Israeli forces ‘assault’ mentally challenged man near Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces beat a mentally disabled Palestinian man while he was waiting for his mother on Monday at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron, an official said.

The coordinator for the Red Crescent volunteers’ department in the camp Mohammad Khamis said that man was waiting for his mother at the entrance of the camp when Israeli forces beat him with their rifle butts.

Khamis said that Israeli forces tried to arrest the man but residents in the area prevented them from doing so, Khamis said.

He added that an ambulance arrived at the scene but Israeli forces prevented them from reaching the wounded man.

As a result, clashes broke out as Palestinians threw rocks at the Israeli soldiers and occupation forces responded with tear gas.

Eight protesters suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as a result of the clashes and were treated on the spot.

It was unclear what provoked the attack on the mentally disabled man.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the incident “did not happen.”

Al-Arrub refugee camp is located on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, immediately south of the Gush Etzion Israeli settlement block and beside an Israeli checkpoint.

The Israeli checkpoint has made the area the site of frequent protests against the Israeli occupation, and Israeli forces regularly raid the camp and detain local youths.

There are 19 refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, within which live about a quarter of the 771,000 registered refugees in the territory.

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Palestinian Activists Disrupt Normalization Meeting In Jerusalem

Dozens of nonviolent Palestinian activists managed to stop a meeting that was taking place at the Ambassador Hostel in occupied Jerusalem, between Palestinian and Israeli officials, and said “normalization with the occupation weakens the Palestinian cause, and beautifies the ugly face of the Israeli occupation”.

Wattan News
The Wattan News Agency has reported that a similar meeting initially took place in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and was guarded by the Palestinian security forces in the city.
Wattan added that the meeting in Jerusalem, which came after the Ramallah meeting, even included former senior officers of the Israeli army that still occupies Palestine and oppresses its people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mnC3IKNRELg

The Palestinian activists entered the hall where the meeting was taking place, just minutes after it began, and chanted slogans such as “occupiers go out”, “Palestine will be free”, and managed to break up the meeting.

Former political prisoner, author and journalist, Rasem Obeidat, said that negotiations and normalization conferences are simply meant to “beautify the image of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

“International activists and groups have been successful in many boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns, managed to mount international pressure on the occupation”, Obeidat said. “This meeting comes to reduce this pressure on Israel, to beautify its crimes and violations against the Palestinian people”.

He further stated that such meetings come for the benefit of individuals who want to make private investments and profit at the expense of the Palestinian people, their blood and sacrifices.

Activist Amal Al-Obeidy from Jerusalem said that the Israelis in this meeting are former army officials and former Shabak interrogators.

“This action is a shout from Palestine rejecting normalization with the occupation; this is a meeting of surrender; normalization has proven its failure through long years of negotiations”, she stated. “We will counter normalization, we will attain our rights by resistance, and our message is that Jerusalem is, and will forever be, an Arab city.”

Activist Yassin Sbeih said that this activity, disrupting this meeting, is a message from the Palestinians in Jerusalem, rejecting normalization, rejecting all conferences that are only meant to grant legitimacy to an illegitimate occupation.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Syrian Coalition: Russia’s And Assad’s Attitudes To The Syrian Revolution Are Identical

