Can You Imagine Life Like This? A Glimpse into Palestinian Life in Gaza Strip

Netanyahu Tells European Leaders Concern for Palestinian Rights Is “Crazy”

from the Intercept

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on tape on Wednesday urging four European leaders to help him undermine a provision of a European Union trade agreement that imposes an obligation on Israel to respect the rights of the millions of Palestinians it rules in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it “crazy” for the E.U. to insist that Israel honor Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israel’s “respect for human rights and democratic principles.”..

In recent years, Israel has destroyed hundreds of European-financed structures — including schools, playgrounds and solar panels — built to help Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu and his ultranationalist supporters have harshly criticized European governments for providing financial support to Israeli rights groups, including Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, which work to expose abuses by Israel’s military in the occupied territories…

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U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

(Talk about “collusion”)

from The Intercept

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing t-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 Senators – 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats – want to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: anyone guilty of violating its prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 Lobbying Agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing Senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

A similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It already has amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members –  Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King – along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time

This pernicious bill highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress – across party and ideological lines – finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government

AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit of Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?..

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Israel Reconfirms Commitment To Treating Wounded Syrian Al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) Fighters (terrorists)

from Mint Press

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reconfirmed Israel’s commitment to treating “war-wounded” fighters from Syria “as part of a humanitarian effort.” While Israel has claimed that it treats any fighter or civilian who makes it to the demarcation line between Israel and Syria through the contested Golan Heights area, evidence continues to demonstrate that those Israel treats are almost exclusively terrorist-linked opposition fighters – a fact which makes Israel’s claims of humanitarianism difficult to justify.

Israel’s treatment of wounded Syrian “rebels” has received minimal media attention, with a small number of reports describing the initiative as “quiet” and taking place in “secret military hospitals.” According to reports from pro-Israel outlets, wounded fighters are rescued via unmarked “Israeli army vehicles” that enter “Syria to pick up injured rebels.” The hospitals where the wounded are treated are concentrated along the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has remained under Israeli occupation for several decades.

Since 2013, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups have dominated the “eight-square-kilometer separation zone on the Golan” where Israel has been extracting Syrian “rebels” for treatment in field hospitals. If they are not severely injured, they are then returned to Syria, where they resume fighting…

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Israel, Working with Facebook, is Arresting Palestinian Children for Posts Deemed “Incitement”

from TeleSUR

Israel has been interrogating and imprisoning dozens of Palestinian minors for months without any legal representation or a parent’s presence.

As Facebook gives the Israeli government more access to posts deemed as “incitement,” occupation forces have been raiding the homes of Palestinians children and detaining them for months over posts on the social media site, a report by the Defense for Children International-Palestine said Monday.

The group spoke with several Palestinian minors who were arrested for their Facebook posts, interrogated for hours and then kept in prison for months without charges under the Israeli policy of “administrative detention.”

“Israeli authorities must immediately stop using administrative detention against Palestinian minors,” Brad Parker, attorney and international advocacy officer at DCIP, said in the organization’s report.

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In-fighting Among Our Glorious New Freedom Fighters, The Kurds : Ibrahim Biro Threatens the West – Don’t Support the Wrong Kurds

by Scott Creighton

Who is going to be in charge of the biggest chunk of President Obama’s new country, Greater Kurdistan? Who will preside over the unveiling ceremony of the great statue of President Peace Prize? Someone from the Great Ruling Barzani family or someone else, some Baathist someone else? Only time and bloodshed can tell.

Watching the Kurds fight among themselves, squabble I should say, is funny. They expose themselves daily and no one is paying attention.

The Kurdish National Council was founded in Hawler on 26 October 2011, under the sponsorship of Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani..” Wiki

Take for instance what Ibrahim Biro, the head of Syria’s Kurdish National Council, said Wednesday about the PYD, the Syrian arm of the terrorist PKK group:

They’re exploiting the [international] fight against the ISIL terrorist group to attack their opponents,” he said.

In recent months, the PYD has reportedly indulged in the ethnic cleansing of areas under its control, arbitrarily detained its political opponents and forced local residents to fight on its behalf.

Biro went on to assert that western countries tended to overlook rights breaches committed by the PYD in northern Syria — a policy he said “facilitates the group’s ongoing domination of the region”. World Bulletin, Aug. 17, 2016

How about that. Here we have a Kurd in Syria openly admitting that at least one faction of the Greater Kurdistan project is being aided and abetted by the United States as they ethnically cleanse the parts of Syria they want for themselves and as they detain and erase political opponents of their future rule. He also states that their so-called fight against ISIS™ is a crock of shit, that’s it’s simply a pretext for them to use to be able to move through Syria raiding and looting and killing local civilians so they can carve themselves a piece of the country for their own Greater Kurdistan.

Imagine that. A prominent Kurdish political leader right there in the country saying EXACTLY what Penny and myself (and WAY TO FEW OTHERS) have been saying for well over a year. Only, he goes on to threaten the Western nations that they better not support the left-leaning Kurds as opposed to the Barzani clan Kurds. Say’s we will “regret it” if we do.

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‘War minister!’ Hundreds rally in Tel Aviv to decry Israeli PM’s defense chief pick

from RT

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest the far-right turn the government has signaled by choosing Avigdor Lieberman as Defense Minister. Activists say PM Benjamin Netanyahu is putting Israel on a path of war.

Demonstrators came together at HaBima Square in Tel Aviv, saying that by appointing Lieberman to head the military, Netanyahu had created the “most right wing government in the history of the State,” Israeli media reported.

“We think this government is a disaster for our country,” the Jerusalem Post quoted one of the organizers as shouting. “There is no future or vision.” 

Protesters held up Peace Now signs and waved green left-wing Meretz party flags as they chanted slogans with Netanyahu’s nickname: “Bibi you failed, Bibi go home,” and “We don’t want more victims, Lieberman is a minister of war.”

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