The now fallen government of eastern European state of Moldova on Tuesday June 12th turned to increasingly common last refuge of a desperate, disgraced government: Supporting illegal Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem.
The now ex- prime minister Pavel Filip announced that his government would move the Moldovan embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to divided Jerusalem. His government had originally negotiated such a deal last year.
Apparently he did this in the belief that United States and Israel would wave a political magic wand and he would stay in power in exchange of support to breaking international law.
This the Trump and Netanyahu regimes didn’t do or were incapable of achieving in the first place. A troubled government announcing the move of the country’s embassy in Israel to the divided Jerusalem doesn’t – for reasons politicians like Filip seem incapable to grasp – tend to lead to their domestic opponents immediately hoisting a white flag and letting them to stay in power just because it would please US and Israel.
Filip’s turn to US and Israeli help took place in the context of a week-long struggle over who would rule Moldova; Filip’s Democratic Party was pitted against pro-EU and pro-Russian parties’ alliance which was formed on June 8th and has 61 of the parliament’s 101 places. Filip, with support from the Constitutional Court, sought to block the new alliance from taking power and tried to dissolve the parliament, ruling without it until new elections he had announced would be held in September.This he would have done as both a president and a prime minister, as Filip had the court to suspend president Igor Dodon of the pro-Russian Socialist Party and declared himself as interim president. Unsurprisingly neither the new alliance or Dodon gave in just because Filip wanted to so – and the US-Israeli magic wand failed do its political sorcery. After a standoff that lasted from June 9th, with opposition planning a major demonstration for Saturday, the Democratic Party’s power-grab crumble His attempt at strong-man tactics in pieces, on Friday June 14th Filip caved in and his party announced its government would resign; the United States State Department declared that it ‘welcomed the decision’. TRANSNISTRIA
Since 1992 the government of Moldova has not controlled the breakaway territory of Transnistria east of the Dniester river. Transnistria, of whose population many are Russians and Ukrainians, rebelled against the central government of Moldova soon after its independence after the fall of Soviet Union and Russian “peacekeepers” have helped to protect the breakaway local government, under which Transnistria has become one of the most corrupt and unlawful areas in eastern Europe.
One would think that this experience would cause Moldovan politicians like Filip to sympathize and support the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, but then one wouldn’t have expected states like Georgia (part of which is controlled by Russia) and Estonia (occupied by Soviet Union from 1940 until 1991) to support and take part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Sadly many leading politicians in small countries seem to think that a smaller state has a right to exist in peace without foreign occupation only if the small state happens to be their own – otherwise realpolitik in their opinion dictates that they must help to do to others as has been done to them.
Political prisoner who fought a hunger-strike which lasted for 69 days has come to an agreement with the Israeli occupation about his release and has ended his hunger-strike. Yet the exact date of his coming release is unclear based on currently available information.
Hassan al-Aweiwi(35) suspended his hunger-strike on Monday June 10th after coming to an agreement with Israeli occupation authorities. He had been on hunger-strike since April 2nd and had lost 20 kilograms from his weight during it.
His imprisonment without charge or trial won’t be extended indefinitely, but he will now be released at a set date. But the date of his release is unclear; in different sources it is either early October, in mid-December, “by the end of the year” or on January 15th 2020.
The father-of-three from Hebron was arrested by Israeli occupation on January 15th this year and started his hunger-strike after Israeli occupation military court extended his administrative detention on April 2nd. According to different descriptions of the details of the agreement with Israeli occupation he will be released either “six months after the end of his first period of administrative detention” or after six more months of administrative detention.
As a result he could be released as early as October, after six more months of imprisonment or on the first anniversary of his arrest. Maximum length of single period of administrative detention is six months, but Israeli occupation military court also detain people on shorter periods – like possibly case of al-Aweiwi.
According to most sources, his imprisonment without charge or trial was extended “just” two and a half months after his arrest – yet one major source, Addameer, reports that his original period of administrative detention was already six months. The differing release date possibilities result from the conflicting claims.
Hassan al-Aweiwi was previously imprisoned in Israeli occupation prisons for three years. His mother started a solidarity hunger-strike in support of his son few days before its end.
