Archive for the ‘Zionism’ Category

20.000 - 30.000 civils sont toujours pris au piège à l'intérieur du camp.   #SaveYarmoukCamp  Les souffrances continuent sans répit dans le camp de réfugiés de Yarmouk.

20.000 – 30.000 civils sont toujours pris au piège à l’intérieur du camp.
#SaveYarmoukCamp
Les souffrances continuent sans répit dans le camp de réfugiés de Yarmouk.

Wesam est un jeune palestinien qui milite au sein de “JAFRA”, une organisation communautaire qui aide la population de Yarmouk, en Syrie. Il a très gentillement accepté de répondre à nos questions, pour le public italien, mais pas seulement celui destiné à la Péninsule, puisqu’aussi bien Wesam aurait pu s’exprimer en anglais si son interviewer n’avait pas été arabophone. Cet entretien est la traduction anglaise de la version italienne tirée de l’arabe d’origine. (Interview & traduction italienne de Fouad Rouieha, traduction anglaise de Mary Rizzo, traduction française de Eric Lamy). 

Commençons par décrire Yarmouk.

Le camp de réfugiés de Yarmouk est situé au sud de Damas. Il s’étend sur plus de sept kilomètres carrés, juste à côté des districts du centre, tel celui de Midan Zahir. Pour faire court, le camp fait partie du tissu urbain de Damas. Avant le début de la révolte, il comptait 700.000 âmes, dont 220.000 palestiniens d’origine, le reste étant des syriens. Le camp de Yarmouk fut établi en 1957 : la majorité des palestiniens qui y vivent sont des fils de réfugiés de 48, principalement originaires du nord de la Palestine auxquels s’ajoutèrent ceux qui vinrent de Jordanie en 67 et 70. Avant la révolution en Syrie, Yarmouk était une zone économique florissante, considérée comme la capitale de la diaspora palestinienne. Il s’y tenait un marché considérable, le commerce y prospérait. Une véritable ferveur pour les questions sociales et politiques y prévalait, sans oublier ce dynamisme culturel qui faisait de Yarmouk le centre culturel de Damas, le lieu où il se passait quelque chose, où des festivals étaient organisés. Un grand nombre d’artistes célèbres sont originaires de Yarmouk. Pareil à d’autres quartiers, mais plus particulièrement animé, les rues étaient peuplées de boutiques et de restaurants que fréquentaient tous les damascènes. Le weekend, ou pendant les congés, les rues étaient si populeuses qu’on avait du mal à y circuler ; c’était un quartier très peuplé mais également réputé pour la sécurité qu’il offrait.

Vous parlez de l’existence d’un activisme politique, mais être militant, en Syrie, était complètement tabou à cause de la surveillance policière et de la répression toujours possible. Était-ce différent pour les palestiniens ?

J’ai mentionné l’activisme politique en rapport avec la Cause Palestinienne, qui n’avait pas de lien avec la situation syrienne. Yarmouk était une des bases pour les factions palestiniennes : le Front Populaire, le Hamas, le Front Populaire-Commandement Général, le Jihad Islamique, le Fatah… l’activité politique autorisée impliquait le camp de Yarmouk et la Palestine, mais rien qui pût se rapporter directement à la Syrie. Les syriens vivant à l’extérieur du camp assistaient à nos discussions, mais tant qu’il n’était question que de Palestine, tant que la politique syrienne n’était pas évoquée, il n’y avait aucun problème.

Une rue de Yarmouk.

Une rue de Yarmouk.

Parlez-nous de la cohabitation entre syriens et palestiniens-syriens. Peut-on parler d’intégration réussie ou, au contraire, a-t-on assisté à la création d’une sorte de ghetto ?

Entre nous, personne ne faisait de différence. À Yarmouk, nous avons vécu ensemble pendant 50 à 60 ans. Les mariages mixtes sont monnaie courante et nous sommes tous mélangés. Il faut dire que parfois une même famille est partagée entre les deux nations (la Palestine du Nord et la Syrie méridionale n’étant pas séparées à l’époque qui a précédé l’exil palestinien ; des familles et des clans étaient établis de chaque côté de la frontière. Il n’y a pas de différence entre syriens, palestiniens, libanais et jordaniens car des relations d’amitié et de parenté ont toujours existé.

On dit qu’au début de la révolution les palestiniens-syriens du camp ont tenté de se démarquer du conflit.

Non, nous n’avons pas tenté de nous en affranchir : il y a eu un débat considérable pour déterminer si le camp devait s’investir dans la confrontation. Une partie d’entre nous pensait que les militants de Yarmouk qui voulaient se joindre à la révolution devaient s’engager en dehors du camp, sans l’impliquer. Nous savions que si Yarmouk était visé par des représailles, elles seraient extrêmement violentes : c’est malheureusement ce qui est arrivé. Ensuite, l’idée à circulé selon laquelle Yarmouk pourrait être un lieu de repli sûr pour les syriens déplacés, pour les blessés, afin de leur permettre d’accéder aux soins médicaux et au ravitaillement. Au cours des deux premières années, Yarmouk à rempli ce rôle. Quand les affrontements ont éclaté dans les zones de Al Hajar Aswad ou de Tadamon, Yarmouk était un centre de distribution de produits médicaux et d’entraide. Nous accueillions les réfugiés. Avant eux, nous avions déjà recueilli les réfugiés de Homs : il y avait là tant de familles ! Pour eux, nous avons ouverts des refuges, profitant des écoles de l’UNRWA (agence de Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés Palestiniens, n.d.l.t.) et de celles de l’état. C’était des refuges protégés pour ces gens où ils furent accueillis, nourris et logés. Lorsque le Commandement Général à incité certains d’entre nous à prendre les armes contre l’Armée Syrienne Libre, Yarmouk a été directement impliqué dans les combats : l’ASL est entrée dans le camp et il devint, comme les autres districts de Damas, la cible du régime syrien.

On nous a rapporté des abus commis par l’ASL…

Ceux qui sont entrés dans Yarmouk n’étaient pas tous de même obédience : il y avait là des tas de gens différents et, parmi eux, des criminels de droit commun déguisés en révolutionnaires, comme cette “Brigade des Fils du Golan” qui était, en fait, un gang de kidnappeurs et de voyous. Ils ont incendié des maisons et en ont pillé d’autres. Cela a duré 6 mois, puis l’ASL, constituée de palestiniens et de syriens, les à délogés du camp.

 Concernant la révolution syrienne, qu’elle est la position des factions palestiniennes à l’intérieur du camp ?

Elle est contradictoire : d’un côté, les partisans du FPLP-GC, du Fatah Al Intifada qui combattaient aux côtés des loyalistes. Les proches du Hamas ainsi que des groupes indépendants se battaient contre le régime. La division qui existe dans la population syrienne est la même qui affecte la société syro-palestinienne.

une victime de la famine.

Une victime de la famine.

Pouvez-vous chiffrer la population vivant à l’intérieur du camp ?

Nos données diffèrent de celles de l’UNRWA : nous sommes sur une base de 25 à 30.000 personnes, dont 5000 syriens, le reste des résidents étant palestiniens. Ceux qui sont restés n’ont nulle part où aller et il n’y a plus de place dans les refuges. Pauvres d’entre les pauvres, ces palestiniens et ces syriens n’ont pas d’argent pour louer une maison et ils n’ont pu trouver de place dans les dispensaires du camp. Certains d’entre eux ont pu, un temps, s’installer dans les différents jardins publics de Damas, mais ils en sont revenus. Il y a aussi ceux qui n’ont pu fuir de peur que leur fils soit enrôlé de force dans l’armée. Il y a là des gens qui n’ont pas de papiers, pas de carte d’identité et ne peuvent donc pas sortir du camp. Soyons un peu logiques : il y a 30.000 civils à Yarmouk. S’ils avaient vraiment été des combattants, Damas serait tombée en 2 jours ! Parmi les hommes en armes à l’intérieur du camp, on compte environ 1000 palestiniens et 500 syriens : voilà tous les combattants du camp. Ces palestiniens sont natifs de Yarmouk. Ils ont formé des comités de dėfense, pas seulement contre le régime mais pour des raisons de sécurité interne : les institutions ont volė en éclat, l’anarchie est partout. Il fallait protéger les résidents des voleurs, des kidnappeurs. Ces comités de défense remplissent, en fait, une fonction de police. Il leur arrive même de régler des problèmes familiaux.

Aujourd’hui, comment décririez-vous la situation humanitaire ?

Yarmouk vit sous siège partiel depuis décembre 2012. Cela signifie que les civils peuvent entrer et sortir avec ce qu’ils peuvent transporter. Bien sûr, les camions chargés de nourriture sont interdits. Depuis le début du siège, nous n’avons réussi qu’à faire entrer 4 camions, ce qui a entraîné l’arrestation de quelques volontaires et la mort de Khaled Bakrawi. En juin 2013, le siège à été complètement fermé : plus personne ne put entrer ou sortir, plus de nourriture, plus de produits médicaux, plus aucun bien de consommation ne furent autorisés à pénétrer à l’intérieur du camp. Au bout de 4 mois sont apparus des cas extrêmes de malnutrition et les gens ont commencé à mourir. À ce jour, nous avons répertorié 154 cas de décès dûs à la faim, sans parler des cas où la faim n’est qu’un facteur du de la mort. La nourriture continue de manquer ; il y a bien eu des tentatives diplomatiques ces deux derniers mois qui n’ont abouti qu’à la livraison de 12000 paniers-repas qui ne permettent chacun que d’assurer la subsistance d’une famille de 4 personnes pendant 10 jours. Quiconque en a reçu un n’a plus rien aujourd’hui. Plus tard, 5000 paniers contenant de la confiture, des dattes et un peu de pain furent distribués. Cette dernière livraison fut assurée par l’UNRWA, tandis que nous avons réussi à en distribuer entre 4 à 5000.

Des volontaires de JAFRA distribuent des sacs de nourriture.

Des volontaires de JAFRA distribuent des sacs de nourriture.

La situation médicale et sanitaire : il n’y avait qu’un seul hôpital en activité à Yarmouk, l’Hôpital de Palestine, qui a été fermé par suite du manque de carburant (“mazot”, une sorte de fioul utilisé pour les groupes électrogènes et les stérilisateurs, ndlt). Comme l’électricité a été coupée dans le camp il y a treize mois, l’hôpital ne peut plus compter que sur les générateurs. Il n’y a plus de produits médicaux dans le camp et le seul médecin présent à Yarmouk a été tué il y a 6 mois, comme il sortait de l’hôpital, au cours d’un bombardement. Le personnel médical ne se compose plus que d’infirmières ; leur travail est guidé par l’expérience, mais ils ne sont ni médecins, ni spécialistes. Le mois dernier, nous avons pu exfiltrer 400 cas graves hors du camp. Au cours de l’évacuation, certains ont pourtant été arrêtés par les forces de sécurité du régime. À ce jour, nous avons des cas de malades qui réclament leur évacuation, mais il est absolument impossible aux civils de quitter le camp.

Parlez-nous de la vie quotidienne d’un résident de Yarmouk. J’imagine qu’il est peu probable qu’il puisse y travailler ?

Il n’y a plus de travail à l’intérieur du camp. Les routes sont fermées : pas de déplacement, pas de commerce possible. Le problème majeur est le prix élevé de la nourriture, car la contrebande de denrées est apparue. Il y a un mois et demi, un kilo de riz coûtait environ 12.000 livres syriennes (LS), l’équivalent d’à peu près 70$. Le tarif a baissé légèrement le mois dernier, mais il faut se dire qu’il coûtait 1$ voici trois ans, qu’il coûte 1$ dans les zones qui entourent le camp, soit soixante-dix fois moins ! Un litre de fioul pour groupe électrogène revient à environ 600/700 LS et coûte seulement 100 LS dans Damas. De toutes façons, il n’en reste presque plus à l’intérieur du camp. Certaines ONG – dont notre Fondation JAFRA – ont mis en place des projets agricoles d’auto-suffisance à l’intérieur du camp. Cela n’a pas trop bien marché l’hiver dernier à causes du temps, mais cela va beaucoup mieux. Il y a ceux qui ramassent de l’herbe dans les prés, et nous avons recensé 5 morts dûs aux snipers du régime qui surveillent ces prés. Les autres se contentent d’exister à l’intérieur de Yarmouk, fouillent les maisons abandonnées à la recherche de nourriture, une poignée de riz ou de farine, quelques épices, n’importe quoi qui puisse se manger. Voilà comment vivent ces gens…

Au cours des mois écoulés, lors de tentatives d’introduire des convois d’aide humanitaire, des attaques ont eu lieu : le régime en a rejeté la responsabilité sur les rebelles.

Il ne s’agissait pas d’attaques directes, bien qu’il y ait eu des tirs dont nous n’avons pas pu établir l’origine. Les deux parties s’accusent mutuellement. La milice accuse le Commandement Général, et celui-ci dénonce les islamistes armés. En réalité, des tirs de la milice ont empêché la distribution mais, franchement, je ne pense pas que l’intention était délibérée. Ils souffrent du siège comme les autres et sont logés à la même enseigne. Je crois plutôt qu’au cours d’un engagement avec les forces loyalistes les convois ont été pris entre deux feux.

 Pour finir, avez-vous un message à faire passer à la société italienne ?

Il y a à peu près 30.000 personnes dans le camp de Yarmouk, dont 1200 enfants. Beaucoup sont nés pendant le siège. J’y étais il y a trois mois : ces enfants ne savent plus le goût de la nourriture. L’un d’entre eux rêve de déguster une simple pomme de terre, de manger quelque chose de bon, quelque chose de sucré. Des personnes âgées ont besoin de remèdes pour leur tension artérielle, leurs problèmes cardiaques, leur diabète, tous les traitements simples et basiques dont le manque total cause leur décès. Les blessés sont contraints à l’amputation par faute de simple traitement. Pas de médicament, pas de médecin ! Nous avons besoin de vaccins pour nos enfants. Les problèmes sont immenses : ils n’ont plus la moindre idée de ce qu’est une vie normale et n’imaginent même plus comment est-ce en dehors du camp. Quelle faute ont donc commis ces enfants et ces civils pour souffrir autant ? Ce qui se passe à Yarmouk est contraire à tout principe d’humanité, contraire à toute notion de patrie, contraire à toute idée de panarabisme, toutes choses pour lesquelles le régime syrien se targue d’être en première ligne !

English: http://radiofreesyria1.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/extreme-suffering-in-yarmouk-camp-interview-with-wesam-sabaaneh/

The Third Way march, with their Icons in "yes we can" Shepard Fairey style!

The Third Way march, with their Icons in “yes we can” Shepard Fairey style!

WRITTEN BY HISAM ASHKAR, translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak

News of the visits of fascist and far-right groups to Syria, to show solidarity with the regime, have recently started to emerge, especially with the beginning of the revolutionary process in the Arab region. It seems that the Syrian issue ranks highly on the agenda of the European far-right. So, is it axiomatic to say that the majority of the European far-right supports Assad’s regime and stands against the revolution in Syria?

Nearly two decades ago, several parties and far-right groups started to weave relations with the Syrian regime. For example, communications began between some of the French right in France and the Syrian regime, since the nineties. Many visits then followed. Most notable was that of “Frederic Chatillon“, the president of the extreme student group (Groupe Union Défense), who is very close now to “Marine Le Pen”, the current President of the French party «National Front» (Front National). During his visit in 1994, he met the Syrian Defense Minister at the time “Mustafa Tlass”.

In the first decade of this century, especially since 2006, the visits increased. Most of them took place in Lebanon, the usual place to hold meetings between visitors and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party which is an ally of the Syrian regime. Frederic Chatillon with Alain Sorel were some of the most prominent visitors. This relation was not limited to the official visits and political discussions, it extended to business. For example, the company (Riwal) which is owned by Chatillon, founded the company (Riwal-Syria) to develop economic relations between Syrian and French companies in 2009.

Chatillon, Tlass, Dieudonnè, oh those happy days!

Chatillon, Tlass, Dieudonnè, oh those happy days!

By the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011, the far-right began to support the Syrian regime in various ways. Frederic Chatillon was the first to support Assad. Since the early days of the revolution, Chatillon accused all those who took part in the demonstrations of the opposition of being partners to the Zionist lobby, which wants to destabilize Syria. Chatillon went even further to organise a demonstration in Paris to support Assad in October of the same year. Chatillon’s company «Riwal» still perseveres to support the news website (InfoSyrie) which is campaigning for the Assad regime.

With time, far-right demonstrations supporting the regime were organised in many European cities, from Rome to Warsaw and Geneva. At the same time, several visits to show support were organized, notably the «fact-finding mission» in June 2013. Several European far-right personalities took part in this visit like Nick Griffin “MP in the House of Commons”, Philip Dewinter “deputy in the Flemish parliament in Belgium”. This extent of the support reached the level of going to Syria to fight along side Assad forces in some cases, as the New-Nazi Greek organization «black tulip» (Mavros Krinos) declared. There were also many meetings held by the far-right which aimed to discuss the Syrian situation and how to support Assad’s regime. The most notable was the Boreal Festival which was held in Kanto in Italy on the 12th of September 2013 in the presence of a large number of European fascists. Paradoxically, the Mayor of Kanto, who was hosting that event, began his speech with words by Rosa Luxemburg!

