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Netanyahu and ‘Acts of Hooliganism’

                One knows things are bad in Palestine when even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, known for his brutal heavy-handiness against the Palestinians, has to decry what he calls ‘acts of hooliganism’ against them. These behaviors, known as price-tag attacks, are committed against Palestinians and Israeli security forces by Jewish youth living in violation of international law in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. The point, apparently, is to extract a ‘price’ for actions taken against their illegal settlements. What actions Israeli security forces are taking, or have taken, were not mentioned.

Evidence of Israeli Mass Murder Discovered

 

Evidence of Israeli Mass Murder Discovered

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On June 1, Press TV headlined "Mass graves from 1948 war discovered in Jaffa."

 

Palestinian Jaffa is now Tel Aviv's Jaffa municipality. Six mass graves were discovered. They contain remains of at least hundreds of Palestinian victims.

Israel Threatens Syria

 

Israel Threatens Syria

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Self-defense is inviolable. It's a fundamental right. International law affirms it. On May 29, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington supports Israel's right to defend itself. 

 

Israeli-style defense is offense. It hasn't been attacked in 40 years. It faces no regional threats now except ones it invents. It prioritizes violence, conflict and instability. 

 

Israel: After 10 imprisonments, CO Natan Blanc to be exempted from military service

Natan Blanc (with thanks to Yesh Gvul)This morning, the Israeli military's Exemption Committee declared Israeli conscientious objector Natan Blanc unfit for duty, six months after he initially reported to the induction centre and declared his refusal.

You can send an email to Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon, welcoming the fact that Natan will no longer be imprisoned, but urging him to ensure that in future COs are not treated similarly here: http://wri-irg.org/node/21852

Background

Natan's prison sentences have been 10, 20, 14, 14, 20, 18, 20, 14, 20 and 28 days long respectively. This exemption follows his second appeal for exemption. His first was refused.

Hear Natan speak about why he refuses to join the Israeli military here.

You can also read Natan's refusal declaration in full here.

In April, Israeli CO group New Profile put out a statement alongside No to Compulsory Military Service in Egypt in support of Natan as well as Eyptian COs. The statement is here: Joint Statement: Freedom to Conscientious Objectors in the Middle East. In the photo you can see Natan holding photos of these Egyptian COs.

Continue supporting for COs

If you would like to contact Natan to express your solidarity, you can do so here: nathanbl@walla.com.

Please write to Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon, calling upon him to ensure that COs in future do not endure the imprisonments and repeated punishments. You can do so here.

Please also consider sharing the CO-Alert sign up with your friends and contacts. COs around the world continue to be persecuted, and CO-Alerts are a unique way of raising awareness of these cases. Visit this page to be added to subscribe: http://lists.wri-irg.org/sympa/info/co-alert

Hannah Brock
War Resisters' International

Peace Process Pretense

 

Peace Process Pretense

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Peace process initiatives were stillborn from inception. Decades of futility define them. Palestinians genuinely want peace. They deserve it and much more.

 

Israeli leaders pretend they care. Doing so conceals their dark agenda. They deplore peaceful conflict resolution. They prioritize violence and instability. 

 

An Endless "Peace Process" for Palestine

The United States balances its endless war of terrorism with the institution of an endless "peace process" for Palestine, a process valuable for its peaceyness and interminability.

Josh Ruebner's new book, Shattered Hopes: The Failure of Obama's Middle East Peace Process, could just as easily have been called "Fulfilled Expectations: The Success of Obama's Middle East Peace Process," depending on one's perspective.  Its story could be summarized: Obama's performance in this area has been of a piece with his performance in every other.  Some people became very hopeful about his rhetoric and then very dejected about his actions.

In this case, among those getting hopeful were Palestinian negotiators.  But they didn't just grow depressed and despondent.  They felt no obligation to behave like Democratic voters.  They swore off the Hopium and went to work on an international approach through the United Nations that has begun to pay off. 

