Etiket arşivi: israel

Israel’s lap dogs contest US election: presidential candidate


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qqoYEKHlohw

California passes resolution defining criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism


Last month, the California State Assembly passed a resolution urging state educational institutions to more aggressively crack down on criticism of the State of Israel on campuses, which the resolution defines as “anti-Semitism.” The anti-democratic resolution is the latest step in the broader campaign to stifle and suppress dissent on California’s increasingly volatile campuses.

The California State Assembly is the lower house of the state legislature, consisting of 80 members. The resolution—H.R. 35: “Relative to anti-Semitism”—was passed by a vote of 66 to 80, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly.

The resolution was drafted by Republican Linda Halderman and passed without public discussion. The vote on the resolution came when most students were between semesters and away from their campuses.

The resolution (available here) uses the classic trick employed by defenders of Israel’s Zionist regime: lumping together any criticism of the Israeli state’s policies or of the US government’s support for them with racist attacks on Jews.

On the one hand, the resolution denounces “swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti in residential halls, public areas on campus, and Hillel houses,” and denounces those who accuse “the Jewish people, or Israel, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.”

On the other hand, the bulk of the resolution is dedicated to defining criticism of the state of Israel as “anti-Semitism.” It lists the following as examples of “anti-Semitism”:

• “language or behavior [that] demonizes and delegitimizes Israel;”

• “speakers, films, and exhibits” that indicate that “Israel is guilty of heinous crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing and genocide;”

• describing Israel as a “racist” or “apartheid” state;

• “student-and faculty-sponsored boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel;”

• “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination;”

• “applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;” and

• “actions of student groups that encourage support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.”

This list makes clear that the accusations of anti-Semitism are a red herring, employed to attack students’ democratic rights and stifle dissent. The resolution recalls the smear campaign against German author Günter Grass and his poem “What Must Be Said” earlier this year.

Defending the poem, the World Socialist Web Site explained: “Anti-Semitism is the term used to describe racist hatred aimed at the oppression and persecution of Jews—and in the case of the Third Reich, the extermination of Jews. Grass’s criticisms of the war policy of the Netanyahu government are not directed against Jews, nor against Jews in Israel. His overwhelming concern is the well-being of both the Jewish population in Israel and the Iranian people. This is in stark contrast to the Israeli government.

“The Israeli regime does not represent the interests of the Jewish population, but rather a tiny rich and corrupt clique that has always worked closely with American imperialism.” (See Defend Günter Grass!)

The aggressive narrowness of the resolution’s definition of acceptable political discussion, combined with its broad definition of anti-Semitism, prompted the University of California to distance itself from the resolution, though without rejecting or denouncing it. “We think it’s problematic because of First Amendment concerns,” UC spokesman Steve Montiel told the San Francisco Chronicle last week.

The resolution does clearly implicate the First Amendment, which protects not only criticism of the state of Israel, but generally protects anti-Semitic hate speech as well.

Moreover, it must also be said that the State of Israel is, as a matter of fact, guilty of crimes against humanity.

To cite only a more recent example, the 574-page UN Goldstone Report published in 2010 found that the State of Israel had deliberately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza during the 2008-2009 “Operation Cast Lead.” The invasion of Gaza saw 1,400 Palestinians killed compared with 13 Israelis killed. More than 21,000 buildings, factories, and apartments were damaged or destroyed.

Under California H.R. 35, it appears that the Goldstone report is now to be considered “anti-Semitic.”

The resolution also contains a denunciation of “suppression and disruption of free speech that presents Israel’s point of view.” This appears to be a reference to the “Irvine 11” incident last year, in which 11 students shouted down Israeli ambassador Michael Oren during his speech at the University of California at Irvine.

The 11 students shouted, “Michael Oren, you’re a war criminal,” and “You, sir, are an accomplice to genocide.” These students were later arrested, charged, and convicted of the crimes of “conspiracy” and violating Oren’s rights. (See University of California students convicted for protesting Israeli ambassador’s speech.)

The resolution goes on to state that the “Assembly recognizes recent actions by officials of public post secondary educational institutions in California [e.g., the prosecutions of the Irvine 11] and calls upon those institutions to increase their efforts to swiftly and unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their campuses and to utilize existing resources . . . to help guide campus discussion about, and promote, as appropriate, educational programs for combating anti-Semitism on their campuses.”

