Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘cities/geography’ Category

Local “Silent Majority” bow down to ignominy and shameful behaviors

This is a local story that took place in Cornet Chehwan (Lebanon) within a group of Petanque players (Boules) a club belonging to the municipality.

A regular player, a retired Industrial Engineer PhD who also taught in universities and who pays his property taxes in that municipality, was denied to participate in the games, for no apparent reasons.

In the first week of April, this engineer walked for 20 minutes at 5 pm to the tent where players gather to play. He has sold his car long time ago and decided to walk instead of driving.

There was exactly 12 players. He registered his name on the board according to regulation to be next, when one group is out.

As the game was over, he stepped in to play. He exercised alone, waiting for the alternative group to form. After 10 minutes, he sensed that there is a sort of veto to play with him. Shadiya kept repeating “Revanche” (meaning we want to play again with the winning team). An old fat man growled:” Yalla, badna nel3ab” (we want to resume playing with the same team).

Disgusted, the engineer returned the cochonet to a lady player and decided to leave.

Cesa, the wife of the municipality chief, was Not there. She suddenly barged in the tent, plausibly following a phone call from her sidekick. She immediately advanced toward the engineer, poison dripping from her face, hit him in the chest with a finger and shouted: “Out of the tent, right now”

Taken aback by this savage hatred, the player replied: “enteh dhareh barra , wleh” (Get out yourself)

A “lawyer” player approached the engineer and said: “Let’s step outside to talk”. He responded: “Let’s talk inside. Is this a municipality club or a private club”? The lawyer replied: “It doesn’t matter. If the players refuse to play with you, you are out of luck”

Who are the players who don’t want to play with the engineer? They all played with him for over 9 months and he was better than most in the game and he was friendly with most and got to know their private lives and their wives.

Or was it the half dozen obeying to Cesa’s grudge (for whatever is this mystery grudge that no one dared to ask her). Did the entire club members got the signals to boycott the engineer?

As far as the engineer knew, the club never sent him any letter or any verbal warning that he is Not welcomed.

The story has a beginning.

At the start of the winter season, the engineer walked as usual to the tent. Shadia insisted on him to stay past 8:30 pm for a last game, so that she gives him a ride home.

The two groups of players were constituted of Cesa, Shadia, and the “lawyer” Hamid. The opposing team was of Walid, Fara7 and the engineer. The engineer, who dislikes being cornered as the designated starter, while the others reserves for themselves the task of playing last, played well and placed good boules near the cochonet. His team members kept hitting his boules (tireur) instead of the adverse boules, and this happened 3 times., and in succession too.

It was evident that they were tired and Not fit to hit well.  Coolly and decisively, the engineer told the two players: “Ok, now you discuss between you two and decide who will place his boules first.”

Walid acknowledge that it is best, but Fra7 got frustrated and upset and started playing haphazardly to express his annoyance, and ruined the game.

Cesa told the engineer: “Kahrabt al jaww” (You electrified the air). Meaning that the engineer is to blame for this bad game.

The next day, the engineer walked to the tent and felt that there is a sort of veto on him to play. Cesa told him: “The next time betkahreb al jaww, you are out. You may only be allowed to watch”. The engineer turned his back to her and didn’t come back for the duration of the winter season, about 3 months.

The mother of this engineer, who is 90 of age and gets sicker during the cold season, needed his close attention and to be near her. It didn’t make sense to the engineer to walk in the cold and back in the cold in order to face players Not willing to share with him the games.

As the weather warmed a little, the engineer started to walk and occasionally entered the tent. He didn’t play and didn’t feel the heart to play with people who lack dignity and crawl to a person, just to be “allowed” to play in tranquility and in total boredom among themselves.

One day, the engineer decided to play a single game, so that he can walk back while there is light to be with his mother. Again, the veto resumed. Hovig told me: We reformed the teams and you are Not in”. I was the only new comers, and the reformed teams were the exactly the same.  The engineer didn’t insist and walked out, feeling sorry for these crawling and groveling men.

The next time, the engineer registered him name on the board. And you know the entire story.

Does anyone of the club members dared to know why Cesa and her sidekick kept this grudge on the engineer? Even those who vetoed him out to play, either explicitly or implicitly?

Any one of the readers can guess what is the problem?

Cesa and Shadia are Not in the official roster of members designated to Lebanon Petanque syndicate. Who gave Cesa this “power” to rule, decide and kick out players?

What’s wrong with this club? Do the officials of this club care? Anyone cares?

Does any player feels secure to play the next time around, and not be kicked out savagely, at the whim of Cesa?

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Written by a Gaza-based young Palestinian, to share with us what life in Gaza looks like from the eyes of a young person living this experience.

By Abdalrahim Mohammed Alfarra • Gaza • 19 April 2018

I was born in the occupied Gaza Strip in 1993. In the same year, my family moved to the United Arab Emirates where I completed all my school grades, from primary to secondary school.

In 2011, I went back to the Gaza Strip and got enrolled in a local university.

Since then, a new chapter of my life is opened to unprecedented limits of misery and tragedy. The least is witnessing death and fear on a daily basis.

I am writing today trying to tell the world how our life in Gaza can be seen in the eyes of a young person living this experience. It is worth mentioning here that this is my first attempt to write such an article.

The blockade of Gaza imposed by Israeli occupation authorities and the Egyptian regime is a suffocating siege that we, the youth of Gaza, have had nothing to do with.

For more than a decade, this blockade has been affecting all aspects of our life. It is an ongoing dilemma we face every day. It is getting worse and worse every day with no sign of hope. It creates hardships for every single resident, impacting every part of everyone’s life.

At the very first moment of my arrival in Gaza, the electricity cuts were the first shocking thing to witness.

I have nothing to do but to change my lifestyle. Spending my childhood in a place where the such power cuts is very rare, it was really pathetic to see myself doing my homework and projects under the lights of simple candles.

At some point, some neighbors would have considered me to be luck as because of the generator my family had. However, such a seem-to-be luxury soon becomes useless when there is no available fuel to buy, or when backup batteries are drained. Soon, darkness becomes another dictator to dominate our life — stop studying; stop everything.

