Tagged: Israel

Pic of the day

Click to enlargeReuters/Mohamad Torokman

A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah…

Just in case you hadn’t noticed that young people are still being murdered by the apartheid regime in Israel. They fight back against tanks and guns with stones.

Political hacks whine about ISIS driving Toyota trucks

Here’s a militia convoy in Libya – with armament captured from Gaddafi’s army

Toyota has been put on the spot by the U.S. government, which has asked the Japanese car maker to explain just how Islamic State has got hold of hundreds of its four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Toyota Hilux pickup — a model similar to the Toyota Tacoma that’s sold in the U.S. — and Toyota Land Cruisers have become fixtures in the terror group’s propaganda videos…

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said one former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Mark Wallace….

This crap article doesn’t quote any official government complaint – just whining from news-as-entertainment sources and one out-of-work political appointee.

Wallace is currently chief executive for the Counter Extremism Project, which aims to expose terrorists’ financial networks. “I don’t think Toyota’s trying to intentionally profit from it, but they are on notice now and they should do more,” Wallace added.

The Counter extremism Project was founded by a group of unemployed Bush hacks mostly well-known as pimps for Israel’s apartheid Netanyahu government. Starring former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman.

Questions about ISIS’s use of the vehicles have circulated for years, with the terror group believed to have repurposed older Toyota trucks as well as acquiring hundreds of new vehicles. In a recent ISIS parade, more than two-thirds of the vehicles were white Toyotas with black emblems, and there also were small numbers of other brands such as Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu…

Tracking who buys and sells used trucks and cars in the Middle East is a farce that could only be thought up by the American flavor of right-wing creep.

The fact is the Toyota HiLux is the most popular pickup truck in the world. Reliable and durable, they last for years. Most of what you see on the tube are diesel-powered, produced by Toyota in Thailand. Bought, stolen or volunteered to serve just about every insurgency and counter-insurgency. They satisfy the needs of most folks in the Middle East regardless of end use. Pretty much everyone in desert country buys white cars and trucks.

Once in a while you see a repainted Chevy – a present from American taxpayers to the Iraq Army – abandoned by soldiers running as fast as possible in the opposite direction from ISIS.

Photos of a war crime in progress

Click to enlarge — Ezz Al-Zanoun/Getty Images

A boy stands at a funeral ceremony held for Palestinian Abu Jamei, who died after an Israeli aircraft hit his house in Khan Yunis, Gaza

“You can’t have occupation and human rights.”

That’s what public intellectual and essayist Christopher Hitchens had to say about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, one of the most contentious components of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This conflict came to a head once again last summer, when Israel launched a seven-week military campaign in the Gaza Strip region of Palestine that resulted in about 2,200 deaths — 1,500 of them civilian.

This campaign is just the latest in a long line of fighting in Gaza — and beyond, so much so that the United Nations just reported that within five years, Gaza could be uninhabitable.

Click this link to see more of the story, more photos.

The price of rejecting the Iran treaty

UN Security Council voting to remove Iran sanctions

The Iran nuclear deal offers a long-term solution to one of the most urgent threats of our time. Without this deal, Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, would be less than 90 days away from having enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb. This deal greatly reduces the threat of Iran’s nuclear program, making Iran’s breakout time four times as long, securing unprecedented access to ensure that we will know if Iran cheats and giving us the leverage to hold it to its commitments.

Israel cheats – and that’s OK with Congress.

Those calling on Congress to scrap the deal argue that the United States could have gotten a better deal, and still could, if we unilaterally ramped up existing sanctions, enough to force Iran to dismantle its entire nuclear program or even alter the character of its regime wholesale. This assumption is a dangerous fantasy, flying in the face of economic and diplomatic reality…

In the eyes of the world, the nuclear agreement — endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and more than 90 other countries — addresses the threat of Iran’s nuclear program by constraining it for the long term and ensuring that it will be exclusively peaceful. If Congress now rejects this deal, the elements that were fundamental in establishing that international consensus will be gone.

The simple fact is that, after two years of testing Iran in negotiations, the international community does not believe that ramping up sanctions will persuade Iran to eradicate all traces of its hard-won civil nuclear program or sever its ties to its armed proxies in the region. Foreign governments will not continue to make costly sacrifices at our demand.

Indeed, they would more likely blame us for walking away from a credible solution to one of the world’s greatest security threats, and would continue to re-engage with Iran. Instead of toughening the sanctions, a decision by Congress to unilaterally reject the deal would end a decade of isolation of Iran and put the United States at odds with the rest of the world…

We must remember recent history. In 1996, in the absence of any other international support for imposing sanctions on Iran, Congress tried to force the hands of foreign companies, creating secondary sanctions that threatened to penalize them for investing in Iran’s energy sector. The idea was to force international oil companies to choose between doing business with Iran or the United States, with the expectation that all would choose us.