Political prisoner Hassan al-Aweiwi has been on hunger-strike for 69 days by Sunday June 9th, protesting against his imprisonment without charge or trial. The 35-year-old father of three from Hebron has lost 20 kilograms from his weight during the hunger-strike. Moved on Thursday from Ramle prison clinic to civilian medical centre in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 because of deterioration of his condition, on Saturday he declared that he would stop drinking water. This makes al-Aweiwi’s hunger-strike a dry hunger-strike. Until now he has drank salt water. He was arrested by Israel’s occupation forces on January 15th and declared his hunger-strike on April 2nd after Israeli occupation military court continued his administrative detention. (Source / 09.06.2019)
35-year-old father of three Hasan al-Awiwi has been on hunger-strike for 59 days in Israeli occupation captivity by today Friday May 31st. He was arrested by Israel’s occupation forces on January 15th and has been kept imprisoned without charge or trial since. He has also been previously imprisoned by the occupation. Hasan al-Awiwi declared the hunger-strike on April 2nd after his administrative detention was continued by Israeli occupation military court. The goal of al-Awiwi’s hunger-strike, which has now taken him to either prison infirmary or civilian medical centre in Israel according to contradictory reports, is to gain his freedom. Hasan al-Awiwi has threatened to escalate his hunger-strike by stopping taking salt water, making it a dry hunger-strike. His health has already said to have experienced a “sharp decline”. Long hunger-strikes like al-Awiwi’s usually end in ‘a compromise’ in which Israeli regime agrees not to extend the political prisoner’s imprisonment beyond the end of the current term of administrative detention, which is at maximum six months. PHOTO via@ShehabAgency shows solidarity demonstration for al-Awiwi in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday May 28th. (Source / 31.05.2019)
The death of 30-year-old Mohammad Abdul-Jawad Zo’rob was announced on Tuesday May 21st in the besieged Gaza Strip, almost thirteen months after he was shot and wounded by Israel’s occupation forces. Zo’rob had been shot with an expanding bullet by Israeli occupation forces’ sniper on Friday April 27th 2018 during a Great Return March demonstration. He was apparently wounded in his foot. He went through several surgeries, but the foot became infected several times and developed tumours. His apparent direct cause of death is said to have been cancer (exacerbated by lack of medical care and medicine as a result of the siege), which his family believes was caused by the physical trauma he suffered. Although physical trauma has been evoked as a possible cause to some cancers in medical studies, this has never been proved and is now considered unlikely. Mohammad Zo’rob’s funeral took place in his home town of Rafah in southern part of the small coastal enclave.
Supporting Israeli occupation is faith-based – we don’t just mean that it’s based on extremist versions of Christian and Jewish religious belief, no, it makes you literally believe in magic. (Assuming the believers’ claims are made honestly…)
For example, take the illegal Israeli Wall which in 2004 was found illegal by the International Court of Justice on the parts where it doesn’t follow the pre-1967 Green Line. According to supporters of Israeli occupation and oppression, this Wall has ‘stopped suicide bombings’.
This claim is made often and challenged almost never by the ‘Western’ press. It has become an article of faith to be repeated by the true believers in Israeli regime, from the members of Anglo-Saxon governments to the rank-and-file supporters of Apartheid in social media.
Since 2008 there has not been a suicide bombing in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948, although one youth from occupied West Bank died of burn injuries after starting a fire in an Israeli bus with a home made explosives. No one else died or suffered serious injuries. The true believers in Apartheid point to this fact – although they never mention how long it has been since a suicide bombing, as they also tend to paint Israel as threatened by suicide bombers – and claim that it is because of the illegal Wall.
Yet there is a counter-argument which the true believers from cabinet ministers and leaders of Israeli Lobby organizations to rank-and-file social media hasbara trolls avoid touching – so fervently, that they never try to deny it when it’s made to them but disengage or try to move away from it. It is very simple and very effective:
On the eastern side of the illegal Wall are hundreds of thousands of illegal Israeli settlers and tens of thousands of Israeli occupation forces’ members. How can the illegal Wall – marketed as ‘a Separation Barrier’ by both Israeli regime and the compliant ‘Western’ media – stop attacks on that side?
How can it also be ‘a Separation Barrier’ if there are hundreds of thousands of Israel’s majority citizens on the side that is supposedly being ‘separated’ from ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 to ‘protect’ Israeli citizens from resistance attacks?
Here the magic takes place, here the normal scientific order of the universe breaks down and faith in supernatural takes over: To the true believers from White House to AIPAC and Likud leadership, from the ‘Re-Born Evangelicals’ to the illegal Israeli settlers in illegal Israeli colonies themselves, the illegal Wall magically stops resistance attacks on both sides!
Not only that, it magically ‘separates’ occupied Palestinians not only from those in Israel proper who every few years vote for the continuation of the occupation, but also from the illegal Israeli settlers who live usually only a few hundred meters away or often literally next door – always under Israeli occupation forces’ armed support. It’s the Magic of the Wall!
Of course, what in reality ‘separates’ people are Israeli occupation forces’ guns – but that ‘separation’ is not enough to ‘separate’ them any more than South Africa’s version of Apartheid was able to segregate ‘White’, ‘Coloured’ and ‘Black’ from each other: Because the occupation and oppression unites them.