Why does the European far-right back the Syrian regime?

In her thorough article, “Who are Assad’s fascist supporters?” Leila Shrooms attributes this support to:

“Anti-imperialist/anti-globalism sentiment with a strong focus on national states (they believe the Assad regime protects the Syrian state against US imperialism), Islamophobia (they believe the Assad regime fights Islamic extremists), anti-semitism (they believe Assad’s regime acts as resistance to Israel).”

3 way

As for Serge Ayoub, leader of the far-right organization Third way, Troisieme Voie, banned since the summer of 2013, he organized on the 2nd of February 2013 a march in support of the Syrian Assad regime. The reason for his support becomes clear in his answer to the following question, “why are Syrian supporters of the Assad regime participating in this demonstration?” Ayoub replies, “Why are the Syrians with us? Of course, it is our duty to support their cause! Syria is a nation, a homeland, a socialist country with national supremacy. They are fighting for secularism, and they are subject to an attack by imperialist America, globalization and its salafist servants and Qatari and Saudi mercenaries. The purpose is to destroy the state.”

We find in Ayoub’s narrative all the reasons presented by Leila Shrooms, except for Israeli resistance. The far-right does not hide its aversion to Israel, as we have seen in Chatillon. Paradoxically, Ayoub’s supporters who describe themselves as French revolutionary nationalists, and who gained the support of many French and European Fascist organizations, brandished the photographs of five personalities in the demonstration: Bashar Al Assad’s, next to it that of the Russian president Putin, the Belarusian president Lukashenko, the Venezuelan Ex-president Chavez and the national Serb Draga Mihailovič. Many flags were also lifted, among them the Syrian, French, Russian, Venezuelan and Cuban flags.

The grounds for this support presented by all the far-right organizations on the one hand and the organizations who criticize them on the other, stir many questions such as, “Why didn’t this right ally itself with Syria against Israel before the decade of the nineties? Why did this right stand against the Syrian revolution since its beginnings before the rise of the armed extremist Islamic movements? And what is the truth of this anti-imperialist anti-globalization stance of the right?

To demonstrate the background and logic of the right’s position with regards to what is happening in Syria, we have to go back in time 25 years, to a new historical phase that started with the fall of the Berlin wall.

Redefining the enemy: from the communist threat to the threat of the American model.

In his book “The anatomy of Fascism”, Paxton says that Fascist movements are always in need of an enemy that symbolises the overwhelming crises that’s taking society by storm, and who pushes the mass to unite under the flag of the saviour leader. Towards the end of the cold war, most far-right movements in northern Europe considered The Soviet Union to be that enemy-symbol, to the extent that Jean Marie le Pen, the leader of the far-right French party, The National Front, alleged that he carried the legacies of Winston Churchill, Douglas McArthur and Ronald Regan[1], not just in the political arena, but also in the field of Economy. For until the end of the eighties, the National Front was glorifying and defending liberal Economy.[2]

In this context, the fall of communism did not just cause a crisis in the left, rather it went beyond it to reach the far-right, who lost over night its main enemy and one of the basis of its politics. The reconsideration done by some of the members of the right led to adopting ideas of ideological groups such as GRECE, which started since the sixties developing the theory of cultural difference, which opposes racial mixing because it represents a danger for the identity of nations. Hence the United States became the enemy – the new symbol, for various reasons:

1-      Cultural and political American dominance represents a threat to national identities.

2-      The American model reflects a presence and mix between various races and cultures, regardless of the racism and inequality that are rooted in this model.

Redefining the enemy has forced these right wing forces to reconsider many of their political and economic stances to fit with their new ideological position. It is worth remembering here that far-right and main fascist parties are pragmatic parties which don’t hesitate in redefining their main positions (especially concerning the economy, because they do not rely on a fixed line or position in this field, rather they fluctuate according to the political variables.)[3] In order to achieve their goal: success and power.[4] Hence this Right raised the bar of its animosity towards the USA and the new political order, such as economic neo-liberalism and globalization, and establishing relations with those they consider as enemies of this political order. For example, Jean Marie le Pen is the ally of the Lebanese far-right Phalange party since the mid-seventies, and on his visit to Beirut in 2002, he tried to no avail to meet with Ayatullah Fadlallah, who has close relations with Hezbollah. This redefinition of the enemy is what explains the rapprochement between Hizbollah and the Syrian regime, which started in a shy way in the nineties to become more solid and entrenched in the last ten years.

The new far right: “left wing in its work, right wing in its values”!?…

European delegation in support of Assad, containing members of the extreme right, Zenit, Casa Pound, Stato e Potenza, Fascisti del III Milennio,  Partito dei Comunisti Italiani. When Black and Red go to Bed together.

European delegation in support of Assad, containing members of the extreme right, Zenit, Casa Pound, Stato e Potenza, Fascisti del III Milennio, Partito dei Comunisti Italiani. When Black and Red go to Bed together.

The transformation undergone by the Right because of the redefinition of the enemy on one hand and reprioritization on the other, has led to adopting and overtaking some of the leftist ideas in order to empower this new intellectual orientation. For example, we see that the campaign of Marine le Pen in the French presidential elections of 2012 was based on social and economic issues, to the extent that it almost failed to mention some of the favourite topics of the far-right such as banning migrants. The far-right’s adoption of some of the leftist and Marxist rhetoric is not new; this was clear since the birth of fascism as Mussolini used to address the proletariat and fascists alike with his radical, nationalistic, anti-capitalist speeches. Of course, this was to a great extent a selective and manipulative manoeuvre, because the enemy was foreign capitalism and not the national one, and some of the aims of these speeches were the conciliation between the work force and the nationalistic business owners. [5]

In this context, the reliance of the new right on leftist ideas is nothing but that populist national communism, in other words, a return to the classical Fascist speech like in the twenties, and in one of the most important European capitalist crisis at the time. This return is apparent in the National Front’s adoption of the slogan “No Right and no Left” in a clear reiteration of the saying of the founder of the fascist Spanish Phalange Party (Falange Española de las JONS), Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera), that his movement was neither of the right nor the left.

National Front event, all together now! Zenith, December 2006: A. Soral, JM Dubois, B. Gollnish, D. Joly, Jany Le Pen, F. Chatillon, G. Mahé, Dieudonné and others...

National Front event, all together now! Zenith, December 2006: A. Soral, JM Dubois, B. Gollnish, D. Joly, Jany Le Pen, F. Chatillon, G. Mahé, Dieudonné and others…

However the current rhetoric and orientation of this Right differs from its 80 year old predecessor in many details. This right does not stop at adopting leftist slogans and headings, it also partially takes from its ideology to add it to its heritage.  We see Marine le Pen in her book “For France to live” (Pour que vive la France)[6], relying on sayings by many thinkers, politicians, writers and others from the Left, from George Aurel, to Bertlot Brecht and even Karl Marx himself, praising the beginnings of this Left that she considers to have later on betrayed its principles, insisting that it is now the National Front that carries these objectives. Some far-right thinkers such as Alain Soral have even gone a step further, rather than repudiating the left and the right, they try to bring them together. Soral, the ex member of the French communist party and then the National Front looks at the union of the ethical right with the economic social left against the unethical left that compliments the economic right. In form, on his online political group Egalite et Reconciliation, Soral puts together the photos of Che Guevara, Gaddafi, Mahmood Ahmadi Najad, Vladimir Putin and the far-right French icon Jeanne d’Arc. Alain Soral attacks the global political system represented by the USA and Israel and talks about social justice, and the exploitation of the social classes. He denounces imperialism and demands a real left.

In context, he does not suggest anything new apart from the reconciliation between workers and business owners, with full emphasis on the conservative principles and values which lead to the salvation of the French nation.

ayoub 3

Soral might seem like an entertainer mixing economy theology and the conspiracy theory, but his page attracts many visitors and followers, especially youth. The ideas people like Soral promote are translated in the streets, such as members from the Third Way brandishing pictures of personalities and flags as mentioned above. That could sometimes be understood as a communication and coalition between the right and some extreme nationalist left movements, such as the Polish fascist organization (Falanga) which is establishing connections with the Mauis and nationalist Bolsheviks.

 

The extreme right Italian movement Casa Pound mixes Right, Left and Nationalism all in this poster, Fatherland, Socialism or Death. Honour to Hugo Chavez

The extreme right Italian movement Casa Pound mixes Right, Left and Nationalism all in this poster, Fatherland, Socialism or Death. Honour to Hugo Chavez

This ideological change, even if directed solely at the national internal interest of these parties, carries in its folds the support of this right for the Syrian regime. Theorists such as Soral, consider Bashar Al-Assad to be one of the characters standing in the face of the global system. Moreover, the Syrian regime is the example, even if not ideal, for their slogan, “left wing in terms of work, Right wing in terms of values”. Emphasising that this system is not applicable in Europe rather suitable for “the political idiosyncrasies of the Middle East, where it is important to have a strong leader to control the ethnic sectarian cohesion with a firm hand, and that is usually acceptable by all clans… As was the case in the past [in Europe]”

The limits of the hatred of the far-right for the “Foreigner”

In addition to the excuse of the “pressing foreign danger”, the far-right parties also need and internal enemy that can be a factor in the demise of the mass, and that prevents the achievement of a more comprehensive and stronger society. [7] Among the internal enemies of this Right is the “foreigner”, and in Europe the two main “foreigners” in the eyes of the far-right are the Jews and recently the Muslims. However the anti-Semitism of this Right does not always translate into animosity towards Israel. In the era of the cold war, most of the far-right considered Israel as the fortress of the west in the face of the Soviet Union. However this rapprochement was always hindered by the position of the far-right with regards to the holocaust. With the end of the cold war, and the redefining of the enemy, Israel moved from the impervious fortress in the face of the communist danger to the strongest ally of the new American enemy. This development was accompanied by a change in the perception of some of this right and their rapprochement to some of the European groups, in a step some researchers attribute to the appearance of a new danger for this Right in Europe, namely the Muslims.

This comparison remains somehow simplistic, for Islamophobia can represent an incentive for this rapprochement, however it does not explain the radical change in the perception of the far-right towards the foreigner. A few decade ago, we find that some of the prominent faces of the far-right were either Jewish or of Jewish origins, one of the most eminent examples is the vice-president of the National Front and life partner of Marine Le Pen, Louis Aliot, who has Jewish Algerian roots. Moreover, in the French parliamentary elections of 2012, the national front nominated the Jewish Michel Toris for one of the seats in Paris. Also, Far-right Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Defence League, were always close to the far-right, first to the (Bloc identitaire) then to the National Front. If we go back in time to the early nineteen twenties, we find that Mussolini’s fascist party included many Jews.[8] Hence we see that the far-right antagonizes the “foreigner” who tries to hold on to his idiosyncrasies and characteristics, while accepting the “foreigner” who adopts the values and principles of this Right – or in other words, who fuses nationally, according to the fascist expressions – then this foreigner becomes a part of that right, in that case he can assume leading positions such as Serge Ayoub who is from Lebanese origins. Therefore it will be no surprise to find Muslims among the electoral list of some of the far-right parties in Europe, and that’s in the near future.

This is with regards of the internal foreigner so what about the external one? From the unstable relationship between the Far-right and the Jews and Israel, and despite the recent antagonism with Israel, some of this right such as the National Front is trying to restore what was severed for internal electoral reasons. In this context, Marine Le Pen has declared to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 2011 that “The National Front was a constant supporter of the Zionist movement and a constant defender of Israel’s right to exist.”

However, we would be mistaken to think of this speech just as an electoral campaign, it has to be considered carefully and seriously. Defending Israel’s right to exist does not necessarily mean supporting it, the support is for the Zionist movement, i.e. for another far-right nationalist ideology, that decided to create an entity outside the European Nationalistic movements. The far-right parties while denying foreigners the right to be within its national and geographical borders, do not deny it the right to exist within its own geographical borders, as long as it does not clash with its own sphere. This explains the cooperation and communication between the far-right parties internationally.

Hezbollah, what a group salute that is!

Hezbollah, what a group salute that is!

This clarifies the original seeming paradox. There is no contradiction in the support of the Far-right for the Syrian regime, and their animosity towards the Syrian refugees in their countries even if they were pro-regime. Moreover, animosity towards Islam becomes a secondary reason to back Assad. We mustn’t forget that this Right supports, even boasts about fighting side to side with an Islamic party, Hizbollah, as declared by the organization “Black Tulip”. One can also see clearly the pivotal role of the far-right parties that are Assad’s regime’s allies, in forming and strengthening this relationship and what that entails. This explains the regular visits of this European right to Beirut to meet parties such as the Syrian National Social party. The role of this party in particular and its network with the European Far-right deserves deeper consideration, to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Conclusion

This article has attempted to look at the Far-right in general, while in reality this right has various ideologies. This difference takes many forms according to the type and volume of these groups, from the bigger more pragmatic parties to the intellectual circles and the more radical paramilitary groups. Nonetheless, the general principles are the same, even if the difference in form seems radical, this remains particular and not essential. As we have seen in this article, any reading or analysis of the Right’s position has to take into consideration that the ideology that this right portrays is moving and constantly changing. One of the important tools for analysis and rapprochement is the basis that Paxton deduced such as to feel the crushing burden of a crisis that cannot be solved in a traditional way, priority of the group over the individual, considering the mass as victim and fearing for its demise. There is a need for a closer-knitted purer society, etc…

the Far Left sure looks like the Far Right, Good thing there is the hammer and sickle to remind us!

the Far Left sure looks like the Far Right, Good thing there is the hammer and sickle to remind us!

Hands off Syria, Love to Assad

Hands off Syria, Love to Assad

As for why does the far-right support the Syrian regime? The main reason is that the ideological crossing between the right and what it represents and what the Syrian regime represents has happened at this historical moment. For this Right, this represents one of the aspects of its advertising campaign with the enemy – the new symbol. This support also represents its difference from the other European political parties and movements, which he accuses of being a toy in the hand of this enemy. Although this Right knows that it is not possible to exploit this support internally, because of the bad reputation and violence of the Syrian regime, the development of events in Syria allows it to exploit European public opinion through sympathizing with the situation of the Christians in the east for example, or through the topic of European Jihadists in Syria. This matter requires further investigation to reveal the extent and ramification of these relations.

Most importantly, one of the main incentives behind these reasons is the inherent opportunism of the Far-right’s ideology that will not hesitate in taking whatever stance or doing whatever it takes to get even a little closer to power.

[1]                      Ariane Chebel d’Appolonia, L’Extrême droite en France. De Maurras à Le Pen, Bruxelles: Editions Complexe et PUF, 1987.

[2]                      Sylvain Crépon, La nouvelle extrême droite: Enquête sur les jeunes militants du front National, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2006.

[3]                      Local examples for this: the rapprochement of the National Social Syrian Party in Lebanon to the Marxist propositions in the sixties, after a failed coup on New Year’s Eve 1962.

[4]                      Robert Paxton, the Anatomy of Fascism, New York: Knopf, 2004.

[5]                      Paxton, 2004

[6]                      Marine Le Pen, Pour que vive la Farnce, Paris: Grancher, 2012

[7]                      Paxton, 2004

[8]                      Paxton, 2004

Translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak from Arabic ORIGINAL http://al-manshour.org/node/4904&usg=ALkJrhjqYVOhwg5JmixoJ5kn2QJQJfWlMA 

 

This is a transcript of a presentation given by Palestinian anarchist Budour Hassan on 17 November 2013 at a Teach in on Syria in New York organized by the MENA Solidarity Newtork US . There is a link to the video of the presentation below.

*******

In April of 2011 a famous megastar Egyptian blogger told Syrian revolutionaries that they needed to raise Palestinian flags during the demonstrations on Friday just to prove that they support the Palestinian resistance and to deny the narrative by the regime that the regime supports the Palestinian cause.

Now I asked myself then, do Syrians have to do that? Do Syrians have to raise the Palestinian flag just to prove that they support Palestine? Do Syrians have to show their nationalist credentials so the world supports their cause? And the answer was clear to me then: No, Syrians do not have to do that. Now a Syrian friend told me at the start of the uprising that we avoided raising Palestinian flags and talking about Palestine not because we don’t support the Palestinian cause, but because this cause was exploited by the regime to a degree that turned it into just a political tool, and we love Palestine so much that we don’t agree to turn the cause into a political tool, and this is why we avoided using it. And I think that Syrians do not have to do this, Syrians do not have to wave a Palestinian flag to prove that they support us. Because Palestine is not a flag. Definitely Palestine is much more than that.

Palestine is the refugees in Yarmouk camp who supported the revolution from the first day, who aided displaced Syrians and who participated in protests, documented the uprising, and helped as much as they could. The revolution is also the Palestinian refugees in al Raml refugee camp in Latakia who took a hard beating by the regime and had to deal with a heavy crackdown starting from July 2011. And the revolution lives not in the palaces of the regime, nor in the speeches of a resistance leader who thinks that just because he leads a resistance movement this gives him the right to speak in the name of Palestinians, and to kill innocent people in Syria not just in the name of resistance but also in the name of Palestine. So this is why I think that Syrians do not have to prove anything to anyone.

