Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Jews/Israel/Palestine’ Category

In two parts: biographies and speeches 

Posted on June 3, 2009

Hezbollah and Nasrallah

Hassan Nasr Allah (Nasrallah) is currently the Secretary General of Hezbollah.  He was born in August 31, 1960 in the poorest section of East Beirut called Nabaa

Hassan was the eldest among 9 offspring and his father supported this vast family selling vegetable. Hassan refrained from playing soccer with the neighboring kids or joining them for a swim; he was deeply religious and admired greatly Imam Moussa Sadr who gave the Muslim Shia sect sense of their pride and potentials in the Lebanese fabrics. 

The regions of predominantly Shias in south Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley were neglected in the budgets for infrastructure by the central government since the independence in 1943.  

The Imam of the Mosque where Hassan prayed in Nabaa was Mohammad Fadlallah who is presently the highest Imam of the Shia in Lebanon.

At the age of 14, Hassan moved with his family to their home village Bazourieh in south Lebanon. He aided Sheikh Ali Shams el Deen opening a small library of religious manuscripts and Hassan started teaching religion in the village and then finished his high school in Tyr.  

By the age of 15 Hassan joined the “AMAL” movement of Imam Moussa Sadr and was quickly appointed officer of the Bekaa district and then a member of the politburo. 

Sheikh Muhammad Ghrawi facilitated to Nasrallah higher religious learning in Najaf (Iraq). 

Nasrallah met in Najaf with Abbas Moussawi (later the first Secretary General of Hezbollah).  By 1978, and after two years spent in Najaf, Nasrallah returned to Lebanon. 

A couple of months later Imam Moussa Sadr disappeared after a visit to Libya in August 1978 (Believed assassinated by Gaddafi?).

In 1979, Khomeini came to power in Iran and the Shah went to exile. 

The geopolitical condition in the Middle East changed drastically. Iran was now against the USA interests in the region, supported the Palestinian cause, and was the first State to officially allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to open and embassy in Tehran.  

Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982; the operation was baptized “Peace in Galilee”. 

Israel put siege to Beirut for two months and Yasser Arafat and 11,000 Palestinian fighters left to Tunisia. 

The Lebanese President of the Republic Elias Sarkis invited Nabih Berri (leader of AMAL) to join Walid Jumblatt (Druze leader) and Bashir Gemayel (leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces) to form a national rescue team.

Many AMAL cadres quit Nabih Berri such as Abbas Moussawi, Sobhi Toufaily, Hussein Moussawi, Ibraheem Amin Sayyed, Naeem Qassem, and Nasrallah. 

They created Hezbollah and blew up the US Marines and French barracks in Beirut in 1983. Nasrallah had said that Hezbollah was the consequence of Israel entering Beirut in 1982.

Hezbollah postponed declaring its formation until 1985 after Israel assassinated one of Hezbollah’s leaders Sheikh Ragheb Harb. The Iranian leaders Ali Mohtashami was then the spiritual father of the Party and Muhammad Akhtari the military father.

Hassan Nasr Allah learned from Ragheb Harb the famous dictum “The word is taking a stand and shaking hands is acknowledgement of assent” and thus Harb never shook hands with any Israeli army officers who were trying hard to win Ragheb over to supporting the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon.

In 1987, Nasrallah was appointed member of the highest legislative order in Hezbollah and chairman of the executive branch.  I

n 1989, Nasrallah resumed his religious studies in Qom (Iran) and returned in a hurry to Lebanon when military skirmishes with the AMAL movement spread. 

The AMAL party was executing the orders of the Syrian regime to entering the Palestinian camps and disarming the Palestinians of any heavy arsenal. 

Hezbollah followed the policies of Iran to leave the Palestinian out of harm.  After many months of fighting both parties settled out their differences as Syria and Iran reached a compromise.

Israel assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbas Moussawi in 1992.  

Nasrallah was the closest aid to Moussawi and had extensive contacts with the base, and studied in Qom. 

Hassan Nasrallah replaced Moussawi as Secretary General; he was only 32 of age.  Nasr Allah said: “A movement that witnesses its leader falling martyr can never be defeated”. Hezbollah evolved into a qualitative phase in organization and political acumen.

Israel invaded Lebanon in July 1993 for 7 days under the code name “Settling Accounts” and then re-invaded in 1996 under Shimon Peres (Nobel Peace prize winner! Go figure, he and Menachem Begin the terrorist with Egypt Sadat before him)

This operation of total destruction lasted for 17 days under the name “Grapes of Wrath” and shelled a UN compound in Qana where civilians had taken refuge and over 100 died and 300 were gravely injured.  

Hadi, the eldest son of Nasrallah, fell martyr during a resistance operation in September 1997; twas the night before Nasrallah was to deliver a major speech and he insisted on speaking and said: “In Hezbollah we do not save our children for the future; we honor them when they fight in the front lines against our enemy Israel; we stand tall when they fall martyrs”

Israel had to retreat from all of Lebanon, with the exception of Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfarshouba in May 24, 2000 without pre-conditions or negotiations. 

The “Arabs” recognized Hezbollah as the main resistance movement that vanquished Israel and acclaimed Nasrallah as the Hero of liberation. 

In the large town of Bint Jbeil Nasrallah delivered the Victory Speech and offered the liberation in the name of all the Lebanese.  Nasr Allah said: “Israel has nuclear arsenals and owns the most lethal air force in the region.  Israel is still much weaker than the spider web” (It was a reference of a spider web on a cave that saved the Prophet Muhammad from being caught by the Quraish tribe of Mecca persecutors while fleeing to Yathreb)

Israel bombarded the villages in south Lebanon in 2003 and then raided Beirut in 2005. 

Israel re-invaded Lebanon in July 2006 for 33 days and failed to achieve any of its proclaimed objectives.  

Nasrallah was recognized as the most charismatic and powerful resistance leader in the Arab and Muslim World.  Nasr Allah played the catalyst for the Shia in Lebanon to participate in projecting the living messages in the symbolism of the Koran verses, and thus be capable of assimilating and accepting changing social and environmental conditions.

According to the famous journalist Seymour Hersh, these “leaders” of Cheney, Elliott Abrams, and Bandar Bin Sultan conspired to finance and whisk the members of Fatah El Islam (Qaeda affiliated) into the refugee camp of Nahr Al Bared with the purpose of destabilizing Lebanon and starting civil war between the Muslim Shias and Sunnis, and thus immersing Hezbollah into a potential civil war.

It didn’t work because the Lebanese army was hurt in its pride after many soldiers were executed by severing their heads in the summer of 2007. 

The Lebanese army lost over 160 soldiers and many hundreds were severely injured but the Muslim extremism objectives were defeated after 6 months of engagement in the camp. 

Deputy Bahiya Hariri (sister of late Rafic Hariri) acknowledged that she contributed substantially in financing extremist Palestinian groups in the refugee camps.

 The Israelis take very seriously Nasrallah promises and threats. 

The Lebanese Government of Seniora PM failed to understand that “A word is a commitment”

Nasrallah had said that Hezbollah will never turn its arms internally except when coerced to relinquish its arms; especially its secured communication lines, the most potent arm it had during the war in 2006. 

In May 5, 2008 Seniora PM Government, with No Shia minister representatives in the cabinet, executed a plan to dismantle Hezbollah secure communication network. 

Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech demanding the government to retract its decision. 

By May 7, the AMAL militias confronted the security forces of the Mustaqbal (Hariri clan) movement in Beirut and quickly closed down those arm caches intended to start civil disturbances.

The AMAL forces were controlled by cadres of Hezbollah in order for the confrontation not to degenerate into sectarian infighting. For example, the rioters saved the huge pictures of late Rafic Hariri PM and removed the pictures of Saad Hariri and Seniora PM. 

Israel admitted that its patient work of infiltrating Hezbollah for two years vanished within a couple of hours. Over 20 Lebanese agents spying for Israel have been apprehended.   Nasrallah is demanding that the traitors be hanged. Israel spy bunkers in Beirut were closed

 Hezbollah has joined the Parliament since 1992 and has increased the number of its Deputies; it has cabinet ministers since the year 2000.  