And so does the illegal Wall, crossed each day by large numbers of Palestinians. All you need is a ladder, rope – or a hammer or explosives, both of which have been used to break through it. What has changed since 2008 are tactics used by resistance groups who previously carried out suicide bombings. If they would change tactics, the magic of the wall would fail – on both sides of it. Naturally for the true believers this (and security co-operation of Palestinian Authority with Israeli occupation) are not subjects to raise… Because they believe in magic, occupation and Apartheid.
Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, has given its approval to continuation of Israeli occupation and Israeli regime’s attack on the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) by condemning it and trying to dishonestly connect it to the German crimes against Jews during the Nazi regime and rising antisemitism in Germany. Taking place during an unprecented attack on the two state solution by Israel and the United States, this in effect signals German abandonment of two state solution and refusal to accept a one democratic state – instead German Bundestag through its condemnation of BDS embraces one state Apartheid. According to the non-binding Bundestag resolution, boycotting companies supporting and profiting from Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank is “reminiscent of the most terrible chapter in Germany history” (the Holocaust” and ‘triggered memories of the Nazis’ slogan “Don’t buy from Jews”’ – German sins are projected to occupied Palestinians and their supporters, who are painted as modern Nazis by the German parties which have been selling arms to Israeli occupation forces. Meanwhile international companies profiting from the occupation, many of them having no connection whatsoever with Jews, are protected by the resolution. The fact that German financial institutions and businesses have connections to occupation profiteering is something the Bundestag passed by in silence. The parties which brough the resolution to the Bundestag – Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democrats, centre-right FDP and the Greens – have all taken part in German governments which have sold military equipment for Israeli occupation forces. (In the case of military submarines built by Thyssen-Krupp with the help of bribes paid to Israeli officials. Both Thyssen and Krupp corporations financed Nazis and eleven members of Krupp management were sentenced to prison for war crimes after World War II.) The idea that the parties’ leadership or ranks in Reichstag wouldn’t know what the actual goals and methods of BDS movement are doesn’t hold closer scrutiny – and same goes for the consequences of this resolution: It emboldens Israel’s regime, encourages other European Union states to increase their support for one state Apartheid rule and leads to Palestinian deaths. This is all deliberate. This is a monstrous attack on vulnerable, occupied and exiled nation by the elected representatives of a state which doesn’t seem collectively to have learned nothing since 1945 – the Reichstag and its parties (only left-wing Der Linke had muted opposition to the resolution) still divide people in Übermensch and Üntermensch, believing that moving Jews from the latter to the former is the only change in German mentality needed since the Holocaust was revealed to the world. Palestinian lives are essentially treated as worthless and violent oppression by Israel as justified by Germany’s political elite, and any opposition to that violent oppression is seen as unjustified because Übermensch can do whatever they want to Üntermensch. Only the identity of the Üntermensch has changed in this German vision. 90 % of hate crimes against Jews in Germany are done by the Far-Right, which most certainly don’t support or care about Palestinian liberation, yet German Jews concerns about rising antisemitism in Germany were used to ‘justify’ condemning non-violent resistance to a violent occupation, Apartheid segregation and disposession; resistance which has no connection to rising Far-Right in Germany, which the same Reichstag parties refuse to confront with strong action – instead the Far-Right in the form of Alternative für Deutschland took part in the condemnation of BDS movement and went furthest, proposing that it should be banned. As German Jews do face increase in hate crimes, support for Israeli occupation and opposition to peaceful means to end it unites the ‘moderates’ and the Far-Right that drives the increase in the hate crimes. The result is suffering for Palestinians and increased threats to Jews in Germany from the Far-Right. What has taken place in the Bundestag is a deeply offensive display of hypocrisy and scapegoating, but continues the long line of alliance with Germany with Israel’s regime where Germany supports killing of Palestinians and theft of their lands under the idea that through shedding of Palestinian blood and land the Germans somehow atone for the crimes against Jews done by the Nazis. It is very convenient arrangement and long-running agreement between Germany and Israel. The alliance written with Palestinian blood has brought profits for German companies which once used slave labour during the Nazi rule and safety for generations of German far-right while Israel has been able to trust in German support for the occupation no matter what it does. No surviving German Nazi or a modern Neo-Nazi or other member of the far-right has ever had to fear Israel’s vaunted Mossad. (Source / 18.05.2019)