Secondly, even though if we suppose that the Syrian regime does in fact support the Palestinian resistance, does it mean that this allows the Syrian regime to control Syria, to prevent people from expressing their opinions, to kill and torture hundreds of thousands of Syrians just because they dare say no to more than 40 years of oppression, to more than 40 years of injustice? Of course not. Even if Bashar al Assad was the only person capable of liberating Palestine I would not support him, and I’m sure that many Palestinians would not do so either. Because our liberation cannot be established on the enslavement of another people, particularly when this enslavement is an enslavement of our sisters and brothers in Syria.

And in fact the truth is that the Syrian regime has never truly supported Palestine; for the Syrian regime, Palestine has always been a fig leaf and always been a political tool. And it started from the 1970s when the Syrian regime helped other militias in Lebanon to crack down on the refugees in Tel al-Zaatar. The siege and massacre in Tel al-Zaatar cannot be forgotten. And the massacres that the regime helped the Amal party in Lebanon commit in the 1980s also against refugees in Lebanon and against the PLO cannot be forgotten either. And the siege the regime is imposing in Yarmouk refugee camp, preventing people from getting medical aid or baby milk, preventing people from going in and out of the refugee camp, cannot be tolerated and cannot be just ignored, as many are doing unfortunately just because they think that this regime is for resistance, and that this regime is for the human rights of Palestinians.

Now the thing is that me as a Palestinian, I don’t need to say this for many people just to convince them about the justice of the Syrian cause. Because in my opinion it is very clear that this revolution was a revolution for freedom and dignity. But unfortunately for many of us here in Palestine, because there is a polarization among Palestinians, as is the case in many other Arab countries, about the Syrian regime, we had to say it over and over again and to try to convince our comrades — or our former comrades – that they need to stop supporting the Syrian regime, that all we hear about the Syrian regime’s support of resistance is nothing but propaganda.

Now unfortunately it didn’t really help. People mostly stick to their opinions regarding the regime. If we want to talk about what the reaction of Palestinians toward the Syrian revolution is, it varies. Unfortunately the left, mostly the mainstream left, supports the Assad regime. And here lies the irony, because one of the most supportive parties of the regime is called the Israeli Communist Party, and it supports the regime because, it says, “Well, this regime is against imperialism.” But at the same time these people had absolutely no problem in participating in protests alongside Zionists in Tel Aviv, liberal Zionists for instance. So how can you say that you support the Syrian regime because it is against imperialism and on the other hand participate in protests with Zionists?

And also there are others who say that we supported the Syrian Revolution when it was nonviolent, but then after it got violent we couldn’t support it anymore, and it was hijacked. So yes, the Syrian Revolution was indeed hijacked, and we know that there are many Salafis, many jihadists and many other groups, and many pro-America and pro-imperialist groups that tried to hijack the Syrian Revolution. But that does not by any means tarnish the Syrian Revolution, and it also doesn’t mean that just because a revolutionary movement was hijacked that we should stand on the sidelines and stop supporting it.

Of course there are still so many revolutionaries working on the ground, many of them are nonviolent, and there are even many nonsectarian armed brigades that we cannot ignore. If the revolution was hijacked we don’t just go and start blaming the people for it being hijacked. We actually do everything to side with the people in order to get the revolution back on the right track. And this is what many leftists couldn’t understand.

Now on the other side of the spectrum you have the right wingers and the Islamists who support the Syrian Revolution but not truly because they believe in the right of freedom and dignity, but because they think that it is a Sunni uprising against an Alawite regime. Now this is why it was for me very hard to participate in protests organized by Islamists in support of the Revolution, because for me, although of course there are religious movements inside the Revolution, it still a Revolution for freedom, equality, social justice and dignity. And this is why I cannot agree with the line of the Islamists here in Palestine who support the Revolution just because they see it as Sunni versus Alawite.

Now there is a small section among the Palestinian left that supports the Syrian Revolution that doesn’t lecture Syrians about what they have to do, and how they failed. And we managed to organize a few protests, in Haifa for instance, in Jeruslaem, and in other places in Palestine. Although they were small protests I think it meant a lot for us to show the Syrian people that yes there are people in Palestine who stand with you, and there are people who don’t buy into the regime propaganda.

I mean it says a lot that in Syria right now there is an intelligence branch, one of the most notorious intelligence branches in Syria, it’s called “Palestine.” That means that there are people being tortured, including Palestinans, by the way, that are being tortured in the name of Palestine, in the name of our country, in the name of our cause, because we believe it is a cause for freedom.

Now to those Palestinians and to those people who believe that the Syrian regime is truly supportive of Palestine, and who do not support the Revolution, who stand on the side and say “no, we don’t want to support the Revolution, or who remain neutral: I say you have a Palestine and I have my own.

Your Palestine is an intelligence branch in Damascus that kills and tortures people, while my Palestine is Khaled Bakrawi, the martyr from the Yarmouk refugee camp, who was arrested and tortured to death. Your Palestine is a speech by Bashar al-Assad, while my Palestine is the chants of Syrian freedom fighters in Hama. Your Palestine is just empty rhetoric, while my Palestine is people in Bustan al-Qasr raising the picture of Samer Assawi, the hunger-striking prisoner.

My Palestine is people from the north to the south chanting in solidarity with Gaza during the recent war on Gaza last year and saying “Oh Gaza, we are with you ‘til death.” They did it when they were bombarded by the Assad regime and they were shelled. My Palestine is that of the Syrian Revolutionary Youth in Damascus who raised a pamphlet in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Nakab and said “Prawer shall not pass!”

So Syrian revolutionaries, even when they face the most terrible cases of torture, of persecution, and of crackdown, they still remember their sisters and brothers in Palestine, they still chant in solidarity with them and do not forget about the prisoners.

So I think it is very important to remember that, and to remember the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Palestinian prisoners who still languish in regime jails, for example Ali Shihabi, the communist Palestinian who has been detained in Syrian regime jails for almost a year, and Maher al-Jajeh also, another youth activist from Yarmouk refugee camp, who has been detained by the Syrian regime for more than a year and no one knows what is going on with his case now.

Also we will not forget the martyr Anas Amara, who was murdered simply because he was trying to get aid into Yarmouk refugee camp and trying to break the siege. And my Palestine is that also of Jihad Asad Muhammad, the Syrian journalist who even prior to the Syrian Revolution was always writing in solidarity with Palestine, and who like many others did not believe that this Palestine is Bashar al-Assad’s Palestine, but this is a cause that interests all Arabs.

So I just ask one last thing: I ask people who think that Bashar al-Assad supports Palestine or still believe his propaganda, just go over history a little bit, read more about what he and his father did to Palestine and to the Palestinian camps. And even if you are not convinced, don’t let this fact, don’t let political gains affect your support of the Syrian revolution. Because it is obviously not about geopolitics. We do not know whether if the revolution wins in Syria how will that affect the Palestinian cause. It might indeed damage us, I do not know. But I do not care on the other hand. Because my support of the Syrian Revolution is unconditional.

And I do believe that even though it is getting more and more complicated, and despite all the terrible groups that are trying to hijack the Syrian Revolution, especially the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, which we obviously oppose like so many Syrians, the same Syrians who started protest against the regime and are also protesting against the Islamic State, so I have faith in these people. I have faith in a woman like Souad Nofal, I have faith in those who are so resilient and steadfast in Damascus and in Daraa, birthplace of the Revolution, and in Aleppo and in Salamieh, the fantastic city that has been protesting since the first days of the uprising.

So I have faith in these people, that even though things are getting more and more complicated, that they can manage to keep the uprising going, and even if this means bad things for my cause I really do not care. What I care about is the freedom and dignity of my Syrian sisters and brothers, and to reject that my name or my country or my cause be used or coopted by the Syrian regime to kill and persecute my sisters and brothers in Syria.

Some of the hundreds of civilian victims of the Sarin Nerve Gas massacre in Ghouta. Gassed in their beds by the Syrian regime.

Some of the hundreds of civilian victims of the Sarin Nerve Gas massacre in Ghouta. Gassed in their beds by the Syrian regime.

WRITTEN BY Amr Salahi
A green light to Assad

Ever since the Syrian regime gassed its own citizens in the Damascus suburbs in a chemical attack on August 21, the issue has rarely been out of the Western news media. However, the debate has been very simplistic. Any observer would be forgiven for thinking that the only crime committed in Syria was this chemical attack, and that the Syrian people had not been subjected to a genocidal war at the hands of a ruthless sectarian dictatorship for two and a half years.

Of course, the original cause of the conflict has been largely forgotten. Outside Syria, not many people remember the peaceful protests calling for freedom and democracy that began the Syrian revolution in March 2011, and how those protests were met by the Assad regime, with unarmed protesters being slaughtered in the streets and children who wrote slogans on walls or took part in the protests tortured, on many occasions to death, in the regime’s jails. It was only after many long months of killing and oppression that defecting soldiers from the regime’s army formed the Free Syrian Army, to defend peaceful protesters as well as ordinary citizens from government attacks.

An observer of the debate would also be forgiven for thinking that the countries of the world are divided on Syria. The received wisdom on the Syrian conflict is that the United States, its allies in NATO and the Gulf States are offering support to the rebels while Russia, China, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah are supporting the regime. Bashar Al-Assad’s regime likes to paint itself as part of an “axis of resistance” against US and Israeli imperialism which includes Iran and Hezbollah and is supported by Russia; this is why it has gained support from the anti-imperialist left in Western countries. A closer look at the support the regime is receiving vis-a-vis the “support” the rebels are receiving from their supposed allies shows that there is in fact little difference between the major powers on the Syrian issue. Russian ships carrying weapons, including aircraft, dock regularly in Latakia and Tartus, ensuring that the regime remains armed to the teeth and able to fight on despite the military setbacks inflicted on it by the rebels. Iran has not only sent weapons to the regime but also troops and advisers. It is believed widely in Syria that these advisers are the real rulers of the country. Hezbollah was instrumental in the regime’s ruthless bombardment and capture of Qusair, and its fighters now line up alongside the regime in Deraa and Aleppo.

On the other hand, the United States and the European countries have given rhetorical support to the Syrian opposition while making sure that the Free Syrian Army remains unable to defeat the government’s forces by imposing a strict arms embargo. For example, last year the Free Syrian Army managed to acquire anti-aircraft weapons but the United States and NATO refused to allow them to be transported to Syria and they remained in storage in Turkey. In June this year, following a regime chemical attack on the town of Saraqeb, the Obama administration announced that it would arm the Syrian rebels. To-date they have not received a single bullet from the United States or from any of its European allies. The FSA’s main source of weapons remains those captured from the regime or those sold to it by corrupt regime officers. It is thought that Gulf countries have supplied weapons but not on a scale that would tip the balance of the conflict. The main factor ensuring that the conflict and genocide continue, and the Assad regime stays in power, is the continuing embargo on weapons to the Free Syrian Army, which lacks the heavy weapons needed to defeat the state’s armed forces.

In order to understand the position of the United States and its European allies, it is helpful to look at the statements of Israeli officials. While the main pro-Israel lobby group in the United States, AIPAC, publicly declared its support for strikes against the Syrian regime following the most recent chemical weapons attack, it is much more evident that Israel would in fact prefer Bashar Al-Assad to remain in power. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged US Secretary of State Kerry to reach a deal with Russia that would avoid a military strike on Syria, expressing fears that a US strike would strengthen the Syrian opposition and allow it to gain control of Assad’s chemical weapons. Netanyahu’s office later issued a denial that any such exchange took place.

In November 2011, relatively early in the Syrian revolution when there was no serious talk of an Islamic extremist presence in Syria, Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defence ministry official, said that Assad’s removal from power would be “devastating for Israel”; the Zionist state, he added, would then face an “Islamic Empire” encompassing Syria, Jordan and Egypt run by the Muslim Brotherhood and committed to its destruction. In May 2013, shortly after an Israeli strike on Damascus, Ephraim Halevy, a former director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, went much further in an article in the American journal Foreign Affairs. Calling Assad “Israel’s Man in Damascus” he spelt out the reason why: for the past 40 years Assad has kept Israel’s “border” with Syria quiet and guaranteed its security. What Halevy means is that Assad has allowed Israel to occupy the Golan Heights, undisturbed by any resistance. Another Israeli intelligence official summed up the Israeli position towards the conflict in Syria thus: “Our ‘best-case scenario’ is that they continue to busy themselves fighting each other and don’t turn their attention to us.”

Israel’s attitude to the Syrian conflict allows us to consider the developments that have taken place since the chemical attack in a new light. After President Obama announced that the US would strike Syria, anti-war activists and left-wing “anti-imperialists” were up in arms, as were right-wing pro-Israel Republicans in the United States. There was much comment that the rebels fighting against Assad were sectarian extremists with links to Al-Qaeda, who posed a threat to Syria’s minorities, especially its Christian community, and that they were just as brutal as Assad. Conspiracy theories without any evidence which blamed the rebels for the sarin attack received mainstream coverage and were used to argue that the US and its allies were being dragged into an Iraq-style war.

Sadly for the conspiracy theorists, the evidence that the Syrian regime carried out the attack is incontrovertible. The United Nations report on the attack published on Tuesday, which does not assign blame, nevertheless concludes that it was launched from Mount Qassioun, a major government military base outside Damascus from which attacks against the Damascus suburbs are launched regularly. The report also concluded that the attack was launched using M14 rockets, which only the regime possesses, and that the sarin used was of a quality that could only be produced on an industrial scale using the resources of a government. The Assad regime’s own reaction to the attack points to its responsibility, and to its sectarian character. First, it denied that any such attack took place; then it conceded that the attack happened but blamed the rebels; then a few days later the world was treated to the bizarre spectacle of Syrian government spokeswoman Buthaina Shaaban appearing on Sky News to claim that the child victims of the attack were in fact brought to the Ghouta area from Latakia province (an Alawite-majority area 300 miles away) by “terrorists” and then killed. The government did not declare any period of mourning for the 1,429 victims of the attack and, in fact, its supporters were seen celebrating and handing out sweets on the streets of Damascus in its immediate aftermath.

The anti-war activists and their new-found allies the Assad supporters and right-wing Republicans need not have worried. Despite a great deal of emotional language from John Kerry about the use of chemical weapons and the 426 children who died as a result, Obama’s strike threat dwindled away to nothing. From being a “limited” attack to punish Assad, but not tip the balance in favour of the rebels, it became an “unbelievably small” one, as Kerry called it on his visit to London, to a non-existent one, when Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov agreed to a deal which would allow Assad to keep his conventional weapons and continue using them to kill his own people, but oblige him to give up his chemical weapons. It is doubtful whether the deal will be backed by a binding Security Council resolution, and it is estimated that it will take until the middle of 2014 to destroy the chemical weapons. This is probably the first time in history that a criminal is to be punished simply by taking away one of his weapons.

The deal struck between Kerry and Lavrov makes almost everyone a winner. The United States can continue posing as a supporter of the Syrian people; Israel is satisfied that “their man in Damascus” is still in place; Russia can continue arming Assad and today appears to have stood up to the United States, when in reality there is little difference between the positions of these two nations on the Syrian issue; and Iran can continue to participate actively in Assad’s sectarian war while pretending that it is standing up to the United States and Israel. The anti-war campaigners are in ignorant bliss because they believe that they have stopped a war on Syria, not knowing or caring that Syrians are still enduring the most horrific war since the genocide in Rwanda. The only losers are the Syrian people.

For two and a half years, they have been pleading with the world to stop Assad’s war against them but to no avail. The chemical attack is only the latest chapter in this genocide. Constant efforts have been made in both the mainstream and alternative media to belittle the suffering in Syria, discredit the casualty figures and assign blame to the opposition for the regime’s crimes but what is happening is genocide by any standard. United Nations figures reveal that 110,000 people have been killed since the Syrian revolution broke out in March 2011. Seven million people have been displaced and the death rate is approximately 5,000 people per month. Only the regime has the capacity to kill and displace people on this scale and it has now received a green light to continue killing its own citizens, as long as it doesn’t use chemical weapons.

The suffering and the genocide of the Syrian people will be detailed in the part 2 of this article.

http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/7448-syria-genocide-by-international-consensus-

pilgerWRITTEN BY SAM CHARLES HAMAD    For people like Pilger, Arabs have absolutely no agency – they either have to be the passive masses living under an ‘anti-western’ strongman like Assad, wherein their very real suffering is even reduced by Pilger and his ilk to a ‘western conspiracy’ (or it’s just ignored), or they are these seemingly mindless ‘proxies’ being manipulated by all and sundry. 

In the recent piece by John Pilger  he writes:  “Syria is the current project. Outflanked by Russia and public opinion, Obama has now embraced the “path of diplomacy”. Has he? As Russian and US negotiators arrived in Geneva on 12 September, the US increased its support for the Al-Qaeda affiliated militias with weapons sent clandestinely through Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Gulf. The Godfather has no intention of deserting his proxies in Syria. Al Qaeda was all but created by the CIA’s Operation Cyclone that armed the mujahedin in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Since then, jihadists have been used to divide and Arab societies and in eliminating the threat of pan-Arab nationalism to western “interests” and Israel’s lawless colonial expansion. This is Kissinger-style “realism”.”

