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Abbas Speech Signals Capitulation

 Abbas Speech Signals Capitulation - by Stephen Lendman

 

Without saying it, he left little doubt how he'll petition the UN on September 23.

 

Speaking on television from Ramallah, he said:

 

"We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization."

 

"We are going to the Security Council." He must. It's procedure, but a US veto is toothless as only the General Assembly admits new members. The Security Council only recommends.

 

"As for other options, we have not yet taken a decision on them."

 

In effect, he suggested he won't petition the General Assembly after a certain Security Council veto, or if he does it'll be for less than full rights. As a result, he'll capitulate when victory is within easy reach.

 

He also wants Palestine recognized within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its capital.

 

Most important, he said he can't guarantee success. As a result, he tipped his hand. 

 

He revealed his collaborationist intentions, suggesting he'll accept less than what Palestinians waited decades for and deserve - statehood and full de jure UN membership they won't get as long as Abbas or collaborationists like him have power.

 

Since the late 1980s, PLO officials knew exactly how to petition properly for full rights. Abbas and those around him know.

 

On September 23, when the moment of truth arrives, he'll take the low road, not the high, effectively capitulating to Washington and Israel.

 

A previous article said the fix is in. Indeed so. What'll emerge will be called victory. In fact, it'll be defeat - a worthless half loaf, not what's within reach. Better he stay home instead of showing up for betrayal.

 

Yet disingenuous pieties claimed:

 

"What I will take to the UN will be the suffering and concerns of our people that have been taking place of 63 years living under the occupation."

 

Cooperation between Hamas and Fatah is a national duty, "even if we differ on some issues," adding that "there is nothing better than national unity between the West Bank and Gaza, and we will do everything we can to maintain this unity."

 

In fact, since January 2006, he collaborated with Israel and Washington to prevent it, leaving skeptics to wonder what he'll do now. They'll soon know it's not what Palestinians everywhere deserve.

 

Moreover, as president, he's worked against his own people, acting as Israel's enforcer. Expect no change after the UN session ends. 

 

Rhetoric is hollow when not backed up with deeds. That, defines Abbas since Oslo, collaborating with Israel for his own self-interest. As long as he's president, nothing will change. 

 

"After I speak to the UN General Assembly," he said, "I will submit our request to the Secretary-General, who will in turn submit it to the chairman of the Security Council."

 

Key, of course, is what's included or omitted, whether he'll also petition the General Assembly, and if so, for precisely what. He didn't explain beyond saying:

 

"We are going to the UN to demand our rights, and this does not undermine the PLO," the peace process, or Israeli interests. 

 

Undermining Palestinian interests matter most.

 

On September 16, New York Times writer Rick Gladstone headlined, "Abbas Says He Will Seek Palestinian State at the Security Council," saying:

 

His Ramallah speech "was the first time he has formally committed (to) seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council" next week.

 

Abbas didn't say but "speculation" hints he may take his "statehood application to the (General Assembly) where the United States has no veto power. But that alternative, which would almost certainly be approved, would not give the Palestinians full statehood rights they would get through approval from the Security Council."

 

Fact check

 

In recent weeks, other Times articles repeated the same lie, ignoring the only route to statehood and full membership. 

 

As explained above and in previous articles, only the General Assembly grants it. With more than enough support, statehood and full membership are there for the asking if proper procedures are followed. 

 

The Security Council is irrelevant, even though it votes. Vetoes can't derail membership unless Abbas capitulates after Washington acts. Apparently he will to say he tried and failed.

 

On September, Haaretz said Netanyahu changed his earlier hardline position, saying he'll accept a PA upgrade short of statehood and full membership.

 

In his General Assembly address, he'll stress only direct Israeli - Palestinian negotiations can achieve peace despite of decades of failure trying.

 

He also said "as long as (Palestine) is less than a state, I'm ready to talk about it."

 

Washington and regional envoy Tony Blair, however, have pressured EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to reject a French-Spanish initiative, calling for all 27 EU nations to support PA upgrading short of full membership and statehood.

 

In exchange, PA officials will agree, and won't file criminal charges against Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC). In other words, they'll accept capitulation and failure.

 

Abbas signaled it in Ramallah, defying his people in the process who deserve better.

 

A Final Comment

 

On September 16, the pro-Israeli International Christian (Zionist) Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) issued an anti-Palestinian statehood press release, calling it a "reckless and ill-conceived unilateral move," adding:

 

It's "clear that the PA has chosen a dangerous path for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and even more so given the volatile political climate in the region."

 

Claiming "Israel is fully prepared to discuss the very issues at stake directly....in good faith any time," it called PA actions "irresponsible."

 

Israeli, of course, discusses nothing in good faith ever. Nor does it negotiate. It demands.

 

ICEJ is an extremist evangelical organization committed to "giving comfort to Israel (and) be part of God's great purposes in bringing the Jews back to Israel," no matter the harm caused in the process and since they arrived.

 

As a result, it wants Palestinians to forego their rights and remain quiescent under occupation. After all, they're just Arabs.

 

Israel and Washington agree, threatening recrimination if they dare pursue their rights.

 

Sadly, Abbas was easily cowed to acquiesce. They didn't have to do much to remind him who's boss. 

 

Abbas knows his role and plays it for special benefits in return.

 

It doesn't matter how much harm he's caused for years and will again in New York next week.

 

Palestinian hopes and dreams will have to wait for next time. It's been their legacy for 63 years.

 

This time is especially painful with victory within easy grasp. It's coming but who can say when.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Planned Peacekeeper Occupation of Libya

 Planned Peacekeeper Occupation of Libya - by Stephen Lendman

 

The peacekeepers are coming! The peacekeepers are coming! War, mass killing and destruction continue, but they're coming!

 

In fact, paramilitaries are coming to kill and terrorize Libyans wanting liberation, not occupation. 

 

A blind eye won't notice mass rapes and sex trafficking, as well as other atrocities and crimes. They're commonplace, in fact, when Blue Helmets show up, operating as they please with impunity. More on that below.

 

Moreover, when they come they don't leave as long as imperial powers want them there. Citizens of occupied countries have no say nor any rights. Their choice is obey or else.

 

Libya's corpse belongs to NATO. It's now Libya, Inc. to be carved up for profit with paramilitaries deployed for enforcement.

 

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council may act to maintain international peace and security, including by deploying peacekeepers host countries request.

 

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations then enlists member states to provide contingents once the Security Council approves.

 

In place, they're supposed to restore order, monitor the withdrawal of combatants, maintain peace and security, build confidence, enforce power-sharing agreements, provide electoral support, aid reconstruction, uphold the rule of law, facilitate economic and social development, help provide essential needs, and remain in place until government officials take over on their own.  

 

A previous article called them occupiers, serving power, not popular interests in Haiti, South Lebanon, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, DRC Congo, Sudan, Somalia, various other countries, and its initial UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) since 1948. 

 

Like elsewhere, it, too, failed to bring peace to Palestine. Yet it's still there, performing no active role. In fact, it opposes the interests of the people they're sworn to protect.