Burhan Ghalioun, member of the Syrian Coalition, is not surprised by the Russian Foreign Minister’s statement holding the opposition fighters responsible for the deteriorating situation in Yarmouk Camp: “The Russian position has not changed since the beginning of the revolution. We do not expect that there will be any solidarity with the Syrian people from the Russian side,” Ghalioun said. He also stresses that the Russian attitude towards the Syrian revolution is identical to that of the Assad regime. The Russian position remains negative and still does not recognize any popular uprising.” Ghalioun points out that “the Russian engagement with the Syrian opposition, however, is a positive development,” referring to Lavrov’s remarks to Ahmad Jarba when he said: “We understand that your primary concern is the fate of the Syrian people. We are also interested in the fate of the Syrian people.” Ghalioun questioned the sincerity of remarks made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that Iraq is looking forward a political solution through Geneva II. “Al-Maliki has been directly coordinating with Bashar al-Assad, and seeks to secure his interests and the interests of his allies through the conference,” he said. Furthermore, Ghalioun echoed that “Maliki’s government is trying to export his political crisis to Syria through promoting the idea of ​​terrorism in an attempt to cover up for his political failure in dealing the unrest in Iraq.”  Abdul Basit Sida, political committee member, described the clichéd talk about terrorism reiterated by Iran, the Iraqi government and the Assad regime ahead of Geneva II as “immoral attempts by the Assad regime to hammer home his political agenda at the international conference, after the Assad regime and its allies declared that the primary objective of the conference is fighting terrorism and not handing over of power.”  Sida also said that the Assad regime “not only kills the Syrian people, but also starts killing the Russian and the Lebanese people to mislead the international community and the entire world to persuade them that the real conflict in Syria is with terrorism and not with the Syrian people.” Sida was referring to the terrorist bombings that hit Russian and southern Beirut, one of Hezbollah’s most important strongholds. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that “the Assad regime is nourishing terrorism in Syria, and to get rid of terrorism, we must get rid of the Assad regime,” at a meeting of the Friends of Syria. The Friends of Syria unanimously confirmed their support for the Syrian Coalition and the need for a political transition in Syria and ending tyranny and dictatorship.” The president of the Coalition said that the most important point in this meeting is the “agreement by those countries on excluding Assad and his clan from playing any future role in Syria.” The joint statement released after the meeting stresses “the conferees’ support for the right of the Syrian people to self-determination and self-defense.” The statement added that “Geneva II will be based on Geneva I Communique, which is intended to enable the Syrian people to determine their future.” Moreover, the statement condemns “all the atrocities committed by the regime against the Syrian people with the support of Hezbollah and other foreign groups.” It also strongly condemns “the extensive use of barrel bombs against civilians in Aleppo and other cities, in addition to the starvation policy adopted in the suburbs of Damascus and Homs.” The statement also calls on Russia and Iran to “use all their leverage to pressure the Assad regime to meet the commitments contained in the UN Security Council resolutions, especially to halt attacks against civilians and the release of all the arbitrarily detained Syrians.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 13.01.2014)

Palestinian child hurt in Israeli strike on Gaza following rocket fire during Sharon funeral

Rockets landed near Sycamore Ranch in Israel’s south, where the former prime minister was being buried; IDF retaliated with attacks on targets in central and southern Gaza.

Sharon's grave - AP

A worker prepares the grave for late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who will be buried at his ranch in the northern Negev Desert, Israel, Jan. 12, 2014.

The Israel Defense Forces launched an aerial attack on central and south Gaza Strip on Monday evening, in retaliation for two rockets fired at southern Israel during former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral.

A Palestinian toddler, 3, suffered light to moderate shrapnel wounds his face and body in the strike on central Gaza, Palestinian medical officials said.

The IDF said that Israeli aircraft targeted a military compound in central Gaza and a terrorist infrastructure in the southern part of the territory. The military identified precise hits, the IDF said, and all Israeli aircraft returned safely to base.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli aircraft struck a number of targets including an Islamic Jihad training site.

Participants who attended the burial service at Sharon’s Negev home, Sycamore Ranch, reported hearing the explosions. The projectiles landed in an open area near the farm, which is within range of rockets from the Palestinian territory and has been absorbed fire nearby in the past. There were no casualties in Monday’s strike.

Two additional rockets were fired earlier Monday before the funeral, but neither appeared to have landed in Israel. Israeli media said the rockets were fired into the sea.

Some 1,500 people attended Sharon’s funeral, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and other international dignitaries.

Israel’s defense establishment had been preparing for the possibility that Gaza militants would try to disrupt the funeral with rocket fire. Southern District Police chief Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy visited Anemone Hill, the site of Sharon’s burial, on Sunday during preparations for the service and said the police was prepared for any scenario – “from provocations by visitors to high trajectory fire from the Gaza Strip.”

“We are in the final stages of preparation, both at the local and national levels,” he said. “This is a national operation being undertaken by all the authorities: The police, IDF and the Prime Minister’s Office are involved. The final arrangements are being made at the burial plot and we are preparing for the arrival of guests from across the country.”

Israeli media reported that the Iron Dome anti-missile system was deployed near Sharon’s ranch ahead of the funeral to protect against rockets during the funeral, but the military declined to comment.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

“Profound civilian suffering” in Syria’s besieged Yarmouk camp

Palestinians in Gaza City take part in a 7 January solidarity rally calling for an end to the Syrian army siege on Yarmouk camp.

