Adonis Diaries

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It is a well known fact in Middle-East: Israel funded terrorist ISIS and Al Nusra for years

Report Confirms Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years

The revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

In this Thursday, April 6, 2017 photo made in Israeli controlled Golan Heights, Israeli military medics assist wounded Syrians. Seven wounded Syrians crossed into Israeli controlled Heights Thursday night have received immediate treatment and were hospitalized later on. They are the latest group of Syrian fighters receiving free medical care through an Israeli military program operating since 2013. (AP/Dusan Vranic)

Earlier, when discussing why the Syrian “rebels” fighting Assad are in “turmoil”, we said that as a result of the ongoing Qatar crisis the various Saudi and Qatari supply chains supporting the rebels, both in terms of weapons and funding, had dried up due to the diplomatic fallout involving Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president.”

We concluded that “the rebellion against Assad now seems moot, which is why the most likely outcome is a continued phase-out of support for forces fighting the Syria government until eventually, the situation reverts back to its pre-2011 “status quo.”

That, however, may have been premature as it was missing a key piece of data, one which was just revealed by the WSJ and which many had suspected.

According to the Journal, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been aligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, “with Israel supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters.

Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid, said one person familiar with the Israeli operation. (Actually, Syria never engaged Israel in a war since 1973. Israel tried several pre-emptive wars on Lebanon since then)

This news comes as a major surprise because while it was well known that Israel has provided medical help for Syrian civilians and fighters inside its own borders in the past, with the IDF retaliating to occasional stray rockets in the restive border region with reprisals, it was previously thought that the Israeli authorities largely stay out of the complicated six-year-old conflict next door. (Israel launched many attacks on Syrian targets, on account of destroying weapon warehouses)

That now appears to have been dead wrong.

“Israel stood by our side in a heroic way,” said Moatasem al-Golani, spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan, or Knights of the Golan. “We wouldn’t have survived without Israel’s assistance.”

Al-Joulan is the main rebel group coordinating with Israel, according to fighters.

It told the WSJ that Israel’s support began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, with the goal of creating a ‘buffer zone’ free of radical militants such as Isis and Iranian-allied forces along Israel’s border.

A special Israeli army unit was created to oversee the costly aid operation, the WSJ reported, which gives Fursan al-Joulan – Knights of the Golan – an estimated $5,000 (£3,900) a month. The group of around 400 fighters receives no direct support from Western rebel backers and is not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, the official rebel umbrella organisation.

The Journal also reports that Israel may be funding up to 4 other rebel groups which have Western backing. The groups use the cash to pay fighters and buy ammunition.

In total, there are roughly 800 rebel fighters across more than a dozen villages in this area, where thousands of civilians live, fighters said. Many of the rebels and civilians in this area rely on some level of support from Israel, they added.

“Most people want to cooperate with Israel,” said a fighter with rebel group Liwaa Ousoud al-Rahman, also fighting on the Golan.

The alliance reportedly began after wounded Fursan al-Joulan fighters made their way to the border and begged Israeli soldiers for medical assistance.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment, the Israel Defence Forces said in a statement that it is “committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces… in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area.”

Israel and Syria have technically been in a state of warfare for decades. Syria controls around one-third of the Golan Heights border, and Israel occupies the rest.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

Israel has been providing Syrian rebels with cash and supplies in a secret engagement to carve out a friendly buffer zone.

In recent years, Israeli air strikes in Syrian territory have aimed to prevent weapons smuggling to Iranian-allied Hezbollah, which fights alongside the Assad government. Hezbollah, like Iran, is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Ironically, while Assad has in the past claimed – correctly it now turns out – that Israel supports rebel groups which his government refers to as terrorists, elements of the opposition have accused Israel of helping to keep the regime in power.

The biggest irony, of course, is that virtually for the entire duration of the Syrian conflict, Israel and Saudi Arabia were aligned on the same side against the Assad regime; it also means that one can add Israel to the ungodly proxy war in Syria alongside Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, Europe and most Arab states across from Iran, Turkey, Russia and, increasingly, China.

Today’s revelation may also explain why ISIS has rarely if ever launched attacks against Israeli citizens or on Israel territory.

Courtesy of the WSJ, here is a chronology of Israeli involvement in the Syrian proxy war:

  • 2011: Syrian uprising against Iran-backed President Bashar al-Assad begins.
  • 2012: Syrian rebel group the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which has a presence in the divided Golan Heights near Israel’s border, forms and later declares allegiance to Islamic State. It then joins with other groups to form the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, an offshoot of Islamic State.
  • 2013: Israel acknowledges it is treating Syrians wounded in the war in hospitals near the border. Secretly, the military begins to build a relationship with rebel commanders on the Syrian side of the Golan and starts sending aid.
  • January 2015: An alleged Israeli airstrike kills Hezbollah militants and a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps near Quneitra province in the Golan Heights. Israel later says the militants were planning to attack Israelis.
  • June 2015: Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon says Israel is helping Syrian rebels with medical treatment in return for assurances they won’t attack the Druse—a religious minority group that straddles the Israeli and Syrian sides of the Golan.
  • September 2015: Russia enters the war on the side of the Assad regime, tipping the balance of power in favor of the Iran-backed President.
  • December 2015: Lebanese Hezbollah militant Samir Kuntar dies in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus suburb. Israeli officials later said he was planning attacks against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan.
  • 2016: Israel secretly sets up an army unit and budget to manage the relationship with rebels and civilians on the Golan Heights, say people familiar with the policy.
  • November 2016: An Israeli airstrike kills 4 Khalid ibn al-Walid militants in Syrian Golan after Israeli soldiers come under fire.
  • March 2017: Israeli warplanes carry out airstrikes inside Syria, drawing fire from antiaircraft missiles in the most intense military exchange between the two countries since the start of the Syrian conflict.
  • June 2017: Syrian rebels say they have been receiving cash from Israel for the past four years that they use to help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.

