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The International Criminal Court: An Imperial Tool

 The International Criminal Court: An Imperial Tool - by Stephen Lendman

 

Established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on July 1, 2002, it's mandated to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes or war and against humanity.

 

Much earlier, the UN Charter was created "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to mankind." Its Chapter I states:

 

"To maintain international peace and security, (member states shall respect the) principle of the sovereign equality (of other members), settle their international disputes by peaceful means, (and) refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

 

In fact, since established in October 1945, its leadership did nothing to deter war, human rights abuses, or other high crimes of powerful member states, notably Western ones and Israel, repeatedly committing crimes of war and against humanity with impunity. 

 

Neither has the ICC, functioning solely as an imperial tool, targeting outlier states Western powers designate, notably America whose leaders commit the worst of high crimes, acting lawlessly with impunity because no international body or court holds them accountable.

 

Like accusations against Yugoslavia/Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic, Liberia's Charles Taylor, Sudan's Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Saddam Hussein (by Washington's Iraqi Special Tribunal) and others, Muammar Gaddafi now faces similar charges.

 

On May 16, New York Times writer Marlise Simons headlined, "International Court Seeks Warrant for Qaddafi," saying:

 

ICC chief prosecutor Jose Luis Moreno-Ocampo "sought arrest warrants" for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and brother-in-law intelligence chief, Abdullah Al-Sanous, on "charges of orchestrating systematic attacks against civilians (amounting to) crimes against humanity."

 

Calling Saif his "de facto prime minister" and Al-Sanousi his "right-hand man, his executioner," Moreno-Campo's announced evidence was alleged intelligence from other governments and "a lot of phone calls from (outside and) inside Libya."

 

True or false, he claimed:

 

Gaddafi's "forces attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public spaces, shot demonstrators with live ammunition, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after prayers."

 

"The (alleged) evidence shows that such persecution is still ongoing as I speak today in the areas under Gaddafi's control. (His) forces have prepared a list with the names of alleged dissidents, and they are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli, tortured and made to disappear." 

 

As a result, he claimed enough alleged evidence for trial, sounding more like witch-hunt than legitimate justice. Notably, Washington pressured the Security Council last February to investigate "widespread and systematic attacks" against Libyans it instigated by enlisting, arming and funding insurgent fighters. 

 

They, not Gaddafi, incited violence. Justifiably, he responded to stop it. Victimized by imperial intervention, he's now targeted for doing his job.

 

Moreover, Libya isn't a Rome Statute signatory. As a result, the ICC has no jurisdiction to act. Nonetheless, a three-judge panel will decide whether to issue warrants, no matter the obvious political motive behind doing so.

 

Moreno-Ocampo is an imperial tool, following orders. Claiming ample evidence shows Gaddafi "personally ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians" is gross hypocrisy with no credibility whatever. He's regurgitating lines given him to read.

 

In fact, no humanitarian crisis existed until America and its imperial partners showed up lawlessly. Planned many months, perhaps years, in advance, their grand scheme includes:

 

-- replacing one despot with another;

 

-- preventing any democratic spark from emerging;

 

-- colonizing Libya;

 

-- balkanizing the country;

 

-- establishing new Pentagon bases;

 

-- using them to intimidate neighboring states;

 

-- dominating the Mediterranean Basin and entire African continent; and

 

-- carving up Libya for profit by stealing its wealth, controlling its money and resources, exploiting its people, turning workers into serfs, and privatizing its state enterprises under Western control, no matter how many corpses and mass destruction it takes to do it.

 

In his new book, Michael Parenti defined "The Face of Imperialism" as:

 

"the process whereby the dominant investor interests in one country bring to bear military and financial power upon another country in order to expropriate the land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets of that other country....There are real material interests at stake, fortunes to be made many times over.(Intervening) is intended to enrich the investors and keep the world safe for them."

 

Moreover, whether democrats or despots, blaming victims facilitates the process, claiming intervention for humanitarian reasons, the last refuge of scandalous liars. 

 

As a result, Gaddafi, his son Saif, intelligence chief Al-Sanous, and perhaps other top officials are being victimized to advance Western planned plunder and dominance. 

 

Moreno-Ocampo's complicit, a Western favorite because earlier he assured Washington they'd be no Iraq or other US war crimes prosecutions. In fact, a July 2003 WikiLeaks-released State Department cable said:

 

"Privately, Ocampo has said that he wishes to dispose of Iraq issues (i.e., not investigate them)." By implication, he meant all US war crimes everywhere.

 

In fact, since appointed on June 16, 2003, he abstained from any imperial prosecutions, exposing himself as complicit with horrific Western crimes of war and against humanity, leaving America, Israel, and other culpable states unaccountable.

 

Instead, he chose soft targets, Western designated ones, including outlier officials in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Kenya, and Libya, absolving the most culpable big fish, notably Bush II, Cheney, Obama, key people under them, and top Pentagon commanders.

 

Moreover, he avoids prosecuting rogue Western-allied MENA country (Middle East/North Africa) allies, including:

 

-- Egypt's military junta;

 

-- Iraq's puppet leaders;

 

-- Afghan ones;

 

-- Bahrain;

 

-- Saudi Arabia;

 

-- other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states;

 

-- Yemen;

 

-- Morocco;

 

-- Algeria;

 

-- Tunisia; and 

 

-- most notably of all, Israel, by far the region's most culpable state for over six decades, responsible for horrendous crimes of war and against humanity.

 

Absolving Israel, America and its complicit partners mocks the notion of a legitimate tribunal. Worse still is targeting their victims, making them pay for imperial crimes.

 

A Final Comment

 

Thomas Mountain is an independent Eritrea-based journalist, providing firsthand reports on regional events. On May 16, he headlined, "Libya Charges NATO Massacre of Religious Leaders," saying:

 

On May 14, ahead of Moreno-Ocampo's accusations, Libyan "spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim presented strong evidence" that NATO massacred Libyan religious leaders at Brega. 

 

On May 13, "over 150 of Libya's most senior Imams" assembled there for a peace conference. "Brega was chosen....because it is the closest government held town to the rebel held stronghold of Benghazi, and the Imams planned to send a delegation (there) following the conference."

 

However, early on May 13, NATO bombed their site, killing at least 10, injuring over 40 others severely enough to require hospitalization. "Libyan television showed the site, which was clearly demolished."

 

Two Imans traveled to Tripoli, held a press conference and condemned the attack. NATO confirmed it, claiming it targeted a "command and control center," a deliberate lie. The structure was a "temporary residential complex or guest quarters," unrelated to Libya's military.

 

Mountain believes NATO forces are "desperate," despite calling "the present military situation (a) 'stalemate.' " In fact, government forces "continue to tighten their control over most of the south and are regaining control of the eastern oil producing region, effectively" preventing rebels from exporting significant amounts of oil.

 

They also regained control of Libya's Great Man Made River (GMMR) system, its ocean-sized aquifer pipeline project.

 

Killing Imams at Brega shows how peace threatens  NATO, potentially disrupting their imperial plans. Moreover, Benghazi-based western journalists report rebel factions squabbling over leadership control. 

 

As a result, Moreno-Ocampo's announcement was strategically timed to justify war by accusing government victims of crimes, portraying NATO lawlessness as a noble initiative to deter them.

 

In fact, Gaddafi officials are right saying:

 

"It is the rebels who took up arms in the middle of our peaceful cities and caused the death of many people (by recruiting foreign mercenary) fighters from several nationalities."

 

Of course, Western media airbrush that notion from regurgitated managed news, reporting everything but the truth.

 

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/.

Killing Rachel Corrie Twice

 Killing Rachel Corrie Twice - by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 16, at 6:54AM Gaza time (3:54AM GMT), in international waters, an Israeli naval vessel attacked the Malaysian owned Spirit of Rachel Corrie ship (officially the MV Finch), carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. More details below.

 

Lawless Monday followed Nakba Day's bloody Sunday, Israeli security forces assaulting unprecedented numbers of nonviolent demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders. 

 

Egypt was complicit, blocking activists from reaching Rafah. So was Jordan, forcefully preventing Palestinian supporters from approaching the King Hussein Jordan River Crossing Point.

 

Nonetheless, the day was potentially historic. Activists hope it will inspire greater global support for Palestinian liberation and justice, what only hindsight will show.

 

Up to two dozen were killed, scores injured, and many arrested, soldiers and police firing high-velocity tear gas canisters at point blank range, rubber bullets, live ammunition, and tank shell warning shots, a shocking display of violence given scant coverage in America's media.

 

Now this, Israelis attacking Rachel Corrie's spirit after an Israeli bulldozer operator killed her in Gaza on March 16, 2003. Trying to stop a Rafah refugee camp home's demolition, witnesses said she climbed atop the giant Caterpillar tractor, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10 - 20 meters in front in clear view, blocking its path with her body. With activists screaming for it to stop, the soldier-operator crushed her to death deliberately, running her over twice to be sure.

