly ghastly as that!  It is done in the name of power and money and sadism only.

And that’s going too far.

And then it won’t be hard at all for you to imagine that these corporatista goons are no longer human.  But isn’t that the real purpose of good theater — like the Jenin Freedom Theatre?  To stir our imaginations?  And to motivate us to do better.

American and NATO powers-that-be seem to have been going a bit too far recently as well.  Lately, they have been paying squads of al Qaeda goons to gun down children in Houla so that the U.N. could blame these atrocities on Assad and then take over Syria. http://joequinn.net/2012/05/30/natos-civil-war-machine-rolls-into-syria/#more-359

“The more photos of dead children the better!” NATO corporatistas apparently instructed their al Qaeda goons while happily in pursuit of the Project for the New American Century’s wet-dream of capturing the entire Middle East — country by country.  Soon only Iran, Lebanon and possibly Egypt plus a few stragglers in Bahrain and Yemen will be left standing until they too knuckle under — and then everything over there will belong to the PNAC!

Not us.

And all this slaughter of innocents is now being happily paid for by blood-money that came from depriving American children of much of the important stuff that they also need to live.

And is anybody in America starting to get pissed off yet?

Or are we just going to wait until it is too late and it will be residents of Kansas City or Cleveland also being herded into prison cells, with our land stolen, suffering infinite detention and being shown photos of OUR dead family’s corpses.


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

Act of War? President Obama Ordered Wave Of Cyber Attacks Against Iran

June 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

On Friday the New York Times asserted that President Obama, from his first months in office, ordered a wave of “increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks” against Iran and its nuclear program”.
The program, code-named “Olympic Games”, was an acceleration of Bush era attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Reportedly, Obama ramped up the attacks even after the Stuxnet worm, a computer virus directed against foreign nuclear facilities, became public knowledge due to a programming error. The Stuxnet virus jumped from computer to computer, taking out 1000 of the 5000 Iranian uranium centrifuges.
The virus eventually broke free from control and traveled around the world through the internet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed.

Source

The US government has never admitted using so-called cyberweapons, but the Times piece suggests officials are now able to “cripple” infrastructure in a way previously only bombs and troops could achieve.

Source

Stuxnet became public in 2010, but fast forward to today, and this week a new ’super virus’ has hit Iran and the Middle East again. This advanced virus, “can activate a computer’s audio systems to listen in on Skype calls or office chatter. It can also take screenshots, log keystrokes and — in one of its more novel functions — steal data from Bluetooth-enabled cellphones.”

This powerful virus, dubbed “Flame” has already spread between nations, showing up in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, and the West Bank.
Experts are suggesting this virus may have come from Israel, and while Israel hasn’t admitted such a role, those charges aren’t being denied by its government.

While there seems to be mainstream support for the strong-arm tactics of governments and their use of cyber weapons, it appears to be a one-way street.
Should China, Iran, or Russia be suspected of being behind a destructive virus attack on the US or its close allies, the world could expect a dramatic and disproportionate military response.

In fact, in 2011 the Pentagon “concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.”

However, because the Pentagon deems cyber attacks an act of war, how can these attacks against sovereign countries go unchallenged?

“The Rules of Armed Conflict that guide traditional wars are derived from a series of international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, as well as practices that the U.S. and other nations consider customary international law. But cyber warfare isn’t covered by existing treaties. So military officials say they want to seek a consensus among allies about how to proceed.”

Former US President Richard Nixon famously said, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” It is almost certain that any attacks made by the US or its allies against sovereign nations in the form of cyber warfare will go unchecked and unpunished.

What complicates the issue further is the repeated declarations coming from experts and officials that Iran is working to further it’s nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and does not possess the desire, or the facilities, to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

In March of this year, the west placed financial sanctions on Iran, blocking Iranian banks access to international markets. Sanctions are approved by the UN and are not illegal, but they are a move, historically, that teeters on the edge of being an all-out act of war. 