Things bother me. My mother is depriving herself of sleep; racing against time to exploit the few hours of electricity to complete as much of the accumulated household chores as possible. She sometimes gets up at dawn to wash clothes and do all the other tasks that require a source of power. A refrigerator with food in it became a luxury of the past.

(Try to aid in maintaining the house: You’ll find joy in alleviating your mother’s chores)

We are now forced to buy our food on the spot! Something that is not easy in a place like Gaza.

The electricity crisis has other negative impacts on the youth.

Aside from hindering our studies, it also isolates us from the outside world and leaves us with deep feeling of boredom. This suffering is doubled when we must endure Israel’s attacks, because then, we might have to survive without electricity for two or three days, and sometimes for over a week!

It is difficult to convey exactly how the lack of electricity impacts our lives, so I ask you, the international community, this: “Can you imagine living your life with only four hours of electricity each day? Imagine yourself isolated from the rest of the world for over a week, terrified; expecting to die at any moment” — for this is how my life is. (20% of Lebanese still experience this lack of electricity)

The opportunity to pursue your study abroad and to benefit from scholarships become impossible under this siege and the travel forbade. A friend of mine who managed to have a scholarship in Germany, told me that she could not get the permits that she needs in order to travel.

She lost her dream opportunity! She is not alone: so many young students are banned from traveling abroad to pursue their education — there are tens of thousands of students wishing to study abroad.

Imagine this: My friend Jamal Jabir wishes to travel outside of Gaza just for simple things. “I really want to travel, not because the outside world is prettier than Gaza, but because I have exhausted the beauty here.” He went on: “I have never seen a lake or a river throughout my entire life.

I have never seen a Bughatti, Lamborghini, or Ferrari, and I have never been on a train.

I only see them in pictures on the internet. I really want to see what they look like in the real life.” Does this tell you anything? Just imagine that the ultimate dream of a teenager is not to own a Ferrari, but to see it wandering around!

One of my fellow students, Mustafa Abu Batnain, once asked: “Does this world understand that I cannot visit another city in the same country? How could this happen in today’s world?”

I have heard a lot about Europeans being able to move freely from one country to another without being stopped at any checkpoint! Could you imagine that … other countries!

Gaza is one of the most densely-populated regions on earth. It actually has a very small geographical area of just 17 square miles, which means there are 42,600 people squashed inside every square mile! Stuck!

Why Palestinians in Gaza are denied their basic human rights to live, move, and travel? Why can’t they move freely whenever and wherever they want to, just like all other people in the world?

One of my friends has relatives in the West Bank. He has never met with them. Like all Palestinians with families in other parts of the occupied territories, they are forbidden by Israeli occupation authorities to meet their own relatives.

Unemployment here is over 40 per cent. It has one of the highest rates in the world, while youth unemployment is over 60 per cent.

Every time we are reminded of this information, the nightmare mantra returns: there is no future in Gaza; no work; no life for its young people.

This suffocating siege dictates this day-to-day reality to us. We cannot plan for our lives. We only live a day at a time, with no plan for the future.

Nevertheless, my friend’s voice interrupts these bad and frustrating thoughts. He says: “Gaza is not just misery and suffering. It is also creativity and talent.” This is true.

I have encountered many talented youngsters from all over Gaza. Despite all the suffering and pain, hardships and troubles, obstacles and disappointments, they have never surrendered. Whatever hinders their way towards success and glory, they keep moving, motivated to reach their ultimate goals.

Youssef Al Krunz was a superb footballer. He participated in the recent peaceful protests of the Great Return March at the borders of Gaza and the occupied territories of 1948. His future dream and possible career vanished when an Israeli sniper shot him down in his foot which had to be amputated. Despite this, he shocked me by saying: “I will never lose hope!”

‘Gaza’ and ‘hope’ are two words that seem to be unlinked. However, the young people here who are trying to do what’s possible to make them go hand-in-hand. We, the youth of Gaza, are like all other people of the world. We have our own dreams and creative talents. We have the necessary skills to be good to our community and to the whole world.

I hear about people committing suicide around the world, but I am sure it rarely happens here. What is our secret? Is it hope? But what kind of hope do we have? Is it that kind which transforms into determination, and then, motivation, and then, resistance, and then, Great Return March, and then Freedom. Is it?

Youssef Al-Bahtini is one of them; he wants to leave Gaza so that he can enter the Guinness Book of World Records as a contortionist. Israel’s blockade prevents his attempt from taking place. He never loses hope but keeps trying to find a way to achieve his dreams.

I established a youth club in June 2016. It works to help the young people of Gaza to practice English in order to speak out and tell the world about our struggle, suffer, and our just Palestinian Cause.

Mahmoud Ghanem, a friend and a coworker of mine in this club, is a fitness and Parkour trainer. He has been playing Parkour since 2007 even though there are no facilities for such a sport.

For practice, he usually goes to the cemeteries or to sites of destroyed houses. “I have always had a dream of playing Parkour in a room like the ones I can see in YouTube videos,” he says. “I dream of being able to play against some well-known Parkour players of the outside world.” (What is Parkour again?)

Nowadays, I am working with a team of young people, preparing to speak on behalf of Gaza’s youth, conveying our message: We, the young people of Gaza, have been suffering since the very beginning of our lives under this occupation. We have never enjoyed freedom.

However, because we love to live, we will never give up. We will do whatever is possible to disclose the Israeli apartheid, crimes, and lies, and false propaganda against us. We will tell the world the truth about Gaza’s youth and our harsh and excruciating situation.

We shall become Youth-With-Absolute-Freedom — not just Youth-Under-Occupation.


