Saturday, 17 January 2015

Press TV: Military might ineffective against terrorism

January 16, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

Analyst Gilad Atzmon says military might is ineffective in uprooting terrorism.

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have announced a joint war on what they have described as “Islamist extremists”. The announcement that was made through a joint article in the Times of London came in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack on a Paris office of Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.

Obama and Cameron may already appear to be working on an agenda the details of which may not be known to the public at the moment. However, analysts believe that the two, themselves, are responsible for the creation of extremists through pursuing interventionist policies in the Middle East.

“There is a very good reason for American administration, for the British government, and especially more than anyone else for François Holland and his government to be uniquely embarrassed at this point in time,” Gilad Atzmon, a London-based author and political analyst, told Press TV.

“This is because it is clear beyond doubt that these governments were involved in interventionist wars, were supporting different forces in the Middle East especially in Syria in the last few years,” Atzmon added.

He further said voiced doubt if terrorism could ever be uprooted through military means by the Western countries.

“I don’t think all of our drones, our great air force and our military ability to kill people from a far would ever help,” Atzmon told Press TV’s UK Desk in an exclusive interview.

“It is pretty much a disaster we brought for ourselves.”

Atzmon further said the Israeli lobbies have played a key role in dragging Western countries into several conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.  However, he said this has produced no fruits.

“Look what is happening in Libya now and how these Libyans combat with the insurgents for no avail,” he said.  “What do they think of this kind of intervention?”

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Je ne Suis Pas Charlie!

by Kim Petersen

It is reported that a million people marched the streets of Paris today shouting “Liberté” and “Charlie”?1

Charlie who? Charlie Hebdo? Why would I want to align myself with cartoonists who show intolerance/prejudice to other cultures and religions?

I distance myself from adherence to ancient texts such as the Koran, Bible, and Torah. Nonetheless, a plurality of humanity subscribes to the word in these texts – but in differing degrees. Muslims are not a monolith. There are sections of Muslims who are extremist in outlook and practice. However, the same holds true for Christians (witness the Crusades of past and present), Hindus (witness the toppling of the Babri Masjid by Hindu fanatics in India), Buddhists (witness the massacres of Tamils in Sri Lanka), and Jews (witness the genocidal massacres of Palestinians). I have lived with and among Muslims. I lived two years in Jordan and found them to be, in general, most welcoming and kind. I just returned from 4 months in Egypt, where aside from taxi drivers who cheat the outsiders, the people were, by-and-large, very tolerant. I reject taking the brush of extremism2 and painting an entire swath of humanity with that same brush.

I also reject the killing of people to make a political/religious statement.

I am Free Expression/Speech. But Charlie Hebdo was not about either free expression or speech. It fired a cartoonist for alleged anti-Semitism, and was fined by the French High Court for doing so.3 For Charlie Hebdo, in other words, Islamophobia is okay, but Judeophobia is not okay. This is by definition hypocrisy. Je n’aime pas l’hypocrisie.

France is not about free expression/speech. One is not free to challenge the Jewish Holocaust narrative in France. Literature professor Robert Faurisson was excoriated by the French establishment for his views challenging the Jewish Holocaust narrative, and professor Noam Chomsky became unpopular for his advocacy for free speech in the case of Faurisson. Chomsky held, “… it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense.”4

If Charlie Hebdo is not about freedom of expression and/or speech, and if the French state is not about such, then what does it actually mean to say “Je suis Charlie“?

It is easy enough for anarchists and other progressives to state what they are. Most would say I am Free Expression/Speech. I am Tolerance. I am Peace.Charlie Hebdo and the French state are not about free expression and speech;5 they are not about tolerance (France, for example, does not tolerate the Muslim sartorial of the hijab having outlawed it). Neither are they about peace. If one pokes a stick into a hornet’s nest, could one believably claim to have peaceful intentions toward hornets? (With all due respect, the analogy is presented only as an argument to refute peaceful intentions on part of Charlie Hebdo and not to compare Muslims to hornets). France’s colonialism and its ensanguined militaristic forays into Muslim nations such as Iraq, Mali, Libya, Syria adduce its violent ontology.