 

Since 1948, dozens of "peacekeeping" missions did more harm than good. At present, 16 Blue Helmet operations are deployed on four continents. They include:

  • UNMISS in South Sudan, beginning on July 9, 2011 after the country was balkanized as part of an imperial scheme to prevent African unity, and exploit its resources - mainly oil;

 

  • UNISFA in Sudan's Abysei region bordering the North and South, beginning on June 27, 2011;

 

  • MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo, replacing an earlier MONUC operation on July 1, 2010;

 

  • UNAMID in Darfur, beginning July 31, 2007;

 

  • UNOCI in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), beginning April 4, 2004;

 

  • UNMIL in Liberia, beginning September 19, 2003;

 

  • MINURSO in Western Sahara since 1991;

 

  • UNMIT in Timor-Leste since 2006;

 

  • UNMOGIP Observer Group in India and Pakistan since 1949;

 

  • UNAMA (special political) Assistance Mission in Afghanistan since March 2011;

 

  • UNFICYP in Cyprus since 1964;

 

  • UNMIK in Kosovo since 1999;

 

  • UNDOF in Golan since 1974;

 

  • UNIFIL in Lebanon since 1978;

 

  • UNTSO in Palestine since 1948; and

 

  • MINUSTAH in Haiti since 2004 after US marines ousted democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

 

 

From inception, it had no legitimacy. In fact, it was the first time UN occupiers enforced coup d'etat authority against an elected president, instead of staying out or backing his right to return. 

 

MINUSTAH, in fact, symbolizes the sham hypocrisy of all Blue Helmet missions and why occupied people deplore them.

 

UNIFIL in Lebanon never established peace and security. It did little more than take up space or get out of the way when Israel attacked.

 

UNMIK in Kosovo hid the grim reality of NATO terror bombing, mass killing, destruction, and balkanization of Serbia. 

 

In fact, it collaborated with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs, its leader Hashim Thaci, and their connection to organized crime. In January 2008, Thaci, in fact, became Kosovo's illegitimate prime minister, a gangster running a rogue state.

 

MONUSCO in Congo never brought peace and security. It facilitated the plunder of Africa's most resource-rich country. It did nothing to stop the immiseration of millions, nor was it deployed to do so.

 

Credible reports, in fact, linked Blue Helmet forces with mass rapes and other atrocities.

 

The same ugly story repeats wherever Blue Helmets show up. In December 2004, London Times reports suggested UN staffers committed 150 or more sex crimes, including selling pornographic videos and photos, images of their handiwork.

 

Congolese women and girls were raped. Congo's Minister of Defense, Major General Jean Pierre Ondekane, said peacekeepers in Kisangani would be remembered "for running after little girls," not doing their job.

 

Two or more UN officials left after impregnating local women. In fact, sex trafficking, abuse and rape are commonplace wherever Blue Helmets are deployed. 

 

They have power. Occupied people don't. Who'll stop them no matter what they do. They take full advantage, terrorizing local people with impunity.

 

On November 5, 2009, the London Independent published Bradley Klapper's AP report headlined, "Fifty UN peacekeepers punished for sex abuses," saying:

 

At least 50 were involved in "committing sexual abuses (and exploitation) on United Nations missions since 2007, the UN said today."

 

On February 10, 2009, New York Times writer Neil MacFarquhar headlined, "In Peacekeeping, a Muddling of the Mission," saying:

 

Besides earlier failures, "the most noticeable (recent ones include) the inability of troops in Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan to stop the violence that is killing civilians."

 

In Congo, for example, Blue Helmets near an area where 150 people were killed, "did not intervene," citing reasons without credibility.

 

On September 7, 2011, MacFarquhar headlined, "Peacekeepers' Sex Scandals Linger, On Screen and Off," saying:

 

UN missions have a notorious history of "sex scandals from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haiti....forc(ing) the United Nations to change the way it handles accusations of trafficking, rape and related crimes."

 

This week, in fact, hundreds of angry Haitians demanded MINUSTAH forces leave after troops raped a  teenage male.

 

Human rights experts and others accuse the UN of coverup and denial instead of strong disciplinary action against offenders.

 

In January 2009, Save the Children reported Blue Helmet abuses. They included trading food for sex with girls as young as eight in Liberia. Similar practices are common in Burundi, Ivory Coast, East Timor, DR Congo, Cambodia, and Bosnia. Various other reports cite sex with young girls, rape and trafficking.

 

On July 16, 2009, IPS writer Marina Litvinsky headlined, "Rape by Regular Army a Growing Problem, HRW (Human Rights Watch) Says," stating:

 

In DR Congo alone, "tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered horrific acts of sexual violence at the hands of the government army," according to a new report, titled "Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo." 

 

Little is done to stop it or hold culpable peacekeepers accountable. As a result, Congolese women and girls are ravaged with impunity. So are others most everywhere peacekeepers show up.

 

As a result, people live in constant fear that forces allegedly sent to help them will inflict harm.

 

In September 2009, Kathleen M. Jennings and Vesna Nikolic-Rstanovic prepared the MICROCON (Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict) Research Working Paper 17, titled, "UN Peacekeeping Economies and Local Sex Industries: Connections and Implications."

 

Examining Blue Helmet missions in Bosnia, Kosovo,  Liberia, and Haiti, the paper examined "the interplay between the peacekeeping economy and the sex industry, including domestic sex work, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and sex tourism."

 

Despite UN "zero tolerance," officials haven't stopped decades of serious abuses. According to MICROCON: 

 

It "suggests that the existence and potential long-term perpetuation of a highly gendered peacekeeping economy threatens to undermine, if not actively contradict, the goals and objectives to gender roles and relations that are generally an implicit or explicit component of most contemporary peace operations."

 

In fact, sex trafficking and exploitation is wide-ranging, including slavery and prostitution. The UN calls it "transactional sex," involving peacekeepers. 

 

In countries like Bosnia and Kosovo, "domestic sex work and sex trafficking have become a seemingly permanent part of the" economy. Their peacekeeping missions affect both supply and demand. They "effectively creat(e) avenues (for) trafficking of women for sexual exploitation into/through these areas."

 

Organized crime also gets involved. The prevalence of rape and sex slavery increases. Women and young girls are brutally exploited, and "documented cases of UN soldiers (show) that, far from helping the victims," they become clients or otherwise are implicated in the trade.

 

Former prisoners said they saw girls forced into UN vehicles and driven away. International military and civilian personnel are directly involved in the sex industry, including trafficking.

 

A 2002 Turin Conference on Trafficking, Slavery and Peacekeeping report said "peacekeepers are often part of the problem." Connected to organized crime, it's well known that human trafficking provides "an important revenue source."

 

UN "zero tolerance" is more rhetoric than policy. Wherever they're deployed, peacekeepers serve power, not populations they're mandated to protect.

 

Libya Soon to Be Occupied 

 

Libyans will now experience what other UN occupied countries fear. They already live through daily hell as war rages. Insurgents are murdering anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi. Black African guest workers are especially vulnerable.

 

On September 15, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Philip Gordon, gloated about another imperial trophy, saying:

 

The Libya operation is "in many ways a model on how the United States can lead the way that allows allows allies to support." 

 

"What is new about Libya is the approach that the United States would do an initial phase that only the United States could do, and then that Europeans were playing a leading role in certain aspects."

 

In fact, Pentagon commanders are fully in charge. US forces continue playing a leading role without publicly "taking center stage." In all wars involving America, it leads, never follows, or plays back seat to any other nation.

 

No matter who's out in front publicly, Washington's fully in charge. It didn't matter that Cameron and Sarkozy showed up in Tripoli yesterday, not Obama. He did his gloating at home.

 

The British and French leaders did theirs at a press conference with National Transitional Council (NTC) puppet head Mustafa Jabril, a figurehead stooge for Washington.

