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Do you still believe “Future revolutions are for Liberty?”

Thomas Mann from “The Magical Mountain” (La Montagne magique). Photo from Littérature et Poésie‘s photo.« Je cherche à introduire un peu de logique dans notre conversation et vous me répondez par des phrases généreuses. Je ne laissais pas de savoir que la Renaissance avait mis au monde tout ce que l'on appelle libéralisme, individualisme, humanisme bourgeois. Mais tout cela me laisse froid, car la conquête, l'âge héroïque de votre idéal est depuis longtemps passé, cet idéal est mort, ou tout au moins il agonise, et ceux qui lui donneront le coup de grâce sont déjà devant la porte. Vous vous appelez, sauf erreur, un révolutionnaire. Mais si vous croyez que le résultat des révolutions futures sera la Liberté, vous vous trompez. Le principe de la Liberté s'est réalisé et s'est usé en cinq cents ans. Une pédagogie qui, aujourd'hui encore, se présente comme issue du Siècle des Lumières et qui voit ses moyens d'éducation dans la critique, dans l'affranchissement et le culte du Moi, dans la destruction de formes de vie ayant un caractère absolu, une telle pédagogie peut encore remporter des succès momentanés, mais son caractère périmé n'est pas douteux aux yeux de tous les esprits avertis. »</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Thomas Mann - La Montagne magique<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Traduction de Maurice Betz
“I’m trying to introduce a little logic in our conversation and the phrases of yours responses are generous.
You kept hammering on the idea that Renaissance has created what we call liberalism, individualism, bourgeois humanism…
All these notions leave me cold.
Because conquest, the heroic age of your ideal is long past.
This ideal is dead, or agonizing, and those giving the “coup de grace” are already in front of the door.
You call yourself a revolutionary.
If you believe that the future results of revolutions is Liberty, you are wrong.
The principle of liberty was realized and was used up in the last 500 years.
A pedagogy, even today, represented as taking roots from the Century of Lights, and which sees its educational means in the critics, in the disfranchisement and the cult of the Me, in the destruction of forms of life having an absolute character… this kind of pedagogy may win a few more momentary successes, but its archaic character is not to be doubted in the eyes of the forewarned spirits…”
George Orwell wrote:
Should there be any limits to freedom of speech?<br /> Visit http://www.AtheistRepublic.com/
Note: Translated from this French excerpt
« Je cherche à introduire un peu de logique dans notre conversation et vous me répondez par des phrases généreuses. Je ne laissais pas de savoir que la Renaissa…nce avait mis au monde tout ce que l’on appelle libéralisme, individualisme, humanisme bourgeois. Mais tout cela me laisse froid, car la conquête, l’âge héroïque de votre idéal est depuis longtemps passé, cet idéal est mort, ou tout au moins il agonise, et ceux qui lui donneront le coup de grâce sont déjà devant la porte. Vous vous appelez, sauf erreur, un révolutionnaire. Mais si vous croyez que le résultat des révolutions futures sera la Liberté, vous vous trompez. Le principe de la Liberté s’est réalisé et s’est usé en cinq cents ans. Une pédagogie qui, aujourd’hui encore, se présente comme issue du Siècle des Lumières et qui voit ses moyens d’éducation dans la critique, dans l’affranchissement et le culte du Moi, dans la destruction de formes de vie ayant un caractère absolu, une telle pédagogie peut encore remporter des succès momentanés, mais son caractère périmé n’est pas douteux aux yeux de tous les esprits avertis. »
Thomas Mann – La Montagne magique
Universal campaign for the return of Palestine: Original names of Palestinian towns and villages
Here are a few original Palestinian names of villages that Israel changed into Hebrew names:
Ebl Kame7, zouk fukani, khassass, mansheyeh, katieh, na3oumat, 3absieh, salhieh, khalisah, madahel, nabi yawsha3, jahula, khiam walid, derbasieh, bowayzieh, beysoun, 3alma, 3arab zubeid, mansoura, nabi robin, kfarbar3am, khorbet 3arbeen, tabtaba, marouss, ra2s ahmar, rihanieh, fasoutat, deir kassi, beit jen, bok3at, jet barka, joulss, hossaynieh, yakouk, safed, tabaraya, kerbet naser deen, ghoweirat, abu shoushat, 3ayrboun, ma3ar, karassat, ain assad…
Do add names of Palestinian villages to complete the campaign in order to regain Palestine.
الرجاء من الجميع مشاركة هذه الصورة. هذه خريطة فلسطين التاريخية , مع اسماء القرى والمدن العربية وليس العبرية. شاركوا هذه الخريطة على اوسع نطاق. كل واحد لما يشاركها يكتب اسم كم مدينة وقرية من القرى الموجودة.<br /><br /> هذه اسمها فلسطين وليس اسرائيل. فلسطين لنا وانا اليها راجعون.</p><br /> <p>ابل القمح , الزوق الفوقاني,الخصاص, المنشية , قيطية, الناعومة, العابسية, الصالحية, الخالصة, المداحل, النبي يوشع, جاحولا, خيام الوليد, العريفية, الدرباشية, الملاحة, البويزية, بيسمون, علما, فارة, عرب الزبيد, المنصورة, النبي روبين, كفر برعم, خربة عربين, طيطبا, ماروس, الراس الاحمر, الريحانة, فسوطة, دير القاسي, بيت جن, البقيعة, جت بركا, جولس, الحسينية, ياقوق, صفد, طبريا, خربة ناصر الدين, غويرة ابو شوشة, عيربون, الشعب, معار, القراصة, عين الاسد
الرجاء من الجميع مشاركة هذه الصورة. هذه خريطة فلسطين التاريخية , مع اسماء القرى والمدن العربية وليس العبرية. شاركوا هذه الخريطة على اوسع نطاق. كل واحد لما يشاركها يكتب اسم كم مدينة وقرية من القرى الموجودة. هذه اسمها فلسطين وليس اسرائيل. فلسطين لنا وانا اليها راجعون. ابل القمح , الزوق الفوقاني,الخصاص, المنشية , قيطية, الناعومة, العابسية, الصالحية, الخالصة, المداحل, النبي يوشع, جاحولا, خيام الوليد, العريفية, الدرباشية, الملاحة, البويزية, بيسمون, علما, فارة, عرب الزبيد, المنصورة, النبي روبين, كفر برعم, خربة عربين, طيطبا, ماروس, الراس الاحمر, الريحانة, فسوطة, دير القاسي, بيت جن, البقيعة, جت بركا, جولس, الحسينية, ياقوق, صفد, طبريا, خربة ناصر الدين, غويرة ابو شوشة, عيربون, الشعب, معار, القراصة, عين الاسد

Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Actions in Palestine are “Much Worse Than Apartheid” in South Africa

Part 2 of our conversation with famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky on the crisis in Gaza, U.S. support for Israel, apartheid and the BDS movement.

“In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid,” Chomsky says.

“To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There’s a crucial difference.

The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.”

Click here to watch Part 1 of the interview.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. And we’re continuing our conversation with Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, has written many books, among them, one of the more recent books, Gaza in Crisis. I want to turn right now to Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS’s Face the Nation. This is how he closed a recent show.

BOB SCHIEFFER: In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that is embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause—a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters.

Last week I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children,” she said, “but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.” (Golda is the one who claimed “There is No Palestinians)

AMY GOODMAN: That was CBS journalist Bob Schieffer. Noam Chomsky, can you respond?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, we don’t really have to listen to CBS, because we can listen directly to the Israeli propaganda agencies, which he’s quoting.

It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state. As for the comment itself, the Israel comment which he—propaganda comment which he quoted, I guess maybe the best comment about that was made by the great Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who just described it as “sadism masked as compassion.” That’s about the right characterization.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to also ask you about the U.N.’s role and the U.S.—vis-à-vis, as well, the United States. This is the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, criticizing the U.S. for its role in the Israeli assault on Gaza.

