Thursday, 18 October 2018

Trump Rejects Halting Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia as ’Punishing Ourselves’





Alwaght– US President Donald Trump rejected on Saturday halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia over alleged murders of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul.
Responding to calls for blocking military sales to Saudi regime, Trump reporters at the White House “I actually think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that.”
“There are other things we can do that are very, very powerful, very strong and we’ll do them,” he added, without saying what those measures might be.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a US resident, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate. Turkey’s government believes he was deliberately killed inside the building and his body removed.
The American businessman-turned-president, who has forged closer ties with the oil-rich Saudi kingdom, is under international and domestic pressure to help determine what happened to Khashoggi and punish Saudi Arabia if investigations show the Riyadh regime had assassinated the journalist.
However it is unlikely that US administration take a serious action against its wealthy ally as Washington was already under mounting pressures to stop selling arms to Riyadh over civilian deaths caused by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen’s civil.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the former Riyadh-allied regime.
The aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Some 15,000 Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more injured.
The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
A number of Western countries, the United States and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.
In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Saudi Arabia, the regime’s fighter jets hit a school bus in Yemen’s Saada province on 9 August, killing 51 civilians including 40 children.
According to American news network CNN, the bomb used to hit the school bus was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
The bomb was very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. The Saudi coalition blamed “incorrect information” for that strike, admitted it was a mistake and took responsibility.
In March of that year, a strike on a Yemeni market — this time reportedly by a US-supplied precision-guided MK 84 bomb — killed 97 people.
In the aftermath of the funeral hall attack, former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over “human rights concerns.”
Under US law, major foreign military sales can be blocked by Congress. An informal review process lets key lawmakers use a practice known as a “hold” to stall deals if they have concerns such as whether the weapons being supplied would be used to kill civilians.
The ban was overturned by the Trump administration’s then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017.
Major US arms contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Raytheon Co (RTN.N), are among the beneficiaries of Washington’s close ties to Riyadh and would be hurt by the halting of major arms deals.
Trump said on Saturday his administration won a $110 billion military order from Saudi Arabia and that the deal, combined with Saudi commitments to invest heavily in the United States, was worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.
“If they don’t buy it from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or they’re going to buy it from China,” he said. “Think of that, $110 billion. All they’re going to do is give it to other countries, and I think that would be very foolish.”
It was unclear what specific measures, if any, Trump is considering against Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest oil exporter, and one of his top allies

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The Apartheid State of Israel and the Palestinian Resistance

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Palestinians taking part in the Great March of Return. (Photo: Abdallah Aljamal, Palestine Chronicle)
When you look at the history of the South African struggle for liberation one cannot help but notice the tremendous role played by youth in fighting against the apartheid system and the many other struggles in the world that resemble this kind of youth insurgency. Young people took it upon themselves to fight for their freedom and stand up against a massive system that sought to suppress their identity, repossess their land and barricade them to the confines of Bantustan in an attempt to stifle their struggle for political and economic freedom.
The 76 uprisings in Soweto brings to witness thousands of youth as young as 12 years old fighting military police with nothing but their pride in Black consciousness, stones, and petrol bombs. They were fighting against a vicious system that did not recognize them as human beings but non-beings. The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community.
On June 16, 1976, between 3000 and 10,000 students mobilized by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s changed language policy on Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. The uprising took place at a time when liberation movements were banned throughout the country and South Africa was in the grip of apartheid. The protest started peacefully in Soweto but it turned violent when the police opened fire on unarmed students. By the third day, the unrest had gained momentum and spread to townships around Soweto and other parts of the country.
The class of 1976 bravely took to the streets and overturned the whole notion that workers were the only essential force to challenge the apartheid regime, but that a formidable unity was capable of trembling the echelons of power. The official death toll was 23, but it could have been higher than 200 because the incident triggered widespread violence throughout South Africa, which claimed more lives. The first student to be shot on that fateful day was 15-year old Hastings Ndlovu. However, the killing in the same incident of Hector Pieterson aged 12, made the movement gain worldwide recognition and widespread condemnation of apartheid.
Today, almost six months have passed since the start of a massive wave of protests known as the “Great March of Return”, organized by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, protests that are very much similar to those of the 76 uprising in Soweto. The protests commenced on March 30, in commemoration of Land Day, which marks the events of March 30, 1976 (a few months before the Soweto Uprising in South Africa), when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens living in Israel as they protested against the Israeli government’s expropriation of their land.
The scenes of the current conflict between Palestine and Israel are reminiscent of the 1976 Uprisings where we see insurgent youth in Gaza taking to the streets in a desperate attempt to regain their humanity and their land. Young people were among those leading the protests, demonstrating their frustration against the continued stifling of their hopes and dreams in their occupied land.
The Great March of Return protests made a rallying call for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a right enshrined in international law, to their homelands and the end of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt for over a decade. This blockade has caused suffering to the Palestinians living on the Gaza Strip as well as other parts of Palestine.
The living conditions of Palestinians are appalling and inhumane and the UN has reported that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020. The lives of Palestinians do not matter to Israelis and they are treated as a cheap trade-off by Israel for their continued apartheid rule. According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 194 Palestinians have been killed and wounded more than 18,000 people in the Gaza Strip since the commencement of the protests on March 30.
The protests where further heighten by Israel’s demonstration of its disregard for the Palestinian people and the peace process when it, together with the USA, decided to name Jerusalem as its Capital. To mark this decision, the USA decided to move its Embassy office to Jerusalem. This sparked outrage from the Palestinian community, ahead of its annual commemoration of Nakba Day, which is a day to commemorate the displacement of Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War. The establishment of Israeli Independence through the United Nations in 1948 coincided with the institutionalization of apartheid as a system of domination in the same year. The lives of native Palestinians and native Africans began to change for the worst in the years to follow, with Palestinians still experiencing the catastrophe of segregation in view of the whole world.
Israel has continued its apartheid stance in its approach to the plight of the Palestinian people is leaving much to be desired for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the area. Israel continues to treat Palestinians like non-humans, caging them like animals, restricting and surveillance their movement in the land of their birth. Palestinians, through these mass demonstrations, are displaying their animosity against the systems that seek to flush out their identity, heritage, and existence as human beings.
Much like the Soweto Uprising, Palestinians have used these demonstrations as a way of regaining their agency as citizens and inheritors of the Holy Land. The resistance of Palestinians is indicative of the continued struggle against coloniality in the world and there are many historical struggles that resemble the fighting spirit of Palestinians and which we draw inspiration.  The Apartheid state of Israel must fall and a collective call from global authorities can ensure that its growth is stifled and the people of Palestine can be free.
– Nwabisa Sigaba is a Lecturer, unionist and activist and currently working at the University of South Africa. She is the founder of Al Madinah Institute and a propagator for the rights of women in Islam. She does research in Race, Ethnicity, African and International Politics, Decolonization, Africanization, Student Movements, Protest Politics, Religion and Politics. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com

