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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

IDF General: Israel Behind Coup That Installed Al-Sisi Dictatorship in Egypt

Al-Sisi’s government, widely considered a military dictatorship despite a pale sheen of democracy, has forged increasingly close ties with Israel ever since he came to power in the 2013 coup.

Health Benefits of Za’atar

Za’atar has some truly impressive health benefits, including its ability to improve the immune system, boost skin health, build strong bones, increase circulation, clear out the respiratory tracts, soothe inflammation, boost energy, improve mood, aid memory, and potential to treat chronic diseases.
Za’atar

While many spices are delicious and beneficial for your overall health by themselves, powerful flavor and health conditions can sometimes be maximized when combined. Za’atar is one of the best examples, and this Middle Eastern mix consists of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. There are a number of different varieties, occasionally including marjoram or oregano, rather than thyme. These herbs and spices contain a wealth of powerful nutrients and organic compounds, including thymol, gallic acid, carvacrol, and quercetin. By taking in the best of numerous healthy herbs, this spice mix has been popularized throughout the Middle East and is beginning to spread to other parts of the world.

While zaatar is another name for thyme in some cultures, the spice blend with a slightly different name is used in a number of other ways. It is a popular addition to salads, as well as seasonings for meat and vegetables. The flavor, depending on the particular combination, is often described as toasty, tangy, or nutty. You particularly see it with olive oil and bread, and in dips for vegetables. By combining flavonoids, minerals, and other key nutrients, this spicy seed mixture can do wonders for your overall health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the many health benefits of za’atar.

 

Health benefits of za’atar include:
Relief from Symptoms of Chronic Diseases

Sumac, with its healthy supply of quercetin, acts as an antioxidant protecting the body against free radicals that cause various health issues. Numerous studies have shown this benefit of sumac’s organic components, and as a key ingredient in za’atar, this spice mix can significantly boost your protection from chronic diseases caused by free radicals (Mehmet Hakki Alma et al., 2003).
Clear Respiratory Tracts

There are certain expectorant properties of thyme, particularly when it is brewed in a tea. Thyme can help to clear out the respiratory tracts, causing you to expectorate (a cough) out phlegm and mucus, so this potent spice mix can be added to food when you’re feeling a cold coming on. The immune-boosting abilities of the herbs involved also help to ward off illnesses.
Boost Cognition

There are strong traditional beliefs about the cognitive impact of za’atar, including its possibility of improving memory. People used to sleep with za’atar beneath their pillow, but in reality, it could be due to the circulation-boosting powers of za’atar, as well as the rich mineral content that can boost brain power and stimulate neural activity.
Soothe Inflammation

You can make za’atar into a paste or a salve, much as you would to spread on bread, but instead put it on inflamed areas of the skin, such as bug bites and aching joints. When the spice is consumed, it can have a similar anti-inflammatory effect on other parts of the body, particularly if you suffer from arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory conditions in the stomach or respiratory system.
Increase Energy

The high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids found in this spice mix make it a powerful energy booster that can get your metabolism moving. Furthermore, it can help you get more restful sleep, due to the magnesium found in the mix, helping you feel more energized and ready to face your day each morning.
Improve Mood

Studies and traditional evidence have linked za’atar with improved mood and decreased rates of depression. This use has been popular for generations in the Middle East. The phenol that comes from thyme and oregano may have direct mood-boosting effects by impacting the hormones being released and regulated throughout the body. Carvacrol has been directly linked to increased energy and cognitive function as well.
Strengthen Bones

One thing that these herbs all have in common is minerals, and between the high concentration of iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium, za’atar can have a major impact on bone mineral density. Adding this spice mix to your regular diet can help you ward off osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions as you age.
Circulatory Effects

As mentioned earlier, za’atar can help improve the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body thanks to its impressive iron content. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which transports red blood cells throughout the body, ensuring that all organ systems get the oxygen they need.
Immune System Aid

Certain organic compounds found in za’atar spice mix have anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties, making this an all-around powerhouse for your immune system. This includes internal and external applications, keeping your gut, skin, respiratory, and nervous systems functioning at a high, healthy level.