On California’s campuses, as on campuses and workplaces internationally, explosive class antagonisms are increasingly apparent. Massive tuition hikes year after year coupled with job losses and skyrocketing youth unemployment present an entire generation of young people with an increasingly impossible situation.

State authorities in California, which is controlled by the Democratic Party, have watched the large campus protests that took place across state campuses over the past two years with hostility, consternation, and fear.

Over the past year, at the behest of Democratic Party officials, demonstrating students across the state have been attacked by paramilitary police squads armed with batons, tear gas, and flash grenades, with hundreds of students arrested and jailed. The world’s attention was captured when students peacefully protesting tuition hikes at UC Davis were pepper sprayed by police in cold blood.

In the face of increasing tensions and protests, state authorities are moving to clamp down on the campuses, intervening to “guide campus discussion” and criminalize criticism of both domestic and foreign policy. Under the guise of criticizing “anti-Semitism” the state government signaling that the persecution of student protesters will be tolerated or welcomed.

The resolution concludes that “strong leadership from the top remains an important priority so that no administrator, faculty, or student group can be in any doubt that anti-Semitic activity will not be tolerated in the classroom or on campus, and that no public resources will be allowed to be used for anti-Semitic or any intolerant agitation.”

Israel says “Rachel made me do it”


Lawrence Davidson argues that behind the Israeli court ruling that Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home, lies a culture of pathological racism that considers all Palestinians and their allies as terrorists.

The death of Rachel Corrie

On 16 March 2003, the last day of her life, 23-year-old Rachel Corrie was in the Gaza town of Rafah standing in front of the Palestinian family home (not just a house) of Dr Samir Nasrallah. Dr Nasrallah was a local pharmacist and Corrie had been staying with his family while serving as part of an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) cadre seeking to disrupt the Israeli army’s on-going demolition of Palestinian homes. Between 2000 and 2004, the Israelis had destroyed enough homes in the Rafah area to leave some 1,700 people homeless.

The Israeli army claimed they did this because these homes were used as “terrorist hiding places”. The result, they claimed, was frequent gunfire at Israeli settlements and soldiers. Yet for the time that Corrie stayed with the Nasrallahs, everyone in the home had slept on the floor and away from the windows to avoid a constant barrage of gunfire from Israeli snipers.

“…the bulldozer in question stood 20 to 30 metres from Corrie, who was wearing a high visibility fluorescent orange jacket and was speaking through a megaphone calling for the bulldozer driver to stop or turn away.”

On the day that Corrie died, she had interposed herself between the Nasrallah home and a very large “D9R” armoured the bulldozer in question stood 20 to 30 metres from Corrie, who was wearing a high visibility fluorescent orange jacket and was speaking through a megaphone calling for the bulldozer driver to stop or turn away. The tractor moved toward her and the home slowly, in an operation the Israeli army later described as the “clearing of vegetation and rubble” so as to remove “explosive devices”. As it approached, the driver lowered the blade and began accumulating a mound of dirt and debris as the machine went along. When the bulldozer was close to the outer wall of the Nasrallah home, Corrie climbed on top of the accumulating debris. At that point she was so positioned that she could look directly into the driver’s cab, and the driver could look directly out at her, from no more that three or four metres. The machine kept coming. In the next few seconds, she lost her balance, fell backwards, and was run over twice by the bulldozer blade. The bulldozer driver later testified that he never saw Corrie until he noticed “people pulling the body our from under the earth”.

There was, of course, an internal military investigation of the incident, an investigation that then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised then President George W. Bush would be “thorough, credible and transparent”. Senior US officials, including the US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, later observed that the military investigation was none of these things. The military exonerated both the driver of the bulldozer and his commander, saying that neither had seen Corrie and also they weren’t even trying to destroy the Nasrallah home that day.

The judgment followed a long-standing practice of the Israeli military, reconstructing scenarios after the fact in order to rationalize just about any action soldiers take against the Palestinians, no matter how criminal. In the Rafah area during the years that Corrie and other ISM volunteers worked there, the Israeli military was in the habit of targeting Palestinian children, killing some 400 of them, one-quarter of whom were under the age of 12. In almost all cases there was no penalty for committing these murders. The practice of granting immunity has also been followed by Israeli police and courts in the case of crimes committed by Israeli civilians, especially settlers, against Palestinians. To date, “91 per cent of investigations of such criminal acts committed by Israelis against Palestinians and their property are closed without indictments being served.”

