Trump/Kushner want Palestinians to meet “standards” never enforced on any Arab nation


Newsweek

President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN that if Palestinians can’t meet certain conditions under the administration’s Middle East plan, then he doesn’t believe Israel should take “the risk to recognize them as a state.”…

Fareed Zakaria pointed out that “no Arab country” currently meets the criteria Palestinians are being asked to achieve in the next four years — including ensuring free press, free elections, guarantees of religious freedom and an independent judiciary and financial institutions that are as transparent as they are in the West.

“Isn’t this just a way of telling the Palestinians you’re never actually going to get a state,” Zakaria asked, “because … if no Arab countries today in a position that you are demanding of the Palestinians before they can be made a state, effectively, it’s a killer amendment.”

Anyone surprised at this crappola from Trump and Kushner? RTFA for beaucoup depth and analysis.

Israeli politicians attack dissident soldiers who expose crimes against Palestinians

Yehuda Shaul was an infantryman in the Israeli army in Hebron during the second intifada. But in recent weeks, he and his group of veterans have been vilified by right-wing organizations and mainstream politicians in a public campaign against Israeli groups critical of their country’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon forbade serving Israeli military personnel from cooperating or meeting with representatives of Shaul’s group, Breaking the Silence (BTS). Education Minister Naftali Bennet issued a similar order to all public schools. And right-wing advocacy group Im Tirzu published a report accusing most Israeli human rights groups of being “foreign agents” because of the funding they receive from friendly states. That report was accompanied by a video and an advertising campaign accusing specific human rights activists of “defending terrorists” and “representing foreign interests.” Those named all received death threats after the ads.

A poll conducted by Channel 10 this weekend found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis surveyed said they support outlawing BTS, with only 22 opposing such a move. Politicians of the right are not the only ones calling for action against Israeli human rights organizations. On Sunday, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist opposition party Yesh Atid, dedicated an entire press conference to attacking BTS, which he said has “crossed the line between [legitimate] criticism and subversion against the state of Israel…”

The silence that BTS has set out to break, according to Shaul, is Israeli society’s lack of awareness of the actions taken in its name by conscript soldiers serving in the West Bank and Gaza. The group has attempted to change that by collecting and disseminating firsthand accounts from soldiers about the actions taken by their units in the occupation…

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has worked to disrupt BTS’ activities abroad. Israel’s embassy in Germany managed to force cancellation of a scheduled exhibition by the group in Cologne; Israel failed to prevent a similar event in Switzerland…

BTS follows a long-standing tradition, dating back to the aftermath of Israel’s war of independence and the Palestinian Nakba, of Israeli military personnel publicizing accounts of their actions in uniform that have challenged official narratives. That testimony has always produced backlash, but an across-the-board attempt to silence them would traditionally have been deemed contrary to Israel’s democratic traditions.

Those democratic traditions disappeared alongside assumption of apartheid policies, racist and bigoted characterization of any Palestinian resistance to Israel’s colonial policies.

RTFA for details of the harassment of dissident Israeli soldiers. This may not be a surprise to some; but, regardless, it’s worth bringing the truth of “democratic” Israel’s undemocratic policies against Israelis as well as Palestinians into the light.

Scholars endorse academic boycott of Israel

boycott-israel

An American organization of professors on Monday announced a boycott of Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, signaling that a movement to isolate and pressure Israel that is gaining ground in Europe has begun to make strides in the United States.

Members of the American Studies Association voted by a ratio of more than two to one to endorse the boycott in online balloting that concluded Sunday night…

Its vote is a milestone for a Palestinian movement known as B.D.S., for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, which for the past decade had found little traction in the United States. The American Studies Association is the second American academic group to back the boycott, movement organizers say, following the Association for Asian American Studies, which did so in April.

The vote reminds me – as it should – of the divestment movement against Apartheid South Afria. There is more of a congruency than a parallel. The racism and bigotry of Israel’s official practices against the folks who’ve been in place for centuries stinks on ice.

Add in the role of cats paw in the region Israel has played for decades on behalf of Western governments, oil companies and other criminal barons of mineral wealth – and divestment and boycotts make an admirable first line of peaceful economic protest.

Mass grave of Palestinians found in Tel Aviv

The remains of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israelis in fighting during the war of 1948 which led to the creation of the state of Israel have been found in a mass grave in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa district.