 

On May 14, 2010, the MV Rachael Corrie sailed from Europe to Gaza. Other vessels, nine in all, tried to break the siege to deliver vitally needed aid, including over 10,000 tons of food, medicines, educational and construction materials. 

 

They never made it. Israeli commandos intercepted them, killing at least nine unarmed activists on board the Mavi Marmara mother ship, injuring dozens, and arresting survivors. After stealing their property and harassing them for several days in confinement to deter future missions, they were released and sent home.

 

Israel miscalculated. They're coming. Besides US and other initiatives, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) plans new missions to deliver essentially needed aid. 

 

It's an "umbrella body of 34 European human rights and humanitarian organizations," supporting the right of Palestinians "to live in peace and dignity," to be free from occupation, and to have "their own independent and sovereign state." It also "encourages all peoples of conscience and human rights advocates to intensify their efforts to highlight this life-threatening issue and end the catastrophe."

 

Its web site provides current information of its mission, including planned events and actions, accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.savegaza.eu/eng/

 

Saying they won't be intimidated, they're "putting Israel on notice," adding:

 

"We are Coming

 

We are Unarmed

 

We are Civilian

 

You have no right to threaten us

 

We Expect to Reach Gaza without any Interference."

 

In fact, Israel will confront them belligerently, including a planned FREEDOM FLOTILLA - STAY HUMAN voyage honoring slain journalist/activist Vittorio Arrigoni, a heroic freedom fighter like Rachel. Martyred for a just cause, their spirit inspires others to go on. Indeed, their right over wrong commitment won't ever be deterred, a lesson Israel insists on learning the hard way.

 

"There is nothing Israel - or our own governments - can do to frighten us into abandoning the 1.6 million 'prisoners' of Gaza," said ECESG spokesperson Rami Abdo. "We stand on the right side of history. If they continue their campaign of tyranny, however, we will only become more determined."

 

In fact, organizers of last May's "Freedom Flotilla" plan a mid-June "Freedom Flotilla Two. (FF 2)." Activists from 22 European, North American and Asian Free Gaza Movement-connected humanitarian organizations will attempt to break Israel's siege and deliver vitally needed aid.

 

Around 15 ships and over 1,000 activists are involved, sailing from various ports. Israel said preparations are underway to stop them, perhaps as violently as against last May's mission.

 

On April 9 and 10, its Steering Committee met in Athens, continuing mission preparations. Aware of Israel's plans, they're:

 

"calling on all our governments, the international community and the United Nations not to succumb to Israel's intimidation. Governments need to fulfill their 'responsibility to protect' their own citizens."

 

An ECESG initiative, FF 2 partners include participants from over 50 countries, including European Jews for a Just Peace.

 

Spirit of Rachel Corrie Attacked

 

Sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), headed by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, a May 16 press release explained what happened, accessed from the following link:

 

http://www.perdana4peace.net/?p=2654

 

Mohamed said:

 

"The Palestinian struggle is nothing more than a struggle for justice, to which they, as much as everyone else, have a right."

 

He knows and supports it. Israel, Washington, and most other Western nations spurn it, denying Palestinians their international law guaranteed rights, including to life.

 

On May 16, Global Research editor Michel Chossudovsky featured the incident on Global Research.ca, a link accessing his account below:

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24783

 

He said an Israeli and Egyptian ship intercepted MV Finch in international waters, an act of piracy, adding that new details will be posted when learned.

 

On May 11, the ship departed Port of Piraeus, Greece, carrying vitally needed plastic sewage pipes to restore the system Israel destroyed in its 2007 - 08 Cast Lead attack. Under siege, restoration can't happen without help. 

 

As a result, up to 95% of Gaza's aquifer water is unsafe to drink because Israeli forces destroyed 20 km of water pipes, 7.5 km of sewage pipes, and 5,700 mobile water tanks. In 2009, Amnesty International (AI) addressed the problem in its report titled, "Troubled Waters - Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water."

 

Moreover, Military Orders applying only to Palestinians give Israel control over water, including:

 

-- No. 92 controlling all West Bank and Gaza water;

 

-- No. 158 stipulating that Palestinians can't construct water installations without (nearly impossible to get) permits; moreover, those built without them will be confiscated; and

 

-- No. 291 annulling all land and water-related arrangements prior to the occupation.

 

Destroyed and under siege, Gaza's Coastal Aquifer is polluted by raw sewage from waste collection pond cesspits and seawater, itself contaminated by about 80 million liters of untreated or partially treated daily discharges into the Mediterranean Sea.

 

As a result, waterborne diseases are common, UNWRA reporting in February 2009 that:

 

"Water diarrhea as well as acute bloody diarrhea remain the major causes of morbidity among reportable infectious diseases in (Gaza's) refugee population...."

 

In September 2009, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

 

"The pollution of groundwater is contributing to two main types of water contamination in the Gaza Strip. First and most importantly, it is causing the nitrate levels in the groundwater to increase. In most parts of (Gaza), especially around areas of intensive sewage infiltration, the nitrate level in groundwater is far above (accepted) guidelines....Second, because the water abstracted now is high in salt, the sewage is also very saline. (It's well known that higher drinking water nitrate levels) can induce methemoglobinaemia (a blood disorder) in young children."

 

Moreover, Gaza's shoreline is polluted, posing serious health hazards because raw sewage is dumped daily into the Mediterranean Sea through 16 discharge sites along the coast.

 

Gaza TV News.com quoted PGPF member Shamsul Azhar saying:

 

After Israeli forces fired warning shots, it forced MV Finch "to anchor in Egyptian waters, 30 nautical miles from Gaza."

 

Malaysian journalist on board, Alang Mendahara, said:

 

"The Israeli naval vessel fired a warning shot at us upon approaching and asked us to leave the waters, but the ship's captain refused and the Israelis fired again, circling the MV Finch before firing twice more."

 

Bendahara said ship participants included seven Malaysians, two Irish, two Indians and a Canadian. No one was hurt. Events like this are fluid. A follow-up article will explain more if relevant information permits. 

 

For now, Israeli remains a global menace and no fit state to live in, including for Jews.

 

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/.

  

Israeli Violence Marks Nakba Day

 Israeli Violence Marks Nakba Day - by Stephen Lendman

 

For Palestinians worldwide and millions supporting them, Nakba Day commemorates loss of their homeland, initially 78% in 1948, then the rest 19 years later in 1967.

 

Speaking for many, Audeh Rantisi recounted the horror, saying:

 

"I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July 1948," weeks after Israel's May 14 Yom Ha'atzmaut, its Declaration of Independence at the expense of displaced and slaughtered Palestinians.

 

"The pain sears my memory," he said, "and I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try."

 

Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians endured brutality, harassment, humiliation, and loss of their entire world, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered lives, and the incalculable horror of it all.

 

Explaining the horrific toll, Rantisi added:

 

"First, Israeli soldiers forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes near the Mediterranean coast, even though some families had lived in the same houses for centuries."

 

"Then without (food or) water, we stumbled into the hills and continued for three deadly days. The Jewish soldiers followed, occasionally shooting over our heads to scare us and keep us moving. Terror-filled my 11-year old mind as I wondered what would happen. I remember overhearing my father and his friends express alarm about the recent massacres by Jewish terrorists. Would they kill us, too?"

 

Soldiers shot resisters, including women and children. For others "I saw many stagger and fall. Others lay dead or dying in the scorching midsummer heat. Scores of pregnant women miscarried, and their babies died along the wayside. The wife of my father's cousin became very thirsty." She couldn't continue.

 

"Soon she slumped down and was dead....Those wretched days and nights in mid-July of 1948 continue as a lifelong nightmare because Zionists took away our home of many centuries. For me and a million other Palestinian Arabs, tragedy marred our lives forever."

 

Nakba Day Confrontations

 

Israeli viciousness marked Nakba day commemorations, assaulting peaceful demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders. Mounting deaths, injuries and arrests were reported. 

 

Headlining "Heavy clashes in Qalandiya on Nakba Day," AFP said:

 

"Heavy clashes broke out near Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday when youths clashed with Israeli troops as Palestinians mourned the (63rd Nakba Day) anniversary...."

 

Soldiers used tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire "near the Qalandiya crossing between Ramallah and annexed East Jerusalem....Clashes were also reported in the East Jerusalem district of Issawiya....And in al-Walaja, a village (straddling) the Bethlehem-Jerusalem border," demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, shouting, "Go away, go away! We don't want to see the Zionists."

 

Haaretz writers Nir Hasson, Anshel Pfeffer and Jack Khoury headlined, "Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces on Nakba Day," saying:

 

Throughout Occupied Palestine, annual "protests mark(ed) the creation of the State of Israel. A witness at (Gaza's) Erez crossing said that Israeli troops fired two tank shells and (other live fire) at the approaching protesters."