Lebanon is getting ready for Parliamentary election in June 7, 2009 and all the indications point to victory of the opposition headed by Hezbollah, AMAL, and the movement (Tayyar) of Change and Reforms of current President General Michel Aoun. 

Note:  The biographical sections were extracted from the recent Arabic/Lebanese book “Shock and Steadfastness” (Sadmah wa Sumoud”) by Karim Bakradounyi

Alan Duncan, UK ex-minister accuses pro-Israel lobbyists of negatively influencing the country’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

By Alex MacDonald Published date: 8 April 2021

A former UK foreign office minister has accused pro-Israel lobbyists of “the most disgusting interference” in British public life, and of negatively influencing the country’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

Alan Duncan, a former Conservative MP and government minister until 2019, wrote in his newly published memoir that the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) had been responsible for pushing the country to adopt disproportionately anti-Palestinian and pro-Israel policies.

Founded in 1974, the CFI is a parliamentary group and unaffiliated organisation that supports the ruling Conservative Party and advocates for pro-Israel policies.

Speaking to journalist Michael Crick about his diaries for the MailPlus website, Duncan said the CFI had injected a “Netanyahu-type view of Israeli politics into our foreign policy”, referring to Israel’s right-wing prime minister. 

Alan added that it had lobbied to prevent him becoming Middle East minister at the foreign office.

Former British Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan gestures during a joint press conference with Ecuador’s Ambassador Jaime Marchan at Victoria Gardens, Westminster, on 11 April 2019 (AFP)

“A lot of things do not happen in foreign policy or in government for fear of offending them because that’s the way it’s put to them by the CFI,” he said. 

“It’s a sort of buried scandal that has to stop… they will interfere at a high level in British politics in the interests of Israel on the back of donor power in the UK.”

He added that ultimately the influence of the CFI came at the expense of the Palestinians, emphasising that the group’s leadership would frame pro-Palestinian policies as potentially offending Jewish donors to the Conservative Party.

“Most of the Jewish donors would never want their donations to be used to influence in this way – I just think it’s a mess,” he said.

PETER OBORNE: Duncan’s stand on settlements makes him Israeli target. Read More »

Duncan served as minister of state for Europe and the Americas between 2016 and 2019 under then Prime Minister Theresa May. Following her resignation and the ascension of Boris Johnson, he stepped down from his position and did not stand for re-election in the December 2019 parliamentary elections.

Known for his support for pro-Palestinian stances, such as his rejection of illegal Israeli settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, Duncan has previously come under fire from pro-Israel circles.

In January 2017, opposition politicians in the UK called for an investigation into comments made by an Israeli embassy official who had talked of plotting to “take down” Duncan because of his public opposition to Israeli settlements.

Shai Masot, who would afterwards be removed from his position, was caught by an undercover reporter discussing with a British civil servant how to discredit Duncan. He would later apologise for his comments.

Crispin Blunt, a Conservative MP and then-chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, told Middle East Eye at the time that Britain could not have “Israel acting in the UK with the same impunity it enjoys in Palestine”.

“This is clearly interference in another country’s politics of the murkiest and most discreditable kind,” Crispin said.

In the past, the CFI has claimed that 80% of Conservative MPs were members of the organisation. It has organised numerous trips to Israel for politicians.

Note: The UK has been plagued for decades by multinational institutions (for example the Murdock publishing and media mogul) to bribe and blackmail entire UK institutions against private rights. Actually, it was the total support of Murdock for Brexit that allowed the referendum to win with a slight majority.

Extracted from my diary, and written on November 24, 2006

Posted on October 23, 2008

It is a sunny and clear day. I think that it is important to first review the study prepared by Mark Perry and Alistair Crook for the British Forum of Confrontations on the July war between Israel and the Lebanese Resistance of Hezbollah.

(Actually, the main objective of Israel was to completely destroy all Lebanon infrastructure, bridges, “refineries”, highways, and Dahiyat in south Beirut. That’s what Israel did)

The bogus study came to the conclusion that Hezbollah won the war and was successful in penetrating the Israeli strategy, its cycle of decision making in the chain of command, intelligence gathering, and military maneuvering.

Though Hassan Nasrallah, (General Secretary of Hezbollah), warned Israel in many public speeches that Hezbollah is about to capture Israeli soldiers in exchange of the release of the Lebanese prisoners, still Israel was taken by complete surprise at the bold attack: mainly Israel supposed that this maneuver will not take place during summer when the “Arab” States from the Gulf and the Muslim Lebanese Shia emigrants flock to Lebanon for vacation.

The Hezbollah operation was easily carried out, and the later videos demonstrated that fact.

The incompetence of the Israeli commander, who failed to follow the military procedures, resulted in two tanks being destroyed in a minefield and many Israeli soldiers died. This unwarranted Israeli military error forced Olmert PM to escalate the confrontation into a full-fledged war, ahead of schedule set by the USA Bush Jr. for late autumn.

Though the vicious surprised escalation by Israel took Hezbollah by surprise it managed within minutes to mobilize its forces and the rocket officers.  The study estimated that Hezbollah has 600 rocket depots hidden 40 meters deep in mountains south of the Litany River.

The Hezbollah political officers had no knowledge of the locations of the depots for security reasons, even a field commander knew about the location of only three depots within his field of operation.

All the varied Israeli sources of military intelligence failed to accurately locate the rocket sites, as well as locating the leaders of Hezbollah, since Not a single one was killed; even Abu Jaafar, the southern military commander of Hezbollah did not die as Israel proclaimed on June 28.

Israel was flabbergasted by the total adherence of the Hezbollah militants by the war truth, 33 days later, a fact that confirmed the effective communication among Hezbollah bases after the methodical Israeli aerial bombardments for over 30 days and nights.

Hezbollah was also very successful in counter thwarting the Israeli espionage operations in Lebanon: it captured 16 spies before the war, many more during the war, and leaked erroneous information to the Israelis about the rocket sites which resulted in civilian casualties and worldwide uproar for the Qana massacre.

(The same town that witnessed the massacre of 110 civilians massed in the UN compound in 1996)

Israel lost as many soldiers and officers as Hezbollah did, or about 180.

The Hezbollah Nasr brigade in the south, strong of 3,000 fighters, did not need to be replenished neither in fighters or supplies during the whole period of the war.

The cause of continuous wavering of the Israeli military command to start the land invasion was due mainly to the disastrous previous small skirmishes that proved that the Hezbollah fighters were steadfast in holding on to their towns and villages and will not retreat.

When Israel called up the reserves sooner than expected on June 21, the US military strategist surmised that the Israeli army is in great trouble and is no longer doing well as hoped.

On June 21, Ehud Olmert PM urgently demanded from the US ammunition supplies which confirmed that Israel’s air depots have been depleted within the first week of its air strikes, and that Israel is in deep trouble.

The environs of the towns of Maroun El Ras and Bent Jbeil, by the border, did not fall in the hands of Israel for the duration of the war, even after Israel called up an additional 15,000 soldiers and the Golani brigade to dislodge the tenacious fighters.

The Merkava tank was defenseless against the second generation of anti tank missiles used by Hezbollah and which were fabricated in 1973.

At the same time, the “Khyber One” rockets which targeted the airbase in Afula, deep inside Israel, could not be intercepted.

Finally, the US hurriedly worked out a UN truth, at the instigation of Israel on August 10, because the Zionist soldiers, deep in south Lebanon, feared encirclement, total defeat, and surrender.

The consequences of this defeat, as stated by the study, were disastrous to both Israeli image of an undefeated State and the US foreign policies.