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Israel’s ‘Psychological Obstacles to Peace’

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Understanding is Not Excusing
There is a difference between understanding and excusing. I might understand the arguments of Donald Trump and John Bolton, but by virtue of that very understanding I find their arguments inexcusable. The same goes for the arguments of the Israeli leadership and their diaspora allies. I hear their words and find that they can never excuse their actions.
Given this difference between understanding and excusing, it’s hard to know what to do with efforts to have us understand the “psychological obstacles” that supposedly prevent Israelis from making peace. A good example of this effort is found in a reprinted essay by Carlo Strenger, an Israeli psychologist and public intellectual who is a strong opponent of the Occupation. It appears in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and is entitled “Psychological Obstacles to Peace in Israel.”
Though Strenger is an Israeli peace activist, his essay is really an effort to move the reader to take more seriously— to better understand—Israeli feelings of “existential” fear when it comes to prospects for peace with the Palestinians. Such understanding will, allegedly, bring us to “acknowledge that moving toward peace entails genuine security risks [for Israeli Jews], and to address these risks unflinchingly.” One suspects that this line has long been fed to the U.S. Congress, among other governments. In any case, for Strenger, this is the sine qua non for peace.
Professor Strenger’s Obstacles
Strenger describes three Israeli “psychological obstacles to peace” that can only be overcome by such an “unflinching” effort based on sympathetic understanding. I do not think he means to offer these obstacles as excuses for over fifty years of Israeli wars and occupation, but unfortunately, in the end it comes through that way. Perhaps that is an expression of the dilemma faced by most Israeli “moderates.” Here are Strenger’s obstacles:
(1) The concept of “loss-aversion”—the assertion that people “are far more guided by fear of loss than by the prospect of gain.” Strenger tells us that average Israelis are afraid to risk the loss of territorial “assets,” which they identify with both national security and religious tradition, for the gains that might come with peace. It is an alleged natural bias for the status quo. Strenger goes on to say that the Palestinians are responsible for this Israeli fear of peace due to their violence during the second Intifada and the rocket attacks from Gaza. That Israel itself created the historical conditions for these Palestinian acts of resistance is not considered by Strenger.
Strenger describes three Israeli “psychological obstacles to peace” that can only be overcome by such an “unflinching” effort based on sympathetic understanding. 
There are problems with the loss-aversion thesis. One is that individual assessments of the loss/gain risk are subjective. In other words, in the case of Israeli fears, there have been decades of government propaganda downplaying prospects for peace and Palestinian as well as Arab efforts at compromise—for instance, the outright lie that the Israelis have no one to negotiate with on the Palestinian side. This has been paralleled by a continuous playing up of the alleged security risks of withdrawal from occupied territories.
The result is a psychological context that magnifies a national aversion to the loss of security that may come from peace. Put another way, Israeli leaders have produced an artificial political and psychological environment that identifies national security with the avoidance of peace. All Israeli governments have played this propaganda game because all of them have been and still are more interested in land than peace.
(2) Strenger’s second psychological obstacle is Israel’s “inability to let go of Zionism as a revolutionary movement.” The surprising point here is that he confines “the revolutionary movement” aspect of Zionism to the post-1967 war period.  Thus, he tells us “the history of Israel’s occupation and gradual colonization of the West Bank cannot be understood without the religious-Zionist movement that emerged from the 1967 war.” However, just like the notion of loss aversion, this assertion is misleading. Limiting Zionism’s aggressive expansion, and its accompanying notion of territorial destiny, only to fanatic settlers is just wrong. It was secular Labor Party leaders and military officers who started the Occupation after the 1967 war, and they were (and many probably still are) as reluctant to let go of that territory as any wild-eyed Israeli religious fundamentalist.