 

Other Haaretz accounts said clashes swept the Territories. Eight or more deaths were reported. Dozens were hurt, and many arrests made during violent Nakba Day commemorations. Death and injury tolls rose during the day.

 

Ma'an News reported fierce clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. "Medics told Ma'an that at least 15 demonstrators were injured by artillery shells and gunfire as they approached the Erez crossing with Israel."

 

Later reports added dozens to the count, including deaths after Israeli tanks opened fire in northern Gaza and conducted other attacks throughout the Territories. 

 

Israelis always confront peaceful Palestinian protesters violently, suggesting mounting deaths and injuries may continue into next week, including children, some critically hurt according to medical reports.

 

Earlier Sunday, Press TV reported at least several Gazan deaths, four or more in the West Bank, 12 in Golan (now 14 or more), and dozens injured throughout the Territories, many of them children. Soldiers fired tank shells, high-velocity tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, enforcing a 24-hour lockdown Palestinians didn't obey and shouldn't on their most important commemoration day.

 

A later in the day Press TV report said two dozen were killed and scores injured from clashes throughout the Territories and in Lebanese/Syrian border areas. Israeli attacks, in fact, may continue all night into Monday, mindless that the whole world is watching. 

 

As a result, on Nakba Day 2011, global millions see Israel's real face - lawlessly assaulting peaceful protesters violently, leaving dozens killed or injured, including children.

 

The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported the following:

 

-- at least 30 injured in Golan's Majdal Shams village;

 

-- 30 or more injured in Ramallah, two critically from live fire and high-velocity tear gas canisters fired at point blank range at peaceful protesters; "(w)itnesses told PNN that soldiers were targeting peaceful protesters by shooting directly at them;"

 

-- in Gaza, 27 or more Palestinians were hurt, including children, from Israeli tanks and troops shelling protesters;

 

-- Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in al-Walajeh village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem; several were injured, four or more arrested; and

 

-- other clashes in Hebron, Jerusalem's Old City, the Sho'fat refugee camp, Silwan village, and other West Bank locations, Israelis assaulting peaceful protesters violently.

 

With events still unfolding, PNN reported ten killed and at least 300 injured throughout Occupied Palestine, as well as along the Lebanese/Syrian borders. Other accounts confirm higher numbers as death and injury counts rise.

 

The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined, "Defying Israeli Restrictions; Thousands Mark The Nakba Day in Jaffa," saying:

 

"Despite Israeli 'laws' criminalizing the commemoration of the Nakba Day....thousands of residents, including Jewish peace activists, marched on Saturday evening in Jaffa....affirming Palestinian historic rights and their legitimate struggle against oppression and occupation."

 

Ahead of Sunday commemorations, they defied Israel's "Nakba Law," prohibiting expressions and commemorations of Palestinian history, culture, and legal right to express, teach, and disseminate it freely. For Israelis, it's to erase this seminal event from their consciousness.

 

IMEMC also headlined, Israeli "Army Places West Bank Under Siege," saying:

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered a "24-hour siege," deploying 10,000 soldiers and police throughout the Territories. Government officials said anyone observing the day in "Israel" will be arrested, including Jews.

 

Another IMEMC report highlighted Jerusalem clashes, causing injuries and at least 20 arrests for "disturbing the peace." Besides assaults by Israeli soldiers and police, an eyewitness said a settler "fired illegal Dumdum rounds at local Palestinian youths protesting in the area."

 

Ma'an News said Israel deployed seven extra battalions in the West Bank besides large contingents of police. Nonetheless, mass rallies were held throughout the Territories and on border areas.

 

Press TV said Israel deployed tanks to Lebanon's border, increasing chances for greater violence. 

 

Israel National News headlined, "IDF Stops Nakba Invasions from Lebanon and Gaza; 4 Lebanese Dead," accusing Palestinians of being "Nakba Day rioters," saying:

 

Artillery fire wounded "at least 40 Arabs. IDF spokespersons have not confirmed or denied the reports."

 

On Press TV, Beirut-based Franklin Lamb described an unprecedented historic turnout in support of Palestine. Hundreds of buses brought supporters to Lebanon's boarder, including Palestinian refugees. More than 50,000 participated, perhaps double that number, supporting a long overdue liberating third Intifada.

 

Reuters writer Oren Kessler headlined, "Thousands rally in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon for 'Nakba Day,' " saying:

 

Marchers commemorated Nakba Day, demanding the right of return.

 

Writer Haim Shafir headlined, "Israel-Palestinian violence erupts on three borders," saying:

 

At least eight dead and dozens wounded were reported.  "Israeli troops shot at protesters in three separation locations to prevent crowds from crossing Israeli frontier lines in the deadliest such confrontation in years."

 

Addressing thousands at Gaza City's al-Omari Mosque, AP quoted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh saying:

 

"Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Israel. Palestinians have the right to resist Israeli occupation and will one day return to property they lost in 1948. To achieve our goals in the liberation of our occupied land, we should have one leadership."

 

Whether this translation accurately conveyed his sentiment isn't clear. Earlier, he and other Hamas officials expressed willingness to recognize Israel in return for a viable Palestine state within 1967 borders, just 22% of their original homeland, a deal Israel rejects.

 

In fact, in Cairo on May 3, agreeing to unity with Fatah, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said:

 

"Hamas was ready to pay any price for internal Palestinian reconciliation. The only battle of the Palestinians is against Israel. Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return."

 

Supportive Global Events

 

Notably, supportive rallies were held worldwide, including in:

 

-- London

 

-- Paris

 

-- Rome

 

-- Berlin

 

-- Brussels

 

-- Dublin

 

-- Vienna

 

-- Sofia

 

-- Bern

 

-- Montreal

 

-- Toronto

 

-- Edmonton

 

-- Vancouver

 

-- Ottawa

 

-- Madrid

 

-- Amsterdam

 

-- Turkey

 

-- Cairo

 

-- Alexandria

 

-- Tunis

 

-- Sydney

 

-- Brisbane

 

-- Washington, DC

 

-- Olympia, Washington

 

-- New York

 

-- Los Angeles

 

-- San Francisco

 

-- Houston

 

-- Boston

 

-- Cleveland

 

-- Miami

 

-- Sacremento

 

-- Dearborn, Michigan, and

 

-- perhaps many other cities as well.

 

America's media reported little or nothing, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Wall Street Journal writers Charles Levinson and Joshua Mitnick headlined, "Israeli Military Opens Fire Along Syrian, Lebanese Borders," saying:

 

"Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of protesters attempting to cross the border into Israel from Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip on Sunday, as protests erupted across the region to mark the creation of the state of Israel, which Palestinians call the Nakba or catastrophe." 

 

No explanation of the day's significance was given nor in most other Western media accounts, including BBC quoting Israeli General Yoav Mordechai saying IDF troops opened fire on Golan protesters trying to breach a border fence, calling it: 

 

"a serious incursion....We are seeing here an Iranian provocation, on both the Syrian and Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit the Nakba day commemorations."

 

Correspondent Jon Donnison in Ramallah said, "Palestinians are feeling emboldened and inspired by the uprisings elsewhere" in the region, providing no explanation of the day's significance except for one throwaway line, saying:

 

"Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in fighting after (Israel's) creation."

 

Omitted from its early edition, The New York Times added an Ethan Bronner article headlined, "9 Killed as Israel Clashes With Palestinians on Four Borders," saying:

 

"As many as nine Palestinians were reported killed and scores injured in the unprecedented wave of coordinated protests."

 

"The biggest confrontation took place" in Golan, killing four, said Bronner. In fact, 14 is the 9PM Golan time count, a number perhaps rising during the night into Monday.

 

Bronner said four Lebanese protesters were killed, also way understated given the passion and commitment of massed tens of thousands expressing Palestinian solidarity, nine or more paying with their lives. He also cited Israel's military attributing one Gazan death to a youth planting explosives, hardly likely in full view of IDF forces.

 

Moreover, he quoted General Yoav Mordechai claiming Iran coordinated confrontations, then admitted he offered no evidence. According to Israel Radio's chief Arab affairs analyst, Yoni Ben-Menachem, Syria's Assad was involved, trying to divert attention from his own troubles, another claim with no corroboration.

 

Like other Western accounts, Bronner explained nothing about Nakba Day's significance, a history long erased in New York Times reports, editorials and op-eds, nearly entirely pro-Israeli.

 

At a Sunday cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced Nakba Day protests, contemptuously saying:

 

"I regret that there are extremists among Israeli Arabs and in neighboring countries who have turned the day on which the State of Israel was established, the day on which the Israeli democracy was established, into a day of incitement, violence and rage. There is no place for this, for denying the existence of the State of Israel. No to extremism and no to violence. The opposite is true." 