This, combined with the suspicion that western governments are assassinating civilian Iranian scientists related to its nuclear program is yet another provocation in what seems to be escalating into a point of no return for both sides.

There are many downsides to playing with this type of cyber warfare fire. And they seem to all end in a world-wide military conflict. How long before Iran finally retaliates to these unsubtle acts of war against it? What will the outcome be when these super viruses are used either by hackers with malintent, or employed by governments in false-flag operations to frame domestic political activists, ’hacktivists’, or foreign nations?

At what point does the rest of the world stand up and declare these subversive engagements true ’acts of war’, and throw water on this fire before it spreads to consume us all?

Source: Elizabeth Leafloor | RedIceCreations.com

Bringing It All Back Home: Occupied Chicago Is America’s New Normal

May 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Gary Younge and Bernard Harcourt have good pieces in the Guardian about the “new normal” of America’s militarized society, as exemplified by armed occupation of Chicago by a staggering array of “security” forces.

Younge notes the bitter irony of the word “security” in a city where the poor are being subjected to ever-increasing levels of violence both from private predators and public “protectors”:

The dissonance between the global pretensions of the summit this weekend and the local realities of Chicago could not be more striking. Nato claims its purpose is to secure peace through security; in much of Chicago neither exists.

… The murder rate in Chicago in the first three months of this year increased by more than 50% compared with the same period last year, giving it almost twice the murder rate of New York. And the manner in which the city is policed gives many as great a reason to fear those charged with protecting them as the criminals. By the end of July last year police were shooting people at the rate of six a month and killing one person a fortnight.

This violence, be it at the hands of the state or gangs, is both compounded and underpinned by racial and economic disadvantage. The poorer the neighbourhood the more violent, the wealthier the safer. This is no coincidence. Much like the Nato summit – and the G8 summit that preceded it – the system is set up not to spread wealth but to preserve and protect it, not to relieve chaos but to contain and punish it.

Younge then gives us a few of the local fruits of this global system:

Chicago illustrates how the developing world is everywhere, not least in the heart of the developed. The mortality rate for black infants in the city is on a par with the West Bank; black life expectancy in Illinois is just below Egypt and just above Uzbekistan. More than a quarter of Chicagoans have no health insurance, one in five black male Chicagoans are unemployed and one in three live in poverty. Latinos do not fare much better.

Harcourt, meanwhile, focuses on the mechanics of the lockdown imposed on Chicago:

As one commentator suggests, Chicagoans are experiencing the “New Military Urbanism in Nato-Occupied Chicago”. The extensive nature of these security measures (as reported by the US secret service), road closures and pedestrian restrictions included dozens of road closures (at least 7.5 miles of closed roads, by my calculation) …

Eight-foot tall, anti-scale security fencing went up all over that perimeter and downtown, including Grant Park; and the Chicago police – as well as myriad other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and the US secret service – were out in force on riot-geared horses, bikes, and patrols – batons at the ready. Philadelphia Police Department is sending over reinforcements to help out; Chicago has also asked for recruits from police departments in Milwaukee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC. Meanwhile, F-16 warplanes “screamed through the skies as part of a pre-summit defense exercise” and helicopters hovered incessantly. ….

Plus, the Chicago Police Department will be deploying its two, new, expensive long-range acoustic device (LRAD) sound cannons – which it bought at $20,000 a pop. These are the type of devices that were used by the Pittsburgh police to deliver high-pitched alarm tones during the G20 summit meeting there in 2009.

Then, there is the “secret suburban Chicago” police control center where “officials from more than 40 different agencies sit side by side with a giant central screen before them,” as reported by the Chicago Sun Times. From the multi-agency command center, all different types of federal, state and local law enforcement can “view live video feeds from security cameras that are already up and running throughout the city”.