(3) Finally, the third psychological obstacle put forth by Strenger is “a need to justify the occupation.” Didn’t we just go through this with loss aversion? Yes. But he wants us to understand that justifying the Occupation also means justifying the guilt that he knows must go along with it. He explains, “almost every Israeli in the last 47 years has done military service in the territories. Almost all of them have had to do things [italics added] that go against human decency and morality—often not for the sake of Israel’s security at large, but to protect some isolated outpost of settlers.” Giving up the territories for peace would be like an admission that it was all for naught and according to Strenger, “this idea is too difficult to bear, and the regret would be unendurable.” This need for denial then underpins the need to see the Occupation as “necessary for Israel’s survival.”
While phrases like “too difficult to bear” and “the regret would be unbearable” are exaggerations, I can understand this argument. It is the same as the argument that the Vietnam War was fought to keep the United States free. Many Americans still cling to this myth. As Strenger notes, it makes both sacrifices and sins appear justified. Yet, in the long run, not facing one’s guilt only poisons both individual and national lives. We can already see this happening within Israeli society.
There are other problems with Strenger’s understanding of Israeli psychological obstacles. He approaches them in a one-dimensional fashion, as if there is not another relevant party to these traumas. Yet Israeli fears about peace are indelibly tied to the Palestinian demand for justice. Indeed, the more we “understand” Israeli fears and accommodate them, the more we are forced to ignore the Palestinians’ psychological and material need for justice. And, justice for the Palestinians is yet another sine qua non for peace.
Finally, Strenger fails to realize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just about the Occupation. His own endgame is tied to the maintenance of Israel as a “Jewish democratic state” within the 1967 borders. Yet the concept of a Jewish democratic state is actually a contradiction in terms. You cannot have a democracy for just one select group put down amidst a large population of “others.” That road leads to apartheid. Whether Strenger likes it or not we are now well past the time for a “two-state solution.”
The Need for Coercion
It is not just the prospect of two states that is gone. The “peace process” itself is also long dead. Thus, reason has been displaced and we are thrown back on the need for coercion—just as was the case when confronting apartheid South Africa.
At this stage the aim of coercion is not the withdrawal of Israel from the Occupied Territories. Rather, it is forcing Israeli adherence to international law through the abandonment of the racist ideology of Zionism and the corresponding restrictive notion of rights. If Professor Strenger is in any way typical, most Israeli peace activists will not be able to push the issue this far. However, those few who do have come to the conclusion, as have most Palestinians that they will need a lot of outside help to accomplish this task.
This is made clear in a recent interview (22 September 2018) with the Israeli peace activist Miko Peled. Peled, the son of an Israeli general, argues that we are at a point in the conflict when “only a focused and well-coordinated strategy to delegitimize and bring down the Zionist regime can bring justice to Palestine.” Peled’s aim is the creation of “a single democracy with equal rights on all of historic Palestine.
” This is the same goal of most Palestinians. Currently the best strategy to move in this direction entails an international effort to isolate Israel and stigmatize its racist ideology. Right now this is embodied in the BDS movement—Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Peled believes that “BDS is the perfect form of resistance available.” He calls its supporters to “embrace it fully, work hard, and demand the expulsion of all Israeli diplomats and total isolation of Israel.” He also recognizes that this will be a “slow process.”
There seems to be no other choice. And it really does not matter that part of the reason we are at this point are those “existentialist” fears of many Israelis. Those fears are certainly no excuse for the destruction of Palestine, its people and culture, and international law as well. However, if they are sufficient to preclude the use of reason to end to the conflict, then it will have to be coercion—administered worldwide for as long as it takes.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israeli Policewoman Shot Palestinian ‘For Fun’