 

Given continuing violence in the capital, they didn't stay long. Heavy security also accompanied their arrival and departure. NTC officials said they'll stay in Benghazi until NATO's campaign ends. 

 

However, it may not be over when it's over. Divisions in the ranks of victors are emerging. Islamist leaders openly criticize Jabril. AP reported that Tripoli military council spokesman Anes Sharif called for his resignation, saying:

 

"He's been living for the last six months outside the country. He is appointing people depending on their loyalty to him, not depending on their worth and their activities in the revolution. We think he's a project for a new dictator."

 

Muslim cleric Ali al-Sallabi made similar comments. So have others. On August 30, New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Rod Norland headlined, "Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum," saying:

 

"There are growing hints of rivalry among the various brigades over who deserves credit for 'liberating' the city and the influence it might bring."

 

Open divisions within rebel leadership ranks emerged, "but also between secularists and Islamists."

 

Internal power struggles "illustrate the challenge a new provisional government will face in trying to unify Libya's fractious political landscape."

 

Given considerable tribal influence, greater fissures may emerge for something much different than what Washington has in mind, and for sure ordinary Libyans who yearn for former peace and stability under Gaddafi. 

 

Moreover, Islamists and secularists have conflicting visions of a new Libya. Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Al Qaeda leader/now CIA asset heading rebel forces in Tripoli, openly criticized Jabril. A close aid said he'll "be gone soon."

 

Ali Sallabi, Etilaf head, an Islamist umbrella group, called for his resignation, accusing him and other NTC officials of planned profiteering and "a new era of tyranny and dictatorship."

 

On September 14, Times writers Kirkpatrick and Norland headlined, "Islamists Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya," saying:

 

At issue is "the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of (Gaddafi)." 

 

Likely conflict-producing power struggles may prove more troublesome than whether secularists or Islamists prevail. In various countries, Washington has allies in both camps. At issue only is if they're client or independent states. Gaddafi's "sin" was the latter.

 

Whoever finally takes charge, protracted conflict will continue after NATO declares victory and stops bombing.

 

So far it continues unabated. According to Cameron, "We must keep up with the NATO mission until civilians are all protected and this work is finished."

 

Given the massive death and injury toll, there may not be many left or a Libya fit to live in when terror bombing and rebel rampaging ends.

 

Nonetheless, Sarkozy said, "We have done what we did because we thought it was the right thing to do."

 

They committed grievous crimes of war and against humanity. It's ongoing serial killing on an industrial scale.

 

It won't stop across the region soon. According to General Carter Ham, AFRICOM commander, new campaigns ahead are planned to control all Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. 

 

As a result, expect NATO's killing machine to select new countries to destroy as part of its "responsibility to protect humanitarian mission."

 

In fact, it's to colonize and exploit the entire area, carving it up for profit. 

 

Like Afghans and Iraqis, Libyans know what happens when NATO shows up. At least, those still alive can explain it.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Palestine's Rocky Road to Statehood

 Palestine's Rocky Road to Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Some roads prove too rocky to traverse, especially when opposition against the real thing comes from alleged supportive allies.

 

The worst of all enemies often are traitors to a just cause. That in a word sums up Palestine's dilemma as loyalists count down to September's General Assembly meeting next week. 

 

The 11th hour. The moment of truth, looking more like disappointment, shame and betrayal. 

 

In other words, again Palestinians face what they've endured for decades, despite millions of global supporters, including most or perhaps the entire Arab street.

 

What do Palestinians want and deserve? In a word: justice.

 

They want sovereign statehood - no ifs, ands, buts or maybe next time.

 

They want it comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem - 22% of historic Palestine, not parts only in isolated pieces.

 

They want control over their shoreline and air space. 

 

They want fixed borders and unfragmented territorial integrity, not isolated cantons on worthless scrub land constituting no state at all.

 

They want Israel's illegal occupation ended.

 

They want unauthorized incursions on their land called naked aggression.

 

They want international law provisions enforced, including UN Charter Chapter VII, Article 51, saying nations may attack another only in self-defense. Even then, it's only until the Security Council acts as the final arbiter on matters of international peace and security.

 

They want freedom over their own lives.

 

They want decades of Israeli state terror ended.

 

They want no more of their land stolen.

 

They want access to every international convention and institution able to help them.

 

They want diaspora refugees freely able to return as codified in international law.

 

On December 11, 1948, UN Resolution 194 "(r)esolve(d) that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation (paid by responsible governments or authorities) should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return...."

 

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

 

"Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

 

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his (or her) own, and to return to his (or her) country."

 

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:

 

"No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his (or her) own country."

 

In short, they want and deserve the same rights as all citizens. Sadly, too few have them, but no one anywhere should quit struggling for what's right, especially those long-suffering and denied.

 

Victories Take Sustained Commitment

 

Great victories aren't won by the timid. Only those committed to stay the course may succeed. They're also the most deserving because they put their bodies where their hopes and dreams lie. 

 

They're willing to stake it all for a just cause. They're willing to settle for only what new generations may enjoy. That's commitment. 

 

Palestinians have it, but not their collaborationist officials, planning to sell them out in New York, despite duplicitous rhetoric to the contrary.

 

On September 15, reiterating his "no retreat" vow on full UN membership, Abbas said:

 

"Going to the United Nations to request full membership for Palestine in the international organization is an inevitable thing and there is no retreat from it."

 

"Despite the pressures exercised on us, Palestine will go to" New York on September 23 "to request full membership."

 

Heavy US/EU/Israeli pressure haven't stopped demanding he give it up. Washington, in fact, vowed not to stop trying. According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:

 

"We want to leave no stone unturned in our effort to get these parties back to the table," where Israel holds all the aces. Palestinians have none, the way it's always been.

 

Nonetheless, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (notoriously pro-Israeli like Obama and his handpicked envoys) said:

 

"The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the two parties, and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York."

 

Earlier she called destroying Libya and NATO's genocidal rape "liberation." 

 

She backs the worst of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. She deplores the idea of Palestinians having any say over their own affairs. She feels the same way about Americans, as does Obama.

 

He called Palestinians petitioning the UN a "distraction," adding:

 

"What happens in New York can occupy a lot of press attention but is not going to change, actually, what is happening on the ground until the Israelis and Palestinians sit down."

 

He's saying Washington and Israel will deny independent Palestine a moment of peace and security, threatening its right to exist.

 

Israel calls Palestinian statehood an attempt to isolate it and undermine its legitimacy. It'll say or do anything to get its way. So will America and its deceitful EU partners. They're enemies of independence and freedom as is Israel.

 

Its extremist ultranationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, raged about the prospect, warning "harsh and grave consequences" will follow any attempt by Palestine to petition the UN for what's right.

 

Stopping short of revealing specifics, he said:

 

"The moment has not yet come to give details of what will happen. What I can say with the greatest confidence is that from the moment they pass a unilateral decision there will be harsh and grave consequences." 

 

"I hope that we shall not come to (that point), and that common sense will prevail in all decisions taken in order to allow co-existence and progress with negotiation."

 

Spoken like true despot, he also accused Palestinians of planning an "unprecedented bloodbath" after the UN acts.

 

With racist hatemongers like Lieberman and Netanyahu in high places, anything ahead is possible. Both symbolize the worst of Israeli state terror, directed against Arabs for not being Jewish.

 

On September 15, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy headlined, "Israel does not want a Palestinian state. Period," saying:

 

It has no "single persuasive argument against" one. Neither does Washington or pro-Israeli EU partners.