“There is profound civilian suffering in Yarmouk with widespread incidence of malnutrition and the absence of medical care, including for those who have severe conflict-related injuries,” Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees says.

Since July, some 20,000 Palestinian and Syrian residents remaining in Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus, have been under a tight siege by the Syrian army, with persistent reports of people dying of starvation.

Gunness says that women are dying in childbirth and children are suffering from malnutrition-related diseases, including anemia, rickets, and kwashiorkor.

In his full statement below, sent to The Electronic Intifada, Gunness describes the desperate and horrifying situation in the camp.

Before the Syrian civil war began, Yarmouk had 160,000 residents.

UNRWA is the only UN agency with personnel on the ground within Yarmouk and thus the comments of Gunness must carry particular weight.

Closed

Yet despite calls from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and others, Syria continues to refuse humanitarian access to Yarmouk, or to other areas where large numbers of civilians are under siege including Eastern Ghouta, the old city of Homs and Moadamiyah.

“The continued presence of armed groups that entered the area at the end of 2012 and its closure by government forces have thwarted all our humanitarian efforts,” Gunness told Ma’an News Agency last month.

His latest statement makes clear that “from a humanitarian perspective, Yarmouk remains closed to humanitarian access.”

“I emphasize that the imperative remains that Syrian authorities and other parties must allow and facilitate safe and open humanitarian access into Yarmouk to enable us to assist civilians trapped there.”

Last week, a group of sick refugees who were to leave Yarmouk camp for treatment were prevented from doing so due to sniper fire from members of the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Ma’an News Agency reported.

So far all efforts by the Palestine Liberation Organization to broker an end to the siegehave failed.

“Profound civilian suffering”

Statement from UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness:

There is profound civilian suffering in Yarmouk with widespread incidence of malnutrition and the absence of medical care, including for those who have severe conflict-related injuries, and including for women in childbirth, with fatal consequences for some women. Residents, including infants and children, are subsisting for long periods on diets of stale vegetables, herbs, powdered tomato paste, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water. Children are suffering from diseases linked to severe malnutrition, including anemia, rickets, and kwashiorkor.

There has been an appalling absence of electricity and heating for horrendously long periods, now close to one year, with all this implies for poor health. Residents are having to rely on going out on terraces and burning furniture and branches to warm themselves in the open because wood fires cannot be resorted to indoors. There is a very infrequent supply of tap water – reportedly available for four hours only at intervals of three days. The unending armed conflict brings death and inflicts serious injuries on Yarmouk residents in addition to the extreme deprivation of living a trapped existence.

It is public knowledge that some residents have been allowed to leave Yarmouk, although it remains unclear how many have left and whether the conditions under which they left were consistent with the international standards for the protection of civilians. From a humanitarian perspective, Yarmouk remains closed to humanitarian access and remains a place where extreme human suffering in primitively harsh conditions is the norm for Palestinian and Syrian civilians living there. I emphasize that the imperative remains that Syrian authorities and other parties must allow and facilitate safe and open humanitarian access into Yarmouk to enable us to assist civilians trapped there.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Egypt protesters face ‘decisive’ crackdown

 

Interior minister says disruptions to referendum will be met with “strength never seen” as he inspects security forces.

Authorities are undertaking a huge security operation to protect polling stations
Egypt’s security chief has warned supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, that troops will use unprecedented force against anyone attempting to disrupt voting on a new referendum.

“I am telling them, they will be faced with force, decisiveness and strength never seen before,” interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim said on state TV on Monday. “Everyone rest assured, we are watching your back.”

Authorities consider the draft charter to be a milestone in a military-backed transitional road map put in place after Morsi was overthrown in a popularly backed military coup last July.

State television showed Ibrahim on Monday inspecting some of the 350,000 police and army personnel, including special forces and paratroopers backed by armored vehicles and helicopters, currently being deployed to streets across the country to secure the polls and encourage a high turnout.

Hundreds of Egyptians have been killed by security forces while protesting against the removal of Morsi.

The January 14-15 vote provides the country’s increasingly popular military chief, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with a first electoral test since he ousted Morsi.

A comfortable “yes” vote and a respectable turnout would be seen as bestowing legitimacy, while undermining the Islamists’ argument that Morsi remains the nation’s elected president.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which fell from power and is now branded a terrorist group, has called for a boycott of the vote.

