Saturday 6 January 2018


On January 4, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces, backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces, captured the villages of Rsm al-Abid, al-Fhail, Rubaida, Msheirfeh, al-Qasr al-Abyad, Rabeeah Musa, Haqiyah and Umm Rjaim Hill in southeastern Idlib.
According to pro-government sources, at least 7 militants were killed and a vehicle was destroyed during the SAA advance.
On the same day, the Sham Legion reportedly destroyed a SAA battle tank with an anti-tank guided missile near the town of Atshan in northern Hama.
Now, government troops are developing their advance on the town of Sinjar.
In Eastern Ghouta, the SAA started an operation to lift a siege imposed by Ahrar al-Sham on the Armoured Vehicles Base.
The SAA reportedly captured dozens of buildings in Harasta and killed many Ahrar al-Sham members in the district. Meanwhile, the Syrian Air Force destroyed a militant HQ in the same area.
Jaish al-Islam repelled an SAA attack on Ayn Zuriqa and restored the control over the village. 3 SAA soldiers were reportedly killed there.
On January 4, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces started storming the ISIS-held town of Hajin in the Euphrates Valley. Clashes are ongoing there.
The pro-opposition media outlet Hammurabi’s Justice News reported that the SAA and Russia had rejected a US-led coalition request for an assistance in securing the 55km zone around the US military base at At-Tanf in southeastern Syria.
If this is true, the report confirms that the US-led coalition and its proxies had done almost nothing to combat ISIS in the area controlled by them near At-Tanf and are still not able to do this without an additional assistance.

Related News

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

Saudi: 11 Princes Arrested over Demonstrating in Riyadh Royal Palace

Saudi Arabia Royal Guards

Saudi authorities arrested 11 princes who demonstrated in the presidential palace in Riyadh, Saudi media reported on Saturday.
Saudi online newspaper, Sabq, reported that 11 princes had gathered in the presidential palace in Riyadh after authorities banned them from some privileges related to electricity and water services.
Royal guards arrested the princes after they refused to do leave the palace, according to Sabq.
They were taken to Al-Hayer prison, the electronic newspaper said, adding that they will be prosecuted for refusing to obey the orders.
Saudi Arabia has been witnessing a massive purge since November 2017. Dozens of prominent princes, government ministers, and business people were arrested under the pretext of countering corruption. The move, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is seen as an attempt by the 32-year-old prince to tighten his control over the kingdom.

Related Articles
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The Story Behind Ahed #Tamimi’s Slap: Her Cousin’s Head Shattered by israeli Soldier’s Bullet

The Story Behind Ahed Tamimi’s Slap: Her Cousin’s Head Shattered by Israeli Soldier’s Bullet

Just before Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi slapped one of the soldiers who’d invaded her yard, she learned that her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed had been shot in the head at close range

By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Ha’aretz
Half a head.
The left side of his face is twisted, swollen, fragmented, scarred; there’s congealed blood by his nose, stitches in his face; one eye is shut, a seam line stretches across his whole scalp. A boy’s face turned scar-face. Some of his skull bones were removed in surgery and won’t be returned to their place for another six months.
Mohammed Tamimi, just 15, and he is already a disabled shooting victim and a released prisoner.
That’s life under the occupation in Nabi Saleh, where people are occupied with the struggle. About an hour after Mohammed was shot in the head at short range by an Israel Defense Forces soldier (or a Border Policeman), his now-better-known cousin, Ahed Tamimi, went to the yard of her house and tried to forcibly expel the two soldiers who had invaded her turf, while the camera rolled. It’s a reasonable assumption that she tried to vent her wrath on the soldiers in part because of the shooting of her cousin an hour earlier.