 

Besides America, no state anywhere is more violent and lawless than Israel, notably during its own "creation" when it displaced 800,000 Palestinians, massacring many others, as well as destroying hundreds of villages and urban communities, besides committing mass atrocities. 

 

Israel notably erased this history, substituting its own sanitized version, regurgitated in frequent Netanyahu comments. Like Obama, he's an unindicted war criminal and inveterate liar, today mocking the horrendous human toll and occupation, preventing Palestinians from living free on their own land in their own country, a status they're determined to change.

 

Perhaps May 15 began it, inspiring a global groundswell too powerful to contain. 

 

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/.

Solidarity with Palestine

 Solidarity with Palestine - by Stephen Lendman

 

Ahead of May 15 Nakba commemorations, massive crowds assembled in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square in solidarity. They displayed banners, proclaiming, "The People want the Rafah Crossing opened," and "Palestine is a Arab state."

 

They also waved Palestinian flags, chanting "Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada" and "National Unity" ahead of a planned weekend march to Gaza. More on that below.

 

Domestic issues were also addressed, including ending recent sectarian violence and concerns about popular unaddressed issues under military junta rule. After Friday prayers, Sheikh Safwat Hegazy addressed the crowd, saying:

 

"(Appointed prime minister) Essam Sharaf: this is not your government. This is the revolution's government. You should kick out the six former (NDP ruling party) ministers from the cabinet. We won't accept (deputy prime minister) Yehia El-Gamal who's part of the former regime...."

 

In response, crowds chanted, "Down, down Yehia El-Gamal." One participant, identified only as Mohammad, spoke for others, saying:

 

"Sharaf's government is taking the same path as the former government. They have the same double standards, secrecy and authoritarian policy-making in internal (and) external affairs."

 

Though Egypt's spring hasn't bloomed, its spirit pervades Tahrir, suggesting perhaps renewed uprisings ahead. For now, however, Egyptians head for Gaza in solidarity with Palestinian liberation, a goal millions around the world support, as well as a Third Intifada to achieve it.

 

Surprisingly, however, despite MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) Morocco to Oman to Syria uprisings, Palestinians haven't yet reacted, except for regular small-scale demonstrations far short of large masses throughout Egypt and neighboring countries, posing challenges for ruling authorities. 

 

Yet nowhere is regional abuse more extreme, including occupation, isolation, land theft, mass arrests, torture, targeted assassinations, daily terror, and at times war, causing thousands of casualties and widespread destruction.

 

Perhaps Egypt's solidarity march will inspire what hasn't yet occurred, under the slogan, "Cairo's liberation will not be complete without the liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)."

 

According to Justice and Freedom Youth Movement's Ahmed Doma:

 

"We are organizing this event as part of the Arab Internet call for a third Palestinian Intifada, and as part of what has been termed 'the Arab mass march.' "

 

Facebook was used, urging that regional Arabs march en masse to Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Jordanian/Israeli borders, demanding what Palestinians have long sought, including liberation, ending occupation, the right of return, and East Jerusalem as its capital.

 

Participating Egyptians also want:

 

-- Rafah's border crossing permanently open, permitting free movement of people and goods;

 

-- halting Egypt's sale of gas to Israel;

 

-- ending all "humiliating agreements with the Zionist state;" and

 

-- immediate release of all Palestinians in Egyptian prisons.

 

On May 14 at noon Cairo time, marchers headed for Gaza, expecting to arrive that evening ahead of planned May 15 Nakba day rallies. At the same time, protesters demonstrated in front of Israel's Giza embassy and its ambassador's Maadi residence.

 

We are All Resistance member Arwa said "other convoys heading to Palestine are moving from Alexandria, Suez, Damietta and North Sinai. People will also join convoys from Gharbiya, Beni Suef, Assiut, Qena and Sohag" in a mass show of solidarity.

 

Cairo participating groups include:

 

-- the National Front for Justice and Democracy;

 

-- Cairo University's Supporters of the Palestinian Revolution;

 

-- the Justice and Freedom Youth Movement,

 

-- Kifaya;

 

-- We are All the Resistance Movement;

 

-- Helwan University's Resistance Movement;

 

-- Ultras Ahlawy Ahly football club supporters;

 

-- Zamalek club White Knights;

 

-- Activists for Palestine;

 

-- the Palestinian Women's Coalition;

 

-- the April 6 Movement; 

 

-- the Nasserist Party; and

 

-- various independent activists.

 

In Tel Aviv, Israel's Zochrot organization also shows support, defying the imposed ban on Nakba commemorations by posting a sign in German saying "we remember." Other Israelis joined them in solidarity.

 

On its web site (zochrot.org), it:

 

"seeks to raise public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Jews in Israel, who bear a special responsibility to remember and amend the legacy of 1948."

 

Palestinians were victimized, losing "their entire world. But Jews in Israel also pay a price for their conquest," living with the criminal legacy Palestinians and global supporters won't forget. Zochrot's goal is "recognition for injustice and new paths toward change and repair," including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, saying:

 

"Return is fundamental to resolving the conflict and implementation of return need not cause injustice to Jewish people....in Israel." It doesn't mean expelling them. In fact, "the very opposite: The mutual existence of Palestinians and Jews in the country," co-existing together peacefully. Return can thus free two societies from the destructive occupier/occupied relationship, ending a longstanding intolerable blight.

 

As a result, Zochrot will participate in March of Return activities, its site saying its members will visit Miska village, destroyed and ethnically cleaned by Israelis in 1948. They'll then join the March of Return in al-Damun and al-Ruways villages, also demolished in 1948.

 

Ahead of May 15 demonstrations, Haaretz writers Anshel Pfeffer, Jack Khoury and Nir Hasson headlined, "Israeli - Palestinian tensions rise in Jerusalem, West Bank as Nabka Day nears," explaining that:

 

Clashes erupted between IDF soldiers and Palestinians throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem Friday morning, including in Silwan, Isawiya and the Old City. Israeli police arrested 11 protesters. IDF soldiers used rubber bullets, tear gas, and heavy-handed thuggishness, assaulting nonviolent demonstrators.

 

Several injuries were reported, including an American and 17-year old Milad Said Ayyash, shot in the head Friday at close range with a high-velocity tear gas cannister and killed. At his Saturday funeral, two Palestinians were wounded. Others were arrested.

 

Further, Haaretz said "(t)ens of thousands of Palestinian refugees will converge in Maroun al-Ras, a village in southern Lebanon that was a major point of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War. A parallel demonstration will also be held on the Israeli side of the Lebanon border in Avivim....where demonstrations will be staged concurrently with" a planned Maroun al-Ras rally.

 

The International Middle East Media Center also reported on May 13 IDF - Palestinian clashes, including:

 

-- Israelis blocking roads, impeding weekly Bil'in anti-wall protesters from traveling to established sites;

 

-- arresting 34 West Bank/East Jerusalem protesters; and

 

-- wounding 22 Palestinians in Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, including photo-journalist Hilmi Tamimi.

 

Moreover, Italian and Malaysian activists arrived in Gaza, including friends of slain activist/journalist Vittorio Arrigoni. They'll join growing numbers of others in solidarity for Palestinian liberation and justice.

 

However, according to Press TV on May 14, Egyptian authorities blocked access to Sinai, preventing activists from reaching Rafah. Also, buses to transport other supporters didn't arrive. Nonetheless, "a convoy left Cairo's Liberation square on Saturday," hoping to show Palestinian solidarity on the Gaza/Rafah border.

 

A Final Comment

 

On May 12, a Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) report said Israeli soldiers and settlers killed 7,342 Palestinians from September 29, 2000 (start of the second Intifada) through December 31, 2010. 

 

PCBS also said Israeli security forces "kidnapped" nearly 750,000 Palestinians since June 1967, including 12,000 women and many children, targeted for wanting freedom in their own land. 

 

Occupation harshness continues daily throughout the West Bank, East Jerusalem and besieged Gaza. On May 15, regional solidarity will converge in Gaza, along Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, and Syrian border areas, and perhaps other locations worldwide, commemorating Nakba day for what Palestinians have long sought - liberation on their own land in their own country. Long overdue, it can't come a moment too soon.

 

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/.=

Bahraini State Terror Continues

 Bahraini State Terror Continues - by Stephen Lendman

 

Bahraini and Saudi security forces continue daily terror in Bahrain, human rights groups condemning the violence, including Amnesty International (AI), providing regular updates. 

 

On May 11, AI reported more than 47 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, have been arrested, charged and may face trial before a military court for doing their job. All are Shias in a Sunni-run state.

 

Entirely bogus charges against them include:

 

-- refusing to help people in need;

 

-- embezzling public funds;

 

-- assaults causing deaths;

 

-- unauthorized possession of weapons and ammunition;

 

-- refusing to perform duties;

 

-- putting people's lives and health at risk;

 

-- illegal detention;

 

-- abusing authority;

 

-- attempting to forcefully occupy buildings;

 

-- incitement to forcibly overthrow the Khalifa monarchy;

 

-- incitement of regime hatred;

 

-- incitement of the hatred of a segment of society;

 

-- disseminating false news and malicious rumors, harming the public interest; and

 

-- participating in unauthorized rallies and meetings.