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Singing in Europe’s last Middle Eastern colony

Why is Israel part of the Eurovision song contest?
by Mariam Barghouti
21 Mar 2019

Presenters Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub show the card of Israel during the Eurovision Semi-Final allocation draw, in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel on January 28, 2019 [Corinna Kern/Reuters]

see article here

Apocalyptic Scenario Beginning In Syria

With with 77 Killed; Over 150K Displaced
REPORTfrom Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations Published on 04 May 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Geneva, Switzerland – In the past 72 hours there has been a surge in airstrikes, barrel bomb attacks and artillery strikes in Idlib and Hama, Syria. At least 77 civilians have been killed and over 150,000 IDPs displaced in the past seven days. Most cities in Northern Hama are almost completely evacuated. The areas are already over populated and lack in camps and housing for the newly displaced, leaving large numbers with no shelter, exposed to the elements. Five medical facilities and five schools were also bombed and put out of service this week. Many hospitals and schools have suspended operations. There are over 3.5 million people in Northwestern Syria including 350,000 people living in refugee camps. The region already suffers from severe shortages in healthcare, food, shelter and sanitation and cannot withstand further destabilization.

The five medical facilities that were targeted and put out of service include: Al Latamna Hospital, Qalaat Al-Madiq Hospital, Al Habeet Primary Health Care Center, Qastoon Primary Health Care Center, and the Surgical Unit in Kafr Naboodha. No casualties were reported from these attacks and one nurse was injured in the Kafr Naboodha attack. Earlier today a Syrian Civil Defense Worker (White Helmet) was killed as he was rescuing people in an attack. The former administration officer of Sham Hospital, a prominent actor in the Hama Health Directorate, and current accountant at the Al-Madiq Hospital, was killed as a missile struck his car near Al Madiq hospital.

“If these attacks are allowed to continue, we will witness the apocalypse in Syria. It will be like nothing we have seen in the past 7 years of war. Specifically, the genocide of thousands of civilians and the displacement of millions to surrounding countries. The battle of Idlib and the refugee crisis it will create will threaten global peace and security. The UN Security council, mandated with upholding global peace and security, along with world at large, must take proactive steps to ensure the battle of Idlib is deescalated and resolved peacefully immediately. Right now, hundreds of thousands of people are being pushed into smaller and smaller areas and will inevitably be slaughtered. We know how this story plays out; the bombing of schools and hospital, indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks, chemical weapon attacks and scores of children brutally disfigured and killed. WE CANNOT LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN!” Said Dr. Hussam Al Fakir, Chairman of UOSSM International

In the strongest terms, UOSSM urges all parties to the conflict to find a peaceful resolution. We urge the UN Security Council and the international community to implement UNSC resolution 2286 for the protection of medical facilities and aid workers. We urge the international community to release emergency humanitarian funding for medical aid, shelter, food, water and sanitation.

Media inquiries and interviews please contact :

Name: Avi D’Souza
Director Of Communications, UOSSM Intl.
Phone: (647) 528-5029
Email: press@uossm.org

About UOSSM :
UOSSM (Union des Organisations de Secours et Soins Médicaux) provides free medical aid to the people of Syria regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or political affiliation. UOSSM international, founded by Syrian Doctors around the world, started in 2012 and operates 12 major hospitals and supports 120 clinics inside Syria. UOSSM has performed over 1,000,000 medical treatments inside Syria since inception.

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Steve Bannon

Opinion

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Tuesday, March 26, 2019 Domenico Stinellis,AP

Steve Bannon‘s Fascist Far Right Christian Army Is Marching on Liberal Europe – and on the Pope
Bannon thinks he’s Europe’s savior. He’s also a narcissist, spinmeister and provocateur. But we shouldn’t dismiss his coalition-building efforts to radicalize Europe, empower the far right and declare holy war on the Vatican

see article here

Israel Is Voting Apartheid Gideon Levy


A man walks past electoral campaign posters in Tel Aviv on April 3, 2019.JACK GUEZ / AFP

There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid. This has no precedent in any democracy. A hundred out of 120 legislators, an absolute of absolute majorities, one that supports maintaining the current situation, which is apartheid.
With such a majority, it will be possible in the next Knesset to officially declare Israel an apartheid state. With such support for apartheid and considering the durability of the occupation, no propaganda will be able to refute the simple truth: Nearly all Israelis want the apartheid to continue. In the height of chutzpah, they call this democracy, even though more than 4 million people who live alongside them and under their control have no right to vote in the election.
Of course, no one is talking about this, but in no other regime around the world is there one community next to another where the residents of one, referred to as a West Bank settlement, have the right to vote, while the residents of the other, a Palestinian village, don’t. This is apartheid in all its splendor, whose existence nearly all the country’s Jewish citizens want to continue.