It behooves people of conscience to oppose what is anathema, but it is also incumbent upon people of conscience to ally themselves with what is right and principled. Charlie Hebdo is not something I wish to stand in solidarity with.6
  1. See “France attacks: Million-strong unity rally in Paris,” BBC, 11 January 2015. []
  2. Although a strong measure of skepticism should greet the monopoly media narrative that extremists are behind the recent killings in Paris. Thinking people should ask Cui bono? []
  3. See “‘Charlie Hebdo’ condamné pour le licenciement abusif du dessinateur Siné,” Le Monde, 10 December 2009. []
  4. Noam Chomsky, “Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression,” Appeared as a Preface to Robert Faurisson, Mémoire en défense, 11 October 1980. []
  5. I grant that certain curtailments on expression and speech do and must exist in society []
  6. DV Senior editor Angie Tibbs: Je suis d’accord! []
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Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism

Jan 13, 2015
-By Sara Flounders
The banner of 'Youth against racism' in a protest in Paris, November 2013.
The banner of ‘Youth against racism’ in a protest in Paris, November 2013.
How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?
The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.
Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.
Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.
Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.
Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.
Not a free speech issue
The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.
French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.
However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.
In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)
In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.
Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.
It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.
Role of Nazi caricature
Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.
Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.
In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.
The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.
Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.
Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.
No free press
Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.
The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.
The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked,  unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.
The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.
According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.
U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.
The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.
The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.
If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.
What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.
National oppression
National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.
Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)
Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.
Who benefits?
Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.
There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.
This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.
In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.
It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.
The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.
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The “Why”: The Spectacular Media Failure on Charlie Hebdo

Jan 14, 2015

A core tenet of journalism is answering the question “why.” It’s the media’s duty to explain “why” an event happened so that readers will actually understand what they’re reading.  

Leave out the “why” and then assumptions and stereotypes fill in the blank, always readily supplied by politicians whose ridiculous answers are left unquestioned by the corporate media.

Because the real “why” was unexplained in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, an obviously false culprit was created, leading to a moronic national discussion in the U.S. media about whether Islam was “inherently” violent.

For the media to even pose this question either betrays a blinding ignorance about the Middle East and Islam, or a conscious willingness to manipulate public sentiment by only interviewing so-called experts who believe such nonsense.

Media outlets should know that until the 1980’s Islamic fundamentalism was virtually inaudible in the Middle East — outside of the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, whose ruling monarchy survives thanks to U.S. support. The official religion of Saudi Arabia is a uniquely fundamentalist version of Islam, which along with the royal family are the two anchors of Saudi government power.

Before the 1980’s, the dominant ideology in the Middle East was pan-Arab socialism, a secular ideology that viewed Islamic fundamentalism as socially and economically regressive. Islamic fundamentalists engaged in terrorist attacks against the “pan-Arab socialist” governments of Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq and other governments that aligned themselves with this ideology at various times.

Islamic fundamentalism was virtually extinguished from 1950-1980, with Saudi Arabia and later Qatar being the last bastion and protective base of fundamentalists who were exiled from the secular countries. This dynamic was accentuated during the cold war, where the U.S. aligned itself with Islamic fundamentalism — Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states — while the Soviet Union became allies with the secular nations that identified as “socialist.”
When the 1978 Saur revolution in Afghanistan resulted in yet another socialist-inspired government, the United States responded by working with Saudi Arabia to give tons of weapons, training, and cash to the jihadists of the then-fledgling fundamentalist movement, helping to transform it into a regional social force that soon became the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The U.S.-backed Afghan jihad was the birth of the modern Islamic fundamentalist movement. The jihad attracted and helped organize fundamentalists across the region, as U.S. allies in the Gulf state dictatorships used the state religion to promote it.  Fighters who traveled to fight in Afghanistan returned to their home countries with weapon training and hero status that inspired others to join the movement.

The U.S. later aided the fundamentalists by invading Afghanistan and Iraq, destroying Libya and waging a ruthless proxy war in Syria.  Fundamentalists used these invasions and the consequent destruction of these once-proud nations to show that the West was at war with Islam.

Islamic fundamentalism grew steadily during this period, until it took another giant leap forward, starting with the U.S.-backed proxy war against the Syrian government, essentially the Afghan jihad on steroids.

Once again the U.S. government aligned itself with Islamic fundamentalists, who have been the principal groups fighting the Syrian government since 2012. To gain thousands of needed foreign fighters, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states promoted jihad with their state-sponsored media, religious figures, and oil-rich donors.

While the Syria jihad movement was blossoming in Syria, the U.S. media and politicians were silent, even as groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS were growing exponentially with their huge sums of Gulf state supplied weapons and cash. They were virtually ignored by the Obama administration until the ISIS invasion of Iraq reached the U.S.-sponsored Kurdish region in 2014.