Note: Syria has started to shoot down Israel warplanes. Any warplane crossing the Lebanese airspace is considered to be targeting Syria.

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Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts
Flechette shell darts
 An image provided by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights of darts from a flechette shell it says the Israeli military fired in Gaza last week.

The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Nahla Khalil Najjar, 37, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. “As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, describes a flechette shell as “an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch 300 metres long and about 90 metres wide”.

The munitions are Not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

Flechette shell darts embedded in a wall in Gaza
 A image taken in 2009 of darts from a flechette shell embedded in a wall in Gaza. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

The legality of flechette munitions was upheld by the Israeli supreme court in 2002, and according to an Israeli military source, they are particularly effective against enemy fighters operating in areas covered by vegetation.

The source said a number of armies around the world deploy flechette shells, and that they were intended solely for use against legitimate military targets in accordance with international law.

The IDF has deployed flechette shells in Gaza and Lebanon before. B’Tselem has documented the deaths of nine Palestinians in Gaza from flechettes in 2001 and 2002. Flechettes have also killed and wounded dozens of civilians, including women and children, in conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military deployed artillery shells containing white phosphorous in densely populated areas of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, causing scores of deaths and extensive burns.

It initially issued a categorical denial of reports of the use of white phosphorous, but later admitted it, saying the weapon was only used to create smokescreens.

Human Rights Watch said its use of the munitions in Operation Cast Lead was indiscriminate and evidence of war crimes.

In response to a legal challenge, the IDF said last year it would “avoid the use in built-up areas of artillery shells containing white phosphorus, with two narrow exceptions.” The exceptions were not disclosed.

Is Israel deliberately killing Gaza protesters?

Note: Israel announced it has shot in the legs 7,200 Palestinians marching for a homeland: this violent tactics is to prevent the injured Palestinians from demonstrating again within a month. Israel plans to shoot in the legs 25,000 Palestinians, excluding those shot in the head and the abdomen.

Mahmoud al-Masri,, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Photo shows crying women waving their hands at shrouded body of young man being carried on stretcher
Mahmoud al-Masri, killed the previous day in confrontations with Israeli troops, is mourned during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 9 December. Mohammed Dahman APA images

Sometimes you have to put horrific images at the back of your mind.

During Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, I saw tens of dead bodies. The worst thing I witnessed was the targeting of a car about 10 meters from where I was standing. I could see its driver take his last breath before he died.

At that moment, my whole body went cold. For several days, I could not think of anything but that appalling scene. I was unable to sleep for about a week.

Events moved fast that summer. I tried my best to forget about the incident and to get on with my life.

More than three years have passed. And despite my efforts to put that experience behind me, I know that the mental scars it left have not healed. Like so many other people in Gaza, I am vulnerable.

That was proven on 8 December last, when protesters in Gaza expressed their rage at Donald Trump’s announcement two days earlier that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud al-Masri was among the protesters killed by Israeli troops that day.

I had looked on as Mahmoud ran towards the fence separating the Khan Younis area of Gaza from Israel. Mahmoud was brave and defiant. He kept running despite that Israeli forces were firing tear gas canisters in his direction.

Mahmoud climbed the fence, waving a Palestinian flag. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers.

When Mahmoud fell down, the Israeli soldiers kept on firing. He lay on the ground, bleeding for around an hour before the shooting had stopped. By the time anyone could offer him assistance, Mahmoud had lost consciousness.

“We reached Mahmoud when he was taking his last breaths,” Musab Abu Shawish, a paramedic, told me. “We were not able to do anything for him, except give him some oxygen.”

Helpless

Photo shows young man sitting on chair looking out onto sunny street
Mahmoud al-Masri (via Facebook)

The killing of Mahmoud left me feeling helpless. But it was not the sight of his dead body that upset me most – I was not standing close enough to Mahmoud to see his face.

Instead, it was a video that showed his father, Abd al-Majeed, saying goodbye to Mahmoud in a mortuary.

“Please leave me with my son,” Abd al-Majeed told the people around him. Observing his pain, my whole body shook and I started to weep uncontrollably.

I did not know Mahmoud personally but I have learned about him from his father.

Mahmoud, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Mahmoud “always hated injustice,” his father told me. “He was very kind and helpful.”

There are strong indications that Mahmoud knew he would be killed on 8 December.

The previous evening, he wrote on Facebook: “If we die seeking martyrdom, we die standing like trees.”

The banner image on his Facebook page featured a photograph of Yasser Arafat and a quotation attributed to the late leader on how Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle.

Mahmoud was in many respects typical of the young people who have protested against Trump’s announcement.

Nayif al-Salibi is another young man with dreams and ambitions. He is now studying civil engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza. Once he graduates, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Germany.

No negotiations on Jerusalem

He took part in the same demonstration as Mahmoud on 8 December. When I met Nayif, his eyes were stinging from the tear gas fired by Israel. Along with many others, he was picking up tear gas canisters fired by Israel’s military and throwing them back at the soldiers.

“I’m here to show the world that we refuse to put our holy city [Jerusalem] on the negotiating table,” he said. “No one but Palestinians can make decisions related to Jerusalem.”