 

AI calls the accusations "vague" and "trumped up." In fact, those charged are for participating in peaceful protests, treating injured demonstrators, and denouncing state violence - noble acts, not crimes.

 

On May 12, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) confirmed over 900 arrested, disappeared, and/or tortured, as well as at least 31 deaths. Most participated in peaceful protests. Others were engaged in routine daily activities, but were arrested anyway in broad sweeps.

 

Among the dead was a 15-year old boy shot in the eye with a rubber bullet while playing near his home. His father said he was also pistol-whipped on his neck, causing it to snap. "I picked him up, and I could hear him breathing in pain," he said. "He took his last breath and then he did not breathe again. He died in my arms."

 

A 71-year old, Isa Mohammed, died of asphyxiation in his home from heavy tear gas firing. His family's plea for medical care was denied. Others died in custody from beatings and torture.

 

BCHR called torture "institutionalized within the Bahraini judicial and penal systems." A 2010 Omar Ahmed Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) report titled, "Broken Promises: Human Rights, Constitutionalism and Socio-economic Exclusion in Bahrain" explained abuses and unfulfilled reforms.

 

Most Bahrainis are politically and economically deprived. Poverty and unemployment are extreme. High level corruption is extensive. Past confrontations between protesters and security forces resulted in violence, arrests, torture, other abuses and deaths. Oppressive measures are taken to prevent democratic reforms, including restricting free expression, assembly and association. 

 

Moreover, human rights groups accuse authorities of "arbitrarily detaining opposition figures and....activists, subjecting (them) to torture and ill-treatment."

 

Overall, monarchal rule represents failed constitutionalism and state cronyism, institutionalized by security force harshness, enforced through brutal crackdowns, including widespread use of torture.

 

Explicitly prohibited under international law, Chapter III, Article 19, Clause (d) of Bahrain's 2002 Constitution also states:

 

"No person shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, or inducement, or undignified treatment, (and any) statement or confession proved (made) under torture, inducement, or such treatment, or the threat thereof, shall be null and void."

 

The Arab Charter on Human Rights also bans torture and other abuses and ill-treatment. It's strictly prohibited at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions.

 

Nonetheless, well-documented cases show it's extensively used to extract forced confessions for state prosecutions.

 

Of note was a 2002 King Hamad royal decree, granting persons accused of torture immunity for prior alleged instances when it was practiced freely to punish and extract confessions for trials. Under Hamad, nothing changed.

 

Moreover, in 2005, the UN Committee Against Torture expressed concerns for lack of a clear Bahrain definition. In 2008, they were again raised regarding the treatment of five Unemployment Committee members, arrested between December 21 and 28, 2007 during state violence at the time. 

 

Released on January 10, 2008, they reported being beaten, verbally abused, intimidated, deprived of sleep and food, incarcerated in solitary confinement, and subjected to prolonged use of handcuffs and blindfolds. 

 

In February 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that since December 2007, authorities routinely used torture to extract confessions, including:

 

-- electric shocks;

 

-- suspensions in painful positions;

 

-- beating feet with rubber hoses and/or batons;

 

-- kicking, punching, slapping, and striking detainees with implements;

 

-- forced standing for prolonged periods; and

 

-- threatened rape or death.

 

Experts say Bahrain's General Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) bears most responsibility. It reports to the Interior Ministry, administering jails and detention facilities under the Justice Ministry's supervision.

 

A recent 2011 IHRC Report is titled "Emergency Briefing on the Human Rights Situation in Bahrain," explaining widespread, systematic abuses ongoing for months in the latest crackdown. It covers:

 

-- mass arrests; 

 

-- disappearances;

 

-- torture, other abuses, and ill-treatment;

 

-- extrajudicial killings;

 

-- use of repressive Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state forces;

 

-- purging political opposition;

 

-- suppressing intellectuals, students, doctors, nurses, journalists, other professionals, and activists;

 

-- marginalizing Shias;

 

-- attacking civil society;

 

-- sacking professional sportspeople; and

 

-- suppressing any effort challenging state authority.

 

In its May edition, Crescent Magazine headlined, "Acts of sacrilege, rape, torture and murder in Bahrain," discussing "indescribable crimes against innocent civilians," showing collusion with America and Saudi Arabia.

 

Bahraini and Saudi security forces, in fact, are committing "wanton acts of vandalism and sacrilege," including destroying mosques and desecrating the Koran. Moreover, Bahraini forces committed one of the most shocking crimes against a 20-year old female poet named Ayat al-Qermezi.

 

In late March, state security forces arrested her. She was missing until confirmed hospitalized in a coma in mid-April, victimized by repeated rapes. She died after failed attempts to save her. Western media provided scant coverage. In Bahrain, brutality against her was suppressed. Al Jazeera also excluded her from its coverage.

 

Another disturbing case involved Ahlia University Professor Masaud Jahromi, Engineering Department Chairman. A highly respected academic, Bahraini security forces arrested him in the middle of the night on April 14 even though he wasn't involved in protests. Being Shia is his only crime, reason enough to arrest, torture and perhaps kill him.

 

Saudi and Bahraini security forces are brutalizing innocent civilians, their lives now a living hell. "Their neighborhoods are under constant surveillance; armored personnel carriers and tanks are stationed on every street corner with security personnel smashing cars and property" randomly to intimidate and terrorize. 

 

Western media barely mention the most extreme acts of injustice, nor do leaders in Washington, London, Paris and other EU capitals, vilifying Gaddafi but ignoring the worst Bahraini abuses.

 

A Final Note

 

On May 8, trials for 21 arrested Bahrainis began, including seven in absentia, persecuted victims charged with plotting to overthrow the monarchy. All 14 defendants present pleaded innocent. Two international human rights observers were denied access to proceedings. However, representatives from a select few NGOs were present. Bail requests were rejected. Of concern are reports of torture in detention, and defendant Abdulhadi al-Khawaja saying in court:

 

"Today I was threatened in this place (meaning prison). My life is in danger."

 

Throughout their incarceration, they got no access to families or lawyers until 24 hours before trial for attorneys only, providing no time to prepare. Their ordeal is of no interest to Obama or official Washington.

 

Under conditions of martial law, their fate seems assured, guilty of wanting democratic freedoms, corruption ended, violence and state terror stopped, and state oil revenues used equitably for all Bahrainis. As a result, despite all they've endured so far, their ordeal likely just began unless sentenced to death to end it. Either way, will official Washington and Big Media  notice?

 

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/.

סמרטוט אדום, טור שבועי, 10 במאי 2011

סופו של חלום (בינתיים)

כאשר נבחר ברק אובמה לנשיאות ארה"ב שמחתי לא רק בגלל שלראשונה נבחר נשיא אפרו אמריקני, הישג היסטורי לכשעצמו, אלא התמלאתי תקווה שארבעים שנה אחר הירצחו של הכומר מרטין לותר קינג, בא בן דמותו להנהיג את אמריקה. אובמה, שנישא על הסיסמה  YES WE CAN, יגשים את נאומו המפורסם של קינג I HAVE A DREAM.  אם לא את כולו לפחות את חלקו.  

Libyan Rebels Killing Civilians in Benghazi

 Libyan Rebels Killing Civilians in Benghazi - by Stephen Lendman

 

In London, at a June 1999 anti-Yugoslavia war rally, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter scathed US and UK leaders, saying:

 

"Let us face the truth....(N)either Clinton nor Blair gives a damn about the Kosovar Albanians. This action has been another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile....to consolidate....American domination of Europe."

 

Today, Obama doesn't give a damn about Libyans, any more than about Iraqis, Afghans or working Americans. At issue only is Washington wanting unchallenged dominance everywhere, including over the Mediterranean Basin, using two missiles - NATO and so-called rebels, enlisted, funded, trained and armed well before bombing began on March 19. 

 

Besides civilians and former regime soldiers, Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) paramilitaries comprise their hardcore - Al Qaeda-linked insurgents, cutthroat killers, showing no mercy for suspected pro-Gaddafi sympathizers.

 

On March 23, London Telegraph writer Rob Crilly headlined, "Libya: it wasn't supposed to be like this in free Benghazi," saying:

 

Every night, vigilante gangs "mop up (suspected) pro-Gaddafi elements." Foreign workers long ago fled the city. Most refugees, in fact, are foreign workers, not Libyan nationals, what major media reports don't explain.

 

Under rebel control, Benghazi residents are terrorized, many "too frightened to drive through the dark streets at night, fearing a shakedown or worse at the proliferating checkpoints." One man said unless they know you, they assume you're pro-Gaddafi. 