Let me just make something very clear: John Pilger is basically saying here that the Syrian rebels are ‘jihadists’ being used to destroy the regime of Bashar al-Assad because it somehow represents a threat to ‘western interests’. It’s not just that Pilger’s understanding of the conflict is so utterly stupid and bereft of any logic or historical fact, but it is also is in its content a very definite form of apologia for the regime’s crimes. Unlike most of the other witting and unwitting apologists for Bashar al-Assad on the left, Pilger doesn’t even bother paying lip service to Assad’s crimes (or the wider crimes of the Assad dynasty), but instead ‘treats’ us to the now familiar narrative of the conflict, wherein Assad is cast as the righteous protagonist, who was presumably just keeping on keeping on, when these vicious antagonists, the jihadist Al-Qaeda proxies, appeared from nowhere and started causing all kinds of fitna. Basically, it’s all a US plot and Assad’s ‘war on terrorism’ is very real and very righteous (unlike the west’s ‘war on terrorism’, every aspect of which Pilger was, as you might expect, dead against).

For people like Pilger, Arabs have absolutely no agency – they either have to be the passive masses living under an ‘anti-western’ strongman like Assad, wherein their very real suffering is even reduced by Pilger and his ilk to a ‘western conspiracy’ (or it’s just ignored), or they are these seemingly mindless ‘proxies’ being manipulated by all and sundry. The only time that somebody such as Pilger would ever comment on, let alone turn up with a camera to document, the suffering or resistance of the Arab peoples is if they are ‘victims’ of what he perceives to be the West, or, in other words, if they are Palestinians living under and resisting the Israeli occupation or Iraqis being ravaged by US sanctions or fighting against the imperialist occupation forces. However, if you are a Syrian who has been living under the cruel tyranny of the Assad dynasty, Pilger will not merely ignore your suffering or apologise for it, but if you resist such tyranny, he will actively essentialise you as being an ‘Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist’ or a mere proxy for the West. His entire worldview is in essence the mirror image of the worldview of the defenders of US power and hegemony, who, for example, care only about the very few Israeli victims of rockets fired on Sderot from Gaza, while they actively deny the suffering of the Palestinian victims of Israeli state terror – or, as Pilger implies with Syria, they actually justify the death and destruction inflicted upon Gaza by Israel as being necessary in a ‘war on terror’.

To various different degrees (some more subtle than others), events in Syria have allowed this kind of facile ‘anti-imperialism’ to come to the fore among significant sections and individuals of the left, and you’ll notice that there has been – over the past two-and-a-half years – a gradual coalescence of not just the type of language used by some on the ‘anti-imperialist left’ and that of the pro-imperialists, but the actual substance of the arguments are basically the same, albeit with different ‘sides’ corresponding to the similar content and form of the arguments. This is not a type of leftism that I could ever accept or be a part of.

Sryrian Children. Worth more than all the "pundits" put together. They should be seen AND heard.

Sryrian Children. Worth more than all the “pundits” put together. They should be seen AND heard.

Written by Mary Rizzo
For well over two and a half years, there has been a war in Syria. Some will call it a Civil War, and yet… these same people who call it a civil war (despite having been repeatedly corrected by fighters on the ground that it is an Intifada, an uprising and a revolution) are now finally taking to the  streets to chant, “No War – Hands off Syria” as if it is currently waiting for a war to start and are simply being targeted by the West for imperial expansionism. A variant on the theme, they shout, “Stop the War” and again, they don’t mean to in any way address the bombing that has destroyed most of Syria, they mean the air strikes that a very few Western leaders are threatening to do to a very limited amount of targets inside Syria. Why on earth would the Western leaders do something like this when for two and a half years they have not done anything more severe than “deplore” the use of barrel bombs and carpet bombing of residential areas? Because they had to in some way establish a point of no return and it randomly fell on the use of Chemical Weapons.

It is beyond all reasonable doubt that the Syrian regime (which had admitted they possessed these weapons and have the only means to have implemented their use on a massive scale this August, exposing 15,000 people, including the elderly, women and children, to lethal nerve gas while in their beds) used Sarin Gas against its own people. Many more details about its acquisition will come out in the future, but at the current moment, over 1,500 have succumbed to it immediately (including hundreds of infants and children) and thousands more who have been exposed have had to deal with its very dangerous effects. So, I would think that any human being would be against the use of this weapon, considering it to be an atrocity that should not be ignored or even in the slightest way defended.

But what has instead happened? After the international news agencies, refusing to support the revolution also due to the fear that the western public has of any change of regime in the Arab world and an allergy to revolutions in general, finally displayed a fragment of the visual evidence of people suffocating to their deaths, their bodies writhing in pain or struck by uncontrollable spasms, the solidarity world started to move. But how did it happen that instead of condemning the atrocity, they are rallying around the Syrian regime and demanding the contradictory “no war” and “stop the war”. It seems that the western solidarity industry (yes, that part where people make a living as “activists”) again has been working overtime to keep its overwhelmingly white, male, western and older pundits on their pedestals. From these pedestals, they lament of the terrible hypocrisy of the very West (where most of them thrive and are “alternative media stars”. (Hint: the Syrian people sure have very little use for them, if they even know who they are).

The Western activists who have not opened their mouths in support of the popular revolution that they have pretended to have supported for the Palestinians but when push comes to shove, even over 1,600 Palestinians murdered by the Assad regime and tens of thousands sent into further exile, have been silent and uncaring, are disgusted by the hypocrisy of their own leaders. This is the argument they use: The West didn’t come in and in any way strike those who were using chemical weapons against the Palestinians, so the West is comprised of freedom hating hypocrites.  And this position begs the question: does this mean that if the US and the West had acted in this way for Palestine, it would not have been intervention, but something else instead? And if it is something else, what would they classify it as? Could it be exactly what the Syrians who are besieged in many parts of Syria and subject to ethnic cleansing and massacres have been begging for?  This seemingly contradictory stance (intervention for Palestine is considered as “good”, intervention for Syria is considered as “evil”) is at the core of what I will call “the Waffle Syndrome”. Waffling on a position and changing it according to a specific point of view fuelled not by a revolutionary vision of liberation and freedom, but by an ideological position of “anti-west” activism and money to be made in a cause that has long ago entered into the discourse thanks to the hard work of many activists (in primis Palestinians and Arabs, with the support of some Westerners who run the gamut from pan-arabists to anarchists, Marxists and anti-imperialists).

If the sudden interest in the death of Syrians (which of course, if you follow the discourse of these pundits, will only start when NATO bombs the living daylights out of Syria, so the “humanitarian” thing to do is to wash “our dirty hands that have always been evil” of it and stay out now… in stark contrast with the calls to support the Intifada and Arabs that were part of the discourse until the Arab Spring actually happened!) is going to do anything for Arab-Western relations, it is going to heighten the distrust not only of the West, which never does what it says it will, or which uses the pain of other people as a means to get involved in international disputes, but it is going to bring the level of hatred for western ACTIVISTS who are showing now, like never before, that they have not got a grasp on even the very basic and core ideals of revolution or struggles to liberate oneself from an oppressor.

sarinWhen push comes to shove, when the most widely condemned atrocities are added to atrocities that started from shooting peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrest and torture of civilian political opposition and even of children, leading up to the absolute destruction of most of Syria where the majority live (leaving the minority who sustain the bombing of their own country by their own leader unscathed because it maintains their privilege- similar to the theory of “if you want an omelette, you have to break a few eggs” of imperialist memory) it is clear that the bulk of the activists stand by the perpetrator of the crimes and against the common people, the refugees and the unarmed. They are following the hasbara (Israeli propaganda that knows it is propaganda and a narrative) tricks used against the Palestinians, accusing them of using their homes and people as human shields for terrorists. It is a new version of hasbara, but applied to the Syrian people: claiming to be with the Syrian people but selectively ignoring any crimes against them except for the few that the Syrian regime and propaganda machine want them to be scandalised by, specifically if they are backed by flags with Islamic or Islamist slogans. The problem is not that Assad is bombing the Syrian country into oblivion and driving one quarter of its population into refugee status. The problem is that there are evil foreign agents who will impose their will on Syria. They are imperialists and Islamists, and in a three-card-shuffle, these two diametrically opposed entities are scratching one another’s back, as if they have the same goal and interests. As far as the Wafflers are concerned, they are the same, and they use the same reactionary rhetoric that the hasbarists use against the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

But what is worse than the lack of interest of the “activists” and their support of the regime “because the alternative is worse FOR THE SYRIANS”, if you follow their rhetoric? It is the hypocrisy they have regarding the very issue of intervention and the role of the international community.

They have not seemed to have ever taken the streets or set the internet on fire with their calls against intervention in Syria before. They seem to ignore that for years there has been foreign intervention in Syria, that Russian weapons and experts, troops from Iran and Hezbollah, have been waging the war already, fuelling it and at times even bringing their own soldiers home in flag draped boxes. Are they unaware that Russian intervention has also used the tool to advance their personal agenda and interests, the tool that every single one of us for years had believed was the “original sin”: the UN Veto of a resolution condemning an act of war or imposing a restriction on intervention. It seems that the arms embargo against the revolutionary Free Syrian Army has been in force while there has been no such restriction in arming the regime. If it is a civil war, it is indeed alimented with great gusto by the Russians by means of the unethical tool of their power to impose their will by means of a veto.  It is this waffling and hypocrisy that will deepen the gulf of “misunderstanding” between the people of the Arab world and the “caring” West, which is represented by impotent leaders or reactionary, counter-revolutionary activists who are expert navel-gazers.

PLEASE don't tell the Syrians things will get bad once they start getting bombed. They might think you are insane.

PLEASE don’t tell the Syrians things will get bad once they start getting bombed. They might think you are insane.

Because, when it comes down to it, the counter-revolutionaries are going to scream bloody murder when a protester in Berkeley gets pepper spray in her eyes by the cops and at the same time defend the ruler in a regime where rule of law and democracy has never been in force, there is some heavy-duty orientalism/superior thinking going on. Evidently, a single protester in the USA is worth more, or the belief that Americans deserve full rule of law and justice but Syrians just must persevere because they have to resist “Western Imperialism” is rife. And why is this idea so common? Because (as usual) the Western activists have a great deal of trouble accepting that maybe they don’t know better than “the other” what’s better for them. They impose their fears on them, their ideology is naturally “revolutionary” but it does nothing in the slightest to back the revolution, and in fact, uses the terminology that the reactionary right/hasbarists have been using against the Palestinians for decades. They say that they would really support the Syrians, but they “know” that the Islamists are worse than Assad. How do they know this? Because they watch Press TV (run by an Islamic Theocratic state that incidentally finances Assad’s regime because it is holding back the majority rule in Syria, which would likely be democratic or in the lack of that, Sunni dominated) and they read who I have been referring to for years as the “fat white male western pundits”.

For years, I have managed and run various sites for Arab freedom causes, and for years, I have placed at the top of those sites articles and commentary written by Arabs. I believe that if you are able to serve a cause, the first task is to listen, then if you can, amplify the voice of the oppressed. But, while the names I published and translated on my site were overwhelmingly Arab, the names getting the big circulation on the web and doing the well-paid speaking tours were non-Arab, many times they were actually Israelis (ostensibly speaking “for” the Palestinians), almost all the time they were male, the educated élite of punditry and most of them were at least a generation older than those who were marching in the streets for their own rights. It was a rare thing to see the actual protagonists saying, “this is what I think, this is what I want, this is what I want from you”.

All of that has changed so much recently. There is a vast range of articles written by Syrians about their situation, by Palestinians about their situation as “double refugees” and by Arabs around the world who want to express solidarity with those of their language/culture and often religious affiliation. More than that, any week of the year, you can see the posters from the marches INSIDE Syria. Yes. After two and a half years, they are still marching in their streets and expressing what they want. They are not props set up by anyone, they are not the pawns of someone else’s interests, they are THOSE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO AND EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH. What are they saying? Are they begging for the world to ignore them and let them sort it out on their own? No. In fact they are saying what they have been saying since the beginning, “if you don’t help us, we will be killed”.

Can the message get any clearer?

Can the message get any clearer?

Are you prepared to understand what kind of help they have been begging for from the start? They have been first of all asking for protection from the bombs. That means that those who are in the streets in the West have ignored for two and a half years that an entire population has been bombed night and day and that hundreds of thousands of them have lost everything they had. How could the “No War” people have missed this? Oh, that’s right, they have been listening only to the well-paid, popular, fat, white, western guys who get money from Press TV or Al Manar to tell them what is happening in Syria. They don’t actually have to LISTEN to Syrians or watch their videos that they load with constancy despite the difficulties, because they WANT us to know and to do something. They have been asking for the lifting of the arms embargo against the Free Syrian Army, which they recognise as their liberation force. The first commander of the FSA said (two years ago) that if the FSA were armed adequately, they would finish the revolution in a matter of weeks with no direct foreign intervention. He also said that if this did not happen, there would be other forces around who would not wait to form militias and enter into Syria, without the same revolutionary goals, and definitely not with an interest in a Syria for all of its people, even those who currently support Assad.

I suppose the most ironic part of the waffling hypocritical “activism” world that woke up now to “stop a war” that they aren’t even sure exists or not, and if it does, what kind of war it is, is that they claim to be anti-Zionist, but when for the first time a true threat to the Zionist state has been uttered by the regime and some of its supporters (Iran and Hezbollah) as the Syrian regime Army Generals warned “in case of attacks on Syria, ‘Israel will burn’ and that if Syria weakens, ‘certain irresponsible groups’ will be formed that would endanger Israel,” they don’t seem to understand the actual regional dynamics – or else they really don’t want anything to threaten Israel, whose own “security” has always trumped Arab rights and Arab lives.

Now, here is the core of the hypocrisy. Evidently, a Syria that accepts the provocations of Israel without responding, that accepts for decades the occupation of Syrian soil and helps to actually displace once again more Palestinians and to engage in a “scorched earth” policy with regard to what is supposed to be a threat to Israel (Syria itself), is considered as “resistant”. It is considered as an idea that is beyond the pale to bring Israel into any kind of conflict, and if there is such a thing, it can only be considered “irresponsible”. Israel has got to be left alone, not even a slap on the wrist, the Syrian regime is the one that sees to their protection, they are their border guardian not only throughout the decades, but more than ever now that Syria might actually lose Assad as its leader.

The expansion of the conflict is not what anyone wants, and in fact, Assad has seen to it to be the exact party not only to maintain the Israeli status quo, but to also keep any kind of anti-west or anti-pluralism elements at arm’s reach. If nothing else, this statement alone shows the fundamental flaw of the reasoning of at least a portion of the “solidarity activists against the war”. Now, not only will they be used to enhance the totalitarian, Arab-hating and Islamophobic forces in the area, but they will be given the legitimacy that they don’t get from their own people. Once again, Imperialism Wins! The Westerners know BETTER! And there is an important lesson to be learned, and repeated by any kind of “oriental despot”: massacre your own people in their sleep and the “solidarity” champions will make a hero of you.

 

refugee camp of the Palestinian Nakba, 1948

refugee camp of the Palestinian Nakba, 1948

Commemoration Day of the Nakba is approaching. It is an important date that we must never ignore. All who know me are aware that my major interest for the past 3 decades has been to raise awareness of the Palestinian struggle and for those people to obtain their rights and justice, and for this reason, I have operated sites and written, translated, edited and shared articles on the issue, hoping to always allow the voices of the oppressed to have a venue to be heard. This Nakba day feels different from the others, though. For the first time, I feel that I am on the opposite side of the fence of many with whom I’ve campaigned for decades. I’m not talking about the Palestinians, who, by and large share the same views I do on the events of the Middle East, but I’m talking about the activism community in the West, the Left and those who consider themselves anti-imperialists.

What is the problem? The problem is that the focus in not at all about the plight of refugees and humans who are subjected to the greatest loss of all, especially in the moments of war or invasion, it is only about repeating a mantra that Israel and the West are the only enemies and anyone who is “VERBAL” about that, (it’s not required to actually DO anything to liberate occupied lands or to bring refugees back home!) has got to be backed and helped out no matter what any other policy is, particularly those internal policies that involve ethnic cleansing, oppression of part of the population, violence, arrest of any opposition, no matter if they are political or just average people on the street, extra-judicial killings and a vast list of crimes against humanity.

We have seen those who have fought for the rights of the Palestinians completely back the policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing carried out by Assad. All of this not based on his deeds, which include the active participation in the massacres and exile of Palestinians in Syria and prior to that in Lebanon.

refugee camp for Syrians in Turkey, 2013. Photo by Rana Sammani

refugee camp for internally displaced Syrians, 2013. Photo by Rana Sammani

We are seeing them deny the Nakba of the Syrian people because they are more convinced by fiery speeches than by a true liberation position that vows to protect the lives of Palestinians and at the same time mows them down along with the Syrians, because they dared to not take an active role in support of the regime or if they openly support the opposition. That is enough for the Palestinian camps inside Syria to be subjected to sieges worse than those in Gaza, carpet bombing, checkpoints, massacres and starvation, along with the destruction of their homes and exile, refugees once more, but this time with the denial of the proper documents by Syria so that they can register as refugees where they escaped to, a perverse strategy the Syrian regime uses to prevent them from obtaining their rights. The same fate of collective punishment of the Syrians. This alone should alarm ANY human rights activist, and even more so, those who campaign for Palestinian rights.