First, when US diplomats and politicians tried to be in touch with Jordan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia after the war they realized that nobody in these pro American States dared respond to their calls;

Second, the US realized that its air superiority in a war against Iran is susceptible to be a failure in order to snatch any quick victory;

Third, the popularity of Hassan Nasrallah has become overwhelming in all the Arab and Muslim World, a fact that pursuing the accusations of terrorism will ridicule the US administration and sap any remnants of its credibility;

Fourth, the strategy adopted by Hezbollah discredited the complete political affiliation of the Arab regimes with the US policies in order to gain a few irrelevant advantages;

Fifth, the US is already unable to contemplate a coalition of the Arab and Muslim States in anticipation of an invasion of Iran, simply because these States can no longer afford to look as US stooges toward their people;

Sixth, any attempt by Israel to disable the Iranian nuclear plants will instigate a retaliation toward Israel nuclear plants and further weakening of the American presence in the Arab Gulf States as well as the fall of many pro American Arab States in a domino fashion. (A few days ago, an air-air missile fell by Israel Nuclear site of Dimona, and the Dome of patriotes failed to intercept it.)

Seventh, Israel is going to need, at least 15 years, to rebuild its military and intelligence capabilities in order to regain the image of undefeated army. Israel lost all its spying bunkers (labelled security services in Beirut) in 2008 by a 3-day cleaning up by Hezbollah.

Eight, the position of Iran in Iraq has drastically increased and the Shiaa might soon start an offensive against the US and British troops, their previous allies;

Ninth, the position of Syria in Lebanon has strengthened which is a defeat to the French program since it would be impossible from now on to form a government in Lebanon that antagonizes Syria.

The previous consequences of the study are conjectures so far.

Let us review what happened since after the July war.

First, George W. Bush administration was defeated grandly in the House and the Senate.

This administration has voiced readiness to consider alternative solutions to the Iraqi quagmire.  This administration will view world politics from a different perspective, except in the Greater Middle East. 

It seems that the Bush government is expressing its bitterness in our region. The Bush administration is the cause that the unity governments in Palestine and Lebanon are being postponed weeks after weeks at the detriment of our security and economic development.

Second, Britain has already decided to hand over the civil administration in Basra by the end of the year and has plans to retreat from Iraq altogether: Britain and the European States are vigorously seeking open and direct negotiations with Iran and Syria for a political resolution in Iraq

Third, Pakistan has reached a truth in the provinces bordering Afghanistan and is no longer willing to pursue the US maddening demands to fighting terrorism.

Fourth, Bush is facing serious hurdles meeting with “Arab” leaders. The Iraqi Prime Minister Maleki is not sincerely willing to meet Bush for the time being after Moqtada Sadr threatened to quit the government and the Chamber of deputies if he did, because the recent onslaught of the US forces in Sadr City in Baghdad.

Fifth, Saudi Kingdom is diversifying its military hardware by purchasing for over $1, 5 billions from Britain and Europe. Vice President Cheney visited Saudi Arabia to pressure it to purchase military hardware from the US.

Sixth, the US is about to transfer its major military bases from Qatar to another Gulf State after Qatar was actively flaunting the US plans in the region and openly voicing its concerns in the UN.

Seven, China has publicly announced that it will continue to aid Pakistan with its nuclear programs; China is implicitly behind the Iranian peaceful nuclear program and that is why the US is feeling impotent in setting up an economic effective embargo or contemplating any military alternative.

Eight, a recent survey by a European agency showed that Israel is considered the worst racist and apartheid State.

Nine, the US and Israel are trying hopelessly to start a civil war in Lebanon by effectively assassinating the Maronite Minister Pierre Gemayel Jr. Jordan King Abdullah is warning of imminent civil wars in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. Bush is coming to Amman to meet Iraq Maliki PM and, most probably, to put the final touches to the execution of the civil war in Lebanon.

Ten, the foreign visitors to Lebanon are flocking to the south to witness the complete destruction of 30 towns and villages; they are carrying back video, pictures and interviews with the southern residents after shedding bitter tears at the view of these cataclysmic scenes. Hopefully a renewed awareness in the US and Europe of the main task of this mercenary State of Israel will expand.

Eleven, the parliamentary election in Bahrain, 70% of the population being of Shia sect, allowed the Shia and leftist movement to win big.

Twelve, Israel Olmert PM has finally agreed to a truth with Hamas in order to put a stop to the “Al Qassam” rockets directed to the kibbutz Sderot closest to Gaza.

Thirteen, Iranian Prime Minister has promised to help the US in Iraq if the US forces vacate completely this country.

Note: With the advent of Donald Trump, many “Arabic” States, especially those pseudo-State in the Gulf have officially recognized Israel.

No Independent Palestinian State? Think again!

Posted on January 16, 2009

Note: Israel pounded yesterday the south-west corner of Gaza City and had demolished the UN agency headquarter and the Red Cross hospital.

500 injured Palestinian babies were trapped in these locations.  

The death toll has climbed to 1,100 and the injured to 5,200.

The world community is finally realizing that apartheid Israel has gone way too crazy against the UN charters. Keeping silent on the facts that this is a war crime being perpetrated in Gaza is no longer tolerable.

The US, Europe, the hateful Mubarak of Egypt and the Wahhabi Saudi Monarchy do not want a sustainable Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza: they want a recognized Palestinian State by name only, devoid of the conditions attached to an independent and self-autonomous status.  

They want what their puppet of “Palestinian” Abbas is willing to bow to, under the excuses that resisting the Zionist occupation should not involve arms struggle, no matter the humiliation and miserable conditions that the Palestinian people are subjected to.

Currently, Islamist Hamas represents the dignity and pride of the Palestinian to stand tall and reclaiming their rights as deserving people under the sun, with full recognition and the application of the UN charters on the apartheid Zionist State.  

The religious ideology of Hamas is a byproduct for denying the Palestinian people their due rights and recognition, as the liberal approaches of negotiation and democratic results are canceled, trampled, and made a mockery by the US Administrations and the EU.

I have published in November 12, 2008 “The State of Palesrael: a future plausible resolution” and I feel compelled to re-iterate my position after the Gaza fiasco and the genocide that has been watched live for over 20 days.

There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to contain this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel, by forceful displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as one of the worst monstrosities in this century. (Such as Armenians in Turkey, Central Europe, Latin America, Africa, Myanmar, Somalia, Syria, Iraq)…

There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

Before the Gaza onslaught, Israeli Olmert PM had declared that “the time to facing truth has come”.  

Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the “Arab” States and Israeli delegations, (mediated by the Bush Father US Administration), for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and pre-emptive wars, is no longer tenable.  

A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to prosecute: invading Iraq, at the insistence of Israel/extremist Evangelical sect. The US allowed Israel to scrap the comprehensive agreement of “land for peace”

The Bush Junior administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq.

This invasion has failed miserably but Israel realized that it is no longer a necessary State for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arab Gulf, it has many heavy weight allies among the Arabic States, and the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq or elsewhere

Or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.  

The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases:

The first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledged State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.  

At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should. The burden of proof for peaceful co-existence is on the occupier force, the apartheid Zionist State.

The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.  I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).  

I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.  

The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equally, including gender, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis and a rotation imposed.  The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel let Lebanon experience, without foreign interventions, the full extent of its caste structure so that the State of Palesrael might study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.  The “Wall of Shame” constructed by the late vegetative Sharon has to come down.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (no pre-emptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.  Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure this neutrality status.  Amen.

BDS vs. the lie of ‘woke Zionism’

“Woke Zionism” is a lie that seeks to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

BY OLIVIA KATBI SMITH AND DYLAN SABA.

We must respond by reaffirming the reality and demands of Palestinians living under apartheid.

Amidst the post-Trump euphoria and inauguration festivities, President Biden’s Secretary of State nominee quietly affirmed the new administration’s intent to keep the U.S. embassy to Israel in the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the military occupation and colonial settlement of the West Bank continues unabated, despite immense cost in lives and human dignity as well as near-ubiquitous global condemnation.

Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on earth, remains under siege; its nearly two million inhabitants (over 40% of which are under the age of 14, and most of them are refugees from other parts of Palestine) do their best to carry on despite serial Israeli bombing campaigns from which Gazans are materially unable to rebuild.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new front to Israeli apartheid, as Israel refuses to provide vaccinations to millions of Palestinians within its sovereign domain.

The incoming Biden administration has signaled no desire to deviate from the unflinching American political, military, and diplomatic support for Israel that has maintained these degrading conditions for decades.   

