Europe is following Obama – washing its hands of Palestine and why

By Alan Hart           ©             (Source / 21.02.2016)


My headline is a response to recent comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference in Berlin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the decision of the Cameron government in the UK to make boycotting goods from “Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank” by publicly-funded bodies including local councils and universities a criminal offence.

Much to the delight of Netanyahu who has rejected a French initiative to convene a regional conference to try to get a peace process going, Merkel said,“Now is certainly not the time to make really comprehensive progress.”

She added:

“The European Union, and Germany as a member state, is very concerned aboutseeing things realistically. (My emphasis added). We know the threat of terrorism that Israel has to endure. We believe, on the other hand, that we have to advance a process of peaceful coexistence, and this, according to our opinion, is ultimately built on a two-state solution.”

In my view Merkel’s words were, to say the least, disingenuous. (My dictionary definition of that term is “not frank or open; merely posing as being frank or open; crafty, devious.”)

If Merkel and all other European leaders and their governments had any interest in acknowledging the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine they would refrain from describing the attacks by individual Palestinians on Israeli Jews over recent months as terrorism.

To qualify as an act of terrorism an attack has to be motivated/driven by the need and determination to achieve a political goal. In the case of the Palestinians that would be ending Israel’s occupation and securing an acceptable amount of justice.

That has not been the motivation or drive of any of the Palestinians who have attacked and sometimes killed Israeli Jews in recent months. The attacks were and still are motivated/driven by total despair – the abandonment by individuals of all hope for an end to Israel’s on-going and ever-expanding colonization of the occupied West Bank and all it means of terms of the theft of more and more Palestinian land and water and the destruction of more and more Palestinian homes.

In other words, the individual Palestinian attacks on Israeli Jews over recent months are best (most accurately) described as understandable responses to Israel’s brutal repression.

My other reason for describing Merkel’s words as disingenuous is that she knows, as all other European leaders and their governments know, that the two-state solution is dead, killed by Israel’s on-going colonization of the occupied west Bank.

All Western leaders also know that even if they summoned up the will to use the leverage they have to try to cause Israel to agree to bring the concept of a two-state solution back to life as the way to peace, there could never be such a solution to the conflict because no Israeli government is ever going to initiate a Jewish civil war to make the space for a viable Palestinian mini state.

The problem for all European leaders and the American president (Obama at present and whoever succeeds him after the November election) is that they can’t acknowledge that the two-state solution is dead because to do so would leave them with only two options.

One would be to go for a confrontation with Zionism and its monster child and use all of their leverage to try to bring about a one-state solution with equal political, other civil and human rights for all. (Yes, that would mean the de-Zionization of Palestine)

The other would be to say (as Obama has said more than once) that they can’t want peace more than the parties themselves; and that, of course, would be the cover for indicating without saying so that they were washing their hands of Palestine and leaving the fate of its Arabs to be determined by Zionism.

On the subject of the Cameron government’s decision to make boycotting goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank by publicly-funded bodies a criminal offence, I agree with a comment made by Glenn Greenwald in a recent article. Cameron was, he wrote, playing his part in a very co-ordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters to destroy the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement. (In Jerusalem on 15 February, at the annual conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, retired Israeli Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser described BDS as “anti-Semitism” and “terrorism.” I imagine he’s deluded enough to regard all and any criticism of Israel’s policies and actions as both).

Hillary Clinton, still it seems the most likely next president of America, has been advancing this Zionist campaign to de-legitimize and outlaw the BDS movement for many months.

She and others who are dancing to Zionism’s tune are not concerned that they are, as Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat put it in a PLO statement, “perpetuating injustice and empowering occupation.”

Now back to Merkel’s statement that the European Union, and Germany as a member state, is “very concerned aboutseeing things realistically.”

There is actually a great and little known truth hidden behind those words.

It is to do with the real reason why Israel possesses nuclear weapons.

As I explain in detail in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, those Israeli leaders who insisted that anything should be done to enable their state to possess and develop nuclear weapons never believed they were necessary as a part of Israel’s defense against the Arabs. (In fact Ariel Sharon was the leader of those who were opposed to Israel acquiring nuclear weapons. Behind closed doors he argued that if Israel had them, the Arabs at some point would also acquire them. And if that happened, he said, Israel’s ability to impose its will on the Arabs with conventional/non-nuclear weapons would be seriously compromised).