 

On April 17, Financial Times writer Robin Wigglesworth headlined, "Fears rise as Gaddafi loyalists purged," saying:

 

Former Benghazi mayor and Gaddafi loyalist Huda Ben Amer's mansion "is now a charred husk....gutted by fire and obscene graffiti...."

 

Throughout rebel-held areas, "firebombed buildings, defaced posters, incendiary graffiti, (and other actions) testify to the depths of hatred (toward) the regime." 

 

Perhaps it's also effective recruiting, choosing the right fighters and convincing them that Western imperialism is humanitarian intervention when, in fact, it's to carve up another conquered nation's corpse, installing new leaders to serve Washington, not Libyans.

 

As a result, "(m)any associated with (Gaddafi) have been arrested, exiled or killed," in a rampaging purge, "raising some uncomfortable issues" for rebel leaders and independent observers.

 

Claiming only pro-Gaddafi supporters "with blood on their hands" are being targeted, youth gangs are terrorizing Libyans, using "rat-hunting" harassment, arrests, and "spontaneous roadside executions."

 

Actions, in fact, are so out-of-control that unchecked witch-hunt justice threatens anyone suspected of pro-regime support. In other words, they're guilty by accusation, rebels acting as judges, juries and executioners with full Western backing.

 

On May 10, New York Times writer Kareen Fahim headlined, "Killings and Rumors Unsettle a Libyan City," saying:

 

Bodies are showing up around Benghazi. "Three weeks ago, a traveler spotted (one) in farmland on the city's outskirts, shot twice in the head with his hands and feet bound." He disappeared the previous day after visiting a market. Days later, another one was also found, murdered the same way. "Masked, armed men had taken him from his home the night before, without giving a reason, his wife said."

 

Like many others, both killings are unsolved, and in rebel-held territory, investigations aren't conducted in a climate of death squad justice. As a result, Benghazi residents are "paranoid," wondering who's next, and when lawless killings will stop. 

 

In fact, the entire city is unsettled, intimidated by rebel gangs rounding up suspected Gaddafi sympathizers. Unless stopped, "it will pose a (stiff) challenge to (insurgent leaders) trying to present a vision of a new country committed to the rule of law, while potentially undermining hopes for" peace and justice.

 

For weeks without letup, episodes like the following have raged:

 

In early May, "about a dozen men wearing balaclavas (ski masks) and carrying guns arrived at the house of Youssef al Tobouli in three pickup trucks." A former prison guard, he defected and was at his store. "His terrified relatives called friends, and in the gunfight that followed, the room (he) shared with his wife and three children was destroyed by fire." 

 

Numerous other attacks are reported. According to Benghazi Jalaa Hospital's Dr. Omar Khalid, bodies of executed men show up regularly though no one knows if they were regime sympathizers. Some were shot. Others had their throats cut. They all came dead on arrival.

 

Deadly episodes leave everyone gripped with fear. "Last week, rebel fighters in pickup trucks rushed to the city's radio station," suspecting Gaddafi loyalists inside. "Guns were fired, and a bystander was....killed....This is a war of rumors," said the station's security guard. "People are very edgy" with good reason. 

 

Even defectors like Hussein Gaith turn up dead, his wife saying:

 

"He didn't have any enemies. He joined the revolution 20 days after it started."

 

Yet he was abducted and killed, showing signs he resisted. Until America intervened, Libya functioned normally. Now it's the wild west, becoming the worst of what Iraqis and Afghans face daily, including deep poverty, unemployment, repression, and extreme violence, mostly affecting civilians.

 

Oscar Wilde once called a "hypocrite (someone) who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." 

 

Twenty-eight months into his presidency, Obama mastered the art of duplicity, contemptuously calling imperial slaughter humanitarian intervention, using NATO and human "missiles" for regime change, no matter how many corpses it takes.

 

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/.

Human Trafficking in Israel

 Human Trafficking in Israel - by Stephen Lendman

 

In February 2003, the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW) published a report titled, "Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in Israel," saying:

 

"In September 2002, a new 'Deportation Police' (Immigration Administration) was set up (to) expel 50,000 migrant workers" by year end 2003. Unprecedented in scope at the time, it reflected Israel's longstanding "official policy towards migrant labor."

 

HMW's report showed a pattern of denying migrant workers basic rights "to such an extent as to result in modern slavery and trafficking in human beings."

 

Ever since Israel allowed non-Palestinian migrant workers entry in the early 1990s, their rights steadily eroded. More recently, HMW said:

 

"Its primary manifestations include debt bondage, restrictions and violations of basic human freedoms, and renting and selling of workers," policies ongoing today. 

 

Beneficiaries include employers, employment agencies and smugglers, reducing human beings to chattel. Though aware of the problem, authorities have done little to prevent it. Moreover, they're complicit by binding workers to employers, not enforcing applicable laws, and arbitrarily deporting migrant workers called "illegal" for reasons like refusing to work for abusive employers at low pay under degrading or sub-human conditions.

 

In fact, combined, these policies facilitate "conditions of slavery and trafficking in human beings in Israel," made possible by:

 

-- companies recruiting workers abroad;

 

-- using exploitive employment service intermediaries;

 

-- binding workers contractually to a single employer;

 

-- extracting large fees up to $15,000, entrapping them in debt; in fact, importing workers solely for that purpose;

 

-- paying below legal minimum wages and extracting large overcharges for food and housing;

 

-- providing sub-human living conditions;

 

-- restricting worker freedoms;

 

-- confiscation of passports;

 

-- letting employees terminate workers unilaterally, leaving them vulnerable to jailing and deportation;

 

-- letting them sell workers to other companies like chattel; and

 

-- overall affording no legal rights under international law.

 

International Law Prohibitions on Slavery and Human Trafficking

 

Paragraph 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

 

"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."

 

The 1926 Convention on Slavery, amended by the UN in 1953, prohibited slavery in all forms, defining it in Article I (1) and (2) as: 

 

"the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, (including) capture, acquisition or disposal of a person with intent to reduce him to slavery...."

 

The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (called the Palermo Protocol or Trafficking Protocol) defines the practice as follows in Article 3:

 

"Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs...."

 

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obligates nations to respect and safeguard all individuals within their territory, as well as prevent, investigate and prosecute violations of their rights. 

 

Other relevant laws include:

 

-- the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;

 

-- the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women; 

 

-- the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and

 

-- the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

 

Like many other nations, including America, Israel ignores them all, despite its own laws protecting migrants as human beings. As a result, HMW said:

 

"By focus(ing) on punishing foreign workers while ignoring their rights," Israel treats them "as objects that can be brought in and sent back, imported and allocated as quotas, transferred from one employer to another, bought and sold, exploited and deported."

 

At the same time, Israel calls this "an effective and humane solution that will reduce or totally eliminate the number of illegal aliens in Israel." In fact, it facilitates human trafficking and modern slavery, affording migrant workers no rights, leaving them vulnerable to the will of employers and state authorities. "In the final analysis, a heavy price is being paid, not only by the migrant workers themselves, but by all citizens of Israel."

 

Israel's Proposed New Slavery Law

 

On March 28, 2011, Haaretz writer Merav Michaeli headlined "The Modern slavery law," saying:

 

The Knesset Interior and Environmental Committee was considering legislation "that would yoke foreign nursing-care workers to a specific employer and area of the country," preventing them from leaving voluntarily. However, enactment will circumvent Israel's 2006 High Court ruling that limiting them this way constitutes illegal modern slavery. 

 

Debate occurred at the same time authorities avoided negotiating with striking social workers to enforce greater pressure for low pay. "Indeed, before the import of foreign caregivers, there were many more Israeli (ones), both men and women, employed under much better working conditions."

 

As a result, dependent elderly or disabled people must choose between a poorly paid foreign caregiver or expensive nursing facility. In contrast, government officials see no "problem in exploiting weakened, aging citizens (as well as) subjugating even weaker" caregivers, afforded no rights.

 

On March 24, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) addressed the same problem in an analysis headlined, "The 'Slavery Law' and Beyond: New Bills Targeting Foreign Residents," saying the Knesset is considering three bills to restrict the legal status of non-Jews in Israel. If enacted, their basic rights will be more compromised on the pretext of reforming current immigration policy.

 

(1) The "Slavery Law"

 

Mainly affecting migrant women, the first bill restricts nurses and caregivers, giving the Interior Minister power to bind them to employers or specific work like caring solely for the elderly, disabled or minors, as well as in one location. Violators would be arrested and deported. As explained above, Israel's High Court ruled this illegal.

 

(2) A second bill stipulates that persons remaining in Israel illegally may acquire legal status only after a 1 - 10 year "cooling period" outside the country. It applies to: 

 

-- spouses of Israeli residents and citizens;

 

-- parents of Israeli minors, disregarding their welfare;

 

-- children and elderly parents of Israeli residents and citizens;

 

-- non-citizens;

 

-- native Negev Bedouins, Israeli citizens afforded no rights;

 

-- migrant workers;

 

-- victims of human trafficking;

 

-- humanitarian cases; and

 

-- others.