The Corrie family civil suit

In 2005, frustrated by the apparent whitewash of their daughter’s murder, Corrie’s parents filed a civil suit in an Israeli court against the country’s Ministry of Defence. They hoped that the trial would provide the “credible and transparent” accounting that had so far been denied. Subsequently, fifteen court sessions were held in the city of Haifa and just 23 witnesses testified. Yet the whole thing dragged on for seven years – until 28 August 2012 when the presiding judge, Oded Gershon, finally issued his ruling.

I reject the suit,” Gershon stated in his 62-page decision, claiming that Corrie and the other ISM activists had purposely chosen to enter a “daily combat region” where they acted “to protect terrorists”. The judge accepted the army’s claim that the bulldozer driver had not seen Corrie. In any case, according to the judge, she was acting irrationally. “Corrie could have simply gotten out of the way of the bulldozer as any reasonable person would have done,” but she did not, and so she was ultimately responsible for her own death. According to the Corrie family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, Judge Gershon’s judgment was “so close to the state’s attorney’s version of events that it could have been written by him.”

“According to the Corrie family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein,Judge Gershon’s judgment was ‘so close to the state’s attorney’s version of events that it could have been written by him’.”

The Judge’s mind-set is perhaps the most telling part of the judgment. In Gershon’s world, the Israeli army was not seeking to engage in a siege that was turning Gaza into the world’s largest outdoor prison while illegal Israeli settlements expanded. And, because that was not what was going on, any response by the people of Gaza could not be seen as legitimate acts of resistance or self-defence. No, the people of Gaza were at best supporters of terrorists or at worst terrorists themelves. That was the paradigm into which both the judge and all the Israeli army witnesses were locked. These witnesses spoke from behind a curtain, using aliases. This was done “for security reasons”. And, they all said basically the same thing: we did not see Rachel Corrie and even if we had we would not have seen a civilian. Why? Because Israel is at war with the Palestinians and, as one testifying Israeli army officer (aka Yossi) put it, “during a war there are no civilians”. There are only terrorists and their allies [i.e. Corrie] and Israel does not prosecute its soldiers for waging “war” against them.

The resulting a priori immunity is not unique to Israel. Just days after the Corrie decision was announced, another decision, this time by the US Justice Department, was made public. The department ended its investigation into deaths occurring during CIA interrogations conducted using torture. No charges were brought against the torturers in these cases due to insufficient “admissible evidence”. That is, the evidence which the government itself would declassify so as to make it admissible was not sufficient to “sustain a conviction”. The American Civil Liberties Union called the decision “nothing short of a scandal… Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment.” How Israeli of the American Justice Department – or is the other way around?

Conclusion

If you come across an individual who condemns an entire category of people and is also willing to violently act on the basis of that belief, you might call him or her a pathological racist, or a pathological xenophobe, or a pathological paranoid chauvinist. But what happens when those same sick sentiments get institutionalized in powerful bureaucracies? When, say, all Arabs (be they Muslim or Christian) are suspect and subject to government surveillance, segregation, collective punishment and worse. What then do you call this? National security? All too often that is exactly what we call it. The “we” here includes almost all politicians, media newscasters, security personnel, talking head “experts” and the like. What it comes down to is that, in the name of “national security”, we can justify almost anything, including killing kids in Gaza and torturing people to death in some dungeon, the whereabout of which is classified, as well as running over a 23-year-old peace activist with a massive bulldozer.

That is certainly what the Corrie episode has shown to be the case in Israel. And it does not matter what is driving this obsessive stereotyping of the Palestinians as collective enemies by both individuals and entire government departments. The Israelis and their Zionist supporters can evoke the holocaust (and, for that matter, the Americans can talk about 9/11) until the end of time. The actions stemming from such ultimately racist perspectives are still thoroughly dehumanizing and criminal. Such is perpetual “war”.

Ha’aretz: Bring Israel Into NATO


Bring Israel into NATO

Israeli membership in NATO is a type of long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider.
By Yehuda Lukacs

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Israel, already a de-facto member of the alliance, maintains close ties with several member states. Germany, for example, has built for the Israeli navy several Dolphin-class submarines, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads – viewed as Israel’s second-strike capability.

Normalization of relations with Turkey – NATO’s largest Muslim member – is a vital Israeli national interest. Such a rapprochement is also a NATO interest.

Perhaps Israeli membership in NATO could become part of the “reconciliation package” between the two countries.

Israeli membership in NATO is a type of a bold, long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider as the foundations of a new security system in the most volatile region of the world.