This outraged our foreign partners, particularly the European Union, which threatened retaliatory action and referral to the World Trade Organization and passed its own law prohibiting companies from complying. The largest oil companies of Europe and Asia stayed in Iran until, more than a decade later, we built a global consensus around the threat posed by Iran and put forward a realistic diplomatic means of addressing it.

The deal we reached last month is strong, unprecedented and good for America, with all the key elements the international community demanded to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Congress should approve this deal and ignore critics who offer no alternative.

By JACOB J. LEW, US Secretary of the treasury

The point of any negotiations is a context of agreement upon what is possible – not what is ideology. I feel equally strong about the hypocrisy of our government’s fealty to Israel – a nation which has rejected the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, has a deadly stockpile of nuclear weapons and consistently threatens all of its neighbors. I think Israel should bear the weight of sanctions equal to those applied to Iran – and I’m also perfectly aware our government will continue to be decades out-of-date – and there is no chance at present that honesty will prevail.

So, I support the premise of honoring this agreement.

Apartheid Israel closes TV station on Palestinian identity

Israel has ordered a six-month closure of Palestine 48, a new Palestinian television channel funded by the Palestinian Authority and catering to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

“I will not allow for Israel’s sovereignty to be harmed or for the Palestinian Authority to gain a foothold in Israeli territory,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who on Thursday signed an order claiming that the channel did not have the authorisation to operate in Israel.

So much for freedom of thought in Israel.

Mirroring the outrage expressed by a number of Palestinian lawmakers in Israel, Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation President Riad al-Hassan said the move against the channel – which is broadcast through the Palestinian company PalSat – was “illegal” and that it would be contested in the supreme court…

Creators say the channel has been no stranger to controversy, even in the choice of its name. Palestine 48 – or P48 – refers to the some 700,000 people who fled or were forcibly evicted from their homes in the context of the 1948 war with Israel, and whose descendants in recent years have balanced their identities as Israeli citizens and Palestinian nationals.

Their stories have begun to shed light on long-suppressed national narratives. P48 director Firas Abdelrahman said he was especially proud of programmes that would have examined the ways families were, and continue to be, shaped by the protracted conflict.

“We have stories which we are just thirsting to tell, and Palestinians are also eager to discover and learn about themselves,” Abdelrahman said…

The director’s own family tree traces back to al-Shajara village. After years wandering the world, Abdelrahman ended up in Ramallah, where he envisioned the P48 channel as a way of strengthening Palestinians’ connections with their homeland. The Palestinian Authority funds the channel, though producers say it maintains political independence…

Israel is home to more than 1.5 million Palestinians, most of whom speak Hebrew and have citizenship, but who also say they are treated as second-class citizens and given inferior access to education, healthcare and job opportunities compared to their Jewish neighbours.

RTFA. Lots more information about all the processes involved.

The battle against apartheid, the fight against an imperial nation with allies that historically ranged from Boer South Africa to the United States, has more similarities than contextual differences with the American civil rights movement. Throw in a little taste of Jim Crow days in failed Confederate states and you’re getting close to culture as it is experienced by Israelis of Palestinian origins.

It’s worth $173 billion to Israel and Palestine if they stopped fighting

Researchers at the Rand Corporation’s Center for Middle East Public Policy recently mounted a study to determine the net economic costs and benefits of various alternatives in the Middle East over the next ten years. They looked at five possible scenarios: a two state solution; a coordinated unilateral withdrawal of 60,000 Israelis from much of the West Bank, with 75 percent of the cost covered by the international community and 25 percent of the bill footed by Israel; an uncoordinated unilateral withdrawal, in which only 30,000 Israeli settlers leave the West Bank and Israel bankrolls the withdrawal completely; nonviolent Palestinian resistance to Israel through boycotts of Israeli products in the region, and diplomatic efforts in the UN; and a violent Palestinian uprising beginning in Gaza, with the potential to spread to the West Bank and involve players like Hezbollah.

The study asserts that the two-state solution is most profitable, and could allow Israel to gain $123 billion by 2024. Assuming that an agreement is reached and Israel retreats to the 1967 borders (save for agreed-upon swapped territories), 100,000 Israeli settlers relocated from the West Bank to Israel, Palestinian trade and travel restrictions are lifted, and up to 600,000 refugees are returned to their homes in the West Bank and Gaza, the changes in “direct and opportunity costs”—among them a projected 20 percent increase in tourism and a 150 percent increase in Palestinian trade—would be immediate boons. The peace would bring the cessation of Arab country trade sanctions and with it, a raise of Israel’s GDP by $23 billion over what it would have been under the status quo. Palestine would pocket over $50 billion under these conditions. Palestinians would see an average per capita income increase of approximately 36 percent. Under such a peace accord, Israelis would experience a 5 percent increase in income.

The Israeli government is as likely to consider this report as is, say, the Republican Party’s platform committee considering open automatic voting rights like Oregon.

Israel spied on US-Iran nuclear talks

Why does the waiter always ask me to speak into his lapel pin?