NAVI PILLAY: They have not only provided the heavy weaponry, which is now being used by Israel in Gaza, but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the Iron Domes to protect Israelis from the rocket attacks, but no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling. So I am reminding the United States that it’s a party to international humanitarian law and human rights law.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner or human rights. Noam, on Friday, this was the point where the death toll for Palestinians had exceeded Operation Cast Lead; it had passed 1,400. President Obama was in the White House, and he held a news conference. He didn’t raise the issue of Gaza in the news conference, but he was immediately asked about Gaza, and he talked about—he reaffirmed the U.S. support for Israel, said that the resupply of ammunition was happening, that the $220 million would be going for an expanded Iron Dome.

But then the weekend took place, yet another attack on a U.N. shelter, on one of the schools where thousands of Palestinians had taken refuge, and a number of them were killed, including children. And even the U.S. then joined with the U.N. in criticizing what Israel was doing. Can you talk about what the U.S. has done and if you really do see a shift right now?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, let’s start with what the U.S. has done, and continue with the comments with the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Right at that time, the time of the quote you gave over the radio—that you gave before, there was a debate in the Human Rights Commission about whether to have an investigation—no action, just an investigation—of what had happened in Gaza, an investigation of possible violations of human rights.

“Possible” is kind of a joke. It was passed with one negative vote. Guess who. Obama voted against an investigation, while he was giving these polite comments. That’s action. The United States continues to provide, as Pillay pointed out, the critical, the decisive support for the atrocities.

When what’s called Israeli jet planes bomb defenseless targets in Gaza, that’s U.S. jet planes with Israeli pilots. And the same with the high-tech munition and so on and so forth. So this is, again, sadism masked as compassion. Those are the actions.

AMY GOODMAN: What about opinion in the United States? Can you talk about the role that it plays?

We saw some certainly remarkable changes. MSNBC had the reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, who had been at Al Jazeera, very respected. He had been, together with Sherine Tadros, in 2008 the only Western reporters in Gaza covering Operation Cast Lead, tremendous experience in the area. And he was pulled out by MSNBC.

But because there was a tremendous response against this, with—I think what was trending was “Let Ayman report”—he was then brought back in. So there was a feeling that people wanted to get a sense of what was happening on the ground. There seemed to be some kind of opening. Do you sense a difference in the American population, how—the attitude toward what’s happening in Israel and the Occupied Territories?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Very definitely. It’s been happening over some years. There was a kind of a point of inflection that increased after Cast Lead, which horrified many people, and it’s happening again now. You can see it everywhere. Take, say, The New York Times. The New York Times devoted a good part of their op-ed page to a Gaza diary a couple of days ago, which was heart-rending and eloquent. They’ve had strong op-eds condemning extremist Israeli policies. That’s new, and it reflects something that’s happening in the country. You can see it in polls, especially among young people. If you look at the polling results, the population below 30, roughly, by now has shifted substantially. You can see it on college campuses. I mean, I see it personally. I’ve been giving talks on these things for almost 50 years. I used to have police protection, literally, even at my own university. The meetings were broken up violently, you know, enormous protest. Within the past, roughly, decade, that’s changed substantially by now that Palestinian solidarity is maybe the biggest issue on campus. Huge audiences. There isn’t even—hardly get a hostile question. That’s a tremendous change. That’s strikingly among younger people, but they become older.

However, there’s something we have to remember about the United States: It’s not a democracy; it’s a plutocracy. There’s study after study that comes out in mainstream academic political science which shows what we all know or ought to know, that political decisions are made by a very small sector of extreme privilege and wealth, concentrated capital. For most of the population, their opinions simply don’t matter in the political system. They’re essentially disenfranchised. I can give the details if you like, but that’s basically the story. Now, public opinion can make a difference. Even in dictatorships, the public can’t be ignored, and in a partially democratic society like this, even less so. So, ultimately, this will make a difference. And how long “ultimately” is, well, that’s up to us.

We’ve seen it before. Take, say, the East Timor case, which I mentioned. For 25 years, the United States strongly supported the vicious Indonesian invasion and massacre, virtual genocide. It was happening right through 1999, as the Indonesian atrocities increased and escalated. After Dili, the capital city, was practically evacuated after Indonesian attacks, the U.S. was still supporting it. Finally, in mid-September 1999, under considerable international and also domestic pressure, Clinton quietly told the Indonesian generals, “It’s finished.” And they had said they’d never leave. They said, “This is our territory.” They pulled out within days and allowed a U.N. peacekeeping force to enter without Indonesian military resistance. Well, you know, that’s a dramatic indication of what can be done. South Africa is a more complex case but has similarities, and there are others. Sooner or later, it’s possible—and that’s really up to us—that domestic pressure will compel the U.S. government to join the world on this issue, and that will be a decisive change.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, I wanted to ask you about your recent piece for The Nation on Israel-Palestine and BDS. You were critical of the effectiveness of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. One of the many responses came from Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center.

He wrote, quote, “Chomsky’s criticism of BDS seems to be that it hasn’t changed the power dynamic yet, and thus that it can’t. There is no doubt the road ahead is a long one for BDS, but there is also no doubt the movement is growing … All other paths toward change, including diplomacy and armed struggle, have so far proved ineffective, and some have imposed significant costs on Palestinian life and livelihood.” Could you respond?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually, I did respond. You can find it on The Nation website. But in brief, far from being critical of BDS, I was strongly supportive of it. One of the oddities of what’s called the BDS movement is that they can’t—many of the activists just can’t see support as support unless it becomes something like almost worship: repeat the catechism. If you take a look at that article, it very strongly supported these tactics. In fact, I was involved in them and supporting them before the BDS movement even existed. They’re the right tactics.

But it should be second nature to activists—and it usually is—that you have to ask yourself, when you conduct some tactic, when you pursue it, what the effect is going to be on the victims. You don’t pursue a tactic because it makes you feel good. You pursue it because it’s going—you estimate that it’ll help the victims.

And you have to make choices. This goes way back. You know, say, back during the Vietnam War, there were debates about whether you should resort to violent tactics, say Weathermen-style tactics. You could understand the motivation—people were desperate—but the Vietnamese were strongly opposed. And many of us, me included, were also opposed, not because the horrors don’t justify some strong action, but because the consequences would be harm to the victims. The tactics would increase support for the violence, which in fact is what happened. Those questions arise all the time.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian solidarity movements have been unusual in their unwillingness to think these things through. That was pointed out recently again by Raja Shehadeh, the leading figure in—lives in Ramallah, a longtime supporter, the founder of Al-Haq, the legal organization, a very significant and powerful figure.

Shehadeh pointed out that the Palestinian leadership has tended to focus on what he called absolutes, absolute justice—this is the absolute justice that we want—and not to pay attention to pragmatic policies. That’s been very obvious for decades. It used to drive people like Eqbal Ahmad, the really committed and knowledgeable militant—used to drive him crazy. They just couldn’t listen to pragmatic questions, which are what matter for success in a popular movement, a nationalist movement. And the ones who understand that can succeed; the ones who don’t understand it can’t. If you talk about—

AMY GOODMAN: What choices do you feel that the BDS movement, that activists should make?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, they’re very simple, very clear. In fact, I discussed them in the article. Those actions that have been directed against the occupation have been quite successful, very successful. Most of them don’t have anything to do with the BDS movement.

So take, say, one of the most extreme and most successful is the European Union decision, directive, to block any connection to any institution, governmental or private, that has anything to do with the Occupied Territories.

That’s a pretty strong move. That’s the kind of move that was taken with regard to South Africa. Just a couple of months ago, the Presbyterian Church here called for divestment from any multinational corporation that’s involved in any way in the occupation. And there’s been case after case like that. That makes perfect sense.