Only a few dozen meters separate the place where the soldiers shot Mohammed and Ahed’s home; only an hour separated the two events. People in her family relate that Ahed, 16, burst into tears when she heard that her cousin had been shot and was in serious condition. From the window of her home at the edge of Nabi Saleh, a small village near Ramallah, you can see the stone wall that surrounds the luxurious building, under construction, that Mohammed climbed in order to get a view of the soldiers who were still inside. At that point he was shot in the head with one bullet from a distance of a few meters, and fell bleeding to the ground from a height of three meters (nearly 10 feet).
Now Ahed is in detention and Mohammed is recovering from his shattering head wound. This week, Mohammed still didn’t know about the arrest of his cousin, who has become an icon. In view of his condition, his family hasn’t told him.
We meet him in his uncle’s house, which is adjacent to his own home. He speaks softly, occasionally runs his hand across the scars on his head, lies down from time to time on the sofa to rest. He’s in the 10th grade in the village’s coeducational school, where Ahed is a student one year ahead of him. His father, Fadel, is a taxi driver; his mother, Imtisal, a homemaker. Last year, he spent three months in an Israeli prison.
At 2 A.M. on April 24, 2017, soldiers broke into their home by force, entered the children’s room, snatched Mohammed from his bed, handcuffed him and took him into detention. He wanted to get dressed before being taken to prison; the soldiers initially refused but then consented, he says now. Tamimi was suspected of throwing stones at an army jeep that had broken down next to the gas station at the village’s entrance a few days earlier. He was taken to the Etzion police facility for interrogation, which took place without the presence of a lawyer, as the law stipulates. After all, what does the law have to do with the interrogation of a 14-year-old (as he was then) Palestinian boy? Nor did anyone tell him that he had the right to remain silent. At some point, the interrogators also wanted to get him to sign a form written in Hebrew. Since he does not speak the language, he refused. He says that he wasn’t afraid during the questioning.
After three months of interrogations and hearings, Mohammed was sentenced in a plea bargain to three months in prison and a fine of 3,000 shekels (about $860) – the prosecution had asked for a jail term of a year and a fine of 15,000 shekels. Tamimi was released two days later, as by then he had already been incarcerated for three months. Throughout the period, his parents weren’t allowed to visit their son even once. They only saw him in the courtroom, from a distance, but weren’t allowed to speak with him, or even ask how he was feeling. Routine procedure.
Mohammed was released on July 19. What did you find hardest in jail, we ask. The hardest thing for him, he says, was not being able to fall asleep at night for worrying about his family. IDF and Border Police troops raid Nabi Saleh almost every day and night, and Tamimi was concerned about his parents and his brother. Sharef, his 24-year-old brother, and their father, too, have been arrested quite often and also injured. In 2015, for example, a few people who introduced themselves as employees of the Electric Corporation arrived at their home. It was during the day. They turned out to be mista’arvim, undercover soldiers. They locked everyone in the house in one room. Mohammed managed to escape to his uncle’s house next door, and to report that strangers had invaded the house. His cousin, who is also named Mohammed Tamimi – there are apparently about 100 people in Nabi Saleh with that name – says that at first they, too, didn’t know who the interlopers were. They’d come to arrest Sharef, who wasn’t home. The soldiers waited for him. Sharef was sentenced to two months in prison. This situation of the kidnapping of his brother is also part of Mohammed’s childhood memories. Now he wants to lie down to rest a little again.
Mohammed Tamimi with his father, Fadel. (Alex Levac)
After Mohammed was released, he went back to taking part in the village’s regular demonstrations – “because they took our lands,” he explains now. Most of the land of Nabi Saleh either was plundered in order to build the settlement of Halamish, on the other side of the road, or simply cannot be accessed because of the presence of the settlement.
In the past three months, the hand of the Israeli security forces has become even heavier in the village. According to Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the IDF and the Border Police have raided Nabi Saleh 70 or 80 times in the past three months. Sometimes the soldiers shut the yellow iron gate to the village, so that residents are unable to reach the main road. They do this most frequently in the early morning hours, when the workers head for their jobs, the patients for treatment and the students for school. The village attributes this policy to the new army commander in the region, whom they know simply as “Eyal.”
Friday, December 15, was another unquiet day in Nabi Saleh. It was a week after U.S. President Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem. As on every Friday, a protest march was set to take place. Tamimi relates that he went that morning with a group of his peers to see whether there were soldiers lurking in ambush, ahead of the march, which always makes its way toward the IDF’s fortified watchtower at the village’s entrance. There were five or six youths. A short time later, they saw about a dozen soldiers who’d come from the south and were trying to take cover in an ambush position. Mohammed and a friend shouted to them: We see you! The soldiers hurled tear-gas grenades at them. In the meantime, the marchers were drawing closer.
The military force positioned itself in the “villa,” a splendid but not yet finished wall-enclosed stone structure at the edge of Nabi Saleh, built by an affluent Palestinian exile who lives in Spain. It’s meant to be an alternative-health clinic, but its opening has been delayed because of the situation. Dozens of villagers surrounded the “villa,” knowing there were soldiers within.
Mohammed Tamimi approached the wall of the building, then climbed it. He wanted to see whether there were still soldiers inside, in the wake of a rumor that they had left. But the instant he appeared above the wall, he was shot in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet from a distance of a few meters. Tamimi managed to see the soldier aim his rifle at him, he recalls, but that’s all he remembers. He fell to the ground and the other youngsters rushed over to him.
Tamimi was unconscious when he was carried to a private car and driven to the clinic in the village of Beit Rima. His cousin Mohammed Tamimi, a student in his 20s, was with him. The cousin relates that his namesake received first aid at the clinic, where the staff suggested that he be taken to the clinic in the town of Salfit. The cousin refused, thinking that because of the severity of the wound, the clinic would not be able to treat him properly. The driver of the Palestinian ambulance warned that if they encountered an IDF checkpoint, the soldiers were liable to arrest the wounded teen.
The soldiers at the checkpoint at the exit from Nabi Saleh ordered the ambulance to stop. Tamimi the cousin recalls that they were aggressive and extremely edgy, and aimed their weapons at him. They saw the boy’s condition; the cousin told them, “You have 30 seconds to decide: Either you take him to an Israeli hospital, or you let us pass.”
Tamimi relates that a military ambulance was parked next to the checkpoint. One of the soldiers consulted with someone via his radio, and then ordered the ambulance to head for Ramallah, declining to allow its patient to enter Israel for medical treatment. “Get going,” the soldier snapped, when Tamimi tried to persuade him to allow his cousin to be transferred to a hospital in Israel.
The ambulance sped toward Istishari Hospital, a new private institution in Ramallah. Mohammed’s parents, who had in the meantime gone to the Nabi Saleh checkpoint in a panic, were turned back by the soldiers at gunpoint, even after trying to explain that their son had been seriously wounded. They had to take an indirect route to the hospital.
Tamimi’s condition looked serious; he was suffering from intracranial bleeding. Both his cousin and his father say now that they were certain he wouldn’t survive. Specialists were summoned, and they decided to operate. No one knew then how much brain damage he had sustained. A Facebook request for blood donations brought many people to the hospital. The surgery lasted six hours, through the night. Photographs of the boy lying unconscious in the hospital, hooked up to tubes, were disseminated on the social networks the next day. About 24 hours later, Tamimi began to regain consciousness and could soon identify those around him. Now everyone is calling it a miracle.
Mohammed Tamimi was discharged to his home about a week later. As far as is known, he suffered no motor or cognitive damage.
The IDF Spokesman’s Unit this week told Haaretz: “On Friday, December 15, disturbances erupted, involving some 200 Palestinians who set tires alight and threw stones at IDF forces near the village of Nabi Saleh. The troops used crowd-dispersal methods to break up the gathering. We are aware of the claim by the District Coordination and Liaison Office that a Palestinian was injured and evacuated for medical care in the village.”
Tamimi is cuddling next to his father, who’s come back from work and is fawning over his son. The boy soon drifts off. The neighboring house on the hill, the home of Ahed Tamimi, is deserted. Ahed and her mother, Nariman, are in detention. The father, Bassem, is with them in court, to boost their spirits when the serious indictment against them is read out
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