16 Oct  8:23 PM
An Israeli border policewoman has been arrested over shooting and wounding a Palestinian man just, as she recognized, “for fun,” Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
While she was on a patrol near the Israeli military checkpoint called Al-Za’im, in May of this year, the Israeli policewoman shot the Palestinian at the back “without any apparent operational reason,” according to Ynet News.
After questioning, she was arrested over the shooting, as well as on charges of obstructing justice because she told an Israeli soldier, who was questioned over the incident, that she did not know anything about it.
On similar charges, four other Israeli border policemen were reportedly arrested, but released after questioning.
The source said that when the “suspicions against them become clear, the Border Police will take the necessary steps to expel them from the force.”
As an introduction to clear the policewoman, lawyer Itzik Cohen denied the charges and said that “the real reason for the defendant’s arrest is an attempt by the Police Investigation Unit to break her spirit and make her confess to an act she did not commit.”
Usually, according to Days of Palestine, Israeli judiciary either acquit the Israeli army and police criminals over charges of aggression on Palestinians, or send them to prison for brief terms.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Another false flag intended to justify more israeli aggression?

For the first time in months, a Grad rocket was fired from Gaza at around 4 am on Wednesday, hitting the yard of a house in the city of Beersheba, causing no injuries or damage.
Various Palestinian armed resistance movements rejected responsibility for the rocket.
They issued a statement stating that, “The representatives of the resistance in Gaza salute and thank the Egyptian effort to achieve our national goals and reject and reject all irresponsible attempts to thwart these efforts – including these rockets fired last night.”
They added, “The resistance does not hide behind any veil – we are always willing to claim responsibility for our actions. But we did not fire these rockets.”
In addition, Abu Mujahed, the spokesperson of the National Resistance Committees in Gaza, said “the [Israeli] occupation is coming up with excuses to attack and bomb Gaza,” and added that “the resistance will always be ready to retaliation to any Israeli offensive.”
It is worth mentioning that both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad issued similar statement denying responsibility for firing the missile, and also said that the “rockets are only meant to sabotage and foil the indirect talks, mediated by Egypt.
The resistance has restrained its fighters from firing rockets toward Israel since the weekly Great March of Return non-violent protests at the border of Gaza began on March 30th, 2018.
The rocket fired Wednesday morning was one of two fired at around the same time, according to the Israeli military. The second rocket ended up falling into the sea.
When the rocket was airborne, the Israeli alarm system sounded and Israeli residents of the city entered shelters set up for that purpose.
The Iron Dome missile defense system, which Israel set up with U.S. funding to fire air-to-air missiles at any rockets fired from Gaza, did not activate.
Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, decided to close all border terminals in Gaza, and to impose further reductions on the fishing zone.
On Wednesday morning, the Israeli Air Force fired several missiles at many areas in the Gaza Strip, wounding 14 Palestinians, including six schoolchildren in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. The wounded were rushed to the Al-Aqsa Hospital.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the army targeted three of its centers in several parts of the Gaza Strip.

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Meet Ten Corporate Giants Helping Israel Massacre Gaza Protesters

Joe Catron — Mint Press Oct 12, 2018
Israelis open fire on Palestinian protesters. Click to enlarge
Israelis open fire on Palestinian protesters. Click to enlarge
As Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the Great March of Return, their lethal operations depend on an array of contractors and suppliers, many of them companies based outside Israel.
“The Israeli military relies on a network of international companies, supplying everything from sniper rifles to tear gas, to carry out its massacres of protesters in Gaza,” Tom Anderson, a researcher for Corporate Occupation, told MintPress News. “These companies are knowingly supporting war crimes, and are complicit in state-orchestrated murder.”
Since the mobilization began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 205 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory reported on October 4.
There have been 21,288 injured, including 5,345 from live ammunition, resulting in 11,180 hospitalizations. Thirty-eight of the dead and 4,250 of the wounded were children.
A press release accompanying a September 25 report by the World Bank warned, “The economy in Gaza is collapsing,” adding that “the decade-long blockade is the core issue.”
Corporate Occupation and the American Friends Service Committee, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and Who Profits maintain comprehensive lists of corporations enabling Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
Here are a few of them:

Caterpillar, Inc.

Caterpillar is known internationally for Israel’s use of its bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself, as well as for its role in the killing of Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement activist from the United States, who was crushed to death by one of the company’s Israel-operated machines in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003. In Gaza, Caterpillar is notorious for Israel’s deployment of its equipment to reinforce a military barrier around the Strip, as well as to level Palestinian farmland inside it. These leveling operations both destroy Palestinian agriculture, keeping Gaza a captive market for Israeli producers, and maintain a clear line of fire for Israeli soldiers to shoot Palestinians
** FILE ** Palestinian children run for cover as Israeli army D-9 bulldozers advance at the rubble of previously demolished houses and damaged roads, at the Brazil neighborhood of Rafah's refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip, in this Sunday May 23, 2004 file photo. Human Rights Watch, an international human rights group has called on American heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. to suspend bulldozer sales to the Israeli military, citing the army's use of the vehicles as the army's "primary weapon" in home demolitions, destruction of farmland and ruining Palestinian roads and sewage pipes. The 64-ton bulldozers are built to military specifications and enforced with armor by the army. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)
Children run for cover as Israeli army D-9 Caterpillar bulldozers as they demolish homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza, May 23, 2004. Lefteris Pitarakis | AP. Click to enlarge

Combined Systems, Inc.