 

Persons this bill mostly harms will be families of Israeli citizens and non-citizen spouses, parents and children. Moreover, Israel's High Court addressed this issue in 1999 and 2006, ruling it illegal to require non-resident spouses of Israeli citizens to leave the country before or until their status is clarified. The Court also said doing so fails the proportionality test because of the harm caused to married couples' rights.

 

(3) The third bill establishes a Justice Ministry immigration and status tribunal. As part of the executive branch, justices will be allowed to rule with no public or oral debate. Authorities will also be exempt from "presenting various documents to the court and will be allowed to demand ex-parte hearings (where one party isn't present or given notice of court proceedings)."

 

If enacted, it will thus subvert "every rule of natural justice" by giving the Justice and Interior Ministries total authority over immigrants and non-Jews. These ministries will then have extrajudicial power to determine policies, "introduce procedures, execute them, judge them, and" decide on their legality, irrespective of Israeli and international law.

 

Increasingly in Israel, the rule of law is null and void, mainly affecting the most vulnerable, including migrant non-Jewish workers.

 

A Final Comment

 

A previous article discussed revoking East Jerusalemites' status, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/east-jerusalem-palestinians-lawlessly.html

 

On May 11, Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar headlined, "Israel admits it covertly cancelled residency status of 140,000 Palestinians," saying:

 

It affects those traveling abroad between 1967 and 1994, "in a new document obtained by Haaretz." During that period, "Palestinians who wished to travel abroad via Jordan were ordered to leave their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing," exchanging them for another valid for three years.

 

Palestinians not renewing them on time were no longer residents. The document includes no warning or information about the process, leaving travelers uninformed and vulnerable, including students studying abroad, businessmen, and laborers who worked in the Gulf.

 

The Center for the Defense of the Individual said that:

 

"mass withdrawal of residency rights from tens of thousands of West Bank residents, tantamount to permanent exile from their homeland, remains an illegitimate demographic policy and a grave violation of international law."

 

Article 13 (1) and (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in fact, states:

 

"Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state."  

 

Moreover, "(e)veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

 

Israel, of course, ignores international laws and standards, especially for Palestinians and its Arab citizens.

 

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/.

Commemorating Palestine's Nakba

 Commemorating Palestine's Nakba - by Stephen Lendman

 

What Ilan Pappe described as "the ethnic cleaning of Palestine," Edward Said called its "holocaust," saying:

 

"Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities." He called Nazi extermination "the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence." Occupied Palestinians today "are as powerless as Jews were" under Hitler, devastated by "power used for evil purposes," not self-defense. 

 

As a result, they hang onto life by a thread, while Israel's military juggernaut systematically reigns terror against them, no one intervening to help. "Is this the Zionist goal for which hundreds of thousands have died," Said asked? Isn't it time for justice advocates to demand for Palestinians what Jews spent decades to achieve.

 

In his book titled, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," Pappe documented Israel's master plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), a war without mercy:

 

-- depopulating villages and cities; 

 

-- massacring innocent victims;

 

-- committing rapes and other atrocities; 

 

-- burning, bulldozing, blowing up or stealing homes, property and goods; and 

 

-- preventing expelled Palestinians from returning.

 

In all, systematic terror expelled about 800,000 Palestinians, killed many others, and destroyed 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. It was genocidal ethnic cleansing, what international law today calls a crime of war and against humanity for which convicted Nazis at Nuremberg were hanged.

 

Under 44 years of occupation this June, Palestinians still experience daily institutionalized persecution with no power over their daily lives in a constant state of fear with good reason. They face:

 

-- economic strangulation; 

 

-- collective punishment for any reason; 

 

-- loss of basic freedoms, especially in Gaza under siege; 

 

-- enclosures by separation walls, electric fences and border closings; 

 

-- regular curfews, roadblocks, and checkpoints;

 

-- bulldozing of their homes, crops and orchards; and 

 

-- arrest, imprisonment, and torture without cause.  

 

Moreover, they endure:

 

-- assaults and extra-judicial assassinations; 

 

-- punitive taxation; and 

 

-- denial of basic services essential to life and well-being, including healthcare, education, employment and enough food and water at the whim of Israeli authorities, trying to destroy their will to resist.  

 

With no effective power to resist, they're denied redress in international tribunals that ignore them, perpetuating their occupation, denial of basic rights and misery.

 

On May 15, Palestinians will commemorate their Nakba (disaster), a day after Israel's sixty-third Independence Day. Events, in fact, began on May 9 by lighting beacons at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl national cemetery, marking the conclusion of Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial or Remembrance Day. On May 10, Independence Day (ID) was celebrated according to the Jewish calendar, this year days before May 14. 

 

Events around the country were held, including ceremonies, military fly-overs, and a naval demonstration. ID evening, the annual Israel Prize, its highest honor, was awarded.

 

This year, Israel's Independence Day theme was "Looking after one another - the year of mutual care," denied anyone not Jewish, especially Palestinians, but also Israeli Arabs, one-fifth of the population treated more like a fifth column than citizens.

 

Ahead of ID ceremonies, President Shimon Peres reflected on "the historic miracle of the birth of a nation," saying Israel's War of Independence established "one of the best and most moral armies in the world." 

 

In fact, he and other Israeli officials ignore its decades of slaughter, destruction, and ruthlessness against regional Arabs, belying any notion of morality. Palestinians understand well, by far paying the greatest price, ongoing daily. 

 

Roots of Israel's 1947 - 48 plan began with:

 

-- Zionism's 19th century birth; in 1895, founder Theodor Herzl, wrote: "We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by....denying it employment in our country."

 

-- establishment of the 1901 Jewish National Fund (JNF) to compile a detailed registry of Arab communities, so later Zionists knew what to colonize and where; it was also to buy and occupy Palestinian land; 

 

-- by the late 1930s, it was a detailed topographic blueprint of every Arab village and urban area; its information included husbandry, cultivated land, number of trees, quality of fruits, crops, average amount of land per family, number of cars, shop owners, Palestinian clans, their political affiliation, description of mosques and names of their imams, civil servants and more;

 

-- by 1947, it also included "wanted" persons, by communities, to be targeted for elimination - leaders to be arrested and summarily executed in cold blood to create a power vacuum;

 

-- the process began in December 1947, five months before the British Mandate ended; Britain did nothing to deter it; David Ben-Gurion led it from the 1920s to the 1960s; after ethnically cleansing Palestine he said: "We have come and we have stolen their country....We must do everything to insure they never do return." Ten years earlier he wrote to his son: "We will expel the Arabs and take their places....with the force at our disposal;" 

 

-- other Israeli leaders expressed the same mindset; two  were former prime ministers, including Golda Meir saying: "There are no Palestinians" and Nobel Peace laureate Menachem Begin, calling Palestinians "two-legged beasts," saying Jews were the "Master Race" and "divine gods on this planet;"

 

-- in 1972, Labor Party leader Haim Herzog was more discreet, saying: "I am not prepared to consider (Palestinians) as partners in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our nation for thousands of years; for the Jews of this land there cannot be any partner."

 

The Palestinian Holocaust

 

Alnakba.org recounts the toll. It lists the destroyed villages in 14 Palestinian Districts, including Gaza, Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and Hebron. One was Deir Yassin in the Jerusalem District. On April 9, 1948, it was the site of an infamous Nakba massacre. Israeli soldiers entered the village, machine-gunned houses randomly, killing many inside, including women and children. 

 

Remaining villagers were assembled and murdered in cold blood. Included were children, infants, the elderly and women who were first raped. The number killed is uncertain but best estimates place it between 93 and 120. In addition, dozens more were killed in ensuing fighting, and many other villages met the same fate in the systematic cleansing plan - to seize as much Palestinian land as possible, leaving the fewest number of remaining Arabs.

 

In December 1947, Jews in Palestine numbered 600,000 compared to 1.3 million Palestinians. Ben-Gurion ordered them removed with commands like: 

 

"Every attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion." He meant:

 

-- depopulation; 

 

-- obliteration; 

 

-- homes blown up, burned or bulldozed; 

 

-- inhabitants in them slaughtered; 

 

-- shooting anything that moved, especially fighting-age men and boys who might pose a combat or resistance threat; and 

 

-- leaving behind rubble, a forgotten landscape and proud history erased, but never in the collective Palestinian memory.

 

Today, Lifta's ruins can be seen from Jerusalem. What remained of Dayr Aban were piles of rubble, collapsed roofs and part of some standing walls. Only two houses were left in Barqa, one deserted, the other a warehouse. 