There are also—so far, there haven’t been any sanctions, so BDS is a little misleading. It’s BD, really. But there could be sanctions. And there’s an obvious way to proceed. There has been for years, and has plenty of support. In fact, Amnesty International called for it during the Cast Lead operations. That’s an arms embargo. For the U.S. to impose an arms embargo, or even to discuss it, would be a major issue, major contribution. That’s the most important of the possible sanctions.

And there’s a basis for it. U.S. arms to Israel are in violation of U.S. law, direct violation of U.S. law. You look at U.S. foreign assistance law, it bars any military assistance to any one country, unit, whatever, engaged in consistent human rights violations. Well, you know, Israel’s violation of human rights violations is so extreme and consistent that you hardly have to argue about it.

That means that U.S. aid to Israel is in—military aid, is in direct violation of U.S. law. And as Pillay pointed out before, the U.S. is a high-contracting party to the Geneva Conventions, so it’s violating its own extremely serious international commitments by not imposing—working to impose the Geneva Conventions.

That’s an obligation for the high-contracting parties, like the U.S. And that means to impose—to prevent a violation of international humanitarian law, and certainly not to abet it. So the U.S. is both in violation of its commitments to international humanitarian law and also in violation of U.S. domestic law. And there’s some understanding of that.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response, Noam, to Nicholas Kristof on the issue of Palestinian nonviolence. Writing in The New York Times last month, Kristof wrote, quote, “Palestinian militancy has accomplished nothing but increasing the misery of the Palestinian people. If Palestinians instead turned more to huge Gandhi-style nonviolence resistance campaigns, the resulting videos would reverberate around the world and Palestine would achieve statehood and freedom.” Noam Chomsky, your response?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, first of all, that’s a total fabrication. Palestinian nonviolence has been going on for a long time, very significant nonviolent actions. I haven’t seen the reverberations in Kristof’s columns, for example, or anywhere. I mean, there is among popular movements, but not what he’s describing.

There’s also a good deal of cynicism in those comments. What he should be doing is preaching nonviolence to the United States, the leading perpetrator of violence in the world. Hasn’t been reported here, but an international poll last December—Gallup here and its counterpart in England, the leading polling agencies—it was an international poll of public opinion.

One of the questions that was asked is: Which country is the greatest threat to world peace? Guess who was first. Nobody even close. The United States was way in the lead.

Far behind was Pakistan, and that was probably because mostly of the Indian vote. Well, that’s what Nicholas Kristof should be commenting on. He should be calling for nonviolence where he is, where we are, where you and I are. That would make a big difference in the world. And, of course, nonviolence in our client states, like Israel, where we provide directly the means for the violence, or Saudi Arabia, extreme, brutal, fundamentalist state, where we send them tens of billions of dollars of military aid, and on and on, in ways that are not discussed. That would make sense. It’s easy to preach nonviolence to some victim somewhere, saying, “You shouldn’t be violent. We’ll be as violent as we like, but you not be violent.”

That aside, the recommendation is correct, and in fact it’s been a recommendation of people dedicated to Palestinian rights for many years. Eqbal Ahmad, who I mentioned, 40 years—you know, his background, he was active in the Algerian resistance, a long, long history of both very acute political analysis and direct engagement in Third World struggles, he was very close to the PLO—consistently urged this, as many, many people did, me included. And, in fact, there’s been plenty of it. Not enough.

But as I say, it’s very easy to recommend to victims, “You be nice guys.” That’s cheap. Even if it’s correct, it’s cheap. What matters is what we say about ourselves. Are we going to be nice guys? That’s the important thing, particularly when it’s the United States, the country which, quite rightly, is regarded by the—internationally as the leading threat to world peace, and the decisive threat in the Israeli case.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, Mohammed Suliman, a Palestinian human rights worker in Gaza, wrote in The Huffington Post during the Israeli assault, quote, “The reality is that if Palestinians stop resisting, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm.

The besieged Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had a motto ‘to live and die in dignity.’ As I sit in my own besieged ghetto,” he writes, “I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation. We’re tired of war. … But I also can no longer tolerate the return to a deeply unjust status quo. I can no longer agree to live in this open-air prison.” Your response to what Mohammed Suliman wrote?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, several points again. First, about the Warsaw Ghetto, there’s a very interesting debate going on right now in Israel in the Hebrew press as to whether the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was justified.

It began with an article, I think by a survivor, who went through many details and argued that the uprising, which was sort of a rogue element, he said, actually seriously endangered the Jews of the—surviving Jews in the ghetto and harmed them. Then came responses, and there’s a debate about it.

But that’s exactly the kind of question you want to ask all the time: What’s going to be the effect of the action on the victims? It’s not a trivial question in the case of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Obviously, maybe the Nazis are the extreme in brutality in human history, and you have to surely sympathize and support the ghetto inhabitants and survivors and the victims, of course. But nevertheless, the tactical question arises. This is not open. And it arises here, too, all the time, if you’re serious about concern for the victims.

But his general point is accurate, and it’s essentially what I was trying to say before. Israel wants quiet, wants the Palestinians to be nice and quiet and nonviolent, the way Nicholas Kristof urges.

And then what will Israel do? We don’t have to guess. It’s what they have been doing, and they’ll continue, as long as there’s no resistance to it. What they’re doing is, briefly, taking over whatever they want, whatever they see as of value in the West Bank, leaving Palestinians in essentially unviable cantons, pretty much imprisoned; separating the West Bank from Gaza in violation of the solemn commitments of the Oslo Accords; keeping Gaza under siege and on a diet; meanwhile, incidentally, taking over the Golan Heights, already annexed in violation of explicit Security Council orders; vastly expanding Jerusalem way beyond any historical size, annexing it in violation of Security Council orders; huge infrastructure projects, which make it possible for people living in the nice hills of the West Bank to get to Tel Aviv in a few minutes without seeing any Arabs. That’s what they’ll continue doing, just as they have been, as long as the United States supports it. That’s the decisive point, and that’s what we should be focusing on. We’re here. We can do things here. And that happens to be of critical significance in this case. That’s going to be—it’s not the only factor, but it’s the determinative factor in what the outcome will be.

AMY GOODMAN: Yet you have Congress—you’re talking about American population changing opinion—unanimously passing a resolution in support of Israel. Unanimously.

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s right, because—and that’s exactly what we have to combat, by organization and action. Take South Africa again. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Congress began to pass sanctions. As I said, Reagan vetoed them and then violated them when they were passed over his veto, but at least they were passing them. But that’s decades after massive protests were developing around the world.

In fact, BDS-style tactics—there was never a BDS movement—BDS-style tactics began to be carried out on a popular level in the United States beginning in the late ’70s, but really picking up in the ’80s. That’s decades after large-scale actions of that kind were being taken elsewhere.

And ultimately, that had an effect. Well, we’re not there yet. You have to recall—it’s important to recall that by the time Congress was passing sanctions against South Africa, even the American business community, which really is decisive at determining policy, had pretty much turned against apartheid. Just wasn’t worth it for them.

And as I said, the agreement that was finally reached was acceptable to them—difference from the Israeli case. We’re not there now. Right now Israel is one of the top recipients of U.S. investment. Warren Buffett, for example, recently bought—couple of billion dollars spent on some factory in Israel, an installment, and said that this is the best place for investment outside the United States.

Intel is setting up its major new generation chip factory there. Military industry is closely linked to Israel. All of this is quite different from the South Africa case. And we have to work, as it’ll take a lot of work to get there, but it has to be done.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, Noam, you say that the analogy between Israel’s occupation of the terrories and apartheid South Africa is a dubious one. Why?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Many reasons. Take, say, the term “apartheid.” In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by “apartheid” you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.