In its latest statement, a Brotherhood-led alliance said: “The blood of Egyptians is not a ladder to take over the seat of the kidnapped president.”

Regarding whether to vote “yes” or “no” on the document, it added: “The boycott is the only way.”

Morsi faces trial on several charges, including inciting killing of protesters, conspiring with foreign groups and orchestrating jailbreaks during 2011 uprising which forced his predecessor Hosni Mubarak from power.

“Topple the blood-stained constitution with civilised, peaceful masses,” it said, urging its supporters not to hold demonstrations near polling stations.

The charter had been drafted in 2012 by an Islamist-dominated panel under Morsi, but was suspended after his removal and heavily amended by two panels dominated by secular-minded politicians and legal experts under the interim government.

While limiting the role of Islamic law in legislation, the charter consolidates military privileges such as the ability to try civilians in front of military tribunals in specific conditions.

Many of its articles appear progressive compared to the text drafted under Morsi.

Seven Egyptians were arrested on Monday after they were found hanging posters calling for Egypt to cast a “no” vote to reject the new constitution.

The New-York based Human Rights Watch said: “Egyptian citizens should be free to vote for or against the new constitution, not fear arrest for simply campaigning for a ‘no’ vote.

“Protecting the right to vote requires safeguarding the right to free expression.”

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Arms Sale Debate Erupts as Fallujah Falls

IRAQ-UNREST

Iraqi soldiers stand along a road close to their vehicle in the area of Ein Tamer, Iraq, on Jan. 6. Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill claim the White House has failed to take action to stem the unrest there.

WASHINGTON — Weapon sales to Iraq have become entangled in sharply escalated political debate after al-Qaida affiliated forces regained partial control of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

Aides to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., criticized the Obama administration last week, saying it had failed to engage Congress constructively on policy decisions, delaying the sale of certain weapon systems to Iraq.

Yet concern also exists that the Iraqi government could use some weapons against civilian opposition.

Menendez and others on the Hill voiced such concerns over US plans to sell Baghdad several Apache attack helicopters. Lawmakers are concerned that the Shia-dominated government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could use the platforms to attack Sunni civilian opposition groups in Anbar province.

Often lost in the heated debate over aid and recent US policy is the fact that the United States has already sold or donated billions worth of equipment to the Iraqi security forces. In July 2013 alone, the US announced more than $4 billion in arms sales to Iraq, including 50 Stryker infantry vehicles, helicopters, missiles, communications equipment and a proposed $750 million logistics and maintenance contract that would ensure the health of all of the equipment into the future.

In an outgoing briefing with reporters before his retirement on Jan. 8, DoD policy chief James Miller said that complex foreign military sales (FMS) take time and planning to do properly and legally.

“We always want to work more quickly, but we’ve worked to make our foreign military assistance, our foreign military sales system, work as rapidly as possible,” he said. The United States has already sold more than 300 Abrams tanks to Iraq, along with 36 F-16 fighters due to be delivered by 2018.

Iraq also boasts US-made M113 infantry carriers, Humvees, Raven and ScanEagle drones, C-130 transport planes and Cessna 208 Caravans equipped with Hellfire missiles.

Miller also pushed back at criticism over US policy in the country, noting spillover from the turmoil in Syria and political dynamics in Iraq.

“I don’t see what’s happened since our withdrawal as a failure of policy,” he said. “I see what’s going on as a continued effort to work with Iraq to strengthen Iraq’s ability to combat terrorism.”

Despite this, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insists that the Iraqis “need more. They need intelligence capabilities. They need more air capabilities. They need more planning capabilities.”

Democrats, such as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and senior Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, say they support additional arms sales beyond shipments the White House put on a fast track last week. But they support it with strings attached.

Baghdad has “got to do a lot more in terms of bringing in the Sunni groups that want Iraq to be a country, who aren’t part of al-Qaida, who aren’t extremists,” Levin said. The United States also needs “to have assurances what those weapons would be used for and who they would be used against. I’m for additional military aid for Iraq but only when those concerns have been met.”

McCain agreed, telling Defense News that Maliki needs to “reach out to the Sunnis to try and have some kind of reconciliation.” He insisted that “if we had stayed, there would have been that reconciliation. Instead, we left, and things went to hell in a hand basket — just as I predicted.”

These criticisms don’t always sit well with members of the Obama administration.