 

Jura became the city of Ashqelon. Its Jewish population exceeds 117,000. The only Arab remains in al-Faluja are the village mosque foundations and wall fragments. The Israeli town of Qiryat Gat is situated between al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiyya, on al-Faluja land. Hundreds of other Arab villages have similar stories, erased and replaced by Jewish-only development.

 

Israel's new Nakba Law bans commemorating it as a way to erase this event from Israeli consciousness. 

 

Enacted as the Budget Foundations Law, it lets the finance minister reduce or eliminate funding for any institution or entity engaging in any activity at variance with Israel's definition as a "Jewish and democratic" state, or commemorates Israel's Independence Day as one of mourning. In other words, it violates Arab history, culture, and right to express, teach, or disseminate it freely as another way to exert ruthless persecution against anyone not Jewish.

 

Nonetheless, this day remains embedded in Palestinian consciousness. A historic fact, it represents an appalling injustice, inspiring resolve to keep struggling for liberation, independence, peace, and just redress, nothing less.

 

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/.

East Jerusalem Palestinians: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status

 East Jerusalem Residents: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status - by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 7, 2011, HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition, demanding that Israel's Interior Ministry stop revoking residency permits given East Jerusalem Palestinians.

 

After its June 1967 annexation, life for Palestinian residents became an ongoing cycle of neglect, discrimination, poverty, shortages, and persecution, compounded by the encircling Separation Wall and worsening daily hardships. 

 

Moreover, though no longer, as permanent Israeli residents, they were afforded the right to live and work in Israel without special permits. However, permanent residency, unlike citizenship, passes on conditionally to children. For example, marrying someone without one and/or the other requires applying for family unification to live together. In fact, Israel treats East Jerusalem Arabs as foreigners, whose rights can be summarily revoked, denied, or severely restricted any time for any reason by civil or military order.

 

As a result, residents endure repeated investigations and inquiries to keep proving their legitimacy, letting authorities arbitrarily deny it. In addition, time and expense are involved, including for services and applications that can take months or years to be considered.

 

Moreover, many Palestinians live outside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries with no Israeli residency status. Severed from the West Bank by the Separation Wall, they're trapped in East Jerusalem in limbo. In October 2007, Israel denied them permanent residency, issuing only temporary permits under military authority. 

 

Even getting them involves cost and bureaucratic red tape, and those with them may live in their homes, but not work or drive in Jerusalem. Nor can they get education, health, or other services. As a result, they've been ghettoized under severe, unrelenting duress as foreigners in their own homes on their own land in their own country.

 

HaMoked and ACRI want Israel's Interior Ministry to amend the current law to include special protection clauses for Palestinians residing in annexed areas, including East Jerusalem and Golan, so they may exit and enter their country freely.

 

They differentiate them from immigrants who acquired residency through marriage to an Israeli citizen who would still have to keep proving their "center-of-life" status in the city.

 

Current law lets Israel's Interior Ministry revoke residency status (and issued permits proving it) for natives or immigrants who lived outside the country for seven or more years, or who acquired citizenship or permanent residency abroad. 

 

Moreover, authorities regularly revoke residency permits without notice or hearings, those affected denied their right to challenge what's already happened. As a result, they learn after the fact that they're barred from their homeland.

 

Most East Jerusalem Palestinians are permanent residents. Thus, revoking their status arbitrarily infringes on the rights of many thousands who wish to study, work or live abroad for any purpose. In recent years, revocations rose sharply under an undeclared ethnic cleansing policy to Judaize all Jerusalem by removing its Arab presence.

 

Thousands are now affected annually. In fact, almost 50% of all post-1967 revocations occurred from 2006 - 2008.

 

Petitioning Israel's High Court of Justice for Redress

 

On April 7, HaMoked and ACRI petitioned Israel's High Court on behalf of Mahmoud Qarae'en, a 26-year old East Jerusalem Silwan resident and ACRI field researcher for its Human Rights in East Jerusalem project. He told the Electronic Intifada publication:

 

"People feel that they are under siege. I cannot do anything to risk the possibility of not coming back (home). We should be treated as (Jerusalem's) indigenous people....We are not guests. We are from here and we should be able to leave and come back (freely) if we choose."

 

HaMoked's April 7 petition on his behalf asked Israel's High Court:

 

"to determine that with respect to East Jerusalem residents, for whom this piece of earth is home, permanent residency visas cannot expire, even following extended period of living abroad or the acquisition of status in another country."

 

Current laws originated in the High Court's Awad case:

 

HCJ 282/88 - Awad v. Yitzhak Shamir, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior et al in May 1988 in which it ruled that although Israel annexed East Jerusalem and gave its residents permanent status, it may be revoked due to "center-of-life" transference elsewhere.

 

As a result, the Interior Ministry used the ruling repressively against Palestinians, penalizing them for leaving the city or accepting status abroad by denying them unrestricted reentry.

 

Beginning in the mid-1990s, the policy became known as the "Quiet Deportation" practice of revoking residency for thousands of East Jerusalemites. Receiving only an after-the-fact form letter, they were told their permanent resident status expired for settling outside Israel. In 2008, nearly 4,600 Palestinians were affected.

 

The joint petition claimed the status of East Jerusalem residents differs from elsewhere in Palestine because after annexation, its residents forcibly became permanent Israeli residents. Under the Awad decision, they got it by law permanently.

 

Moreover, East Jerusalem is belligerently occupied. Under international law, its residents are protected persons, entitled to appropriate guarantees. Applying Israeli law to the city doesn't abrogate them. In addition, for women who settle abroad or in the West Bank with their husbands, their family and city of origin remain vitally important, including as a refuge in case of divorce or separation.

 

Israel's Interior Ministry turned "Awad" into a "legal cage," imprisoning East Jerusalemites, denying them free movement within or outside the city. As a result, HaMoked and ACRI petitioned the High Court to rule permanency can't expire, no matter how long residents live or work abroad or if they acquire foreign status.

 

Israel's Repressive ID/Permit System

 

Nonetheless, Israel's longstanding ID/permit system for all Palestinians is used repressively to revoke residency status, especially in East Jerusalem. It's one of many ways employed to make greater Israel ethnically pure, including by military order.

 

Israel requires all permanent residents and citizens over 16 to have color-coded ID cards (called te'udat zehut) for West Bank and Gazan Palestinians, as well as East Jerusalem ones, Israeli Arabs and Jews. 

 

For Palestinians, they dictate where they may live, work, and move, or be allowed through West Bank checkpoints, to Israel or Gaza. Doing so requires hard to get permits, easily cancelled without notice. 

 

Jews have blue IDs, Palestinians either Israeli-issued orange ones (in Hebrew) or nearly identical Palestinian Authority-issued green ones with a PA seal on top, that include the following information:

 

-- name and ID number;

 

-- father and mother's names;

 

-- date and place of birth;

 

-- religion;

 

-- marital status;

 

-- gender; and

 

-- photo.

 

Prior to 2005, ethnicity was also included. It's still available on request from state registrations.

 

A separate document includes:

 

-- current and previous addresses;

 

-- previous names;

 

-- citizenship, including for permanent resident citizens of other countries;

 

-- name, birth date and ID numbers for spouse and children; and

 

-- electoral polling stamp.

 

In theory, Jerusalem Palestinians may move freely within the city and through most of the West Bank. In practice, harsh security measures prevent it, as well as their right to work in Israel, pay taxes, and get national insurance benefits. In addition, as explained above, their Jerusalem residency isn't guaranteed. 

 

Israeli Arabs are citizens, their ID cards identifying their religion. Again theoretically, they have free access to the West Bank and Jerusalem. In practice, they're stopped, questioned, delayed, and denied access to West Bank cities and East Jerusalem by military order. The Separation Wall and Gaza's siege add other impediments.

 

In contrast, Israeli and settlement Jews have unrestricted free movement throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, unimpeded by the Separation Wall or repressive military orders, not applicable to them under civil law.

 

Rarely does Israel's High Court rule favorably for Palestinians. Even then, government authorities do what they please, at times through newly passed repressive laws to assure no rights for anyone not Jewish, especially Palestinians.

 

A Final Comment

 

On April 14, ACRI's President Sami Michael expressed alarm about dark Knesset forces "persist(ing) in their attempts to restrict the freedoms of speech and assembly; nationalist politicians try(ing) to enhance the alienation and exclusion of Israel's Arab citizens;" and the repressive occupation "tak(ing) an ever-stronger hold, trampling human rights values and pushing us ever further into estrangement from one another."

 

Nonetheless, despite racist legislation, assaults on free expression, oppressing migrant workers, and enforcing occupation harshness, he cited popular uprisings across Middle East/North African countries as a hopeful sign, perhaps "inspir(ing) Israel's human rights defenders as well." 

 

The struggle is universal, never succeeding easily, quickly, or so often not at all. For sure, not without sustained, determined effort, no matter the odds. In America, Israel and Occupied Palestine, they're daunting.

 

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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