• Russia. Winning in Syria and the Middle East - By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam - Syria Comment

    https://www.joshualandis.com/blog/25520-2

    Winning in Syria and the Middle East
    By David W. Lesch and Kamal Alam
    For Syria Comment – July 16, 2018

    The common perception today is that Russia has won in Syria, having supported the government of Bashar al-Assad, which is now steadily reasserting its control over previously lost territory. As a result, Russia has inserted itself as the power broker in Syria, if not the entire Middle East. The summit between Presidents Trump and Putin on Monday in Helsinki, where the subject of Syria was high on the agenda, seems to have consecrated Russia’s victory. Countries tend to gravitate toward winners, not losers.

    Kamal Alam

    The United States, on the other hand, directly and indirectly intervened in multiple conflicts in the Middle East since 9/11, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq, followed by involvement in a series of upheavals brought on by the Arab Spring: Libya and Syria most notably. No one would say the US has won in any of these cases—far from it.

    On the surface, this is difficult to comprehend. After all, the US has by far the most powerful military on earth. The image of Russia’s only aircraft carrier limping toward, breaking down, and being towed in the eastern Mediterranean in support of Assad’s forces was a stark reminder of this reality. So how did Russia win—and why did the US fail over and over again?

    There is one outstanding difference in the Russian versus American military interventions in internal national conflicts in the Middle East: in Syria, the Kremlin supported the entrenched state. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the US supported opposition forces seeking the overthrow of the entrenched state.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say the US and NATO reversed their policy and actually wanted Libyan President Muammar Gadafi to remain in power against the opposition forces unleashed by the Arab spring. Is there any doubt that with US military support he would still be in power today? Perhaps he too would be mopping up pockets of resistance much as Assad is doing today in Syria. However illogical or immoral it may have seemed at the time to most in the West, let’s say Washington wanted Assad to stay in power seven years ago when the Arab spring hit Syria. Would not the US be the one crowning its success there, not Russia? Ironically, the US supported the Iraqi state against ISIS—and won. But the US is not going to get much credit for solving a problem it largely created when it dissolved the state via the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its chaotic aftermath.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709662 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Combien de Français servent dans l’armée israélienne ?
    Libération - Par Fabien Leboucq 19 juillet 2018
    http://www.liberation.fr/checknews/2018/07/19/combien-de-francais-servent-dans-l-armee-israelienne_1661759

    (...) Il y a deux mois, quand nous commencions à traiter ce sujet, un connaisseur français de l’armée israélienne nous prévenait : « Vous aurez du mal à obtenir des infos, c’est hautement tabou des deux côtés. » Prédiction confirmée par le Ministère des affaires étrangères français, qui nous explique quelques jours plus tard « ne pas disposer d’informations sur le nombre de Français au sein de l’armée israélienne. » Les ambassades française en Israël, israélienne en France ainsi que le Quai d’Orsay, assurant ne pas avoir de chiffres, nous ont unanimement renvoyés vers Tsahal.

    2% au moins du total de l’armée

    À force de relances, nous avons obtenu réponse du porte-parolat des forces armées israéliennes : « 4185 soldats en service régulier ont la citoyenneté française. » Le nombre est peut-être minoré, car l’armée ne compte que les personnes qui ont déclaré leur nationalité française.

    La nationalité française est la deuxième nationalité étrangère la plus représentée dans les rangs de Tsahal, après la nationalité américaine. Les citoyens français ou franco-israéliens engagés dans les forces armées israéliennes représentent entre 1,7% et 3,5% des effectifs totaux.

    En 2011 ce total était estimé à 176 500 soldats, selon l’Institut national des études de sécurité, rattaché à l’université de Tel-Aviv. Un chiffre « inférieur à la réalité », assure la grande muette israélienne sans en dire plus.

    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

    Ces Français volontaires dans l’armée israélienne
    Droit international et occupation
    Orient XXI > Marc Cher-Leparrain > 18 mars 2014
    https://orientxxi.info/magazine/ces-francais-volontaires-dans-l-armee-israelienne,0546

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709603 via Loutre


  • Israel passes controversial nation-state law defining country as Jewish national homeland

    62 lawmakers vote in favor of the bill after a stormy debate ■ Arab lawmakers tossed out after they tear bill in protest, call it ’apartheid law’

    Jonathan Lis and Noa Landau Jul 19, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-passes-controversial-nation-state-bill-1.6291048

    The Knesset passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” with 62 lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation and 55 opposing it.
    The nation-stae law also includes clauses stating that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country’s official language. Another says that “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
    It passed after a long and stormy debate that began in the afternoon, with lawmakers voting on hundreds of clauses presented by the opposition that objected to differents parts of the bill. 
    >> Nation-state bill heralds the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic State | Analysis ■ As an Arab, I support Israel’s Jewish nation-state bill | Opinion ■ Israel’s nation-state bill betrays insecurity about its right to the land
    Immediately after the law passed, Arab lawmakers tore copies in protest, and were subsequently removed from the Knesset plenum hall. Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, released a statement saying that Israel “declared it does not want us here” and that it had “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citiziens.”

    Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a defining moment – long live the State of Israel.”

    Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Knesset.
    Netanyahu further said that “122 years after Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.”
    The prime minister also said that "in the Middle East, only Israel respects [rights]. This is our country, the Jewish state. In recent years there have been those who have tried to undermine that and question the principles of our existence. Today we made it into law: This is the country, the language, the anthem and flag. 