In short, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have destroyed four civilizations within Muslim-majority nations. Once proud people have been crushed by war — either killed, injured, made refugees, or smothered by mass unemployment and scarcity. These are the ideal conditions for the Saudi-style Islamic fundamentalism to flourish, where promises of dignity and power resonate with those robbed of both.
Another U.S. media failure over Charlie Hebdo is how “satire” is discussed, where Hebdo’s actions were triumphed as the highest principle of the freedom of the media and speech.
It’s important to know what political satire is, and what it isn’t. Although the definition isn’t strict, political satire is commonly understood to be directed towards governments or powerful individuals. It is a very powerful form of political critique and analysis and deserves the strictest protection under freedom of speech.

However, when this same comedic power is directed against oppressed minorities, as Muslims are in France, the term satire ceases to apply, as it becomes a tool of oppression, discrimination, and racism.

The discrimination that French Muslims face has increased dramatically over the years, as Muslims have been subject to discrimination in politics and the media, most notoriously the 2010 ban on “face covering” in France, directed at the veil used by Muslim women.

This discrimination has increased as the French working class is put under the strain of austerity. Since the global 2008 recession this dynamic has accelerated, and consequently politicians are increasingly relying on scapegoating Muslims, Africans, or anyone who might be perceived as an immigrant.

It’s in this context that the cartoons aimed at offending Muslims by ridiculing their prophet Muhammad — a uniquely and especially offensive act under Islam — is especially insulting, and should be viewed as an incitement of racist hatred in France, where Arabs and North Africans are especially targeted in the right-wing attacks on immigrants.

It’s a sign of how far France has politically fallen that people are claiming solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, which has produced some of the most racist and inflammatory cartoons directed at Muslims, Arabs, and people of North Africans, which contributes to the culture of hatred that resulted in physical attacks against Muslims after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. This is the exact same political dynamic that led to Hitler’s racist scapegoating of the Jews.
Racism in France may have surpassed racism in the United States, since it’s unimaginable that, if the Ku Klux Klan were attacked in the United States for anti-Mexican hate speech, that the U.S. public would announce “I am the KKK.”

Hebdo is of course not a far-right publication. But the consistent attacks on Muslims and Africans show how far Charlie had been incorporated into the French political establishment, which now relies increasingly on scapegoating minorities to remain in power, in order to prevent the big corporations and wealthy from being blamed by the depreciating state of the French working class. Better to blame unions and minorities for the sorry state of the corporate-dominated French economy.

The only way to combat political scapegoating is to focus on the social forces responsible for the economic crisis and have them pay for the solutions that they are demanding the working class to pay through austerity measures and lower wages.

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What Jews can learn from Muslims...

Introduction by GA:
The following is a letter to the the Guardian written by Deborah Maccoby-Executive, Jews for Justice for Palestinians.  The text is a window into the Jewish Left confusion on issues of Israel, Zionism and Palestine. On the one hand, Maccoby admits that “most Jewish communal associations around the world” support “Israel’s massacre last summer of over 1,400 civilians, including over 500 children, in Gaza.” But on the other hand Maccoby says, “if world Jewish organisations were to learn from their Muslim counterparts and say loud and clear in response to Israeli atrocities “not in my name”, this could help to reduce antisemitism…” in short, the Jewish ‘justice’ enthusiast advises Jewish leaders to lie, to pretend, to say ‘not in my name,’ while  knowing and believing that Israel is the Jewish state and Zionism has become the voice of world Jewry for some time.

What Jews can learn from Muslims – The Guardian, January 12/15

by Deborah Maccoby
Jonathan Freedland (First they came for the cartoonists, then they came for the Jews, 10 January), claims that Jews are targeted simply as “a kind of ultimate symbol of the west”, as a result of “a curious kink in the ultra-Islamist mindset”, or as the traditional scapegoat of European fascists.
But the Israeli government, with its new bill proposing to make Israel the nation-state of all the Jews in the world, and Jewish organisations such as the Board of Deputies, with their claim that the majority of Jews support Israel’s oppressive policies, contribute to the conflation of Jews with Israel and the subsequent rise in antisemitism and attacks on Jews.
To point this out is not of course to justify the conflation of Jews with Israel, just as it is wrong and unjustifiable to identify jihadis with Muslims. But the recent massacre in France of 17 people was purportedly carried out in the name of Islam; and the swift and powerful condemnation issued by Muslim groups all over the world will help to reduce anti-Muslim feeling and deter young Muslims from joining the jihadis.
This condemnation by Muslims contrasts strongly with the support given by most Jewish communal associations around the world to Israel’s massacre last summer of over 1,400 civilians, including over 500 children, in Gaza.
If world Jewish organisations were to learn from their Muslim counterparts and say loud and clear in response to Israeli atrocities “not in my name”, this could help to reduce antisemitism and make the recruitment of young Muslims by jihadis more difficult. Despite Freedland’s claim that Jews have “no control” over Israeli policies, such condemnation could also exert strong pressure on the Israeli government to stop its atrocities and enter into genuine peace negotiations with the Palestinian unity government.