A cybersecurity firm has traced a virus, believed to be used by Israeli spies, to hotels which hosted the Iran nuclear talks.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab ZAO said in a statement Wednesday “Duqu” malware was found in three unnamed hotels immediately prior to talks between the United States and Iran over a proposed nuclear deal. The firm itself was hacked by the malware, developed in Israel and used by Israeli intelligence agencies, and found the hotels’ computers were also invaded when it searched for other victims of the scheme…

Kaspersky did not identify Israel by name as responsible for placement of viruses to enable eavesdropping on conversations and theft of electronic files, but the “Duqu” virus is essentially an Israeli invention which would take years to duplicate…U.S. intelligence regards the “Duqu” infections as Israeli intelligence operations, the Kaspersky report said…

The virus was also found in computers used at an event honoring the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz, Poland, which was attended by a number of heads of state in January.

Let me be clear. This little tidbit of info about Israel spying on US negotiations with anyone – is about the maximum level of what we will see either in the popular press or from the White House. Hypocrisy rules our government and there are no clearer examples than our policies on cyber-security and economics.

Obama will blather about currency manipulation whenever the calendar pops up with a reminder it’s time to accuse the Chinese government of doing something evil with money. Uncle Sugar relies on the truly ignorant to add incorrect statements about China controlling our Treasury debt, etc. – even though the largest holder of US debt now happens to be Japan. Who practices currency manipulation as a matter of corporate/state policy for decades.

The same follows with cyber-security. There are few tools as distinctive as Duqu or Stuxnet. The rest is presumption. Those two involve both the US and Israel, though Duqu is exclusive to the Israeli government. Tracing back IP addresses is horse manure. As any script kiddy can demonstrate.

Recall any TV report on a cyber-security breach that included as sidebar the fact that we live in the land that spends more than the rest of the world combined on cyber-spying?

Yes, there are limits to German guilt

“Never Forget!” is a slogan that cuts more than one way

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. The bilateral relationship, born in the wake of the Nazis’ annihilation of European Jewry, has developed into a solid one. But fading memories of the Holocaust among younger Germans, together with Israel’s declining international standing, have lately challenged the official discourse about “special” ties between the two countries…

…Over the last half-century, the bilateral relationship has become a formidable one. Germany is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe, and its third-largest overall, after the United States and China. Moreover, Germany has been among Israel’s most reliable allies, exemplified by its role as a major arms supplier. Chancellor Angela Merkel has emerged as a staunch defender of the country, exemplified in a 2008 address to the Knesset…in which she identified Israel’s security as an essential feature of Germany’s Staatsraison.

But Germany also appears to be increasingly uneasy about having to continue supporting Israel even when its policies are clearly reproachable. Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, can the bilateral relationship withstand the rising tide of anti-Israel sentiment in Europe?

History has its ironies. Post-war Germany could regain international legitimacy only through reconciliation with the Jewish people. Today, it is Israel’s legitimacy that is being challenged in international institutions and Western public opinion for its mistreatment of the Palestinians.

The role reversal has been remarkable. Both Jews and Germans emerged from WWII as defeated and crippled peoples, but the Jews had the moral high ground, while the Germans very much did not. Yet, in a global opinion poll conducted in 2013 by the BBC World Service, Israel ranked as one of the least popular countries – just above North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran – whereas Germany emerged as the most popular.

…The extent of this inversion is best exemplified in the increasing prevalence of obscene comparisons between Israel’s policies toward Palestine and the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews. A study conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation in January showed that 35% of Germans have no problem making that connection. In what might presage a shift in the bilateral relationship, the poll also revealed that 58% of Germans believe that the past should be consigned to history, and 62% disapprove of Israel’s policies today.

RTFA for details and nuances. Shlomo Ben-Ami is a former Israeli foreign minister. The sort of statesman that held sway in Israel before that nation’s capture by the most reactionary class of nationalist sentiment. Not unlike what has happened to the Republican Party here in the United States.

His conclusions suggest thoughtful reflection might add some sophistication in Israel – and affirmation for the change in attitudes in today’s Germany.

Israel to charge Bedouin village for the cost of its destruction

To serve and protect — Israeli style

Israel has taken the Bedouin village of al-Araqib to court to force the desert settlement to pay US$500,000 in demolition costs, despite having been razed to the ground 83 times since 2010.

The Israeli state is claiming that the southern town should fork out for the 1,000 police deployed to carry out the destruction.

Because it is “unrecognized” by the Israeli government, al-Araqib is automatically approved for demolition….

Around half of Israel’s 90,000 Arab-Palestinian herders live in such precarious localities…Never before has a whole town been ordered to pay for its own demolition.

Since occupation of Palestinian territories began in 1967, Israel has demolished more than 27,000 homes.

The dance of death has become the national anthem of Israel. Greed, racism, bigotry, aparthied – are the musicians.