    As they left the Knesset plenum, Arab MKs from the Joint List party confronted Netanyahu. MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.” 
    MK Tibi lashed at Netanyahu: “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” The premier retorted by saying: “How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?” 
    Opposition head Isaac Herzog also spoke up at the plenum, saying that “it’s a little sad to me that the last speech I make will be against this kind of backdrop. The question is whether the law will harm or benefit Israel. History will determine. I really hope that we won’t find the fine balance between a Jewish and democratic state to be hurt.”
    The sponsor of the bill, MK Avi Dichter, said during debates that took place prior to the vote that “unlike the disinformation and fake news that were tossed around [regarding the bill], this basic law doesn’t hurt the culture of minorities living in Israel, doesn’t hurt their sabbaticals and holidays and certainly doesn’t hurt the Arabic language, which remains a mother tongue for 1.5 million of Israel’s citizens.”
    The draft bill the Knesset voted on is fundamentally different form the version the coalition had sought to advance in the past decade. Its main clauses were moderated following pressure within the coalition ranks and beyond.
    Initially, the bill was intended to significantly limit the discretion of Supreme Court justices’ decisions, requiring them to set the state’s Jewish character above its democratic character in rulings where the two clashed. This clause was removed from the bill already in May.

    The most controversial clause, which appeared to pave the way for the creation of communities segregated by nationality or religion, was removed from the legislation earlier this week.

    The nation-state law establishes as a basic law, or quasi-constitutional law, a set of values, some of which already appear in existing laws. The law stipulates that Israel is the Jewish nation’s historic homeland and that this nation has the singular right to national self-determination in it. The law anchors the flag, menorah, Hatikva anthem, Hebrew calendar, Independence Day and Jewish holidays as national symbols.
    The law states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is the state’s capital, which appears today in Basic Law: Jerusalem. The nation-state law further grants the status of an official language only to Hebrew.
    Another controversial clause stipulates that the state will invest resources in preserving Israel’s affiliation to world Jewry, but not in Israel. This wording was demanded by the ultra-Orthodox parties to prevent the state from linking up with the Reform and Conservative communities in Israel.
    As part of the protest against the law, Peace Now activists waved a black flag in the Knesset balcony during the debate, until security guards made them leave the room. Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.
    “As [the 1956 massacre] in Kafr Qassem was a blatantly illegal order, with a black flag over it, so is a black flag hoisted over this evil law,” he said.
    J Street’s president and founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, harshly criticized the nation-state bill and Netanyahu’s government: “It was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ’will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”
    On Monday, Netanyahu said the bill was “very important to guarantee the foundations of our existence, which is Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” – though critics say he is mainly keen to drum up support before the next Knesset election, due by November next year.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709115 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • In West Bank, 99.7% of Public Land Grants by Israel Go to Settlers - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/world/middleeast/west-bank-public-land-israel-palestinians.html
    https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/07/18/world/18Israel-stateland-print-cmyk/18Israel-stateland-facebookJumbo.jpg

    Peace Now based its calculations on data obtained from the Civil Administration, the Israeli authority that carries out civilian policy in the West Bank, including land administration, under the command of the military.

    The Civil Administration gave the numbers to Peace Now in mid-June, more than two years after the group submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act, together with the Israeli Movement for Freedom of Information.

    #israel #colonisation #Palestine #impunité

    https://seenthis.net/messages/709081 via Kassem


  • Israël : « La démocratie n’existe que pour les citoyens juifs »
    Le Point - Propos recueillis par Armin Arefi - Publié le 18/07/2018
    http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/israel-la-democratie-n-existe-que-pour-les-citoyens-juifs-18-07-2018-2237112

    (...) Pourtant, le gouvernement israélien ne cesse de répéter que ses 20 % d’Arabes jouissent des mêmes droits que ses 75 % de Juifs.

    Youssef Jabareen : Malheureusement, la communauté internationale n’est pas au courant de la situation des citoyens arabes palestiniens d’Israël. Nous sommes considérés comme des citoyens inférieurs, de seconde zone, pas simplement dans la pratique mais également selon la loi. Ces jours-ci, alors que je suis à Paris pour tenter de sensibiliser les responsables français sur cette réalité, je suis très préoccupé par ce qui se passe chez moi. Le gouvernement est en train de promouvoir un nouveau projet de loi intitulé « loi de l’État nation », qui stipule qu’Israël est l’État nation du peuple juif. Or, ce projet de loi perpétue le caractère inférieur de notre communauté en garantissant des droits exclusifs à ses citoyens juifs. Parmi eux figure la construction de nouveaux quartiers basés sur la religion et la nationalité, c’est-à-dire en réalité exclusivement juifs. Il y a également une autre disposition qui vise à dégrader le statut de la langue arabe, de langue officielle à langue avec un statut particulier. À travers ces exemples, on peut dire qu’il existe aujourd’hui une volonté de dégrader le statut de notre communauté.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708943 via Loutre


  • Hamas delegation in Cairo: More media show for ‘century deal’ than substance | MadaMasr

    While ‘a way out’ of the US economic deal was among the delegation’s aims, the refusal of key Hamas political figures to attend makes outcomes of the talks ‘meaningless.’

    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/07/14/feature/politics/hamas-delegation-in-cairo-more-media-show-for-century-deal-than-substance

    A Hamas delegation left Cairo on Friday night after spending four days in the Egyptian capital, pushing for a temporary resolution to the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip and a way out of the United States’s “deal of the century” with the “least amount of damage” possible, according to a source close to the Palestinian movement’s Gaza-based leadership.