In response, the American left, freshly torqued off four years of a Trump presidency and an insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential run, has seen the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Red Nation, and other left organizations join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

This call to end Israeli apartheid was originally initiated by wide swaths of Palestinian civil society in 2005.

The BDS movement emerged after the relative failure of two intifadas (the first unarmed and the second armed), bilateral negotiations mediated by the US, and appeals to US-controlled international bodies.

It calls for an international boycott of Israeli institutions that uphold the apartheid regime until three demands are met:

1) the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of lands, including the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights and the dismantling of the Wall of Shame;

2) recognition of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3) recognition and promotion of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Since its initiation, it has gained notable steam both globally and in the US as various unions, churches, NGOs, movement organizations, and celebrity activists and academics have pledged support for the effort.

Unsurprisingly, BDS has been systemically opposed by those in the US who support apartheid.

For years, critics have argued that the BDS movement is unfairly targeting Israel for its human rights and humanitarian abuses, since other such atrocities exist around the world without corresponding boycotts.

Critics claim on this basis that support for BDS within the US is veiled antisemitism directed at the only Jewish majority nation and that opposition to the occupation of Palestine operates as a cover for this hidden animus.

They point to growing incidents of antisemitism nationally and to openly antisemitic statements and demonstrations from neo-Nazi movements as part of a rising tide of cross-ideological antisemitism, of which they view the BDS movement as one expression.

It should go without saying that these criticisms are completely unfounded.

There is no reason why Palestinian civil society should be expected to organize boycott campaigns against other repressive regimes aside from the one imposing apartheid on their homeland.

The BDS movement directly targets those state institutions and private corporations which uphold the apartheid regime. This includes security and technology firms, but also universities and agricultural businesses that support the infrastructure of apartheid and occupation.

Any entity that refuses to participate in the oppression of Palestinians is by definition not a target of BDS. Neither is any person in their individual capacity as an Israeli subject to BDS. 

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Nevertheless, the smear of antisemitism has been increasingly levied against BDS and its proponents in the United States and Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause throughout his career, including through partial support for BDS. As a result, he and his allies in the party have been plagued by unsubstantiated accusations of antisemitism (based entirely on this support) since his 2015 ascendancy to party leadership.

These accusations from conservative forces within the Labour party escalated into an all-out witch hunt, resulting in a purge of hundreds of party members.

Corbyn himself was eventually suspended from the party and forced to apologize, even after it was revealed that his own party intentionally sabotaged his campaign.

New Labour leader Keir Starmer and his allies have made it their mission to eradicate any trace of respect for Palestinian rights and dignity from the party, creating purge lists of Labour MPs and members. 

This strategy has been so successful in Britain that pro-Israel counterparts in the US are now seeking to replicate it.

In the Fall of 2020, New York City DSA was lambasted by the Israel lobby and friends when the chapter’s city council questionnaire was leaked, asking candidates if they would pledge not to travel to Israel.

Following this, 50 Democrats in the New York State Assembly signed a statement suggesting DSA should be banned from its halls. And just last month, Queens DSA became the subject of a city council candidate forum after Soma Syed, a candidate who sought DSA’s endorsement, walked back her previous, favorable position on BDS, dragged DSA through the mud, and pledged her loyalty to capitalism.

Another frequent critic of DSA and self-proclaimed “pro-Israel progressive” Ritchie Torres has called BDS “an insidious form of antisemitism,” arguing “the act of singling out Israel as BDS has done is the definition of discrimination.”

Andrew Yang, who is now running for mayor of New York City, even went so far as to compare participants in BDS with Nazis refusing to patronize Jewish establishments in the lead up to the Holocaust.

Perhaps the best way to understand this phenomenon is as a marriage of convenience between the institutional forces within center-left parties opposed to socialists in their ranks and an Israel lobby concerned about growing momentum for BDS.

To this end, the framing of BDS as a front for left antisemitism accomplishes a dual function: first, it serves to castigate the anti-Zionist left in the ostensibly progressive language of nondiscrimination, and second, it serves to delegitimize the preeminent form of nonviolent Palestinian resistance by conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. 

In order to criticize the left in ostensibly progressive terms, the antisemitism smear employs a perverse form of what Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò dubs deference epistemology: the discursive practice of “listening to the most marginalized” or deferring to those in the proverbial room whose lived experiences are most at issue.

In the United States, Palestinians suffering under occupation tend not to be in the room, and advocates for BDS are generally engaging in political solidarity.

By redefining all solidarity action with Palestine as antisemitism, BDS critics demand ultimate deference to Jews directly experiencing antisemitism, cropping both Palestinians experiencing violent apartheid and their advocates out of the conversation.

Excluded by this institutionalized mandate for deference, oppressed Palestinians are prevented from defining the scope and source of their own harm; instead, that power is awarded to their oppressors. This allows critics from within nominally left-leaning institutions to oppose solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement, and indeed to oppose leftist political currents more broadly, all while maintaining their claims on a progressive identity and brand.

Wielding the language of identitarian politics against the left is not unique to proponents of Israel. In their 2016 presidential primary, Hillary Clinton infamously derided the Bernie Sanders campaign with the quip “if we broke up the banks tomorrow, would that end racism?” ( And Hillary lost the Presidency because Sanders followers refused to vote for her)

We can look to just a few months ago, when Democrat mayors were renaming streets and painting Black Lives Matter on roads while simultaneously increasing the budgets and military equipment of their police forces to see how the cooptation of identity and branding works to quell real movements for change.

Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that this strategy of specious progressivism forms the backbone of messaging against the anti-Zionist left. 

This framing aims to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and does so with some success. Political institutions in the United States and Britain have been systematically adopting formal definitions of antisemitism that are vague enough to include targeted criticism of the state of Israel—most notably the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, a definition so controversial that its original author now opposes its formal use.

By adopting these expansive definitions and then referring to them as evidence for the claim that BDS is antisemitic, institutional actors tautologically identify BDS as the left expression of a cross-ideological wave of antisemitism.

This is of course absurd: neo-Nazis such as Richard Spencer and his ilk are both openly antisemitic and support the Zionist project, going so far as to use it as inspiration for their imagined American ethnostate.

This association, which is common enough to be stated openly, is a much more damning one than any between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Additionally, there are many anti-Zionist Jews who support Palestinian liberation as well as BDS.

Nevertheless, these contradictions are routinely ignored, and the false association between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is assumed to be self-evident. 

Critically, the success of this rhetorical strategy, which we might call “Woke Zionism”, depends on the irrelevance of material Palestinian suffering. If proponents of BDS are antisemites operating based on anti-Jewish animus, the substantive basis of their claim—namely the inhumanity of the occupation—can be ignored as pretext for a covert bigotry.

Under the logic of Woke Zionism, the American BDS advocate is merely appropriating alleged harms suffered by Palestinians as a guise for covert bigotry.

As such, Palestinians, their experiences, and their harms endured are quickly evacuated from the discourse. There is a marked shift in subject: the material harms of occupation are supplanted by the supposed harms a national boycott inflicts on non-nationals of the same religion thousands of miles away.

This becomes an increasingly attractive rhetorical move for supporters of the status quo as conditions on the ground in Palestine worsen and the indignities of the Zionist project become harder to dismiss or justify on their face.

While the particular rhetorical tactic of Woke Zionism is a relatively modern innovation, the erasure of Palestinian existence, both physically and discursively, is one of Zionism’s fundamental features. “

“A land without a people for a people without a land” is more than a foundational myth for the Israeli state; it is the aspirational horizon that Zionism, as a settler-colonial project and as an ideology, is constantly operating towards.

It is to this end that more crass Zionists will insist, as a rebuttal to the charge of oppression, that Palestine does not exist and the Palestinians are an invented people.

The physical Zionist project operates to concentrate Palestinians living in historic Palestine into Bantustans, clearing the way for the expansion of the Israeli state.

To the same extent, its ideological commitment is to the de-subjectification of the Palestinians, scouring clean the discursive terrain to allow for Zionist logic to take root. Palestinian suffering must always be folded back into the frame of Jewish subjectivity.