“We have to be honest about the limits of US control over events in a sovereign country,” said Julie Smith, who was deputy national security adviser to vice president Joe Biden until June 2013.

Over the last several years, president Obama’s deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken “was actually acting more like the Iraq desk officer” though his trips to Baghdad and continuous meetings with Iraqi officials were not always publicized, she said

“In this case it was a lot of crisis management and personality management” Smith said, adding that in cases like Iraq — which harbors obvious sensitivities over US involvement in domestic affairs — “there are circumstances where quiet, behind closed doors engagement is needed, and it could be detrimental if made public knowledge.”

While members were split on whether to attach strings to additional arms shipments, they are united against inserting US combat troops to help Iraqi forces quell the instability. “I want to make sure there is enough capacity — local capacity — without Americans,” Cardin said. “I don’t want this to be just an excuse to continue American military involvement.”

While the internal Iraqi political and ethnic situation is as complicated as any since the 2003 American invasion, officials in Washington counter these congressional criticisms by highlighting all of the capabilities that are in the pipeline.

“We are continuing to accelerate our FMS deliveries and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told Defense News on Jan. 8.

The US also announced it is providing 10 more ScanEagle surveillance UAVs in the coming weeks — to complement the 10 Iraq already has — along with 48 Raven surveillance UAVs this year. “These UAVs will help the Iraqis track terrorist elements operating within the country,” Meehan said. “We also provided aerostat surveillance balloons to the government of Iraq in September 2013 and delivered three additional Bell IA-407 helicopters in December 2013, bringing the total purchased by and delivered to Iraq to 30. These are used for [reconnaissance] and surveillance to support ground forces engaged in [counterterrorism] operations,” she added.

Military hardware is one thing, however, military professionalism, competence and tactical proficiency is another.

The last time the Iraqi Army engaged an enemy in any large and sustained way was 2008, when it pushed Shia militants out of the port city of Basra — with significant US help after a disastrous start to the operation — and another fight that year with militias in Sadr City in Baghdad, also with US support.

“There probably has not been a set piece operation since,” said Michael Knights, a Lafer fellow at The Washington Institute who specializes in the security affairs of Iraq and the Arabian Gulf states.

The difference this time is that the Iraqis will not have US enablers — planners, logisticians, drones, close-air support airlift — to assist.

Due to huge social program obligations and high salaries for government ministers, “the Iraqi military is actually one of the more underfunded parts of the government,” Knights added, ticking off a litany of unresolved issues and unknowns over how the Army will conduct itself in any new large-scale operation.

The US-trained and equipped counterinsurgency force of 2008 “has lost a lot of its skills, and has started to suffer absenteeism,” that Baghdad has been unable to stem, he added. Due to the lack of maintenance on old US equipment donated when the Americans were pulling out, “the bones of this force are weary. It’s a tired force that has been fighting counterinsurgency for eight-plus years.”

Knights also cautioned that much of the training provided by US forces in the last years of US involvement focused on conventional war-fighting skills such as drilling artillery battalions and tank regiments. “Even though that stuff is important in counterinsurgency, we’ve lost the ability to support their special forces, and that’s what you really need” in Anbar today.

The Pentagon said last week that it was considering ramping up training for Iraqi Special Forces units in nearby Jordan, and the US special operations forces chief for US Central Command, Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, reportedly visited Iraq in December to make the case for US training to Iraqi officials.

Maliki “can’t afford failure” in Anbar, Knights said. If the tribes and the Sunni politicians acting as intermediaries between them and the government in Baghdad haven’t convinced al-Qaida to abandon the city, the Army will strike.

Fighting has already been raging for weeks, with Human Rights Watch accusing the Iraqi government Jan. 9 of using “indiscriminate mortar fire in civilian neighborhoods in Anbar province.”

The Army continues to tighten the noose in Fallujah, having closed checkpoints out of the city to the east, north and south, and is has refusing to allow people or supplies into the city.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Top Ten Ways Ariel Sharon Ruined Israel and the Middle East

Top Ten Ways Ariel Sharon Ruined Israel and the Middle East.

Arik Scheinerman, who became Ariel Sharon, was from a Russian family that emigrated to Palestine at a time when Palestinians had been deprived of the right to set immigration policy into their own country. He would go on powerfully to shape the lives of most people in Israel and the Middle East, and not for the good.