Israel’s use of tear gas – a chemical weapon – was examined in a study recently published by the University of California, Berkeley. It found that the amount of tear gas to which Palestinians are exposed is “likely beyond the level that has been found elsewhere around the globe.”

Although the study focused on the Bethlehem area of the occupied West Bank, it is also relevant to the use of tear gas in Gaza. People exposed to tear gas here have suffered similar symptoms to those noted in the study.

Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said that around 60%of people injured during recent protests had symptoms related to tear gas inhalation. They included severe coughing, respiratory problems and accelerated heart rates.

Many people in Gaza also believe that Israel is deliberately shooting at protesters so that they will sustain major injuries or even die – eight Palestinians were killed during demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel boundary in December.

Life goes on

About 40% of injuries by live fire during the recent protests in Gaza were in the head and upper body, according to al-Qedra.

Sharif Shalash, 28, died on 23 December after being injured in protests a few days earlier. He had been shot in the stomach by the Israeli military.

Sharif had confronted the Israeli military directly on a number of occasions. He was “an expert on the border area [with Israel],” said his friend Ahmad Hassaballah. During protests, Sharif had organized young people into groups and advised them about how to throw burning tires and other objects towards Israeli troops. He had also tried to cut holes in the Israeli fence.

His final wish, according to Hassaballah, was that he be shrouded in a Palestinian flag when he was buried.

I sought to speak with Sharif’s wife Yasmin.

Yet when I arrived at her home, a woman came out and apologized on Yasmin’s behalf. “She is too tired,” the woman said. “She has just come back from the hospital and we have just learned that she is pregnant.”

It was a powerful reminder of how life continues despite all the pain caused by the Israeli occupiers and their supporters in Washington.

Hamza Abu Eltarabesh is a journalist from Gaza.

Note: Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using flechette shells in Gaza. Shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts

How safe are the British after cow-tailing USA multiple pre-emptive wars?

Moazzam Begg Friday 29 December 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May used her Christmas message this year to pay tribute to the armed forces and remind the country that their sacrifices are “keeping us safe”. But are they?

Last week the High Court held that British troops serving in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion had subjected Iraqi civilians to “cruel and inhuman” treatment. It added that the treatment of prisoners by British soldiers meant that the Ministry of Defence also violated the Human Rights Act (1998).

The cycle of violence continues but we were forewarned about all of this by our own security services

Cruel and inhuman

Some have argued that the human rights advocates have purposefully sought to undermine the state and encouraged the “victim mentality” among Muslims. That in turn has given ammunition to the burgeoning far-right movements throughout the West.

The Conservative Party actively opposes the Human Rights Act, which it asserts gives more rights to prisoners – including those held without charge or trial – and has pledged to replace it with a “bill of rights” more in tune with British idiosyncrasies than those in the European Court of Human Rights.

Phil Shiner was once celebrated among Britain’s top human rights lawyers because of his dogged persistence in bringing British soldiers accused of abuses in Iraq to book (Reuters)

They cite the case of Phil Shiner, once celebrated among Britain’s top human rights lawyers precisely because of his dogged persistence in bringing British soldiers accused of abuses in Iraq to book.

Earlier this year, Shiner was struck off as a solicitor after being found guilty of “professional misconduct”. Shiner’s law firm, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), represented countless Iraqis who claimed they had been abused by British soldiers during the occupation.

Thousands of cases were referred by PIL to the government’s Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) which “independently” reviewed the cases.

The Battle of Danny Boy

In May 2004, a British detachment of soldiers patrolling in southern Iraq were ambushed by the Mahdi Army, a pro-Iranian militia run by Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who had mobilised Iraqi Shias against the occupation. The ensuing incident became known as the “Battle of Danny Boy”.

Fighting was intense and hand-to-hand in some places as soldiers resorted to using bayonets. After taking control, it was alleged that British soldiers tortured, murdered and mutilated captured Iraqi prisoners.

Protesters outside the Chilcot report inquiry in July 2016 (AFP)

Shiner was accused of paying an Iraqi middleman to find witnesses who concocted the allegations. Several years later, the multi-million-pound Al Sweady inquiry determined that the allegations were “wholly baseless”.

The impact of the allegations on the morale of the soldiers was summed up by Colonel James Coote who’d held a commanding position during Danny Boy: “The false allegations levelled against the soldiers in my command were among the most serious against the British army since the Second World War.”

Despite Shiner’s fall from grace, however, PIL’s work in exposing British abuses in Iraq make for disturbing reading.

Culture of impunity

Shiner’s most prominent case was Baha Mousa, an Iraqi hotel receptionist killed by British soldiers in 2003.

Mousa was terrorised, denied food and water, suffered heat exhaustion, hooded, put in stress positions and beaten to death. His body had 93 injuries.

A public inquiry in 2011 found that Mousa suffered “serious, gratuitous violence” and identified many other soldiers involved in abuses.

Notwithstanding Al-Sweady and Shiner, in 2016 IHAT was actively investigating nearly 300 British soldiers who served in Iraq and informed them that they could face criminal charges.

Despite that, the government announced this year it would be shutting down IHAT after it “directly harmed the defence of our nation” following the Shiner case.

The government also conceded settlements in favour of 326 civil cases, while another 628 claims remain, and yet criminal charges have never been brought against any military personnel.

A pervasive culture of impunity clearly exists.

Last year, David Cameron ordered the government to crack down on legal firms seeking to pursue claims against Iraq veterans and took the unprecedented threat to sue those thought to be manufacturing “spurious” claims.