#YouthUnderOccupation #GazaUnlocked #GazaToHeartland

CEDRE: Une analyse détaillée du plan d’aide au Liban

Par François El Bacha – 12 avril 2018

La conférence d’aide au Liban est un succès indéniable, pays récipiendaire de l’aide économique accordé par 51 pays et organisations pour plus de 11 milliards de dollars de prêt à taux réduits et un peu moins de 500 millions de dons, alors qu’il n’en attendait plus que 5 à 7 milliards de dollars contre 25 milliards de dollars lors des premiers préparatifs de cette rencontre. (How low is this interest rate? We are already paying 7.5% on $80 bn)

Il reste qu’il est important de noter quelques points sur lesquels les libanais devront rester vigilants. (Quelque points? From where should we start to be vigilant? Is anything functioning in the last decade?)

Le Liban parait ainsi être mis sous tutelle économique par la communauté internationale (back to mandated power) sans aucun pouvoir décisionnaire en rapport avec ses choix puisque les pays donateurs ont fait part de conditions à accorder ces prêts, notamment dans le domaine de la gouvernance et de la lutte anticorruption et alors que se multiplient les mauvaises nouvelles par rapport à l’état de santé de son économie.

Pour l’essentiel, la situation économique libanaise s’explique en terme général par une mauvaise gestion et une mauvaise gouvernance. (Bad governance? Bad managing procedures? Say it loudly and clearly: highway robbery of the militia leaders in power)

En effet, le Liban connaissait préalablement au conflit syrien une croissance estimée entre 7 à 10%, mais cette croissance était générée par des secteurs cycliques comme le BTP – généralement utilisant une main-d’œuvre non libanaise et sous qualifiée et donc ne bénéficiant pas à la population en générale – et il était totalement absurde de vouloir par exemple relancer un secteur cyclique par l’injection en 2013 de 5 milliards de dollars au lieu de créer d’autres opportunités dans des secteurs différents utilisant un Know-How local et avec une valeur ajoutée plus élevée dans les domaines des nouvelles technologies par exemple.

Mais ces mauvaises nouvelles sont en fin de compte que le sommet de l’iceberg que tentaient de cacher les autorités libanaises durant bien des années! Il ne s’agissait même pas d’avoir un diplôme en économie pour comprendre que le Liban vit au-dessus de ses capacités économiques, dans un luxe qu’il ne peut se permettre alors que se creusait de manière incontrôlables les déficits publics, alors que les budgets de 2005 à 2016 n’étaient même jamais officiellement adoptés et n’avaient jamais fait l’objet d’un audit public comme cela est pourtant prévu par la constitution. (Since when the Constitution was a difficult hurdle to bypass?)

Parmi les fonds ainsi dilapidés sans contrôle, ceux accordés en 2007 lors de la conférence Paris III.

Un tel mauvais exemple augurait du pire pour la communauté internationale appelée à la rescousse et pourtant CEDRE qui aurait dû à l’origine être nommée Paris IV. Cette conférence a pu être organisée avec succès pour certaines raisons comme l’a spécifié son hôte, le Président Français, Emmanuel Macron.

On ne peut lâcher le Liban, frappé par « la tragédie cruelle du conflit syrien », les tensions entre les puissances locales, allusion à l’Arabie Saoudite et à l’Iran, le conflit israélo-palestinien, et de souligner la nécessité de garder « un Liban pacifique, pluraliste et harmonieux ». (Lebanon has always been well when Syria is well. Fact is, as France is constantly trying to destabilize Syria, so Lebanon suffer)

Il estime qu’un Liban fort est une condition essentielle à la Paix dans la région moyen-orientale, donc pour des raisons plutôt politiques et géostratégiques qu’intrinsèquement économiques.

Le rapport CEDRE fait d’ailleurs une large part aux impacts sectoriels de l’importante présence de réfugiés syriens. Les données manquantes du Plan CEDRE UN CATALOGUE DE PROJETS ET NON UN PLAN DE GESTION DE LA DETTE ET DE PRÉVISION DE LA CROISSANCE ÉCONOMIQUE

Si on examine attentivement les documents présentés dans le cadre de la conférence CEDRE, il est étonnant que, s’agissant d’un plan visant à mettre fin au cycle de l’augmentation des dettes publiques, nous n’ayons aucune donnée concernant les projections de croissance, les prévisions à court, moyen et long terme de la dette publique.

Ces données sont tout simplement absentes. Le plan CEDRE semble être formulé comme un catalogue de différents projets offerts à la communauté internationale pour exécution et non comme un plan qui s’adresse à régler des problèmes sociaux et économiques de la population libanaise.

Il peut y avoir plusieurs raisons à une telle absence.

Le Liban souffre malheureusement d’un défaut d’accessibilité à de nombreuses données économiques. Peut-être ne disposons-nous même plus de ces données? Cela est peu probable.

Les investisseurs étrangers souhaitant investir au Liban exigeront précisément ces données pour l’élaboration de leurs plans d’investissement. Les autorités politiques ont fait appel non pas à des économistes pour rédiger ce rapport mais à des spécialistes de chaque ministère impliqués et cela sans coordination entre eux d’où l’impossibilité de quantifier les données en général par exemple, ce qui est plus probable puisque le CDR a mandaté chaque ministère pour les différentes parties du rapport.

Or, un ingénieur peut certes rédiger un appel d’offre mais on peut douter qu’il sache gérer une dette publique.

C’est toute la problématique qui a abouti à ce que le Liban ait 150% de taux de dette par rapport au PIB.

Il ne s’agit non pas d’économistes ou d’experts économiques qui ont géré jusqu’à maintenant les projets de l’état mais des statisticiens ou des ingénieurs pour les plus qualifiés.

Les autorités politiques ne souhaitent pas qu’on puisse dévoiler la réalité de la situation actuelle, donc les véritables données concernant les taux de croissance, les taux de chômage, le nombre de réfugiés syriens ou étrangers présents, etc… pour des raisons politiques.

Cela est très probable et selon certaines sources, le gouvernement libanais aurait également demandé à la Banque Mondiale de ne pas publier précisément ce genre de données.

DES EMPLOIS GÉNÉRALEMENT SOUS-QUALIFIÉS

Par ailleurs, il n’y a aucune étude d’impact social de ces projets qui sont pourtant destinés à relancer l’économie libanaise notamment en luttant contre le chômage. La plupart des projets demandant à être exécutés nécessitent une main-d’œuvre sous qualifiée généralement étrangère.