Combined Systems — a Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group — supplies light weaponry and security equipment, such as tear gas and flash grenades, to repressive governments worldwide. In May, Corporate Occupation researchers spotted an Israeli vehicle, with police markings but obviously intended for military use, equipped with the company’s ‘Venom’tear gas launcher next to the Gaza barrier.

Ford Motor Company

While other manufacturers, like General Motors, also provide vehicles used by the Israeli army to deploy its soldiers along the Gaza barrier, Ford’s are distinctive for their creative use. In 2003, Israeli vehicle manufacturer Hatehof began retrofitting Ford F550 trucks as armored personnel carriers. By 2016, Israel had moved on to F350s, modified by Israeli military electronics company Elbit Systems as autonomous unmanned vehicles capable of remotely controlled fire.
A modified Ford vehicle belonging to Israeli police blocks Palestinian shepherds from accessing their land near a Jewish settlement in Hebron. Photo | Ta’ayush. Click to enlarge
A modified Ford vehicle belonging to Israeli police blocks Palestinian shepherds from accessing their land near a Jewish settlement in Hebron. Photo | Ta’ayush. Click to enlarge

Monsanto

Along with herbicides from the Dow Chemical Company and ADAMA Agricultural Solutions, an Israeli unit of China’s state-owned National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), Israel sprays Bayer subsidiary Monsanto’s notorious Glyphosate (marketed as Roundup), a known human carcinogen, on Palestinian fields across its military barrier with Gaza several times annually. As does its deployment of Caterpillar bulldozers to level the same fields, the aerial application, conducted by two civilian Israeli companies under contract to the army, serves both Israeli economic and military interests — preventing Palestinian self-sufficiency in agriculture, while allowing its forces to easily detect and fire upon Palestinian farmers and other civilians using their own land.

G4S plc

Formerly one of Israel’s biggest occupation contractors, G4S sold its major Israeli subsidiary, G4S Israel, in 2016, but kept a stake in the construction and operation of Policity, Israel’s privatized national police academy. Israel claims that its police enjoy civilian status, but routinely deploys them in military operations against Palestinians in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including their use of both Combined System’s ‘Venon’ tear-gas launcher and weaponized drones to repress the Great March of Return.

Hewlett Packard

Now three companies with interlocking operations — HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and DXC Technology — HP equips the Israeli military with computers and has undertaken contracts to “virtualize” IDF operations, starting in 2007 with a pilot program for the Israeli navy, which enforces the blockade of Gaza.

HSBC Bank plc

HSBC provides extensive financing to some of the most notorious military manufacturers in the world, several of them Israeli.
“HSBC holds over £800m worth of shares in, and is involved in syndicated loans worth over £19b to, companies that sell weapons and military equipment to the Israeli government,” Huda Ammori, campaigns officer for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told MintPress. “These investments include Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private security firm, which markets its weapons as ‘field-tested,’ due to them being tested on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
A leading drone manufacturer, Elbit has played a key role in aerial attacks on the Great March of Return.

Motorola Solutions Inc.

Motorola provides the encrypted smartphones the Israeli military uses to deploy soldiers, as well as radio and communications services for the Israeli police.

Remington

Among casualties of the Great March of Return, Amnesty International reports, some “wounds bear the hallmarks of U.S.-manufactured M24 Remington sniper rifles shooting 7.62mm hunting ammunition, which expand and mushroom inside the body,” along with others indicative of Israel Weapon Industries’ Tavor rifles. “In the United States this is sold as a hunting rifle to kill deer,” Brian Castner, a weapons specialist for the human-rights organization, said in April.
Protesters wave Palestinians flags in front of Israeli solders on Gaza's border with Israel, east of Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A leading Israel human rights group urged Israeli forces in a rare step Wednesday to disobey open-fire orders unless Gaza protesters pose an imminent threat to soldiers' lives. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Protesters wave Palestinians flags in front of Israeli snipers on Gaza’s border with Israel, April 4, 2018. Adel Hana | AP. Click to enlarge

Sabra Dipping Company, LLC

The White Plains, New York-based food manufacturer, co-owned by PepsiCo and Israeli food maker Strauss, has donated food packages to the Israeli Army’s Golani Brigade, notorious for its human rights abuses in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“We must channel our rage”

As the Great March of Return, now in its 29th week, continues, participants and supporters say targeting firms complicit in its repression is one of the most effective means of solidarity.
“We must channel our rage at Israel’s atrocities into effective actions to hold Israel accountable,” the BDS National Committee said in a statement on April 12. “Together, we can escalate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.”
“Israel is meeting the Palestinian protesters with live fire, massacring over 190 Palestinians to date,” Ammori told MintPress. “Israel’s racist discrimination and brutal violence is evident, and the campaign to end complicity is vital.”
Joe Catron is a MintPress News journalist covering Palestine and Israel. He is also a solidarity activist and freelance reporter, recently returned to New York from Gaza, Palestine, where he lived for three and a half years. He has written frequently for Electronic Intifada and Middle East Eye, and co-edited The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Video: Israel Grounds Its F-35 Stealth Jet Fighters, Unable to “Challenge” Syria’s S-300 Air Defenses?