read on here

Democracy Now

Daily Show Mon, Mar 04, 2019

 

https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2019/3/4

What Gaza Wants

Israel/Palestine Haidar Eid on November 9, 2018 6 Comments

Palestinian protesters react to tear gas during clashes with Israeli forces during the Great March of Return in the southern Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)



Four years after the Israeli Occupation Forces perpetrated a massacre upon the population of Gaza, the third in 5 years, Apartheid Israel insists on committing more crimes by targeting civilians protesting peacefully every Friday demanding their internationally-sanctioned right of return to the towns and villages from which they were ethnically cleansed back in 1948. The latest round of Israeli war crimes has resulted in a new massacre ; since March 30th, when the first of a series of marches took place at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, more than 220 innocent civilians, including 34 children and 5 women, have been murdered brutally as they demonstrated non-violently. More than 2000 have been injured, some very critically. (Statistics taken from Gaza Ministry if Health)

As we, Palestinians of Gaza, embark on our long walk to freedom, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer rely on governments; instead, we request that the citizens of the world oppose these ongoing deadly crimes. The failure of the United Nations and its numerous organizations to condemn such crimes proves their complicity. We have also come to the conclusion that only civil society is able to mobilize to demand the implementation of international law and put an end to Israel’s unprecedented impunity. Our inspiration is the anti-apartheid movement. The intervention of civil society was effective in the late 1980s against the apartheid regime of White South Africa. Nelson Mandela, before his eminent death, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst other anti-apartheid activists, did not not only describe Israel’s oppressive and violent control of Palestinians as Apartheid, they also joined this call for the world’s civil society to intervene again.

In fact, we expect people of conscience and civil society organizations to put pressure on their governments until Israel is forced to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. It did work last century; without the intervention of the international community which was effective against apartheid in South Africa, Israel will continue its war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We need to be more specific about our demands. We want civil society organizations worldwide to intensify the anti-Israel sanctions campaign to compel Israel to end to its aggression.

It has become crystal clear that the international conspiracy of silence towards the incremental genocide taking place against the 2 million civilians in Gaza indicates complicity in these war crimes.

It is high-time that the international community demand that the rogue State of Israel, a state that has violated every single international law one can think of, end its medieval siege of Gaza and compensate for the destruction of life and infrastructure that it has visited upon the Palestinian people. But this should also come within a package of demands to be made by all Palestine solidarity groups and all international civil society organizations that still believe in the rule of law and basic human rights:

An end to the siege that has been imposed on the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip since 2006 for voting against the fictional two-state solution and the Oslo Accords;
The protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law such as The Fourth Geneva Convention;
That Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip be provided with material support to cope with the immense hardship that they are experiencing at the hands of Israeli Occupation Forces;
Immediate reparations and compensation for all destruction carried out by the IOF in the Gaza Strip;
Holding Israeli generals and leaders accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the civilians of Gaza;
And

An end to occupation, Apartheid, and other war crimes committed by Israel.
Why is that too much to ask? Were the anti-apartheid and Civil Rights movements too demanding for calling for an end to all forms of racism, institutional and otherwise ? And was the international community wrong to heed their calls?

source

Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression

www.washingtonpost.com


Jamal Khashoggi (Illustration by Alex Fine for The Washington Post)

A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor

I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “not free.”

As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.

The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries. They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information. These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

There are a few oases that continue to embody the spirit of the Arab Spring. Qatar’s government continues to support international news coverage, in contrast to its neighbors’ efforts to uphold the control of information to support the “old Arab order.” Even in Tunisia and Kuwait, where the press is considered at least “partly free,” the media focuses on domestic issues but not issues faced by the greater Arab world. They are hesitant to provide a platform for journalists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. Even Lebanon, the Arab world’s crown jewel when it comes to press freedom, has fallen victim to the polarization and influence of pro-Iran Hezbollah.

The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years into a critical institution, played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom. Arabs need something similar. In 1967, the New York Times and The Post took joint ownership of the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which went on to become a platform for voices from around the world.

My publication, The Post, has taken the initiative to translate many of my pieces and publish them in Arabic. For that, I am grateful. Arabs need to read in their own language so they can understand and discuss the various aspects and complications of democracy in the United States and the West. If an Egyptian reads an article exposing the actual cost of a construction project in Washington, then he or she would be able to better understand the implications of similar projects in his or her community.

The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

Read Jamal Khashoggi’s columns for The Washington Post

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