 

"Next week will be Israel's moment of truth, or more precisely the moment in which its deception will be revealed."

 

Its position is wholly without merit. In fact, its entirely self-serving and underhanded, forgetting that the UN, in part, established Israel and other new nations since 1945. 

 

Moreover, it's the only way to create Palestinian statehood, what neither Israel or Palestine can do on their own. Nor Washington.

 

Notably, Oslo promised final status talks in five years. It didn't happen and won't in 50 or 500 if left up to Israel.

 

Every Israeli excuse turned up empty, leaving disturbing naked truths exposed. They're plain as day now to see.

 

As a result, Palestinians have "three options, not four: to surrender unconditionally (and stay occupied); to launch a third intifada; or to mobilize the world on their behalf."

 

They chose the third and got most of it. Israel has no leg to stand on, yet persists against what world public opinion calls the right thing at the right time.

 

"Yesterday, a coalition of Israeli peace organizations published a list of 50 reasons for Israel to support a Palestinian state."

 

In sum, they come down to backing what's lawful, principled, high-minded, righteous and timely.

 

On September 14, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined, "Palestinians Say a UN Gamble on Statehood Is Worth the Risks," saying:

 

"Going to the United Nations remains a high-stakes gambit for Mr. Abbas," adding that it's "far from clear what will happen when the Palestinians go to the United Nations next week to seek recognition of statehood."

 

Fact check

 

What's very clear is that status quo occupation is intolerable and unacceptable. 

 

That independence beside a rogue aggressor is better than living under its rules.

 

Moreover, anything improving their current lot advances true liberation for millions deserving it, even if getting it means waiting years or even decades longer.

 

Try finding any Times writer or op-ed contributor saying so.

 

Notably, its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, stands out. On September 14, Max Blumenthal's Columbia Journalism Review article headlined, "Conflict in Israel? saying:

 

In charge since March 2008, Bronner "joined the speakers bureau of one of Israel's top public relations firms, Lone Star Communications," an organization with a pro-Israeli agenda.

 

It "arranges speaking dates for Bronner and takes 10 to 15 percent of his fee. At the same time, (it) pitches (him) stories."

 

His Times bosses see no conflict of interest. Why should they with their pro-Israeli agenda and refusal to hire on staff with views different from their own. Bronner fits the bill.

 

Combining journalism with "paid engagements from a firm that also pitches him stories" he reports is big time conflict of interest, especially one with a "clear ideological bent."

 

"Bronner faced an earlier controversy when his young son decided to serve in the Israeli military....(F)ormer Times editor Bill Keller strongly backed (him) and he weathered it." 

 

At first, however, he and Times editors declined comment. Foreign Editor Susan Chira said only that:

 

"Mr. Bronner's son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. At The Times, we have found Mr. Bronner's coverage to be scrupulously fair and we are confident that will continue to be the case."

 

Others disagree based on studies showing a history of Times misreporting on Israel/Palestine, besides on so much else. In fact, bias and distorted coverage defines how its correspondents and opinion writers do their job.

 

Calling it "scrupulously fair" is laughable on its face. It's also insulting to those affected.

 

A Final Comment

 

On September 23, Abbas will formally petition the UN for whatever he intends to propose. He'll address the General Assembly the same day.

 

So will Netanyahu after earlier saying Shimon Peres would represent him. Advisors warned him against it, saying not being there would show weakness and support what Palestinians want.

 

He claims he decided to go "to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it." In fact, he and truth are total strangers. He couldn't look it in the eye and see it.

 

Neither can Obama, those around him, and most in Congress, warning harsh measures if Palestinians pursue their rights.

 

"Make no mistake," said House Appropriations Committee member Steve Rothman (D. NJ), "I have no doubt that Congress will act swiftly and with an overwhelming majority to impose penalties...."

 

Besides cutting off funding, he may even have declaring war in mind. Why not with a legislative body packed with rogues. They're bipartisan criminals, backing imperial rampaging and wrecking America for their deep-pocketed funders. 

 

They also support whatever Israel wants, including the right to reign terror on Palestine.

 

"The PA has little to gain and much to lose," added Rothman. Most Americans, in fact, gained nothing and lost everything under Republican and Democrat scoundrels, sacrificing them for their own self-interest.

 

Homeland justice depends on committed grassroots activism. It's true as well for Palestinians. 

 

On September 23, Abbas plans to sell them out like so many previous times. Rothman and his bunch needn't worry. 

 

Americans are on their own. So are Palestinians.

 

The struggle for liberating justice here and there continues. 

 

With enough sustained commitment, maybe one day it'll show up. 

 

For Palestinians, however, not on September 23. Abbas didn't book it passage on his New York flight. 

 

Hopefully, he won't be warmly greeted when he returns. 

 

Many there hope he's gone and won't come back.

 

That would be a big step forward, especially if his number two, Salam Fayyad, leaves with him.

 

Great victories come a baby step at a time. 

 

Hopefully some are coming, but only people power ones matter most.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Face-Off: Palestine v. Washington/Israel on Statehood

 Face-Off: Palestine v. Washington/Israel on Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

With the moment of truth arriving next week, rhetoric from both sides suggests Palestinians again will lose out.

 

Instead of an advocate representing them in New York, a collaborationist apparently will show up. Public statements and body language say so.

 

What could at last be looks likely to be denied. Instead of a new beginning, betrayal appears in the cards. 

 

It's almost no exaggeration saying the fix is in. What'll finally emerge will be portrayed as a Palestinian win. In reality, it'll be defeat - a worthless half loaf in place of what's easily within reach.

 

With more than enough international support backed by international law at a time Israeli and US influence are weaker, a golden chance is slip-siding away.

 

The daily soap opera continues. Here's the latest.

 

On September 14, Haaretz writer Avi Issacharoff headlined, "Palestinians trying to dodge pre-UN vote face-off with Obama," saying:

 

"Next week, intense negotiations will be undertaken between the European Union, the PA and the American government regarding the specific formula of the request for Palestinian statehood recognition."

 

The "specific formula" says it all. Only an easily attainable one delivers statehood and full de jure UN membership. Anything less continues status quo betrayal.

 

Instead of going for it with overwhelming support, bet on Abbas petitioning only for reshuffling the deck chairs, leaving status quo denial in place.

 

Apparently he's less concerned about justice than embarrassing Washington, if Obama followed through with his threatened Security Council veto. Bet on it, and it won't be long before it's known.

 

On September 13, New York Times writers Steven Myers and David Kirkpatrick headlined, "US Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at UN," saying:

 

Ahead of next week in New York, "maneuvering became an exercise in brinkmanship as the administration wrestles with roiling tensions in the region, including a sharp deterioration of relations between....Egypt, Israel and Turkey."

 

While Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Palestinian statehood "not a choice but an obligation," Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby said after meeting with PA officials:

 

"(I)t is obvious that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries are leaning towards going to the General Assembly" for a meaningless status upgrade from "observer entity" to "observer state," leaving them back at square one.

 

Even so, Obama, Hillary Clinton, regional envoy Tony Blair (a reinvented war criminal), EU representative Catherine Ashton, US Middle East envoy David Hale, and pro-Israeli hardliner Dennis Ross want Abbas to call the whole thing off. 

 

In their minds, even a fig leaf is too much. 

 

Only Israeli interests matter. Palestinians must accept their status as powerless occupied people and shut up.

 

"The administration has spent months trying to avoid" the embarrassment of a Security Council veto, even though under international law it's toothless. Only the General Assembly admits new members. The Security Council recommends. 