1. By killing 63 civilians including women and children in his Unit 101 raid on Qibya in 1953 Ariel Sharon announced that in his vision, Israel would continue the tactics pioneered by 1940s terrorist groups such as the Stern Gang, of deploying terror in hopes of forcing Arab neighbors to accept Israel. (The hopes were forlorn.) Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett, complained bitterly that the raid exposed Israel before the world “as a gang of bloodsuckers, capable of mass murder.”

2. Sharon in late spring 1967 threatened to make a military coup if the civilian government of then prime minister Levi Eshkol declined to go to waragainst Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. The pressure from hawks like Sharon and Moshe Dayan worked, even though Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin thought it a bad idea and almost had a nervous breakdown over it. But although Abdel Nasser was talking belligerently, some 100,000 of his best troops were tied down in Yemen. Moreover, his Soviet patrons told him that if he fired the first shot in any engagement with Israel, he was on his own and would forfeit Moscow’s help. Abdel Nasser was in no position to attack Israel in 1967, and he did not. Sharon, Dayan and other hawks took advantage of his blowhard speeches to launch an aggressive war that led to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

3. While Zionist leaders such as David Ben Gurion recognized a demographic dilemma in attempting to keep the West Bank and Gaza, Ariel Sharon insisted that Israel keep those territories. (This step was contrary to the United Nations Charter, which forbids acquisition of territory by armed force after 1945). As cabinet minister in the government of PM Menachem Begin in the late 1970s, Sharon pushed for an expansion of Israeli colonies on Palestinian territory, in the Gaza Strip and throughout the West Bank. He played a key role in creating the current dilemma, that Israel has hundreds of thousands of citizens living in the Palestinian West Bank and who form a barrier to a Palestinian state or any prospect of peace or of justice for the Palestinians.

4. Sharon initiated the strategy of surrounding Jerusalem with new Israeli settlements as a way of permanently annexing it to Israel, even though the UN had not awarded it to Tel Aviv.

5. Sharon for most of his life was dead set against a Palestinian state ever being allowed to form. He worked hard to make it an impossibility.

6. Sharon crafted the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It was intended to allow him to put Christian allies of Israel in power in Lebanon. Likewise, he wanted to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization, then headquartered in Beirut. The invasion, which had no basis in international law, resulted in the indiscriminate shelling of Beirut and the loss of some 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian lives. Along the way, he managed to provoke Usama Bin Laden into wanting to destroy some skyscrapers in the West the way Sharon had Beirut’s. And during that war, Sharon bore responsibility for the [pdf] massacre of Palestinian women and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps during the Israeli occupation. Remember that these Palestinians were refugees from Sharon and his fellow Israeli hawks in the 1948 war, when some 720,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and land and made penniless refugees. Now he had come after them and empowered far right wing Christian militiamen, who massacred them. Sharon hated the Palestinians because they refused to evaporate, and stood as a reproach to his ideology of Israelis’ birthright to Palestinian land.

7. Sharon’s invasion of Lebanon resulted in an 18-year-long Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. This brutal rule over this area gradually alienated the Shiite Muslim Lebanese. They had earlier been mainly peasants and farmers and had not been very political. They had some conflicts with the Palestinian refugees among them and were said even to harbor some warm feelings for Israel. But after years of Israeli military occupation, the Shiites of Lebanon became radicalized and the small party-militia, Hizbullah became more and more popular among them. Radicalizing the Lebanese Shiites, was among Sharon’s most lasting legacies. Once Lebanese Shiites began acquiescing in Hizbullah power, they gradually became clients of the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini and his successor. In turn, in order to have a land bridge so as to supply Hizbullah, the Iranian regime cultivated Syria as a client. Sharon failed to install an Israel-friendly government in Lebanon. He simply further destabilized that country. At the same time, his policies helped create the Shiite crescent of Iran, Syria and south Lebanon. In other words, it was Sharon who helped make Iran a major player in Middle Eastern geopolitics. Before he stirred up the Lebanese Shiites, Iran had no such role.

8. At a time, in fall of 2000, when President Bill Clinton and Palestinian and Israeli negotiators had come close to a peace deal, and when they were preparing for further negotiations after no final text was agreed upon in August, Ariel Sharon provocatively went to the Temple Mount. Muslims took his visit as an assertion that he intended to pull down sacred Muslim shrines there. His visit kicked off the second Palestinian uprising or Intifada, which included suicide bombings against Israeli non-combatants.