The USA’s own colour revolution: What Did Kissinger Mean By A ‘White House War’ Between Jews And Non-Jews?

Same thing happened in Russia 100 years ago which resulted in the Jewish Bolsheviks and communism
Henry Kissinger knows a few things about wars, about Jews, and about the White Houses.
But his quip to journalist Michael Wolff on the subject, as quoted in Wolff’s bombshell new book about President Donald Trump and his circle, is setting some heads a-scratching.
“It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews,” Kissinger, the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, told Wolff of the Trump White House.
The full context of the quote is unclear, as the text of Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” is not publicly available as of this writing.
But based on a report in The Guardian, it appears Kissinger’s glib quip was an attempt to characterize the clash between former Trump chief advisor Steve Bannon on one side, and Jewish Trump family members Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on the other.
So what was Kissinger, who roles in U.S. interventions in Chile, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, among other nations, led to millions of deaths, getting at in his quote to Wolff?
Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, noted that Kissinger’s own political rise coincided with a certain sort of Jew’s defection to the Republican Party. Many of the so-called “neoconservatives” supported Nixon over his Democratic rival George McGovern in 1972. And while many of those Jews and their ideological heirs count among today’s so-called #NeverTrump-ers, they also stand opposed to the economic nationalism of Bannon.
Perhaps Kissinger saw in the White House scuffles a sort of battle for the soul of the Republican Party: Between a Jewish-inflected moderate wing, and a culturally non-Jewish hard core.
“Jewish Republicans have been different from the kind of paleoconservative Republicans, and that battle goes back a long way,” Sarna said. “What none of us know is whether the neoconservatives will come back to the Republican party if there’s a different man at the top.”
But some close observers of the White House question the former Secretary of State’s analysis even as they giggled at zinger.
“There’s so many Jews in this administration, you can’t really have the Jews and the non-Jews,” one friend of the president told the Forward.
While it’s true that Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s perceived allies, among them Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, are largely New York Jews, the Bannon team, both inside and outside of the White House, is similarly heavily Jewish.
Stephen Miller, a senior Trump advisor seen as the last remaining Bannonite in the White House, is Jewish. So are many of Bannon’s post-White House colleagues at the news organization he now runs, Breitbart Media, including Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow.
A fight between the Jews and the non-Jews, then, seems a difficult analysis to substantiate.
Another close observer of Jewish politics said that, while Kissinger’s framing of the internal White House war as a fight between Kushner and Bannon was certainly a common one back before Bannon’s exile in August, it also seems to have been an oversimplification.
“It seems like it was sort of everybody against everybody,” the close observer said. Reince Preibus versus Bannon. Bannon versus Jared Kushner. “Traditionally in the White Houses there are a couple of power centers that fight with each other,” the observer said. “In this White House it seems like each of the power bases all fought with each other.”
Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.