Shall we compare the numbers of the victims of these two crimes of displacement and forced exile?

During the 1948 Palestine War, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled, and hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed. (sources agree on this, from Benny Morris to Walid Khalidi)

Palestinian refugees in 1948

These refugees and their descendants number several million people today, divided between Jordan (2 million), Lebanon (427,057), Syria (477,700), the West Bank (788,108) and the Gaza Strip (1.1 million), with at least another quarter of a million internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. The displacement, dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as an-Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” or “disaster”.

Syria (since the start of the uprising in 2011)

In August 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the number of registered Syrian refugees had reached over 200,000, exceeding the UNHCR estimate of 185,000 for the entire year. Also according to the United Nations, 6 million people inside Syria needed help and about 4 million Syrians were internally displaced because of the Syrian civil war.

By the early months of 2013 the UNCHR announced that the number of refugees had topped 1 million, and by March 2013 had risen to 1,204,707 people. A spokeswoman for UNHCR, Sybilla Wilkes, also reported that the rate of flight from Syria was increasing. “In March an average of 10,000 people crossing per day. In February it was 8,000. In January it was 5,000. The numbers keep going up and up.” It has been estimated that by the summer, the number of refugees will be 4.25 MILLION, only some of them registered with the agency because they have found refuge with families living abroad or are internally displaced, which does not record them at all.

700,000 is a lot of people displaced. It is a crime against humanity.

4.25 million is an astronomical number that barely is able to be imagined. The crimes against these people are also crimes against humanity.

If supporters of Human Rights for Palestinians ignore the displacement of Arabs, it is because they are in bad faith, ill-informed, or they do not have human rights as their core agenda. They hate the West (which most of them live in quite comfortably) much much more than they love the people who are subjected to oppression, and seek that they are not denied safety and rights. Justice and dignity are not what they care about, it is something else, and the sacrifice of the Syrian people and the Palestinians inside Syria has exposed all of this.

But, to be completely fair, it is not the concern of the Syrians themselves what the activists out here think. Many of them tell me they do not care about what the activists think and they no longer are interested in their support. They have shown their suffering to the world, they do not need the approval of anyone out of Syria. Even the hypocrisy does not faze them. They basically ignore what those people think, as it has no bearing on their lives. A just cause is a just cause, and the causes of Palestinian and Syrian people are just causes, and they do not get diminished by the neglect or double standards of activists. It is the luxury of activists like me, out here, safe and comfortable, to despise the hypocrisy and hope that this vile thing would change over time, as more and more people regain their reason and reject the empty rhetoric that for decades fooled a lot of us, and still does fool some. The Syrians have the conviction that victory will come to the righteous, that God will not allow them to lose, and that it is only a matter of time, but justice will come. This is why they are so much better than I will ever be, they do not waste energy on the useless emotions, they know the battle is where they live, fought on their soil, and they strive towards their goal.

SCRITTO DA Iyad Abou-Rabii
Tradotto da Mary Rizzo
Torniamo indietro fino al 1967 quando Hafez Al-Assad era il Ministro della Difesa siriana. Era considerato come direttamente responsabile per la sconfitta nella Guerra di Sei Giorni nel 1967.

Il 15 settembre 1970, King Hussein dichierò la legge marziale. Il giorno seguente, carri armati giordani (La Brigata 60° dell’Esercito Giordano) attaccarono la sede delle organizzazioni palestinesi ad Amman; l’esercito ha anche attaccato campi in Irbid, Salt, Sweileh, Baq’aa, Wehdat e Zarqa. Quando una parte dell’esercito siriano sotto il commando della divione siriana dell’Esercito per la Liberazione della Palestina (PLA), decise di assistere i loro fratelli palestinesi, trovarono con loro la 40° Brigata dell’Esercito Giordano. L’Aeronautica Militare Siriana, sotto gli ordini di Assad, non entrò mai nella battaglia. C’erano tra i tremila e i cinquemila soldati palestinesi uccisi.

Dopo il danno d’immagine causato dal totale fallimento dell’Esercito siriano di prendere parte nella Guerra dei Sei Giorni nel 1967, e iracondo dopo l’abortito intervento nella guerra Giordana-Palestinese di settembre, all’interno del governo iniziò un conflitto tra le varie posizioni. Quando il Presidente Nureddin al-Atassi ed il leader de facto, il Vice Segretario Generale del partito Ba’ath Jadid, si resero conto della situazione, ordinarono che Assad e Tlass fossero privati di ogni potere di partito e di governo; ma era troppo tardi. Assad iniziò velocemente un golpe intra-partito senza spargimento di sangue, la Rivoluzione Correttiva di 1970. Il partito fu epurato, Atassi e Jadid imprigionati ed i lealisti di Assad si istaurarono nelle posizioni chiave in ogni settore del governo.

La guerra con Israele nel ottobre 1973 (per me è la “Recita d’ottobre” e non la Guerra d’ottobre) che era stata presentata dal governo siriano come una vittoria, fu in realtà un disastro, poichè alla fine della guerra l’esercito israeliano aveva invaso grandi porzioni della Siria, con posizioni fino a 40 km da Damasco. Dopo questa data, fino ad oggi, il confine siriana con Israele è stato il più sicuro, calmo e silenzioso di tutti.

Il 12 agosto, 1976, l’esercito di Assad con alcune fazioni libanesi (Phalange, Guardiani dei Cedri e Tigre forze di milizia) attaccò il più grande assembramento di soldati palestinesi nel campo di Tel al-Zaatar. Fu un massacro; il campo ospitava oltre 60.000 rifugiati palestinesi, più 2.500 soldati del OLP. Furono uccisi 1.500 palestinesi, (1.200 di essi civili), tra i leader della fazione armata libanese (Michel Aoun), l’attuale amico del regime siriano.

Un’altro colpo duro inferto ai palestinesi dopo il suo ruolo nel Settembre Nero fu il 19 maggio, 1985 quando scontri pesanti si sviluparono tra Amal e la milizia del campo rifugiati palestinese per il controllo dei campi di Sabra, Shatila e Burj el-Barajneh a Beirut. Amal, era sostenuta prevalentamente dagli sciiti della 6° Brigata dell’Esercito Libanese. Essa a sua volta si trovava sotto il comando di alcune divisioni dell’ 8° Brigata, prevalentemente cristiana, fedele al Generale Michel Aoum (di nuovo), il quale era stazionato a Beirut est. Praticamente tutte le case nei campi furono ridotto a macerie.

Amal fu supportato fortemente dalla Siria e sostenuto indirettamente da Israele (Sì, Israele), mentre l’OLP non ha goduto di molto sostegno dall’estero. Amal ebbe anche il vantaggio sull’OLP per quanto riguardava equipaggiamento, soprattuto veicoli corazzati (forniti direttamente dall’Esercito siriano); Amal fu inoltre sostenuto dall’Aeronautica Militare dell’Israele (IAF) che lanciò alcuni raid aerei contro postazioni palestinesi (Saidon 1986).

Questa guerra (La Guerra dei Campi) finì con l’espulsione di ogni militante palestinese dal Libano (un’altro ruolo sporco giocato da Assad contro la resistenza palestinese).

Ecco il sostegno che il regime degli Al-Assad ha dato alla resistenza palestinese! E ancora volete considerarlo un’eroe che sostiene la resistenza contro i sionisti?!

Ecco suo figlio

In 2000, quando Bashar andrò al potere, tutta la popolazione siriana lo sostenne, anche se non fu eletto democraticamente, ma per il popolo – che a questo punto pensò con un po’ d’amnesia –cambiamenti radicali avrebbero potuto portare il Paese al caos, e preferì accettare Bashar, che promisse loro cambiamenti politici ed economici di grande portata. Fu quindi creduto da tutti, me compreso.

Infatti, moltissime persone avevano creduto in lui, come Aref Dalila che nel 2001 fu tra gli attivisti incoraggiati dal senso di ottimismo mentre Bashar al-Assad, il giovane nuovo presidente stava facendo i suoi primi passi come capo dello Stato. Ecco quale fu lo spirito del periodo che fu chiamato la “Primavera di Damasco”.

Ma una dura presa di coscienza con la realtà fu necessaria nel settembre di quell’anno, quando Sig. Dalila e nove altri furono rastrellati ed arrestati in una repressione governativa. Il suo crimine? Promuovere l’idea di riforme e di parlare contro la corruzione ad ogni livello – una questione in cui senza dubbio poteva dire di avere possedere autorevolezza, essendo stato uno dei principali economisti del Paese che servì come professore alle Università di Aleppo e Damasco. Alcuni fanno menzione di come lui fu un caso davvero particolare, essendo una rara voce critica dalla setta Alawita, la minoranza cui appartiene il presidente e quello che ha sempre dominato il potere dal momento che Hafez al-Assad prese il potere in 1970.

E mentre il governo siriano ebbe goduto di una considerevole rivalutazione diplomatica, gli attivisti per i diritti umani sostennero sempre che pochissimo cambiò in questo campo dal momento che Sig. Dalili fu sequestrato dalla sua casa dagli agenti della sicurezza in borghese. Un numero di attivisti molto conosciuti furono arrestati con Sig. Dalila e poi rilasciati e ora sono di nuovo sono dietro le sbarre, insieme con decine di altre persone che sono detenuti per motivi politici.

Pochissimi attivisti pensano che la situazione potrebbe migliorare, a dispetto del miglioramento dei rapporti internazionali.

14 rami dei servizi segreti erano attivi, mentre solo 5 università funzionavano, facendo si che fosse molto più facile per i cittadini siriani di essere arrestati o cominciare a lavorare per uno di questi servizi piuttosto che fare gli studi universitari.

In 11 anni, nulla è cambiato, se non in peggio. La corruzione è il pane quotidianno di ogni siriano, la disoccupazione è al 20%, il capitalismo si è lentamente istaurato in Siria, e non esiste più nulla del socialismo, se non un nome senza significato sui testi ufficiali.

Perché scrivo questo?

Perché vedo che ci sono persone che non conoscono affatto la faccia vera del regime degli Al-Assad, e il loro scopo nella vita è di andare dove nessun imperialista o politico americana mette piede, quindi, vedono nel (non esistente) sostegno degli USA alla siriani che protestano un’indicazione che la loro rivolta non è niente altro che una aspirazione occidentale.

Questo è assolutamente e totalmente sbagliato….

Sbagliato perché gli Usa e i sue alleati non stanno sostenendo il popolo siriano, regalando a Bashar tutto il tempo necessario di mettere la parola “fine” alla loro rivolta (ma loro mantengono nelle dichiarazioni pubbliche parole di sostengo verso il popolo siriano, per il motivo di continuare di tenere il bastone al centro.)

Abbiamo visto gli USA che invadono Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Iraq, Groenlandia e altri Paesi senza ascoltare l’opinione russa o cinese o cercando di ottenere il loro consenso, perché proprio ora stiamo talmente interessati in quello che pensano e di quello che faranno con la risoluzione all’ONU?

Stiamo ora vivendo questa repressione brutale in Siria. Che cosa è la risposta adeguata quando l’impulso democratico di un qualsiasi Paese è calpestato dall’ecessivo e disumano uso di forza dello Stato?

Alcuni parlano ancora di una transizione pacifica e democratica! Non è crudele di occupare la mente con fantasie di trasformazioni democratiche di fronte a uccisioni di massa? Quando la gente mette la sua vita in pericolo ogni giorno per gli ideali rivoluzionari, non è quello dei critici solamente un gioco intelletuali irrilevante? Noi, progressisti o gente di sinistra, non dobbiamo comunque dubitare la paradigma di una trasformazione in ogni caso?

Poi, ci sono i fatti. Uno di questi fatti è che il regime siriano ha da molto tempo posseduto uno dei più brutali meccanismi di controllo nella regione. E mentre i massacri indiscriminati piovano sulle teste dei civili, gli studiosi della storia non possono non vedere gli echi del massacro sanguinoso in 1982 a Hama.

Quello che serve al popolo siriano è solamente l’umanità con la sua coscienza.

Io continuo a credere, come è stato detto da Martin Luther King Jr, che “l’arco della storia va verso la direzione della giustizia.”

Originale: http://iyadabourabii.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/al-assad-story/
GRAZIE Eugenio Dacrema per l’aiuto.

Jubliant Americans

News during the last couple of weeks has rumbled in to shake an already rickety balance of world order. Perhaps one of the most disturbing images accompanying those headlines, though, was not that of more bruised and bulleted bodies. Rather, the image was of what the Associated Press termed a ‘jubilant crowd’. As though they had just won the World Cup Final, Americans waved flags as they sang and chanted their patriotic celebration.

Osama Bin Laden, they had just been told, had been shot dead. After nearly a decade-long manhunt, he had finally been pounced upon in Pakistan. The crowd cheered. And when President Obama made the official announcement, he coaxed the nation to cheer the same; he concluded by quoting the American pledge of allegiance:

‘Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’.

‘Indivisible’. In this one word lies the notion that has fed American policy for many, many years: united we stand-divided they fall.

This is the disturbing aspect about the spectacle that accompanied a political assassination. The power that drives the ruin of lives has been reduced to a sports-style competition. The longstanding game strategy has become brazen: (1) unite ourselves to challenge a common enemy-of-the-day, (2) keep all designated enemies splintered with hostilities, and then (3) exploit the resulting instability. A 2005 report called ‘Dividing Our Enemies’, a report produced by the US Special Operations Command, admits frankly: ‘exploiting the rivalries or animosities among the insurgent bands clearly meets our goals’.

By way of example, just last month President Obama gave a speech stressing the importance of strengthening the nation by all working together. Meanwhile, American leaders were bristling at the renewed rumours of an impending reconciliation between the Fatah and Hamas parties of Palestine. They then promptly issued threats to cut off American support to the Palestinians should the Palestinians choose to work together themselves.

Within days, twenty-seven US Senators formerly demanded that President Obama ‘stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas’. The Senators declared:

‘It is imperative for you [President Obama] to make clear to President Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of U.S. aid’.

Why had political support and financial aid been offered in the first place? Clearly not to facilitate a stable government of national unity. Repeatedly over the years, whenever the Palestinians have expressed their own unity, they have been rebuked for seeking their own terms of agreement. Only those Palestinians who were willing to abide by the terms of the Western “Israeli” Alliance were welcome.

This American pattern of provoking and prolonging internal hostilities amongst strategically targeted populations has been played out time and again in the Middle East. With protecting its “Israeli” project in the forefront, successive American governments have spared no effort to tame the Palestinians and Lebanese. Being unprocurable, Lebanon was played. From the 1950’s onward, relentless political manipulation and violent interference ensued.

Just as they had with the Palestinians, American governments offered political support and financial aid to select Lebanese-but only as a means of leverage. In the run-up to the Lebanese national election of 2009, for example, US Vice President Biden warned that his government would assess its willingness to continue aid to Lebanon ‘based on the composition of the new [Lebanese] government and the policies it advocates’. Years of open hostility toward Lebanese parties supportive of the Resistance clarified beyond any doubt what he meant.

Yet again in January 2011, the US cautioned that it ‘would have great concerns about a government within which Hizbullah plays a leading role’ and warned once again it could cut off aid, that tantalising carrot dangled in the faces of those pursued as strategic allies. A game played by house rules. But when the so-called assistance is bartered not for peace and stability, but solely for the political gain of the lender, then the role of the international community has gone terribly wrong.

Eleven years ago this month, the Lebanese thwarted the strategy of the Western “Israeli” Alliance to divide and conquer. The Lebanese Resistance rejected the presence of American-paid mercenaries and liberated its land from military occupation. The Resistance liberated its people from the dictum of imposed division. In so doing, the Resistance confirmed that the right to a durable national unity is not the prerogative of the Western world.

In similar fashion, the various calls for reform we are witnessing today in the Arab world are calls for integrity. They are resistance to a state divided from its people, resistance to a people divided from each other, and resistance to foreign states imposing their own agendas. In particular, the eagerness of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples to achieve national unity is a key element of this developing global balance. Yet their eagerness has not been cheered; instead, it has been routinely met with stern disapproval from America-the self-proclaimed champion of united patriotism.

The concept of national unity, whether Arab or Western, should guide and grow with its people. It should be built on what is right about its own people-and not on what it perceives to be wrong about another. If we are ever to establish peaceful relations, the role of the international community is to be an honest broker in the pursuit of mutual benefit. When lives are at stake, it is simply not a game.

Brenda Heard is Founder of Friends of Lebanon, London. Details of the Lebanese Resistance & Liberation Day event in London, 25 May, ‘Reform as Resistance: emerging independence within the Arab world’ can be found here.

http://www.english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=14083&cid=269


(Italian subtitles by Diego Traversa, French by Mirielle Rumeau)
To reply to the Gaza youth Manifesto, and with no additional words to the ones spoken with true heart on this video, we give you, The Manifesto. A simple, true, self-explanatory, expression of what we’re sick of.

As these days mark the 63rd memory of the Nakba, our people all around the world, revolt, and object to the injustice and hatred we are met with on a day to day basis, just because we’re Palestinians and just because we exist.

I urge your humanity and your conscience, to spread on this video, so the 15th of May 1948, wouldn’t ever be forgot, and so Palestinians would once more have their freedom and rights back; especially the right of return.

Salamat,
Two anonymous from Palestine.