    Despite the seeming stakes of the Cairo agenda, a second high-ranking Hamas source minimized the significance of the talks between Egyptian General Intelligence Director Abbas Kamal and the Gaza delegation that is headed by Saleh Arouri and composed of Hamas political bureau members Moussa Abu Marzouk, Ezzat al-Risheq, Khalil al-Hayya, Hossam Badran, and Rawhi Mushtaha.

    The second source, who is close to representatives of the Hamas leadership abroad, tells Mada Masr that Cairo extended an invitation to Hamas senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh and the movement’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar. However, neither accepted the invitation, with Haniya calling the visit “worthless,” according to the source.

    For the second Hamas source, the visit’s objectives were twofold: “probing” and “staging a media show to suggest to the Americans that the key to Gaza remains singularly in Hamas’s pocket.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708833 via Nouvelles d’Orient



  • Egypt
    Opium or coffee? Islam and its relevance in hard times | MadaMasr
    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/07/17/opinion/u/opium-or-coffee-islam-and-its-relevance-in-hard-times

    Karl Marx hated organized and institutionalized religion. Of all his economic and political thoughts, his words equating religion with opium are some of the most notorious: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” He believed that religion has certain practical uses, much like a recreational, mind-numbing substance; that it has the potential to reduce the immediate suffering of those who are sick or injured, providing them with more pleasant illusions. But he also observed that it reduces their energy and willingness to confront the oppressive, heartless and soulless reality that capitalism forces people into.

     It feels like everyone in Egypt has been put through a social and psychological grinder ever since the Egyptian government began to enact the IMF’s loan policies. Catastrophic inflation rates reached as high as 30 percent in July 2017, another wave of price hikes in electricity, fuel, gas and water are affecting nearly all other services, and there was a recent 300 percent increase in metro ticket prices. More than a quarter of Egyptians barely hover above the poverty line, and another quarter is quickly sinking into destitution. Given this, what role does and can religion play in people’s lives?

    In a country with a conservative religious culture, and for a people who call themselves “naturally religious,” religion cannot be the mind-numbing narcotic that Marx imagined. It is too entwined in the social fabric and the historic national identity to have any such effect. If religion were indeed a drug, Egyptians would have developed a tolerance to its mechanism of action a long time ago. Neither can it be an agent for anchoring self-blame and personal salvation, or purely restricted to charity. After all, people can’t survive on prayer alone. It also cannot be used as a tool to blame the masses for these dire conditions, much to the dismay of the ruling elite.

    Surely, it would take a much stronger concoction of narcotics than religion alone to deny the impact of the IMF’s infamous prescription and our state’s economic policies?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708834 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • How a West Bank highway’s roadsign captures the Israeli psyche - Opinion

    There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, completely oblivious of Palestinian residents

    Amira Hass
    Jul 17, 2018 6:59 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-how-a-west-bank-highway-s-roadsign-captures-the-israeli-psyche-1.6

    If you want a tour of the Israeli subconscious, follow Route 60 through the West Bank to the junction of the villages of Beitin, Dir Dibwan and Burqa, then turn left. You’re not familiar with that intersection? Here’s a hint: Netivei Israel, the National Transport Infrastructure Company, is upgrading the junction and has even posted signs there with the following wording: “Very dangerous site. Drive carefully.” The warnings are written inside a circle with a needle pointing to a red stripe, for emphasis.
    Underneath the circle, it says, “Givat Assaf Junction. Widening the intersection and making safety upgrades. Working to fix a dangerous intersection. Date of completion: January 2019.” The notice is signed by the Transportation Ministry and the roads company.

    A Hebrew only sign at Givat Assaf Junction in the West BankAmira Hass
    In mid-March, I asked spokespeople at Netivei Israel why it chose that name for the intersection, given that Givat Assaf is, as I put it, “An unauthorized and illegal outpost built on privately owned land belonging to residents of the Palestinian village of Beitin. Moreover, this land was taken over by means of forged documents.” The outpost was built in 2001 by exploiting the severe restrictions the army had imposed on Palestinian movement at that time, which enabled settler gangs of robbers to take over more land.
    I added that I’d been informed the outpost hadn’t been legalized. In other words, that Israeli authorities couldn’t find any cunning legal wizardry with which to whitewash this blatant forgery, which included the “sale” of the land in 2002 or 2003 by a Beitin resident who died in 1995. “Isn’t the choice of this name a form of encouragement for real estate crime?” I asked the company.
    Here is the answer I received: “Netivei Israel is the national transportation infrastructure company and doesn’t get involved in political issues at all, but only in the core issues it is responsible for – planning, building and maintaining a network of roads.”
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    It doesn’t get involved in political issues? There’s nothing more political than a state-owned company that built a major road on lands belonging to the Palestinian villages of Beitin, Burqa and Dir Dibwan, without even giving them direct access to the road and the intersection. There’s nothing more political than a company paving roads beyond the state’s borders to enable Jewish Israelis to violate international law, which forbids transferring members of an occupying population into occupied territory.
    But all this is still within the bounds of the Israeli conscious. Israel doesn’t hide its goal: formal, complete seizure of over 60 percent of the West Bank. Israel doesn’t hide its position that every bit of land on which a Jew lays his hand is sanctified to him and belongs to Israel.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/708835 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Hasbara is dead – Mondoweiss
    https://mondoweiss.net/2018/07/hasbara-is-dead

    The Jewish defection is key, of course. Jews have a privileged position in the global discourse of Israel, and the Jewish monolith is crumbling. The young Jews of IfNotNow are conducting a full-scale assault on the Jewish establishment. “Israel doesn’t have a public relations crisis; it has a moral crisis,” IfNotNow says (quoting Avrum Burg), while a Jewish leader howls to a synagogue full of older Jews: “Where did we go wrong in our homes and our schools!?”