On October 11, the Israeli military announced that it had halted flights of F-35I stealth fighter jets following the crash of the US Marine Corps F-35B jet in South Carolina on September 28. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) stated that the F-35B crash was caused by a technical malfunction in the engine’s fuel pipe. So, the IAF decided to make additional precautions and conduct tests on all F-35I aircraft before continuing to employ them.
Earlier, multiple Israeli experts and even top officials claimed that the IAF may soon employ F-35I jets to challenge S-300 air defense systems, which were recently received by the Syrian military. However, it seems any kind of these actions is now delayed.
Heavy clashes erupted between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS in the villages of al-Shaafah, al-Susah and al-Baghuz al-Fawqani in the Hajin pocket in the province of Deir Ezzor. According to the SDF, ISIS members used a sandstorm to carry out a series of attacks. The US-backed group also claimed that 35 ISIS members were killed during the 24 hours of the clashes.
In turn, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed that ISIS attacked 9 SDF positions, killed several US-backed members and destroyed 3 of their vehicles.
The US-led coalition announced in a statement that it and Iraqi security forces had neutralized a key ISIS financial facilitation network during in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Erbil in the period from October 7 and October 9.
According to the statement, security forces arrested ten members of the financial network, which is known as the “al-Ray network.” No further details about the detained persons were provided.
“The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS’s capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians … This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences,” Major General Patrick B. Roberson, commander of the US-led coalition Special Operation Joint Task Force said in the statement.
The Iraqi government announced defeat of ISIS in the country in 2017. However, multiple ISIS cells and ISIS-linked networks have remained in many desert region sand big cities. These cells still pose a significant security threat.



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What’s Going On in Idlib, Syria’s Demilitarized Zone?

By  Stephen Lendman
Source
In mid-September, Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan agreed on establishing a 15 – 20 km-wide demilitarized zone in Idlib province along the Turkish border.
Russian and Turkish forces will control the zone, an offensive to liberate Idlib put on hold at least until later this year, maybe not until 2019.
Full withdrawal of US-supported terrorists was to be completed by October 15, the deadline missed because al-Nusra and allied jihadists refuse to disarm and leave – likely at the behest of Washington, their paymaster.
According to AMN News, Syria’s military “demand(s) answers regarding the(ir) failed…withdrawal from the designated buffer zone,” adding:
“(T)he Syrian Arab Army’s High Command is in talks with the Russian military about the next steps to take in the Idlib, Aleppo, Latakia, and Hama provinces” in response to noncompliance with the buffer zone agreement – by US-supported terrorists.
A Syrian military source said jihadists in Idlib continue attacking government forces and civilians, explaining:
They’re “strengthening their positions, digging new trenches and expanding their network of underground tunnels,” digging in for continued battle.
Al-Nusra, its affiliate Guardians of Religion Organization, and the Turkistan Islamic Party of Syria intend remaining in their positions, including strategic high ground and nearby areas held, using them as platforms for continued shelling.
Idlib is the last major stronghold of US-supported terrorists in Syria, controlled by tens of thousands of jihadists.
On Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Idlib’s demilitarized zone agreement is untenable if al-Nusra and other jihadists fail to comply, saying:
“We cannot keep quiet about the continuation of the current situation in Idlib if the Nusra Front refuses to comply with this agreement,” adding:
“After liberating territory east of the Euphrates River, freeing Idlib from terrorists’ control is the next objective, stressing the province will be returned to Syrian sovereignty.
If the Russian/Turkish demilitarized zone isn’t implemented, Damascus will take other options to eliminate al-Nusra and other terrorists in Idlib, he said.
“Because (millions of) Syrian citizens in Idlib, and it is not their fault, we said that the liberation of Idlib with reconciliation is much better than the bloodshed. Syria’s support for the (Moscow/Ankara) Sochi agreement came from its desire not to shed blood,” al-Moallem explained.
Commenting on US occupied territory in the country, he stressed the importance of liberating it from their presence, returning the entire nation to Syrian control.
“(W)e still consider Turkey a state that is occupying our territories. Therefore, our armed forces cannot participate with their forces in any operation east of the Euphrates,” he stressed.
Head of Russia’s reconciliation center in Syria Vladimir Savchenko blamed the Trump regime for the failure of al-Nusra and other jihadists to withdraw from Idlib’s demilitarized zone, saying:
Because of US “inaction,” they “establish(ed) control over a 20-kilometer strip on the Euphrates’ east bank between the settlements of Hajin and al-Susa,” adding:
US forces continue “simulat(ing)” fighting against ISIS terrorists they support. Days earlier, their fighters abducted 700 civilians during an attack on a refugee camp near al-Bahrah, holding them hostage as human shields.
On Tuesday, Iraqi General Dia al-Wakil blasted Washington, saying its so-called coalition supports the scourge of ISIS it pretends to oppose.
“I do not believe that the (US-led) international coalition wants to bring an end to terrorism in the region,” he said, adding:
“Under the cover of the ‘fight against terrorism,’ US forces can remain and strengthen here. Behind this are economic goals. Americans need oil and arms sales contracts.”
ISIS and other terrorists are deployed where the US wants them used. Their fighters are “simply transferred to a given point” from another, including from one country to another.
“We have already seen how terrorists moved throughout the region before the international coalition’s very eyes,” transported by Pentagon helicopters. It happens repeatedly.
ISIS “has not been destroyed, but will still be used in political struggles, especially amid instability in the Middle East.” The same goes for al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra offshoot, and other terrorist groups.
Separately, Iranian Foreign Ministry official Jaberi Ansari said a massacre in Idlib by al-Nusra and/or other terrorists is Tehran’s red line.
It would have “grave humanitarian and moral, as well as political costs, which is unacceptable,” he said – no further elaboration added on how Iran might respond.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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Netanyahu’s words are a preparation for the aggression on Iraq كلام نتنياهو تمهيد للعدوان على العراق