Theresa May has followed suit against what her former defence secretary called “ambulance-chasing British law firms“. But evidence from these firms is credible enough for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to use in its investigation.

The bullying tactics seem to have failed.

Tony Blair visits British troops in Iraq in May 2003 (AFP)

Earlier this month, the chief prosecutor of the ICC at the Hague ruled that there was a “reasonable basis” to assert British soldiers had committed “war crimes” against prisoners during the occupation of Iraq.

The allegations, now being investigated by the ICC, pertain to various human rights violations including “wilful killing and inhuman treatment” in British military custody.

From bad to worse

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Colonel Tim Collins gave a stirring speech to his soldiers and told them to “tread lightly” in “the birthplace of Abraham” and “respect” the people of Iraq. He also told them to be “ferocious in battle” but “magnanimous in victory”. Collins clearly wanted his troops to live up to what he believed were military ideals.

“Their [Iraqi] children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you… As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.” History will attest to how much “better” Iraq became.

The justification to invade Iraq was based on false claims that Saddam Hussain possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was training al-Qaeda in their use.

This evidence came from the “dodgy dossier” and the torture of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.

In Baghdad’s Karrada neighbourhood after a suicide bombing last July (AFP)

This lie was peddled to everyone, especially the military. Soldiers were made to believe that they were going to save the world from the existential threat posed by Saddam, his Baath Party followers and al-Qaeda.

The origins of the cycle of violence

As occupation forces settled in, local power was systemically divested from all remnants of the Iraqi regime – and those deemed close to it, namely Iraq’s Sunnis – and the country’s infrastructure was effectively dismantled, including the army and the police.

The Shia population, which had been brutally repressed under Saddam, was now led by politicians and leaders who wielded control of militias bent on seeking revenge. Sunnis were increasingly excluded and marginalised and sectarianism was allowed to manifest.

“Death squads” carried out atrocities on both sides, even as British and American soldiers were committing their own. Meanwhile, as Britain’s mission in Iraq came to an end, prime minister Gordon Brown told the world: “We have made a huge contribution and of course given people an economic stake in the future of Iraq. We leave Iraq a better place.”

It was ultimately the occupation’s empowerment of one sect against another that dismembered Iraq. Today, the impunity enjoyed by the US-led occupation forces is being repeated in the fight against Islamic State.

British soldiers mark the conclusion of the British-Iraqi Training and Maritime Support Agreement in Umm Qasr, close to the southern city of Basra (AFP)

The abuses carried out by the Iraqi army and militias are at times worse than their opponents. And they have been financed, trained and supported on the ground by British and American troops.

Islamic State in turn has carried out numerous attacks on British soil. The cycle of violence thus continues but we were forewarned about all of this by our own security services.

The Iraq record

On 10 February 2003, a Joint Intelligence Committee briefing clearly warned the government.

The threat from al-Qaeda will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq. They will target Western interests, especially in the US and UK, for maximum impact. The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.

“Al-Qaeda and associated groups will continue to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat will be heightened by military action against Iraq. The broader threat from Islamist terrorists will also increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

Before leaving office former US president Barack Obama admitted that Islamic State was an “unintended consequence” of the invasion of Iraq even though America and Britain has been involved in bombing, invading, occupying and imprisoning Iraqis continuously since 1991. Blowback was just a question of time.

Some may believe that British troops abroad are/were keeping us safe at home but, in truth, their record in Iraq is among the primary reasons why Britain is facing the greatest terrorism threat since the Irish “Troubles”.

– Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, author of Enemy Combatant and outreach director for UK-based campaigning organisation CAGE. Follow him on Twitter: @Moazzam_Begg

“Invasion of Iraq, a war crime? Arguments against Blair must be heard

I am This Palestinian girl: #ahed_tamimi (3ahd)

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup
Niveen Abboushi. December 22, 2017 at 11:23am · 

Who am I?

I am a Palestinian girl.

Before I was born, the occupation took most of my village’s lands to build a new settlement called Halamish.

Then they arrested my father.

When my aunt went to visit him, one of the soldiers pushed her over the stairs of the court and she died.

Since I was little the settlers of Halamish keep stealing more and more of our lands to expand the settlement.

Our home has demolition order because it is in Area C. The settlers are allowed to build on our land, but not us.

In 2005, the settlers made the spring (water) of our village part of the settlement and prevent us from using it, even though many of us are farmers.

All these things happened with great support from the Occupation army and government. (Especially US financial aid and those Evangelical Zionists around the world)

When the people of the my village started to resist the injustices with protest marches, my father was arrested again.
My mother was arrested too. My uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins – all of them were arrested too.

My cousin Mustafa was killed by the Israeli army. My uncle Rushdi was killed by the army too!

An Israeli sniper shot my mom in the leg and she couldn’t move for long time.

Almost every week, the army breaks into our homes to arrest one of my family or to confiscate our laptops or phones.

During our marches, they shoot us with tear gas and rubber bullets – my cousin is in hospital badly injured because he was shot in the face the week before.

A few days ago, two soldiers came to our house to take positions to shoot at the demonstrators from my village. I stood with my family to prevent them, the soldier pushed me and I slapped him.

And now I am in jail!
My mother and my cousin are in jail too!
The occupation government and media call me a terrorist.
Do you know who I am?

And what would you do if that was your life? Or the life of your child?

#ahed_tamimi
#youth_activist
#100%Palestine

Hazards of Revolution

Patrick Cockburn London Review of Books Vol. 36 No. 1 · 9 January 2014
pages 25-27 | 3282 words

Note: recall that this article was was written 4 years ago. Wish that Cockburn has assimilated the new changes in the region.