For this reason, it is critical that we respond by reaffirming the subjectivity of Palestinians living under apartheid. Pro-Israel critics have clearly decided to attack BDS with specious claims of antisemitism because they are not comfortable defending apartheid directly.

Likewise, conservative forces within center-left institutions see an opportunity to scold the left in its own increasingly popular lexicon. As socialists, and as supporters of the Palestinian cause, we must reject this entire discursive frame. 

In DSA, we have already seen our own candidates and elected officials smeared along these lines, and we should only expect this to escalate as our movement builds power. Democrat and so-called progressive candidates for elected office will most often default to “security for Israel” and “the two-state solution” as their “safe space”: their uncontroversial, unexamined, and unquestioned position on Israel/Palestine.

If progressives are serious about challenging the status quo, their default position should not be to defend the status quo, which in this case happens to be an apartheid regime. If they feel the need to default, it should be to their values: equality for all and respect for human rights.

In any other context, this would be uncontroversial, and upholding these values consistently is all that the BDS movement asks.

So from those who claim to be progressives who support Israel, we’d like to know: which of the three objectives of the BDS Movement do you so vehemently oppose? Is it the demand to end Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, and to dismantle the apartheid wall?

Do you oppose recognizing the fundamental rights and full equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel? Or is it the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes as stipulated in UN resolution 194 that you can’t abide?

Like it or not, these are the only demands of the BDS Movement. Claiming that the movement represents anything other than demands for equality, freedom, and justice for Palestinians is simply false.

Our job as socialists is not to be defensive and apologetic when faced with baseless accusations meant to derail our advocacy, but to be proactive in promoting the virtue of our cause. We stand with Palestine because the Israeli apartheid regime is an ongoing and pervasive affront to law, justice, and fundamental principles of human dignity.

Anyone seeking to smear us, our candidates, and our organizations with ugly accusations of antisemitism should be made to answer why they do not.

The original version of this article ran in Partisan on March 30, 2021 under the title “Reclaiming the Palestinian Subject.” 

Partisan is a forum for communist discussion created by members from four caucuses in the Democratic Socialists of America: the Communist Caucus, the Red Caucus in Portland, Oregon, Emerge in New York City, New York, and Red Star in San Francisco, California. 

First a Palestinian State according to UN definition. Then negotiation for a State of “Palisrael”? (Palestine/Israel):

Posted on December 22, 2008

There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to containing this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel by displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as so many monstrosities in this century.

There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other, or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

The Israeli Olmert PM has lately declared that the time to facing truth has come.

Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the “Arab” States and Israeli delegations and mediated by the US Administration, during the tenure of Bush Sr. for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and preemptive wars, is no longer tenable.

A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to invade Iraq before resolving this conflict, pressured by the US Evangelical extremist movement in the institutions.

The Bush Jr. “Son” administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq.

This invasion has failed miserably but Israel is no longer necessary for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arabian Gulf, it has many heavy weight allies among the Arab States, and the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than the need to physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq, elsewhere or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.

The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases:

1. The first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all, and No conditions.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledged State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.

At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should.

2. The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.

I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).

I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, and the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.

The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equitably distributed, including genders, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis and a rotation of key positions imposed.

The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel do Not follow Lebanon insane experience, and limit foreign interventions.

The caste religious sect structure in pseudo-State of lebanon should be recognized so that the State of Palesrael might study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (no preemptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.

Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure the same neutrality status.  Amen.

Note 1: John Kerry, State Department chief, has been shuffling between Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas since 2013, trying to find a resolution to the Palestinian problem.

So far, Kerry failed. Israel has been building more settlements than ever before, annexing Jerusalem to become totally Jewish, and demanding that the Palestinians and the Arab leaders agree that Israel is a pure Jewish State.

Note 2: Current state of affairs is pressuring the USA to withdraw its forces from the Middle-East and should contemplate restricting its unquestioned support for created State of Israel.

UN highlights rise in Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians

Experts document 771 incidents of settler violence causing injuries to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees , mostly olive trees, and 184 vehicles in 2020.

14 Apr 2021

A Palestinian demonstrator scuffles with an Israeli settler during a protest against settlements [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]
A Palestinian demonstrator scuffles with an Israeli settler during a protest against settlements [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

The United Nations human rights experts have warned that violence, including assaults and property destruction, by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank has increased substantially in recent months.

During the first three months of 2021, more than 210 settler violent incidents were recorded, including one Palestinian death, they said.

Palestinian shot dead by Israeli settlers in West Bank. Video shows police beating. Israeli politician in Jerusalem. Israeli troops kill Palestinian driver, wound his wife

“In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah,” the experts said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group of experts behind the report included Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, special rapporteur on adequate housing and right to non-discrimination, and independent expert Claudia Mahler.

They called on the Israeli military and police to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violent acts.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.452.0_en.html#goog_1033953874Play Video

According to the experts, the violence has been mainly motivated by ideology and intended to “intimidate and terrorise Palestinians”, and prevent them from accessing their land while pushing others to move.

They primarily target the livelihoods of rural Palestinians, vandalising livestock, agricultural lands, trees and homes,” they said.

In their statement, the experts noted a violent incident in Hebron on March 13, which saw a Palestinian family of parents and 8 children attacked by 10 Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed.

“The injured parents were treated at a medical facility in Hebron, and the children left traumatised,” it said.

Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 200 settlements and dozens of unauthorised outposts scattered across the Palestinian territories.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in the West Bank, say Israel’s settlements deny them a viable state. Most countries view the settlements as illegal under international law.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.452.0_en.html#goog_1395210409Play Video

Sheikh Jarrah evictions

The rights experts also highlighted that dozens of Palestinian families living in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah face the threat of eviction from their homes.

“Similarly worrying are reports that over 70 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’buni area of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem are under threat of forced eviction to make place for new settlements,” said the statement.

“7 households have already received eviction orders and asked to vacate their homes by 2 May 2021. Such forced evictions leading to population transfers are strictly prohibited under international law,” it added.

Sheikh Jarrah, located on the slopes of Mount Scopus just north of the Old City, is home to 3,000 Palestinians, all refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes in other parts of historical Palestine during the 1948 Nakba.

In October last year, the Israeli magistrate court of Jerusalem ruled to evict 12 of the 24 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and to give their homes to Jewish settlers. The court also ruled that each family must pay 70,000 shekels ($20,000) in fees to cover the settlers’ legal expenses!

According to Grassroots Jerusalem, an NGO that is a platform for Palestinian community-based mobilisation, there has been an influx of Jewish settlers since 2001.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.452.0_en.html#goog_2043857681Play Video

Duty to protect

Invoking the Fourth Geneva Convention, the experts called on Israel to adhere to international law, which requires it to protect the population under occupation.

Calling on the international community to “impose meaningful costs on Israel’s protracted occupation”, the experts also demanded Israel halt its settlement expansion in the West Bank.

“Palestinians must be protected from settler violence and the perpetrators must be held to account for their actions.”

Note: Since its creation by the colonial powers, Israel has been flaunting all UN resolutions and engaging in mass violence and indignities heaped on the Palestinians to flee and immigrate.

Book review of “Farewell Beirut”

Posted on November 14, 2008

Farewell Beirut is fundamentally an autobiographical witnessed short stories and is of 220 pages distributed in 15 chapters.

Late Mai Ghoussoub is a writer, sculpture, theater promoter, and a co-founder of the publishing house Dar Al Saki, was 54 when she died of complication from a surgery in London on February 17, 2007.

Mai participated in the Lebanese civil war by caring for the downtrodden Palestinians living in shantytown of refugee camps.

She lost an eye by a rocket that hit her car while aiding in a clinic of Nabaa in East Beirut, and she suffered greatly for three years out of that injury.  Mai decided to leave Lebanon in 1979 and lived for a while in Paris and then moved to London.

Mai suggested to her old school friend Andre Caspar, who was hitchhiking in the USA, to join her and open a library that would offer Arabic books and manuscript.  The library led to instituting the publishing house Dar Al Saki in 1983. Mai married Hazem Saghieh, a writer and newspaper editor.