The possession of nuclear weapons is Zionism’s ultimate blackmail card.

That was indicated to me in 1969 by Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed warlord. He assumed that a day would come when just about the whole world, governments as well as peoples, was fed up with Israel and would subject it to immense and possibly irresistible pressure to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians.

At a point I said to Dayan, “What you seem to be saying is that if ever such a day comes, Israel’s leaders will say to the world, ‘Don’t push us too far or we’ll use these things.’”

Dayan gave me a big smile and replied, “You’re understanding me.”

(Three days before Israel went to war in June 1967 I asked him what he thought the coming days would bring. He smiled, made a gesture with a finger to illustrate what he was about to say, then, directly to the camera, he said, “The desert is beckoning.” That told me Israel was about to strike. In a report to ITN on the evening of Sunday 4 June I speculated that Israel would go to war the following morning. It did. And that’s why I had no problem believing what Dayan indicated to me in 1969).

The conclusion I draw from everything I have learned from nearly half a century of engagement in various capacities with the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel is that there are two main reasons for the refusal of the major Western powers to confront Zionism in order to provide the Palestinians with an acceptable amount of justice..

One is the influence (declining a little but still awesome) that the Zionist lobby in all of its manifestations has in the corridors of power together with unlimited funds to buy politicians.

The other is fear that if pushed further than they were prepared to go, Israel’s leaders would press a nuclear button or two and more if needed.

This fear is no doubt reinforced in the minds of those Western leaders who are aware of what Prime Minister Golda Meir once said to me in an interview for the BBC’s Panorama programme. As readers of my book and one or two of my blog posts over the years know, she said that in a doomsday situation “Israel would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.”

To those who are clinging to the hope that Europe will take the lead in pressing Israel to be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept I say – It won’t happen.

Israeli Soldiers Demolish A School Near Jerusalem

Several Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the Abu an-Nawwar Bedouin community, east of occupied Jerusalem, and demolished a small school for children.

Vernietiging school

The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that at least 30 military vehicles, carrying dozens of soldiers, invaded the community, and demolished the six-room school after completely confiscating all of its properties.

WAFA added that the school was built after all of its costs were donated by the French government.

It was the only school in the Bedouin community, and provided education to students in the first and second grades.

Resident Abu Emad al-Jahalin said the area is frequently targeted by Israel, since the government is attempting to remove all Palestinian communities from the area, as part of the E1 project that aims at completely surrounding occupied Jerusalem with a chain of colonies.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

Dismantled Terrorist Cell Planned to Attack Morocco Mall OCP Headquarters

(MENAFN – Morocco World News) The terrorist cell dismantled Thursday planned to attack sensitive locations to undermine the national economy a source close to the investigation said Saturday according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).The targets included the “Morocco Mall” shopping center in Casablanca and the headquarters of the Cherifien Office of Phosphates (OCP) and the Moroccan Office of Tobacco also in Casablanca.These sites were among a series of targets to be attacked by the terrorists “using firearms and bomb attacks prior to the establishment of a governorate that swears allegiance to the Islamic state’ according to the same source.The terrorist cell also reportedly intended to carry out terrorist attacks against the Moroccan tourism industry including hotel establishments such as “Sofitel” and “Al Madina” in Essaouira. Its 10 members planned to murder Western tourists in the city to assassinate high public civil and military officials to tack military barracks especially in Meknes and Marrakech to seize firearms as well as attack military units deployed at the Moroccan-Algerian border and police officers to take their weapons.A minor arrested in the operation was reported to have been recruited and indoctrinated by the leader of the terrorist cell to whom he had sworn allegiance and to car bomb a sensitive site according to the same source.The minor who was apparently determined to die as a “martyr” was planning to infiltrate Parliament wearing an explosive belt to carry out a suicide attack.The cell members had already identified a site in southern Morocco to be used as a training camp.The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) under the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (S & T Branch) dismantled the 10-member terrorist cell on Thursday and seized weapons and ammunition. The members of this cell which included a French national were active in Essaouira Meknes and Sidi Kacem.