9. As prime minister again from 2001, Sharon continued to expand Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory. He responded to the violence of the 2nd Intifada by stealing more Palestinian land, trapping villages in an Escher architecture and building a separation wall in such a way that it annexed further territory and strangled Palestinian towns like Bethlehem.

10. Sharon urged the United States not simply to invade Iraq and overthrow its government but to take action against Iran. If the US had listened to him, there wouldn’t be much of our country left.

Violent, impulsive, rash, and greedy, Sharon helped turn Israel from the ideal of a democracy governed by the rule of law into instead an arbitrary colonial power. He created the endeavor of an Israel attempting to annex the West Bank; he created the problem of a Shiite crescent that ends on his doorstep. He committed war crimes. He pioneered elective wars for regime change, likely influencing George W. Bush. He was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths of innocents. Despite his late-career acceptance of the notion of a Palestinian state, he really just meant another colonially-dominated entity. He was willing to create a South-Africa style bantustan for the Palestinians, not a real state with sovereignty. Even then he wanted to keep 45% of the Palestinian West Bank for himself.

Sharon was one of the founders of the modern state of Israel. But unlike the latter, which has been a site of creativity and technological innovation, Sharon was peculiarly unimaginative. He thought that bullying people and using sadism and arbitrariness against them would convince them to comply. He probably helped doom the whole enterprise of Israel; the one he helped create, a site of the forever war and imperial domination, is intrinsically unstable.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

Dood … maar zijn geest blijft rondzweven

Wat me opvalt is de enorme rechtse persaandacht voor het overlijden van de massamoordenaar en oorlogsmisdadiger Ariël Sharon. Maar ook de regering doet hieraan mee  en trekt een PvdA-coryfee en mastodont uit de kast, om toch maar aanwezig te zijn bij de begrafenis, want de warme relatie met Israël mag niet verstoord worden. Tegelijkertijd wordt door diezelfde media Majid al-Majid als een Saoedische terrorist afgeschilderd omdat bij een aanslag op Iraanse ambassade 25 mensen omkwamen, waarvoor al-Majid verantwoordelijk wordt gehouden.  Zou de regering Uri Rosenthal naar deze begrafenis hebben gestuurd in het kader van de warme relatie met Saoedi-Arabië?

Natuurlijk het is diep en diep triest dat er 25 onschuldige mensen zijn omgekomen bij een aanslag, maar de historie volgend, kleeft er vele malen meer bloed aan de handen van Ariël Sharon dan aan die van Majid al-Majid. Sharon krijgt nu een begrafenis met militair eerbetoon en Nederland is daar bij aanwezig. Sinds wanneer toont Nederland respect voor oorlogsmisdadigers en gaat dan ook maar onmiddellijk naar hun begrafenissen?

Opvallend in dit gehele verhaal is, dat via het Wiesenthal centrum nazi kopstukken en minder hoge nazi soldaten werden opgespoord om voor het oorlogstribunaal gebracht te worden. Deze nazi-figuren werden opgespoord over de hele wereld door de geheime diensten van Israël (welke internationale wet heeft dit goedgekeurd?) ; als ze de ondervragingen overleefden, werden ze naar het Neurenberg Tribunaal gebracht. Volgens de Universiteit Leiden werden “tussen 1946 en 1949 door het Militaire Tribunaal van Neurenberg 177 verdachten veroordeeld: o.a. nazi-rechters en -ministers, SS-officieren en leden van mobiele moordbrigades.”

En nu het opvallende: waar zijn dan de verdachten geweest van de aanslagen op onschuldige Palestijnen? Wanneer is er een Tribunaal opgericht om de aanvallen op deze Palestijnen aan de kaak te stellen? Niets, nada, noppa, maar “om het goed te maken” gaat de heer Wim Kok naar de begrafenis van de moordenaar van  onschuldige Palestijnen uit Sabra en Shatila. De feiten spreken over 800 tot 3500 Palestijnse vluchtelingen en Libanezen, meestal vrouwen, kinderen en oudere mensen die door de vrienden van Sharon werden afgeslacht, terwijl Israëlische militairen de omgeving afsloten zodat er niemand kon ontsnappen.