Netanyahu’s words are a preparation for the aggression on Iraq

أكتوبر 16, 2018

For more than a month the leaders of the occupation entity added Iraq to the list which includes Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, they threaten of targeting the positions of the resisting weapons in them. From the platform of New York the Prime Minister of the occupation entity Netanyahu renewed the threat to Iraq. It is not a coincidence that this threat occurred in conjunction with the Russian decision of handing over S-300 missiles to the Syrian army, it is not a coincidence that this occurred with the announcement of the Secretary General of Hezbollah Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that the matter is over and that the missiles have become under the resistance’ custody The photos which Netanyahu presented and described as the positions of the missiles near Beirut Airport are ridiculous, and the round of the ambassadors to Lebanon around these positions made Netanyahu a source of ridicule.
The leaders of the occupation entity agree that the needed time to fill the gap which affected the Israeli Air Force due to the Russian initiative in Syria which granted Syria what can be considered as a violation in the balances of powers as the Russian leaders say is months not weeks, whether through reviving the Russian-Israeli relationship and finding new engagement rules that grant Israel a new range for movement despite the weakness of this possibility, or through operating modern modified US aircraft to deal with S-300 networks as F-35 or the   Stealth plane. The Americans said that these planes need for modifications to be ready, and the Israeli army needs months to rely on them and to test their effectiveness.
The leaders of the occupation entity agree that the deterrence equations which govern the relationship with the northern front in Lebanon and which the increasing qualitative capacities are in favor of the resistance and which Israel ignores whether the Air Defense systems are among them are enough to make any adventure of a tactical military action a project of war which Israel cannot get out of it. The leaders of the occupation entity agree as well that the recognition that the provision of more qualitative weapons to resistance occurs outside Lebanon is the recognition of the growing Israeli concern from any unconsidered provocation against Lebanon and its resistance.
The leaders of the occupation entity agree that the survival of the occupation entity in a state of silence for at least months to come will be as a defeat in a war that did not occur, and the image which the occupation entity claimed its possession will be unsteady. And that the time of the state of silence which the occupation entity lives will mean the endless preparation of the resistance forces, and will mean the formation of more effective infrastructure for new technical systems. Therefore, the resumption of moral and material war of attrition against the resistance is a moral Israeli need as it is a logistic military need.
For the first time Netanyahu presented in his last discourse a mysterious answer about how can Israel prevent the resistance forces from continuing the degree of its readiness and its accumulativeness of its qualitative weapons, contrary to what he was doing in the past. He says that his army will continue pursuing the shipments of the Iranian weapons to Hezbollah across Syria. Despite he talked yesterday from Golan, he left his threating words for the first time ambiguous. He said “there are continuous attempts by Iran and Hezbollah to form a force that will be used against Golan and Galilee; so we will frustrate that as long as the matter concerns us”.
Netanyahu agrees with what is being published by the Israeli newspapers about the passing of qualitative Iranian weapons to Iraq in preparation to transfer them to Lebanon, as a prelude of aggressive action that targets the resistance forces in Iraq.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,
.