كرد على بيان شباب غزة، وبدون أي كلمات إضافية للكلمات الصادقة من القلب التي قيلت في هذا الفيديو، نقدم نحن لكم “البيان” والذي هو تعبيرنا البسيط والصريح والغاني عن الشرح، الذي يعبر عن كل الأشياء “اللي احنا زهقنا منها”.

في هذه الأيام التي تمثل الذكرى الثالثة والستين للنكبة، شعبنا في مختلف أنحاء العالم ينتفض ويحتج على الظلم والكراهية التي نعامل بها على أساس يومي، فقط “علشان احنا فلسطينية”.

أنا أحث إنسانيتكم وضمائركم لتنشروا بياننا، لكي يبقى 15-5-1948 يوما لا ينسى في تاريخ الشعوب، ولكي يستعيد الفلسطينيون حريتهم وحقوقهم، وخاصة حقهم في العودة.

سلامات،
عشوائيان من فلسطين.

63 ans de Nakba

Par Deux anonymes de Gaza

Pour répondre au Manifeste de la Jeunesse de Gaza, et sans ajouter un mot à ceux qui sont dits du fond du cœur sur cette vidéo, nous vous donnons Le Manifeste. L’expression simple, qui se passe d’explications, de tout ce dont nous avons marre. En ces jours qui marquent le 63ème souvenir de la Nakba, notre peuple, dans le monde entier, se révolte et proteste contre l’injustice et la haine que nous rencontrons chaque jour, simplement parce que nous sommes Palestiniens et simplement parce que nous existons. (cliquer pour la suite du post et la traduction des sous-titres)
Nous en appelons à votre humanité et à votre conscience pour diffuser cette vidéo, pour que le 15 mai 1948 ne soit jamais oublié, et pour que les Palestiniens recouvrent leur liberté et leurs droits, en particulier le droit au retour.

Salamat,
Deux anonymes de Palestine

http://www.ism-france.org/temoignages/63-ans-de-Nakba-article-15565

63 ans de Nakba

J’en ai marre du mur
J’en ai marre des checkpoints entre les villes palestiniennes
J’en ai marre des colons israéliens illégaux et de leurs colonies
J’en ai marre que ma carte d’identité soit en hébreu
J’en ai marre que des gens ne connaissent rien de notre histoire mais qu’ils sachent tout de l’histoire juive
J’en ai marre que des gens ignorent le droit palestinien au retour et accepte le droit au retour des juifs
J’en ai marre de l’Accord d’Oslo que personne ici n’a d’abord voulu
J’en ai marre de l’Autorité palestinienne sans aucune autorité
J’en ai marre de voir mon père être humilié aux checkpoints par des gens de mon âge et plus jeunes
J’en ai marre que mes amis internationaux soient obligés de mentir quand ils viennent me voir, qu’ils soient interrogés, fouillés à corps et quelquefois expulsés
J’en ai marre que des gens ne comprennent pas ce qu’est “l’occupation”
J’en ai marre d’avoir tout le temps peur
J’en ai marre du syndrome de stress post-traumatique, un état normal ici en Palestine
J’en ai marre du Droit humanitaire international qui ne s’applique pas à l’État d’Israël
J’en ai marre de voir que combattre pour les droits humains de base des Palestiniens, ou critiquer la politique israélienne, est si souvent traité d'”antisémitisme”
J’en ai marre que tout le monde oublie que je suis une Sémite
J’en ai marre d’entendre les Israéliens se plaindre de discrimination quand l’État d’Israël a été fondé sur un principe de pureté ethnique
J’en ai marre de vivre à une époque où la discrimination raciale est devenue acceptable
J’en ai marre d’être constamment traité comme un suspect
J’en ai marre de la manière dont les médias nous décrivent, nous et notre situation
J’en ai marre que le monde entier se préoccupe de Gilad Shalit alors qu’il y a plus de 7000 Palestiniens dans les prisons israéliennes
J’en ai marre d’essayer de me défendre, moi-même, mes amis ou mes compatriotes et de me faire traiter de terroriste
J’en ai marre de voir, où je j’aille, le mur, une colonie ou une soldat israélien

J’en ai marre de 63 ans d’occupation israélienne

Traduction : MR pour ISM

In honor of the sixty-third anniversary of Israel’s independence from the proprietors of the land on which it was established, the Israeli embassy in Panama is issuing a four-part magazine series entitled “Israel: 63 years of constant progress”. The first 30-page installment arrived last week with the morning La Prensa and dealt with typical cultural themes such as hummus, shawarma, and the coexistence in the Israeli democratic “oasis” of various ethnicities enjoying equal rights. Cultural trivia items included that “Israelis drink 3.5 cups of coffee per day”, “A cup of coffee costs 4 dollars on average”, and “Because they are adventurous, Israelis love extreme sports”.

Higher-caliber trivia—such as the success of an Israeli invention for an electric hair removal device, which according to Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs “makes women happy all over the world” and should thus be used in order to counter “barbs of criticism” levied against Jewish state on account of its barbarous policies—was not on this occasion made available to Panamanians. Nor was it explained whether the multiethnic democracy’s Afghan Jewish inhabitants, represented by a photograph of women in blue burqas, had access to alternate ensembles for use during skydiving and other extreme activities, or how vast portions of the Israeli population living below the poverty line can spend 14 dollars a day on coffee.

The theme of the second supplement in the anniversary series, which arrived yesterday, is Israeli-Panamanian relations. The magazine cover features a handshake, with one hand patterned after the Israeli flag and the other after the Panamanian one. Lest there remain any doubt as to economic motives for political obsequiousness to Israel, this installment—like the first—is transparently interspersed with full-page advertisements from Panamanian banks and related institutions congratulating Israel on 63 years of independence. Also interspersed, however, is the detail that the “land of Israel” was in 1947 “also known as Palestine”.

On page 15 of the magazine it is announced that “Panama played an important role in the processes that led to the creation of the state of Israel”, thanks especially to a certain Eduardo Morgan Alvarez who “understood the injustices that the Jews had suffered” and who was appointed by Panamanian President Enrique A. Jimenez to represent the country before the U.N. Palestine Commission. According to the magazine, Morgan’s most important achievement “was to persuade smaller countries, primarily in Latin America, to support the U.N. [partition] resolution”.

Regarding Israeli acquisition of an air force, meanwhile, consider the following paragraph:

The first planes arrived to [Israel] by way of clandestine operations, due to the arms embargo by the West. One such operation involved transferring 13 planes from the U.S. to Panama, registering them under the name of Líneas Aéreas de Panama, LAPSA, a company that was created precisely for this purpose. The first plane arrived to Israel on June 21, 1948.”

Other bright spots in the history of Israeli-Panamanian relations appear on page 17, where we learn that current Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli’s March 2010 visit to Israel and signing of five accords prompted the Israelis to “issue a page of postage stamps in his honor”.

As for the report that bilateral trade between Israel and Panama increased 35 percent last year and that “Panama is one of Israel’s best trading partners in Latin America”, the sanctity of the arrangement is not without constraints—something confirmed by recently WikiLeaked cables indicating that Martinelli bowed to U.S. embassy pressure to cease providing contracts to the Israeli security firm Global CST. Run by former Head of the Operations Directorate of the IDF Israel Ziv, the firm’s regional accomplishments include employing an Argentine-born Israeli interpreter who endeavored to sell classified Colombian military documents to the FARC.

Of course, such trivia is irrelevant to Israel’s sixty-third anniversary of promoting conflict at home and abroad. Far more important is the recognition that “Israelis understand and appreciate good coffee, and they drink it the same way the Europeans do”, and that “Israel has the most divers per capita in the world, who enjoy world-renowned diving spots”.

http://pulsemedia.org/2011/05/11/panama’s-underappreciated-role-in-the-creation-of-israel/

for their “museum of tolerance”.

Carlos Latuff's homage to Vittorio Arrigoni

Written by Pasquale Navarra for Forum Palestina (translated by Mary Rizzo)

The causes and the dynamics of the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio Arrigoni, activist and correspondent of the International Solidarity Movement with Palestine in Gaza, are at the moment being reconstructed. Some information and evaluations can nevertheless be given even now.

Vittorio was about to return to Italy so that he could collaborate with the Freedom Flotilla mission which in May was planning on breaking the siege against the Palestinians of Gaza, a siege that Vittorio had systematically denounced and for years had been documenting.

Vittorio was found already dead when the Palestinian police, helped by the local population, was able to find the place where he had been held hostage. The 30 hour ultimatum was nothing more than a pretext. The kidnappers were very young, including at least one who was a Jordanian citizen (and not Palestinian).

The group that had kidnapped and killed Vittorio belongs to that galaxy of Salafi Islamic groups, very different from the current of Political Islam that the Hamas movement, which governs the Gaza Strip, has as its point of reference. These groups are much more active against the other corrupt Islamic currents and the Arab regimes – accused of apostasy – than they are against the Israeli occupation of Palestine or the USA presence in the Middle East.

Some of these groups belong to the network of Political Islam that has as its reference, is financed and armed by Saudi Arabia. Some of these groups have already provoked clashes and very serious problems in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon.

In these weeks in which the alliances of the Middle East are brusquely shuffled around by the people’s revolts and the tensions that are present in the entire region, the Saudi monarchy has established an alliance with Israel to mark the common enemy represented by Iran and its influence in the Gulf region and the Middle East. This alliance has been strengthened by a recent summit in Moscow in which present were both Netanyahu and the Saudi secret services leaders.

In these weeks the Israel authorities have initiated an intimidation campaign against the activists and the international solidarity campaigns with Palestine, in particular against the Freedom Flotilla which will leave in May, headed towards Gaza and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. The Israeli authorities have asked the governments of the countries which will have ships leaving from their shores or in which the BDS campaigns are strong to intervene against the activists. The Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has already accepted the request from the Israeli government. The Israeli secret services have been activated to use any means necessary to keep the international activists far from Gaza and from Palestine.

We do not have all the evidence, but we consider that the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio possibly fits into the dirty work carried out by the Islamic groups tied to the Saudi Arabian network that today is allied with Israel. The message to the international activists is loud, clear and disconcerting: “Stay far away from Gaza, stay far away from Palestine”, “No internationalisation on the Palestinian question will be tolerated by the authorities of Tel Aviv and its allies”.

We would like to send a loud and clear message to all those who in Israel or in the Arab world, in Europe or the United States intend upon tightening the noose of isolation and liquidation around the right of self-determination of the Palestinians. We owe it to this population that has been fighting for its freedom for over sixty years and now we also owe it to Vittorio.

Il Forum Palestina

Israel meanwhile suffers fallout from Japanese disaster

Making rounds over the past few days is an item from the Business section of Israel’s Ynet news site, entitled “Israel fears sushi shortage after quake”. The article begins by noting that, while Japan “has yet to recover from one of the greatest disasters in its history, Israelis fear a shortage in the ingredients of one of their favorite dishes: Sushi”.

In case readers are still unclear as to the identity of the real victims of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear radiation crisis, the second paragraph of the article underscores the frightening dilemma presently facing humanity:

Many of sushi’s basic components come from Japan or are imported through the battered countries. Will Israelis soon suffer from a shortage of the beloved rolls’ necessary ingredients?”

That all is not lost is confirmed by the article’s subheading, however: “Rice shortage not expected”.

Sane observers appear to be confused as to whether the piece was intended for publication in The Onion, where it would certainly thrive thanks in large part to the article’s protagonist Dudi Afriat, sales manager of the Rakuto Kasei company that imports Kikkoman soy sauce and other sushi paraphernalia to Israel.

Among Afriat’s contributions are pronouncements about the role of Kikkoman in Israeli society:

Israeli chefs feel very connected to this product. After the tsunami I received phone calls from hysterical people fearing a shortage of Kikkoman.”

One thing The Onion editors might have done differently is to make Afriat less of a passive observer. His remark that damage to a Kikkoman factory in Japan has caused “delays in the supply” and fueled shortage fears, for example, might have been jazzed up with a suggestion that the Japanese technicians currently working round-the-clock and risking death to defuse the radiation crisis instead divide their time and energy between the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the Kikkoman factory.

Israel’s tendency to cast itself as uniquely entitled to victimhood is nothing new, of course, although it usually occurs at the expense of Arab and Muslim populations rather than Japanese. Given that the Israeli definition of victim extends even to IDF commandos who kill humanitarian activists in international waters, it is safe to assume that—if something even remotely as devastating as what has befallen Japan were to occur in Israel proper—the Israelis would not take kindly to articles in widely-read media outlets about fears of a decrease in production of Bamba snacks or the award-winning kosher pigs-in-a-blanket.

http://pulsemedia.org/2011/03/18/world-fears-shortage-of-kosher-hotdogs-in-event-of-nuclear-strike-on-israel/

Don Quixote and Sancho PanzaHero or madman? Four hundred years ago Don Quixote, Cervantes’s cavalier clod, set out from La Mancha on a decrepit horse, Sancho Panza by his side, to win the heart of Dulcinea. Quixote was a dreamer with good intentions and his legend has endured, but for all the wrong reasons. We remember him for his misadventures, albeit chivalrous, but at the end of the day Quixote saved no one and made no difference except perhaps in the hearts of those he encountered. In truth, his righteous intentions and noble acts often led to grave consequences.

In a strange sort of way, it feels like we’re seeing these misadventures played out before our eyes, and as in Cervantes’s brilliant parody, with equally tragic results.

The quixotic endeavour known as the Freedom Flotilla is about to embark on its second act at the end of May 2011. The first flotilla, which reached its dramatic end on 31 May 2010, saw a tiny fleet of boats carrying peace activists – and according to Israel, a group of Turkish militants – face off against one of the most powerful armed forces in the world. Well, at least no one can accuse them of battling windmills but one must question the sanity and cynicism of organizers who deliberately sought acclaim through known adversity. Perhaps like Quixote, they truly believed they were “born to be an example of misfortune, and a target at which the arrows of adversary are aimed.”

So they got their headlines, but at such a cost. The incident, planned as a publicity-raising exercise more than anything else, set off a series of protests and diplomatic wrist-slaps around the world. Europeans very much want to see a negotiated end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. But significantly, the flotilla disaster has failed to hurt Israel’s international standing. Indeed, within a few weeks of the raid, Israel’s proponents were lining up to affirm their support. “Israel’s basic right to self-defense should not be questioned,” wrote one group that included Jose Maria Aznar, a former prime minister of Spain, David Trimble, a former first minister of Northern Ireland, Alejandro Toledo, a former president of Peru, and Marcello Pera, a former president of the Italian Senate.

Since the demise of Israel’s relations with Turkey (which, admittedly, began before the flotilla incident), Israel’s Mediterranean neighbours have been practically tripping over themselves to improve ties to Israel. Last November Italy’s air force conducted a joint training exercise with the IAF. In February, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Spain where he met with Spanish PM Jose Luis Zapatero and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I who hosted Peres at a royal reception. Last week, Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias arrived in Israel for the first visit by a Cypriot head of state in over 10 years. While in Jerusalem Christofias, Cyprus’ first Communist president, became the first European leader to publicly denounce the flotilla project. “Terror activities in Gaza are unacceptable,” stated Christofias, “and therefore we have prevented the flotillas from leaving.” http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/142898

No state is benefiting from Israel’s estrangement from Turkey more than Greece. Israel’s ties to Greece have been strengthening on an almost daily basis. It should be remembered that Greece initially withdrew from joint military exercises with Israel in protest at the raid. But within a few months, Greece was hosting senior members of the IDF, including navy head Eli Marom (who ordered the Mavi Marmara attack), and Israel’s PM and his wife.
http://multimedia.jta.org/images/multimedia/bibius_0/F100817GPO05_m.jpg

“We see the (European) market expanding to the Mediterranean and certainly we would like to integrate Israel into this European market,” said Prime Minister George Papandreou. “I think this is vital for Israel’s economy but also for its strategic security. “Last month, Greek’s PM promised visiting Jewish American leaders that Athens would help Israel forge even CLOSER ties with the European Union, particularly through gaining access to European markets. Not a word about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians or even the detention of 30 Greek activists on board Mavi Marmara. A non-issue!

Other European states have been equally nonchalant toward the tiny protest movement. Just a few weeks before the raid, on 10 May 2010, Israel had been invited by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to become a member. One might have expected the deadly assault to affect the discussions. One would be wrong. The formal agreement was signed in Paris on 28 June 2010.

The love-fest has continued throughout the EU. Last month, the Dutch parliament passed a pro-Israel bill affirming Israel’s existence as a Jewish, democratic state and urging the EU not to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. The bill declared that the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would not bring closer a lasting peace, and therefore the Dutch government will advance a European (EU) policy that rejects the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and means a European call to the Palestinian leaders to resume direct negotiations with Israel. In other words, a complete dismissal of Palestinian rejection of Jewish self-determination and agreement with Israel’s position that it has been the PA and its refusal to negotiate that is the stumbling block, not Israeli actions. It’s also impossible not to notice tightening relations between Israel and Poland which includes several recent military deals. In Jerusalem last month for the first ever Polish-Israeli governmental forum, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk declared, “You have a real friend in Europe and it is important that both countries will strengthen each other’s image.” (And again, not a mention of Israel’s treatment of Gaza’s population.) http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11858.shtml

If that doesn’t seem significant consider this: in July 2011, Poland will assume the rotating presidency of the EU.