Ces infrastructures, selon la logique du plan CEDRE et en théorie, devraient créer par la suite des emplois à forte valeur ajoutée pour les Libanais.

On peut donc s’interroger sur les déclarations du Premier Ministre faisant état de la création de 900 000 emplois au Liban (durant 10 ans).

S’agit-il en général , d’emplois pour les libanais ou pour d’autres communautés présentes sur le territoire national et s’il s’agit d’intégrer économiquement, comme par exemple les réfugiés syriens.

Ce qui semble être formulé est qu’on essaye de relancer l’économie libanaise avec la composante d’une dépense publique via des prêts à taux fort heureusement réduits – alors que l’état demeure largement endetté en espérant relancer ensuite les investissements privés avec les partenariats publics-privés puis les dépenses privées.

Cette politique est risquée. Cette politique est d’autant plus risquée qu’elle amène à un autre élément absent à ce rapport: la politique monétaire.

Or, pour relancer les investissements privés, il est nécessaire de diminuer les taux d’intérêts afin de rendre attractifs de tels investissements. Ce manque confirme que ce plan n’a tout simplement pas été, à priori, correctement préparé par des économistes et on risque au contraire d’alourdir la dette publique au lieu de la réduire par la création d’une croissance, non pas en court et moyen terme mais au long terme.

Une politique de résilience économique psychologique et non réelle.

Nous pouvions nous douter que la politique de résilience tant mise en avant par les autorités politiques et monétaire libanais n’était que psychologique et non basée sur des éléments économiques factuels.

Ces mêmes autorités démentaient au grand cri toute crise de l’immobilier, promettaient des augmentations inconsidérées des salaires tant des employés privés que des fonctionnaires publics et cela en l’absence de toute possibilité de recours à une dévaluation de la Livre Libanaise en raison de la dollarisation malheureuse de notre économie.

Concrètement, depuis la fin de la guerre civile en 1990, le Liban a commis de nombreuses erreurs dans la gestion de son économie, tout d’abord avec la dollarisation de cette dernière qui nous a privé d’une arme redoutable – la dévaluation – pour réduire les déficits publics, avec la formulation au temps du gouvernement Rafic Hariri en 1993 du plan Horizon 2000 en favorisant le BTP et le tourisme dans une région instable, au détriment de l’industrie.

Les opportunités de mise en place de structures dans ce qu’on appelait à l’époque la Nouvelle Économie existaient mais les structures de production électrique et en terme de communication étaient déficientes et n’ont pas pu bénéficier des investissements adéquats pour être remises à niveau en raison – déjà – de la corruption et de la distribution de parts entre les différents pôles politiques. (Meaning among the militia leaders of the civil war who remained in power)

Et cela sans même évoquer la corruption latente, certains estimant que jusqu’à 3 milliards de dollars seraient ainsi détournés des fonds publics alors que le déficit public pour 2018 serait estimé à 4.58 milliards de dollars – soit tout de même presque 10% du PIB – contre 5.37% comme précédemment estimé suite à une décision de réduire les budgets des administrations publiques de 20%.

LE PÉTROLE, UNE RICHESSE POUR L’HEURE THÉORIQUE

Il s’agit là, d’autant d’opportunités dont le Liban a, malheureusement, raté le coche alors qu’on nous propose un miracle économique sous la forme d’une exploitation du gaz et du pétrole qui seraient présents dans notre zone maritime économique.

Sauf que ce n’est qu’en creusant qu’on démontre qu’il y est vraiment présent. Il s’agit donc, pour l’heure, d’une richesse théorique d’autant plus que même en cas de découverte, on ne pourra que les exploiter que 5 ans après puisqu’il faut mettre en place les infrastructures nécessaires notamment au niveau acheminement et transformation et non en 2019 comme certains le prétendent. (Actually, Cyprus is intent on establishing its gas infrastructure on Lebanon shore in order to keeping its shores for the tourists)

Un état en faillite financière et morale Le Liban est un état certes en faillite financière, les chiffres des déficits publics le montrent aujourd’hui sauf que la communauté internationale n’a pas d’autres choix vu les raisons géopolitiques que d’assumer cette faillite.

Cette faillite est aussi morale avec l’échec de l’état dans la fourniture des éléments les plus fondamentaux à sa population, comme l’électricité, l’eau, la gestion assainie des ressources et des ordures voir même de la santé publique.

Face à cette gabegie publique et le non-respect des engagements pris par le Liban au cours des conférences d’aides Paris I, Paris II puis Paris III, notamment dans la privatisation de certaines institutions comme celle de l’EDL, les autorités libanaises n’ont plus d’autre choix alors que le Pays revêt une importance géopolitique et géostratégique considérable non seulement par la présence d’une importante communauté de réfugiés syriens mais également par la possibilité d’utiliser le Liban comme plateforme économique dans la reconstruction de la Syrie.

Cette mise sous tutelle par la communauté internationale s’impose malheureusement désormais par l’incapacité donnée aux Libanais de se débarrasser d’une classe politique corrompue.

Oui, le Liban est techniquement en faillite et cela depuis fort longtemps parce que nous n’avons pas pu bien gérer notre économie sur plusieurs points.

Tout d’abord, l’absence de vision stratégique avec une gérance et une gouvernance à court terme. Le Liban a parié au sortir de la guerre civile sur le BTP et sur le tourisme dans un environnement instable, en oubliant qu’il fallait également produire de la valeur rajoutée et donc favoriser l’industrie et notamment avec l’opportunité des nouvelles technologies et les services.

Cela n’a pas été le cas et au lieu de profiter de notre know-how local, nous l’avons forcé à s’expatrier.

Le deuxième paramètre de la mauvaise gérance a été celui de la mauvaise gestion des fonds publics avec une dilapidation de ces derniers sur des projets qui ne sont pas rentables et au détriment de projets rentables.

