Archive for July, 2012
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I was watching some footage emerging from Syria, and the violence is still as shocking as it ever was. In one video the body of a man is dragged through the streets, in another, a body turns slowly as it hangs from its neck. The latest footage making its way around is the execution of members of the Barri clan of Aleppo. There isn’t much sympathy over them, judging by the comments being made, as it seems this pro-Assad clan has been accused of murder, rape, and pillaging. Still, there is always something sombre and unnerving about watching a group of men sitting at a wall one moment and then dead the next. I remember the first videos I saw of Assad’s men as they butchered and rampaged their way across the country, arrogant and boastful. One video horrified me, that of a protester whose jaw was blown off and yet who remained lucid until he died - I think he died. Now that I see the shabbiha [Assad's paramilitaries] being lynched by those who were once their victims I feel guilty about feeling guilty. How can I not be when I’m seeing another human being dying so? Even one who might have been so utterly evil? The laws are silent, and Syria is at war; is there anything else one can do but wait until the madness goes away?
When I was young I used to enjoy reading about ancient battles. Alexander the Great conquering Persia, the battles of Marathon and Salamis, the Roman and Islamic conquests, the Crusades - all captured my imagination. But the books didn’t talk about all this horror and savagery, for a young boy it all seemed so clean cut and glorious. As I see the body of a man dragged through the streets in revenge, I wonder whether it was like this when Achilles dragged Hector’s body around Troy, or when Hind ate Hamza’s liver. I never realised that death looked like so much dust and blood.
By URI AVNERY
The rabbi of Safed, a government employee, has decreed that it is strictly forbidden to let apartments to Arabs — including the Arab students at the local medical school.
Twenty other town rabbis — whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers, mostly secular, including Arab citizens — have publicly supported this edict.
A group of Israeli intellectuals lodged a complaint with the attorney general, arguing that this is a case of criminal incitement. The attorney general promised to investigate the matter with all due haste. That was half a year ago. “Due haste” has not yet produced a decision.
The same goes for another group of rabbis, who prohibited employing Goyim.
This week, Israel was in uproar. The turmoil was caused by the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior.
The affair goes back to a book released more than a year ago by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira. The book, called Torat ha-Melekh (“The Teaching of the King”) deals with the killing of Goyim. It says that in peacetime, Goyim should generally not be killed — not because of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” which, according to the book, applies to Jews only, but because of God’s command after the Deluge (Genesis 9:6): “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man.” This applies to all Goyim who fulfill some basic commandments.
However, the situation is totally different in wartime. And according to the rabbis, Israel has been at war since its foundation, and probably will be forever more.
In war, in every place where the presence of a goy endangers a Jew, it is permitted to kill him, even though he be a righteous goy who bears no responsibility for the situation.
What really set off a storm was a passage in the book that says that it is permitted to kill children, when it is clear that once they grow up, they can be “harmful.”
It is customary for a book by a rabbi interpreting Jewish law to bear the endorsement — called haskama (“agreement”) — of other prominent rabbis. This particular masterpiece bore the “haskama” of four prominent rabbis. One of them is Dov Lior.
Rabbi Lior stands out as one of the most extreme rabbis in the West Bank settlements — no mean achievement in a territory that is abundantly stocked with extreme rabbis, most of whom would be called fascist in any other country.
He is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba, the settlement on the fringes of Hebron that cultivates the teachings of Meir Kahane and that produced the mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein.
Mr. Lior is also the chief of a Hesder yeshiva, a religious school affiliated with the army, whose pupils combine their studies with privileged army service.
When the book — now in its third printing — first appeared, there was an uproar. No rabbi protested, though quite a number discounted its religious argumentation. The Orthodox distanced themselves, if only on the ground that it violated the religious rule that forbids “provoking the Goyim.”
Following public demand, the attorney general started a criminal investigation against the author and the four signatories of the “haskama.” They were called in for questioning, and most did appear and protested that they had had no time to read the book.
Mr. Lior, the text of whose “haskama” testified to the fact that he had read the book thoroughly, did not heed repeated summons to appear at the police station. He ignored them openly and contemptuously. This week the police reacted to the insult: They ambushed the rabbi on the “tunnel road” — a road with several tunnels between Jerusalem and Hebron, reserved for Jews — and arrested him. They did not handcuff him and put him in a police car, as they normally would, but replaced his driver with a police officer, who drove him straight to a police station. There he was politely questioned for an hour and set free.