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A nuclear Iran is virtually a fait accompli. A military strike by Israel, the United States or both may delay but will not prevent the Islamic Republic from eventually acquiring such capability.

Decision-makers ought to consider devising a new security architecture, one that would deter Iran and guarantee Israel’s long-term survival. A radical alternative to war is required – one that would make Israel a member of NATO, protected by the “one-for-all, all-for-one” policy of the 28-member alliance.

Injecting the alliance’s reach into the Middle East could provide it with a renewed sense of mission in the post-Cold War environment, especially as the NATO combat presence in Afghanistan is about to draw down in two years.

Iran’s quest for a nuclear option dates back to 1957, when it signed a civil-technical cooperation agreement with the United States under the “Atoms for Peace” program. However, eventual development of nuclear weapons was regarded as reflecting the nation’s greatness and its ambitions to become the region’s preeminent power. After the 1979 revolution, such weapons were also viewed as a potential deterrent vis-a-vis Israel’s nuclear arsenal or other external threats. No credible evidence exists that the regime is irrational or suicidal – as claimed by some – but the current Iranian leadership’s true intentions are unknown and therefore Israel’s concerns are legitimate.

It seems that all the alternatives advocated to deal with the present crisis – sanctions and negotiations, a military strike, or deterrence – will be insufficient by themselves to address Israel’s long-term security. Even if Iran acquires an atomic bomb, it would not dare to attack a NATO member. By itself, an explicit guarantee by the United States to defend Israel might not be taken seriously by the Iranians. But Iran cannot ignore a NATO commitment backed by the full membership.

Israel, already a de-facto member of the alliance, maintains close ties with several member states. Germany, for example, has built for the Israeli navy several Dolphin-class submarines, which are capable of carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads – viewed as Israel’s second-strike capability.

During an interview with this writer in January 2012, a senior member of the German Bundestag acknowledged his country’s commitment: “We subsidize and build these submarines for Israel because guaranteeing Israel’s security has become an integral part of Germany’s identity.”

Notwithstanding the unique German-Israeli relationship, the clear obstacles confronting an Israeli membership in NATO include: Turkey, Israel’s estranged ally, the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel’s own image as a self-reliant power.

Israeli-Turkish ties deteriorated significantly due to the Gaza flotilla incident in May 2010, among other reasons. In all likelihood, Turkey would veto Israel’s accession to NATO (all existing members of the alliance must approve the admission of a new member ). Sooner or later, however, Jerusalem will have to cede to Ankara’s demands for a formal apology for the killing of the pro-Palestinian activists on the Turkish boat and compensation to the victims’ families. Normalization of relations with Turkey – NATO’s largest Muslim member – is a vital Israeli national interest. Such a rapprochement is also a NATO interest.

Perhaps Israeli membership in NATO could become part of the “reconciliation package” between the two countries. A possible incentive for Turkey is to link renewed efforts to seriously address the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to the accession process. Failure to make real progress on the Palestinian issue, as even Defense Minister Ehud Barak has reportedly warned recently in Israel, will likely result in resumption of large-scale violence in the occupied territories, a development dreaded by most Israelis, and could lead to a serious overload on the overstretched Israel Defense Forces. Turkey, which regards itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, could be offered a special role in restarting the derailed peace process.

Ironically, though, Israel could prove to be the staunchest opponent of its own NATO membership. Its national ethos espouses self-reliance and the motto “never again” is ingrained in the nation’s collective psyche. The notion that the international community is taking responsibility for the country’s security and survival might be difficult for Israelis to swallow, especially if a genuine compromise on the Palestinian question is also linked to Israeli membership in NATO.

Israelis may have to face up to the fact that despite their potent military, the threats against their country are at such a level that Israel must become a member of a regional security system. Moreover, they also have to realize that as long as the Palestine issue remains unresolved, the survival of Israel as a Jewish state will continue to be challenged, as is the case now with Iran.

Israeli membership in NATO is a type of a bold, long-term structural solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East that policy makers should seriously consider as the foundations of a new security system in the most volatile region of the world.

“A bomb or to bomb” – the popular Hebrew expression meaning living with a bomb or bombing Iran – need not be the only options available.

*Yehuda Lukacs is associate provost for international programs and director of the Center for Global Education at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia.