Le problème n’est pas d’avoir de la dette mais que les projets proposés aient des retours sur investissements supérieurs au service de la dette. Or, jusqu’à présent, l’état libanais a favorisé la fourniture de projets financièrement viables à des entités privées – généralement liés à ses hommes politiques – et jamais pour lui – sans même prendre en compte le problème de la corruption et des détournements de fonds, corruption estimée à 3 milliards de dollars à laquelle on pourrait facilement mettre fin et détournements de fonds fiscaux, 4.2 milliards de dollars dont 2 facilement « rattrapables », dont près de 5 milliards de dollars de revenus annuellement sans même avoir besoin de CEDRE.

Un secteur privé appelé à la rescousse mais …

Également, le programme d’investissement présenté requiert un large effort du secteur privé, qui jusqu’à présent était réticent à la relance de l’économie par rapport aux risques économiques mais parce qu’il y avait plus de facilité à garder les fonds bien au chaud dans les banques que de les investir en raison des forts taux d’intérêts.

Cela est vrai pour les personnes et également pour les institutions financières. Si on examine les taux de liquidité des banques libanaises qui devraient être les premiers partenaires dans la relance de l’économie, on notera que ces taux sont hauts, de l’ordre de 50% pour certains établissements à 78% pour d’autres.

Ce qui pose la question de leur rentabilité. Cependant, outre le cash, ces taux de liquidités prennent également en compte les investissements sous forme de Bons du Trésor qui est elle-même de la dette pour l’état.

Il s’agit donc de réduire la dépendance de l’état vis-à-vis de cette source de financement notamment par la diminution des taux d’intérêts via par exemple un recours à d’autres sources qui peuvent être intégrées aux prêts fournis par CEDRE afin que les établissements bancaires, libérés, puissent se saisir de nouvelles opportunités cette fois-ci en investissant non pas dans du BTP ou dans les bons du trésor mais dans des partenariats sous forme de projets économiques par exemple de type industriel.

Encore faudra-t-il que ces derniers offrent un retour sur investissement plus élevés que les taux d’intérêts à risque identique.

Tout l’enjeu sera là. Est-ce que l’état et le gouvernement pourront garantir ces investissements pour ce faire? Un manque cruel de volonté d’une classe politique moribonde sauvée par l’aide internationale

La lutte contre la corruption est donc nécessaire et au regard des « pratiques » usitées lors des précédents plans Paris I, Paris II et Paris III en raison de détournements de fonds publics par une classe politique également affairiste et dont elle était l’une des principales bénéficiaire au détriment de la population.

Si crise des ordures il y a eu, si mobilisation populaire il y a eu, c’était avant tout parce que le Liban apparait comme l’un des pays où la transparence financière des autorités et des administrations publiques est quasi-inexistantes et où le sentiment de corruption des administrations publiques est l’un des plus importants au Monde et cela n’est pas sans réalité, puisqu’on en connait le coût pour les finances publiques.

Mais on manque de volonté politique pour le faire et CEDRE sert en fait à stabiliser une classe politique libanaise qui est totalement rejetée en interne pour plusieurs raisons: Les réfugiés syriens qu’il faut garder au Liban – il y a eu là, une sorte de chantage de notre classe politique vis-à-vis de l’Europe et portant notamment sur le fait que si le Liban craque, ces réfugiés déferleront sur le continent européen; L’utilisation des infrastructures libanaises et notamment sur lesquelles CEDRE s’appuie (Port et aéroport, chemin de fer vers la Syrie à partir de Tripoli, base logistique à l’aéroport Klayat qui est une absurdité) dans le cadre de la reconstruction de la Syrie par des entreprises occidentales.

Le Liban serait à ce moment-là, le proxy pour commercer avec la Syrie indirectement en raison des sanctions économiques et jouerait le même rôle que le Qatar ou que Dubaï avec l’Iran.

Mais est ce qu’on en a la volonté politique alors que le Liban a risqué de jouer le rôle du champ de bataille dans le bras de fer entre l’Iran et l’Arabie Saoudite Des problèmes géopolitiques pour appliquer certains volets du Plan CEDRE Un certain nombre de points amènent à penser qu’il faille remettre la politique étrangère du Liban en cause.

Tout d’abord parmi les projets d’infrastructure, certains semblent être intéressants mais toujours est-il qu’il faille noter certaines choses.

Par exemple, nous pouvons noter plusieurs exemples de problématiques de politique étrangère.

Construire un port pour paquebots à Jounieh peut amener des touristes au Liban mais le Pays des Cèdres est actuellement exclu par les tours opérators de ces compagnies en raison du boycott des touristes ayant un visa israélien sur leur passeport. (Ou est le probleme ici? La constitution nous defend d’avoir des relations avec Israel et qui ne constitue pas un facteur majeur pour notre tourism)

Pourra-t-on par exemple remettre en cause la politique de boycott de l’état hébreu pour acheminer des paquebots? De même au niveau infrastructure, peut-on plutôt penser à diminuer le coût en utilisant des structures actuelles comme le port de Beyrouth au lieu d’en créer de nouvelles qui puisse est, redondante, dans le cadre de la gestion et de la diminution des déficits publics alors que le gouvernement a déjà décidé d’une politique d’austérité des administrations publiques?

Ou s’agit-il simplement d’un équilibre communautaire si cher à respecter au sein du Liban avec des infrastructures à construire dans les zones chrétiennes et musulmanes?

Construire un chemin de fer entre Tripoli et la Syrie nécessite un accord avec la Syrie, tout comme l’utilisation de l’aéroport de Kleyaat nécessite également un tel accord puisque l’orientation des pistes fait qu’un avion civil qui souhaite y atterrir devrait passer en territoire syrien.

La discussion avec le régime syrien est donc nécessaire dans la mise en œuvre de ces 2 projets. Or, le gouvernement actuel refuse pour certaines raisons, de discuter avec Damas.

Lire la suite: https://libnanews.com/cedre-aide-economie-liban/

Durham, NC votes for nation’s first ban on police exchanges with Israel

US Politics .  on 

Late Monday evening, Durham voted unanimously to become the first city in the U.S. to prohibit police exchanges with Israel, after broad community pressure and popular petition by the Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine coalition, an affiliate of the Deadly Exchange Campaign.