The news of the arrest spread like wildfire throughout the settlements. Hundreds of the “Youth of the Hills” — groups of young settlers who carry out pogroms and spit on the law — gathered at the entrance to Jerusalem, battled with the police and cut the main road to the capital.
But closing roads and parading the released Mr. Lior triumphantly on their shoulders was not the only thing the young fanatics did. They also tried to storm the Supreme Court building. Why this building in particular? That requires some explanation.
The Israeli rightwing, and especially the settlers and their rabbis, have long lists of hate objects. The Supreme Court occupies a place high up, if not at the very top.
Why? The court has not covered itself with glory when dealing with the occupied territories. It has allowed the destruction of many Palestinian homes as retaliation for “terrorist” acts, approved “moderate” torture, assented to the “separation fence,” and generally positioned itself as an arm of the occupation.
But in some cases, the law has not enabled the court to wriggle out of its responsibilities. It has called for the demolition of “outposts” set up on private Palestinian property. It has forbidden “targeted killing” if the person could be arrested without risk, it has decreed that it is unlawful to prevent an Arab citizen from living in a village on state-owned land, and so on.
Each such decision drew a howl of rage from the rightists. But there is a deeper reason for the extreme antagonism.
Unlike modern Christianity, the Jewish religion is not just a matter between man and God, but also a matter between man and man. Religious law encompasses all aspects of public and private life.
The Jewish Halakha, like the Islamic Sharia, regulates every single aspect of life. Whenever Jewish law clashes with Israeli law, which one should prevail? The one enacted by the democratically elected Knesset, which can be changed at any moment if the people want it, or the one handed down by God on Mount Sinai for all time?
Religious fanatics in Israel insist that religious law stands above the secular law, and that the state courts have no jurisdiction over the clerics in matters that concern religion. When the Supreme Court ruled otherwise, the most respected Orthodox rabbi easily mobilized 100,000 protesters in Jerusalem. For years now, religious cabinet ministers, law professors and politicians, as well as their political supporters, have been busy chipping away at the integrity, independence and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
This is the crux of the matter. The attorney general considers a book calling for the killing of innocent children an act of criminal incitement. The rabbis and their supporters consider this an impertinent interference in a learned religious debate. There can be no real compromise between these two views.
For Israelis, this is not just an academic question. The entire religious community, with all its diverse factions, now belongs to the rightist, ultra-nationalist camp (except for pitiful little outposts like Reform and Conservative Jewry, who are the majority among American Jews). Transforming Israel into a Halakha state means castrating the democratic system.
It will also make peace impossible for all time, since according to the rabbis all of the Holy Land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River belongs solely to the Jews, and giving the Goyim even an inch of it is a mortal sin, punishable by death. For this sin, Yitzhak Rabin was executed by the student of a religious university, a former settler.
(Uri Avnery writer is an Israeli peace activist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. This article first appeared in Arab News on July 3, 2011.)
The martyr’s son is crying .. asking his father : why are you crying darling, we talked about it and we said that she’s a martyr and we are happy for martyrs, right?
-Mom got martyred while she was fasting. She didn’t eat before fasting, does that mean that she died hungry? … that’s why i’m sad for her dad.
- Dad: no dear, mommy is in heaven now, eating very delicious food.
the son wiped his tears and lifted his hands to the sky and said:
” God feed her just like how she fed me… May God have mercy on you mom”
There can be no doubt, at least as far as Middle East Policy is concerned, that AIPAC is the Voice of America.
Although I have heard AIPAC pronounced in two distinct ways, one of which is A-PAC, I have chosen to pronounce the acronym with the same initial sound as in the word ‘aisle’. To me, this pronunciation is more appropriate, because the use of the A for America sound is subtly misleading. The organization has nothing to do with A for America, it is all about I for Israel.
In the graphic illustration near the end of this video, had the mathematical relationships been absolutely accurate, either the Orange would have filled the screen or the pea would have been invisible. The discrepancy between the power AIPAC wields, compared to the rest of the American population, is immense, and that power benefits one nation: Israel.
A closer look at how the members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee exercise a grotesquely disproportionate amount of power over the foreign policy of the United States.
While I was checking the final edit of this video, the Israelis gave the world yet another stark reminder that they are not fit to control a collection of bumper cars, let alone a land they have stolen from others, much less an arsenal of over 200 nuclear weapons. Clearly, Israel does not want peace with the Palestinians or anyone else in their region, yet the membership of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, support, aid and abet these criminals in their disregard for the lives of others. They have done their best to suppress the Goldstone Report on the 2008/9 attack on Gaza, and now, no doubt, they will side with Israel in their latest atrocity. I am referring to the attack of May 31st, 2010, on the Gaza Flotilla which was attempting to bring much-needed humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in their beleaguered, fenced-off, Apartheid Prison called The Gaza Strip.