Deborah Maccoby

Executive, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
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Al-Jaafari lambasts Israeli unholy alliances in the Syrian Golan

Posted on January 16, 2015

Syrian representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari lambasts Israeli unholy alliances in the Syrian Golan.

New York, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said Golan was and would always remain a Syrian territory despite the current circumstances taking place in the country and we will continue our struggle for the full restoration of it until the line of June 4th, 1967.
Addressing participants at the UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East held on Thursday, al-Jaafari called upon the UN to assume its responsibilities and break the silence towards the “bitter reality” imposed on Golan people due to the Israeli occupation which controlled the territory since 1967.
He said that the UN should be serious and show interest in dealing with the occupied Syrian Golan according to the UNSC resolutions in this regard, particularly resolution No. 497 for 1981.
“The UN inability to force Israel to comply with its resolutions is unacceptable, especially those related to halting systematic and outrageous violations of human rights and putting an end to its policies of settlement, discrimination, suppression and arbitrary arrests against Syrian citizens, in addition to tightening grip on them, not to mention its plans to theft Golan natural resources, including water, gas and oil, “al-Jaafari added.
He noted that the recent decision issued by the Supreme Court of Israel lifting the ban on drilling for oil, permitting Israeli companies to start drilling works is a clear violation of international law.
“Amid international silence towards Israeli unjust practices, Israel is now taking part in plotting against Syria and providing support to takfiri terrorism in the country in order to destroy it. Israeli involvement became clearly evident when Israeli war airplanes launched several strikes against different targets in the Syrian territories in a clear violation of the international law and the 1974 Disengagement Agreement in a way that ignites tension to unprecedented levels and leads to wide-scale repercussions,” al-Jaafari said.
He added that what is really provoking is that neither UNSC nor the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or the UN Secretary General Spokesman condemned Israel’s aggressive practices.
” The Israeli occupation has also provided support for terrorists in the separation zone of the Syrian Golan, including medical treatment of the injured in their hospitals, and in a way that endangered the lives of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers, facts proved to be true according to reports by the UN Secretary General and Israeli media,” the Permanent Representative said.
” Such support had enabled an increase in movement by terrorist groups, including Al-Nusra Front, as well as the continuous kidnapping of peacekeepers. Such practice stresses the need to be more serious in handling this issue,” he said, noting that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations has ignored all information and warns provided by the Syrian government in this regard.
Stating his unwillingness to respond to misleading allegations in statements of delegations of the EU, US, Britain, France and Saudi Arabia, al-Jaafari noted that they are meant to divert attention from the Israeli occupation and reduce the international pressure on it, adding that these countries themselves don’t respect UNSC resolutions on counterterrorism, especially 2170 and 2178.
He said that there is a legal and historic responsibility on the UN towards the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State as provided in resolution No. 181 for 1947 which stipulated for the division of Palestine and resolution No. 273 for 1949 on admitting Israel’s membership into the UN on the condition that it should obligate to resolution No. 181 on establishing the Palestinian state and resolution No. 194 on granting all Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes.
R. Raslan / Ghossoun

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Nick Clegg Vows To The Primacy Of Jewish Suffering

The JC reports:

Nick Clegg promises to protect Holocaust education funding

Nick Clegg meets survivor Zigi Shipper and pupils from the Lessons from Auschwitz project (Photo: Yakir Zur)
Holocaust education funding will be protected for the next five years if the Liberal Democrats return to government after the election, Nick Clegg has promised.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the £9 million budget for the Holocaust Education Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme would continue to 2020.

He is the first party leader to make the pledge. Mr Clegg said the project was the “cornerstone” of Shoah education in Britain.

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Israel Stripping Palestinian Prisoners of Hunger Strike Gains

Protesters gather to demonstrate in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, at the al-Aroub Palestinian refugee camp on May 31, 2014. AFP/Hazem Bader
Published Friday, January 16, 2015
Palestinian prisoners wait for an opportune moment away from Israeli surveillance to call their parents and reassure them of their well-being in this harsh winter. Palestinian prisoners in various prisons talked about the rights they were stripped of recently by the Israeli prison authorities, and what they plan to do in the next few months in the absence of local and international attention.
Gaza – Taking advantage of the current situation in the Palestinian political and security establishment, the Israel Prison Service stripped Palestinian prisoners of all the rights they had won via individual and collective hunger strikes, some of which were record-breaking.
Since the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers in Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank in June 2014 — and during the recent war on Gaza in July and August 2014 — the Israeli authorities has reversed the previous gains achieved by Palestinian prisoners. Israel added hundreds of prisoners to the thousands already in prison. Scores were subjected to administrative detention, including prisoner Khader Adnan, who launched the hunger strike battle. On January 6, Adnan launched another hunger strike to protest his ongoing imprisonment without being formally charged with any crime.