(This article was originally published in our Facebook page on May 17th 2016.) The road to the Sykes-Picot Agreement can be traced back at least a few decades, to the British take-over of Cyprus in 1878 and the conquest of Egypt in 1882 which put Ottoman Empire’s remaining Levantine possessions at a fragile position, but a case can be made that its roots go much farther than that, to the European Voyages of Discovery. At first the lands Sykes-Picot Agreement would divide between mainly British and French spheres of direct control and influence had little to do with these earlier developments, but the European mindset and attitudes towards foreign lands born at that much more distant time can be claimed to have laid the basis to Sykes-Picot. This is why we at first briefly look back several centuries, to a very different world when the Middle-East was divided between the great Mamluk, Safavid and Ottoman empires – an era when the suggestion that men from the distant Christian kingdoms of France and England (the latter then barely known) could decide the fates of these lands and their myriad peoples with a few signatures and the shaking off each others hands would have been met with laughter by the locals, Muslim, Christian and Jew alike. DIVIDING THE WORLD The treaties of Tordesillas(1494) and Zaragoza (1529) divided the recently discovered and to be discovered areas of the entire planet Earth between Portugal and Spain, the two halves of control and influence. No notice was taken off the native people, discovered and undiscovered, or their right to self-government. This can be seen as the moment when the western European powers, until then at best second-rate operators on the world stage for a thousand years, started to see themselves as entitled to lands beyond their traditional horizons and superior to the people in those lands. In England, the moment when darker skin becomes a negative feature when describing people, is set at about the year 1613 based in mentions in literature. This happened when England had recently started attempts to colonize parts of the northern Atlantic coast of the so-called ‘New World’. Racism, colonial projects and European feelings of superiority grew in close connection to each other. OTTOMAN EMPIRE JOINS THE GREAT WAR In 1915 the Ottoman Empire, by then for a century declared to be the “sick man of Europe” entered – goaded by Imperial Germany – the Great War on the side of the Central Powers. Repeatedly humiliated in the wars of 1911-1913 where it had lost most of its remaining European territory to new states in the Balkan and Libya to Italy, it now took the side where less of its recent enemies were. In many ways it was a suicidal decision. The British government certainly thought so, with prime minister Herbert Asquith(1852-1928) soon declaring that the ‘dismemberment’ of the Ottoman Empire was to be one of the goals of the war. A war that had started as mainly a European war with limited action in the European colonies had now gained major front in the Middle East and the Allied Powers started to put forth their own claims, dubious at best, to different parts of the Ottoman Empire in the manner of the Berlin treaty in 1884 that had divided Africa between the European colonial powers. The Berlin treaty was one of the major steps on the path coming from the treaty of Tordesillas to the Sykes-Picot agreement and directly led to the genocide led by Belgium’s king Leopold II(1865-1909) in the so-called ‘Free State of Congo'(1885-1908), resulting in the deaths of up to 10 million people according to an estimate by the Belgian colonial authorities themselves in 1920. VULTURES GATHER: ITALY AND RUSSIA Russia demanded Constantinople and Straits of Bosphorus – targets to Kievan Rus already in the 10th century and dream of Imperial Russia since the late 18th century – and those parts of Armenia still under Turkish control, Russia controlling the rest. Italy had taken over the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean in 1912 and now dreamed big – it demanded most of current Turkish south coast and much of inner Anatolia, pushing away Greek claims to the environs of Smyrna. Eventually Italy would gain only the islands Rhodes, being reduced as a bystander by the Greco-Turkish war(1919-22) with Russia’s demands ending with the Czar’s rule and the collapse of its military situation in 1917 before being declared officially void by the Bolsheviks after the October revolution. These ‘western’ parts of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which had no lasting geopolitical importance beyond the fate of Armenians, are often now forgotten, because it was those lands coveted by Britain and France where the Agreement in its main part would stand and leave a lasting legacy – and a fertile ground for future conflicts. Russia would emerge again on the Levantine geopolitical stage in the guise of the Soviet Union after the Second World War, and after a brief hiatus, it has now, restored under its old name, playing a role that the Czars mostly could only have dreamed of. Old territorial claims forgotten, the weakening US grip of the Middle East has opened path for not only to save a client regime but to push its roles again to a more central position from the periphery. THE SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT The May 16th 1916 agreement between Great Britain and France is known Sykes-Picot Agreement after the two middle-level diplomats who played large roles in negotiating it. They were France’s hard-line colonialism advocate François Georges-Picot(1870-1951) and Great Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes(1879-1919), a college drop-out and a very minor politician before his diplomatic role. Neither man had hold positions of great prominence before and Picot in his remaining thirty-five years wouldn’t achieve anything the posterity has afterwards considered worth recalling, while Sykes would die during the Versailles peace negotiations, one more victim of the Spanish flu whose emergence marked the painful birth of the new post-war world. In adverse importance to the