The policy, which states that, “the Council opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training,” was voted into official policy of the City of Durham during heated debate at City Council.

Activists with the  Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine coalition. (Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace)

In a time of increasing concern about policing and police violence, in particular for communities of color, the city of Durham is leading the way in declaring that safety for all means de-militarizing the police force.

From traffic stops that target Black drivers, to checkpoints that target immigrant communities, to police murders of Black, Brown, and disabled people, police forces cause daily harm.

Police exchanges between the U.S. and Israel explicitly offer U.S. police officers exposure to methods used against Palestinians that numerous international human rights groups say are discriminatory and lead to human rights violations.

“This is an important step towards divesting from militarization and over-policing, and investing in Black and Brown futures,” stated Laila Nur of Durham For All, one of the coalition members. “I am proud to see Durham leading the way; it’s a huge victory towards a vision of safety and sanctuary for all.”

“The Demilitarize Durham2Palestine Coalition is leading the way as a model of how to build communities that value safety for all people. We are thrilled by this first win of the Deadly Exchange campaign, which is especially meaningful as a response to the ongoing targeting of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and the call from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement in response to end U.S./Israel police exchanges,” stated Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson.

Ending police training exchanges between U.S. law enforcement and Israeli security forces, according to the Deadly Exchange campaign, works towards reducing state violence and discrimination.

Since the early 2000s, thousands of U.S. police officers, sheriffs, border patrol agents, ICE officers and FBI agents have trained with Israeli military and police forces.

Through one of these programs, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS), U.S. law enforcement agents visit checkpoints and prisons and meet with Israeli officials at other sites of violence and racial profiling, such as Hebron’s settler-controlled areas and Ben Gurion airport.

Lee Mortimer, a member of the Coalition for Peace with Justice, pointed out that, “There are many countries with human rights abuses; Israel is the only one on which the US government lavishes monetary and financial support.”

“This policy is a powerful affirmation of the solidarity many of us feel with Palestinians in Gaza, who continue to march for land and freedom despite IDF massacres, and it is an important step towards a demilitarized Durham, where all people can be truly safe and free,” added Noah Rubin-Blose of Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC, another coalition member.

Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt, of coalition member Black Youth Project 100-Durham Chapter, said, “BYP100 is part of this campaign because we are against expropriation and genocidal occupations. We recognize how our struggles correspond as we fight against police violence in the U.S. and unarmed Palestinians fight against violence from the IDF.”

In recent decades, the U.S. has witnessed a shift in policing, a post-9/11 trend bringing counter-terrorism logics, technology and tactics into domestic policing and immigration policy.

This militarization of the police has led to the increased police violence against  communities of colorintrusive surveillance particularly in Muslim communities, and the violent repression of Indigenous-led movements, compounded with increased police targeting of people of color, including in the city of DurhamLaw enforcement exchange programs, under the banner of Israeli counter-terrorism expertise, contribute to these deadly trends by encouraging an even deeper application of counterterror and counter-insurgency modelsinto domestic policing, immigration and surveillance policies and practices.

Durham City Councillor Javiera Caballero stated: “I am an immigrant because of military influence and a foreign power […] At some point we need to move away from militarization, period… To the immigrant community: You are loved, and your fight is our fight.”

“In my own experience, having spent my winter break in the West Bank, the tear gas that clouded the vision of my eyes and those of the few hundred protesters around me served as an eye opener to the unjust, militaristic practices the Israel Defense Forces uses against peaceful protesters,” said Ahmad Amireh of Duke Students for Justice in Palestine.

 “No police department needs any exposure to the IDF’s racist practices, and Durham will be a safer city by committing to ending police exchanges with Israel.”

In order to raise their concerns over possible police exchanges with Israel, the Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine coalition of ten local organizations, including the Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle, NC chapter, led a petition drive that gathered over 1,200 signatures of Durham residents in opposition to such exchanges with Israel.

The coalition was galvanized as Durham’s current Police Chief, Cerelyn Davis, previously organized police exchanges between Atlanta and Israel through the Atlanta Police Leadership Institute International Exchange Program.

Durham’s past Police Chief Jose Lopez, while in office, participated in the American Defense League’s National Counter-Terrorism Seminar with the Israeli Defense Force in 2008; the ADL lists the Durham Police Department as one of many law enforcement agencies trained through NCTS.

Pastor Mark Davidson of the Church of Reconciliation and Miriam Thompson, co-conveners of the Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, said in a statement: “As faith leaders and human rights advocates, AIME is honored to support the D2P campaign and gratified at the (recommended) vote of the Durham City Council that establishes and secures a just and peaceful environment and a police-community partnership, by prohibiting foreign military training of Durham police, especially from countries that practice human rights violations.”

A letter of support to the City of Durham by an interfaith movement of rabbis, Christian clergy and imams, sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Friends of Sabeel – North America (FOSNA) and JVP, which was read on Monday evening, states:

 “As clergy, we wholeheartedly endorse the amazing work of Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine to halt any future police exchange partnerships between the Durham Police Department and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)… We believe it is our religious and moral duty to champion human rights, and we respect this courageous statement that seeks to protect all communities from harm—in Durham, Israel/Palestine, and around the world.”

Six Past Mossad Directors Call for Diplomacy with the Palestinians

After committing crimes against humanity, they call for Diplomacy with Palestinians

In 2003, four former heads of Israel’s secret counter-terrorism service, Shin-Bet, were interviewed by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Their criticism of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s inaction to advance a diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict caused an uproar and deeply influenced Sharon.

The interview later triggered the award-winning documentary film The Gatekeepers, featuring six past Shin-Bet directors who criticized the political status-quo.

Now, Yedioth Ahronoth is publishing a similar interview with all surviving six past directors of Israel’s spying agency, Mossad:  Zvi Zamir (93), Nahum Admoni (88), Shabtai Shavit (78), Danny Yatom (73), Efraim Halevy (83) and Tamir Pardo (65).