There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. It was 85 percent of the workforce of the population, and that was basically their workforce. They needed them. They had to sustain them. The bantustans were horrifying, but South Africa did try to sustain them. They didn’t put them on a diet. They tried to keep them strong enough to do the work that they needed for the country. They tried to get international support for the bantustans.

The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different.

They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison. And they’re acting that way. That’s a very striking difference, which means that the apartheid analogy, South African apartheid, to the Occupied Territories is just a gift to Israeli violence. It’s much worse than that. If you look inside Israel, there’s plenty of repression and discrimination. I’ve written about it extensively for decades. But it’s not apartheid. It’s bad, but it’s not apartheid. So the term, I just don’t think is applicable.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser. Speaking to The New York Times, Eiland said, quote, “You cannot win against an effective guerrilla organization when on the one hand, you are fighting them, and on the other hand, you continue to supply them with water and food and gas and electricity. Israel should have declared a war against the de facto state of Gaza, and if there is misery and starvation in Gaza, it might lead the other side to make such hard decisions.” Noam Chomsky, if you could respond to this?

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s basically the debate within the Israeli top political echelon: Should we follow Dov Weissglas’s position of maintaining them on a diet of bare survival, so you make sure children don’t get chocolate bars, but you allow them to have, say, Cheerios in the morning? Should we—

AMY GOODMAN: Actually, Noam, can you explain that, because when you’ve talked about it before, it sort of sounds—this diet sounds like a metaphor. But can you explain what you meant when you said actual diet? Like, you’re talking number of calories. You’re actually talking about whether kids can have chocolate?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Israel has—Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive. And if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque. I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly. They’re sadistic. Just enough calories to survive.

And, of course, it is partly metaphoric, because it means just enough material coming in through the tunnels so that they don’t totally die. Israel restricts medicines, but you have to allow a little trickle in. When I was there right before the November 2012 assault, visited the Khan Younis hospital, and the director showed us that there’s—they don’t even have simple medicines, but they have something.

And the same is true with all aspects of it. Keep them on a diet, literally. And the reason is—very simple, and they pretty much said it: “If they die, it’s not going to look good for Israel. We may claim that we’re not the occupying power, but the rest of the world doesn’t agree. Even the United States doesn’t agree. We are the occupying power. And if we kill off the population under occupation, not going to look good.”

It’s not the 19th century, when, as the U.S. expanded over what’s its national territory, it pretty much exterminated the indigenous population. Well, by 19th century’s imperial standards, that was unproblematic. This is a little different today. You can’t exterminate the population in the territories that you occupy. That’s the dovish position, Weissglas. The hawkish position is Eiland, which you quoted: Let’s just kill them off.

AMY GOODMAN: And who do you think is going to prevail, as I speak to you in the midst of this ceasefire?

NOAM CHOMSKY: The Weissglas position will prevail, because Israel just—you know, it’s already becoming an international pariah and internationally hated. If it went on to pursue Eiland’s recommendations, even the United States wouldn’t be able to support it.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, interestingly, while the Arab countries, most of them, have not spoken out strongly against what Israel has done in Gaza, Latin American countries, one after another, from Brazil to Venezuela to Bolivia, have. A number of them have recalled their ambassadors to Israel. I believe Bolivian President Evo Morales called Israel a “terrorist state.” Can you talk about Latin America and its relationship with Israel?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, just remember the Arab countries means the Arab dictators, our friends. It doesn’t mean the Arab populations, our enemies.

But what you said about Latin America is very significant. Not long ago, Latin America was what was called the backyard: They did whatever we said. In strategic planning, very little was said about Latin America, because they were under our domination.

If we don’t like something that happens, we install a military dictatorship or carry—back huge massacres and so on. But basically they do what we say. Last 10 or 15 years, that’s changed. And it’s a historic change. For the first time in 500 years, since the conquistadors, Latin America is moving toward degree of independence of imperial domination and also a degree of integration, which is critically important.

And what you just described is one striking example of it. In the entire world, as far as I know, only a few Latin American countries have taken an honorable position on this issue: Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador have withdrawn ambassadors in protest. They join Bolivia and Venezuela, which had done it even earlier in reaction to other atrocities. That’s unique.

And it’s not the only example. There was a very striking example, I guess maybe a year or so ago. The Open Society Forum did a study of support for rendition. Rendition, of course, is the most extreme form of torture. What you do is take people, people you don’t like, and you send them to your favorite dictatorship so they’ll be tortured. Grotesque.

That was the CIA program of extraordinary rendition. The study was: Who took part in it? Well, of course, the Middle East dictatorships did—you know, Syria, Assad, Mubarak and others—because that’s where you sent them to be tortured—Gaddafi. They took part.

Europe, almost all of it participated. England, Sweden, other countries permitted, abetted the transfer of prisoners to torture chambers to be grotesquely tortured.

In fact, if you look over the world, there was only really one exception: The Latin American countries refused to participate. Now, that is pretty remarkable, for one thing, because it shows their independence. But for another, while they were under U.S. control, they were the torture center of the world—not long ago, a couple of decades ago. That’s a real change.

And by now, if you look at hemispheric conferences, the United States and Canada are isolated. The last major hemispheric conference couldn’t come to a consensus decision on the major issues, because the U.S. and Canada didn’t agree with the rest of the hemisphere. The major issues were admission of Cuba into the hemispheric system and steps towards decriminalization of drugs.

That’s a terrible burden on the Latin Americans. The problem lies in the United States. And the Latin American countries, even the right-wing ones, want to free themselves of that. U.S. and Canada wouldn’t go along. These are very significant changes in world affairs.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Charlie Rose interviewing the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. This was in July. Meshaal called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Gaza.

KHALED MESHAAL: [translated] This is not a prerequisite. Life is not a prerequisite. Life is a right for our people in Palestine. Since 2006, when the world refused the outcomes of the elections, our people actually lived under the siege of eight years. This is a collective punishment. We need to lift the siege. We have to have a port. We have to have an airport. This is the first message.

The second message: In order to stop the bloodletting, we need to look at the underlying causes. We need to look at the occupation. We need to stop the occupation. Netanyahu doesn’t take heed of our rights. And Mr. Kerry, months ago, tried to find a window through the negotiations in order to meet our target: to live without occupation, to reach our state. Netanyahu has killed our hope or killed our dream, and he killed the American initiative.

AMY GOODMAN: That is the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal. In these last few minutes we have left, Noam Chomsky, talk about the demands of Hamas and what Khaled Meshaal just said.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, he was basically reiterating what he and Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas spokespersons have been saying for a long time. In fact, if you go back to 1988, when Hamas was formed, even before they became a functioning organization, their leadership, Sheikh Yassin—who was assassinated by Israel—others, offered settlement proposals, which were turned down.

And it remains pretty much the same. By now, it’s quite overt. Takes effort to fail to see it. You can read it in The Washington Post. What they propose is: They accept the international consensus on a two-state settlement. They say, “Yes, let’s have a two-state settlement on the international border.” They do not—they say they don’t go on to say, “We’ll recognize Israel,” but they say, “Yes, let’s have a two-state settlement and a very long truce, maybe 50 years. And then we’ll see what happens.”

Well, that’s been their proposal all along. That’s far more forthcoming than any proposal in Israel. But that’s not the way it’s presented here. What you read is, all they’re interested in is destruction of Israel. What you hear is Bob Schieffer’s type of repetition of the most vulgar Israeli propaganda. But that has been their position. It’s not that they’re nice people—like, I wouldn’t vote for them—but that is their position.