Harcourt makes the telling point that Mayor Rahm Emanuel denied numerous protest permits and imposed other restrictions on the grounds that the expression of free speech by demonstrators would cause “inconveniences to traffic and ordinary businesses” — this, after closing off more than seven square miles of the city’s commercial area himself. He makes the even more telling point that these hyper-draconian measures will, in many cases, stay in place once the power-players have finished their meaningless jaw-flapping and returned to their well-wadded entrenchments at home:

Third, and finally, all of this is, sadly, here to stay. Nato will come and go, but the new anti-protest laws, the new riot-gear, the two LRAD sound cannons, and all the normalization of this police state … that will be with us for a long time.

Source: Chris Floyd | Empire Burlesque

They Can’t Stop Building Walls

April 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

How many walls will secure the Zionist regime in Palestine?

It may be that researchers would want to examine as long ago as the period from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century in order to find a regime so frenetically building walls and barriers in a hopeless quest to hold onto stolen lands as we in Lebanon may soon witness in the south of the country.  It was back in 221 BC that in order to protect China from the land claims of the Xiongnu people from Mongolia, the Xiongnu tribe being China’s main enemy at that time who sought the return of lands they claimed the Chinese had stolen, that the emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of a wall to guard China’s territorial gains.

Lots of walls have been built throughout history to preserve occupied lands. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in England to keep the Picts out and the East Germans built the Berlin wall to keep the people in. But no regime in history has built, in the span of six decades, the number of walls as the paranoid regime in Tel Aviv has erected. And it plans at least five more “anti-terrorist protective walls” including one slated to begin soon along the Lebanese-Palestine border at the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila. And that one may present a problem.

The decision to build a wall “to replace the existing Israeli technical fence” along the Blue Line near the town of Kfar Kila was announced last month by Tel Aviv.  The announcement followed a meeting between the Israel military and UNIFIL and both are keeping fairly mum about what it knows about this latest wall but UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh hinted to this observer that the first section will be about half a mile long and approximately 16 feet high.

Some south Lebanon residents are strongly objecting for among other reasons that the high wall will block the scenic views into Palestine.  Others are ridiculing the reasons for the wall expressed by the US-Israeli lobby that will ask the American taxpayer to pay for it.

Israel firster, David Schenker, from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, set up by AIPAC, told a Congressional hearing recently: “South Lebanon is obviously a very sensitive area [for Israel], being so close to Metula and the possibility of infiltration by Hezbollah and Palestinians is a legitimate concern. The Israeli government believes that a this wall will prevent terrorists from launching direct line-of-sight firing of things like RPGs and mortars. Even the throwing of stones which some tourists visiting the area are in the habit of doing.”

Local observers, UNIFIL officials and experts like Timor Goksel, who worked as UNIFIL’s spokesman for 24 years along the blue line, expressed surprise at why Israel is claiming that Kfar Kila is a particularly dangerous area that needs a wall.

In point of fact the area has not been a particularly hazardous or “sensitive” one historically, even when the PLO controlled the area in the 1970’s.  Goksel explained; “In my 24 years’ experience, there were never any attacks there because it’s adjacent to a Lebanese village, so any attack there will make life for the Lebanese difficult. I don’t think anybody has ever thought of doing anything there. Moreover, even if you cross into Israel at Kifa Kula there, you’re not going to come across an Israeli position for a long time, so it doesn’t make sense for anyone to attack from there. What are you going to attack? There’s no target.”

Some local observers are speculating that the real reason Israel wants the barrier in Kfar Kila might be to stop its troops from bargaining for drugs in exchange for weapons and classified military information, as the IDF’s drug problem among its “northern command” soldiers has escalated since the battering it took in the July 2006 war.

Israel’s newest frontier wall will follow the one being erected along the 150-mile boundary between the Sinai and Negev deserts.  That wall building project is due to be completed by the end of this year of 2012. Once the Kfar Kila wall is finished, Israel will be almost completely enclosed by steel, barbed wire and concrete, leaving only the southern border with Jordan between the Dead and Red Seas without a physical barrier. But that too, may be walled in the future according to Shenker. He testified that the reason was due to the uncertainty in Jordan and its increasingly wobbly government.