    Rebecca Vilkomerson of the burgeoning group Jewish Voice for Peace observes that everyone from her daughter’s New York public high school to Bette Midler are openly critical of the massacre, even as Israelis endorse it overwhelmingly, and when the New York Times said dozens of Palestinians “died” in protests in Gaza, Judd Apatow had enough.

    “Have died.” Shame on you. This is like calling Trump’s lies “factual innacuracies.” Please tell me an intern is running your twitter feed.

    The Democratic political establishment is even beginning to steer clear of this mess. Vilkomerson (to the Real News):

    I think with the exception of [Chuck] Schumer, no Democrats have been defending Israel’s actions. In fact, quite a number, in fact over a dozen, have spoken out against what Israel has done over the course of the last six weeks. And you contrast that with 2014 [when Israel killed over 2200 in Gaza, including 500 children], when I think it was something like 78 senators signed a statement supporting the Gaza war. So there has been a shift. in terms of Congress and who’s willing to speak out and being able to speak out. And that there’s enough backing from their own constituents to speak out that they’re not going to be punished by AIPAC or other organizations…

    This puts the Israeli government in a new position. It is just another rightwing authoritarian country with a story to tell about why change isn’t necessary but force is that talking heads in the U.S. are going to ignore or make fun of.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707990 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Ireland approves bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ireland-approves-bill-boycotting-israeli-settlements-1.6265672

    Ireland’s Senate approved on Wednesday a bill to boycott products from West Bank settlements.
    The bill passed with 25 lawmakers voting in its favor, 20 against it and 14 abstaining. The legislation prohibits “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.”
    Earlier this year, a vote on the bill was delayed at the Irish government’s request. The government, at Israel’s urging, then sought to soften the language, but was unable to reach a compromise.

    The bill has passed thanks to votes from opposition legislators and independents. Senator Frances Black, the independent who sponsored the bill, recently posted a video urging the Irish to pressure their representatives to support it.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707802 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • The Maps of Israeli Settlements That Shocked Barack Obama | The New Yorker

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-map-of-israeli-settlements-that-shocked-barack-obama?mbid=nl_Daily%20

    One afternoon in the spring of 2015, a senior State Department official named Frank Lowenstein paged through a government briefing book and noticed a map that he had never seen before. Lowenstein was the Obama Administration’s special envoy on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a position that exposed him to hundreds of maps of the West Bank. (One adorned his State Department office.)

    Typically, those maps made Jewish settlements and outposts look tiny compared to the areas where the Palestinians lived. The new map in the briefing book was different. It showed large swaths of territory that were off limits to Palestinian development and filled in space between the settlements and the outposts. At that moment, Lowenstein told me, he saw “the forest for the trees”—not only were Palestinian population centers cut off from one another but there was virtually no way to squeeze a viable Palestinian state into the areas that remained. Lowenstein’s team did the math. When the settlement zones, the illegal outposts, and the other areas off limits to Palestinian development were consolidated, they covered almost sixty per cent of the West Bank.

    Lowenstein showed the small map to Secretary of State John Kerry and said, “Look what’s really going on here.” Kerry brought the map to his next meeting with President Obama. The map was too small for everyone in the Situation Room to see, so Lowenstein had a series of larger maps made. The information was then verified by U.S. intelligence agencies. Obama’s Presidency was winding down, but Lowenstein figured that he could use the time left to raise awareness about what the Israelis were doing. “One day, everyone’s going to wake up and go, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve got to stop this to at least have the possibility of a two-state solution,’ ” Lowenstein said.

    The State Department presentation, which was prepared in 2015 and updated in 2016, showed examples of what the State Department identified as “Palestinian incitement” and maps depicting Israel’s settlement growth in the West Bank. One of the maps was titled “What a One State Reality Looks Like,” and included a bullet point that read, “In the combined areas of Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Jews no longer represent the majority.” (Israeli officials have said that the number of Jews and Arabs is at or near parity.)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707484 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Calling Israel racist isn’t anti-Semitic, rules UK Labour | The Electronic Intifada

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/calling-israel-racist-isnt-anti-semitic-rules-uk-labour

    Palestine solidarity campaigners have welcomed new rules on anti-Semitism passed by the British Labour Party’s ruling executive this week.

    Left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour gave the new rules a cautious welcome, saying in a statement that the code of conduct “offers a constructive framework for moving forward in this difficult area.”

    But Israel lobby groups were furious on Wednesday, as details of the new rules emerged.

    The new Labour code of conduct on anti-Semitism strips out several of the most damaging clauses of the controversial “working definition” on anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

    The new rules still endorse parts of the definition within the IHRA document. Yet they reject or rewrite some “examples” cited in that document of what allegedly constitutes anti-Semitism.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707365 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Netanyahu’s dark deal with Europe’s radical right -

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured in Eastern Europe because these ties help him block EU decisions against the occupation, but there are no free lunches in politics

    Nitzan Horowitz
    Jul 09, 2018 4:32 AM
    | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-pm-s-dark-deal-with-e-europe-condones-anti-semitism-and-occupation