AMY GOODMAN: Six billion dollars of damage in Gaza right now. About 1,900 Palestinians are dead, not clear actually how many, as the rubble hasn’t all been dug out at this point. Half a million refugees. You’ve got something like 180,000 in the schools, the shelters. And what does that mean for schools, because they’re supposed to be starting in a few weeks, when the Palestinians are living in these schools, makeshift shelters? So, what is the reality on the ground that happens now, as these negotiations take place in Egypt?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there is a kind of a slogan that’s been used for years: Israel destroys, Gazans rebuild, Europe pays. It’ll probably be something like that—until the next episode of “mowing the lawn.” And what will happen—unless U.S. policy changes, what’s very likely to happen is that Israel will continue with the policies it has been executing. No reason for them to stop, from their point of view.

And it’s what I said: take what you want in the West Bank, integrate it into Israel, leave the Palestinians there in unviable cantons, separate it from Gaza, keep Gaza on that diet, under siege—and, of course, control, keep the West Golan Heights—and try to develop a greater Israel. This is not for security reasons, incidentally. That’s been understood by the Israeli leadership for decades.

Back around 1970, I suppose, Ezer Weizman, later the—general, Air Force general, later president, pointed out, correctly, that taking over the territories does not improve our security situation—in fact, probably makes it worse—but, he said, it allows Israel to live at the scale and with the quality that we now enjoy. In other words, we can be a rich, powerful, expansionist country.

AMY GOODMAN: But you hear repeatedly, Hamas has in its charter a call for the destruction of Israel. And how do you guarantee that these thousands of rockets that threaten the people of Israel don’t continue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Very simple. First of all, Hamas charter means practically nothing. The only people who pay attention to it are Israeli propagandists, who love it. It was a charter put together by a small group of people under siege, under attack in 1988. And it’s essentially meaningless.

There are charters that mean something, but they’re not talked about.

So, for example, the electoral program of Israel’s governing party, Likud, states explicitly that there can never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. And they not only state it in their charter, that’s a call for the destruction of Palestine, explicit call for it. And they don’t only have it in their charter, you know, their electoral program, but they implement it. That’s quite different from the Hamas charter.

 

This story is included with an NYT Opinion subscription.

JERUSALEM —

As Israel bombarded the people in Gaza with extensive airstrikes and followed up with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip and Hamas reacted by launching rockets at Israeli cities, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.

That government was created largely because of Hamas’s desperation and isolation. The group’s alliance with Syria and Iran was in shambles. Its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt became a liability after a July 2013 coup replaced an ally, President Mohamed Morsi, with a bitter adversary, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Hamas’s coffers dried up as General Sisi closed the tunnels that had brought to Gaza the goods and tax revenues on which it depended.

He is a father, and he just lost his son.

Younes Arar's photo.
Younes Arar's photo.
Younes Arar's photo.
A few hours ago, the 4 Palestinian children of Baker family ((Ahed Atef Bakr (10 years), Zakareya  Bakr (10 years), Mohamad Ramez Bakr (11 years) and Esma’il Mohamad Bakr (9 years))
The four killed kids running before the second shell whipped them down 
‎أولادي الذين لم الدْهم. لو انني التقطتهم بيديّ قبل ان يسقطوا.‎

Seeing a region swept by popular protests against leaders who couldn’t provide for their citizens’ basic needs, Hamas opted to give up official control of Gaza rather than risk being overthrown.

Despite having won the last elections in 2006, Hamas decided to transfer formal authority to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

That decision led to a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, on terms set almost entirely by the P.L.O. chairman and Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal:

1. the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and

2. the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans’ passage to the outside world.

Yet, in many ways, the reconciliation government could have served Israel’s interests:

1. It offered Hamas’s political adversaries a foothold in Gaza;

2. it was formed without a single Hamas member;

3. it retained the same Ramallah-based prime minister, deputy prime ministers, finance minister and foreign minister; and, most important,

4. it pledged to comply with the 3 conditions for (Western colonial powers) aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel.

Israel strongly opposed American recognition of the new government and sought to isolate it internationally, seeing any small step toward Palestinian unity as a threat.

Israel’s security establishment objects to the strengthening of West Bank-Gaza ties, lest Hamas raise its head in the West Bank. And Israelis who oppose a two-state solution understand that a unified Palestinian leadership is a prerequisite for any lasting peace.

Still, despite its opposition to the reconciliation agreement, Israel continued to transfer the tax revenues it collects on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf, and to work closely with the new government, especially on security cooperation. (Not a correct statement)

But the key issues of paying Gaza’s civil servants and opening the border with Egypt were left to fester.

The new government’s ostensible supporters, especially the United States and Europe, could have pushed Egypt to ease border restrictions, thereby demonstrating to Gazans that Hamas rule had been the cause of their isolation and impoverishment. But they did not.

Instead, after Hamas transferred authority to a government of pro-Western technocrats, life in Gaza became worse.

Gaza is a concentration camp.

Gaza is a concentration camp.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), have some scathing, painful things to say about what Israel is doing to Gazans:

[A senior official with the] humanitarian charity has described his organisation’s work among the 1.8 million besieged Palestinian refugees as akin to being “in an open-air prison to patch up prisoners in between their torture sessions”.

Jonathan Whittall, head of humanitarian analysis at MSF, who worked in Libya during the 2011 war, in Bahrain during the uprising of the same year, in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan and Darfur, has bluntly asked his colleagues:

At what point does MSF’s repeated medical action in an unacceptable situation [like Gaza] become complicity with aggression and oppression?”

“An entire population is trapped in what is essentially an open-air prison,” Mr Whittall writes. “They can’t leave and only the most limited supplies – essential for basic survival – are allowed to enter. The population of the prison have elected representatives and organised social services.

“Some of the prisoners have organised into armed groups and resist their indefinite detention by firing rockets over the prison wall. However, the prison guards are the ones who have the capacity to launch large-scale and highly destructive attacks on the open-air prison.”

The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The road out of the crisis is a reversal of that policy.

 

9 questions about the Israel-Palestine conflict you were too embarrassed to ask

Everyone has heard of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Everyone knows it’s bad, that it’s been going on for a long time, and that there is a lot of hatred on both sides.

But you may find yourself less clear on the hows and the whys of the conflict. Why, for example, did Israel begin invading the Palestinian territory of Gaza on Thursday, after 10 days of air strikes that killed at least 235 Palestinians, many of them civilians?

Why is the militant Palestinian group Hamas firing home-made rockets into civilian neighborhoods in Israel?

How did this latest round of violence start in the first place — and why do they hate one another at all?

What follows are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.

Giant, neon-lit disclaimer: these issues are complicated and contentious, and this is not an exhaustive or definitive account of Israel-Palestine’s history or the conflict today. But it’s a place to start. (Nothing complicated: Zionists occupied the land and chased out the inhabitants)

1) What are Israel and Palestine?

That sounds like a very basic question but, in a sense, it’s at the center of the conflict.

46188929_isr_w_bank_gaza_416mapIsrael is an officially Jewish country located in the Middle East. Palestine is a set of two physically separate, ethnically Arab and mostly Muslim territories alongside Israel: the West Bank, named for the western shore of the Jordan River, and Gaza.

Those territories are not independent (more on this later). All together, Israel and the Palestinian territories are about as populous as Illinois and about half its size.

Officially, there is no internationally recognized line between Israel and Palestine; the borders are considered to be disputed, and have been for decades.  (The UN demarcation lines of 1947 were drawn clearly)

So is the status of Palestine: some countries consider Palestine to be an independent state, while others (like the US) consider Palestine to be territories under Israeli occupation.

Both Israelis and Palestinians have claims to the land going back centuries, but the present-day states are relatively new.

2) Why are Israelis and Palestinians fighting?

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Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinian stone throwers at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

This is not, despite what you may have heard, primarily about religion. On the surface at least, it’s very simple: the conflict is over who gets what land and how it is controlled. In execution, though, that gets into a lot of really thorny issues, like: Where are the borders? Can Palestinian refugees return to their former homes in present-day Israel? More on these later.