 

Both get their say on admissions. One body alone matters, and it's ready to do the right thing if proper procedures are followed.

 

Lots of times, Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat had their say more for Israel than Palestine. 

 

Erekat, in fact, signaled no change now, saying:

 

"We don't intend to confront the US, or anyone else for that matter (suggesting Israel and its EU allies)." 

 

The early 2011 released Palestine Papers revealed that policy position was longstanding, siding with Israel against his own people.

 

So did Abbas as chief Oslo negotiator where he sold them out entirely and did so ever since.

 

Expect no change of heart now. For him, Erekat and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, it would be entirely out of character. Leopards can't change their spots, nor snakes in the grass.

 

Nor Congress, threatening to cut off aid in the event of a UN vote, what most in it call a "confrontation," not long delayed justice.

 

The same Congress backs Obama's imperial wars, banker bailouts, austerity hardship for needy Americans, and repressive police state laws to slap them down if they complain.

 

The deck indeed is stacked, and unrepresented Palestinians hold no aces.

 

So hinted Jimmy Carter, America's 39th president and author of "Peace Not Apartheid."

 

His September 13 New York Times op-ed headlined, "After the UN Vote on Palestine," saying:

 

Camp David promises proved hollow. Despite overwhelming Knesset approval, "call(ing) for honoring all aspects of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967)," Israel systematically violated its provisions.

 

Key ones included denying "the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security."

 

Others mandated:

 

"(i) Withdrawal of Israel(i) armed forces from territories occupied in (1967);" and

 

"(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

 

In 1948, Palestinians lost 78% of their historic homeland. In 1967, they lost the rest. Camp David I, Madrid, Oslo, Oslo II, Wye River, Camp David II, Taba, and decades of peace process futility accomplished nothing.

 

Every post-Camp David I negotiation favored Israel. Palestinians' only choice was take it or leave it. Nothing's changed now. Carter knows it but didn't say. So do Palestinians and the Arab street with no power.

 

Carter did say Washington "basically withdr(ew) from active participation in the peace process. The Palestinians and other Arabs have interpreted US policy as acquiescing on the occupation and (being) biased against them."

 

Given what they're up against, "what are the options for the future?"

 

Instead of explaining the futility of peace process negotiations because Palestinians have no willing partner, Carter called for "comprehensive" efforts "based on the fully compatible US official policy, previous UN resolutions and the Quartet's previous demands."

 

In other words, he recommends another round of what won't work instead of suggesting what may, and saying US policy must back it. With enough (sorely lacking) commitment, Israel would have a hard time saying no, but don't bet it wouldn't try.

 

Yet Carter's vision calls for "peace for Israel and all its neighbors. The United States would regain its leadership role in the region, based on its commitment to freedom, democracy and justice, and a major cause of widespread animosity toward America within the Arab world would be eliminated."

 

Shamefully, Carter omitted mention of America's imperial wars. That the business of America is war. That permanent war is official policy.

 

That eroding homeland social justice pays for them. That repressive police state laws slap down resisters. 

 

That post-9/11, $10 trillion or more was spent on militarism with all categories included. 

 

That over the same period, millions of lives were lost. Many millions more were harmed, and killer weapons destroyed nonbelligerent countries lawlessly. 

 

Libya, of course, is Washington's latest trophy. Even so, death and destruction continue daily, turning the entire country into a hellish charnel house.

 

At home, unbridled greed, corruption, and imperial lawlessness define America.

 

Torture, extraordinary renditions, indefinite detentions without charge, military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling are official policies. 

 

Special Forces death squads murder people globally who disagree with US policies. 

 

Decades of bad policies, including his own, have America on a fast track toward tyranny and ruin.

 

America's middle class is disappearing. Growing millions suffer from poverty, homelessness, hunger and despair. America's media don't notice, let alone care.

 

America partners with Israel's most lawless policies. Its leaders (including himself) support the worst of world despots and brutes. 

 

Democracy in America is a sham illusion. Whistleblowing and dissent can be called criminal.

 

Times op-eds alone won't change things, especially ones falling way short of the mark.

 

On October 1, Carter turn's 87. Arguably, his post-presidency is the best of the lot, though far from perfect.

 

At this stage in life, why not go all the way burnishing it. 

 

What better way than by forthrightly challenging US policies causing so much harm to so many, including permanent imperial wars and social injustice.

 

Then support Palestinian statehood and full de jure UN membership. At the same time, denounce Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saying "harsh and grave consequences" will follow a UN vote.

 

That's the kind of legacy worth working for!

 

It's true for everyone, not just him!

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Israeli Police State Crackdowns Against Palestinians

 Targeting Lawyers: America v. Paul Bergrin - by Stephen Lendman

 

Post-9/11, thousands of political prisoners languish unjustly behind bars or await trial.

 

They include lawyers for challenging injustice, especially for defending the "wrong" clients after America declared war on humanity.

 

Longtime human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart got 10 years for doing it. In a recent interview she said:

 

"I believe I am one of an historical progression that maintains the struggle to change (America's) perverted landscape....It seems that being a political prisoner must be used as a means of focusing people's attention on the continuing atrocities around them....I might think I hadn't been doing my utmost if they didn't believe I was dangerous enough to be locked up!"

 

Explaining how outrageously prisoners are treated, she added:

 

"Human rights do not exist in prison....I see day-to-day brainwashing that teaches all prisoners that they are less than nothing and not worthy of even the least human or humane considerations."

 

It shows up in "adequate medical care, the appalling diet....no access to the Web....an absence of legal advice," and so much else "to keep us dumbed-down, docile and estranged."

 

"The outside world is oblivious....brainwashed into believing (everyone locked up is) less than human."

 

Inhumanity is official policy in America's gulag. It's by far the world's largest, and for many in it as brutal as some of the worst. A growing part includes filling prison beds for profit, many in them victimized by injustice.

 

Lynne's there for defending a client Bush officials wanted locked up for life - no matter his innocence.

 

Paul Bergrin now awaits his turn, behind bars ahead of his trial. A previous article discussed his case, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009/12/targeting-lawyers-case-of-paul-bergrin.html 

 

It said the Sixth Amendment assures defendants in "all criminal prosecutions" the right to speedy, public, fair trials with "the Assistance of (competent) Counsel for his (or her) defense" provided free if unable to pay for it. 

 

The Fourteenth Amendment holds government subservient to the law and guarantees due process respect for everyone's legal right to judicial fairness on matters relating to life, liberty, or property.

 

In America and elsewhere, defending unpopular clients is a long, honored tradition. So is upholding the law and challenging unfettered power defiling it. Yet doing it risks lawyers being criminalized for doing their job too vigorously or making enemies in high places.

 

Before being targeted, Bergrin was a formidable advocate. The New Times Times called him a "top prosecutor" before becoming one of New Jersey's "most prominent defense lawyers representing clients as varied as Abu Ghraib defendants, the rap stars Lil' Kim and Queen Larifah, and members of Newark's notorious street gangs." 

 

They and others deserve the same legal rights as everyone, nothing less. So does Bergrin as an unjustly accused defendant, targeted for doing his job.

 

He defended US soldiers accused of killing four Iraqis near Samarra during Operation Iron Triangle in May 2006. The case made international headlines when evidence showed Col. Michael Steele gave orders to "kill all military age males."

 

It was no ordinary murder case. It involved government conspiracy, cover-up and intrigue against scapegoated soldiers to absolve higher-ups throughout the chain of command to the top.