men whose names it carries, Sykes-Picot Agreement has ever since been the basis for territorial control and division in the Middle East ever since, with slight chances in the later agreements during and after the war – with the aforementioned the establishment of current Turkey on the ruins of Italian and Russian imperial dreams the most important exception. After acknowledging the Italian and Russian demands, Picot and Sykes went on to the main issue of the agreement: How they would divide the areas of their own main interest between them. French governments had been coveting possessions in the Middle East for decades, partly driven by the romantic afterglow of the medieval Crusades in its national imagination and the memory of the brief occupation of Egypt(1798-1801) as a result of Napoleon Bonaparte’s initial conquest, but France also sought to limit British control and influence in the Middle East, ally or not. In 1898 France and Britain had come close to a war in the ‘Fashoda incident’ where British plans to control whole of the river Nile had run into French attempt to gain a swath of land extending from the western to the eastern coast of Africa. In the negotiations that averted a war then the genocidal rule of ‘Free State of Congo’, Belgium’s king Leopold II had been enlisted to control a buffer zone between French and British colonial empires to separate their colonial forces from each other and in 1904 the visit of king Edward VII(1901-10) to France led to the ‘Entente Cordiale’ treaty between the two empires, which laid ground for the two contesting power blocs in the First World War. In the negotiations which led to the Sykes-Picot Agreement France demanded and got a zone of direct control in what are now south-east Turkey and coastal Lebanon and Syria. Added to that would have been an ‘independent’ Arab state under French ‘influence’ formed from most of the territory of current Syria and northern Iraq. Britain’s area of direct control would have been southern Iraq along the border of Persia – which it had already divided into zones of influence with Russia in 1907 – and northwestern coastal lands of the Persian Gulf with an ‘independent’ Arab state under its ‘protection’ reaching from the current Jordan to central Iraq. These two planned Arab states were intended as an enticement for Arabs to rebel and, after the victory, both a buffer zone between French and British empires and a way to control the Arabs like the Romans and Persians had once controlled their own spheres of influence among the Arabs through their Ghassanid and Lahkmid client rulers. THE FATE OF PALESTINE In the original Sykes-Picot Agreement Palestine was set to be partly under international rule, partly part of the Arab client state and partly under direct British rule. No mention of a Jewish state was made at this point, even when plans for it in Palestine were already circulating. In December 1916 Conservative prime minister Herbert Asquith made way for the new coalition government led by the Liberal David Lloyd George(1863-1945), who had been connected to previous plans for a Jewish state in Uganda. Jewish state in Palestine soon made its appearance in the agenda of the new coalition government and on November 2nd the former prime minister, then foreign minister, Arthur Balfour(1848-1930) made the fateful declaration carrying his name which he would later defend saying that: “…in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country….The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land…” The Balfour declaration and these words were the seeds of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-1949. Today from those seeds have grown the Apartheid state of Israel, the 49 year long occupation of what remains of Palestinians’ lands – the emerging archipelago of bantustans – and the dilapidated refugee camps in which generation after generation grows up hoping for a return to home. Balfour Declaration could not have happened without the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The latter was an egg and the former a sperm cell incubating it and the period of the British Mandate(1920-1948) a long period of gestation leading to the birth of the Zionist state and the birth of a nation of refugees and oppressed from a people who already had had a land, Palestine. Today we witness aborted attempts at peace negotiations in Palestine by France; Great Britain has long since accepted its role as the loyal arms-bearer on the side of the United States, but France, which faced shared defeat with the British in the 1956 Suez Crisis and a loss of face, credibility and influence in the Middle East as a result of it, has not. Openly mocked by the government of Israel, which France once supported strongly and to which it gave nuclear weapons, the French government – perhaps driven by the ghost of Georges-Picot – seeks to re-instate some amount of influence in the Middle East through Palestine having already established a military basis in the United Arab Emirates – a former British colony until 1971. DEVELOPMENTS AFTER SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT: THE FRENCH RULE Sykes-Picot evolved into the Agreement of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne(1917) and the transformation of the details continued during the immediate post-war years with the Treaty of San Remo(1920) while the overall division remained. The French, who had done little militarily to gain the large areas of lands they coveted in the Levant, on their part put the idea of a large, continuous Arab state under their influence to the dustbin. Having given up northern Iraq to the British in 1919 and having lost much of their intended directly controlled areas to the emerging Turkey, the French instead took up the Damascus area by force in 1920 as a ‘replacement’ for these losses, and