Israel Uses Palestinians for Target Practice


Israelis do that and much more. Gazans are locked down in isolation. They live in a virtual war zone. Incursions, bombings, and border killings happen regularly.Bogus threats are claimed. Civilians are killed or injured in cold blood. Farmers are shot in their fields. Children straying too close to Israel’s border are murdered for sport. Israeli soldiers literally use them for target practice. It’s no joke. Little boys and girls die or get injured.Others end up disabled. Many are grievously traumatized. Western media reports ignore what they and adults endured for decades. Washington aids and abets the worst of Israel’s war machine.

On September 1, Israeli F-16s attacked Gaza’s Al-Maqousy Towers residential area. Palestinian medical sources reported two injuries. Buildings were also damaged. Wounded residents were hospitalized.

These type attacks happen with sickening frequency. Gazans wonder what’s next. Imagine living in neighborhoods vulnerable to ground or air attacks. Imagine not knowing from one day to the next if you’ll live, die, or be grievously harmed.

Palestinian fishermen at sea face frequent Israeli attacks. On August 28, two men fishing close to shore were accosted and arrested in two separate incidents. One vessel was heavily damaged.

Israeli gunboats opened fire at one boat. Soldiers told a fisherman and his son to disrobe and swim towards their vessel. They were handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to a security center. Their boat and implements were confiscated. The experience affected the young son emotionally.

In a separate incident, Israeli gunboats surrounded six Palestinian fishing vessels. Around two dozen men were on board. Soldiers opened fire. They chased the boats for about 15 minutes. They forced the fishermen to flee. Somehow they escaped injury.

Israel frequently denies Palestinians the right to fish in their own waters. Doing it risks injury, arrest, occasional deaths, and/or loss or confiscation of their vessels.

Since 2000, fishermen lost 85% of their income. Some are killed or injured. Safe waters earlier are now hazardous. Who knows who’ll live, die, or be injured next.

In the week ending August 30, Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded a Gazan woman. They violently dispersed a peaceful West Bank demonstration. They injured 11 Palestinian civilians. They included a child, an elderly woman, and four journalists.

They conducted 64 incursions into West Bank communities plus another four in Gaza. Thirty-three arrests were made, including 10 children.

Security forces permit regular settler attacks. Injuries and property damage result. Investigations when conducted are whitewashed. Palestinians have no place to hide. Even at home they’re unsafe.

On August 14, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel discussed government plans to build seven new lawless agricultural settlements. October 2011 plans called for establishing them in areas around Mevo’ot Arad.

Documents claimed they’re part of a “Zionist vision to make the desert blossom,” as well as “strengthening organized Jewish settlement.”

Doing so involves destroying five bedouin villages. They’re home to 8,000 Palestinians. Israel plans stealing 45,000 acres it claims are “empty of population” except for “sparse bedouin scatterings.”

Three of the five villages existed pre-1948. The other two were established in the 1950s when Israel forcibly moved Palestinians from other Negev locations. Israel wants their land for new settlements.

Seizing it also involves damaging infrastructure. Also planned is developing existing communities further by stealing more Palestinian land. According to ACRI attorney Rawia Aburabia:

“A country that is committed to equality among its citizens cannot decide to remove Bedouin communities in order to establish new communities for Jewish residents.”

Behind the words ‘vision’ and ‘making a wasteland blossom’ ” hides Israel’s lawless intention to steal all valued Judea and Samaria areas.

Bimkom city planner Nili Bruch added:

“In past decades, many resources were invested in the establishment of more and more settlements for Jews only, at the expense of veteran residents of the Negev – bedouins in unrecognized villages who suffer from criminal neglect, and residents of cities and Jewish villages who also suffer from neglect and are desperate for new residents. This plan has no justice and no logic – financially, civilly or environmentally.”

On September 1, Maan News headlined “Israeli army fires live bullets at West Bank protest,” saying:

Soldiers lied. They claimed they felt “an imminent threat to their lives.” Malik Tamimi was shot in the hand. Omar Tamimi was injured by a rubber bullet willfully fired at his head. A woman was struck in the leg by a tear gas canister fired from close range.

Israeli forces blocked off the area, made arrests, and prevented an ambulance from reaching wounded Palestinians. An Israeli military spokesperson denied responsibility for what happened.

The previous day, settlers stoned a Palestinian bus. Five injuries and damage resulted. The attack was unprovoked. Extremist settlers carry out frequent attacks with impunity.

At the same time, Israeli forces attacked peaceful Bil’in village protesters. They do it weekly against Israel’s Annexation Wall theft of their land.

Dozens were hurt from tear gas inhalation and chemical waste water spray. Among them were visiting British parliamentarians. They toured the village and surrounding areas, held talks with local leaders, and expressed support. Too bad it’s never translated into policy.