De media durven wel met haar grote bek te spreken over Majid al-Majid, maar spreekt niet over de oorlogsmisdadiger Ariël Sharon. Neen, want de relatie moet warm blijven. Natuurlijk probeert de mainstream media zo weinig mogelijk uit te zenden om maar geen mensen tegen de schenen te trappen, maar als er dan toch wat op tv komt – op de social media is meer te vinden – ziet men de echte vrienden van de oorlogsmisdadiger Sharon, die dit heerschap de laatste ‘eer’ komen tonen: vicepresident van de VS Joe Biden, Tony Blair en – hoe kon het ook anders – Geert Wilders.

Bij de begrafenis heeft premier Benjamin Netanyahu gezegd dat “Sharon een van de grootste militaire bevelhebbers is geweest die het Joodse volk heeft gehad.” Toch opvallende woorden van de huidige premier: “een van de grootste bevelhebbers”, de man die duizenden Palestijnen heeft vermoord, heeft af laten slachten.

 

Zo maar wat kale en koude cijfers:

* in de vroege vijftiger jaren was Sharon de leider van de beruchte Unit 101, die vele aanslagen op onschuldige Palestijnse burgers in de Westbank uitvoerde;

* 69 Palestijnse burgers – vooral vrouwen en kinderen – afgeslacht in Qibya (oktober 1953);

* 29 oktober 1956 viel Israel Egypte aan, waarbij honderden Egyptische oorlogsgevangenen en burgers werden vermoord;

* na een verrassingsaanval tegen Egypte in juni 1967 werden de Gazastrook, de Westbank, Oost-Jeruzalem, het Egyptische Sinai-schiereiland en Golanhoogte bezet en ging men over tot ‘pacificering van Gaza’. In een poging het verzet te breken, gaf Sharon zijn soldaten de opdracht om enige Palestijnen verdacht van betrokkenheid bij het verzet, om te brengen.  Dit heeft geresulteerd in de moord van meer dan 1000 Palestijnen;

* in 1982 heeft Sharon een grote invasie van Libanon opgezet om de PLO te breken. Tussen juni en september heeft het Israëlische leger tussen 18.000 en 20.000 Libanese en Palestijnse burgers gedood middels bombardementen

* september 1982 (van de 16e tot de 20e) heeft Sharon  tussen de 800 en 3.500 Palestijnse vluchtelingen en Libanezen, voornamelijk vrouwen, kinderen en ouderen, laten afslachten door zijn vrienden de Falangisten, terwijl zijn eigen militairen Sabra en Shatila hermetisch had afgesloten zodat niemand kon ontsnappen.

En deze slachter krijgt in onze moderne wereld een militaire staatsbegrafenis? Schande, maar nog erger is dat de Nederlandse regering zich laat vertegenwoordigen. Dit is een sein van verheerlijking van een oorlogsmisdadiger geweest en een klap in het gezicht van het Palestijnse volk. Meneer Rutte, u moet u diep en diep schamen, het wordt echt tijd dat er nieuwe verkiezingen komen, u vertegenwoordigt mij niet meer.

110 injured in police, protesters clashes in WB

Police clash with Palestinian protesters outside the Jelazoun refugee camp north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on January 12, 2014.

Police clash with Palestinian protesters outside the Jelazoun refugee camp north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on January 12, 2014.

Police have clashed with Palestinian protesters outside the Jelazoun refugee camp located north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, leaving at least 110 people injured.

On Sunday, police fired teargas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators, who were protesting against a United Nations strike that has paralyzed services in several Palestinian refugee camps.

Over 40 policemen were injured during the clashes, according to a Palestinian Authority police spokesman, while the Jelazoun Popular Committee said more than 70 protesters were wounded.

On Sunday morning, the Palestinian youth blocked several roads in Ramallah and to its north with burning tires and other obstacles to vent their anger over a lack of services normally provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

UNRWA employees have been on strike for a month, forcing the cash-strapped body to shut schools and stop collecting garbage from refugee camps.

“The trash here is piled up so high we can’t even sleep at night for the smell,” said camp resident Mahdi Ahmed.

“The UNWRA strike has gone on for 35 days, and there are no clinics, no jobs, no education. What hope is there for this generation? We’re being strangled little by little,” Ahmed added.

A Palestinian labor union began a strike in December 2013 over salaries. The UNRWA has more than 5,000 employees in its 19 camps in the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 13.01.2014)