created as a cover a group of supposedly autonomous statelets on ethnic basis, which they then administered under a League of Nations mandate. This French ‘divide and rule’ attempt to control their new possessions have been claimed to have influenced to various degrees both the Lebanese civil war(1975-1990) and the current ongoing war in Syria. Certainly both states and their borders are a direct result of the French rule and the Sykes-Picot treaty, which the Islamic State symbolically claimed to erase by removing border markings between those parts of Iraq and Syria which it controls. But the French rule was never was firm as intended, and it was here that the French colonial empire started to crumble even before it was itself occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940: Turkey would go on to gain the briefly independent Hatay in 1939 before Lebanon(1943) would emerge from one of the statelets and the rest would be united as Syria(1946). The United States would emerge as the inheritor of French power or attempts at power, just like in Indochina. Having briefly installed a dictator in Syria in 1949 – and afterwards doing increasingly desperate attempts to carry out more coups – it intervened in Lebanon for the first time in 1958, an invasion almost forgotten in the shadow of its second intervention 1982-84. At the head of an alliance of several countries from the Sykes-Picot agreement it was forced to withdraw in 1984, defeated, having gained a new enemy that – like all those who have successfully stood up against the United States – has since become an obsession to it: Hezbollah. The Beirut bombing in 1983 and its humbling aftermath can be seen as a major crack in the Middle East based on the Sykes-Picot Agreement. DEVELOPMENTS AFTER SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT: THE BRITISH RULE AND THE HASHEMITE DYNASTY The British followed a different trajectory from the French, eventually setting up – or accepting as a way to keep under their control, depending from viewpoint – three different kingdoms, those of Hejaz(1916-1925) and the mandate kingdoms of Iraq(1922-1932/1958) and Transjordan(1922-46). Each of these kingdoms was under the rule of a member of the Hashemite dynasty, kings Hussein of Hejaz(1916-24) and his sons Abdullah I of (Trans-)Jordan(1920-51) and Faisal I of Iraq(1921-33). The last was ‘a solution’ to regular uprisings in the area of current Iraq against nascent British rule, which had led to aerial bombings and use of poison gas against the native population. The Hashemite family had emerged as the major British ally among Arabs during the Arab revolt – an important event perhaps appreciated better by the contemporaries than later generations, to whom the Arab revolt tends to evoke only the name of a junior British officer involved in it, that of T. E. Lawrence(1888-1935), The crown jewel of the intended Hashemite confederated empire, Damascus, was only briefly held by them before the French took it from them in 1920 and in 1925 the al-Saud family conquered their kingdom of Hejaz. In Iraq the Hashemite rule and British influence ended in the bloody coup of 1958 – and one can see much of the following history of Iraq as series of increasingly violent attempts by the ‘West’ to regain control. After the United States-led invasion of Iraq we have seen efforts to enshrine the British colonial administrator Gertrude Bell(1868-1926) as a kind of ‘enlightened’ face of British and overall Western colonial rule over Iraq especially and Arabs overall. In reality people like Bell, Lawrence and Sykes were middling British adventurers from the upper class to whom the Great War gave opportunity to gain official positions and, almost accidentally, great influence over contemporary native peoples of the Middle East – and their posterity. In the long run the only survivor among the Hashemite kingdoms would be Jordan, whose army was commanded until 1956 by British officers and which is still ruled by the half-British and fully British educated Abdullah II – a kind of living symbol of the lasting effect of Sykes-Picot in the Middle East. CONCLUSION Sykes-Picot Agreement is a high-water mark in European colonialism, signed during the Great War which turned out to be the First of two World Wars that would break the European power’s economies and military power and through that, their colonial systems. The roots of Sykes-Picot go far back in time. The idea of a world which could be arranged on the whim of European powers with little to no regard to the needs and will of local people and existing states can be traced back as far as the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. Expected to be the basis of stable British and French rule and control in the Middle East, after the Second World War it became a framework for a Middle East of mostly authoritarian states which kept up order and a semblance of peace through brutally enforced rule from the centre, often favouring one ethnic or religious group over others, but always willingly or under duress under the patronage of superpowers. That framework was given what appears to be a fatal wound by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ethnic-religious tensions released – and nurtured by various state and non-state operators – by it. The Arab Spring of 2011 made further cracks in the edifices of states, opening further opportunities for those who nurtured the aforementioned tensions, subjugating calls for democracy for their own secretarian goals. As the old order lays seemingly dying, Palestine is still in its grip, caught in the century-long nightmare of Balfour Declaration. Already in the Sykes-Picot Agreement much of Palestine was intended to be under international rule and it still remains a major international issue. Only strong outside pressure can bring an end to the occupation of Palestine to save the two state solution or it dying through indigestion of too many illegal colonies, ensure a one state where all people no matter of their ethnic or religious background, gender or ideology are equal. There is no sign that this pressure will come from states, so it must come from individual people through BDS and other solidarity activities. Instead of foreigners telling what local people do and what is best for them – that heritage of Bell, Georges-Picot and Sykes – the foreigners must now follow the lead of the local people, the people of Palestine, in this. FURTHER READING: Anderson, Scott: Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. 