On August 29, Addameer said Israeli settlers keep targeting Daraghneh family members. They live in Laban village near Nablus. Incidents happen virtually daily. The latest one left two children hospitalized.

Settlers are armed and extremely violent. They know they can do what they want and get away with it. Women and children are attacked like men. Property is damaged or destroyed.

When Israeli forces arrived, they declared the area a closed military zone. One witness heard a commander telling settlers what to say after attacking. More incidents followed.

The latest incident is one of the most violent. Daraghmeh family members are ruthlessly harassed. Soldiers also target and arrest them. Their continued targeting shows a “complete lack of justice.”

Thousands of other Palestinians suffer the same way. Occupation harshness continues without end. Being Palestinian means vulnerability to attacks any time without redress.

On August 30, Al Haq addressed the problem. It headlined “Violent raids in the OPT: Israeli Army Vandalizes Palestinian Homes during Military Operations,” saying:

Since mid-August, Israeli forces raided Jenin, Hebron, Qalqiliya, and Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp. Twenty-four Palestinians were arrested, including five children. Homes were stormed, ransacked and vandalized.

Arbitrary incidents like these happen regularly. Civilians are targeted for being Palestinian. Their rights are systematically denied. Children are treated like adults.

On August 22, IDF troops raided Nablus’ Jabal al-Shamali neighborhood. Jamal Muhammad Samhan and his family live there. Patrolling vehicles woke him and his two sons. Ten soldiers stormed his home. Two were hooded.

They were ordered outside against a wall and searched. They were told to hand over their identity cards. Nineteen-year old Mahmoud was handcuffed, blindfolded, and arrested. When allowed back in his house, Jamal found most of his furniture destroyed.

Mahmoud remains detained. No charges were filed. On the same day, ‘Ein Beit-al-Ma’ refugee camp residents Ramadan Mustafa Shahin and Iyad ‘Issa Ma’rouf were arrested. Their homes were also ransacked and vandalized.

On August 29, Jerusalem Post writer Eyal Hareuven headlined “Susiya demolition orders not simply law enforcement issue,” saying:

Israeli Civil Administration officials distributed demolition orders for 52 Susiya village structures in South Hebron Hills. Previous ones were issued from 1994 – 2001.

If new ones are implemented, most of Susiya’s 400-member community will be destroyed. People will be displaced from their own land. They lost it twice before.

In 1986, Israel declared Susiya a national park site. In 2001, they were forcibly ordered removed again. At the time, Israel’s High Court froze the order.

Civil Administration authorities claim residents built on their own land without permits. Getting them is virtually impossible. Susiya is one of many affected villages. At issue is displacing Palestinians for Jews only construction.

Most often, Israel’s High Court goes along. Palestinian communities atrophy. Justice is systematically denied. Israeli officials claim they’re enforcing the law and nothing else. In fact, Palestinians are ruthlessly targeted, cut off from essential services, dispossessed, and forced to pay costs for their own home demolitions.

On August 28, Israel denied 100 internationals entry into Occupied Palestine, They tried crossing over from Jordan. They ranged in age from 8 to 80. Israel deports foreign visitors expressing support for Palestinian rights. They oppose irresponsible Israeli policies. They’re committed to do what they can to help.

Activists came bearing gifts. They included writing implements for children beginning their school year. They arrived at Jordan’s Allenby Bridge crossing in two buses. One vehicle entered Israel. Passengers were denied permission to disembark.

Their passports were collected and stamped “denied entry.” The other bus was prevented from leaving Jordan. Many activists participating did so earlier. They know how Israel responds. They come anyway because it’s the right thing to do.

Internationals only get in by falsifying reasons for coming. Human rights supporters and others say when governments don’t act responsibly, they must respond in protest.

Occupied Palestinians face regular assaults, incursions, air attacks, home break-ins, targeted assassinations, home demolitions, other property vandalized and destroyed, dispossessions, land theft, arrests, detention with or without charges, torture, and other forms of daily state terror.

Yet they persist. Their struggle continues. They do it despite ruthless Israeli persecution. Washington wholeheartedly supports it. Other Western countries either go along, turn a blind eye, or resort to empty rhetorical support.

