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Repression

Police brutality, corruption, use of deadly force, legal, prison activism, information on political prisoners.

The Iran Sanctions Game

 

Targeting Press Freedom in Palestine

 

Israel Attacks Syria and Gaza

 

New EU Guidelines on Israel

 

America and Israel: Imperial Partners in Crime

 

Israel: Heading for a Political Cliff?

 

Abbas: Collaborating with the Enemy

 

Israel Shells Syria and Gaza

 

Netanyahu's Government: Israel's Worst Ever

 Netanyahu's Government: Israel's Worst Ever - by Stephen Lendman

 

Numerous previous articles explained Israel's extremism, notably under Netanyahu exceeding the worst of Ariel Sharon. Both men, of course, are war criminals by any standard. So are complicit Knesset members - roguish, racist and hard-line, comprising a voting majority that co-opt a weak-kneed opposition going along most often to get along.  

 

Access several relevant previous articles through these links:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/04/alarming-racism-in-israel.html

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/10/israeli-knessets-anti-democratic-agenda.html

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/israels-sham-democracy.html

 

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Recep Erdogan agrees. On January 13, Haaretz Service headlined, "Turkey PM: Netanyahu has worst government in history of Israel," saying:

 

Erdogan told Al Jazeera that close Israeli/Turkish ties faltered following Cast Lead and "spiraled to an unprecedented low" after Israeli commandos attacked a Turkish-flagged Freedom Flotilla ship in international waters bound for Gaza last May. Nine Turkish citizens aboard were murdered. Erdogan demanded an apology. Israel refused, the Prime Minister telling Al Jazeera:

 

"As long as Netanyahu does not change his policies, he cannot expect us to change ours." He added that Turkey won't renew any previously signed accords, and won't consider renewed relations until Israel accedes to its demands. He also called Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman Israel's "greatest problem," a "despicable" man Israel should "get rid" of. "It is up to them, not us. If they don't, Israel's problems will only get worse."

 

Erdogan also supports Hamas, saying:

 

"Hamas is not a terrorist organization. They are people defending their land. It is a movement that entered the elections and won," adding that conflict resolution is impossible without them.

 

Crimes of War and Against Humanity under Netanyahu

 

A November Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI) explains some, titled "When the Exception Becomes the Rule: Incommunicado Detention of Palestinian Security Detainees." Many, in fact, are uncharged or only accused of minor offenses because no seriously incriminating evidence exists, yet they're held and brutalized anyway.

 

Moreover, Israeli and international law recognize the right of detainees "to meet and consult with an attorney," a fundamental due process principle Israel flaunts. Yet its Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty affirms it. So does IDF Order Regarding Security provisions (No. 378) 5730, 1970.

 

In addition, in Israeli legal discourse, incommunicado detentions are considered draconian, causing great harm, including to rule of law principles. It's intended only under emergency conditions or in unique cases "in which (the) alleged harm and damage justifies the prevention of this consultation." As a result, civilized societies rarely use it. For Israel, it's standard practice against people too powerless to resist.

 

Decades of evidence "show that the right to meet an attorney is systematically denied to Palestinian detainees....undergoing interrogation by General Security Services (GSS)." Israeli military code justifies it as a way to "benefit" interrogations and/or the "security of the area."

 

Israel won't disclose how many are affected. PACTI, however, learned that minimally it's many hundreds or even thousands annually, especially since October 2000, the onset of the second Intifada. As a result, denial of attorney consultations are "routine practice," no matter how illegal and unjustifiable. Israel pays rule of law principles no heed, not now, not ever.

 

Another article explained PACTI's earlier study on detainee abuse during Cast Lead, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/08/palestinian-detainee-abuse-during.html

 

Its November one evaluated over 1,000 detainee cases, concluding that:

 

-- from 70% to 90% were held incommunicado during their entire interrogation or a portion thereof;

 

-- their duration ranged from 12.7 to 19.2 days, and in 10% of cases over 30 days;

 

-- affidavits from those held said they were subjected to "systematic violence, torture and/or psychological ill-treatment" to admit guilt;

 

-- pressure was intense, resulting in fear, confusion and uncertainty, hampering judgment and influencing behavior;

 

-- "significant gaps were found between the justifications given by the GSS for demanding" incommunicado detentions and "the content of the final indictments," mentioning minor violations only that most often are bogus or inconsequential;

 

-- despite intervening for justice, PACTI's "involvement (most often) was....completely ineffective;" unable to dissuade GSS from acting lawlessly; and

 

-- incommunicado detentions empower GSS at the expense of rule of law justice. Palestinians get none no matter how much pressure is applied on their behalf.