2013.Barr, James: A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-1948. New York 2011.Bates, Darrell: The Fashoda Incident of 1898: Encounter on the Nile. Oxford 1984.Bell, Gertrude: A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert. London 2015.Bell, Gertrude: The Desert and the Sown: Travels in Palestine and Syria. 1919.Boxer, C. R..: The Portuguese Seaborne Empire: 1415-1825. New York 1969.Fawaz, Leila Tarazi: A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War. 2014.Finkel, Caroline: Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire(2005).Firro, Kais: Inventing Lebanon. Nationalism and the State Under the Mandate. London 2002.Fisk, Robert: The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. London 2005.Fromkin, David: A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York 1989.Goodwin, Jason: Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire. 1999.Hobsbawm: E. J.: The Age of Empire: 1875–1914. London 1987.Hochschild, Adam: King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. 1998.Hooton, E. R.: Prelude to the First World War: The Balkan Wars 1912-1913. London 2000.Hourani, Albert: A History of the Arab Peoples: With a New Afterword. 2001; original edition 1991.Howell, Georgina: Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of Gertrude Bell. 2006. (Republished as Queen of the Desert: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell. 2015)Huneidi, Sahar: A Broken Trust: Sir Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians. 1999.Jeffries, J. M. N. & Mathew, William M. : The Palestine Deception, 1915–1923: The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, the Balfour Declaration, and the Jewish National Home. 2014.Lawrence, T. E.: Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a triumph. London 1926.Mansel, Philip: Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean. London 2010.Mazower, Mark: Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950. London 2004.McMeekin, Sean: The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power. 2010.McMeekin, Sean: The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908 – 1923. London 2015.Rodenbeck, Max: Cairo: The City Victorious. New York 1999.Rogan, Eugene: The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920. 2015.Stephenson, Charles: A Box of Sand: The Italo-Ottoman War 1911-1912. 2014.Tamari, Salim & Turjma, Ihsan Salih: Year of the Locust: A Soldier’s Diary and the Erasure of Palestine’s Ottoman Past. 2014.Whitelam, Keith J.: Rhythms of Time: Reconnecting Palestine’s Past. 2013. (Source / 13.05.2019)
Former political prisoner Amjad Qallaq(30) was killed by Israeli police in the town of Qalansuwu in ethnically cleansed Palestine 1948 on Monday May 6th.
Qallaq, from the town of Attil near the city of Tulkarem on the occupied West Bank, was allegedly driving a stolen car and didn’t stop when Israeli police would have ordered so; possibly he drove through ‘a flying checkpoint’ or a roadblock set up by police.
He was chased by Israeli police car or cars and drove towards the occupied West Bank on Highway 57 when the Israeli police opened fire at him. Reportedly they didn’t target the tires or other possibly non-lethal ways to stop him, but directly targeted him with gunfire.
Qallaq was hit and killed as a result of the gunfire. Apparently he died immediately or at the scene. We assume that the vehicle he drove crashed when he was hit by bullet or bullets, but no source gives any details beyond him being shot and killed.
Some of the reporting gives the impression that the shooting would have taken place in the occupied West Bank, which was not the case. Overall relatively little information has been released.
Based on phrasing in one news story that gives the correct location for the incident, Amjad Qallaq might have been working as labourer in Palestine 1948. If so, whether he had a permit from Israeli occupation authorities is unknown.
– Rami Efrati, Israeli businessman and former member of Unit 8200.
Israel is marketed in the ‘West’ as a ‘start-up nation’ and technology developed by Israeli companies are used in propaganda against boycott of Israeli occupation.
The idea in the latter is that somehow the development of technology both negates the occupation while making its users de facto participants in the occupation who should not oppose it, because it benefits them. What is left unsaid how close the ties between Israeli tech companies, Israeli-led Silicon Valley companies and Wall Street to the occupation are – and how methods used to keep up the occupation are used to support other authoritarian regimes.
The connections are Israeli occupation forces’ Unit 81 and the signals intelligence’s branch, Unit 8200. We will concentrate on Unit 8200 in this article. Unit 8200, based on Zionist group Shin Mem 2 spying on Palestinians during the British Mandate, has a staff of 5000 and spies on Palestinians who have no legal protection against the spying – living under Israeli occupation or in occupation, they are not protected by law in Israel. Unit 8200 can hack and crack their devices and personal communication, files and accounts without any negative consequences.