Yet another wall, approximately seven miles from the Mediterranean along the southern border will meet the fence Israel has already been built around Gaza.  This wall runs for 32 miles, with a buffer zone, which Palestinians are forbidden from entering, and extends close to 1,000 meters inside the narrow Gaza Strip, walling off more prime Palestinian agricultural land. This   “security war” has caged Palestinians inside Gaza but did not prevent the cross-border capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

Along the Palestine-Lebanon border, a barrier built by Israel in the 1970s along the boundary was reconstructed, after Israel was forced out of Lebanon in 2000 following a 22-year occupation. This barrier did not prevent Hezbollah in a cross-border ambush in 2006, capturing two Israeli soldiers in order to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Nor did it prevent Hezbollah from firing of thousands of rockets during the ensuing 33-day war in retaliation for Israeli bombing much of south Lebanon.

And the “protective walls”  rise like mushroom after a summer rain.

Further east from Lebanon, an Israeli barrier has been constructed on the ceasefire line drawn at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, running between the Golan Heights, which Israel has illegally occupied for nearly 45 years, and Syria.  It was here that hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators entered occupied Palestine last May, in the Golan and along the Lebanese border. More than a dozen people were killed and scores injured when Zionist forces opened fire on the unarmed civilians.

A crossing at Quneitra, now operated by the UN, does allow some movement of UN personnel, truckloads of apples, a few Druze students and the occasional Syrian bride in white.

A few miles north of Quneitra is Shouting Hill, where Druze families in the Golan yell greetings across the barrier to relatives in Syria.

Moving south through heavily mined fields and hills, the 1973 ceasefire line is bordered by Israeli military bases and closed military zones, and shells of tanks from past battles, until it connects with the border with Jordan. It then joins with one of Israel’s first walls, constructed in the late 1960s, which now stretches almost from the Sea of Galilee down the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea. Most of this line is not Israel’s border, but rather a barrier separating Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Around a third of the way down this stretch, the barrier joins the infamous huge steel-and-concrete West Bank wall. This runs along or inside the 1949 armistice line, swallowing up tracts of Palestinian agricultural land, slicing through communities and separating farmers from their fields and olive trees. As with its other 18 walls and barriers, the Zionist regime claims it is simply a security measure, but many believe it marks the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, consuming an additional 12 per cent of the West Bank. Approximately two-thirds of its 465-mile length is complete, mostly as a steel fence with wide exclusion zones on either side. According to the current route, 8.5 per cent of the West Bank territory and 27,520 Palestinians are on the “Israeli” side of the barrier. Another 3.4 percent of the area (with 247,800 inhabitants) is completely or partially surrounded by the barrier.

Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built  7-9 meter (23 – 30 ft) wall separating Gaza from Egypt(temporarily breached on January 23, 2008), which is currently under Egyptian control, are also widely condemned by the international community.

Returning to the subject of the latest wall project, increasingly the Zionist regime opposes discussions, hearings, visits, expressions of solidarity with Palestinians, and even the viewing its garrison state from south Lebanon.  Cutting off a view that people throughout history have marveled at represents a continuation of its isolation and xenophobia.

Following the joint meeting at Kkar Kila noted above, UNIFIL Major-General Serra said: “The meeting was called to assist Israel in putting in place additional security measures along the Blue Line in the Kafr Kila area in order to minimize the scope for sporadic tensions or any misunderstandings that could lead to escalation of the situation.”

In fact, the opposite with likely happen.  In a recent visit to Ahmad Jibril’s Palestinian camp in the Bekaa Valley, and in discussion with salafist groups in Saida, it’s plain the wall will likely become an object of target practice and strain further UNIFIL and Hezbollah efforts to   keep theborder calm.