 

These abuses won't end unless sustained international and grassroots efforts force it. Israel is already shamed. Legal, political, economic and cultural measures must take it to the next level, the way South African apartheid was toppled, though what replaced it left poor Blacks worse off than before, victimized by predatory capitalism. 

 

They, Palestinians, and all exploited people deserve better, but wishing won't make it so. Bare-knuckled activism is needed, restoring democratic values Israel won't tolerate, at the same time exposing its lawlessness and status as a world class terror state, preying on vulnerable Arabs on false national security grounds.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Salam Fayyad: Israel's Man in Palestine

 Salam Fayyad: Israel's Man in Palestine - by Stephen Lendman

 

His resume includes a University of Texas economics Ph.D., a teaching position at Jordan's Yarmouk University, and economic research at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. From 1987 - 1995, he also served as a World Bank and IMF official, and until 2001, was IMF's man in Palestine, serving as Yasser Arafat's finance minister. 

 

In Palestine's 2006 legislative elections, his Third Way party got 2.4% of the votes, a clear renunciation. Yet after Fatah's coup d'etat co-opted the PLO, PA and West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas illegitimately appointed him prime minister.

 

The New York Times calls him "a political independent who gained the confidence of the West and is largely respected in Israel." In fact, he's a political opportunist, Israel's man in Palestine. Also Washington's. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Nathan J. Brown calls him "indispensable to US diplomacy....confusing a useful individual with sound policy." He's mainly improved security, providing enforcer services for Israel against his own people.

 

Moreover, there's "no separation of powers; instead there is an increasing concentration of authority in the executive branch. There is no legislative branch. Court orders have been ignored; judges have bowed out of sensitive political issues; and the independence of the judiciary is hardly guaranteed. The fact remains, of course, that....security is synonymous with the attempt to suppress Hamas" and other opposition groups.

 

Senior officials, including Abbas and Fayyad, have neglected or unilaterally decreed other measures. As CEO, Fayyad  has maintained earlier institutions and made a few of them more efficient. "But he has done so in an authoritarian context that robs the results of domestic legitimacy." As appointed prime minister, of course, he has no legitimacy beyond Israeli and Washington power backing him.

 

Writer Nathan Thrall says he's "criticized at home for many of the same reasons he is lauded abroad." He condemns violence against Israel, ignores Palestinian persecution, is instrumental in furthering it, and says diaspora Palestinians can resettle in a future Palestinian state, not Israel or their settlements, exceeding 40% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

Backing him is a 25,000-strong security force, trained, equipped, vetted and perhaps run by America's Lt. General Keith Dayton, US security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the PA. Under his command, thousands of Palestinians complete 19 weeks of training at Jordan's International Police Training Center, built with US funds in 2003 to instruct Iraqi police.

 

Throughout the West Bank, Dayton's in charge of building and renovating garrisons, training colleges, Interior Ministry facilities, and security headquarters. In recent years, Washington has spent around $400 million to institutionalize hard-line control, supplementing Israel's own efforts. 

 

Fayyad is titular CEO under Abbas. According to Michael Oren, Israel's US ambassador, "....expanding what Dayton is doing in the security realm to other sectors of Palestinian governance and society is really the only viable model for progress." "Progress," of course, is repressive military occupation, no opposition allowed.

 

Evaluating PA Authority under Abbas and Fayyad

 

In a December 20 article, titled "The Palestinian Authority and the Problem of Reform under the Occupation," Dr. Moshen Mohammed Saleh asked if it's possible. "Or is (it) simply a matter of 'dancing to the Occupation's tune?" 

 

Indeed the latter after Arafat's Oslo Accords abdication. He ignored core issues, including Palestinian sovereignty, fixed borders, settlement expansions, the right of return, ending Israel's occupation, and establishing a unified government for all Palestinians.