Soon after the Libyan capital (Tripoli) fell to the rebels in August 2011 I got to know a 32-year-old man called Ahmed Abdullah al-Ghadamsi.

We met when he tried to evict me from my hotel room, which he said was needed for members of the National Transitional Council, in effect the provisional government of Libya.

I wasn’t happy about being moved because the hotel, the Radisson Blu on Tripoli’s seafront, (The capital is Not on the sea shore, but very far off) was full of journalists and there was nowhere else to stay. But Ahmed promised to find me another room, and he was as good as his word.

He was lending a hand to the provisional government because he was strongly opposed to Qaddafi – as was the rest of his family. He came from the Fornaj district of the city, and was contemptuous of the efforts of government spies to penetrate its network of extended families.

He derided Gaddafi’s absurd personality cult and his fear of subversive ideas: ‘Books used to be more difficult to bring into the country than weapons. You had to leave them at the airport for two or three months so they could be checked.’

He had spent six years studying in Norway and spoke Norwegian as well as English; on returning to Libya he got a job on the staff of the Radisson Blu. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Al-Saadi, had a suite in the hotel, and he watched the ruling family and their friends doing business and enjoying themselves.

Ahmed was a self-confident man, not noticeably intimidated by the sporadic shooting which was keeping most people in Tripoli off the streets. I asked him if he would consider working for me as a guide and assistant and he agreed.

Tripoli had run out of petrol but he quickly found some, along with a car and driver willing to risk the rebel checkpoints. He was adept at talking to the militiamen manning the barricades, and helped me get out of the city when the roads were blocked.

After a few weeks I left Libya; I later heard that he was working for other journalists.

Then in October I got a message saying that he was dead, shot through the head by a pro-Gaddafi sniper in the final round of fighting in Sirte on the coast far to the east of Tripoli. It turned out that there was a lot that Ahmed hadn’t told me.

When the protests started in Benghazi on 15 February he had been among the first to demonstrate in Fornaj, and he was arrested.

His younger brother Mohammed told me that ‘he was jailed for two hours or less before his friends and the protesters broke into the police station and freed him.’

When Gaddafi’s forces regained control of Tripoli, Ahmed drove to the Nafusa Mountains a hundred miles south-west of the capital to try to join the rebels there, but they didn’t know or trust him so he had to return.

He smuggled weapons and gelignite into Tripoli and became involved in a plot, never put into action, to blow up Al-Saadi Gaddafi’s suite in the Radisson.

Mohammed said Ahmed felt bad that he’d spent much of the revolution making money and, despite his best efforts, had never actually fought.

He went to Sirte, where Gaddafi’s forces were making a last stand, and joined a militia group from Misrata. He had no military experience, as far as I know, but he didn’t flinch during bombardments and was stoical when he was caught in an ambush and wounded by shrapnel from a mortar bomb, and the militiamen were impressed.

On 8 October his commander told Ahmed to take a squad of five or six men to hunt for snipers who had killed a number of rebel fighters. He was shot dead by one of them a few hours later.

What would Ahmed think of the Libyan revolution now?

An interim government is nominally in control but the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi have been full of militia checkpoints manned by some of the 225,000 registered militiamen whose loyalty is to their commanders rather than the state that pays them.

When demonstrators appeared outside the headquarters of the Misrata militia in Tripoli on 15 November demanding that they go home, the militiamen opened fire with everything from Kalashnikov to anti-aircraft guns, killing 43 protesters and wounding some 400 others.

This led to popular protests in which many militias were forced out of Tripoli, though it’s not clear whether this is permanent. Earlier the prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was kidnapped by militia gunmen without a shot being fired by his own guards to protect him. (He was released after a few hours.)

Mutinying militias have closed the oil ports to exports and eastern Libya is threatening to secede.

The Libyan state has collapsed, for the simple reason that the rebels were too weak to fill the vacuum left by the fall of the old regime. After all, it was Nato airstrikes, not rebel strength, that overthrew Gaddafi.

It’s a similar story elsewhere in the Middle East.

The uprisings of the Arab Spring have so far produced anarchy in Libya, a civil war in Syria, greater autocracy in Bahrain and resumed dictatorial rule in Egypt.  (All these failures thanks to US/Saudi Kingdom/Israel/France ) who don’t want changes and democracy in the region)

In Syria, the uprising began in March 2011 with demonstrations against the brutality of Assad’s regime. ‘Peace! Peace!’ protesters chanted. But ‘if there was a fair election in Syria today,’ one commentator said, ‘Assad would probably win it.’

It isn’t only the protesters and insurgents of 2011 whose aspirations are being frustrated or crushed. In March 2003 the majority of Iraqis from all sects and ethnic groups wanted to see the end of Saddam’s disastrous rule even if they didn’t necessarily support the US invasion.

But the government now in power in Baghdad is as sectarian, corrupt and dysfunctional as Saddam’s ever was. (Not true, even then. Obama dispatched ISIS to occupy Mosul because Maliki PM refused to have US military presence in Iraq)

There may be less state violence, but only because the state is weaker. (just witness what is happening by the end of 2017)

Its methods are equally brutal: Iraqi prisons are full of people who have made false confessions under torture or the threat of it. An Iraqi intellectual who had planned to open a museum in Abu Ghraib prison so that Iraqis would never forget the barbarities of Saddam’s regime (you mean USA occupation?) found that there was no space available because the cells were full of new inmates.