This feeds a feeling of impunity in those who serve in the Unit 8200. When they leave the occupation forces, they have learned to spy but they have not been taught moral or legal limits to spying. Instead they have been taught that everything is permissible and are told that they should not care about how their work is used. If people are killed as a result, it’s a decision made by those who use the information they have gathered, and they should not burden themselves with a bad conscience.
This inter-unit ethos got rare public appearance when 43 reserve members of Unit 8200 refused to participate in the 2014 attack on besieged Gaza Strip, which killed around 2200 Palestinians, and the Unit 8200 needed justification and positive publicity in Israel and the ‘West’. This led to a lot of positive, clearly propaganda-oriented media attention to Unit 8200 and it ties to tech companies.
When these people move to private business, they have contact networks of their fellow unit members to mine and prestige in the eyes of Israeli and ‘Western’ companies and investors as a result of their connection to Unit 8200. ‘350 Israeli-controlled high-tech firms’ operate in New York City alone, employing hundreds of former Unit 8200 members.
According to Haaretz, 700 former members of Unit 8200 are working in United States in New York City, Silicon Valley and Boston alone. These members help each other to advance in the US’ corporate world according to the same source – and quite successfully, as in 2017 Israeli or Israeli-founded cyber-security firms alone raised one billion United States dollars in outside funding.
When the former Unit 8200 go found ‘start-up’ tech companies, these companies ethos is that which they learned in serving the occupation: Everything is permissible and how their services are used by their customers is solely an issue for those customers. In 2016 there were 27 Israeli surveillance companies, highest per capita in the world. As comparison, United States had 122 surveillance companies and the world overall had 528.
Unsavoury customers like Hungary’s far-right government are as acceptable as any other, and when a customer like it wants to target non-governmental organizations critical of the government, this is as non-existent as a moral quondary as whether the information collected by Unit 8200 will lead to a family home full of people being blown up.
But there is also another problem: Many former Unit 8200 members are now in leading roles, sometimes as founders and/or CEOs, in cyber-security companies and in Wall Street, firms which finance cyber-security companies. Israeli companies have 7 % of the world-market, compared to United States’ 69 %. The question is, are people whose former job involved breaking cyber-security and spying on people without care of their privacy (or survival) reliable when it comes to protecting people from cyber-criminals, intelligence agencies – or their own former employer, Unit 8200 and other branches of Israeli regime it works with?
Are former spies the right people to protect individuals, companies and governments from spying – or are they foxes guarding hen-houses? Will a spy ever really stop being a spy?
Can it be trusted that the cyber-security companies led by former Unit 8200 members don’t work with Unit 8200 and its allied intelligence services against their clients? Can it be trusted that no backdoors are built into their products and services, especially as Silicon Valley tech companies have been under pressure from the US government to do so? Former spies might see it an easy decision to make, especially if doing so will open more doors for their companies.
This is not idle speculation – the ties of Silicon Valley companies to United States intelligence agencies like NSA have been proven to be very close, to the point that many companies actively aid the spying on their customers. Why should we expect companies founded and/or lead by former members of Unit 8200 to behave any different when it comes to Israeli and US intelligence services?
Tech companies who have been founded by members of Unit 8200:
Adallom, founded by Ami Luttwak, Assaf Rappaport and Roy Reznik. Argus Cyber Security, founded by Ofer Ben-Noon, Yaron Galula and Oron Lavi. AudioCodes Check Point Software Technologies, founder Shlomo Kramer, Marius Nacht and Gil Shwed. CyberArk, founded by Udi Mokady. CybeReason with Lior Div, Yossi Nar and Yonatan Striem-Amit. Ezchip FST Biometrics, founder IDF / IOF Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash. Gilad Hyperwise Security, founders Aviv Gavni and Ben Omelchenko. ICQ Imperwa, co-founder Shlomo Kramer. Leadspace Logz.io with Tomer Levy. Mirabilis Narus, now owned by Boeing. NICE NSO, founder Shalev Hulio. Outbrain Palo Alto Networks, founder Nir Zuk. Radware Waze Wix with co-founder Avishai Abrahami.
Other companies with Unit 8200 members:
Avaya Israel with Gad Gadnir. Blumberg Capital with IDF / IOF Brigadier General Ehud Schneorson. Bio Catch with Lev Kadyshevitch. C. Mer Industries with Nir Lempert. Julius Baer bank with Yariv Nornberg. Sequioa Capital with Gili Raanan.
Companies which had Unit 8200 members in the past:
Apple Israel with Aharon Aharon, now leading Israel Innovation Authority.
PHOTO by Israel’s occupation forces via Nikkei Asian Review.