During an art exhibition in Shore Ditch London, Mai and her Israeli actress friend Anna Sharbati donned Muslim attires and held tennis rackets to stir any climate of conservatism in London, but nobody noticed them.

Mai recalls that at the age of 12, she was attached to her female French teacher Nomie.  To please her teacher she wrote a lengthy fictitious essay that ended with an injunction for revenge on harms done to her.  Nomie gave her only 10 out of 20 points because the want for revenge is the basest of emotions… Mai retained that lesson and struggled with it most of her turbulent life, especially during part of the civil war.

First story.

Tiny and sickly Latifa was barely 9 years old when her Syrian father “rented” her for a year to work as maid (house helper). Latifa was to get up before any member of the family and go to bed in a corner of the kitchen after every member was asleep and work non-stop most of the time. Latifa, treated worse than a slave, endured all the miseries and humiliations.

(We had 3 Syrian kids girls from Safita in Syria, ranging from 10 to 12. The father of the kid used to pay us a visit every year to collect upfront the yearly wage of the daughter. The father barely spent any time, much less quality time with his daughter. These girls experienced a heart-wrenched moment when they had to leave us. They got used to us, though we never demanded from them a glass of water. Mother was the boss and we had nothing to do with these hard working helpers. I guess they sensed they will have a harsher life and maybe be married at a young age)

Latifa’s father used to show up drunk once a year to be paid without even bringing his daughter a token of a gift or spending any time with her.

Latifa was raped by the eldest son of the family and she was no longer permitted to leave the apartment. During the civil war in Lebanon, tiny Latifa was to brave the snipers and rockets to bring food to the family. 

Latifa joined the militias of the neighborhood and moved with them; she covered her face with a hood (cagoule) so that nobody would recognize her, but her large eyes could not conceal her.  Latifa never took revenge on her “masters”, but tried her best to move forward.

Latifa got famous as “Um Ali”, and one of the toughest fighters in Beirut. 

She was killed mysteriously and her “masters” had no photo of her to plaster it on the street in remembrance of a “martyr”.  Latifa lived incognito and died incognito.

Second story.

Said was the only son of the owner of a small grocery.  His family was constantly worried for his upbringing.  Said was a short, stocky, jovial and smiling helper; he delivered the groceries to the homes and was liked by the entire neighborhood; he wanted to join the “hospitality” business.

The civil war changed Said: he joined the militias and became a tough fighter.  There were plenty of rumors about Said’s deeds during the war; a sniper, a blackmailer, a leader of a group of fighters and anything that warriors are expected to end up doing among scared and humiliated citizens.

Said opened a small hotel after the war.  The author was unable to label a definitive judgment opinion on Said as she recalled him when Mai was settled overseas.  Can a man be fundamentally good and change to the opposite when circumstances change?

Third story.

Hashem is an Iranian refugee in Beirut, fleeing the new Khomeini Islamic regime

Hashem is well liked and funny and has strong and definite positions against the Western States and cultures.  He immigrated to Denmark during the Lebanese civil war and married the tall, beautiful and blonde Kirsten.  

Kersten did her best to assimilate Hashem’s culture and tradition; she befriended his friends, learned to cook Iranian and Lebanese dishes, helped bring Hashem’s family to Denmark and had promised him to wear the veil when they decide to return to Iran or settle in Lebanon.

Hashem fell in love with Maria, a Chilean girl, while attending a Danish language center.  Maria didn’t care for Hashem’s friends or even his health; all she cared for was her relationship with Hashem.  Kirsten didn’t like the situation; she never reprimanded Hashem verbally: her eyes and silence and posture expressed her displeasure.

Hashem was killed in Denmark in 1989; Kirsten set up an official obituary in her church and in the mosque. She organized the funeral to its minute details and delivered the eulogy; she persisted on keeping Hashem’s memory every year and obliterated Maria from the picture. From now on Hashem solely belongs to Kirsten.

Mai volunteered her aid in the clinic of the Chatila Palestinian camp at the start of the civil war; she cataloged the medicines and shelved them accordingly. A young Palestinian leader visited the camp and saw Mai; he sent one of his sbirs to fetch Mai to his headquarter.

Mai and Abu Firas enjoyed a secret amorous affair for long time until Mai’s brother got injured.  Abu Firas made the error of visiting Mai at the hospital; Mai’s family and acquaintances got wind of her marginal affair and she had to leave Lebanon to Paris when her brother recovered.

Mai never carried a weapon or engage in any skirmishes.  Mai was comfortably installed in Paris when she received a long distance call from Lebanon; Mai refused to take the call of Abu Firas:  instead, she wandered in the streets of Paris to relieve the anxiety of the onslaught of her memory of the civil war.

Mai had questions nagging at her “would she ever be able to convince herself that she didn’t participate in the civil war?”, “would she be able to erase the facts that she met assassins and didn’t oppose their deeds?”

One thing that Mai is convinced of is that she allied to mercenaries on ideological grounds and let her country go to hell.

REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM:

LEADing EFFORT TO BLOCK ISRAEL FROM USING U.S. AID TO DESTROY PALESTINIAN HOMES

Putting conditions on U.S. aid to Israel has become a controversial topic — but it was the norm in Washington just a few decades ago.

Alex Kane. April 14 2021,

SINCE 2015, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., has been the leading congressional critic of Israel’s military detention of Palestinian children, introducing multiple pieces of legislation that would bar Israel from using U.S. military aid to arrest Palestinian youth.

By targeting Israel’s detention of Palestinian children — just one aspect of Israel’s military occupation, but one that involved a highly vulnerable population — McCollum was attempting to make her bills appeal to the widest swath of Democrats possible.

For most others in her party, the check the U.S. wrote to Israel every year was Not up for debate.

McCollum is now planning to introduce legislation on Thursday that would bar U.S. aid from subsidizing a wider array of Israeli occupation tactics, an indication of just how far the debate over U.S. aid to Israel has come in the past six years.

“There is nothing out of the ordinary about conditioning aid. … All taxpayer funds provided by Congress to foreign governments in the form of aid are subject to conditions in a myriad of generally applicable laws, yet the $3.8 billion provided to Israel by the State Department has no country-specific conditions despite Israel’s systemic violations of Palestinian human rights,” McCollum told The Intercept.

“I don’t want $1 of U.S. aid to Israel paying for the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the annexation of Palestinian land.”

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McCollum’s bill is the result of years of work by Palestinian rights activists to cut or condition aid to Israel.

These calls have been fueled by reports of U.S.-made weapons being used to kill Palestinian civilians, whether with Hellfire missiles fired by Israeli fighter jets on homes in Gaza or with U.S.-made rifles used to gun down Palestinian protesters.

Human rights organizations have documented the Israeli military’s repeated use of bulldozers produced by the Illinois-based Caterpillar company to demolish Palestinian homes.

“I don’t want $1 of U.S. aid to Israel paying for the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the annexation of Palestinian land.”

The legislation has been endorsed by more than 20 groups, including mainstays in the Palestinian rights movement like the Adalah Justice Project and Jewish Voice for Peace Action, as well as the liberal pro-Israel group Americans for Peace Now and the progressive Justice Democrats, which focuses on launching primaries against establishment Democrats.

53% of Democratic voters told Gallup this year that they support increasing pressure on Israel — an increase of 10 points since 2018 — yet most Democrats in the House and Senate do not support conditioning aid, and the bill faces steep odds of even getting a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs and Appropriations committees.

Still, it’s the most significant effort yet by progressive Democrats to broach what was once an unthinkable red line: changing the nature of U.S. military aid to Israel so that U.S. aid is banned from furthering Israeli human rights abuses.

It’s a remarkable development in an institution long thought to be a permanent stronghold for the pro-Israel lobby.

“The movement in Congress is unprecedented,” said Raed Jarrar, a Palestinian American analyst and the former advocacy director for American Muslims for Palestine.

“I never dreamed that we would have bills banning the U.S. government from funding Israeli activities that are in violation of U.S. law or international law.”