Do these Israelophants, the members of AIPAC, realise just how the rest of the world views them, Israel, and, because of the connections, the United States and its citizens? If they don’t, then I can tell them: With deep suspicion, dismay and an increasing lack of respect, because, it seems, Americans are incapable of running their own country, decently, by electing officials who don’t take bribes or other favours, but who have the interests of their own constituents in mind when they vote on how their taxes should best be spent. And no half-way decent public official would vote to invade another country, in order to steal its oil and other resources, under the pretext of protecting their own security, and Israel’s from thousands of miles away. A majority of the current membership of the United States congress are, in fact, traitors to their own nation, because they have indicated, time and time again, a desire to put the protection of the Apartheid State of Israel ahead of considerations for the safety and security of the realm to which they have been pledged their allegiance: The United States of America.
Treason from Within
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the galleys, heard in the very hall of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor — he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their garment, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation — he works secretly and unknown to undermine the pillars of a city — he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.”
Cicero, 42 B.C.
Because of the uncertainties and ambiguities associated with U.S. aid to Israel, arriving at a precise figure for total direct U.S. aid to Israel probably is not possible. Parts of it are buried in the budgets of other government agencies—mostly the Defense Department—or in a form not easily quantifiable—such as the early disbursement of aid, allowing Israel a direct gain and the U.S. Treasury a direct loss of interest on the unspent money. The figures quoted in the video have been taken from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 2008, pages 10-11; subtitled Congress Watch.
Other references on aid to Israel:
Attack on the Liberty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6ng5bgenmw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqL9q6BnX54&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaCjkdueA5o
Five Dancing Israelis Arrested on 9/11
In keeping with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign promise, the US has withdrawn its troops from Iraq and by the end of 2012 US spending in Iraq will be just five per cent of what it was at its peak in 2008.
In a special two-part series, Fault Lines travels across Iraq to take the pulse of a country and its people after nine years of foreign occupation and nation-building.
Now that US troops have left, how are Iraqis overcoming the legacy of violence and toxic remains of the US-led occupation, and the sectarian war it ignited? Is the country on the brink of irreparable fragmentation?
Correspondent Sebastian Walker first went to Baghdad in June 2003 and spent the next several years reporting un-embedded from Iraq. In the first part of this Fault Lines series, he returns and travels from Basra to Baghdad to find out what kind of future Iraqis are forging for themselves.
A sense of joy in most of Syrian cities overshadowed the death Syrians are living daily, where they were able to go out in demonstrations, which they pledged to continue until the regime is toppled, due to withdrawal of some demilitarization. They went out in 795 demonstrations to renew the revolution’s oath, confirm their demands, and color Syria’s streets with chants of freedom.
Residents of Idlib were determined to continue what our revolution’s martyrs has started so they went out in 150 demonstrations; despite the massacres that were committed in the governorate.
Despite the fierce military attack on Aleppo and the massacres committed in its neighborhoods demonstrators were determined to go out in 125 demonstrations challenging regime’s oppression and violence, followed by Hama with 142 demonstrations despite the heavy military deployment and suffocating security siege in the area.As for Damascus Suburbs, which witnessed several massacres and daily shelling in most cities, demonstrators went out in 75 demonstrations, where they demanding the release of detainees and chanted for the capital Damascus. 60 demonstrations took place in Deir Ezzor, despite shelling and violence witnessed in the governorate over the past week.
As for the capital Damascus, which witnessed unprecedented military escalation since the beginning of the revolution and heavy deployment of regime’s army tanks, demonstrators were determined to go out in 58 different demonstrations. 55 demonstrations were documented in Daraa, which is still under shelling by regime’s army warplanes, and demonstrators chanted for the martyrs and revolution’s detainees. Hassakeh witnessed 50 demonstrations, where demonstrators chanted for unity, followed by Homs and Lattakia with 25 demonstrations each, then Raqqa, which now includes thousands of displaced people, demonstrators went out in 20 demonstrations and confirmed that the revolution will continue until the regime and all its symbols are toppled, then Tartous, which suffered from a suffocating siege, witnessed 7 demonstrations, and finally comes Qunaitra with 3 demonstrations.