The decades-long process of resolving that conflict has created another, overlapping conflict: managing the very unpleasant Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, in which Israel has put the Palestinians under suffocating military occupation and Palestinian militant groups terrorize Israelis.

BOTH SIDES HAVE SQUANDERED PEACE AND PERPETUATED CONFLICT, BUT PALESTINIANS TODAY BEAR MOST OF THE SUFFERING” (Said who again?

Those two dimensions of the conflict are made even worse by the long, bitter, violent history between these two peoples. It’s not just that there is lots of resentment and distrust; Israelis and Palestinians have such widely divergent narratives of the last 70-plus years, of what has happened and why, that even reconciling their two realities is extremely difficult. All of this makes it easier for extremists, who oppose any compromise and want to destroy or subjugate the other site entirely, to control the conversation and derail the peace process.

The peace process, by the way, has been going on for decades, but it hasn’t looked at all hopeful since the breakthrough 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords produced a glimmer of hope that has since dissipated. The conflict has settled into a terrible cycle and peace looks less possible all the time.

Ip_conflict_deaths_total

Something you often hear is that “both sides” are to blame for perpetuating the conflict, and there’s plenty of truth to that. There has always been and remains plenty of culpability to go around, plenty of individuals and groups on both sides that squandered peace and perpetuated conflict many times over. Still, perhaps the most essential truth of the Israel-Palestine conflict today is that the conflict predominantly matters for the human suffering it causes. And while Israelis certainly suffer deeply and in great numbers, the vast majority of the conflict’s toll is incurred by Palestinian civilians. Just above, as one metric of that, are the Israeli and Palestinian conflict-related deaths every month since late 2000.

3) How did this conflict start in the first place?

Arab-israeli-war_1948__1_

(Left map: Passia; center and right maps: Philippe Rekacewicz / Le Monde Diplomatique)

The conflict has been going on since the early 1900s, when the mostly-Arab, mostly-Muslim region was part of the Ottoman Empire and, starting in 1917, a “mandate” run by the British Empire. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were moving into the area, as part of a movement called Zionism among mostly European Jews to escape persecution and establish their own state in their ancestral homeland. (Later, large numbers of Middle Eastern Jews also moved to Israel, either to escape anti-Semitic violence or because they were forcibly expelled.)

Communal violence between Jews and Arabs in British Palestine began spiraling out of control. In 1947, the United Nations approved a plan to divide British Palestine into two mostly independent countries, one for Jews called Israel and one for Arabs called Palestine. Jerusalem, holy city for Jews and Muslims, was to be a special international zone.

The plan was never implemented. Arab leaders in the region saw it as European colonial theft and, in 1948, invaded to keep Palestine unified. The Israeli forces won the 1948 war, but they pushed well beyond the UN-designated borders to claim land that was to have been part of Palestine, including the western half of Jerusalem. They also uprooted and expelled entire Palestinian communities, creating about 700,000 refugees, whose descendants now number 7 million and are still considered refugees.

The 1948 war ended with Israel roughly controlling the territory that you will see marked on today’s maps as “Israel”; everything except for the West Bank and Gaza, which is where most Palestinian fled to (many also ended up in refugee camps in neighboring countries) and are today considered the Palestinian territories. The borders between Israel and Palestine have been disputed and fought over ever since. So has the status of those Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

That’s the first major dimension of the conflict: reconciling the division that opened in 1948. The second began in 1967, when Israel put those two Palestinian territories under military occupation.

4) Why is Israel occupying the Palestinian territories?

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A Palestinian boy next to the Israeli wall around the town of Qalqilya (David Silverman/Getty Images)

This is a hugely important part of the conflict today, especially for Palestinians.

Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967. Up to that point, Gaza had been (more or less) controlled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan. But in 1967 there was another war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, during which Israel occupied the two Palestinian territories. (Israel also took control of Syria’s Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981, and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, which it returned to Egypt in 1982.)

Israeli forces have occupied and controlled the West Bank ever since. It withdrew its occupying troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but maintains a full blockade of the territory, which has turned Gaza into what human rights organizations sometimes call an “open-air prison” and has pushed the unemployment rate up to 40 percent.

Settlements_westbank-gaza_01_420297d041Israel says the occupation is necessary for security given its tiny size: to protect Israelis from Palestinian attacks and to provide a buffer from foreign invasions. But that does not explain the settlers.

Settlers are Israelis who move into the West Bank. They are widely considered to violate international law, which forbids an occupying force from moving its citizens into occupied territory. Many of the 500,000 settlers are just looking for cheap housing; most live within a few miles of the Israeli border, often in the around surrounding Jerusalem.

Others move deep into the West Bank to claim land for Jews, out of religious fervor and/or a desire to see more or all of the West Bank absorbed into Israel. While Israel officially forbids this and often evicts these settlers, many are still able to take root.

In the short term, settlers of all forms make life for Palestinians even more difficult, by forcing the Israeli government to guard them with walls or soldiers that further constrain Palestinians. In the long term, the settlers create what are sometimes called “facts on the ground”: Israeli communities that blur the borders and expand land that Israel could claim for itself in any eventual peace deal.

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is all-consuming for the Palestinians who live there, constrained by Israeli checkpoints and 20-foot walls, subject to an Israeli military justice system in which on average two children are arrested every day, stuck with an economy stifled by strict Israeli border control, and countless other indignities large and small.

5) Can we take a quick music break?

Music breaks like this are usually an opportunity to step back and appreciate the aspects of a people and culture beyond the conflict that has put them in the news. And it’s true that there is much more to Israelis and Palestinians than their conflict. But music has also been a really important medium by which Israelis and Palestinians deal with and think about the conflict. The degree to which the conflict has seeped into Israel-Palestinian music is a sign of how deeply and pervasively it effects Israelis and Palestinians.

Above, from the wealth of Palestinian hip-hop is the group DAM, whose name is both an acronym for Da Arabian MCs and the Arabic verb for “to last forever.” The group has been around since the late 1990s and are from the Israeli city of Lod, Israeli citizens who are part of the country’s Arab minority. The Arab Israeli experience, typically one of solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and a sense that Arab-Israelis are far from equal in the Jewish state, comes through in their music, which is highly political and deals with themes of disenfranchisement and dispossession in the great tradition of American hip-hop.

Christiane Amanpour interviewed DAM about their music last year. Above is their song “I Don’t Have Freedom,” full English lyrics of which are here, from their 2007 album Dedication. Sample line: “We’ve been like this more than 50 years / Living as prisoners behind the bars of paragraphs /Of agreements that change nothing.”

 

Now here is a sample of Israel’s wonderful jazz scene, one of the best in the world, from the bassist and band leader Avishai Cohen. Cohen is best known in the US for his celebrated 2006 instrumental album Continuo, but let’s instead listen to the song “El Hatzipor” from 2009’s Aurora.

The lyrics are from an 1892 poem of the same name, meaning “To the Bird,” by the Ukrainian Jewish poet Hayim Nahman Bialik. The poem (translated here) expresses the hopeful yearning among early European Zionists like Bialik to escape persecution in Europe and find salvation in the holy land; that it still resonates among Israelis over 100 years later is a reminder of both the tremendous hopes invested in the dream of a Jewish state, and perhaps the sense that this dream is still not secure.

6) Why is there fighting today between Israel and Gaza?

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A Palestinian man looks over the site of an Israeli air strike in Gaza (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

On the surface, this is just the latest round of fighting in 27 years of war between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that formed in 1987 seeks Israel’s destruction and is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization for its attacks targeting civilians — and which since 2006 has ruled Gaza. Israeli forces periodically attack Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, typically with air strikes but in 2006 and 2009 with ground invasions.