Iraq is still an extraordinarily dangerous place. ‘I never imagined that ten years after the fall of Saddam you would still be able to get a man killed in Baghdad by paying $100,’ an Iraqi who’d been involved in the abortive museum project told me. (Isis is now defeated in Iraq and US still claim it is Not in order to remain militarily in the region)

Why have oppositions in the Arab world and beyond failed so absolutely, and why have they repeated in power, or in pursuit of it, so many of the faults and crimes of the old regimes? (Simple: still confronting the colonial powers who refuse any change)

The contrast between humanitarian principles expressed at the beginning of revolutions and the bloodbath at the end has many precedents, from the French Revolution on. But over the last twenty years in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus the rapid degradation of what started as mass uprisings has been particularly striking.

I was in Moscow at the start of the second Russo-Chechen war in October 1999, and flew with a party of journalists to Chechnya to see the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, in his headquarters in Grozny, where he was desperately trying – and failing – to avert the Russian assault by calling for a ceasefire.

We were housed in a former barracks which seemed worryingly vulnerable to Russian air attack. But it soon became evident that the presidential guard’s greatest anxiety was that we would be abducted by Chechen kidnappers and held for ransom.

The first Chechen revolt in 1994-96 was seen as a heroic popular struggle for independence. (An extremist Islamic regime, as the one ISIS was trying to install?)

Three years later it had been succeeded by a movement that was highly sectarian, criminalized and dominated by warlords. The war became too dangerous to report and disappeared off the media map. ‘In the first Chechen war,’ one reporter told me, ‘I would have been fired by my agency if I had left Grozny. Now the risk of kidnapping is so great I would be fired for going there.’

The pattern set in Chechnya has been repeated elsewhere with depressing frequency. The extent of the failure of the uprisings of 2011 to establish better forms of governance has surprised opposition movements, their Western backers and what was once a highly sympathetic foreign media.

The surprise is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of what the uprisings were about. Revolutions come into being because of an unpredictable coincidence of forces with different motives targeting a common enemy. (Never confuse long-term causes with instant catalysts)

The political, social and economic roots of the upsurges of 2011 go deep. That this wasn’t obvious to everyone at the time is partly a result of the way foreign commentators exaggerated the role of new information technology. Protesters, skilled in propaganda if nothing else, could see the advantage of presenting the uprisings to the West as nonthreatening ‘velvet’ revolutions with English-speaking, well-educated bloggers and tweeters prominently in the vanguard.

The purpose was to convey to Western public that the new revolutionaries were comfortingly similar to themselves, that what was happening in the Middle East in 2011 was similar to the anti-communist and pro-Western uprisings in Eastern Europe after 1989.

Opposition demands were all about personal freedom: social and economic inequality were rarely declared to be issues, even when they were driving popular rage against the status quo. (Wrong. Personal freedom was the slogan, Not the real demands)

The centre of Damascus had recently been taken over by smart shops and restaurants, but the mass of Syrians saw their salaries stagnating while prices rose: farmers ruined by four years of drought were moving into shanty towns on the outskirts of the cities; the UN said that between two and three million Syrians were living in ‘extreme poverty’; small manufacturing companies were put out of business by cheap imports from Turkey and China; economic liberalization, lauded in foreign capitals, concentrated wealth in the hands of a politically well-connected few.

Even members of the Mukhabarat, the secret police, were trying to survive on $200 a month. ‘When it first came to power, the Assad regime embodied the neglected countryside, its peasants and neglected underclass,’ an International Crisis Group report says. ‘Today’s ruling elite has forgotten its roots. It has inherited power rather than fought for it … and mimicked the ways of the urban upper class.’

The same was true of the quasi-monarchical families and their associates operating in parallel fashion in Egypt, Libya and Iraq.

Confident of their police-state powers, they ignored the hardships of the rest of the population, especially the underemployed, over-educated and very numerous youth, few of whom felt that they had any chance of improving their lives.

The inability of new governments across the Middle East to end the violence can be ascribed to a simple-minded delusion that most problems would vanish once democracies had replaced the old police states. (No delusion here. Cannot construct anything in the presence of extremist violent factions created by the US and its allies)

Opposition movements, persecuted at home and often living a hand to mouth existence in exile, half-believed this and it was easy to sell to foreign sponsors. A great disadvantage of this way of seeing things was that Saddam, Assad and Gaddafi were so demonized it became difficult to engineer anything approaching a compromise or a peaceful transition from the old to a new regime.

In 2003  Iraq former members of the Baath Party were sacked, thus impoverishing a large part of the population, which had no alternative but to fight. The Syrian opposition refuses to attend peace talks in Geneva if Assad is allowed to play a role, even though the areas of Syria under his control are home to most of the population.

In Libya the militias insisted on an official ban on employing anyone who had worked for Gaddafi’s regime, even those who had ended their involvement 30 years before. These exclusion policies were partly a way of guaranteeing jobs for the boys. But they deepen sectarian, ethnic and tribal divisions and provide the ingredients for civil war.

What is the glue that is meant to hold these new post-revolutionary states together?

Nationalism isn’t much in favour in the West, where it is seen as a mask for racism or militarism, supposedly outmoded in an era of globalisation and humanitarian intervention. (everything but capitulation is Not favored by the Western colonial powers, even now)

But intervention in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 turned out to be very similar to imperial takeover in the 19th century. There was absurd talk of ‘nation-building’ to be carried out or assisted by foreign powers, who clearly have their own interests in mind just as Britain did when Lloyd George orchestrated the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire.