In a scathing commentary in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, defense analyst Alex Fishman recently wrote: “We have become a nation that imprisons itself behind fences, which huddles terrified behind defensive shields.” It has become, he said, a “national mental illness”.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Christ Was Never A Christian

April 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

But He Was Tortured And Crucified By Occupying Forces…

For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is referred to as “Passion Sunday” and it marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.  They tell the story of when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving and covering his path with palm branches. The story goes that immediately following this triumphant celebration Jesus began his tortured journey to the cross.

The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; also called the Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows, or just The Way) is a series of artistic representations depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion in the final hours or Passion of Jesus before he died.

2,000 years ago the cross had no religious meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. When Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow me” everyone then understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads in Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any others who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces.

Jesus was never a Christian, for that term was not even coined until the days of Paul, about 3 decades after Jesus walked the earth a man.

Jesus was a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up and challenged the job security of the Temple authorities by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Military Occupation.

What got Jesus crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces and teaching the subversive concept that Caesar only had power because God allowed it and that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Occupation above the elite and arrogant.

During my second [of seven] Reality Tours through the West Bank, I was introduced to Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center Contemporary Way of Cross.

The Sabeel way, transforms the traditional Christian tradition of meditating upon the journey that Christ took after his condemnation as he carried his cross to where he was crucified with an updated meditation on empire and occupation.

In Jerusalem there are fourteen plaques along The Via Delarosa hanging on the walls of buildings depicting where Christ may have fallen three times, meets his mother, is stripped, nailed and dies.

The Contemporary Way suggests fourteen reflections beginning with 1948, The Nabka: The Catastrophe which followed the failure of the UN partition plan of ‘47 when the Irgun and Stern Gang [Zionist terrorist groups] depopulated 400 villages and forced 726,000 Palestinians to flee to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Station Two reflects on those refugees and the 460,000 more that fled during the War of 1967. Currently there are 675,670 registered refugees in the West Bank, 938,531 in Gaza and over two million in Arab countries who have never received compensation and have been denied the right to return as guaranteed in Articles 13 and 15 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in UN Resolution 194.

At Anata, [Jerusalem's refugee camp] The Wall is butted up to the boy’s high school. The ‘playground’ where around 800 male adolescents ‘play’ is in reality a slab of cement about the square footage of a basketball court and is walled in on all four sides by the high school, two small cement walls and Israel’s Separation Wall.

A refugee informed me that on a daily basis, “The Israeli Occupation Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes. They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day! The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery to continue.”

I wandered around taking photos and was warmly greeted by a teenage boy who asked my name and where I was from. I cringed when I said America, for I am ashamed that over one hundred billion USA dollars since 1948 has supported the occupation, promoted violence and helped build The Wall which is “financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile. The Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” [1]

A five-minute car ride from the refugee camp, lies an Orwellian Disney Land of lush green grounds in the colony called the Pizgatzeev settlement. I was sick at heart and in my gut as I rode less than a mile into the colony and counted three playgrounds and a swimming pool. I still wonder how many USA tax dollars helped to build them.

As my Sabeel group was praying a gunshot issued from the Anata refugee camp, then another and another in rapid succession. I was told that the IDF was showering the refugees with gunfire and that terror is just a normal daily occurrence. I lost it completely then, and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt like the Magdalena when she could not find her Lord, and then I thought of Jesus, and how he cried buckets of tears over Jerusalem.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.-Luke 19:41

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” -Matthew 23:37

While in Bethlehem in July 2007, I also met with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, the Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas church in Bethlehem since 1988 who was also born in that little town in Occupied Territory.

Raheb spoke with passion:

“We are not spectators, we have a role to play…we are nonviolent but I have problems with nonviolence; people from abroad come here and give us sermons on nonviolence and I appreciate it, but why don’t they preach nonviolence to Israel and America?

“It’s a miracle that the Palestinians are so nonviolent in spite of the abuse we live with on a daily basis. If you lived here every day you would get fed up too. The world assumes it is the Palestinians who are the violent ones, but nonviolence is who we are. If you operate in a system of violence you will also be violent when you go home.