Broader political dynamics — the combination of Israel’s hard-right direction, its apartheid system in the occupied territories, and Barack Obama’s clashes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed by the Trump-Netanyahu alliance — have created space for this discussion to come to the fore. 

These developments have also pushed groups closer to the Democratic mainstream to advocate for restrictions on how U.S. aid can be used by Israel. J Street, a liberal group that supports U.S. aid to Israel but opposes Israel’s military occupation, is backing McCollum’s bill — the first time the group backs one of her efforts to ensure that U.S. military aid to Israel comes with strings attached.

In addition to encouraging congressional support for McCollum’s bill, the group, whose annual conference will begin on April 18, will lobby members of Congress to introduce language to the foreign appropriations bill to restrict U.S. military aid from furthering policies of annexation or the exercise of permanent military control over a territory under occupation.

While J Street’s language does not single out Israel, the group sees it as prohibiting U.S. aid from supporting those Israeli actions.

The lobbying marks a significant shift for a group seen as the most influential liberal Jewish group working on Israel in Washington. J Street’s endorsement or opposition to legislation around Israel carries significant weight in the Democratic caucus, and Palestinian rights advocates — and even some within J Street — have often criticized the group for standing in the way of legislative efforts to condition U.S. aid to Israel.

“We believe that every dollar of our current security assistance to Israel should go towards measures that address Israel’s actual security needs — and that none of that money or the equipment bought with it should be used in connection with the demolition of Palestinian communities, settlement expansion or other actions that facilitate de facto annexation in the occupied West Bank,” said Dylan Williams, J Street’s senior vice president of policy and strategy who leads the government affairs team. “

Policies like that trample on Palestinian rights and undermine Israel’s own long-term future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”

J Street’s position is in stark contrast to that of other pro-Israel groups. In March, as part of its virtual national council meeting, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, lobbied members of Congress to sign on to a letter authored by Reps. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., that criticizes efforts to condition aid to Israel.

“The Democratic Party has been clear in its opposition to putting additional conditions on military assistance to Israel. …

While there are a few Democrats who want additional conditions, the party has spoken clearly and unambiguously against such efforts,” said Rachel Rosen, spokesperson for the lobby group Democratic Majority for Israel, which has spent heavily against lawmakers and candidates who have been critical of Israel.

President Joe Biden has taken some steps to reverse the Trump administration’s unprecedented practice of gifting the Israeli government whatever they wanted, including by reversing Donald Trump’s decision to cut off all humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

But the Biden administration has also made clear that it will not fundamentally change the U.S.-Israel relationship. Biden called the idea of conditioning aid to Israel “bizarre” during the 2020 campaign and has stocked his administration with pro-Israel officials who have ruled out pressuring the country over its treatment of Palestinians.

The task for the Palestinian rights movement, then, is to find a way to convince the majority of Democrats to join their side, or to successfully unseat enough lawmakers whose support for Israel is unconditional and immovable, such that the rest of the caucus recognizes where the political winds are shifting.

This has begun already, perhaps most notably with the ouster of longtime congressman and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel by Jamaal Bowman last year. It’s a monumental mission that will likely take years to reach.

While conditioning military aid would mark a historic rupture in the U.S.-Israel relationship, sending a message to Israel that the days of committing human rights abuses with blank American checks are over, it would also be a return to what was the norm in Washington just a few decades ago.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: Chairwoman Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) questions witnesses on the Indian Health Service response to the Covid-19 pandemic during a House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on June 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., asks questions during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on June 11, 2020.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE to Israel dates back to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy decided to sell Israel anti-aircraft missiles. Since then, the U.S. has given Israel over $110 billion in military funding, making it the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in history.

This military assistance falls under the rubric of the Foreign Assistance Act, which stipulates that U.S. aid cannot be used by foreign countries to commit human rights violations, and the Arms Export Control Act, which limits foreign military forces from using such aid for purposes beyond “self-defense.”

Beginning with Gerald Ford’s presidency, successive U.S. presidents used military aid as a tool to pressure Israel to make concessions to its neighbors, acting on a belief that Israeli-Arab peace was crucial to tamping down tensions in a resource-rich region that had become a venue for U.S.-Soviet proxy battles.

The regional conflict had begun with Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948, which prompted surrounding Arab states to invade, ostensibly to defend Palestinians, although Arab countries had their own territorial designs on Palestine.

The conflict intensified with Israel’s lightning defeat of Arab nations in the 1967 war, which saw Israel capture and occupy the Syrian Golan Heights, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, and the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

In 1975, the Ford White House temporarily suspended delivery of fighter jets to Israel in a bid to get Israel to agree to partial withdrawal from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

In September of that year, Israel relented, carrying out a partial withdrawal.

In 1977, Jimmy Carter threatened to withhold aid to Israel if it didn’t come to an agreement with Egypt over full withdrawal from the Sinai, which Israel eventually did after signing the Camp David Peace Accords with Egypt.

In April 1983, Ronald Reagan held up the delivery of F-16 fighter jets because of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, authorizing the shipment only after Israel agreed to withdraw its forces. (Israel didn’t withdraw its troops until 2000)

And in 1991, George H.W. Bush blocked $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Israel and demanded that Israel stopped building illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza; the loans started flowing only after Israel agreed to participate in the Madrid Peace Conference, alongside Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Lebanese officials, as well as limits on settlement construction.(A conference that was cut short after Shamir promptly withdrew from it and returned to Israel)

Bush, however, was the last president to use U.S. aid to compel Israel to act a certain way.

“For most places in the pro-Israel community … there doesn’t seem to be a very significant appetite for putting pressure on Israel.”

According to Dan Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, this shift was the result of a decline in hands-on foreign affairs experience among U.S. presidents, combined with the fact that “pro-Israel, both Jewish and, particularly, evangelical Christian communities, have grown into very outsized political roles.

They’re not just in politics in our country, but also in the funding of the politics. And for most places in the pro-Israel community, whether from the right or left, stopping short of the progressive wing on the left, there doesn’t seem to be a very significant appetite for putting pressure on Israel.”

Among the key actors were AIPAC, which had established itself as a singularly influential force by the 1990s, and Christians United for Israel, a group of mostly white, Christian, evangelical Republicans whose influence grew after the September 11 attacks.

Both AIPAC and CUFI mobilized millions of people and poured millions more into campaign coffers in pursuit of their interests.

In the early 2000s, when Israel ramped up military operations against Palestinians during the Second Intifada, killing civilians, some U.S. officials questioned whether Israel was using U.S. equipment legally and thought the U.S. ought to send a warning to Israel, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, who served in the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff from 2001 to 2002.

“We knew it would never get past the secretary,” said Wilkerson, referring to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. “It would never get sent. The White House would not permit it.”

Instead, successive White Houses agreed to provide even more U.S. aid to Israel, without any specific conditions on how that aid can be used — even during periods of tension between the two countries.

Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu was famously cold, clashing over Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank, which in turn imperiled the prospects for a Palestinian state, and over Netanyahu’s meddling in U.S. politics to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal.

Nevertheless, in 2016, Obama and Netanyahu struck a record-setting Memorandum of Understanding, in which the U.S. promised to give Israel $38 billion in military aid between 2019 and 2028.

When the Obama administration “negotiated the memorandum of understanding, they wouldn’t consider using those talks as leverage to get Israel to stop problematic activity, including settlement expansion.

They siloed security assistance and had those discussions separately,” said Zaha Hassan, a Palestinian human rights lawyer and visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “This is Biden’s position as well — that security assistance benefits the U.S., so we don’t want to condition that.”

Raising questions about U.S. military aid to Israel was “third-rail politics” in D.C. for many years, Jarrar, the Palestinian American analyst, said. “If you touch it, you’ll get electrocuted.”

Palestinian women and a child walk past a destroyed house in the Israeli-bombed Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on January 23, 2009. A Hamas delegation from Gaza crossed into Egypt for talks to shore up the ceasefire with Israel which ended a 22-day assault on the coastal strip, a border official said. Israel and Hamas have observed their own ceasefires since January 18 when Israel ended Operation Cast Lead leaving a trail of devastation and 1,330 Palestinians dead, according to doctors. Egypt is trying to secure a durable ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the reopening of crossings. AFP PHOTO/OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinian women and a child walk past rubble following Operation Cast Lead in the northern Gaza Strip on Jan. 23, 2009.