A justification for the Arab leaders who seized power in the late 1960s was that they would create powerful states capable, finally, of giving reality to national independence. They didn’t wholly fail: Gaddafi played a crucial role in raising the price of oil in 1973 and Hafez al-Assad created a state that could hold its own in a protracted struggle with Israel for predominance in Lebanon.

But to opponents of these regimes nationalism was simply a propaganda ploy on the part of ruthless dictatorships concerned to justify their hold on power. But without nationalism – even where the unity of the nation is something of a historic fiction – states lack an ideology that would enable them to compete as a focus of loyalty with religious sects or ethnic groups.

It’s easy enough to criticise the rebels and reformers in the Arab world for failing to resolve the dilemmas they faced in overturning the status quo. Their actions seem confused and ineffective when compared to the Cuban revolution or the liberation struggle in Vietnam. (Simply because one people  in Syria, one people in the Nile river and one people in north Africa were artificially divided in pseud-States by colonial powers)

But the political terrain in which they have had to operate over the last twenty years has been particularly tricky. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that the endorsement or tolerance of the US – and the US alone – was crucial for a successful takeover of power.

Nasser was able to turn to Moscow to assert Egyptian independence in the Suez crisis of 1956, but after the Soviet collapse smaller states could no longer find a place for themselves between Moscow and Washington. Saddam said in 1990 that one of the reasons he invaded Kuwait when he did was that in future such a venture would no longer be feasible as Iraq would be faced with unopposed American power.

In the event, he got his diplomatic calculations spectacularly wrong, but his forecast was otherwise realistic – at least until perceptions of American military might were downgraded by Washington’s failure to achieve its aims in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

So the insurgencies in the Middle East face immense difficulties, and they have faltered, stalled, been thrown on the defensive or apparently defeated. But without the rest of the world noticing, one national revolution in the region is moving from success to success.

In 1990 the Kurds, left without a state after the fall of the Ottomans, were living in their tens of millions as persecuted and divided minorities in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Rebellion in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 failed disastrously, with at least 180,000 killed by poison gas or executed in the final days of the conflict. (The Shah of Iran and Saddam resolved this conflict in a single day)

In Turkey, guerrilla action by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who combined Marxism-Leninism with Kurdish nationalism, began in 1974 but by the end of the 1990s it had been crushed by the Turkish army; Kurds were driven into the cities; and three thousand of their villages were destroyed. (Western media never covered these atrocities)

In north-east Syria, Arab settlers were moved onto Kurdish land and many Kurds denied citizenship; in Iran, the government kept a tight grip on its Kurdish provinces.

All this has now changed. In Iraq the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), though it shares power with the central government in Baghdad, is close to becoming an oil-rich independent state, militarily and diplomatically more powerful than many members of the UN. Until recently the Turks would impound any freight sent to the KRG if the word ‘Kurdistan’ appeared in the address, but in November the KRG president, Massoud Barzani, gave a speech in the Turkish Kurd capital of Dyarbakir and talked of ‘the brotherhood of Turks and Kurds’.

Standing with him was the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke of ‘Kurdistan’ as if he’d forgotten that a few years ago the name had been enough to land anyone who uttered it in a Turkish jail. In Syria meanwhile, the PKK’s local branch has taken control of much of the north-east corner of the country, where two and a half million Kurds live.

The rebellion in the Kurdish heartlands has been ongoing for nearly half a century. In Iraq the two main Kurdish parties, Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were expert at manipulating foreign intelligence services – Iranian, Syrian, American and Turkish – without becoming their permanent puppets (Crappy pronouncement on these expertise)

They built up a cadre of well-educated and politically sophisticated leaders and established alliances with non-Kurdish opposition groups. They were lucky that their worst defeat was followed by Saddam’s self-destructive invasion of Kuwait, which enabled them to take control of an enclave protected by US airpower in 1991.

At this point, despite having gained more independence than any previous Kurdish movement, the KDP and PUK embarked on a vicious civil war with the Iraqi state. But then they had another stroke of luck when 9/11 provided the US with the excuse to invade and overthrow Saddam. The Kurdish leaders positioned themselves carefully between the US and Iran without becoming dependent on either.

It isn’t yet clear how the bid of thirty million Kurds for some form of national self-determination will play out, but they have become too powerful to be easily suppressed. Their success has lessons for the movements of the Arab Spring, whose failure isn’t as inevitable as it may seem. The political, social and economic forces that led to the ruptures of 2011 are as powerful as ever. Had the Arab opposition movements played their cards as skilfully as the Kurds, the uprisings might not have foundered as they have done.

None of the religious parties that took power, whether in Iraq in 2005 or Egypt in 2012, has been able to consolidate its authority. Rebels everywhere look for support to the foreign enemies of the state they are trying to overthrow, but the Kurds are better at this than anyone else, having learned the lesson of 1975, when Iran betrayed them to Saddam by signing the Algiers Agreement, cutting off their supply of arms. The Syrian opposition, by contrast, can only reflect the policies and divisions of its sponsors.

Resistance to the state was too rapidly militarised for opposition movements to develop an experienced national leadership and a political programme. The discrediting of nationalism and communism, combined with the need to say what the US wanted to hear, meant that they were at the mercy of events, lacking any vision of a non-authoritarian nation state capable of competing with the religious fanaticism of the Sunni militants of al-Qaida, and similar movements financed by the oil states of the Gulf. But the Middle East is entering a long period of ferment in which counter-revolution may prove as difficult to consolidate as revolution.

DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE YOUR EYES?