There’s more. Last month, a computer scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University was appointed by the European Commission to its Scientific Council, the governing body of the European Research Council (ERC). A few days later, Israel was selected to host the 2011/13 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Under-21 final tournament. Yes, international organizations are still planning events in Israel, business is up (4.1% in 2010) and tourists are flocking to the country in droves.

Other than some public admonishment from known critics of Israel, such as Catherine Ashton, the British government has all but forgotten last year’s raid. Prime Minister David Cameron, who last year condemned the attack, has now reversed his position saying that Israel was “within its rights to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza.” And last week, George Galloway’s Viva Palestina announced that it can no longer fund-raise in behalf of any future flotilla as a result of suspected ties to Hamas. Although no links have been proven, Viva Palestina obviously believes the investigation is ongoing. Was this inquiry ordered from above? The timing is certainly suspicious.

The incident definitely didn’t affect Israel’s relationship with the US. In August 2010, the two countries signed a formal co-operation pact between NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA). The US has continued to shield Israel from legal action and has endorsed Israel’s Turkel Report, an examination of the details of the raid, as a “credible and impartial and transparent investigation.”

The issue at hand is not the cause, which is worthwhile and laudable, but the methods and motivation of some so-called peace-activists who, like Quixote, are “spurred on by the conviction that the world [needs their] immediate presence.”

If, then, the Freedom Flotilla’s hope was to embarrass Israel into lifting its blockade of the Gaza strip, it was a dismal failure. A second flotilla planned for May 2011, will also likely end in disaster, the boats stopped by force, activists detained and possibly killed. The movement will succeed at getting more headlines for a cause that’s barely been out of the news for 40 years. Will international condemnation follow? Probably. Will it make a difference? It hasn’t yet.

That’s not to say the plan is meaningless: it empowers and validates human rights activists trying to make a difference; more importantly, the global movement gives hope to Gaza’s entrapped population. That sort of gesture shouldn’t be dismissed. But there is a troubling flip-side that must be addressed, and that is the powerful influence of a small group of narcissistic, self-righteous Don Quixotes (and I put Turkey’s PM Erdogan, who is seeing re-election just weeks after the scheduled flotilla, in this group) who may be championing a failed strategy at the expense of putting the time and effort into developing realistic strategies for real peace. Before another flotilla sails, I think it’s time this prospect is considered.

Cameron likes private Israeli security orgs

‘With me you have a prime minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible’, David Cameron assured over a thousand supporters of a private security organisation that polices the English Jewish communities.  While his commitment has long been common knowledge, his word choice underscores the need for concern.

When we say we ‘believe in’ something, we are making a personal value judgement.  Whether we ‘believe in’ God, or we ‘believe in’ drinking five litres of water a day, the phrase means that we think the concept is valid.  The British Prime Minister’s word choice points to a political phenomenon: Israel has never been a traditional state as much as it has been an ethos.  From the beginning, the Israeli project has been an ideology imposed at the expense of those whose only fault was to have been caught unawares on a coveted land. 

Indeed the whole of Cameron’s speech, which can be read here http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/46044/david-camerons-speech-cst, exudes a passion for a conceptual people under siege.  Cameron thus describes his belief in the Israeli project as ‘indestructible’—defensively and defiantly ‘indestructible’. 

The need for concern lies with his personal adulation dictating the terms of his political management.  Certainly, to guarantee equal rights for English people of all religious faiths is admirable.  But throughout his speech Cameron equates ‘Jewish’ with ‘Israeli’—as if all London Jews were pro-Israeli (they are not) and as if all Israelis were Jewish (they are not).   Such a stance discredits both demographics.  Likewise, his promise that he ‘will always be an advocate for the State of Israel’ denies the possibility of a conflict of interest with his sworn duty as Prime Minister to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth: to be an advocate for the United Kingdom.

Equally as worrisome, though, is the Prime Minister’s characterisation of the recent upheavals in the Arab world.  Cameron notes that ‘this instability may seem a cause for concern for Israel’, but he then shrewdly reassures his audience.  This is a ‘precious moment of opportunity’, he says.  ‘We want to see Israel driving the process, which means seizing the initiative.  Doing so is absolutely vital’.

Vital to whom?  Is it vital to the Libyan people against whom Muammar and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi are using mercenary weapons outsourced from similar Israeli ‘security firms’?  No, not vital, but lethal to those seeking redress.

Cameron devotes a significant portion of his speech to discussing the Arab uprisings as an ‘opportunity’ for Israel and its Western patrons to remake the region to better suit themselves.  This myopic exploitation typifies the pattern of defining all matters and all peoples of the Greater Middle East in terms of the Western-Israeli Alliance. 

A spirit of entitlement and superiority has for many long and bloody years pervaded Western foreign policies.  Many of those who have been suffocated by such attitudes have at last realised that they deserve to decide for themselves their own business.

A state is a dynamic entity.  No state comprises people of identical values.  Its success lies in achieving a balance in the cultural expression of those values.   But this balance cannot be imposed.  It can be determined only by the people themselves. 

The Arab peoples have had enough of the condescending advisories from those who have their strategic eye on Aladdin’s cave.  The Arab peoples do not need the dubious money-maker George Soros to sort out on the BBC the Arabs’ handling of their own natural resources.  Nor do they need David Cameron’s vision of ‘stability and security for all.’  Because his vision is simply not for all.  He said it himself: he will always be an advocate for the State of Israel. 

The seemingly contagious quests for Arab autonomy throughout the region have been propelled by people who want and need and demand a voice.  Their own voice.  The uprisings are neither pro-Westernism, nor anti-Westernism.  Rather, the uprisings are about self-respect.  The uprisings are resistance to imposed ideologies.  Let us be clear: the region is not for sale.

www.english.moqawama.org

Originally posted at http://english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=13593&cid=269  

Photo from http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=2359   

Mohammed BakriTo: Israeli court system
Stop The Political Persecution Of The Director And Actor Mohammed Bakri

There is mounting racism in Israel against the Arabs who form more than 20% of the state’s citizens. Indeed, the state itself is contributing to this climate of racism. Government agencies are trying to intimidate the political representatives of the Arab citizens. A series of increasingly racist bills are being introduced to the Knesset by members of parties in the governing coalition. The government does nothing to counter the widely-distributed racist proclamation which was issued by dozens of prominent rabbis who are actually paid by the government itself – a racist call for expelling Arab citizens from neighbourhoods in the cities of Safed, Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and elsewhere.

In line with all this, the courts are being used for a concerted attack on the director and actor, Muhammad Bakri. He is being persecuted for using his art to document the crimes of the Israeli state and its army.

Bakri was right when he commented on this persecution as follows: “Nobody sued me when, in addition to movies about the victims of the Jewish Holocaust, I attended movies on the Armenian Genocide and the crimes against the Kurds. Why, then, am I being pursued because I made the film “Jenin, Jenin”, about the attack of the Israeli army on the refugee camp in that city in Spring 2002?”

We know what stands behind the Israeli soldiers who are suing Bakri. The individual soldiers who are suing him were neither shown, nor mentioned, in the film. It is clear that the suit against Bakri is simply an attempt to silence a prominent voice that has dared to reveal the truth about the Israeli occupation. Bakri has dared to challenge the monopoly of the occupiers’ narrative. He is being persecuted in order to send a message to all others who might be tempted to reveal truths that are embarrassing to the racist hegemony in Israel.

The suit against Bakri is simply one ploy in a campaign of intimidation, a campaign which aims to silence all those who dare tell the truth about the injustices which the Israeli state, its settlers and its army are inflicting on the Palestinians.
All artists and progressive intellectuals around the world should lend their support to those in Israel who are trying to resist this vile campaign of intimidation. By doing so, they will help save whatever still remains in that country of the right to freedom of thought, to freedom of expression, to freedom of artistic creativity.
We, the undersigned, warn all Israelis: today they are abusing the courts to intimidate Mohammed Bakri; one day it will be you.

To the Israeli court system, we say: throw out this frivolous suit against Mohammed Bakri. Otherwise, you will drag the State of Israel and its institutions further into disrepute.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

please sign it here: http://www.petitiononline.com/bakri11/petition.html

also send your letters of solidarity to jenin.jenin48@gmail.com

It had been pointed out (thanks Wassy and Eva) that there was a banner on the top of the “newspaper pro-Palestinian activists in the West love”, Ha’aretz, for a “Palestinian State”. This banner was paid for by a group of Fanatics lead by Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad and the text of it, I found on this site,  http://israelifrontline.blogspot.com/ run by a woman who lived 40 years of her life in Canada and the USA, but now has “returned to Israel”. Check out this campaign entitled:

A Democratic Jordan is Palestine  (Jordan is Palestine)

What follows is the material the signatories spread if they have a site or mailing list, with my (mary rizzo) comments in RED.

Just because the flags are similar, they propose "unification" as Palestine

Please sign this petition from Knesset Minister Dr. Aryeh Eldad, and forward it to all your friends, urging Jordanian King Abdullah to declare Jordan as the new Palestinian State and Homeland.
The New ‘Road Map’ for Peace starts Now! No. No need for the actual citizens to have a voice in it! That’s the way every “Road Map for Peace” has always worked.

Larry Kosberg
—————————–
As you well know, we are encouraging people to sign this petition so we can declare Jordan the new Palestinian State. Because wishing makes it so! Please watch the video below (complete with trashy electronic pop) to learn more about the history of this region.  Read the declaration, and if you agree, please sign the petition. And in the meantime declare Disneyland a Nuclear Free Zone and why not The Moon as the next frontier? Lacking that, declare your next door neighbour’s garage as belonging to the guy across the street. Everyone will think it’s reasonable!

Israel is being pressured to create a Palestinian State.  In response, we want to pressure the international community and the UN to pressure King Abdullah II to turn Jordan into the Palestinian State. 80% of Jordanians are so-called “Palestinians”. We propose that the rest may join them. From Pressure to pressure, the pressure on “the rest” is not going to be a petition or a kind invitation. It takes other forms, ones that include guns, bombs, arrests, and the thing we call “willing population transfer”.

Now is the time to stand in support of the state of Israel and to create peace in this region by giving the Arabs a country of their own. Arabs there had a country of their own, a land of their own, a home of their own.  They will never again be able to say that they do not have a state. They actually were robbed of their homes, and during the process of post colonial state-making, were swindled out of their state, which is a crime that has not been rectified with the imposition of unlimited mass immigration of Jews into Israel and with the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population also into other Arab states.

Most importantly, after you have signed, please be sure to forward this message to your list to keep this trend going and to have a significant number of signatures.
Thank you very much,

Michelle Cohen (a so-called “Israeli” who lived 40 of her years in Canada and the USA).

Please click HERE to sign this petition. Not advised to even leave a snide remark… they will use your name and that is not what you want.  

The Government of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu are under  pressure to accept and implement “the  two states solution”  which means a creation of  a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Right now, they better grab it while the going is good. But they have never been able to understand what the implications of their Jewish State were in actual fact. It means obviously claiming in fact what the unstated annexation of the territory has allowed them to avoid…. less territory than the entirety. Now that the “demand” might happen, they change the cards on the table. So, to find a way to get all the land, “get the rest of the unwanted to join others” in population transfer, which is actually a word that means deportation, a crime against humanity, they make it look like a boon for Palestinians and an asset for peace. YES!  The old hasbara trick of commit an atrocity and paint it as humanitarian goodness! 

It was the late Prime Minister Rabin who wrote :”A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”. We are concerned that the only political plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – is the plan that endangers the very existence of Israel.
 
 
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (For a detailed biography on Prof. Eldad, please click here.) No, see below where I comment on his “illustrious” biography.

Jordan is Palestine (with deconstruction in red)

To His Majesty
The King of Jordan
King Abdullah the Second
&
The Government and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Presented this Date, the 25th of May 2011
The 65th Independence Day of the Kingdom of Jordan
 
As the cries for democracy reach us from Tunis, Egypt, and all around the Arab world, we call upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to declare itself the democratic nation state of the Palestinian people. (And it frightens us to see the word democracy which is translated into human terms, numbers and people in flesh and blood asking to be counted. This goes against our ideals of what democracy means so let’s kill two birds with one stone: complain that Jordan is NOT a democracy because it is ruled by a King, and also present ourselves as a democratic entity because we don’t have a king. We are the Jewish state, we don’t need anything else that complicates this simple reasoning).
 
80% of the population of Jordan are disenfranchised Palestinians. (Let’s hope that no one remembers how they actually ended up there, it’s already bad enough we have to use the P word).  This declarative step (imposed by us, so you have to reject it, and then the real victory: ARABS ARE AGAIN REJECTIONIST OF A PEACEFUL SOLUTION)  would correct that injustice and provide the foundation for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between the Jewish and Arab peoples. (Israel isn’t even stated yet in MY words, how clever am I? Now let me drop the bomb for my own people, after all, they are the only ones who will read this! Then I repeat it once we get that pesky Palestine out of the way.)
 
The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin wrote: “A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”.
That needn’t be the case. That shouldn’t be the case. (How in the hell can I sell the idea of Eretz Yisrael unless I brand it in the figurehead the peaceniks love? How clever am I?!)
 
Let Jordan be democratic and free, and let the Palestinian people accept upon themselves the full mantle and responsibility of democratic statehood in Jordan – without the destruction or diminishment of the state of Israel and without the physical transfer of any population, neither Jew nor Arab. (Now, when I say without the physical transfer, I cover my bottom nicely, and I don’t even need to state that we officially take the land and make it Jewish! We keep on doing what we are doing now and if they are so masochistic they want to say, it’s their own damn doing! How clever am I? Now remember, what I said, those Arabs are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan, this is my plan and I never hid it except now. I call it “willing population transfer”.)
 
We the undersigned, citizens of the world, representatives of hundreds of thousands around the world, (there, covered my bottom again because the signatories will not be even six million) ask the Government of Jordan and King Abdullah the Second, to proclaim the Hashemite Kingdom the democratic nation state of the Palestinians, and with this symbolic and declarative step, make a decisive contribution to Middle East and world peace. (Since he’s a KING, he can just do that! Monarchy is good for us right now, thanks G-d!)
 
We remind you of the brave words of your father: (who was a king, so WTF does this mean but deep Arabic bowing which will win his heart and make us look like we respect all of that rot).
  
“I wish democracy and peace to be my legacy to my people and the shield of generations to come.” - King Hussein I of Jordan

Aryeh Eldad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 

Aryeh Eldad
Arie Eldad.jpg
Date of birth 1 May 1950 (1950-05-01) (age 60)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 16th, 17th, 18th
Party National Union
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (Hebrew: אריה אלדד‎, born 1 May 1950) is an Israeli physician and politician, and a member of the Knesset for the National Union, within which he heads the Hatikva faction.

Biography

Eldad was born in Tel Aviv in 1950. He is married with five children. His father, Israel Eldad, was a well known Israeli public thinker and formerly one of the leaders of the underground group Lehi. (Underground is a polite word for TERRORIST. Lehi assassinated Folke Bernadotte, the UN attachè in the mandate.

The other major Jewish terrorist group, Lehi, was more extremist than the Irgun, claiming all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates as belonging to the Jews. When Jabotinsky declared a cease-fire in the fight against Britain and its mandate troops in Palestine during World War II, Stern broke with him and founded Lehi. Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

 He is a resident of Kfar Adumim (he’s a settler in the most simplified sense of the term) and is a Brigadier-General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces. Self explanatory.

Medical career

Eldad is a professor and head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at the Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate. He served as the chief medical officer and was the senior commander of the Israeli Defense Forces medical corps for 25 years, and reached a rank of Tat Aluf (Brigadier General). He is renowned worldwide for his treatment of burns and won the Evans Award from the American Burns Treatment Association.

Political career

Eldad was first elected to the Knesset on the National Union list in 2003, and chaired the Ethics Committee

Some of his ethics: He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations.

and how about these ethics:

Thus, the first step in the attack against Iran should be a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah and Hamas. The timing of the war against Hezbollah should be coordinated with the plans against Iran.

Prior to the scheduled Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in August 2005, Eldad was the only member of parliament to call for non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic in the struggle against the government. Eldad even walked the few hundred kilometres between the now evacuated community of Sa-Nur (in the northern West Bank) to Neve Dekalim in order to attract attention to the opposition of the Withdrawal plan.

In the February 2006 dismantlement of the Amona outpost Eldad was injured during the confrontation between demonstrators and police, as was his ally MK Effi Eitam. The event caused a storm of criticism on both sides, as interim Prime MinisterEhud Olmert accused them of inciting the crowd to attack the police, while they accused Olmert and the police of reckless use of force. But it achieved the enormous benefit of making the settlers into “the force to reckon with”. From the horse’s mouth: But a new standard of resistance was achieved. No government in Israel will take for granted that they can evacuate a settlement and destroy it. They know very well that the next time they try it; they may have to kill some of us first. They know that no government in Israel will survive such brutality. The fact that the government avoids any attempt to forcibly evacuate settler outposts after Amona is the direct result of that very traumatic day.

After being re-elected in 2006, in August 2007 Eldad established and headed a 10-member Homesh Knesset caucus met for the first time. The caucus’ mandate is to work to promote the re-establishment of Homesh – with the aim of eventually re-establishing all the settlements dismantled in 2005.