Photo: Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP via Getty Images

JUST OVER A decade ago, the prevailing assumption among Palestinian rights advocates was that appealing to U.S. audiences, let alone politicians, to question U.S. weapons sales to Israel was futile, according to Brad Parker, who began to volunteer with the Ramallah-based Defense for Children International – Palestine, or DCIP, in 2009.

That same year, though, an intense Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian coastal area under Israeli blockade since 2007, began to change the conversation. Dubbed Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s U.S.-backed attack killed 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians. Amnesty International called the assault “22 days of death and destruction.”

On college campuses, student activism for Palestinian rights, led by Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, surged. Over the next five years, 24 SJP chapters presented resolutions before student governments to end their university’s investments in companies that profited off of Israeli abuses. Eleven of them passed — eight more than the total passed between 2005 and 2008.

The changing American landscape got Parker’s attention, and at the end of 2014, Parker, who had joined DCI’s staff as an international advocacy officer, pitched them an idea for a D.C.-based legislative campaign centering on Palestinian children called “No Way to Treat a Child.” The group agreed, and in early 2015, along with the American Friends Service Committee’s Jennifer Bing, DCIP approached McCollum about doing something regarding the Israeli army’s practice of arresting, detaining, and abusing Palestinian children throughout the occupied West Bank.

In addition to her reputation as an advocate for children’s rights, McCollum had also previously voted against AIPAC-backed legislation that humanitarian organizations warned would make it difficult to provide health care for Palestinians. After McCollum voted against the bill, she said an AIPAC member in her district had called her a terrorist supporter, and McCollum, in a public letter, demanded an apology. (AIPAC denied this account.)

In June 2015, McCollum authored a letter, co-signed by 17 other members of Congress, calling on then-Secretary of State John Kerry to raise Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children in his discussions with Israeli officials. Since then, McCollum has authored two bills that would prohibit U.S. military aid from being used by Israel to detain Palestinian children — though it has been a somewhat lonely journey.

“In the last Congress, fewer than 30 Democrats supported my legislation to prohibit Israel from using the U.S. military aid they receive to mistreat or torture Palestinian children,” McCollum told The Intercept.

“Until the lives and futures of millions of Palestinians are made a priority by Congress, nothing will change. But I am determined to keep trying and I hope more of my colleagues will join me in working for peace, justice, and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”“Why is de jure annexation more problematic than actual on-the-ground activities that lead to home demolitions, residency revocation, exploitation of Palestinian resources?”

Last year, as Netanyahu considered officially annexing large swaths of the West Bank to Israel with Trump’s support, critics of Israel were galvanized. McCollum introduced a House bill that would prohibit U.S. aid to Israel from being used in territory annexed by the state.

In the Senate, Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., led the introduction of an amendment to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. aid in carrying out annexation of the occupied West Bank. The amendment did not get a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, but it marked the first time U.S. senators raised the idea of legislating restrictions on U.S. aid to Israel.

Ultimately, Netanyahu backed down on his annexation plan in exchange for the United Arab Emirates normalizing diplomatic relations (though human rights groups say Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestinian land continues apace). When that happened, the energy behind placing restrictions on U.S. aid dissipated, at least in the Senate.

“When it came down to de jure annexation they were willing to talk about conditionality and settlements, but only in the context of Israel taking this official step,” said Hassan, the Palestinian human rights lawyer. “Why is de jure annexation more problematic than actual on-the-ground activities that lead to home demolitions, residency revocation, exploitation of Palestinian resources?”

UNITED STATES - March 11: Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference on rent and mortgage cancellation in Washington on Thursday, March 11, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference on rent and mortgage cancellation in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 2021.

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP

OVER THE LAST couple of years, a small group of progressive Democrats in Congress has been trying to forge a new reality on U.S policy toward Israel. It includes Reps. McCollum, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The group also includes Reps. Marie Newman and Jamaal Bowman, whose primary challenges to pro-Israel hawks last year signal that being a sharp critic of U.S. support for Israel no longer means destroying one’s electoral chances.

Related What Would Jamaal Bowman’s Win Over Pro-Israel Eliot Engel Mean for Palestinian Rights?

Bowman, who backed conditioning aid to Israel, unseated Eliot Engel, an entrenched and powerful incumbent from New York, while Newman, an anti-bullying activist, took on staunch AIPAC ally Dan Lipinski in Illinois.

In a position paper published by her campaign in 2019, Newman said she’s against U.S. military aid being used by Israel to maintain its military occupation of Palestinian land and that she supports legislation to bar U.S. aid from subsidizing Israel’s detention of Palestinian children.

That posture stood in sharp contrast to Lipinski, who had co-authored the Protect Academic Freedom Act in 2014, which would bar federal funds to universities if any organization funded by the school supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, targeting Israel over its human rights abuses.

During the 2020 Democratic primary, Israel advocacy groups contributed about $75,000 to Lipinski, who attacked Newman as “anti-Israel” and likened her to Omar, whose 2019 comments denigrating the pro-Israel lobby unleashed a wave of attacks on her.

In the Bowman-Engel race, Democratic Majority for Israel spent about $2 million in TV ads and mailers in support of Engel, while Pro-Israel America PAC and NorPac, two Israel advocacy groups that focus on electoral campaigns, gave Engel over $260,000 in contributions.“When progressives do take critical stances towards the occupation, there is definitely a price to pay for that.”

“When progressives do take critical stances towards the occupation, there is definitely a price to pay for that because of the work of DMFI, AIPAC and other affiliated foreign policy hawks, who will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, or sometimes millions of dollars, to destroy a progressive challenger,” said Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats, which had backed both Bowman’s and Newman’s campaigns.

Newman’s race against Lipinski was largely fought around his opposition to abortion rights, a position out of step with most Democratic primary voters. Still, Newman’s outspokenness on Palestine boosted her in an ethnically mixed district that includes about 110,000 Arab Americans, the majority of them Palestinian.

Lipinski’s anti-BDS bill and alliance with AIPAC angered many Palestinians in the district. Combined with an energetic Democratic primary base looking to punish one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, it was enough to put Newman over the top.

In this Monday, March 9, 2020, photo, Democrat Marie Newman smiles as she campaigns in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago. Longtime Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski was ousted by small-business owner Marie Newman of La Grange, in the Tuesday March 17, 2020 Primary. It was Newman's second attempt for the seat, which covers Chicago neighborhoods and southwest suburbs.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Democrat Marie Newman campaigns in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago on March 9, 2020.

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

This year, Newman was the first member of Congress to criticize Israel for not extending its Covid-19 vaccination program to Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. And in March, she was one of 10 progressive Democrats to sign Tlaib’s and Pocan’s letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on him to investigate whether Israel unlawfully used U.S.-made military equipment to demolish Palestinian homes.

“You can’t violate international law. You can’t use aid that we’re giving you to hurt other folks that live with you, or side by side with you. These are just golden rules, right?” Newman told The Intercept. “It was perfectly logical from a humanitarian rights standpoint to make sure that we continue to be consistent with every country, and right now we’re not being consistent with Israel.”

Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Action’s government affairs manager, noted that the sea change in congressional discourse is due to new members of Congress who are aligning their domestic progressive agenda with foreign policy issues like conditioning military aid to Israel and ending U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen.

Still, Miller noted, these advocates face another steep challenge: Biden’s firm commitment to the status quo of unconditional U.S. aid for Israel.

“What that means is that we just need to push harder for that fight to happen in Congress, because there is a robust debate happening in the House, and there’s room for a much more robust debate to happen in the Senate,” Miller said.

“We’re going to be pushing for as many different versions of vehicles that condition or cut military funding as we can get, and vehicles that center Palestinians and the impact of Israeli government policies on Palestinians, and force Democrats to go on the record time and time and time again saying whether or not they support our tax dollars being used to oppress Palestinians.”

Mairav Zonszein contributed reporting to this story.


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