 

As a result, four soldiers were convicted of conspiracy, murder, aggravated assault, or obstruction of justice for following orders. If disobeyed they'd have been court-martialed, dishonorably discharged, fined and imprisoned.

 

Guilt or innocence didn't matter. They never had a chance, and for using his formidable skills for them, neither perhaps does Paul. 

 

Obama officials want him crucified and locked away for life, turning justice into a four-letter word like for so many others targeted for political advantage.

 

Prosecutorial Charges

 

On May 20, 2009, a Department of Justice (DOJ) press released headlined "Newark Lawyer Arrested, Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Murder of a Federal Witness (along with) Three Others Also Arrested and Charged."

 

The 14-count indictment (now 33) accused him of "using various legal entities, including (his law office) to conduct illegal activities, including murder, to protect criminal clients, perpetuate their activities and shield them from prosecution."

 

Specifically cited was his alleged role in the "murder of a confidential witness in an Essex County (New Jersey) federal drug case, and his efforts to hire a hitman from Chicago to kill at least one witness in a Monmouth County drug case."

 

Bergrin was charged with "racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, murder of a federal witness, and conspiracy to murder a federal witness, and, separately, witnesses in a state case, as well as Travel Act violations and conspiracy to commit Travel Act violations."

 

If convicted of murder, racketeering and conspiracy, potentially he faces life in prison.

 

Bergrin v. Attack Journalism

 

On June 5, New York Magazine writer Mark Jacobson headlined, "The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey," practically convicting him without trial by his title.

 

Naming some of Essex County's most notorious scoundrels, including Mafia boss Lucky Luciano, he called Bergrin a "strong candidate for addition to this list.... facing charges that are a good bet to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life."

 

In other words, he swallowed government accusations hook, line and sinker pre-trial, what legitimate journalism never should do. He accepted inflammatory charges as truth, no matter how implausible and bogus. 

 

American justice accuses innocent victims spuriously with crimes they didn't commit, including terrorism, conspiracy to commit it, and murder.

 

In Bergrin's case, Jacobson admitted that federal authorities hated him, without saying why. It was because of his skill and commitment to expose their crimes, the same ones ongoing daily in war theaters.

 

Anyone doing that for a living or pro bono will be targeted the same way. Authorities don't like effective thorns in their side, so stop at nothing to remove them. Innocence doesn't matter, only continuity of unchallenged crimes of war and against humanity with impunity. 

 

Bergrin knew it and wanted top chain of command officials exposed and prosecuted. As a result, he's behind bars facing possible life in prison.

 

Based on government charges and uncorroborated hearsay, Jacobson said he'd "gone rogue," crossed "that border between what was allowed and what was not..."

 

Yet he admitted that "(h)e knew the reality, how the deck was stacked, and was willing to fight fire with fire" for justice. "He went to war for you," said a former client. "That's why Paul was loved in the streets." They're aren't enough like him.

 

The deck is so stacked against him that former counsel Lawrence Lustberg believes it's impossible he can get a fair trial in this environment. Attack journalism, of course, doesn't help.

 

ABA (American Bar Association) Journal contributor, Martha Neil, discussed Bergrin's case in previous articles.

 

On June 7, she headlined "Expanded New RICO Indictment Accuses Alleged Rogue Attorney of More Law-Firm-Related Charges," saying:

 

A "new racketeering indictment (read more like) the latest John Grisham legal thriller" from murder one to piling on lots more. In other words, the more charges, the more likely some will stick, whether or not credible.

 

On August 30, she headlined, "High-Profile Defense Attorney Accused of Practicing Law in RICO Enterprise May Represent Himself," saying:

 

Jailed since 2009 "on charges that he ran his law practice as part of a criminal racketeering enterprise," he may do what "one expert" calls a good idea, given his skill representing others.

 

"Three of the government's main cooperating witnesses (include) his mistress and alleged top criminal associate, his former law partner, and a drug kingpin ex-client."

 

All copped a plea for lighter treatment in return for testifying against Bergrin, the main target prosecutors locked up for life, even by framing him on bogus charges.

 

On September 12, Neil headlined, "Attorney Paul Bergrin's Biggest Trial is About to Begin: His Own Racketeering Case," saying:

 

Federal Judge William Martini agreed to let him proceed pro se, but he'll "be restricted in his courtroom movements." 

 

He won't be allowed to approach jurors, hand documents to witnesses, or participate in private out of earshot sidebar conferences at the bench where legal issues are considered.

 

At the same time, federal marshals will monitor him closely, giving jurors the appearance of a guilty man going through the motions.

 

Overcoming a stacked deck will be Bergrin's greatest challenge. Some, however, say if anyone can do it he can, given his reputation as a formidable adversary other lawyers feared, knowing how tough he is to beat.

 

However, judicial restrictions will impede his every move, making jurors believe he lacks credibility and is guilty. On October 11, his trial is scheduled to begin, fair or foul.

 

A Final Comment

 

The entire case is based on fabrication and intimidation to suppress hard truths and convict lawyers trying to expose them. Bergrin was framed to discredit and silence him. In November 2009, he said:

 

"This virtual nightmare has destroyed everything I worked my heart and soul out for, including my family. What hurts me the most is I am not guilty and totally innocent."

 

I was about to change the course of history that I had affirmative proof that President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assist. Secy. of (Defense) Wolfowitz, Carbone and White House Counsel, (Alberto) Gonzales (later US Attorney General) had lied, deliberately and intentionally when they denied knowledge of the torture techniques at Abu Ghraib."

 

He never got a chance to prove it. Instead, he's been convicted in the court of public opinion. His trial won't be about alleged crimes. It's for threatening the wrong people up the chain of command to the top. 

 

Imagine the possibilities if he'd done it, putting Bush/Cheney & Co. in the dock, instead of himself because he tried.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

MEDIEVAL TORTURES IN MODERN GREECE

Medical treatment and legal aid is required for the irregular migrants (at least three of them are of Kurdish origin; therefore, may very well be prima facie refugees) who are being detained after the raid of the Greek police in Egoumenitsa, Greece on 22 August 2011.

Anti-Israeli Friction Helps Palestinians

 Anti-Israeli Friction Helps Palestinians - by Stephen Lendman

 

Borrowing the opening line from Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities:"

 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."

 

He referred to the French Revolution, promising "Liberte, egalite and fraternite." Inspired by America's, it began in 1789, ending 1,000 years of monarchal rule, benefitting the privileged only. A republic replaced it.

 

That was the good news. The bad was the wrong people took power. The moderate Jacobins lost out to extremists, ushering in a "reign of terror." 

 

Change doesn't always work out, but when intolerable conditions exist, trying for something better is key. It holds for Palestinians wanting freedom from Israel's repressive occupation. Statehood and full de jure UN membership is step one toward it, though no guarantee.

 

Palestinians have many global supporters, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Israeli crimes he opposes drew him closer, and he's not shy about saying it and more.

 

On September 13, Turkey's Today's Zaman headlined, "Erdogan calls on Arab nations to unite, raise the Palestinian flag," addressing a Tuesday Arab League meeting in Cairo.

 

He asked Arab countries and Turkey to close ranks so tightly "even daylight shall not pass between" us.

 

Calling for solidarity, he continued:

 

"We are living through a turning point in history, and we are called upon to cooperate more closely than ever. It is time for us to take responsibility for our common future." 

 

"Storms of applause" interrupted him several times.