“Palestinians who throw stones; and many think that is ok, but I say why do that? One day you will throw stones at Palestinians too and that is exactly what happened in Gaza, but the reason is the occupation! Where do you think Hamas learned to torture? In Israeli prisons from their captors!

“There is no way to end the violence without first ending the occupation!

“Our Palestinian government was boycotted for a year and a half by America and the EU: this is violence! As long as the violence is exercised against us that is OK with the world. When the Presbyterians talked divestment the Zionist rose up and said ‘you can’t do that!’

“I started interfaith dialogue in 1985 because Christians should not be islands and you don’t dialogue just with yourself, you must dialogue with the other and the biggest temptation for the church is to stay within their walls and only be dedicated to their own members; which leads to a dead church.

“We are called to go out, and we do not just preach with words, people here are fed up with words; they hear one thing and see another with their eyes.

“They hear peace, peace, peace and for 85 years the politicians have been working for peace and the situation gets worse. Blair, and all the politicians are into PR for themselves; they do nothing for our situation.  Blair got himself a good job marketing himself and he will come and go and Israel will continue building the wall, settlements and carving the West Bank into Swiss cheese; Israel gets the cheese and we Palestinians fall into the holes!

“Fifty million American dollars went to build the checkpoints to ‘make our lives easier’ we were told, but these checkpoints and terminals are not for people, they are for cattle!

“We have too much religion and it suffocates us! If God would speak today he would say, ‘I am fed up with your religion!’ The more religion there is; the less spirituality.

“During the Israeli invasion in 2002 when the Church of Nativity was occupied by the IDF and Palestinians were sheltered within, as an eyewitness I wrote 18 short stories that will keep you awake at night, in my book “Bethlehem Beseiged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble.” [2]

One of the refugees I spoke with in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp told me, “I left Gaza on March 20, 2007. My husband has been there ever since he was sent there in 2002, after Bethlehem was besieged.

“It began on an ordinary day, helicopters and airplanes circled above and tanks came up the street. The soldiers were on the roof and breaking in doors and through walls. The resistance fighters and many young people ran to Manger Square. The soldiers stole money and jewelry.  The Franciscan father Abraham Feltus sheltered my husband in the Church of the Nativity. After it was all over, I went and prayed and lit candles there.”

Reported by the National Catholic Reporter on 4/26/2002, “the standoff between the Israeli Defense Force and the 250 Palestinians holed up inside the church along with 45 monks, nuns and priests…is taking a toll on both those inside the church and without. Bethlehem residents living near Manger Square, where the church is located, continue to live under curfew. The Israeli army has said it will continue its siege, which began April 3, until it captures about 30 men inside the church whom the army says are wanted as terrorists.

“Reached by telephone April 16, Franciscan Fr. Amjad Sabbara, parish priest at St. Catherine’s Church, the Latin church that adjoins the 1,400-year, old Orthodox basilica enshrining Christ’s birthplace, said the most serious problem for all those at the Church of the Nativity is water. The Nativity complex, which includes Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian monasteries in addition to the basilica, has one well. With some 250 more people now living there, water is running low. So far, the Israelis have permitted the delivery of a crate with 20 bottles of water, but no food. Sabbara reported that those inside the church are living on one meal a day.

“A youth who escaped from the Church of the Nativity April 15 provided a fuller picture of the squalid conditions inside the church. In an article printed in The New York Times April 17, 16-year-old Jihad Abdul Rahman said cold and the stench from rotting bodies and gangrenous wounds drove him from the church. There was no water for washing and only one toilet for the 250 Palestinians taking shelter inside the church, Rahman said.

“Dwindling supplies of food and water are not the only problems those inside the church are contending with. The Israeli army is exerting psychological pressure by blasting loud music and shrieking cries at night as well as intermittent demands to those inside the church to give themselves up.

“It’s the Noriega technique,” said Bethlehem resident Br. Kenneth Cardwell, referring to the tactics the U.S. government adopted in its efforts to dislodge former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from the Vatican embassy in Panama City where he sought refuge in 1989.