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

Ahed #Tamimi Stood Up to israel While the Rest of the World Bows

It is one thing to salute Ahed Tamimi’s bravery and turn her into a heroine du jour, but real respect for her courage would be to make sure that neither she nor other oppressed and abused Palestinian children have to continue to face Israeli oppression alone and unaided.
NABI SALEH, PALESTINE (Op-ed) — One can barely go for half a day on social media without seeing new iconic images of Ahed Tamimi. Everyone who ever posed with her for a photo is posting, and some very creative art is being made of her almost by the minute.
But the truth is that we all failed her. Even those of us who regularly visit the village of Nabi Saleh and march with the people of the village to protest the Israeli oppression, though we cough and gag from the tear gas and we stink from the skunk water, and though some of us are arrested from time to time — we have all failed her.
We failed Ahed, just as we failed her young uncles Mostafa and Roshdy who were killed; and her cousin Mohammad who was shot in the head a week before her arrest, and miraculously survived; and just like we failed countless other Palestinian children who have been shot, arrested and tortured by Israeli forces for over seven decades.
Israeli soldiers illegally enter Ahed Tamimi’s home (courtesy of Tamimi family)
If we had been vigilant, if we stood and cried louder, and if the world did not allow Israel to abuse Palestine and its children for seven decades, Ahed would not have had to kick the soldiers out of her house. No child should be alone and have to defend her home from armed, violent men as the rest of the world idly watches.  
Many will recall the video from August of 2015, where Ahed’s brother, who had a broken arm at the time, is being chased down a rocky hillside by an Israeli soldier carrying a semi-automatic rifle and wearing a ski mask. When the soldier catches up with the boy he picks him up then violently throws him on the ground and visibly tries to break the boy’s healthy arm. The boy was terrified and in terrible pain and even then, none of us were there to defend him. His sister Ahed, his mother, his aunt and other women from the village — all unarmed, all risking their lives — fought off the soldier and saved the boy.
On December 7, 2017 images and a video were published of a young Palestinian boy in Hebron being led, handcuffed and blindfolded, by some 20 armed infantry soldiers. The boy is 17-year-old Fawzi Aljunaid. His shoulder fractured, Fawzi was eventually released after paying $2,800 bail. Where were we and where was the world when he was thus abused, and why do we allow the Israeli authorities to profit from such abuse?

According to a report published by Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts. Since 2000, more than 12,000 Palestinian children have been detained, the most common charge against them being throwing stones, a charge that now carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison — or 20 years if the state can show proof of intent.

The prohibition against torture . . . is universal and absolute

Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian child
Israeli forces, including soldiers disguised as Palestinians, arrest a Palestinian child in occupied Jerusalem on October 24, 2014.
In February of 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Fund, published a report titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention.” The executive summary states:
“[The report] concludes that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing. It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights.”
UNICEF, has been gathering information on what it calls “grave violations committed against Palestinian children by Israeli authorities” since 2007. The report further states that for “many years” there have been claims of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment” of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities. UNICEF further states that “International law prohibits the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances,” and that “the prohibition is absolute and unconditional.”
While all that is needed for the protection of children is already stated in international law, in the case of Palestinian children there is no recourse and no authority to force Israel to comply with that law. As in other matters, on the issue of mistreatment of child prisoners, Israel is getting away with severe violations of international law. This is true even though there is a 1999 decision of the Israeli Supreme Court, legally binding on the Israeli military courts, which prohibits torture: Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and others v. The State of Israel (1999) 53 (4) PD 81 (“The Torture Ruling”). The ruling includes all interrogation performed by Israeli authorities, not limited by territory, and refers to Israeli Security Agency interrogations in particular.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stated that state parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child should establish separate facilities for children deprived of their liberty — including distinct, child-centred staff, personnel, policies and practices — but the Israeli military court uses the same facilities and court staff for minors as it does for the adult military court. In September 2009, in response to documentation regarding the prosecution of children as young as 12 in adult military courts, Israel did establish a juvenile military court — the only one in the world. However, the staff that operates this court is the same staff that operates the adult court — and the facilities are also the same.
Before a detained child is put to trial, he or she go through a process that is harrowing in itself.
It typically starts with being aggressively awakened in the middle of the night by armed soldiers. The soldiers invade the home, forcing all family members to stand outside in their night clothes while they search the house. The search often includes destroying furniture, throwing the family’s belongings on the ground and breaking windows. Then the child will be blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled, as he or she is taken away to an interrogation center. Children are rarely informed of their right to an attorney or the right to remain silent, and parents are rarely informed as to where the child is being taken, why, or for how long.


Signing a confession in a foreign language   

Most children confess at the end of the interrogation, either because they have been advised that ‘confessing’ is their only way out of the military detention system or as a result of being implicated in a confession given by another child. The child will be shown a form in Hebrew and ordered to sign it. Palestinian children do not learn Hebrew and, even if they speak it, they are not fully literate and able to understand legal documents.
While Ahed Tamimi is being praised for her courage and even idealized as a heroin of the resistance — her very actions should be seen as an accusation of all of us. We should have protected her and her family. The courage that she displayed points up the lack of courage by the rest of the world to stand up to Israel.