In November 2007 he announced the formation of a new secular right-wing party named Hatikva. Ultimately the party ran as a faction of the National Union in the 2009 elections, with Eldad in third place on the alliance’s list. He retained his seat as the Union won four mandates.

In 2008 he submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing that Hebron‘s Arab residents be removed “in order to protect the Jews of Hebron”.[1] but his suggestion came to no avail.

Eldad’s 2009 proposal that Palestinian Arabs be given Jordanian citizenship drew a formal protest from the Jordanian foreign minister.[2]

Political beliefs

Eldad is a Revisionist Zionist who believes in the ideas of Zionist philosopher Zeev Jabotinsky who wrote:

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45).

Eldad supports the right of Jews to live in any part of the Land of Israel and opposes any surrender of Israeli sovereignty to the PLO. “We have to understand that there is a price to pay if we want to be an independent Jewish State. It is still a lower price then what we will have to pay as Dhimmis living at the mercy of the Islamic terror” and what is that price? “There is only one answer to the challenge of the Jihad from Gaza: a military one.”

Eldad opposes the creation of any Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River and called its possibility a “disaster”. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would lead, Eldad believes, to a Hamas-run center of terror within three days of Israeli transfer of the land. Furthermore, Eldad believes that the State of Israel will never have peace with the Arabs.

On his Zionism, Eldad stated that “I belong to this part of the Jewish people that believes the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.” In a university lecture, he questioned, “how did we [the Jewish people] become so distorted as to say the Arabs have a right to our land?” On “occupation,” he posits that “the only occupation I know of is the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century… If I am an occupier in Hebron, I am an occupier in Tel Aviv…” The Balfour Declaration, the White Papers, the United Nations recognition of the State of Israel – all these, Eldad believes, are not the sources of the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, but “only recognition of our right.” Yes, an occupier. This is clear. If one is an occupier in Hebron, one is an occupier in Tel Aviv.

On his political goals, Eldad has stated: “When I wake up in the morning, I divide the day into two parts. In the first part of the day, I try to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. It is not a full-time job, so in the second part of the day, I try to prevent corruption.”

In March 2010, in response to David Miliband‘s statement that the Israeli cloning of British passports is “intolerable”, he commented: “I think the British are being hypocritical, and I do not wish to insult dogs here, since some dogs show true loyalty, [but] who gave the British the right to judge us on the war on terror?” Uhm, try the same guys who gave you that Declaration that you use as the recognition of your “right”. Let’s make a deal, they withhold judgement and you forget about the Balfour Declaration. Seems logical.

During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s visit to Lebanon in October 2010, Eldad stated:

“History would have been different if in 1939 some Jewish soldier would have succeeded in taking Hitler out. If Ahmadinejad will be in the crosshairs of an IDF rifle when he comes to throw rocks at us, he must not return home alive.” (spoken like a true son of Lehi).

  

On 25 February 2011 activists and organizations from around the world will join together in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Hebron/ al Khaleel, through local protests that demand for the opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an End to the Occupation! For more info or to organize a protest in your city please contact openshuhadastreet@gmail.com

Want to get involved? Click here for more information

Open Shuhada Street Pamphlet 2011

Open Shuhada Street – 25 Feb 2011 – Global Day of Action from Joseph Dana on Vimeo.

Shuhada Street used to be the principal street for Palestinians residents, businesses and a very active market place in the Palestinian city of Hebron/ al Khaleel. Today, because Shuhada Street runs through the Jewish settlement of Hebron, the street is closed to Palestinian movement and looks like a virtual ghost street which only Israelis and tourists are allowed to access. Hate graffiti has been sprayed across the closed Palestinian shops and Palestinians living on the street have to enter and exit their houses through their back doors or, even sometimes by climbing over neighbor’s roofs.

International Supporter Being Arrested During a Recent Protest in Hebron. Photo: Activestills.org

In 1994, following the massacre of 29 Muslims at prayer by America-Israeli settler Dr Baruch Goldstein, shops on Shuhada Street were closed and vehicular traffic prohibited on the street. Despite a court case and an admission by the Israeli government that it is illegal, the street is still closed to Palestinians 16 years later. We are focusing on Shuhada Street as a symbol of the settlement issue, the policy of separation in Hebron/al Khaleel and the entire West Bank, the lack of freedom of movement, and the occupation at large. Check back to this page for more updates regarding how you can get involved. For more background information and FAQ’s click here.


The Rotten Orchard


(there are many important hyperlinks, the colour of which is very close to the text colour.) On March 19th, two months after the 22-day devastation of Gaza and the slaughtering of over 1,400 Palestinians, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz published harrowing testimonies by numerous Israeli soldiers who had participated in “Operation Cast Lead.” The soldiers, all recent graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program, were speaking at an open academic forum about their recent military experiences and, as Sarah Anne Minkin of Jewish Peace News reports, “confessed that they’d knowingly shot civilians to death in Gaza, that they’d intentionally vandalized Palestinian homes, and that the rules of engagement in the war – rules handed down from above – were exceptionally permissive.”

In response to these testimonies, the Israeli military denied the claims made by their own personnel, stating that even if some of the allegations and anecdotes were true (since the troops had “no reason to lie”), they were isolated incidents and did not represent the IDF as a whole. Nonetheless, the IDF promised to conduct “intensive and comprehensive inquiries” and an investigation was launched.

Eleven days later, on March 30th – half the time it took the Israeli air force, navy, and army to murder 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wound over 6,000 more, and leave tens of thousands homeless – the Israeli military concluded that the soldiers’ stories of gross misconduct and war crimes were baseless, that they were “based in hearsay” and “rumors,” and declared an end to the probe. Even though the pre-military program’s own founder and leader, Danny Zamir, who is himself a deputy battalion commander in the IDF, described the soldiers’ testimonies as “dismaying and depressing” and concluded that the stories reveal the truth about “an army with very low norms of value,” the IDF investigators disagreed. Luckily for the IDF, the “investigation” by the IDF found that the IDF was still, in fact, according to the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.” What a relief that must have been.

Apparently, the claims of intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, of shooting women and children, of the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and personal property, even if they are true, are only, we are told, the misguided actions of a few bad apples.

In fact, we are told that, in Israel, any evidence of military or political misconduct, human rights or international law violations, or racism and oppression are mere aberrations from normality, simple – however troubling – deviations from the peace-loving, ethnically tolerant, democratically representative mainstream. We are told not to judge an entire society by the misdeeds of some bad apples. These bad apples don’t represent the whole Israeli orchard, which, we are told, thrives on justice and equality. (The fact that the Israeli orchard was planted atop a bulldozed Palestinian orchard is, we are told, irrelevant. Even broaching such a topic is anti-Semitic…we are told.)

We are told that the Jewish Rabbinate distributed books and pamphlets, indoctrinating Israeli troops headed for Gaza with claims that they are holy warriors fighting to expel the Palestinians (collectively called “murderers”) who are “interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” The rabbis preach that there is a “a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter” of Israel to non-Jews and the literature they hand out states that “when you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral.” We are told that these rabid rabbis are just a handful of overzealous, extremist apples.

Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth – an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.

In three weeks of devastating bombings and ground assaults, the Israeli military destroyed over 4,100 homes, 25 schools and hospitals, two bridges, 1500 factories and shops, and numerous government offices and buildings in Gaza. Ten water and sewage arteries, ten electricity-generating stations, and 80% of all agricultural properties, including all farms and crops, were also destroyed. Damages to Palestinian infrastructure exceed $2 billion. Who is being held responsible for this destruction? Is it the Israeli government that authorized the operation, the military brass that planned and ordered the attacks, or the pilots, sailors, and soldiers that carried them out? We are told that the bad apples of Hamas are to blame.

We are told that “for the most part, someone who belongs to Hamas’ civilian welfare organizations is treated the same way as a member of its military wing” and is a legitimate target as dictated by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force. We are told that many of the Israeli attacks on Gaza were carried out via remote control. An Israeli reservist is quoted as saying, “It feels like hunting season has begun…Sometimes it reminds me of a Play Station game. You hear cheers in the war room after you see on the screens that the missile hit a target, as if it were a soccer game.” Have we lost count of bad apples yet?

We are told that Parash Hill, near Sderot, with views across lush green fields to Gaza City with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, was full of Israeli sightseers during the Gaza assault. They came with their families, binoculars, cameras with zoom lenses, and picnic baskets to watch Israeli F-16s, Apache helicopters, and unmanned drones fire missiles into residential neighborhoods, destroying buildings and slaughtering their terrified inhabitants. They gather on this “Hill of Shame” to view the carnage in the distance, celebrating the death and destruction, justifying the killing of children by saying, “When they grow up they’ll also probably be terrorists.” These Israelis, for whom watching genocidal air raids is a spectator sport, must be bad apples.

The Israeli military used banned and experimental weaponry such as white phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) in heavily-populated civilian neighborhoods of Gaza. These weapons cause severe burns, dismemberment and mutilation to their victims. Numerous other atrocities have been well documented by Israeli and international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and B’Tselem. We are told that the perpetrators of such blatant war crimes must surely be bad apples, but for some reason the International Criminal Court has yet to charge anyone for misconduct.

The Israeli army used flechettes, which are “anti-personnel weapons designed to penetrate dense vegetation…4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks.” Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed by flechettes in Gaza. Who would fire such heavy weaponry at a civilian? Probably just another bad apple.


Testimonies from Israeli soldiers reveal that it was common practice to storm an apartment building in Gaza and open fire upon anything that moved. Women and children waving white flags were gunned down. Soldiers “break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool,” take over homes, write “Death to Arabs” on the walls, spit on family pictures, urinate on piles of the residents’ clothing, smear shit on the walls, and receive orders to “clean out the whole house. We threw everything, everything, out of the windows to make room. The entire contents of the house went flying out the windows.” Palestinians who try to run away must be terrorists, just as those who stay where they are must be terrorists. The pilot who makes a minor mistake like bombing a school and killing 40 Palestinian children is forgiven while the Israeli squad commander who says, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her…I simply felt it was murder in cold blood” is yet another bad apple.

The sharpshooter who shot and killed a mother and her two children because they misunderstood orders (to turn right instead of left), given to them by Israeli soldiers who had invaded and occupied their home for days, holding them captive in one room before releasing them, was just a bad apple who made a mistake. According to the sniper’s squad leader:

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it…The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad apple, actually. After all, he was just following orders.

The non-commissioned officer who revealed that when the Israeli army “entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey…I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them,” must just be talking about orders given by a bad apple or two and carried out by some more bad apples.

We are told that the Israeli soldiers who have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques are just bad apples.

The snipers who wear shirts depicting a dead Palestinian baby with a teddy bear and his weeping mother beside him, accompanied by the inscription “Better use Durex,” the soldiers wearing shirts with a drawing of a Palestinian boy and the words, “Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired,” those who wear shirts depicting an Israeli soldier raping a Palestinian girl and the inscription “No virgins, no terror attacks,” the sharpshooters from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion who wear T-shirts showing a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, and the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills,” these, we are told again and again, are just some more bad apples.

We are told that troops in Gaza engaged in a military practice called the “Neighborhood Procedure,” wherein Palestinian civilians are forced, often at gunpoint, to enter homes and ask the inhabitants to come out. This practice has been rejected by Israel’s own Supreme Court due to the ruling that using civilians in military operations violates not only IDF protocol but also international law, such as the Geneva Conventions that guarantee immunity to all civilians. So what is happening to the bad apples in the IDF who are using Palestinian civilians as human shields?

We are told that the IDF commanders who ordered their troops to shoot at Palestinian and Red Cross paramedics, rescuers, and ambulances in Gaza, preventing evacuation and treatment of the wounded, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of Palestinians, in another unequivocal breach of international law, are most likely just some bad apples.

The rules of engagement in Gaza, as defined by the Israeli military, state that a Palestinian need only be in a “problematic” location for him to be “incriminated” and thereby automatically be “sentenced to death. Often, there is no need for him to be identified as carrying a weapon. Three people in the home of a known Hamas operative, someone out on a roof at 2 A.M. about a kilometer away from an Israeli post, a person walking down the wrong street before dawn – all are legitimate targets for attack.” According to the IDF, the bad apples here are the “suspicious” Palestinians, stupidly living their lives without seeking permission from Israel, and not the soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.


In Gaza, Israeli soldiers entered the home of a woman and her ten children and told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” After ignoring the screams and pleas for mercy and repeating their demands, the soldiers said they would choose for her and murdered five of the children before her eyes. These soldiers are apparently bad apples.

A senior Israeli reserve officer, after hearing about some of the barbarity of the Israeli troops in Gaza, said it was important to “bear in mind what sort of values inductees have when they come to us these days. Every year, the education system produces a significant number of little racists.” That sounds like a significant number of bad little apples.

Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is one such bad apple. Lieberman, leader of the openly fascist Israel Beteynu party, ran for Prime Minister in Israel’s recent elections under the banner of “No loyalty, no citizenship” with the hopes of implementing oaths of allegiance to a Jewish state in order for Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians to maintain their citizenship. Lieberman even led a call to ban two Arab parties from Knesset elections – a move that was approved by the Central Elections Committee but subsequentally overturned by the Supreme Court. Undeterred, Lieberman said, “We will not give up. In the next Knesset we will pass the Citizenship Law, which will put a border on the disloyalty of some of the Israeli Arabs.” He is also a confessed and convicted child abuser, is under investigation for money-laundering and fraud, was a proud member of Meir Kahane’s Kach political party, which was outlawed due to its overt racism, and lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.

As Minister of Transport in 2003, Lieberman, in response to the news that 350 Palestinian prisoners were to be given amnesty by Israel, declared that he would be happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them there.

Of the thirty-three parties running for the Knesset in the recent elections, Israel Beteynu came in third. In mock elections held in 10 high schools prior to the official vote, the party came in first, followed by the hard-right Likud. The left-wing Meretz party came in dead last. Lieberman’s rabid teenage supporters wave Israeli flags and shout “Death to the Arabs” outside Israel Beteynu conferences, openly call for a fascist dictatorship in Israel, and explain their support for such beliefs by drawing connections to their mandatory military service this way:

“It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi doesn’t want to go as far.”

So, how many bad apples does it take for Israel Beteynu to finish third in parliamentary elections?

Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, is seen as being more of a centrist in Israeli politics. As leader of the Kadima party, founded in 2005 by war criminal Ariel Sharon, Livni supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to transfer Arab citizens out of Israel. Speaking at a Tel Aviv high school a week before the Gaza attacks, she said, “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic State of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines…And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘your national solution lies elsewhere.'” Is someone who limits national identity and the full spectrum of rights to only Jewish citizens of Israel, thereby excluding nearly one fifth of the population, a good apple or a bad apple?

Benyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s new Prime Minister and head of the Likud party. The 1999 party platform, more than a decade newer than the constantly-pointed-to Hamas Charter, confirms Likud’s unabashed support for illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

The document also states that “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem” and wholly rejects any semblance of a sovereign Palestinian state:

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

If we are told that Hamas leaders Khalid Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh are bad apples for consistently offering 30-year-long truces and accepting (and recognizing) Israel as a legitimate political entity within its 1967 borders, then what exactly are Bibi and his Likudniks?

We are told that the Israeli government has banned Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. At one recent event, celebrating the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, Israeli authorities broke up a children’s march at an East Jerusalem Catholic school and when the teenage girls present at the gathering “released a few dozen balloons in the red, white, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag over the walled Old City…Israeli military police and soldiers quickly moved into the schoolyard and popped the remaining balloons.” Obviously, these balloon-poppers and party-poopers are just some local bad apples enforcing the law.

A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies shows that 46% of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor the “transfer” of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, 31% favor the “transfer” of Israeli-Arabs out of the country altogether. Moreover, 55% say that the state should encourage Arab emigration, only 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state, 61% believe Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel’s security, and around 80% are opposed to Israeli-Arabs being involved in important decisions, such as delineating the country’s borders. Another poll, conducted by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, found that 78% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to Arab parties being part of a coalition government, 56% believe that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development,” 75% agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent (54% of Arab Israelis feel the same way about Jews), and 75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

By contrast, the United Nations Development Program reports that nearly 70% of Palestinian young adults over the age of 17 oppose the use of violence to resolve the conflict with Israel and only 8% believe that violence is an important tool. The study also found that 42% were depressed by their current conditions and 39% were “extremely” depressed (55% in Gaza).

We are told that the barbaric destruction of Gaza had the support of 90% (if not 94%) of Israelis. Assuming this percentage excludes all Palestinian citizens of Israel, we’re only talking about 5 million or so bad apples.

When the seeds of a society are cultivated on a steady diet of historical falsehoods, bogus founding mythologies, unabated colonization and rampant militarism, some bad apples, infested with hatred, racism, and convictions of divine right, ethnic supremacy, and perpetual victimization, will surely grow.

But with so many bad apples, it is clear: the entire orchard is rotten.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker “Lord Baltimore.” He can be reached at wideasleepinamerica (at) gmail (dot) com.

 


صلح با عدالت
Peace with justice

Lord Baltimore
Wide Asleep In America
Brooklyn, NY
http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com