Following are excerpts from the March 30th interview with the six:

Yatom: “We’re on a very steep slope. There are serious things that are wrong here. People around the prime minister and people in key positions are being questioned about public corruption, and all of that is because they’ve put their own interests before the state’s interests. I’m worried by the attacks on the gatekeepers and the inaction in the diplomatic realm [i.e. the peace process with the Palestinians], which is leading us to a bi-national state, which is the end of the Jewish and democratic state. (In a sense, Yatom refuse an “independent” Palestinian State. And what kind of diplomatic negotiation is he hopping to achieve?)

“As a Mossad director, I think it is a mistake for us only to address the period in which we served. In the context of the job we saw a whole lot of things: we saw prime ministers, we saw the decision-making processes in governments. We saw wars. We saw times of peace. And more than many others, we worked closely with the prime minister and with the top state officials. If we don’t say what we have to say, I think that we will be sinning against ourselves.(And how often did they sin and kept silent?)

Pardo: “The fact that between the sea and the Jordan there is a nearly identical number of Jews and non-Jews. The central problem from 1967 until today is that Israel, across the entire breadth of its political establishment, hasn’t decided what country it wants to be. We are the only country in the world that hasn’t defined for itself what its borders are. All of the governments have fled from coping with the issue.

Yatom: “The Rabin government didn’t flee from that. He was assassinated.”

Halevy: “Danny is right. 1993 was the only year in the history of the country in which three tracks of peace negotiations were held simultaneously—with the Palestinians, with the Syrians and with the Jordanians.”

Pardo: “But no prime minister ever declared which borders he hoped to have for the state.”

Yatom: “Barak did define. He was willing to leave the Golan Heights and more or less [to withdraw] to the 1967 lines.

Pardo: Excuse me. I insist on my opinion. The governments of Israel didn’t do that. Olmert had a vision and so did Sharon and so did Rabin. Each one went the single mile that he chose to walk—but none of them said: these are the country’s borders. If the State of Israel doesn’t decide what it wants, in the end there will be a single state between the sea and the Jordan. That is the end of the Zionist vision.” (And what is Zionist vision? Colonial occupation? Mandated power to rule and control Palestinians?)

Yatom: “That’s a country that will deteriorate into either an apartheid state  or a non-Jewish state, if we continue to rule the territories. I see that as an existential danger. A state of that kind isn’t the state that I fought for. There are some people who will say that we’ve done everything and that there isn’t a partner, but that isn’t true. There is a partner. Like it or not, the Palestinians and the people who represent them are the partner we need to engage with.” (Actually, the existence of Israel is an existential threat, Not only to Palestinians, but to Lebanese, Syrians and Jordanians. Countless pre-emptive (offensive) wars were initiated by Israel for no serious reasons)

Halevy: “We’re the dominant [party] and in order to reach any sort of arrangement we have to first of all treat the other side with some degree of equality. Beyond that, we needn’t balk at speaking with Hamas. Hamas was established here 31 years ago. We used everything we have against it, and they still exist. So we can’t ignore that and make do with saying, ‘they’re terrorists.’ Hamas also made a certain change to its charter, which recognizes the 1967 lines as the temporary borders of the state. That’s a big change.”

Question: How critical is the issue of peace to Israel’s existence?

Zamir: “It’s critical. Ultimately, we’re going to have to find a formula that can serve as a basis for a discussion with the Palestinians.”

Pardo: “The State of Israel needs peace in order to exist over time.”

Halevy: “I’ll put it in even starker terms: without peace, the survival of the State of Israel, its existence, are in question.”

Yatom: “My assessment is that if Rabin hadn’t been assassinated we would long ago have had peace with the Palestinians, and perhaps also with the Syrians. As the strongest country in the Middle East we need to take calculated risks and to get back onto the track of dialogue.” (All the military updated weapons from the western State count weakly against the determination of the people to confront occupation and apartheid laws and behaviors)

Shavit: “A peace that is based on the idea of two states is a more important interest of the Jews than of the Palestinians. The situation we’re in now is the result of our insistence not to achieve peace.”

Question: Our insistence?

It’s a lie that there isn’t a partner. Neither we nor the Palestinians are going to make peace voluntarily, of our own will. In this situation, someone is going to come from above who is big and strong and influential and, if need be, will impose that.” (Not with the Trump administration and USA congress that voted on Jerusalem as Capital of Israel)

Question: So you’re saying that Israel needs to opt for an arrangement even if it contains elements that are dictated from above, by the Americans or the Saudi? (That’s funny. Does this means that the US is not funding enough Israel? $144 bn in the last 4 decades?)

“Yes. Because when it comes to the question of what we get in return, if we opt for the two-state solution on the basis of the Arab League’s proposal, which was originally written by the Saudis, the biggest dividend that we’re going to receive is a declaration of the end of the conflict with all 22 Arab League states and the establishment of diplomatic relations with them and with another 30 Muslim countries around the world.

If tomorrow 50 Muslim countries in the world make peace with Israel and have diplomatic and economic relations with it, we’ll get to see all of the countries that are on our scale—let’s say, all the Scandinavian countries and Holland and Switzerland—see our back [i.e. rank behind us].

Instead of that, what are we preoccupied with nowadays? When is the next time that we’re going into Gaza, and when is the next time we’re going into Lebanon? We need to break that cycle already.

Why are we living here? To have our grandchildren continue to fight wars? What is this insanity in which territory, land, is more important that human life?”

Pardo: “I think that within the borders of the country there can’t be first and second-class citizens. Anyone who thinks that over time it’s going to be possible to maintain two classes of population, those with rights and those without rights, is creating a problem for our grandchildren that they won’t be able to cope with, and it could very well be that they will simply leave.”

Note: The strategic and political climate during the Syrian multinational involvement destroyed any peaceful horizon. The New Syria, Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), and Palestinians have no confidence in Israel wanting to engage in any meaningful peace process. Even the concept that Israel needs peace is wrong: Israel weapon industry does Not favor any long-term peace conditions in the region). Currently, the wars will be against the people and no longer with regimes.