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

Dr Norman Finkelstein The Coming Collapse of Zionism in America

Published on 20 Dec 2017
Norman Finkelstein, a Jew, gets it. Why can’t all Jews ‘get it.?’ Why have the Jews let the political Zionists usurp their religion and cause so much human misery? If the Jews are allegedly so smart, and if the Jews are so ‘god-like’ why don’t they see that this murderous Talmud ideology is suicidal for them? Why can’t the Jews control their own evil bastard offspring? When will all the Jews rejoin humanity?
When the hell is Judaism going to grow up and mature into human adults? The time to do this is running out.

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

Ahed #Tamimi: The slap that was heard around the world

Ahed Tamimi. Image: Haim Schwarczenberg/Wikimedia Commons.
A few nights ago I was watching a crime series on Netflix which was made in Finland. In one episode, the 17-year-old daughter of the starring detective is thrown in jail. She is charged with murdering a man she barely knows. We see her in her small hospital-like room with a barred window and narrow plank bed, pacing her cell. Then she hammers on the cell door. In tears, she cries for the guard to allow her in the corridor just to “stretch my legs.” There is no response from the guard.
Today, I think about Ahed Tamimi, the 16 year old Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, who was recently dragged from her bed and her family in the dead of night, handcuffed and thrown in jail in by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). She was charged by an Israeli military prosecutor with five counts of assaulting security forces and for throwing stones.
In fact, Ahed slapped the soldier who had hit her after she verbally protested his troop’s midnight invasion of her family’s front yard. Minutes before, an Israeli soldier had fired a rubber bullet into the head of her 15-year-old brother Mohammad, which left him in a coma. The IDF had also just lobbed tear gas canisters to break windows in the Tamimi family home.
The Tamimis are a well-respected family in Nabi Saleh who have for decades resisted Israel’s occupation. Two yeInars ago, Ahed bit a soldier who was attacking her 12 year old brother, and since that time the IDF has done just about everything to scare and threaten her and her family. Her father Bassem was tortured while serving three years in prison without being convicted of anything; he has undergone a dozen arrests. In 2012, Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience. Ahed’s older brothers have also been arrested many times and served time in Israeli jails. At least four of her cousins have been arrested by the Israelis; her cousin Mustafa was killed in 2011 by an Israeli soldier who fired a high-velocity tear gas canister at his head from a metre away. Ahed’s mother Nariman has been arrested and imprisoned five times; in mid-December she was arrested alongside Ahed and her aunt. Nariman has been charged with assaulting a soldier, obstructing a soldier in carrying out his duties, and two counts of incitement to violence and disturbing “public order.”
Nabi Saleh is a West Bank village of barely 600 residents who have resisted the confiscation of their land by Israeli settlers. More importantly, the Palestinians there have had non-violent demonstrations every week for more than six years because the settlers from Halamish, an illegal Jewish settlement, have commandeered their freshwater spring. Any demonstration by Palestinians under Israeli occupation amounts to “political incitement” and is contrary to Israeli Military Order 101, which also criminalizes protests, assemblies, waving Palestinian flags and distributing political materials.
Add firing of live ammunition and rubber and plastic bullets, invading Palestinians’ homes and taking them over to use as IDF “bases” in the village, plus nightly arrests of children and parents alike, and we see why Ahed dared to slap the Israeli soldier that night.
I think back to the Nordic Noir whodunit on Netflix. The teen’s detective father figures out who actually murdered the man and why. The final scene sees the girl running out of the prison gates — free — to reunite with her waiting parents.
Not so for Ahed. Not only have she, her mother and aunt been jailed, but Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett called for Ahed to “spend the rest of her days in prison.” Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev called the girl’s slap “damaging to the honour of the military and the state of Israel.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said “whoever goes wild during the day, will be arrested at night,” adding, “everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them, will not escape what they deserve.”
Ben Caspit, a journalist for Ma’ariv, the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper, wrote in the paper, “in the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.” Does that sound like rape to you? It does to me. (In the interest of fair reporting, Caspit now says his comments were mistranslated. He says that “in the dark,” was meant as a compliment to the IDF in that they arrested 16 year old Ahed without fanfare, late at night without media presence. That’s his story.)
Ahed’s slap is the slap that was heard around the world. Now it’s time for people of conscience — including Canadian Jews — to protest the occupation and demand the release of Ahed and her family.
JUDY HAIVEN is a founding member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. She is a recently retired Professor of Management at Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Image: Haim Schwarczenberg/Wikimedia Commons

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

Deep State, Nazi Israel, Netanyahu, Palestine, Trump, US Congress, US Foreign Policy, Wars for Israel

Winner of the 2014 Lionel Trilling Book award.
Published by Beacon Books, ISBN: 978-080704475-9
Published March 2013