“They play really repulsive music very loudly. They broadcast loud commands to surrender in the middle of night. They explode huge explosive charges and then lesser flash-bangs I call them. We’re a half-mile away and we wake up five, six times a night with this racket. There are blimps with a cable below. There’s been a drone flying overhead all day today. Yesterday colored gasses wafted across the square,” Cardwell said.

He added that a box dangling from a large crane the Israeli army has brought into or close by Manger Square “gave a laser light show the other night and that was pretty exciting…all the computers of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem have been destroyed in what he called a deliberate attempt by the Israeli government to destroy the Palestinian economy and the Palestinian Authority.”

Cardwell added, “We watch on TV the great support Israel is receiving from the Jewish people in the United States. If they only knew what this government is doing to the Palestinian people, they would repent in dust and ashes. American Jewry has a very high sense of moral responsibility for the widow, the stranger and the orphan, and they just are blind to what the Israeli government is doing.”  [IBID]

Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy ends his emails with:

“Jesus did not simply ‘suffer and die,’ just as Abel did not simply ‘suffer and die.’ Jesus was ‘tortured and murdered,’ and He responded to His torturers and murderers with a Nonviolent Merciful Love. ‘Suffered and died’ are minimizing, obscuring, evasive, amnesia-inducing, all-purpose, generalizing words. They do not convey properly the Gospel history of what took place on Golgotha. They do not convey properly the revelation and glory of God in Jesus during His final hours on earth, nor do they convey properly the revelation of the redeeming and redemptive Way of God through Jesus. The raw animal pain of suffering and death is not what saves. Identification with Jesus being tortured and murdered is identification with Jesus loving—loving the Father by doing the Father’s will and loving those responsible for His torture and murder. Communion with the tortured and murdered and risen Jesus Christ is communion with a love that conquers any evil and is stronger than death.”- Center for Christian Nonviolence

Jesus is also called The Prince of Peace and although I no longer attend or support any church institution, because I love Jesus and try to follow him, I am connected to the mystical Body of Christ and the most rigid of Christian fundamentalists are my sisters and brothers.

St. Paul, who never failed to express his freedom of speech, warned the followers of Christ, NOT to judge the unbeliever but to provoke the believer onto good works.

Ever since my first trip to Israel Palestine in 2005, my work, hope and prayer has been to mend, heal and repair the flabby Body of Christ in the West by trying to reconnect it to its very roots in the land where Jesus walked and taught that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God; not those that bomb, torture or occupy others.

The Christian EXODUS from the Holy land-which is in pieces; Bantustans, has rendered their numbers from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1948. Their dwindling numbers are due to low birth rates coupled with their escape from a brutal, inhumane military occupation, which is aided and abetted by American foreign policy and ‘we the peoples’ tax dollars.

Every individual Christian is but one cell in the cosmic Body of Christ.

“So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:4

“Its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part [of The Body] suffers, every part suffers with it.”-1 Corinthians 12:25-26

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and all the prophets said, “You will recognize the believers in their having Mercy for one another, and in their Love for one another, and in their Kindness towards one another; like the body, when one member of it hurts, the entire body hurts.”

In the gospel [good news] told in Mark 3: 31-35, the mother of Jesus’ and his brothers arrived at the house where he was teaching.

Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him out. The crowd around Jesus told him, “Your mother, sisters and brothers are outside asking for you.”

Jesus replied, “I am here with my mother, sisters and brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother.”-Mark 3: 31-35

“What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” – Micah 6:8

Being just means correct, true, accurate, right and fair.

Merciful is to have, feel and show compassion, that sense of viscerally feeling the pain of another and being moved to help.

Being humble is knowing yourself-the good and the bad-for both cut through every human heart and all FREE WILL means is we get to choose which rules ours.

Notes

1. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007

2.  MEMOIRS of a Nice Irish-American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory


Eileen Fleming is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Eileen Fleming, Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

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