(Source / 21.02.2016)

Saudi military base captured by Yemeni forces

A Yemeni holds models of rockets during a rally in the capital Sana'a on June 14, 2015, over the military aggression by Saudi Arabia against the impoverished country. (AFP Photo)

A Yemeni holds models of rockets during a rally in the capital Sana’a on June 14, 2015, over the military aggression by Saudi Arabia against the impoverished country

Yemeni army forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, have gained control of a military base in Saudi Arabia’s Najran Province.

Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported that as part of the retaliatory campaign for relentless Saudi military attacks against the impoverished nation, Yemeni forces on Sunday managed to seize control of Nahuqeh military base.

The report said the Yemeni forces’ attack on the base started with rocket fire and continued with a ground offensive, forcing the Saudi troops to flee.

Yemeni forces destroyed one military vehicle and an observation tower in this attack. They also seized a huge cache of munitions in the operation.

Al-Masirah also reported a separate retaliatory rocket attack by Yemeni forces on Sunday in the city of Rabu’eh in Asir Province, destroying two Saudi military vehicles and an ammunition depot.

File picture shows Saudi jet fighters

Meanwhile, Saudi warplanes bombarded Qafr region in the northwestern Saddah Province six times on Sunday, killing 30 people, including women and children, according to al-Masirah.

Al-Masirah added that Yemeni authorities expect the death toll from these deadly bombings to increase.

Yemen’s official Saba Net news agency reported that six Yemenis had been killed in a Saudi bombing attack in Bani Zabia region in Sana’a Province. The six dead were reportedly civilians riding in a car.

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March last year. The Saudi military strikes were launched in a failed effort to undermine the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and bring the former fugitive president back to power.

More than 8,300 people, among them 2,236 children, have been killed and 16,015 others injured since the start of the attacks. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

Commercial strike in al-Khalil in solidarity with al-Qeiq

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– A commercial strike paralyzed al-Khalil’s commercial sector on Sunday in solidarity with journalist Mohammed al-Qeiq who has been on hunger strike in Israeli captivity for three months. Political forces in the province called for the strike via loudspeakers that were held over vehicles touring the streets of the province with photos of al-Qeiq attached to them. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that shopkeepers were absolutely committed to the strike, closing their doors and hanging photos of al-Qeiq along with the phrase “closed in solidarity with the captive hero Mohammed al-Qeiq”.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

More than 450 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails

‘A drunk Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian, Israeli army justifies the crime, claiming stabbing attempts and the Israeli soldier goes unpunished,’ a West Bank Palestinian resident said.

More than 450 Palestinian minors currently inside the Israeli prisoners are enduring dire conditions, NGO said on Sunday.

Israeli occupation does not allow parents or relatives of Palestinian children in custody to be present during the investigation. “This is opposed by the international law,” spokesman of the NGO said

Days of Palestine, West Bank -More than 450 Palestinian minors currently inside the Israeli prisoners are enduring dire conditions, NGO said on Sunday.

The Palestinian Centre for Prisoners’ Studies said that the Israeli occupation forces arrested today morning a 14-year old Palestinian boy and a 16-year old Palestinian girl in the occupied West Bank.

Both of the two minors were beaten before they were arrested and then they were taken to investigation centres.

According to the Israeli media, the two Palestinian minors were arrested before they had attempted to carry out stabbing attacks against Israeli soldiers.

However, Palestinian sources denied the Israeli allegations and said that the two were obliged to pass through Israeli checkpoints in order to go to their schools.

“Like other sentence incidents,” Hani al-Najjar from Nablus told Days of Palestine, “the Palestinian boys are obliged to pass through Israeli checkpoints. Sometimes, a drunk Israeli soldier opens fire at Palestinians without knowing what is he doing.”

Al-Najjar continued: “Then, the Israeli army justifies his crime, claiming stabbing attempts and the soldiers goes unpunished.”

Israeli occupation does not allow parents or relatives of Palestinian children in custody to be present during the investigation. “This is opposed by the international law,” spokesman of the NGO said.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

12 year old Palestinian girl sentenced to 4 months in occupation prisons

The Israeli court at Ofer prison had on Thursday sentenced the 12-year-old Palestinian girl Dima al-Wawi to four months and a half in prison and an eight-thousand-shekel fine.