 

He particularly aimed at Israel, saying what few leaders anywhere state publicly:

 

"While the Israeli administration tries to legitimize itself, it takes steps that shake its legitimacy in the region," referring to Netanyahu's refusal to apologize for murdering nine Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010 as well as Cast Lead.

 

"The aggression of the Israeli administration has reached levels that threaten the future of the Israeli people," as well as occupied Palestinians, especially in besieged Gaza.

 

He called Israeli-Palestinian relations "the heart of the conflict in the region." Ruling out normalization, he said that won't change unless Israel apologizes, pays just compensation for its crime, and ends its Gaza siege.

 

He also stressed that Israel reached a point of no return, calling the status quo "no longer sustainable." He reiterated his intent to sue for ending Gaza's siege in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

 

He asked Arab states for support, saying "let's all unfurl the Palestinian flag together, and let that flag be the symbol of peace and stability in the region."

 

Whether he's a sometime or permanent Palestinian friend matters less than what he'll do now to support them. He calls Israel's mentality an obstacle to peace, adding that Israelis endure their own blockade under Netanyahu and extremists around him - without naming names.

 

They're in Washington as well as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Two of them headed back a second time to pressure Abbas  - Middle East envoy David Hale and special State Department advisor Dennis Ross (a notorious pro-Israeli hardliner).

 

Ma'an News said the Obama administration is scrambling to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full UN membership within 1967 borders during next week's New York session.

 

Smart money says Abbas already caved despite publicly saying otherwise.

 

PA presidential office head Muhammad Shtayyeh said:

 

"We are going to the UN and to the Security Council and we will ask for full membership for a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967. This does not go against any efforts towards serious peace negotiations."

 

Offering wiggle room, he added:

 

"We are open-minded to any proposal. And we are ready to engage with any proposal. But this is not a step to really stop us from going to the (UN). If the whole idea of (an 11th hour US or Israeli) proposal is to engage peacefully, then you don't really bring it in the last five minutes of the hour."

 

Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rudeihah said:

 

"Americans failed to provide us or the Israelis with a platform for negotiations. They failed to stop or cease the settlement activities."

 

Abbas always was "ready for negotiations on this clear basis, (including) 1967 borders with (agreed land) swaps, with a cessation of settlements. For this, we are ready to come back to negotiations."

 

"As long as negotiations are not there," the UN is the "only option we have to protect our people and our interests. We cannot keep this stalemate any more than this. That is why the UN is the only place that we can assert our rights."

 

He added that occupation must finally end, even though statehood won't assure it. He wants it "built, and we are ready....We are willing and ready to live side by side with an Israeli state."

 

Israel and Washington, of course, object, with plenty of financial, political and belligerent muscle for backup.

 

As a result, neutral observers say it's unclear what Abbas will propose. As noted above and in previous articles, smart money says he'll cave.

 

Criticizing his own government, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called the bunch "dangerous pyromaniacs without equal." He scathed Netanyahu whose stubbornness is costing Israel regional allies.

 

He called Avigdor Lieberman "our thuggish foreign minister." He should have compared him to Hillary Clinton, matching him blow for blow and then some.

 

He asked what will Egypt do "now that Turkey has almost entirely severed relations?....What new depths will this lead us into?"

 

He quoted Yiddish poet/songwriter Mordechai Gebirig (1887 - 1942) saying:

 

"Our town is burning, brothers, burning. Our whole town burns! And you stand looking on with folded arms and shake your heads. You stand looking on with folded arms, while the fire spreads!"

 

A Polish national under Nazi occupation, he tried to mobilize Krakow's resistance before dying on "Bloody Thursday," June 4, 1942, in its ghetto. He remains the preeminent Yiddish literature and song folk artist.

 

Israel's fire today is self-inflicted. Why aren't Israelis protesting against it along with calls for social justice? 

 

All just causes are inseparable, including for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Yet Israel treats 20% of its population like fifth column threats, not citizens.

 

Where's the righteous indignation? Where's the national awakening that Palestinians deserve rights like Jews? Where's the throw the bums out mentality, but not for new ones? When comes understanding that injustice to anyone affects all? 

 

Where's the spirit to rise up and act - courageously for what's right over wrong, especially targeting rogue leaders needing to be removed?

 

It's high time Palestinians got "Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite," starting with statehood and full de jure UN membership.

 

They need supportive Israelis for it as intensively as for social justice, damning Netanyahu and Obama for opposing it.

 

They need pressure applied to Abbas to deliver in New York, not collaborate with Israel and Washington as now appears likely for an unacceptable alternative.

 

They need all the friends they can get when the moment of truth arrives.

 

It's days away. Will it be Palestinian spring or winter?

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

New York Times: Railing Against Palestinian Statehood

 New York Times: Railing Against Palestinian Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Longstanding Times policy supports wealth and power; war, not peace; US hegemony and imperial rampaging; and all things benefitting Israel.

 

In so doing, it turns a blind eye to its most egregious violations of international law, norms and standards.

 

It's no surprise that Times editorial policy opposes Palestinian statehood and full UN membership. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-york-times-opposition-to.html 

 

Endorsing wrong over right, its August 7 "Palestinians and the UN" editorial falsified and distorted key facts. It also suppressed others instead of explaining issues forthrightly.

 

That's never been NYT's long suit.

 

Its latest broadside did it again. More on it below.

 

On September 10, Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, "In Seeking Statehood, Palestinians Stir Concern," saying:

 

Days ahead of "Palestinians plan(ning) to 'defy' the Obama administration by requesting (UN) membership and statehood recognition....there is a growing fear that the Arab-Israeli conflict is entering an explosive new phase."

 

Despite clear benefits greatly outweighing concerns, Bronner claims "many (predict) disaster, especially after the storming of Israel's Cairo embassy and the expulsion of its ambassador from Turkey."

 

In fact, Washington and Israeli acquiescence would go a long way to ease, not heighten, tensions, a point Bronner omitted. Instead, he quoted an unnamed "senior Western diplomat," saying:

 

Israel "will react to a Palestinian statehood bid with punitive measures in the West Bank. Congress will probably cut off aid....The Palestinian Authority could collapse. We're watching a potential train wreck."

 

Fact check

 

Under military occupation, Palestinians have no rights. Gazans are suffocating under siege. Daily Israeli attacks and/or incursions into neighborhoods terrorize millions of civilians. Israel at times preemptively declares war. Its modus operandi is death, destruction and immiseration.

 

Statehood and full UN membership is step one for something better, regardless of how long it takes.

 

It's already as bad as it gets unless NATO intervenes supportively for Israel. If so, it may do to Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem what it did to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, turning the Territories to rubble and slaughtering tens of thousands, defending the indefensible on whatever pretext it chooses.

 

For America, its NATO partners and Israel, it remains a frightening option, given how many previous times it was chosen.

 

Bronner quoted Yuli Edelstein, Israel's public diplomacy minister, saying:

 

"If the Palestinians go to the United Nations, it will begin a long funeral for the peace process and negotiations."

 

Fact check

 

Of course, Israel long ago buried what for decades it refused to tolerate and won't now. As a result, resurrecting a corpse makes no sense, especially when one willing side has no partner.

 

Bronner highlights negatives over positive statehood benefits. For example, "rocket(s) from Gaza would be cause to bring them to account."

 

Fact check

 

True enough except in self-defense, a universally accepted right. Moreover, ineffective "rockets" only follow multiple Israeli attacks. If Palestinians initiated them, Israel might declare war.