An official at the Muslim cemetery there told AFP news agency that the grisly find occurred on Wednesday when ground subsided as workers carried out renovations, revealing six chambers full of skeletons.

Jaffa fisherman Atar Zeinab, 80, says that as a teenager during the final months of fighting in 1948, he helped to collect the Arab dead in the area south of Jaffa and bring them for hasty burial in the cemetery, the area’s main graveyard.

“I carried to the cemetery 60 bodies during a period of three or four months,” he told AFP. “We used to find the people in the street and most of the time we didn’t know who they were.”

He said that the danger of being hit by flying bullets or grenade fragments was such that bodies were dumped one on top of the other in existing family crypts in the cemetery, contrary to Muslim custom.

“We carried them early in the morning or in the night,” he added. “We put women, children and men in the same place…nobody prayed for these people.”

Jaffa was at the time a Palestinian town, but there was a forced exodus of most of its Arab population when it fell to the fledgling Israeli army and rightwing Jewish armed gangs.

In 1950 it was incorporated into the city of Tel Aviv which was renamed Tel Aviv-Jaffa…

Around 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in what they call the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” of 1948.

More of the history of America’s “democratic and compassionate” ally in the Middle East – exposed to the light of day.

Gaza athletes banned from Bethlehem marathon

Israeli military authorities have not issued travel documents to 21 men and one woman who had hoped to compete in this Sunday’s race in Bethlehem, despite an official request from the head of the Palestine Olympic Committee, Jabril Rajoub.

It means the athletes will have missed the chance to run in two marathons within weeks after the United Nations’s relief agency, UNWRA, last month cancelled its race in Gaza – scheduled for April 11 – in protest at a decision by the territory’s Hamas rulers banning women runners.

The controversy has opened the military to accusations of hypocrisy from critics who point out that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) posted a blog on its website criticising Hamas’ decision as a denial of human freedom…

Among the would-be Gaza runners are Sanaa Abu-Bahit, 29, a woman who has entered the 5km part of the race, and Nader Al-Masri, who represented Palestine in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

I wouldn’t expect anything less than hypocrisy, allegiance to Israel’s apartheid ideology.

Israel eases restrictions on Gaza fishing – sort of

Israel has eased restrictions on Gaza fishermen, further implementing a three-day-old truce brokered by Egypt after a week of fierce fighting with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip…

A statement from the office of Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas government, said on Saturday Egypt had notified the group that “Israel has allowed Palestinian fishermen to fish in Gaza’s waters at a distance of six miles, up from three miles”…

Golly. Wow!

“…actually under the Oslo accord, the interim agreement that was signed in the 1990s, Gaza fishermen should be allowed to go to 20 nautical miles out and that would make a massive difference to the [fishing] industry…”

Israel had formally barred Gaza fishermen from heading more than three miles out into the Mediterranean Sea for about three years, its gunboats often enforcing the rule…

“Fishermen have been stuck to three nautical miles. It’s been next to nothing to fish here for the last few years. They have even resorted to getting fish from Egypt into the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels at different times”.

Remember the Chinese proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

The Israelis only seem to recall proverbs learned from the people who didn’t really give a shit what was done to Jews – starve a captive nation into submission. Keep a man from fishing and sooner or later he will obey. They say.

I had a dear friend who was one of the few who survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. She made it to safety in Russia. She got away from the horror being committed by the German nation gone mad. Her husband was dead. Her daughters were dead. Everything that had been her life as a Jew, an intellectual, a scholar in pre-war Poland was dead. So, she went back. Went back into Poland to fight the Nazis. Thugs never realize that if they take everything away – you have nothing to lose.

Israeli settlers fire on Palestinian demonstrators while army and police stand around watching

A video released by an Israeli human rights group appears to show settlers shooting at a group of Palestinian protesters while police and soldiers stand by.

The incident was filmed by Palestinians from the West Bank village of Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday afternoon. A 24-year-old Palestinian, Fathi Asayira, was taken to hospital with facial injuries following the shooting.

According to B’Tselem, which uploaded the footage to YouTube, a large group of settlers, some masked and armed, approached the village from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar and began throwing rocks and starting fires. After a group of Palestinians gathered and threw rocks in return at the settlers, Israeli police and soldiers arrived on the scene…

“The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians,” said B’Tselem. “The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

In a statement, the Israeli defence forces said it was investigating the shooting.