Eleventh Meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council
The European Union (EU) warmly welcomes this 11th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council as a demonstration of the significance the EU attaches to its relations with the State of Israel. The EU reiterates the importance of further developing our broad bilateral partnership and looks forward to a comprehensive dialogue and cooperation with our Israeli counterparts. Click here to read the full statement of the European Union. Statement as PDF
PCHRO – Following the Association Council meeting on 24 July 2012 between the European Union (EU) and Israel, it was announced that the EU has agreed upon developing cooperation with Israel by offering it 60 new activities in 15 fields. The EU also declared that it would continue technical discussions with Israel aimed at identifying areas for future cooperation.
As organisations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), we are strongly concerned about the EU’s lack of commitment to human rights in light of what is essentially an intensification of bilateral relations with Israel.
In recent months, the EU has made progress in recognising and condemning Israel’s practices and policies in the OPT which constitute systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We welcomed the 14 May Council Conclusions which expressed “deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible” and waited for words to turn into action from the EU’s side.
The Association Council, the most high-level meeting to take place between the EU and Israel, is, however, a step backwards. Aggravatingly, the Association Council statement comes at a time when Israel is relentless in expanding its illegal settlement enterprise; maintains the continued closure of the Gaza Strip which amounts to collective punishment; continues to revoke residency permits of Palestinians; displaces the Palestinian people, especially those residing in Area C; discriminatory allocates natural resources, such as land and water; as well as continuing the construction of the Annexation Wall.
Indeed, in the past two months alone Israel has issued demolition orders to some 50 structures in Susiya and ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills so that the land can be used for the training of the Israeli military. These are all methods and means of the Israeli Government aimed at fragmenting the OPT, illegally appropriating Palestinian land for the benefit of the settler population and Israel, and diminishing Palestinian presence and control over Palestinian lands. The statement also comes at a time where Israel remains unaffected by the Palestinian prisoners nearing death in Israeli prisons, and where Israel unabatedly resorts to excessive use of administrative detention.
Editor Addition: Ethnic Cleansing Video of 2011 / Cowardly Soldiers
Videos Of Theft Of Palestinian Water
Palestinian Susya has been razed 5 times in 1985, 1991, 1997 and twice in 2001. Since it is classified within Area C of the West Bank, it lies under Israeli military occupation and control. Though they own much of the land, Susya’s 350 residents are denied permits to build homes, schools or clinics and dwell mostly as a result in a collection of shabby tents. This rebuilt village made of tents, cinderblocks and tarps, is under an Israeli court order to be demolished in 2012
No master plan exists for the Palestinian Susya as opposed to the Israeli settlement of Susya, and Palestinians are required to obtain permits from the Israeli Civil Administration.
On November 3 2011, electricity poles connected Umm Faqara to a grid were uprooted by an Israeli demolition team. On the 24 of November, 2011 bulldozers razed what Israeli law defines as illegal constructions: two tents where the Mughnem family dwells on their own land in Susya; another family’s small residence; a guest room of another family and a rabbit pen. A small mosque in the cave village of Umm Faqara, though not illegal, was damaged during the bulldozing. On June 13 an Israelli court issued 6 demolition orders covering houses in most of the Palestinian village of Susya. Other than thousands of square metres of compounds, the orders are expected to include the destruction of a kindergarten, a clinic, and the solar panels that generate the only available electricity for the village.
By agreeing to further develop bilateral relations with Israel, the EU has failed to adhere to its self-commitment to international law, and appropriately implement the recent EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy which emphasized that the “EU is founded on a shared determination to promote peace and stability and to build a world founded on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law” and that these principles are to underpin EU’s external policies. Moreover, individual member states of the European Union are under a legal obligation to respect and ensure respect of the Geneva Conventions. The recent intensification of relations is certainly not based on consideration of seeking conformity with these legal obligations.
If adherence to international law is to be a corner stone of the EU then it must make a link between its actions and its verbal and written condemnations. As such, the EU needs to stress to Israel that until it shows tangible progress in its compliance with international law it will not benefit from further cooperation with the EU, on the basis of or outside the current EU-Israeli Action Plan. Only in the instance that the EU does not allow for Israel to enjoy impunity will Israel be persuaded to comply with all its international legal obligations, including those owed towards the occupied Palestinian people.
As Palestinian human rights organisations, we are deeply disappointed with the EU’s decision to sideline human rights and humanitarian law when it suits the EU and Israel, and thus oppose the EU’s decision to effectively upgrade its relations with Israel. The recent agreement amount to the condoning of Israel’s illegal practices and, by virtue of the acquiescence of the EU, contributes to both their continuation and the deterioration of the human rights situation in the OPT.