University of Sydney academics back BDS, as Israel guns down protesters

Dozens of academics at the University of Sydney have declared their support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, reported the Australian.

According to the paper, the move comes as a response to the lethal crackdown by Israeli occupation forces on Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

The Australian notes that signatories to the BDS pledge say they “will not attend conferences sponsored by Israeli universities, participate in academic exchange schemes, or otherwise collaborate professionally with Israeli universities until the stated goals have been fulfilled.”

The BDS campaign, describes the paper, is an international movement “inspired by the success of boycotts in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa”.

Activists attend a pro BDS march [Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr]

Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in English and linguistics at the University of Sydney and a member of its BDS group, said “the response from fellow academics was encouraging” and expressed his hope that the pledge would spread to other Australian universities.

“People are already talking at Melbourne about the possibility of something like this,” he said.

According to the Sydney BDS website, some 40 academics have currently endorsed the pledge.

Read: Israel government moves to gag professors who back BDS

Note: Israeli snipers shot with live bullets Palestinians, marching every Friday, for their return to their previous villages and towns they were transferred from into Gaza, this vast open camp. Over 3,000 have been injured last month, mostly in the legs. Over 30 died.

Yes, What Israel Is Doing To Palestinians Is Actually Genocide.

In the Israel/Palestine conflict, is Israel guilty of genocide against the Palestinians?Yes– absolutely.

The other day I wrote a short piece on why the Bible does not command us to blindly stand with the modern state of Israel, and one of the points I made is that Israel is guilty of genocide.

There were no shortage of internet commentators who objected to my use of this word and felt it was over the top. However, I stand by my assertion that Israel is guilty of genocide, so allow me to expand upon that.

I believe the main reason many push back on the idea that Israel is guilty of genocide is because of a lack of understanding of the full nuance of the word, and what genocide can look like in a modern context.

While rounding up people for mass executions would be obvious evidence of genocide, the reality is that genocide can take place in ways that are more subtle– making it palatable for the masses, and even seem justified at times.

Some scholars have referred to the Israel/Palestine conflict as “incremental genocide” and I would agree with that term.

Instead of an overt, blatant attempt to eradicate a people group, incremental genocide involves actions and policies that are designed to slowly erode, break up, and destroy a specific population.

Think for example of early American history and the genocide of Native Americans. While it wasn’t always mass killings, genocide occurred by military conflict, expanding land holdings, resettlement, and creating conditions that were destructive for the indigenous population.

While it took many years to complete, and while it took many forms, what early Americans did to the indigenous people of North America was nothing short of genocide.

The same holds true for Israel.

The legal definition of genocide includes the following:

“Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnically, racial or religious group such as:

(a)        Killing members of the group;

(b)        Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)        Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

While A and B are both elements we find present in Israel’s approach to Palestinians, the key aspect of genocide being waged by Israel is found in C: the deliberate infliction of conditions that in part or as a whole will destroy a people group.

“Arab” (as Israel propaganda insist on calling the Palestinians) Christians and Muslims known as Palestinians have been undoubtedly the target of Israel and a desire to eradicate them from the land.

When Israel was created it resulted in an instant crisis for the Christian, Muslims and indigenous Jews who had lived together quite peacefully for hundreds and hundreds of years. Even today there are somewhere around 3.5 to 4 million Palestinian refugees who wish to have the right to return to their homes and land– a request that will never be granted by Israel.

(Most of the Palestinians in Gaza are transferred refugees from villages in Israel and in the West Bank and they want a better space than this large camp of Gaza)

For those who remain in Palestinian territory, they might as well be living in a massive open-air prison, because they live under the occupation of a foreign army. Children are routinely tear gassed on the way to school. Imports are severely restricted, with even basics like water being tightly controlled. Their rights of passage are severely curtailed– families have been broken up and people have died at military checkpoints because they were delayed or denied passage to access critical medical care.

To top it all off, what little land Palestinians have left is under systematic erosion by Israeli policy. Illegal Israeli settlements continue to crop up in Palestinian territory, in violation of international law. These illegal settlements, in addition to literally confiscating land from indigenous people, often bring violence to the Palestinians who live there. Even just a brief youtube search will bring up countless examples of women and children being assaulted by illegal settlers, or examples like Palestinian farms being attacked and destroyed at harvest time.

Let’s not be dishonest in the ultimate goal here: it is to rid the land of Palestinians.

Capture their land. Develop policies to evict them from their houses. Send in settlers and soldiers to colonize what land they still have. Refuse to let refugees back. Make them miserable under military rule. Limit their access to basic, life-sustaining resources.

The goal? Be not deceived: this is ethnic cleansing.

Do the Palestinians ever fight back and use violence? Yes, of course. This is equally wrong. It is also highly ineffective because it plays right into the hands of Israel, who uses this as an excuse to respond with utterly overwhelming military violence, such as arresting and incarcerating children accused of throwing rocks, or wiping out entire communities in the name of self-defense, such has been seen in Gaza.

So here’s where we’re at: Many of the indigenous people were displaced upon the creation of the modern state of Israel, and the number of displaced people has continued to grow. They are refugees who live in poverty and painful conditions at refugee camps. Israel has systematically expanded its borders to functionally capture more and more land that belonged to Palestinians.

Of what’s left, Palestinians have to suffer under a brutal military occupation where so many aspects of life are restricted or deprived. To top it all off, Israel continues to expand illegal settlements into Palestinian territory, further creating conditions designed to break up and destroy the will of Palestinians to even exist.

That folks, is genocide. It is incremental, slow-motion genocide. If the international community continues to turn a blind eye, it will do nothing short of ensure the complete destruction and or displacement of the Palestinian people.

Is calling this genocide over the top? No, it’s not. It’s genocide. Legally. Morally. It’s genocide.

It’s just happening in slow motion, so the world doesn’t see it.

(And it’s being done by the people we’re told are God’s favorite, so we don’t even want to see it.)

Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and holds his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary.

He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com

Assaad Zakka shared a linkApril 10 at 2:34pm · 

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