    Netanyahu’s Polish romance, much like his Hungarian romance, is part of a much bigger story. For years, Netanyahu has been promoting all sorts of ties with the radical right in Europe. He has some passionate fans there: A long list of anti-democratic movements and governments that consider Bibi’s Israel an optimal partner. The Israeli government has no problem with these entities, because they are essentially quite similar. The basis of the connection derives from overlapping interests and ideological closeness.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Immigration is a prominent example. The right’s anti-immigration efforts (there and here) became fused with the Israeli-Arab conflict and made Israel an ally in the fight against Islam. “The Jews are our brothers in arms in the war against Islam,” Filip Dewinter, leader of a far right Flemish party in Belgium, explained a decade ago. In that same interview with this newspaper, DeWinter also argued that there was no need for laws against Holocaust denial.
    The far-right political movements, some of which are the descendants of Holocaust-era political parties and regimes, understood years ago that they had to change their image if they wanted to grow stronger. And that one way to do this was to enlist Jewish communities in Israel and around the world as a source of political legitimacy and seal of approval. Many far-right parties in Europe have chosen to distance themselves from anti-Semitism, in their public declarations at least. The open anti-Semitism has been replaced with crude Islamophobia. But the Jewish communities still aren’t buying it. Just scratch the surface and the real character of these groups is revealed.
    Last year, when tension was rising in the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen showed the face she’d been trying to hide. She asserted that France bore no responsibility for the persecution of French Jews, defying a two-decades-long national effort to acknowledge the terrible responsibility borne by French fascism and the Vichy regime for the murders of tens of thousands of Jews.

    Netanyahu likes to boast about the foreign relations he has nurtured, especially in Eastern Europe. These ties help him to block EU decisions against the occupation and the settlements. But there are no free lunches in politics. These relations come with a price, and Israel is paying it: refraining from criticizing these countries over anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-democratic legislation, even when Jews worldwide are appalled, as happened in the George Soros affair. This is a two-way deal: Forgive me my anti-Semitism and I’ll forgive your occupation.
    >> Yad Vashem vs. Bibi: When there’s nothing to celebrate, Netanyahu runs from the cameras || Analysis >>
    But diplomatic interests are just part of the picture. The Israeli government isn’t reluctantly being forced to swallow the various anti-democratic political trends in return for diplomatic gain – because it basically agrees with these trends. Essentially, Israel’s current government has no fundamental moral dispute with this dark trend in Europe.

    The profound political shift in Israel over the last generation is moving it from the side that upholds universal human and civil rights to the side that upholds a nationalist, ethnocentric view opposed to social welfare policy. This is where the far right can always be found, and where the Israeli right can increasingly be found now. This is a Putinist-Trumpist worldview characterized by social ruthlessness, racism and unabashed scorn for liberal democracy, all expressed by aversion to international institutions, nostalgia for the greatness of an imagined past, adulation of power, derision of the media and hatred of minorities.
    And it’s totally reciprocal: Many in Europe’s far right talk about “shared values” with Israel and view it as a nationalist role model. Thus we see more and more right-wing Israeli figures unashamedly pursuing ties with the European fascists, and the latter touting their friends in Israel. Now, for the most part, it is only the memory of the Holocaust combined with strong resistance from the world’s Jewish communities that prevents Israel from plunging deeper into this European morass.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707386 via Nouvelles d’Orient



  • “La résistance est féminine” : des femmes de Gaza manifestent pour leur droit au retour
    Maha Hussaini – 3 juillet 2018 | Source : Middle East Eye | Traduction : SM pour l’Agence Média Palestinettp ://www.agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2018/07/06/la-resistance-est-feminine-des-femmes-de-gaza-manifestent-pour-leur-droit-au-retour/
    http://www.agencemediapalestine.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IMG_9893-300x200.jpg

    Lors d’une conférence de presse tenue à Gaza lundi [2 juillet], le Haut Comité national pour la Grande Marche du Retour et pour briser le siège a demandé aux femmes palestiniennes de « participer massivement à la manifestation » et d’exiger leur droit au retour.

    « Cet événement contribue à soutenir les Palestiniennes qui tiennent bon malgré le siège. Le message en est clair : personne ne peut nous priver de nos droits, en particulier le droit au retour et l’exigence de mettre fin au siège », a déclaré Iktimal Hamad, présidente de la commission Femmes du Comité.

    Les mères, épouses, filles ou sœurs de personnes tuées ou blessées lors des manifestations de la Grande Marche du Retour, ainsi que des femmes journalistes ou étudiantes à l’université, brandissaient des drapeaux palestiniens ou des panneaux demandant le droit au retour et affirmaient leur volonté de poursuivre les manifestations.

    « Qui a dit que les femmes ne pouvaient pas se battre aussi efficacement que les hommes ? » s’est exclamée Suheir Khader, 39 ans, dont les proches et les amies sont venues manifester avec elle.

    « En grandissant, nous avons appris que la résistance était féminine. Nos grands-mères étaient aux côtés de nos grands-pères et ont lutté comme eux pendant la Nakba (la Catastrophe) et la première intifada.

    #marcheduretour

    https://seenthis.net/messages/707343 via Loutre


  • Why the Egyptian military will relinquish power | MadaMasr
    https://www-madamasr-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.madamasr.com/en/?p=262066

    In 2013, I wrote that the military would not be able to maintain popular support if they abandon the democratic process, and that neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the military would be able to re-impose authoritarianism. Egypt cannot be stable without democratic governance. The only remaining question, as I wrote in the German Die Zeit and privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, is whether this democratic governance would “soon emerge, or we should embark on a new round of conflict before everyone realizes the need for true democracy?”

    We got the answer rather quickly. The new regime not only abandoned democratic transition, but also closed the limited pluralist space that former President Hosni Mubarak had maintained for 30 years, and became increasingly comparable to the Nasserite regime, both in terms of its despotism and the dominance of the military. As a result, many gave up on the possibility of democracy in Egypt and accepted the claim that the military will not abandon its hold over the country in the foreseeable future, perhaps ever.