The harsh and long sentences against some of the men freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal were also renewed, and their appeal requests against the new sentences were rejected, in a clear violation of the terms of their release, and amid a dubious absence of the mediator, Egypt.
In addition to the complicated visiting procedures, hundreds of prisoners suffering from chronic diseases, such as ulcer, diabetes, and cancer, are being denied proper care.
Meanwhile, jailed members of the Jihad Brigades Movement led a mass strike last month in solidarity with prisoner Nahar al-Sa’di, who was kept in solitary confinement for 18 months, during which he was denied family visitation and the right to receive clothes and blankets, although he has kidney disease. A few days into the strike, the prisoners gradually obtained some of the rights they demanded.
This harsh winter has become the prisoners’ main adversary, given the low temperatures and poor conditions inside the prisons, some of which, such as the Naqab and Nafha prisons, are located in the desert.
Al-Akhbar was able to speak with a number of Palestinian prisoners, who insisted that their names not be published so their statements could not be used by the Israel Prison Service as evidence to convict them. A prisoner from Naqab Prison said that the prison authorities adopt the “divide and rule” policy, discriminating among Palestinian prisoners, giving lighter sentences to Fatah prisoners and harsher ones to prisoners affiliated with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Harsh sentences include shorter recreation breaks (during which prisoners spend time in the open), cut down from four hours to one hour, and lower allowances to buy from the canteen (a small shop inside the prison) ranging between 400 and 1200 shekels ($101 and $304). The Israeli prison authorities also reduced the number of cable television channels available for prisoners from 10 to three channels: Israel Channel 1, Israel Channel 2, and BBC, and banned access to Arabic newspapers and publications. They also cancelled family visitations and installed jamming devices to prevent prisoners from using mobile phones, which they pay thousands of dollars to smuggle into prison.
Abu Khadija, a member of the Islamic Jihad prisoners’ committee and leader of the latest hunger strike in Rimon Prison, admitted that the hunger strike held by Islamic Jihad prisoners last month was a risky move, which did not take into account the general prison strike regulations regarding “timing and internal and external circumstances.” Prisoners have agreed on these regulations to guarantee the success of their strikes, and developed them based on their experience with the Israeli prison administration. According to Abu Khadija, the prisoners fought the battle alone for the first time. They had no choice but to persist with the strikes, he said, especially after prisoner Nahar al-Sa’di’s condition became critical.
Abu Khadija said that the prisoners achieved a new victory over the prison administration, which had taken their clothes away despite the cold weather, on strict recommendations from the Shin Bet. “The regional and local situation did not help… but our demands were met within nine days of the strike,” he added. He believes that the January 2014 strike restored respect for hunger strikes as a weapon.
Prisoners are expected to take further measures at the end of the winter of 2014 to ensure the release of prisoners held in solitary confinement and freer family visitations for prisoners from Gaza. They will begin by submitting petitions to the Israel Prison Service explaining their demands. If these demands are not met, they will take escalatory measures, such as returning meals and taking their belonging with them during breaks, which is seen as the most serious form of disobedience by Israeli prison administrations. Finally, prisoners may resort to banging on prison doors and threatening to set prison cells on fire.

[P]risoners will take a strategic step and begin an open-ended hunger strike, especially since Palestinian Prisoners’ Day is in April.

Abu Mustafa, another member of the Islamic Jihad prisoners’ committee, who is being held at Nafha Prison, said that progressive measures will be implemented over a period of two months. After that, he said, prisoners will take a strategic step and begin an open-ended hunger strike, especially since Palestinian Prisoners’ Day is in April.
In addition to achieving the release of prisoners from solitary confinement and securing visitation rights to Gaza prisoners, demands include medical treatment for sick prisoners, allowing bi-weekly instead of bi-monthly visitations to prisoners from the West Bank and Jerusalem, ending the humiliating search methods, returning the 10 cable television channels that were banned during the recent aggression on Gaza, and raising the allowance to buy from the canteen. Prisoners in the Hadarim and Jelebu prisons made the same demands. They said that they are suffering from the same punishments, in addition to the transfer of Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners to other prisons.
Each winter, the prison administrations prohibit the delivery of clothes and blankets to prisoners, especially to new ones. They also raise the price of goods in the canteen, and ban heaters — as if the rain leaking into the cells of the ratty prison wasn’t bad enough.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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