Al-Wawi, a 7th grader from the West Bank town of Halhoul, near Hebron, was arrested on February 9 while on her way to school wearing her school uniform. She currently is the youngest Palestinian in Israeli prisons.

The Israeli occupation charged the 12-year-old Al-Wawi with wielding a knife at armed guards in an attempted anti-occupation attack.

Al-Wawi showed up in court wearing the same school uniform she had on the day of her arrest. Her family asserted that they were prevented from visiting their child or bringing her new clothes, despite the cold weather and harsh conditions in Israeli detention centers.

Family members also stated that they have been prevented from speaking to their daughter before or even during trial, confirming that Dima was interrogated without the presence of a parent or a lawyer.

Using coercion or torture to obtain confessions drafted in Hebrew, a language most Palestinian children do not understand, is commonly practiced against Palestinian minors who are prosecuted by the occupation’s military courts.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

Israeli forces execute Palestinian teen in West Bank

All Palestinians in West Bank have to cross Israeli checkpoint to move from one place to another and this puts their lives at stake

Israeli occupation forces executed on Sunday morning Palestinian teen near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Conformed and credible eyewitnesses reiterated to Days of Palestine that the boy did not have a knife as the Israeli sources reported

Days of Palestine, West Bank -Israeli occupation forces executed on Sunday morning Palestinian teen near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The Palestinian, who was identified as Qusai abul-Rub, 17, was heading to his school, passing through the Israeli military checkpoint near the city of Nablus.

When he arrived in Baitout Roundabout, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire at him, seriously wounding him. Later on, he succumbed to his wounds.

An eyewitness said: “Unfortunately, the boy had to pass through this Israeli military checkpoint to reach his school. While he was approaching the checkpoint, an Israeli soldier shouted at him. It seems that the boy did not hear the Israeli soldier, who immediately shot him.”

Israeli occupation media reported Israeli army officials saying that the Israeli soldiers undermined a stabbing attack a Palestinian ‘terrorist’ planned to carry it out.

However, conformed and credible eyewitnesses reiterated to Days of Palestine that the boy did not have a knife as the Israeli sources reported.

“The only thing that the boy was carrying was his school bag,” Lo’ai Qassim, an eyewitness from Nablus told Days of Palestine. “He even did not make any suspicious move that implies he would have planned to carry out an attack.”

Another eyewitness preferred to remain anonymous supposed that the Palestinian teen had a knife, “a very and heavily armed Israeli soldiers could have shot him in the hand or the leg while he was very far from them and they were hiding behind concrete blocks?”

(Source / 21.02.2016)

Israel razes newly built kindergarten in Bedouin village

Destruction of French-built school aims to pressure local inhabitants to move out of the area

Israeli military bulldozers razed a kindergarten in occupied East Jerusalem

Ramallah: Israeli military bulldozers tore down the only kindergarten in Arab Al Jahalin Bedouin village (Abu Nawar area), east of occupied East Jerusalem, on Sunday.

According to Abu Emad Al Jahalin, the community leader and head of the council of Al Jahalin Bedouin village, the demolition was carried out by hundreds of Israeli occupation forces just a week after the school was opened.

“This is the only educational facility that operates within our community and it was constructed and financed by the French government,” he told Gulf News. “The kindergarten, which accommodates 60 of only grade I and II students, does not pose any kind of threat to the Israeli regime, which shockingly and without a prior notice, demolished the facility. Our little ones must now travel daily to other neighbourhoods like Al Ezareyah or Abu Dis to attend schools.”

Hundreds of Bedouin students travel daily to schools in different areas of the holy city and their families have long been anxious about the safety of their little ones who are put through the daily hardship. The village council sought to address the suffering of pupils who are just six or seven year old when France agreed to fund a caravan school within the community. “This is the only educational facility within our community and village and had been constructed to spare the little ones the daily suffering,” Al Jahalin said.

Israeli occupation forces, who raided the village early in the morning in large numbers, dismantled the school’s caravan classes and clinic, loaded them on to military trucks and took them away.