 

"In short," said Saleh, "the way (the PA) was established looked more like a 'trap' than a solution or a way out; and the route it took was more akin to wandering aimlessly in a 'labyrinth' than walking naturally and logically towards independence....The current situation (resembles a prison under an) assigned warden" empowered to enforce repression for disobedience.

 

The PA/PLO-led Fatah "found itself alone facing widespread opposition from nearly 10 Palestinian factions," notably Hamas. "As a result, the institutions of the Authority were mainly staffed by" Fatah members or supporters, including "shameless opportunists and exploiters" like Abbas and Fayyad. As CEO, Fayyad represents Israel and the West, "demand(ing) full concessions from Palestinians" with nothing committed in return.

 

"Moreover (his) government paid heavy political prices (for) committ(ing) itself (to) cracking down upon Hamas and other Palestinian resistive factions as well as neutralizing" the legislative assembly's role. His survival, fact, depends on sustaining divisions and no unified Palestinian platform.

 

On December 28, Saleh again evaluated Fayyad and his government in an analysis titled "Evaluating Salam Fayyad's government in Ramallah," saying:

 

It's sustained by maintaining Palestinian divisions and keeping Israeli, Washington, and Arab leadership support. Fatah's leadership also backs him, yet he's "exploited his position so as to channel funds to his government and thereby consolidate his political base."

 

At the same time, he and Abbas renounced armed resistance, instead adopting "reconciliation with Israel as (their) project." On June 17, 2007, his new government included himself as prime minister, 11 ministers, two independent politicians and another technocrat besides himself, a trained economist. All opposition ministers were excluded.

 

Then on July 13, 2007, Abbas raised the ministerial total to 16, including Fayyad. On January 22, 2009, Fayyad created a new government under Abbas. By May, it had 24 ministers, mostly technocrats. Opposition factions, excluding Hamas, were represented by one minister each. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) refused to participate. The entire process lacked legitimacy. Abbas bypassed legalities "by legislating by decree," letting "Fayyad's government....operate (by) presidential mandate."

 

In fact, "this government, which is supposed to represent the will of the people, vigorously opposed the political party (Hamas) which democratically represents the will of the majority, (and has) legally been entrusted with the mandate to represent them."

 

For his part, Fayyad's management style has been devisive. He's excluded many Fatah members from civil service and security force positions, coerced some into retirement, and appointed others "ideologically close to him" to key posts. Moreover, he's monopolized financial resources for his own purposes, and remains subservient to Israel and Washington against the interests of his own people.

 

Opposition Fatah members face exclusion. As a result, some, like Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader, resigned "with criticism of the government for its failings." In virtually all respects, Israel has control, including over economic issues, unjustly restricting Palestinian imports and exports, as well as imposing "restrictions and impediments on the free movement of people and goods."

 

Absent Abbas/Fayyad opposition, Israel also expropriates Palestinian land, expands settlements, extends its Judaization agenda, consumes most West Bank resources, especially water, and maintains hard-line control together with Dayton-trained forces.

 

As a result, from June through August 2007 alone, West Bank Hamas members were subjected to 1,007 attacks, both by security forces and Fatah members. They "included 639 arrests and kidnappings, thirty-six (shooting) incidents....and 175 assaults on institutions and organizations, including centers of Qur'anic learning, charitable organizations, media institutes, press offices," nursery and other schools. In addition, 156 raids targeted private properties belonging to Hamas and supporters. 

 

Thereafter, thousands more Hamas members and facilities were targeted. Hundreds of arrests were made, and numerous demonstrations and protests against occupation, Gaza's siege, and Israel's Separation Wall were attacked. Fayyad dutifully enforces Israel's no opposition policy. Israeli forces, of course, do much of it themselves.

 

A Final Comment

 

As prime minister, Fayyad's future depends on satisfying two masters, Israel and Washington, their divide and conquer agenda, solidifying occupation, continuing settlement expansions, entirely Judaizing Jerusalem,  dominating the West Bank's economy, and containing all opposition factions. 

 

A Palestinian future, however, depends on ending Israel's occupation, achieving unity, fulfilling real sovereignty under a government serving them, and an integrated Palestine or one nation serving all its citizens equitably, fairly and democratically. That vision, however, remains nowhere in sight, Fayyad and Abbas in charge to keep it that way.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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