Interview with Rashid Khalili,  Democracy Now
December 22, 2017
At the United Nations, over 120 countries defied President Trump Thursday by voting in favour of a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The final vote was 128 to 9, while 35 nations abstained and 21 countries cast no vote. Control of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues: Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Sustained protests continue in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories, despite a brutal Israeli military crackdown. We speak with Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and author of “Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: At the United Nations, over 120 countries defied President Trump on Thursday by voting in favour of a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The final vote, 128 to 9. Thirty-five nations abstained, and 21 countries did not cast a vote. The eight countries voting with the United States were Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo. Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favour. On Thursday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated Trump’s threat after the vote.
NIKKI HALEY: America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do. And it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. And this vote will be remembered.
AMY GOODMAN: In response to the U.N. vote, Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi praised the international community for standing up to the United States.
HANAN ASHRAWI: Well, I’m extremely encouraged that the vast majority of the states, of the members of the United Nations General Assembly did not succumb to American threats and blackmail, and did not accept the Israeli insults being hurled at them, and they stood up for justice and for the rule of law and for what is right. And they voted on the basis of principle. Hundred and twenty-eight countries told the U.S. and Israel that what they’re doing is wrong and unacceptable, and they voted for Jerusalem. They voted for the U.N. as an institution of integrity. They voted for the rule of law and for the requirements of a just peace.
AMY GOODMAN: Former CIA Director John Brennan responded to the vote, posting a message on his new Twitter account:
“Trump Admin threat to retaliate against nations that exercise sovereign right in UN to oppose US position on Jerusalem is beyond outrageous. Shows @realDonaldTrump expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone—qualities usually found in narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”
Control of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues: Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Sustained protests continue in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, despite a brutal Israeli crackdown. On Wednesday, dozens of Palestinian protesters were wounded after Israeli soldiers opened fire with live ammunition and tear gas against thousands of protesters. This is Hamas official Ismail Radwan.
ISMAIL RADWAN: [translated] We call on our Arabic and Muslim nations to surround the Israeli and American embassies in the Arab countries, then drive the American and Israeli ambassadors out of the Arab countries. We are continuing our way of resistance, using all kinds of resistance to break this decision.

Prof. Khalili being interviewed by
Shai Ginsburg on YouTube.

AG: Well, for more, we’re joined by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, author of a number of books, his most recent, Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.
Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Professor Khalidi. Your response to the U.N. General Assembly vote, 128 to 9?
RASHID KHALIDI: Well, it’s yet another instance of the Trump administration shooting themselves in the foot, making a big issue of a question where the entire world, with the exception of nine countries, are in agreement, that there is international law on this issue. The Security Council decisions, that the United States voted for, are international law. And the United States is violating it. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that there was such a tiny number of states voting with the United States.
AG: And what about the abstentions, the significance of—what was it? Like 35?
RK:  This is almost—
AG: What does that say?
RK: It’s almost the same vote as we had in 2012 for Palestine as a state. So, there’s basically no change. Trump’s blackmail and bluster didn’t seem to have had much effect.
AG And Nikki Haley and President Trump’s threat to cut off aid, foreign aid, to countries who vote against the U.S., which would mean the majority of the world?
RK: Precisely. I think most people said what anybody who looks at this carefully would say. Jerusalem is central to Palestine. Jerusalem is central to the whole issue. And if you prejudge something in favour of one party, in violation of international law, you’re just taking yourself out of the international consensus.
AGOn Thursday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, defended President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
NIKKI HALEY: The decision was in accordance to U.S. law dating back to 1995. And its position has been repeatedly endorsed by the American people ever since. The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem’s boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that. The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the president’s decision reflects the will of the American people.
AGYour response to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Haley?
RK: There’s not one single thing that Nikki Haley said that’s true. Sixty-one percent of people polled were against this in the United States, so it does not represent the will of the American people.
Secondly, this not only damages the prospects of peace, this completely eliminates the United States as a potential broker. I wrote a book, Brokers of Deceit, in which I argue the United States has always been a dishonest broker. So, to my way of thinking, this is actually a silver lining in a cloud. The United States should be removed from its role. It should sit on the Israeli side of the table, if it insists on being there. But it has no place setting the ground rules for a negotiation.
Everything else that Nikki Haley said is also untrue. By accepting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, implicitly, the Trump administration is accepting Israel’s definition of Jerusalem, which runs all the way down, almost, to the Jordan River. They’re about to annex Ma’ale Adumim, Khan al-Ahmar, which means Israel now controls a swath, or will control or will have annexed a swath, running all across the centre of Palestine, cutting the northern part of the West Bank off from the southern part. That’s the kind of thing that makes a Palestinian state completely impossible. So, everything she said is false.
AGTalk about the protests on the ground, Israeli forces increasingly repressive in the Occupied Territories, human rights groups deeply concerned about the number of arrests, the detaining of children, sometimes holding them without trial, as the protests continue to rage over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers and border police raided the home of prominent 16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, a day after video showing her confronting Israeli soldiers went viral. After Tamimi’s arrest, the girl’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, was detained at an Israeli police station as she inquired about the status of her daughter.
And then you’ve got this other case, witnesses say that 17-year-old Abdul-Khalik Burnat was arrested earlier this week when he went out for pizza with friends. Burnat’s father is Iyad Burnat, a leader of a nonviolent Palestinian resistance group whose work was highlighted in the Oscar-nominated documentary Five Broken Cameras. What about all of these situations?
RK: Well, in the last case, the Israelis have been persecuting that family for a very long time, because they’re leading a nonviolent movement, which is exactly what the Israelis don’t want to appear. They don’t want it to be realized that they’re holding an entire people down by force, and that when they rise up, even nonviolently, Israel cannot tolerate that.
And the sad thing is, there’s nothing exceptional about these shootings or these detentions. This is the only way that an occupying force can hold millions of people down against their will for 50 years. The response to the Jerusalem decision is a normal response. People are outraged. And the Israelis respond by arresting children, holding them without a lawyer, without their parents, interrogating them and, in many cases, putting them in administrative detention. The sad thing is that there’s nothing new about this. This is the way a military occupation has to operate and will operate, until somebody stops it.
AGAnd Ahed Tamimi?
RK: Well, I mean, she’s a very courageous girl. She did what she did, you saw on that piece of video. And typically, she and her parents are probably going to suffer for her action. There’s no recourse. Israeli military courts are kangaroo courts. Ninety-nine-point-something percent of people brought before them are convicted. So, there is no justice in the holy land, where the Palestinians are concerned.
AGThe United Nations’ top human rights official recently condemned the killing of 29-year-old Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper last Friday during a protest in the Gaza Strip. Abu Thuraya was a double-amputee who lost both legs and a kidney in 2008 during an Israeli airstrike, and used a wheelchair. This is Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
RUPERT COLVILLE: As far as we can see, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury when he was killed. In the words of the high commissioner, given his severe disability, which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible, and it is a truly shocking and wanton act.
AGYour response to this U.N. spokesperson?