    I contend that this is too hasty a conclusion; sooner or later the Egyptian military will give up control over governance. While they will almost certainly maintain their independence and a strong voice in the country’s strategic decisions, they will have no viable option other than to withdraw from the public sphere, opening the way for a genuine democratic transition.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706849 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • A Strip apart ? Gaza grapples with politics of expanded Egyptian administration in Trump’s ‘century deal’ | MadaMasr

    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/06/29/feature/politics/a-strip-apart-gaza-grapples-with-politics-of-expanded-egyptian-administrat

    An economic delegation from the Gaza Strip arrived in Cairo on Tuesday night to discuss the United States’ proposal concerning the humanitarian and economic state of the besieged Palestinian territory, as Washington continues to push talks concerning the “deal of the century.”

    Deputy Finance Minister Youssef al-Kayali headed up the Gaza delegation, which, according to a Palestinian political source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, was in Cairo “to listen to what the Egyptian side proposes without a preconceived position and without violating known Palestinian principles.”

    To this point, indications of Gaza’s appetite for the deal have been absent from the unfolding diplomatic discussions. The US diplomatic envoy headed by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, was primarily focused on informing regional leaders of the defining features of Trump’s initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but, notably, did not meet with Palestinian actors during last week’s regional tour, which included stops in Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    The framework of the US’s “century deal” involves the construction of a joint port on the Mediterranean between the Egyptian and Palestinian cities of Rafah, according to US and European diplomatic sources that spoke to Mada Masr ahead of the US delegation’s visit last week. The joint port would act as a prelude to extensive economic activity, for which North Sinai would serve as a hub, and would include five principal projects that would be funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with a labor force that would be two-thirds Palestinian from the Gaza Strip and one-third Egyptian.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706686 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Palestinian Teen Dies From Serious Wounds He Suffered On May 14
    IMEMC News - July 5, 2018 3:02 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/palestinian-teen-dies-from-serious-wounds-he-suffered-on-may-14
    http://imemc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/MahmoudGharabely-e1530743306448.jpg

    The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, on Wednesday evening, that a teen died from serious wounds he suffered on May 14th, after Israeli soldiers shot him during the Great Return March in Gaza.

    The Ministry said the teen, Mahmoud Majed Gharabli , 16, was shot by an Israeli army sniper east of Gaza city.

    The teen was shot in the head and remained in a serious condition until he succumbed to his wounds on July 4th.

    #Palestine_assassinée #marcheduretour

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706674 via Loutre


  • Importante déclaration de l’Internationale socialiste sur BDS – Pour la Palestine
    Publié le 3 juillet 2018
    http://www.pourlapalestine.be/importante-declaration-de-linternationale-socialiste-sur-bds

    Le Conseil de l’Internationale Socialiste, réuni aux Nations Unies à Genève les 26 et 27 juin 2018, a adopté une déclaration sur la question palestinienne, dans laquelle il “appelle tous les gouvernements et organisations de la société civile au lancement d’une opération de boycott, désinvestissement et sanctions (BDS) contre l’occupation israélienne, l’ensemble des institutions d’occupation et les colonies israéliennes illégales, y compris un embargo total sur toute forme de commerce et de coopération militaire avec Israël tant que se poursuivent les politiques d’occupation et d’apartheid contre les Palestiniens”.

    Réunion du Conseil de l’Internationale Socialiste
    Nations Unies, Genève, 26 et 27 juin 2018
    DÉCLARATION SUR LA QUESTION PALESTINIENNE
    http://www.internationalesocialiste.org/images/dynamicImages/files/FINAL%20Palestine%20Fr.pdf

    “““““““““““““““““““““““““
    en 2016
    L’internationale Socialiste reconnaît BDS comme une tactique légitime contre l’occupation israélienne
    / 8 juillet 2016
    https://www.bdsfrance.org/linternationale-socialiste-reconnait-bds-comme-une-tactique-legitime-cont
    #BDS

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706532 via Loutre


  • Israel’s stupid, ignorant and amoral betrayal of the truth on Polish involvement in the Holocaust

    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. And we legitimized the government’s campaign to harass, fine and impoverish Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who expose Poles’ involvement in the crimes of the Holocaust

    Yehuda BauerSendSend me email alerts
    Jul 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-okay-so-the-poles-didn-t-murder-jews-1.6242474

    The Polish and Israeli governments have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Polish law that states that claiming that Poland as a country, or the Polish people, were responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. According to the agreement, this criminal aspect was removed.
    The Polish government passed the law to begin with to defend its good name against accusations that many Poles took part in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. And who will decide on the historical facts? According to the Poles, it will be the Institute of National Remembrance, which is run by the politicians controlling the country today.
    And so according to the law – even after the agreement with Israel – the government will determine what happened in the past via historians in its service, and this narrative cannot be critiqued by historians, independent researchers or others. Is this acceptable to the Israeli government?
    >> With Nationalists in Power, Can Jews Ever Feel at Home in Poland? | Opinion ■ The Polish were once victims of historical whitewashing. Now they are doing the same | Analysis >> 
    The joint announcement by Israel and Poland also states that many segments of Polish society helped Jews. This position diminishes the heroism of Poland’s Righteous Among the Nations because the noble-spirited Polish rescuers had to hide not only from the Germans, but also, and perhaps mainly, from their Polish neighbors.
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    Yad Vashem has recognized some 6,750 Polish Righteous Among the Nations. They are a small and courageous minority. Unfortunately, the social norm that was accepted in occupied Poland was completely different: The usual conduct was not to help Jews, but to harm them, and many Poles were involved in the persecution of Jews. Europeans’ cooperation with the Nazi death machine was widespread, of course, not only in Poland. But in other countries, scholars who uncover this can’t be penalized.
    As for the abrogation of the criminal aspect of the law, let’s not forget that this also means eliminating the exception of historians and literary figures whose profession is to write about this subject. From now on they too, and of course also journalists, educators, politicians and others, can be sued for revealing historical truths. Eliminating the criminal aspect lifts the threat of imprisonment and fines in criminal proceedings, but not punishment in civil proceedings.
    In fact, the revamped law encourages civil suits against Poles who claim that a good many Poles were involved in persecuting Jews. Naturally, this claim is correct. There were Poles who gave Jews up to the Polish police, who in turn gave them to the Germans. There were those who turned Jews in directly to the Germans, and there were those who murdered Jews themselves.