Hopefully decades of courageous resistance will prevail over unconscionable Israeli injustice. Along with persecuted people everywhere, Palestinians deserve what they’ve been long denied.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Iran, Israel and the West: Is There a Way Out of the Crisis?


by Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Hillel Schenker

Possible alternatives and the perception of the spiral of violence discussed in Berlin by German–Iranian political scientist Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Israeli journalist and peace activist Hillel Schenker at the invitation of German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW Germany) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). The debate on which the following text is based upon was held on 23 April 2012 at the FES before an audience of over 150 diplomats, politicians, academics, students, NGO activists and other concerned citizens.

Moderator: Does the Middle-East face an armed, nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran? In the public discussion there are only three options: military action with conventional weapons, a nuclear attack or a continuation of the sanctions policy against Iran.

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: From the beginning, the West has used coercive diplomacy against Iran. This strategy does not aim at reconciliation of interests, but at a de facto capitulation of Iran. From the Iranian perspective, there has been a security deficit, which was enforced by the neoconservative wars of the last decade through the increased military presence of the Americans in the region. Due to the fact that the West didn’t take into account Iran’s legitimate security interests, coercive diplomacy has failed. The lack of any solution to the conflict has led to a continuing escalation.

Moderator: What are the effects of the sanctions policy of the West in Iran?

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: To put it briefly, sanctions have made legal trade illegal. The situation in Iran has dramatically tightened in the last few months. Prices are rising and the currency has lost nearly half of its value. It is the population who has to pay the price of sanctions. The élite owns the resources and has ways to withstand the sanctions. Hence, the sanctions actually widen the power gap between the ruling structures on one side and the civilian economy and society on the other. As a result, civil society finds itself in a state of siege, pressured by both an authoritarian regime and by sanctions and the permanent threat of war. Overall the policy of the West in the region pushed forward a process of securitization in the country. Instead of running towards an armed conflict, the focus should be on the process of balancing interests and perspectives for security and collaboration. It is alarming that there are no clear signals for de-escalation and conflict resolution, and this is true for Germany as well.

Moderator: Which are the reactions of the Israeli population on the debate around a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities?

Hillel Schenker: In Israel everyone is frightened of the possibility of Iranian nuclear armament. Public opinion surveys show this. For example the Israeli population was asked how they would react in case of a nuclear armament of Iran. 25% of the questioned answered they would possibly leave the country. Another survey shows that the majority of Israelis would be for giving up the Israeli nuclear weapons and becoming a part of a nuclear-free zone if this would prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Moderator: Is the statement from Iran that they are only interest in nuclear energy is the civil use convincing?

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: Due to its geography, its demography and its long cultural history, Iran has a particular place in the region. The country has a quasi-natural geopolitical influence. An important component of the strategic thinking in Tehran is that a nuclear bomb is counter-productive to their grand-strategic interests. If Iran went nuclear, it is probable that other states in the region, states which Iran is not friends with, like the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), such as Saudi Arabia, would get nuclear weapons. Such a nuclear stand-off would lead to the loss of the natural geopolitical importance of Iran.

Moderator: Which options about the Iranian nuclear program are discussed in the Israeli public?

Hillel Schenker: In the public discussion there are currently two strategies of how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. One idea is an Israeli or American or coordinated nuclear attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities. A large amount of military experts expect that this will lead to a spiral of violence in the region with a lot of civilian victims without leading to success. Another option would be a combination of sanctions and negotiations. But there is a third: direct negotiations between the two parties on neutral ground. These negotiations should aim to create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. In 2010 at a NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) review conference, it was decided that an international conference should be held to create such a nuclear weapons-free zone. The conference will be held at the end of this year, 2012, or at the beginning of next year in Finland, with the facilitation of Finnish Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava.

Moderator: How can civil society help lead this conference to success?

Hillel Schenker: From the point of view of the civil society it is essential that Israel and Iran will be attending this conference. If either does not attend, the conference will be a failure. The second point is the conference should not be a one-time event. It has to be the beginning of a process. Thirdly, all the participants have to recognize that a nuclear and mass destruction weapons-free zone and peace in the Middle East are not mutually exclusive; they depend on each other and they have to take place simultaneously.

A previous version has been posted on the website of the Palestine–Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture on 25 July 2012. Fathollah-Nejad’s statements were originally made in German; the present version presents an edited translation thereof.

A Frenzy of War Talk-Israel’s Outrageous Threats to Attack Iran


by Larry Everest

Over the past several weeks there has been an eruption of alarming reports, high-level meetings, and public debate over whether Israel is close to deciding—or has already decided—to launch a military assault on Iran before the November U.S. presidential election.