Sitting duck: Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was killed by a direct shot to the head by an Israeli soldier.
RK: These are generally snipers, using scopes. So, this man was murdered by an Israeli soldier, who saw him crawling, without legs, towards the border fence. He obviously could not have posed the slightest threat to the security of the state of Israel or to anybody, except himself, because he defied the occupation.
AG: So, what is going to happen right now in the Occupied Territories? What does this mean for the Palestinian leadership?
RK: Well, I think it puts the Palestinian leadership and many Arab governments in a difficult position, which is a good thing. I think they should be forced, at this stage, by public opinion, as they were—as the vote shows many Arab governments were, to do the right thing. The right thing would be to say, “We refuse the United States as a mediator”—which the Arab League has actually said and the Islamic Conference has already said—”and we insist on a completely new framework for negotiations. We insist on a fair two-state solution, not based on cherry-picked resolutions that the United States and Israel decide should be the basis.” I mean, this is actually an opportunity, if it will only be taken, by governments that, unfortunately, are all too frequently willing to listen to what the United States tells them, in a bullying, threatening tone.
AGHow different is what Trump did from what President Obama did? I didn’t say “said.” His rhetoric is very different.
RK:  Right.
AGBut even when he made this announcement, and then, with a flourish, showed this document he was signing—
RK: Right.
AG: —to the cameras in front of him at the White House, people didn’t realize at the time he was signing the very waiver that Trump and—that Obama and Clinton had signed before—
RK: Right, right.
AG: —a waiver that said they wouldn’t build the embassy in Jerusalem for at least another six months.
RK: You’re absolutely right. The difference is the action. The difference is—the embassy is not going to be moved for a while. But declaring that the United States supports the Israeli position on Jerusalem is of enormous material importance. It means that the United States has taken a stand on the most important issue.
Jerusalem relates to sovereignty. Jerusalem relates to settlements. Jerusalem relates obviously to the holy places. And Jerusalem relates to borders. Even if you say this doesn’t prejudge borders, the Israelis have a definition of Jerusalem. You’ve just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Israelis are going to take this and run with it. So, it is of enormous importance. Other presidents have said—in fact, going back to Clinton, presidents have said, “We want to move the embassy,” or “We will move the embassy,” but they haven’t done it, and they haven’t accepted the Israeli position, as President Trump has just done.
AGAnd no country—no country has their embassy—is that right?—in Jerusalem.
RK: That is correct.
AGThey all have them in Tel Aviv.
RK: That is correct. Even those who said, “We accept West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” have said, “But we won’t move until a negotiation resolves this issue.”
AG: What about Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia was critical, but—and immediately, Trump attacked, interestingly, what seems to be one of his closest allies, Saudi Arabia, for saying this. But behind the scenes, what is Saudi Arabia saying, do you believe?
RK:  I mean, what we hear—I mean, I was recently in the region twice. And what I gather is that Jared Kushner and the crown prince are cooking up a plan for what they call a Palestinian state, which would not include Jerusalem, which would not be sovereign, which would not be contiguous and which would have to negotiate for its borders. In other words, you declare the state, then you go into another interim period. We’ve been in an interim period since 1993—25, almost, years. Actually, 25 years next year. And this is what this administration and, apparently, the Saudis are cooking up. It is a travesty. I mean, it would be an insult to apartheid South Africa to call what they’re offering a Bantustan.