    The clauses of the law that still stand can, apparently, be imposed via civil proceedings against anyone claiming that the main motives for persecuting Jews were the anti-Semitism of a good many Poles and the greed of Poles who on a huge scale throughout Poland stole the possessions of those who were deported and murdered.
    The Law and Justice party now rules Poland, with a decisive majority in parliament. In fact, the government is in the hands of the party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who in this is imitating Stalin, who controlled the Soviet Union from his position as head of the Bolshevik party. Kaczynski and his party are of course anti-Communist, so their rule can be defined as Bolshevik anti-Communism.
    >> Opinion: Neither Poland nor Israel can afford their fixation with the past >> 
    Kaczynski announced a few days ago that preparations are already being made in civil courts to sue offenders. These people could be required to pay high fines.
    Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who want to expose the acts of harassment by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust could risk impoverishment and loss of livelihood. It may be assumed that their research funding will be reduced or eliminated, and honest people will be removed from their jobs. Poland will quickly become an illiberal democracy, the term favored by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who supports this nationalist-populist revolt and will receive a royal welcome by the Israeli government on his upcoming visit here.
    The declaration by Warsaw and Jerusalem legitimizes this betrayal by the Israeli government of the historical truth, the memory of the Holocaust and the marvelous people in Poland who investigated the facts on which we base our criticism. And for what did the Israeli government sacrifice truth and justice? For its current economic, security and political interests, which are more important than some Holocaust that happened 70 or 80 years ago.
    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. If we come now to the Americans or the Europeans with complaints against what this generates in Poland, they’ll answer us, and rightfully, that the Israeli government accepted the Polish facts. I don’t know what was going on here – ignorance, stupidity or the clear amoral victory of transient interests that will remain with us as an eternal disgrace. And perhaps it was simply betrayal.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706690 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Yves Lacoste, géographe en casque postcolonial

    https://orientxxi.info/lu-vu-entendu/yves-lacoste-geographe-en-casque-postcolonial,2530

    En couverture d’Aventures d’un géographe (Des Équateurs, avril 2018) est reproduite la carte d’Al-Idrissi, qui vécut à Fès, ville de naissance d’Yves Lacoste. Géographe arabe du XIIe siècle, Al-Idrissi conçut sa carte en orientant le nord en bas et le sud en haut. Or, la carte originale a ici été renversée afin de la conformer aux canons de la cartographie occidentale. Les toponymes arabes y apparaissent donc à l’envers. Deux noms y ont été ajoutés, en français, ceux d’Hérodote et d’Ibn Khaldoun. Le graphiste a ainsi bien résumé la géographie d’Yves Lacoste : loin de servir à faire la guerre, elle sert à transformer son objet d’étude afin de le rendre conforme à une vision préétablie.

    Né en 1929, Yves Lacoste est un des rares géographes à avoir eu accès à la notoriété. Pionnier de la géopolitique française, il a fondé la revue Hérodote et publié chez Maspero La géographie, ça sert d’abord à faire la guerre en 1976. Première analyse critique de la fonction idéologique de la géographie, ce livre séduisant dressait la perspective d’en finir avec une géographie des professeurs, « discipline embêtante mais somme toute bonnasse. »

    https://seenthis.net/messages/705076 via Nouvelles d’Orient


  • Saudis arrest another women’s right activist

    The arrest of Hatoon al-Fassi is part of Riyadh’s crackdown on activists in the kingdom.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/saudis-arrest-women-activist-180627130433127.html

    Saudi Arabia has arrested Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi women’s rights activist and writer, as part of its crackdown on activists in the kingdom, a human rights group said.

    ALQST, a UK-based rights group focusing on Saudi Arabia, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday al-Fassi’s arrest.

    Considered a leading figure in women’s rights in the region, and the kingdom, in particular, al-Fassi has long been fighting for the rights of Saudi women, including their right to participate in municipal elections.

    As a scholar, her work focuses on women’s history and politics.
    WATCH: One year since Mohammed bin Salman crowned prince of Saudi (2:25)

    Al-Fassi was among the first Saudi women to drive for the first time since the religiously conservative country overturned the world’s only ban on female drivers.

    Last month, the government announced that a number of activists were being held for having suspicious contacts with foreign entities, as well as offering financial support to “foreign enemies”.

    Other suspects were being sought, the government said at the time, while state-linked media labelled those arrested as traitors and “agents of embassies”.

    Eight of the 17 detained activists, including five women, were later temporarily released “until the completion of their procedural review”.

    None of the activists has yet been officially charged, and they are being held incommunicado - with no access to their families or lawyers.

    Earlier on Wednesday, United Nations experts urged Saudi Arabia to immediately release a number of women’s human rights defenders arrested in the nationwide crackdown.

