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Tag Archives: Palestine and Israel

Bernie Sanders Says Denying Aid Because of Hamas Is “Part of an Effort to Dehumanize Palestinians”

On Monday, the only Jewish candidate in the Democratic presidential race stood in front of an audience of Jews in Washington, D.C., and suggested cutting U.S. aid to Israel.

And they applauded him.

“I would use the leverage, $3.8 billion is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government or for that matter to any government at all,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said at the annual convention of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group.

It isn’t the first time Sanders has discussed deploying foreign aid as “leverage” over the Jewish state. Back in the fall of 2017, in an interview with me for The Intercept, the Vermont senator described the United States as “complicit” in the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and said he would consider voting to reduce U.S. aid to Israel.

At J Street, however, he went much further. “What is going on in Gaza right now is absolutely inhumane, it is unacceptable, it is unsustainable,” the Democratic presidential candidate told his interviewers, Pod Save the World hosts — and former Obama aides — Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes. “My solution is to say to Israel: You get $3.8 billion every year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/11/01/bernie-sanders-palestine-aid-hamas/

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2019 in Middle East, North America

 

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The drone attack on the Saudi refinery is no game-changer. But is there a new ‘axis of evil’ in the Middle East?

When, a couple of days ago, Saudi Aramco’s crude-oil processing facilities were attacked with drones – it is thought by the Houthis in Yemen – our media repeatedly characterised this event as a “game-changer”. But was it really this? In some sense yes, since it perturbed the global oil supply and made a large armed conflict in the Middle East much more probable. However, one should be careful not to miss the cruel irony of this claim.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have been in an open war with Saudi Arabia for years, with Saudi armed forces (and the US and the UK supplying arms) practically destroying the entire country, indiscriminately bombing civilian objects. The Saudi intervention has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the century with tens of thousands of children dead. As it was in the cases of Libya and Syria, destroying an entire country is obviously not a game-changer – just part and parcel of a very normal geopolitical game.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/houthi-drone-attack-saudi-arabia-aramco-oil-yemen-israel-a9108501.html

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2019 in Middle East

 

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The Gaza Ghetto uprising

The cruelty and temerity of the people in Gaza once more reached new heights Saturday: dozens of rockets on Israel before the week of its Independence Day, just after its Holocaust Remembrance Day, and worst of all, two weeks before its Eurovision. How dare you Gaza, how dare you. Israel still hasn’t recovered from the Holocaust, is preening itself for its Independence Day, the musicians are starting to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, and you’re firing Qassam rockets. How will we be able to celebrate? News reports give the impression that Israel is under siege; Gaza is threatening to destroy it. Twitter has already suggested “Eva’s Story on the Gaza Border” – a play on the social media campaign about the Holocaust. Pundits explain that it’s all because of Hamas’ greed. Ramadan is beginning and “they’re under crazy pressure for cash.” Or, “It’s all because of the weak security policy that has gotten the terror groups used to Israel; we only strike buildings.” And so they shoot, those villains. Hamas wants money, Israel’s too soft on them, they are terror, we are peace; they were born to kill. On Friday the army killed four protesters by the Gaza border fence, but who’s counting. In Israel a teenage boy tripped while running for a shelter. “When a lack of policy and continuity yields to blackmail,” a voice of wisdom mumbled, and nobody could figure out what he was proposing. Benny Gantz, the alternative. This is what we have an opposition for.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51558.htm

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Israel’s legislative elections on 9 April were a tribute to Binyamin Netanyahu’s transformation of the political landscape. At no point were they discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the ‘international community’, to end the occupation. This time the question was which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews – Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class – to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combating the scourge of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. With his promise to annex the West Bank, Netanyahu had won even before the election was held. It wasn’t simply Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that sped the incumbent on his way; it was the nature of the conversation – and the fact that the leader of the opposition was Benny Gantz, the IDF commander who presided over the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, in which more than two thousand Gazans were killed.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n09/adam-shatz/trumps-america-netanyahus-israel

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Middle East, North America

 

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No more excuses – Israeli voters have chosen a country that will mirror the brutal regimes of its Arab neighbours

So now I guess we’ve all run out of excuses. Bibi Netanyahu’s Israel will not be a new and more right-wing Israel. It’s been that for a long time. It’s the propaganda that’s going to fall to bits. The only democracy in the Middle East? Give me a break. 

I think Israel now looks much more like its Arab neighbours. It dominates its own Arab minority, and its new prime minister has promised to annex much of the territory legally belonging to their fellow Palestinian Arabs – the very colonies built on lands which have already been stolen for the majority Jewish population in Israel.

Including Jerusalem, that comes to around 5,700 square kilometres, just a third the size of Kuwait – for which we all went to war when Saddam Hussein annexed the emirate in 1990. And that’s what Israel is beginning to resemble: just another Middle East nation.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/israel-elections-benjamin-netanyahu-saudi-us-coalition-palestinians-a8865626.html

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2019 in Middle East

 

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What Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israel tells us about the balance of power in the Middle East

Benjamin Netanyahu is an early version of the nationalist populist leaders that have come to power in country after country in recent decades. He has an acute sense of who holds – and does not hold – power and how to manipulate it. No wonder he gets on well with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. 