On August 10, Channel 2 News, Israel’s leading news program, stated that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak were on the verge of making a decision to go to war. "Insofar as it depends on [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak,” the Guardian UK, citing Israel’s largest daily Yedioth Ahronoth, reported, “an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran will take place in these coming autumn months, before the U.S. elections in November."

The week before, The New York Times reported, "In Israel, there remains feverish speculation that Mr. Netanyahu will act in September or early October." A former head of Israeli intelligence commented, "If I was an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks."

In the midst of these threats, the BBC reported that a document purporting to be an Israeli plan was leaked describing a "shock and awe, Israel-style" assault including a massive cyber-attack, barrages of ballistic and cruise missiles, and follow-on attacks by Israeli war planes.

The Outrage of War—and Threatening War

There is widespread debate and speculation over what’s really going on here. Is Israel actually preparing to attack in the coming weeks, calculating that on the eve of the Presidential elections it would be difficult if not impossible for the Obama administration to refuse to support or join such an assault? Are the threats by Israel’s leaders part of a high-stakes ploy aimed at forcing the U.S. imperialists to take an even more aggressive stance toward Iran, with an even more clear cut and near-term commitment to take military action against Iran in order to head off a unilateral Israeli attack as The New York Times and others are suggesting? Is it some combination of both, or another scenario entirely? In any case, there is doubtless more going on behind closed doors than is being aired in public, and in all likelihood no one outside the highest levels of the Israeli and/or U.S. governments can answer these questions with certainty at this moment (and there may be uncertainty at these levels as well).

But three things can be said.

First, whether bluff, actual attack preparations, or some other machination, this flurry of threats represents a further escalation of a very dangerous overall trajectory toward confrontation and possible war against Iran by the world’s main capitalist-imperialist powers and their creation and Middle East garrison state—Israel.

This dynamic has ratcheted up sharply in the past year and in certain ways the U.S., Israel and the European powers are already waging forms of war on Iran (sanctions, covert cyber-attacks, assassinations and the like). The stated and public focus of this clash has been Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, but this is part of a bigger battle by the U.S. and Israel to maintain their domination and control over the entire Middle East-Central Asian region, including their military hegemony.

At present, this battle for dominance is concentrated in their clash with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is posing an obstacle and challenge to the U.S. on many fronts. This is a clash between two reactionary, outmoded forces, with the U.S. and Israel posing the far greater danger to the planet. Stepped-up U.S. intervention in Syria, including possible military intervention, is linked to these efforts to weaken, isolate, and ultimately topple Iran’s Islamist theocracy. (See my analyses of the recent P5+1 negotiations with Iran, the accelerating U.S.-EU-Israeli campaign against Iran, and the role of Israel.)

Second, whatever Israel’s motives, the moves against Iran are still outrageous and must be condemned. Threatening preemptive war is itself a form of aggression. Let’s call it what it is: terrorism, aimed at terrorizing the people of Iran and the region. And it must be noted here that whatever differences do or don’t exist between Israel and the U.S.—the Obama administration has neither condemned these threats, nor stated categorically that it opposes an Israeli strike and would not support such an action. Instead, Obama officials have talked of Israel’s sovereign "right" to make its own decisions concerning its "defense."

And coming from Israel, the region’s only nuclear power, a country whose main backer, the U.S., is the only country in the world to have ever actually used nuclear weapons, there’s an implied nuclear threat here. This makes it all the more clear that Israeli and U.S. aggression is not aimed at lessening the nuclear danger, much less ridding the world of these horrific weapons of mass destruction. Israeli and U.S. threats—"all options are on the table"—are a form of using nuclear weapons—their nuclear weapons—against non-nuclear Iran. Their demand: that only they be allowed to possess and wield these doomsday devices, while Iran must not be allowed to enrich uranium or ever develop nuclear weapons know-how.

Third, what should our stand be towards all this? First, recognizing that any U.S. and/or Israeli attack would be a towering crime against the people, with the potential to escalate in unpredictable ways. Second, the need to act with urgency to mobilize mass opposition, in many forms and on many fronts, to the U.S.-European-Israeli aggression against Iran that’s taking place right now, and to any kind of military attack—right now. Third, the solution to this madness is not siding with either of the reactionary outmoded forces now at each other’s throats, but fighting to bring forward a whole other, liberating way—including here in the U.S. by actively opposing the threats and crimes of this government—election or no election, no matter who’s in office.

Larry Everest is a correspondent for Revolution newspaper (revcom.us), where this article first appeared and author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage 2004). He can be reached via www.larryeverest.org

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