That will do a lot of good. Witness the course of the nation our government says is leading the way to democracy in the Middle East. Just about as well as we’re doing with the same task in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’ve only wasted 10 years or so at it. The Israelis have been doing this for over a half-century.

Palestinians awarded full membership in UNESCO


UNESCO delegates stand and cheer after approving Palestinian membership
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Palestine has become a full member of the UN cultural and educational agency in a move that the United States and other opponents say could harm renewed Middle East peace efforts.

The US had threatened to withhold roughly $80 million in annual funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) if it approved Palestinian membership. The United States provides about 22% of Unesco’s funding.

Which is about how the average mafia functions. Extortion doesn’t make for lasting politics.

Huge cheers went up in Unesco after delegates approved the membership by 107 votes to 14 with 52 abstentions. Eighty-one votes were needed for approval in a hall with 173 Unesco member delegations present.

“Long live Palestine!” shouted one delegate, in French, at the unusually tense and dramatic meeting of Unesco’s general conference.

While the vote has large symbolic meaning, the issues of borders of an eventual Palestinian state, security troubles and other disputes that have thwarted Middle East peace for decades remain unresolved.

Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but that effort is still under examination and the US has said it will veto it unless there is a peace deal with Israel. Given that, the Palestinians separately sought membership at Paris-based Unesco and other UN bodies…

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, last week called Unesco’s deliberation “inexplicable”, saying discussion of Palestinian membership of international organisations could not replace negotiations with Israel as a fast track towards Palestinian independence.

There is no “fast track” towards Palestinian independence if you think that honorable and ethical negotiations will be forthcoming from Israel’s ruling politicians. They hold power from a commitment to manifest destiny and lebensraum.

There is no “fast track” as long as the train dispatcher deals only in American dollars dedicated to short-term and long-term goals decided essentially by Israeli politicians. There is little or no attention paid to the needs of the displaced nation of Palestine.

History and historic decisions aren’t resolved in press releases from the State Department. Especially those offered in support of imperial occupying armies.

Israel admits to organ thefts


Israelis demonstrate at Swedish embassy after organ thefts revealed
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Israel has admitted that it harvested organs from the dead bodies of Palestinians and Israelis in the 1990s, without permission from their families.

The admission follows the release of an interview with Jehuda Hiss, the former head of Israel’s forensic institute, in which he said that workers at the institute had harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers.

In the interview, which was conducted in 2000 when Hiss was head of Tel Aviv’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, he said: “We started to harvest corneas … Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.”

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who conducted the interview, told Al Jazeera on Monday that Hiss had said the “body parts were used by hospitals for transplant purposes – cornea transplants. They were sent to public hospitals [for use on citizens]. “And the skin went to a special skin bank, founded by the military, for their uses”, such as for burns victims.

The practice is said to have ended in 2000.

If you believe the Israeli government – which also says they haven’t nuclear weapons.

RTFA. This is the same government which will not allow an investigation into more recent charges of the same ghoulish practices commonly practiced upon Palestinians killed during Israeli raids.

Spying on Jews challenges Israel’s secret service

They may falsely say your comrades gave confessions implicating you. They may bug your cell. They may deprive you of sleep, force you to sit in contorted postures for hours, even blindfold and beat you.

Such warnings about Israeli interrogators from the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service are usually sounded among jailed Palestinians. But this time, they appear in a Hebrew-language pamphlet written for Jewish settlers and their sympathizers.

With friction building in the occupied West Bank over the prospect — albeit distant — of a Palestinian state, the Shin Bet is quietly knuckling down on Jews who might turn to violence to try to wreck any future peace accord. Militant settler leaders report increased efforts by the Shin Bet’s Division for Countering State Subversion, also known as the “Jewish Division,” to garner tip-offs about possible plots to kill Arabs or assassinate an Israeli government figure…

According to settlers and Shin Bet veterans, pressure tactics familiar to Palestinians — from bribery to ruses to interrogation methods that civil liberties groups decry as torture — are all available for use against Jewish detainees.

But few dispute that Jews are less likely to receive rough treatment, if only because they enjoy sovereign Israeli rights such as access to a lawyer within 48 hours of detention. By contrast, Palestinians can be more readily kept incommunicado for long periods, as the West Bank is under Israeli martial law.

Something here about chickens coming home to roost seems appropriate.