كلام نتنياهو تمهيد للعدوان على العراق

أكتوبر 9, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– منذ أكثر من شهر أضاف قادة كيان الاحتلال العراق إلى لائحة الدول التي تضم إيران وسورية ولبنان التي يهددون بضرب مواقع السلاح المقاوم فيها، ومن على منبر نيويورك جدّد رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو التهديد للعراق من ضمن لائحة الاستهدافات الإسرائيلية. وليست صدفة أن يأتي هذا التهديد بالتزامن مع القرار الروسي بنشر منظومة صواريخ الـ«أس 300» وتسليمها للجيش السوري، ولا من باب الصدفة أن يأتي هذا مع إعلان الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله أن الأمر انتهى، والصواريخ الدقيقة باتت بيد المقاومة، وجاءت الصور التي لوّح بها نتنياهو لما وصفها نتنياهو مواقع الصواريخ قرب مطار بيروت أقرب للمهزلة التي جعلت بعد جولة السفراء المعتمدين في لبنان عليها، من نتنياهو مصدراً للسخرية.

– يجمع قادة كيان الاحتلال على أن الزمن اللازم لترميم الثغرة التي أصابت حركة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي جراء الخطوة الروسية في سورية التي مكنت الجيش السوري من امتلاك ما يشكل إخلالاً بموازين القوى كما يقول القادة العسكريون الروس، هو بالشهور وليس بالأسابيع على الأقل، سواء كان الترميم كما يحاول نتنياهو الإيحاء عبر ترميم العلاقة الروسية الإسرائيلية وإيجاد قواعد اشتباك جديد تمنح إسرائيل هامشاً جديداً للحركة، رغم ضعف هذا الاحتمال، أو عبر تشغيل طائرات أميركية حديثة معدلة للتعامل مع شبكات الـ»أس 300»، مثل الـ»إف 35» أو الطائرة الشبح، وقد قال الأميركيون إنها تحتاج إلى تعديلات لتصبح جاهزة ويحتاج جيش الاحتلال إلى زمن بالشهور أيضاً ليصير جاهزاً للاعتماد عليها، واختبار درجة فاعليتها.

– يجمع قادة كيان الاحتلال أيضاً على أن معادلات الردع التي تحكم العلاقة بالجبهة الشمالية مع لبنان، في ظل تزايد القدرات النوعية التي تملكها المقاومة، والتي تجهل «إسرائيل» ما إذا كانت منظومات الدفاع الجوي من ضمنها، كافية لجعل أي مغامرة بعمل عسكري تكتيكي مشروع حرب قد لا تجد «إسرائيل» طريقاً للخروج منها، كما يجمع قادة كيان الاحتلال ان مجرد الإقرار بأن ملاحقة تزوّد المقاومة بالمزيد من الأسلحة النوعية يتمّ فقط خارج لبنان، هو اعتراف بالقلق الإسرائيلي المتعاظم من التقرب من لبنان ومقاومته بأي استفزاز غير مضمون النتائج.

– بالمقابل يجمع قادة الاحتلال على أن بقاء جيش الاحتلال في حالة صمت حربي لشهور مقبلة على الأقل سيكون بمثابة هزيمة في حرب لم تقع، وأن صورة الدرع التي يدّعي جيش الاحتلال أنه يملكها ستكون موضوع اهتزاز، وأن الزمن الذي يصمت فيه جيش الإحتلال سيعني رفع وتيرة التجهيز والاستعداد التي تقوم بها قوى المقاومة من دون توقف، كما سيعني إقامة بنى تحتية أكثر فاعلية لمنظومات تقنية جديدة، وأن استئناف حرب الاستنزاف المعنوية والمادية ضد قوى المقاومة هي حاجة إسرائيلية معنوية بمثل ما هي حاجة عسكرية لوجستية.

– يقدّم نتنياهو في خطابه الأخير للمرة الأولى جواباً غامضاً حول الكيفية التي ستمنع فيها «إسرائيل» قوى المقاومة من مواصلة رفع درجة جهوزيتها ومراكمتها للمزيد من السلاح النوعي، خلافاً لما كان يفعل في الماضي فيقول إن جيشه سيواصل ملاحقة شحنات السلاح الإيراني إلى حزب الله عبر سورية، فللمرة الأولى رغم أنه تحدّث أمس من الجولان، ترك كلامه التهديدي عاماً فقال، «هناك محاولات مستمرة من قبل إيران وحزب الله لتشكيل قوة ستعمل ضد الجولان والجليل، سنحبط ذلك وطالما كان الأمر منوطاً به سنواصل إحباط ذلك».

– نتنياهو يتناغم مع ما تنشره صحف إسرائيلية وتمهد له بالحديث عن عبور أسلحة إيرانية نوعية إلى العراق، تمهيداً لنقلها إلى لبنان، كمقدّمة لعمل عدواني يستهدف قوى المقاومة في العراق.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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