Al Jahalin said the Israeli occupation forces seized everything in the school including chairs and even the pupils’ files and documents as a punitive measure, leaving the Bedouin families unable to transfer their children to other schools.

The Arab Al Jahalin tribe sticks to a Bedouin lifestyle, herding livestock for a living, since the tribe abandoned agriculture after the Israeli regime confiscated most of their land, leaving the tribe just a tiny plot of land next to the Ma’ale Adumim colony block.

“The Israeli regime is putting massive pressure on the tribe to move out of the area and relocate the local inhabitants in a different site,” said Al Jahalin.

“Only after the demolition did the Israeli occupation forces hand the village council a demolition order citing the lack of a building licence [for the school],” he added.

Arab Al Jahalin village is located in Area C, where Israel exerts complete control on the lives of local inhabitants.

Arab Al Jahalin village has vowed to take the issue of the caravan kindergarten to the Israeli Higher Court of Justice and sue the Israeli occupation forces for the unjustified demolition and to explain its actions to the donor states.

(Source / 21.02.2016)

A test of American democracy…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

America’s election is in full swing. For those who are unfamiliar with what appears to be a perplexing democratic exercise, it is important to remember that this is an internal party election phase. Republicans and Democrats hold their own state primaries (elections) to choose delegates for each party’s national convention, held usually in July or early August.

Primaries take place between February and June of the election year. The national presidential election is conducted on Tuesday after the first Monday in the following November.

In this cycle, the Democratic side has two well-known and long-serving politicians. On the Republican side it is a loud hodgepodge basket of candidates led by copycats pandering to the hardcore extreme right wing of the party.

The top three Republican candidates are: a businessman/reality TV show personality Donald Trump, senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Cruz’s father and Rubio’s parents were Cuban immigrants.

The scions of immigrant parents got into heated exchange in Spanish in last Republican’s debate where each tried to outdo Trump by promising to shut the door that granted refuge to their parents.

For better or worse, and in the absence of an alternative option, Trump is poised to win the Republican nomination. Rubio and Cruz are miniature ideological copies of Trump and vying for the same angry hordes.

Republican debates have become TV entertainment episodes. Trump is the lead chorus’ star and the cheerleader. The party’s voters are attracted to political entertainment. It is reminiscent of the time when John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate in 2012.

Large enthusiastic crowds turned out to be entertained by her cheeky criticism of Obama. In her footsteps, Trump too is having large turnouts listening to his caustic attacks against Muslims, “Mexicans rapists” and to advocate the return to torture.

Like a professional comedian who gets his clue from a laughing audience, Trump gets his from ruckus cheers approving his racist rants.

Trump is extremely self-absorbed. For example he reckoned his latest win in New Hampshire because “(voters) like me a lot.” He lavishes himself with attributes of greatness, even when addressing his failures.

Explaining his four corporate bankruptcies, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009, he said, “I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing. I did a very good job.”

He showers his entertainment seeking supporters with talks but little substance. “You’re going to love it,” or that he would be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

He speaks adult gibberish to his boisterous crowd, like promising “phenomenal” health care system and “so many victories … it’s gonna be coming out of your ears.”

He pledged to build a free and “Far better, far higher” Mexican-paid wall to stop “killers” and “rapists” invader coming across the southern borders. His example was the Israeli separation wall paid for by US taxpayers.

Trump has candy for every occasion. Even when a train chugged down the tracks near where he was speaking in Iowa, he diverted from his speech saying, “that train is going to be moving a hell of a lot faster.”

Trump, the businessman is accustomed to saying and promising anything to conclude a deal. But voters must realise that running for the office of the president of the most powerful nation is not a business where bankruptcy is an option.

It is highly unlikely that Trump could hold his feet against any opposition candidate in national election. It would be, however, premature to dismiss him.

Empirical experience shows that democracy has a fatal flaw when voters flock behind a charismatic demagogue who can skilfully exploit people’s fear, insecurity and anger.

By exploiting the same, the democratic experiment has brought us in past and present the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, George W Bush and Benjamin Netanyahu.
* Mr Kanj ( writes regualr newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.