    “In stark contrast with this celebrated moment of liberation for Saudi women, women’s human rights defenders have been arrested and detained on a wide scale across the country, which is truly worrying and perhaps a better indication of the Government’s approach to women’s human rights,” they said in a statement.

    “We call for the urgent release of all of those detained while pursuing their legitimate activities in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.”
    #Arabie_saoudite #droits_des_femmes#repression#liberte_d'_expression

    https://seenthis.net/messages/705042 via Turck


  • France : Systra, Egis Rail et Alstom collaborent avec la construction du tramway de l’Apartheid
    Adri Nieuwhof - 22 juin 2018 – The Electronic Intifada – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine
    http://www.chroniquepalestine.com/entreprises-france-collabore-construction-tramway-apartheid

    Trois entreprises françaises sont impliquées dans l’extension du tramway de Jérusalem par Israël, alors que de nouvelles lignes sont prévues pour connecter, à Jérusalem-Ouest, davantage de colonies israéliennes en Cisjordanie occupée.

    Systra, Egis Rail et Alstom

    Un nouveau rapport documente une partie des violations des droits de l’homme et du droit international associées au tramway de Jérusalem, en présentant une plainte contre les trois sociétés, Systra, Egis Rail et Alstom.

    L’entreprise française Veolia a joué un rôle déterminant dans la réalisation de la première ligne du métro léger qui relie le mont Herzl à l’ouest de Jérusalem, à la colonie de Pisgat Zeev en Cisjordanie.

    En conséquence, Veolia a été constamment la cible du mouvement Boycott, Désinvestissement et Sanctions (BDS) pendant près d’une décennie. La société a finalement cédé toutes ses activités en Israël en 2015.

    L’expérience de Veolia n’a cependant pas empêché Systra et Egis Rail de signer des contrats pour la conception et la construction de trois nouvelles lignes qui relieront davantage de colonies israéliennes à Jérusalem-Ouest dans la deuxième phase du projet.

    Tout comme Veolia, l’entreprise française Alstom a joué un rôle majeur dans la première ligne du métro léger. L’entreprise a livré les élévateurs et fournit des services de maintenance.

    Alstom soumissionne également pour de nouveaux projets d’extension du métro léger.

    Le rapport documentant cette complicité a été réalisé grâce à la collaboration de groupes internationaux, palestiniens et français, dont la Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme – FIDH, Al-Haq et deux grandes fédérations syndicales françaises, la CGT et la CFDT.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/704953 via Loutre


  • C’est une thèse assez répandue dans les milieux proches de l’Autorité palestinienne, mais elle n’a une grande crédibilité à mon humble avis.

    Trump’s peace plan may have a surprising Palestinian partner: Hamas -

    Senior Hamas figures are sending up a direct-negotiations trial balloon, indicating interest in buying into the White House plan to ease the crisis in Gaza. The consequences could be explosive

    Muhammad Shehada SendSend me email alerts
    Jun 25, 2018 4:56 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-trump-s-peace-plan-may-have-a-surprising-palestinian-partner-hamas

    Last week, the former spokesperson of Hamas’ interior and security ministry, Islam Shahwan, posed an unusual question on Facebook. 
    “What if decision makers in Gaza invited [Israeli] decision makers to meet at the [Erez] border crossing to discuss Gaza’s tragic conditions, to find a direct solution between the two sides, away from the interventions of [Palestinian Authority, Egyptian and other mediator] devils?”

    Facebook question by former Hamas spokesman, Islam ShahwanFacebook
    It seems hardly coincidental that Shahwan raised this possibility of a public debate about direct contact with Israel at the same time as Trump Mideast advisors Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt were visiting the region to discuss Trump’s apparently imminent peace plan which, by many accounts, not least Kushner’s own hints, intends to deal with Gaza separately from the West Bank.
    This trial balloon on such a sensitive topic, likely the result of instructions from high up in the ranks of Hamas, reveals a vital discourse going on now within the Islamist movement which rules Gaza. The same organization, formally dedicated to Israel’s destruction, now appears to be suggesting direct talks with it- to break the predicament of its reliance on mediators for what have been years of fruitless indirect talks with Israel.
    Two hours after Shahwan’s post, senior Hamas analyst, Ibrahim al-Madhoun, proposed a framework for that dialogue: setting out, in effect, the best case scenario: maximum Hamas gains with minimal and unarticulated concessions. That can easily be seen as a tactic for neutralizing most kneejerk opprobrium for steps towards appeasement with Israel.
    “Hamas doesn’t mind any deal through which Gaza will be set free, the blockade will be lifted, with a seaport and an airport and a prisoner swap. Weapons would be regulated, without giving up any of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he suggested.
    Close enough to top Hamas leaders to know what’s going on behind the scenes, Al-Madhoun reiterated widely-reported news in the region - that Hamas is working with Egypt to push a comprehensive cease-fire deal with Israel. That deal would mean Hamas would stop building tunnels, continue to prevent primitive projectiles from being fired towards Israel, and participate in a prisoner swap. In return, Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza would be lifted and Gaza would build an internationally-run airport and seaport.
    The timing of reproducing such proposal might show how Hamas is hastening to pre-empt the Trump peace plan, to finally get a share of the “peace process cake” - and to have their revenge on the Paestinian Authority at the same time.

    Palestinian Hamas top leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, attends the Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Eastern Gaza City. June 15, 2018Khalil Hamra/AP
    In fact, Hamas has consistently proposed those same parameters after each of the last three wars on Gaza. As Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote last week, quoting a former senior IDF official, that Hamas’ proposals are known and predictable, and “whatever issues will be discussed [after a new round of fighting] can and should be discussed now.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/704822 via Nouvelles d’Orient