Videos and pictures of the intifada in Palestine since December 2 are shown live on channel Al Mayadeen and claiming that the coverage is biased is total nonsense: Israel deny independent reporters to cover its atrocities and violent reactions to a just and fair movement.

BY ERIC R. MANDEL. DECEMBER 16, 2017

Last week, 14 out of 15 member states of the United Nations Security Council condemned the United States for its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This was no surprise, as the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO has said Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem.

In response to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas jointly called for rage and violence.

So the international photojournalist community, which is opposed to Israel’s being in charge of the city, needed to provide their news organizations with pictures crafted to create the impression that Israel was taking Jerusalem by force, brutalizing its non-Jewish residents.(Not impressions: violent facts, 3300 injured and 11 killed by live bullet so far. Scores detained administratively)

As former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman wrote in The Atlantic after the last war in Gaza: “The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it.” (Gaza people would have loved to witness a few acts from the western communities to end Israel savage pre-emptive war)

How is it, you might wonder, that photojournalists are always at the right place at the right time – at “peaceful” Palestinian events that turn into premeditated confrontations – in order to create pictures of aggressive Israeli police officers appearing to attack innocent victims? (Appearing? I saw their cavalry charging)

Since the Jerusalem announcement, far too many photos have been captured showing lines of photojournalists who just happen to be present to photograph the responses of Israeli security forces to “peaceful” protests.

Palestinians and their international supporters have been known to provide news organizations with schedules of where protests and staged confrontations will occur.

Sympathetic journalists play along, taking pictures of “innocent” Palestinians protesting, but not showing them as they deliberately force a violent Israeli response.

The photographs are often of the elderly, meek, or very young, showing expressions of fear and horror in response to the “unprovoked” use of force by Israeli security forces. (Unprovoked? What are the Palestinians to do with this shameful and blatant slap to their integrity and dignity? 

Last week, the official Palestinian Maan News Agency published a series of editorialized pictures, available to international news organizations, of Palestinians looking the part of victims.

Among the more sensational pictures was one of a terrified, elderly woman cowering in fear of an Israeli police officer on horseback. (And many more of these elderly women confronting face-to-face the aggressors and trying to save children being beaten by Israelis)

In another, an elderly, injured Palestinian man was being carried away from a protest, in a photograph that also captured two other photojournalists who just happened to be at that spot to record the event. (What about killing a handicapped in a wheelchair?)

Maan’s photographs were accompanied by an account in which “witnesses said police stormed into the crowd of local activists, students and ordinary citizens who were marching peacefully on the main city street…. Police tossed stun grenades into the crowd as police on horseback reportedly ran over people, including journalists covering the event.”

Sympathetic European editors are delighted when they receive such pictures, as they represent their narrative of the Israeli “occupier” tormenting the “helpless” Palestinian.

Last week, a Palestinian plunged a knife into an Israeli security guard at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. (They have been doing it for months now, courage in the face of heavily armed Israelis)

The security video caught it all. The still frames of the attack are just the type of sensational material that today’s media generally love to print. But do you remember seeing a photo or the video on BBC, CNN, or on the front page of the New York Times? (How come BBC, Euronews and CNN barely cover the Palestinian every day intifada?)

This is another form of editorialized photojournalism – editorializing by omission. Not publishing a photograph that contradicts a news organization’s party line is a more subtle, but equally biased form of slanted reporting, such as suppressing a news story or burying it deep in a newspaper.

Another infamous case of editorialization by omission was the AP’s refusal to publish a photograph of an Islamic Jihad rally at the flagship Al-Quds University, claiming it was not newsworthy. The event was organized by a “moderate” Palestinian professor and included en masse Nazi salutes, which made for a riveting image, but not one that fit AP’s narrative.

It is not that editorialized photojournalism is new. It began during the First Intifada, continued into the Second Intifada, then through all three Gaza wars, and continues right up until today in Jerusalem.

What is new, is that we now seem to have become dulled by the longevity of the practice, failing to notice or respond as we once did to its insidious effects. (The longer the intifada, the more of them “editorialized photojournalism”)

So, going forward, become reengaged in scrutinizing the news.

Be an educated consumer of the news, especially photojournalism, and ask yourself if you can really believe your own eyes.

The writer is director of MEPIN™, the Middle East Political and Information Network™. Dr. Mandel regularly briefs members of Congress and think tanks on the Middle East. He is a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post.

Palestinian Journalists Union blasts PA for banning websites

Al Jazeera blasts Israel for trying to silence independent journalism

An investigation by the Israeli military into the death of a paraplegic Palestinian man cleared Israeli troops of wrongdoing on Monday, saying it found “no moral or professional failures” in the incident.

Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, was shot in the head while demonstrating last week along Gaza’s border with Israel.

(I watched live this event on the channel Al Mayadeen. And this channel had an interview with Ibrahim the day before his assassination)

Abu Thraya, who had previously worked as a fisherman, lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike during a 2008 war between Israel and Hamas. According to relatives, he was assisting in the evacuation of people after an earlier airstrike when he was struck.

He had since used a wheelchair. #Gaza#Children #Ramallah #Netanyahu #Muslims #EndTheOccupation #Nakba#Silence #Wall #FreePalestine #GazaUnderAttack #Ibrahim #Palestine#Hypocrisy #IDF #USA #PalestinianLand #Trump #NoaGolan #Jews#Hebron #UK #Israel #Zionist #Jerusalem #AndiVincent

The Israeli military says an investigation into the fatal shooting of a paraplegic Palestinian man has determined there were no “moral or professional failures” in his death
T.CO

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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