ONLY HAMAS DELIBERATELY TARGETS CIVILIANS, BUT MOST ARE STILL PALESTINIANS KILLED BY ISRAELI STRIKES

The latest round of fighting was sparked when members of Hamas in the West Bank murdered three Israeli youths who were studying there on June 10. Though the Hamas members appear to have acted without approval from their leadership, which nonetheless praised the attack, Israel responded by arresting large numbers of Hamas personnel in the West Bank and with air strikes against the group in Gaza.

After some Israeli extremists murdered a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem and Israeli security forces cracked down on protests, compounding Palestinian outrage, Hamas and other Gaza groups launched dozens of rockets into Israel, which responded with many more air strikes. So far the fighting has killed one Israeli and 230 Palestinians; two UN agencies have separately estimated that 70-plus percent of the fatalities are civilians. On Thursday, July 17, Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza, which Israel says is to shut down tunnels that Hamas could use to cross into Israel.

That get backs to that essential truth about the conflict today: Palestinian civilians endure the brunt of it. While Israel targets militants and Hamas targets civilians, Israel’s disproportionate military strength and its willingness to target militants based in dense urban communities means that Palestinians civilians are far more likely to be killed than any other group.

But those are just the surface reasons; there’s a lot more going on here as well.

7) Why does this violence keep happening?

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Palestinian youth throw stones at an Israeli tank in 2003. (SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

The simple version is that violence has become the status quo and that trying for peace is risky, so leaders on both ends seem to believe that managing the violence is preferable, while the Israeli and Palestinian publics show less and less interest in pressuring their leaders to take risks for peace.

Hamas’s commitment to terrorism and to Israel’s destruction lock Gazans into a conflict with Israel that can never be won and that produces little more than Palestinian civilian deaths. Israel’s blockade on Gaza, which strangles economic life there and punishes civilians, helps produce a climate that is hospitable to extremism, and allows Hamas to nurture a belief that even if Hamas may never win, at least refusing to put down their weapons is a form of liberation.

Many Palestinians in Gaza naturally compare Hamas to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, who have emphasized peace and compromise and negotiations — only to have been rewarded with an Israeli military occupation that shows no sign of ending and ever-expanding settlements. This is not to endorse that logic, but it is not difficult to see why some Palestinians might conclude that violent “resistance” is preferable.

That sense of Palestinian hopelessness and distrust in Israel and the peace process has been a major contributor to violence in recent years. In the early 2000s, there was also a lot of fighting between Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank. This was called the Second Intifada (uprising), and followed a less-violent Palestinian uprising against the occupation in the late 1980s.

In the Second Intifada, which was the culmination of Palestinian frustration with the failure of the 1990s peace process, Palestinian militants adopted suicide bombings of Israeli buses and other forms of terror. Israel responded with a severe military crack-down. The fighting killed approximately 3,200 Palestinians and 1,100 Israelis.

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A 2002 Palestinian bus bombing that killed 18 in Jerusalem (Getty Images)

It’s not just Palestinians, though: many Israelis also increasingly distrust Palestinians and their leaders and see them as innately hostile to peace. In the parlance of Israel-Palestine, the expression for this attitude is, “We don’t have a partner for peace.” That feeling became especially deep after the Second Intifada; months of bus bombings and cafe bombings made many Israelis less supportive of peace efforts and more willing to accept or simply ignore the occupation’s effects on Palestinians.

This sense of apathy has been further enabled by Israel’s increasingly successful security programs, such as the Iron Dome system that shoots down Gazan rockets, which insulates many Israelis from the conflict and makes it easier to ignore. Public support for a peace deal that would grant Palestine independence, once high among Israelis, has dropped.

Meanwhile, a fringe movement of right-wing Israeli extremists has become increasingly violent, particularly in the West Bank where many live as settlers, further pulling Israeli politics away from peace and thus allowing the conflict to drift.

(The first Intifada (civil disobedience) was in 1935-38 where the British dispatched 100,000 troops to quell this mass intifada with torture techniques that Nazi Germany adopted integrally)

8) How is the conflict going to end?

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The Dome of the Rock (at left with gold dome) is one of the holiest sites in Islam and sits atop the ancient Temple Mount ruins, the Western Wall of which (at right) is the holiest site in Jerusalem. You can see how this would create logistical problems. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

There are three ways the conflict could end. Only one of them is both viable and peaceful — the two-state solution — but it is also extremely difficult, and the more time goes on the harder it gets.

One-state solution: The first is to erase the borders and put Israelis and Palestinians together into one equal, pluralistic state, called the “one-state solution.” Very few people think this could be viable for the simple reason of demographics; Arabs would very soon outnumber Jews. After generations of feeling disenfranchised and persecuted by Israel, the Arab majority would almost certainly vote to dismantle everything that makes Israel a Jewish state. Israelis, after everything they’ve done to finally achieve a Jewish state after thousands of years of their own persecution, would never surrender that state and willingly become a minority among a population they see as hostile.

Destruction of one side: The second way this could end is with one side outright vanquishing the other, in what would certainly be a catastrophic abuse of human rights. This is the option preferred by extremists such as Hamas and far-right Israeli settlers. In the Palestinian extremist version, Israel is abolished and replaced with a single Palestinian state; Jews become a minority, most likely replacing today’s conflict with an inverse conflict. In the Israeli extremist version, Israel annexes the West Bank and Gaza entirely, either turning Palestinians into second-class citizens in the manner of apartheid South Africa or expelling them en masse.

Two-state solution: The third option is for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own independent states; that’s called the “two-state solution” and it’s advocated by most everyone as the only option that would create long-term peace. But it requires working out lots of details so thorny and difficult that it’s not clear if it will, or can, happen. Eventually, the conflict will have dragged on for so long that this solution will become impossible.

9) Why is it so hard to make peace?

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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin hold Nobel Peace Prizes won in 1994 for their 1993 Oslo Accords. A follow-on agreement in 1995 was the last major Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. (Photo by Yaakov Saar/GPO via Getty Images)

The one-state solution is hard because there is no viable, realistic version that both sides would accept. In theory, the two-state solution is great. But it poses some very difficult questions. Here are the four big ones and why they’re so tough to solve. To be clear, these aren’t abstract concepts but real, heavily debated issues that have sunk peace talks before:

JerusalemBoth sides claim Jerusalem as their capital; it’s also a center of Jewish and Muslim (and Christian) holy sites that are literally located physically on top of one another, in the antiquity-era walled Old City that is not at all well shaped to be divided into two countries. Making the division even tougher, Israeli communities have been building up more and more in and around the city.

West Bank bordersThere’s no clear agreement on where precisely to draw the borders, which roughly follow the armistice line of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, especially since hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers have built up suburban-style communities just on the Palestinian side of the line. This one is not actually impossible — Israel could give Palestine some land as part of “land swaps” in exchange for settler-occupied territory — but it’s still hard. The more time goes on, the more settlements expand, the harder it becomes to create a viable Palestinian state.

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM OF ALL MAY BE TIME: IT’S RUNNING OUT

RefugeesThis one is really hard. There are, officially, seven million Palestinian refugees, who are designated as such because their descendants fled or were expelled from what is today Israel; places like Ramla and Jaffa. Palestinians frequently ask for what they call the “right of return”: permission to return to their land and live with full rights. That sounds like a no-brainer, but Israel’s objection is that if they absorb seven million Palestinian returnees, then Jews will become a minority, which for the reasons explained above Israelis will never accept. There are ideas to work around the problem, like financial restitution, but no agreement on them.

Security: This is another big one. For Palestinians, security needs are simple: a sovereign Palestinian state. For Israelis, it’s a bit more complicated: Israelis fear that an independent Palestine could turn hostile and ally with other Middle East states to launch the sort of invasion Israel barely survived in 1973. Maybe more plausibly, Israelis worry that Hamas would take over an independent West Bank and use it to launch attacks on Israelis, as they’ve done with Gaza.