His political approach has not varied much since he first came to prominence as an Israeli diplomat in Washington during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when he showed his skills as a propagandist in defending the Israeli war record, particularly during the bombing of Beirut. Speaking good American English, he knew exactly what to say on US television channels and his skills in dealing with American politics and the media have never deserted him. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/netanyahu-israel-elections-gantz-middle-east-gaza-a8863671.html

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in Middle East

 

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In the face of Gaza’s Great March of Return, Israel acts with impunity

Today, tens of thousands of Palestinians have headed towards the Israeli fence in Gaza to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return.

At the time of publication, two Palestinians had been killed, and many more wounded by Israeli fire.

March 30 also marks Palestinian Land Day, which commemorates a 1976 decision by the Israeli government to expropriate thousands of hectares of Arab-owned land in the Galilee region north of Israel.

One year ago, Palestinians in Gaza launched a series of weekly protests along the Israeli border, in which thousands of demonstrators have gathered every Friday to call for their rights, and an end to a grinding blockade imposed on the territory since 2007. However, after 52 weeks of regular protests, the situation in Gaza seems to have only worsened.

The Great March of Return was initially thought up by young Gazans with a vision to shift the dynamics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The idea was to gather hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who would cross into Israel in a non-violent march, demanding their right of return to their ancestors’ homes and the right to live side by side with Israelis.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/in-the-face-of-gaza-s-great-march-of-return-israel-acts-with-impunity-1.843190

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2019 in Middle East

 

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It’s Time to Tell the Truth: Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy Supports Ilhan Omar’s Critique of Israel

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination, white supremacy and other forms of hate, following a week of debate among congressional Democrats. The controversy began after some lawmakers accused Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar of invoking anti-Semitic tropes while questioning U.S. foreign policy on Israel. The House leadership initially drafted a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in what was seen as a direct rebuke of Omar. But many progressive Democrats said Omar, one of the first two Muslim Congresswoman in U.S. history, was unfairly being singled out. The split within the Democratic Party forced the leadership to withdraw its initial resolution and then present a much broader one. Congressmember Ilhan Omar voted for and praised the new resolution in a joint statement with fellow Muslim lawmakers Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and André Carson of Indiana. We speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist and member of the newspaper’s editorial board. His latest piece is headlined “Keep It Up, Ilhan Omar.”

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/8/its_time_to_tell_the_truth

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Trump is trying to pay his way to an annihilation of Palestinian statehood, and an erasure of Israel’s crimes

Palestine” has been compared to many things. The world’s longest colonial war, a “hell-disaster” – Churchill’s memorable epithet – and the site of Israel’s “war on terror”, a conflict in which we are supposed to believe that the Palestinians are playing the role of al-Qaeda or Isis or any other outfit which the west and its allies have helped into existence, and which Israel is going to fight on our behalf.

But there are times when Palestine turns out to have been located in the Bermuda Triangle. The Palestinians disappear. They cease to exist. They are forgotten, irrelevant, outside the landscape of fear, pain, injustice and occupation that we once heard about so often. No one can imagine what has happened to these Palestinians. Like the aircraft and boats which strayed into the mythical triangle, they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Sad to see them go. But it’s a mystery.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/israel-palestine-donald-trump-jared-kushner-saudi-arabia-bribe-a8811546.html

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Here’s what I found out when I spent the day with Israel’s most controversial journalist, Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is a bit of a philosopher king although, sitting in his postage stamp garden in a suburb of Tel Aviv, straw hat shading mischievous dark eyes, there’s a touch of a Graham Greene character about Haaretz’s most provocative and infamous writer. Brave, subversive, sorrowful – in a harsh, uncompromising way – he’s the kind of journalist you either worship or loathe. Philosopher kings of the Plato kind are necessary for our moral health, perhaps, but not good for our blood pressure. So Levy’s life has been threatened by his fellow Israelis for telling the truth; and that’s the best journalism award one can get.

He loves journalism but is appalled by its decline. His English is flawless but it sometimes breaks up in fury. Here’s an angry Levy on the effect of newspaper stories: “In the year of ’86, I wrote about a Palestinian Bedouin woman who lost her baby after giving birth at a checkpoint. She tried at three different [Israeli] checkpoints, she couldn’t make it and she gave birth in the car. They [the Israelis] didn’t let her bring the baby to the hospital. She carried him by foot two kilometres to the Augusta Victoria [Hospital in east Jerusalem]. The baby died. When I published this story – I don’t want to say that Israel ‘held its breath’, but it was a huge scandal, the cabinet was dealing with it, two officers were brought to court…”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gideon-levy-robert-fisk-haaretz-israel-palestine-gaza-a8557691.html

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Middle East

 

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