Obama began his "peace process" efforts "naively unprepared for the intensity of the pushback from Israel and its supporters in the United States to its demand that Israel freeze settlements," Ruebner writes.  But evidence of Obama's mental state is hard to pin down, and I'm not sure of the relevance.  Whether Obama began with naive good intentions or the same cynicism that he was, by all accounts, fully immersed in by his second or third year in office, the important point remains the same.  As Ruebner explains, Obama employs an all-carrots / no-sticks approach with Israel that is doomed to failure.

In fact, suggesting that the White House cease providing Israel with ever more weaponry and/or cease providing Israel with ever more protection from justice following its crimes is liable to get Ruebner himself denounced as naive, along with the rest of us who think he's right.  Obama's fundamental problem is not one of naiveté, but of "seriousness," of upholding the solemn seriousness of willful belief in a respectable but doomed approach.  If Obama was surprised that Palestinian negotiators didn't play along with this the way U.S. "journalists" do, that would suggest he had internalized the official point of view.  Whether that is naiveté or deep cynicism may be in the eye of the beholder. 

Ruebner provides the chronological play-by-play from Obama's first happy shiny moves in office to his familiar flailing about in search of propaganda that would continue to hold up year after year.  And Ruebner includes analysis of what activists were up to along the way. 

In fact, Ruebner begins with Obama's campaign promises, which -- upon close inspection -- prove, as with every other issue, to have been much closer to the President's abysmal performance than to the glowing image people recall of his early hope-and-changey self.  Obama campaigned placing all blame on Palestinians, supporting Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital, backing resolutions and legislation in the Senate imposing sanctions on Palestinians as punishment for having held an open election, and supporting Israel during its wars on Lebanon and Gaza.  Obama's speeches and his website made his position clear to those inclined to see it.  Boycott campaigns against the Israeli government were, according to him, "bigoted." 

As with every other area, on peace in Palestine, Obama's disastrous approach could also have been read clearly from his selection of individuals to run his foreign policy team.  During the transition period prior to his inauguration, Obama took positions on many foreign policy matters, but when it came to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, he declared himself unable to speak prior to becoming president.

Watching the sequence of events play out post-inauguration is painful.  Obama urges an end to Israel's expansion of settlements.  Netanyahu suggests that Obama, with all due respect, stick his proposals where the sun don't shine.  But Netanyahu backs "statehood" (someday, with no rights or power or independence or actual -- you know -- statehood) for Palestinians, but proceeds to rapidly expand settlements, effectively eliminating territory on which to create any state.  Obama announces that victory has come and help is on the way!

Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave up on freezing settlements and announced that slowing the pace of the expansion would be an "unprecedented" accomplishment -- a claim that was less credible to people who had lived and suffered through many such claims before.  As reward for the same lawless abuses as always, Israel received from the Obama administration more weaponry than ever, and a veto of a resolution at the United Nations opposing more Israeli settlements.

Ruebner rightly concludes:

"Obama's failure to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace resulted not only from his unwillingness to go to the mat with the Israel lobby over the issue of fully freezing Israeli settlements, not only from the scattershot, frenetic lurching of his policy initiatives thereafter.  Obama also foundered because his approach relied solely on providing Israel with carrots.  With the trivial exceptions of denying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu photo-ops at the White House on a few occasions and reportedly forcing him to wait for several hours before a meeting, Obama never brandished the proverbial stick.  But these personal insults did nothing to create incentives for Israel to cease openly and brazenly defying U.S. policy objectives."

Hope is so much more popular than reality.  But Ruebner is full of hope.  He holds it out there in front of us.  All that's required is a little actually useful action:

"[I]f the United States were to pull its backing for Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, then Israeli intransigence would melt away in the historical blink of an eye, as it did when President Dwight Eisenhower terminated all U.S. aid programs to Israel after it invaded and occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in 1956."

How do we get there?  Part of the answer, Ruebner persuasively suggests is Boycott-Divestment-and-Sanctions (BDS), a movement that is making great strides, including in changing the public discourse, altering the sorts of things that even U.S. politicians can get away with claiming with a straight face. 

Israel: Victim or Aggressor?