Any compromise would likely involve Palestinians giving up some sovereignty, for example promising permanent de-militarization or allowing an international peacekeeping force, and after years of feeling heavily abused by strong-handed Israeli forces, Palestinians are not eager about the idea of Israel having veto power over their sovereignty and security.

Those are all very difficult problems. But here’s the thing: time is running out. The more that the conflict drags on, the more difficult it will be to solve any of these issues, much less all of them. That will make it harder and harder for Israel to justify keeping Gaza under blockade and the West Bank under occupation; eventually it will have to unilaterally withdraw, which the current leadership opposes, or it will have to annex the territories and become either an apartheid-style state that denies full rights to those new Palestinian citizens or abandon its Jewish state.

Meanwhile, extremism and apathy and distrust are rising on both sides. The violence of the conflict is becoming status quo, a regularly recurring event that is replacing the peace process itself as the way by which the conflict advances. It is making things worse for Israelis and Palestinians alike all the time, and unless they can break from the hatred and violence long enough to make peace, that will continue.

So-Called “Religious Wars” were planned decades ago?

Russia intervention in Syria is a Massive Game Changer

This index has risen at a mind-numbing rate over the years. To give you an idea of how far this index has increased since we started it almost 11 years ago, consider this:

From Feb 2005 to Jan 2006 the Index moved from 300-501.

The current reading is 5750.

When Israel attacked Lebanon, we stated that the situation was hot, and that was back in 2006. This index has been dead on regarding predicting violence, religious intolerance and the general surge of violent behaviour the world has experienced over the years.

If we could have invested money in this index all our subscribers would be millionaires by now; the same applies to the adult index below.

What is it telling us now?

We are in the maximum overdrive zone.

Nations have very little tolerance for those that try to stamp on their heads, especially governments they no longer respect.

This is a reminder for the U.S, which Russia and China no longer respect it or fear it.

In fact, we are one of the few voices that went on record to state that Russia would overtly go out of its way to challenge and attack the U.S, especially after the Ukraine incident.  We also went on to say that China would follow in Russia’s footsteps and then these two would team up to openly challenge the US.

No matter what anyone states, the U.S does not have the firepower to take on both Russia and China.

Russia, Syrian and the holy religious war

Russia gave the U.S one hour notice before it started bombing in Syria (Not believable), China has countered that they will attack the U.S if they violate what they claim are their waters in the South China Sea.  These guys are not backing down anymore. They have had it with US hegemony and failed policies that have made the world a far uglier place than it was and should be. (The Dollar and sanctions on States that displease US policies)

Russians in general, when dealing with outsiders are slow to anger. Their silence can sometimes be mistaken for being passive or nonchalant, but when you cross a certain point, the game changes.

When the U.S and Europe came into Russia’s backyard and started telling them what to do, that point was reached. The bear once activated does not back down, and it will hunt till its killed or it kills its foe.

Russia is going to challenge the U.S and every twist and turn of the road.

Next, they will challenge NATO in a more open manner and show the world that NATO is nothing but a teddy bear. NATO’s strength lies in the illusion it creates that it will help any nation that is challenged.

We would like to see just how many nations will come to help Turkey or Lithuania, or Poland or any other member of NATO if Russia challenges them. (You cannot seriously challenge a superpower when too far away by land)

More importantly, Putin is going to make the House of Saud (Saudi Kingdom) pay very dearly for their betrayal. They made a strategic error when they double crossed Russia by agreeing to take the oil markets down (even hurting themselves for decades); now they will pay the price for decades to come

We will not be surprised if they start to equip the Houthis and the Yemeni army with serious weapons to give the House of Saud a dose of their own medicine.

Without any help, the Houthis and the Yemeni Army are already a painful thorn. Things will only get worse. In fact, Putin might send bombers to Saudi Arabia if they provoke Russia enough.

The Houthis and the Yemeni Army continue to push into Saudi Kingdom (regions that Yemen ceded to the Kingdom 3 decades ago, under pressure). Full Story

Putin also decided to sell the advanced version of the S-300 to Iran, only after Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen.

Iran will be happy to take on the House of Saud, and Russia is providing them with the necessary means to do so.

One thing many forget is that despite all the stuff that is being said about  Assad, he is the only Muslim leader that has gone out of his way to protect a group of Orthodox Christians in this country, who would have been slaughtered without his intervention.

The Russian Orthodox Church asked Putin if he would step in to save the Christians of the world that are being murdered by the so-called moderate rebels the U.S seems to arm all over the Middle-East. To which Putin answered, it will be so.

For example,  the rebel group al-Nusra Front, one of the players in the region Russia is now pounding, previously overran the Christian village of Maaloula, 40 miles north of Damascus, executing three Christians and kidnapping a dozen nuns before being driven out by the Syrian army.

During the battle for that village, one Christian addressed the BBC camera operator with these chilling words: “Tell the Europeans and the Americans that we sent you St Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us. Full Story  

 Russia’s entering into Syria is a holy war; it is the latest crusade of our time. The Russian Orthodox Church declared this, when its senior cleric, Vsevolod Chaplin, said:

Whatever they are trying to justify terrorism with, it cannot be justified. Thus, any fight against terrorism is moral; we can even call it a holy fight. It is a holy fight to defend the brethren, to protect the holy sites and the churches in Syria.

The active position of our country has always been connected with the protection of the weak and oppressed, like the Middle East Christians who are now experiencing a real genocide. Russia’s role has always been in protecting peace and justice for all Mideast peoples.

Putin is the St. Constantine of our time, for, like that priestly king of old, he has unsheathed the holy sword of the Church to strike down the enemies of God for the cause of humanity. Russia is following the Christian precept of loving God, honouring the state, and defending the brethren. The Russians are abiding by the teachings of St. Peter,

The Middle East needs tough, ruthless leaders for it is composed of tribes that hate each other, and if left to their own devices they will devour each other.

The Middle-East was far safer and stable with Saddam, Khadaffi, Hafez Assad etc.

Now that they are gone those countries are in tatters.

This is a religious war, and the war has just escalated.

Note, that as observers, we do not take sides, we just report what the trend is dictating. Our opinion matters not and over the years we have found it easier to distance ourselves from the situation. Emotions only exacerbate the situation.

The house of Saud is in Putin’s line of fire, so expect things to truly heat up in the months to come. (The problem is: Who will succeed the Kingdom except the Wahhabi extremists?)

There is no such thing as moderate rebels, these rebels, slaughter, rape and kill Christians and Shia Muslims. There is  Sunni; there is Shia, and then there is the Wahabbi Doctrine or Sect that most Saudi’s seem to adhere to; a view that is more radical and more violent.

The Houtis, by the way, are also a branch of Shia as is Assad’s tribe.

Additional notes

Many might ask why we cover political and health issues when our primary focus in the stock markets and the financial arena.  The short and straightforward answer is that all these fields are connected; we don’t have free market forces anymore.

Everything is manipulated; from the food, you eat to data you are provided.

If you are aware of this, you can plan accordingly. Identifying the problem is over 80% of the solution, and this is why most people don’t know what to do because they don’t understand the problem. (The context of the game)

Now you know why we are the only financial website that covers such a wide array of topics that on the surface appear to be unrelated but are in fact, deeply interwoven.

Mass psychology is a very powerful tool, and if employed correctly can help you spot the abnormal levels of manipulation, the masses are subjected to. We firmly suggest that you read or view Plato’s allegory of the cave.

TORTURE and ABUSE , PRISONERS, and ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION of Palestinians in Israel occupied territories

FACTS & FIGURES –

PRISONERS

‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier.

In January,a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’

  • According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
  • Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
  • Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
  • According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:

– TORTURE & ABUSE –

  • Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
  • In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.”
  • These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
  • In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated.
  • Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:

    Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.

  • Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
  • The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.

– ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –

  • Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
  • Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
  • There are currently as of May 29, 2012, approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
  • Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
  • Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
  • Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
  • An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
  • In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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