Jared Kushner watches President Donald Trump being presented with The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal, at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AGApparently, President Trump, in just speaking to the British prime minister, Theresa May, singled out Mohammad bin Salman around the Saudi war in Yemen, the U.S.-backed Saudi war. He seems to be ruffled by what Saudi Arabia said about Israel. But, as you pointed out, Jared Kushner is extremely close to Salman and has been there a number of times. Trump made his first trip there.
RK: Right. He has apparently made several unannounced trips, Kushner has, to Saudi Arabia. I think the president’s pique over Yemen is new. But the United States actually took a position on the Yemeni war—sorry, on the Saudi war on Yemen a while before this Jerusalem decision. I find that a little bit strange, frankly. This is a war that could only be prosecuted with American support. It’s a war that, for two years, has had American support. And now—
AGAnd Trump announced he was giving more weapons to them for that war.
RK: Precisely. And now he is—now he’s criticizing this. It could be partly because of Jerusalem. But, in fact, I think it goes back before that. They may be embarrassed by the fact they’ve helped to create the largest humanitarian disaster in the modern world. Perhaps—I doubt that they’re capable of shame, but perhaps they’re slightly embarrassed by this.
AG: Talk about what you see as a solution in the—
RK: In Palestine?
AG: —for Palestine.
RK:  Well, it has to be based on complete equality of rights. In other words, if Israel or Israelis get certain rights, Palestinians have to have the same rights. It has to be based on a principle of justice. It cannot be based a cherry-picked set of resolutions that give Israel pretty much everything it wants, or a framework for negotiation where everything is tipped in Israel’s favour. That means you have to have a framework and an outside mediator that’s completely different from everything that we’ve dealt with since Camp David back in the ’70s up through Oslo in the ’90s.
AGWho do you think that mediator can be?
RK: Anybody but the United States would be my personal pick, literally any country, except the eight small tiny countries that voted with the United States. So, take your pick of the other 178-88, whatever, countries.
AGThe piece you wrote in The Guardian is headlined “Trump’s error on Jerusalem is a disaster for the Arab world … and the US too. [December 6th, 2017]
RK: Mm-hmm. Well, I wrote a later piece in which I said there are silver linings to those clouds. It is a disaster, because it’s a slap in the face of the Arabs. It’s an indication of exactly how divided and weak the Arab world is, if the United States can take a position in support of the Israeli position on the most important question at issue in the entire conflict since the ’40s. I mean, Jerusalem was singled out in the 1947 partition resolution for special treatment, and it’s been treated as special. And the Trump administration has just said, “We don’t care about what any of you think—international law, Arabs. We’re going to go ahead and do what we think is right.”
But they should and could use this as an opportunity and say, “OK, fine. You’ve disqualified yourself as a broker, an intermediary. Very good. We’ll find another one.” Five—the other four permanent members of the Security Council—China, EU, Brazil—it almost doesn’t matter—India—a collection of large countries that could presumably be immune to the browbeating and pressure and blackmail that the United States customarily exercises, usually behind the scenes. This is unusual in that they’ve gone out publicly with it.
AG: Do you think the two-state solution is dead?
RK: I think Israel has systematically murdered it over 50 years. I mean, everything that they have done, in terms of colonization, occupation and seizure of land, pretty much makes a two-state solution impossible. Tony Judt once said, what one politician has done, another politician can undo. I would like to see the American president and the Israeli prime minister, who is going to uproot 600,000 Israeli citizens from the territories they’ve systematically colonized for 50 years—if it could be done, maybe you could have a two-state solution. But I don’t think it can be done.
I think we’re stuck with the one-state solution that Israel has created. The only question is: Will this be a apartheid or a completely discriminatory one-state solution, which is what we have now, or will it be one in which both peoples have national rights and everybody has equal rights, you don’t have special rights because you have this ethnicity or this religion?
AGTalk about what’s happening on the ground in Gaza right now.
Gaza is a running sore, a festering sore, and it should be something that is a shame to the international community
RK: [W]hat’s happening in Yemen and what’s happening in Syria dwarfs it, in a certain sense. But this is a humanitarian crisis that’s actually been going on for more than a decade. You have groundwater that’s polluted with sewage, which can’t be pumped because there’s no electricity, which is where there’s salinity increasing because seawater seeps in. You have these cuts in electricity. You have people unable to rebuild, in many cases, since 2014, the last Israeli assault on Gaza. You have people living in the largest open-air prison on Earth. And it has been going on for the better part of a decade.
So, again, Syria, Yemen, certainly, are much more grave crises today in terms of the humanitarian situation. But Gaza is a running sore, a festering sore, and it should be something that is a shame to the international community, that it allows Israel and Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to, in effect, torture the people of Gaza in this way.
AG: Rashid Khalidi, we want to thank you for being with us, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, the author of several books, his most recent, Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

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