            It isn’t unusual to hear Israeli spokespeople talk about the various threats to Israel’s survival. The current bugaboo is Syria, which has displaced Iran only due to the current violent turmoil in Syria. But it is only a matter of time until Israel turns its attention to Iran, depicting that nation as the big bad wolf, just waiting for the right opportunity to chomp down and destroy poor, vulnerable Israel.

Israeli Pillar of Cloud War Crimes

 

Israeli Pillar of Cloud War Crimes

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 8, B'Tselem published a report titled "Human Rights Violations During Operation Pillar of Defense: 14 - 21 November 2012."

 

Israel's Operation Pillar of Cloud (aka Cloud Column/Pillar of Defense) was naked, premeditated aggression. Previous articles discussed it.

Israeli Lobby Power in America

 

Israeli Lobby Power in America

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In 1949, the American Zionist Council (AZC) was established. It operated until 1962. It was ordered to register as a foreign agent.

 

It failed to do so. It transferred its responsibilities to AIPAC. It calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby. It operates as an unregistered foreign agent.

 

If U.S. Supports Israel in Attacking Iran, Millions Will Die

Read these two articles:

Good-bye Dubai? Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Facilities would leave the Entire Gulf States Region virtually Uninhabitable

Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranians would likely die within the first year of such a strike, while millions more would die within a decade or two of some form of radiation-induced cancer. And since a significant portion of that nuclear fallout would end up either immediately, or over the course of the next weeks and months in the Arabian Desert, where the winds, year after year, would gather it up along with the particles of sand and dust into gigantic roiling irradiated storms (remember, “hundreds” of such sand and dust storms annually), not a person living anywhere in the Gulf State region would be safe from exposure. The Persian Gulf, too, would soon be so irradiated and toxic and lifeless that it might as well be renamed the New Dead Sea.

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Israel, Iran, and the Nuclear Freight Train

Iranian cities -- owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities -- are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, “Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. . . .

An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people -- 86% of the population -- and leave close to 800,000 wounded.

 

Israelis Protest Austerity Harshness

 

Israelis Protest Austerity Harshness

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 11, thousands of Israelis protested publicly. They did so for social justice. More on that below.

 

In summer 2011, widespread social justice protests erupted. They continued for weeks. Others followed in summer 2012.

 

Hawking Boycotts Israel

 

Hawking Boycotts Israel

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Hawking was invited to participate in a June 18 - 20 Israeli Presidential Conference. Initially he accepted. In early May he declined. He's boycotting. He's protesting Israel's occupation. More on that below.

 

Hawking's a renown British physicist. His web site says he's the "former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge."

Profile of Lawless Aggression

 

Profile of Lawless Aggression

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel and America are longstanding imperial partners. They spurn international laws. They do so repeatedly. They ignore their own. 

 

Yair Shamir: Profile of Israeli Extremism

 

Yair Shamir: Profile of Israeli Extremism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's a former IDF officer. He's now an Israeli politician and businessman. He's former Prime Minister Yitzhak's son. He's named after Avraham "Yair" Stern.

 

In 1940, he founded the terrorist Lehi group. It's commonly called the Stern Gang. During WW II, it offered to help Nazi Germany and fascist Italy against Britain. 

America and Israel: Imperial Partners in Crime (Part II)

 

America and Israel: Imperial Partners in Crime (Part II)

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In late January, Lebanese military sources reported multiple Israeli violations of Lebanon's airspace. One or more targets on the Syrian-Lebanese border were struck.

 

Around the same time, Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Jamraya. It's about 10 miles from the Lebanese border. Early Sunday morning, Israel struck it again.

Israel strikes Syria to keep ‘game-changing weaponry’ from reaching Hezbollah

MSNBC

Israeli officials acknowledged Friday evening that they had launched airstrikes that hit inside Syria, say U.S. officials. It is not clear whether any Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace in carrying out the strike. “We can not comment on these reports, but what we can say is that Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, specifically to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” an Israeli spokesman in Washington said, according to Andrea Mitchell.

Hostility Toward a Nation: What is the Source?

                Two recent, but seemingly unrelated, news articles are worth reviewing more carefully, to see a common thread.

                The first concerns remarks made by special rapporteur with the UN Human Rights Council, Richard Falk. Following the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon, Mr. Falk said this: “…the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink U.S. relations to others in the world, starting with the Middle East.”

Israel's War on Fishing Rights

 

srael's War on Fishing Rights

 

Israel wages war on humanity. It persecutes Palestinians many ways. It does so with impunity.

 

Collective punishment is prohibited. Fourth Geneva's Article 33 states: 

 

"No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited." 

Palestinian Prisoner Diaries

 

Palestinian Prisoner Diaries

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's gulag is one of the world's worst. Palestinian political prisoners fill it. Their crime is wanting to live free from occupation. It's longstanding. It's ruthless. It's illegal.

 

Hagel in Israel

 

Hagel in Israel

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 20, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began a weeklong Middle East trip.

 

Planned stops include Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Republic (UAE).

 

Palestinian Prisoners Day

 

Palestinian Prisoners Day

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 17, Palestinians commemorate Prisoners Day. They do so annually. They've done it since 1979. It marks Mahmoud Hijazi's release. Israel freed him in its first ever prisoner swap.

 

Anti-Zionism Not Anti-Semitism

 

Anti-Zionism Not Anti-Semitism

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Ronnie Fraser heads The Academic Friends of Israel (AFI). According to its mission statement, it was established to "fight the academic boycott of Israel and all other forms of anti-Semitism in the UK and the International academic and scientific arenas."

 

Hunger Striking for Liberation, Justice and Dignity

 

Hunger Striking for Liberation, Justice and Dignity

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Samer Issawi's a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine activist. In April 2004, he was wrongfully arrested. He committed no crime.

 

He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. In October 2011, he was released. He and over 1,000 other Palestinian political prisoners were freed. Israel did so in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

New York Times Anti-Palestinian Bias

 

New York Times Anti-Palestinian Bias

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 4, The New York Times headlined "Palestinian Defiance on Display at West Bank Funerals." 

 

Mistreating Palestinian Children

 

Mistreating Palestinian Children

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Societies perhaps are best judged by how they treat prisoners, their most disadvantaged and children.

 

On March 20, Israeli soldiers mass arrested about 30 children. Obama arrived the same day. Every child passing Tareq Bin Zeyad street was seized. They were heading for school in Hebron. 

 

Exploiting Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

Exploiting Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated annually. It runs from sundown April 7 to sunset April 8. This year's theme is "Defiance and Rebellion during the Holocaust: 70 years Since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising."

 

Sunday night Warsaw and Jerusalem ceremonies included government officials, dignitaries and holocaust survivors.

More Peace Process Hypocrisy

 

More Peace Process Hypocrisy

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 6, John Kerry began a multi-nation tour. He'll travel to Europe and East Asia. His first stop is Turkey. He'll meet with Netanyahu and Abbas. He wants peace talks restarted. More on that below.

 

Peace process deception is policy. It's always been a charade. It is now. Israel wants it that way. So does Washington.

An Israeli Apology Means Little to the Families of the Nine Passengers Murdered on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

They Demand That the Israeli Blockade of Gaza Be Lifted

By Ann Wright

Representatives of IHH, the international humanitarian organization that organized the passengers on the Mavi Marmara in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, have told the author that families of the nine murdered by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) commandos on May 31, 2010, consider the “apology” of the Israeli government to the Turkish government as meaning very little until the Israeli government lifts the blockade on Gaza.

Institutionalized Barbarism

 

Institutionalized Barbarism: Official Israeli Policy

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article discussed Arafat Jaradat. Shin Bet interrogators killed him. They tortured him to death. Independent autopsy results proved it. 

 

Israeli Murder by Neglect

 

Israeli Murder by Neglect

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel operates one of the world's most unconscionable gulags. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners fill it.  

 

Fundamental human rights are denied. Torture, ill-treatment and medical neglect are commonplace. 

 

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