 

Palestinians have nothing to gain from conflict. In contrast, Israel thrives on it, knowing it can act with impunity.

 

Bronner also denigrated Palestine's legitimate government, saying:

 

If the Palestinian Authority under Abbas "ended up withering for lack of support and security cooperation with Israel, Hamas would be waiting in the wings. A Hamas 'takeover' attempt in the West Bank is not something Israel would accept lightly...."

 

Fact check

 

In January 2006, Hamas won a decisive 74 seat majority victory as Palestine's legitimate government. Fatah under Abbas got 45, and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Third Way party won only 2 of 132 Palestinian Legislative Council seats. 

 

Though almost entirely rejected, he's now illegitimately second in command, serving, like Abbas, as an Israeli collaborationist.

 

Bronner entirely omitted that context from his article. He also excluded comments from Palestinian statehood advocates. Instead, he concluded, quoting Israeli MK Einat Wilf, saying:

 

Abbas "knows he is not getting a state. He knows he is not resolving anything. He is simply taking the conflict to another place. (He and other Palestinians) will take each and everybody of the UN and use it as a theater to continue this whole conflict."

 

Fact check

 

Of course, conflict persists because of Israeli and Washington obstructionism and belligerence. 

 

Long ago, Palestinians wanted peace, an equitable resolution of longstanding grievances, and a legitimate sovereign state they deserve after Israel stole their homeland in 1948.

 

Bronner didn't explain. Instead, he one-sidededly backed Israel.

 

So did another disgraceful Times editorial (dated 9/11) headlined, "Palestinian Statehood" saying:

 

"A United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous. Yet with little time left before the UN General Assembly meets, the United States, Israel and Europe have shown insufficient urgency or boldness in trying to find a compromise solution."

 

Fact check

 

After 44 years of occupation, statehood and de jure UN membership are long overdue. Opposing it is inexcusable. Nothing less than full recognition is acceptable within 1967 borders, as well as East Jerusalem as its capital.

 

"Last week, the United States made a listless effort to get Palestinians to forgo the vote in favor of new peace talks. (The) best path to statehood remains negotiations."

 

Fact check

 

As explained above, for decades Palestinians have had no willing partner for peace and don't now. Moreover, Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands, with backup muscle like its Washington/paymaster partner.

 

Nonetheless, the editorial says America "and its Quartet partners (EU, UN and Russia) should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations and a formal UN statehood vote. The core element: a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps and guarantees for Israel's security."

 

Fact check

 

The same futility repeated numerous previous times. Resurrecting a corpse won't revive it. Relying on Israel and Washington assures subjugation, exploitation, and continuity, not justice or peace. 

 

It's long past time that ended, especially with overwhelming world support when Israel is growing increasingly isolated, and along with America, reviled on Arab streets.

 

"To get full UN membership the Palestinians have to win Security Council approval."

 

Fact check

 

Previous articles explained that the Security Council  recommends. Only the General Assembly admits new members by a simple two-thirds majority. 

 

Times writers know it but won't say. Instead, they keep beating the same dead horse lie, plus a blizzard of others daily in print, notably on what's most important.

 

"Congress has threatened to cut millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it presses for a UN vote. Instead of just threatening the Palestinians, Congress should lean on Mr. Netanyahu to return to talks."

 

Fact check

 

True enough. Congress may withhold aid. Perhaps the 113th one will restore it after January 3, 2013. 

 

In the meantime, other states can and should fill the void. It's pocket change for them collectively, even during hard times, especially if they wage less war and more peace. 

 

For his part, Netanyahu doesn't respond to pressure. Efforts are better directed on what works, or at least has a better chance.

 

"Israel has said it would cut millions of dollars in tax remittances to the authority."

 

Fact check

 

Israel no longer would control policies of an independent Palestinian state, including matters relating to taxes.

 

The piece concludes saying "Washington and its partners will have to limit the damage" following a vote.

 

In fact, under the best of circumstances, Palestinians are cursed by bordering on a belligerent rogue state, menacingly there all the time.

 

That's a real concern, including for neighboring states knowing they, too, are vulnerable.

 

Shut Out of the Process Hamas Responds

 

On September 12, Haaretz headlined, "Hamas distances itself from Palestinian statehood bid at UN," saying:

 

Hamas officials said PA efforts omitted Gaza interests entirely. Abbas proceeded on his own, without consulting Hamas, Palestine's legitimate government.

 

Other Palestinian factions expressed their views. Islamic Jihad also opposes PA efforts. Spokesman Dawood Shihab said the "move needs to be studied to make sure it will not ignore major issues such as the right of return, and the future of the (PLO) as an umbrella for" all Palestinians.

 

Nothing compromises either if proper procedures are followed. In fact, the right of return for diaspora Palestinians will be strengthened.

 

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar said no one "asked the people of Gaza to take to the streets showing solidarity with the so-called September bid. If the Palestinian Authority calls for that, we will oppose it because they detain people in the West Bank."

 

"How can I give them the right to demonstrate in Gaza while they do not give us that right in the West Bank?"

 

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri accused Abbas of acting "without consulting any faction."

 

An anonymous PA official said Abbas "was surprised by the international opposition to the reconciliation with Hamas so he decided to slow down at least until September." 

 

"Now, with all efforts focused on" petitioning the UN, "we want all voices to be with us. We are not giving the Americans or anyone else a reason to shun us because of the reconciliation or anything else."

 

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and The Palestinian National Initiative support petitioning the UN, saying it's the last (or perhaps best) chance for statehood, given the futility of peace talks.

 

PFLP official Kayid al-Ghoul said:

 

"We support the Palestinian leadership's plan to go to the UN because (it's) a natural right of the Palestinians and part of the political battle against Israel." 

 

"Regardless of the outcome, this step should be part of the political battle we fight against occupation. It will also be an opportunity to enlarge the circle of solidarity with the Palestinian people's rights, and to expose Israel's policies and the supportive US policy."

 

Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti called the UN initiative "the last option for two states," adding "time has come for an alternative. There is no space or place for talks. We won't be slaves to apartheid for the rest of our lives."

 

He also said if South Sudan could get statehood in 48 hours (no matter that America and EU nations pushed for balkanization), why not Palestinians after decades of failure.

 

Why not indeed, despite opposition from Washington, Israel, and at least several key European states.

 

Nothing important ever comes easily. Nothing comes at all without trying. Delay is the enemy of success. Whoever said there's no time like the present got it right.

 

A Final Comment

 

Since taking office, Obama's presidency has been defined by duplicity, lawlessness and betrayal.

 

He proved it by waging multiple imperial wars, lying about why they're fought.

 

He did it by handing Wall Street giants multi-trillions of taxpayer dollars - called "emergency loans" that perhaps never were repaid. He and the Fed also refused to say how much until finally it was learned that at least $16.1 trillion was involved. 

 

Some observers think it's lots more, plus an open-ended checkbook for as much as they want.

 

He rubbed it in by demanding austerity cuts during a Main Street Depression when growing tens of millions need help, not a hammer to the back of their heads.

 

On September 8, his "American Jobs Act" address to Congress was, in fact, another thinly veiled wealth transfer scheme to corporate favorites and super-rich elites already with too much.

 

He also proposed stealth measures to weaken Social Security and Medicare ahead of destroying them altogether to free up money for more wars and bailouts.

 

On September 12, he reiterated his contempt for Palestinians, saying:

 

If Palestinian statehood comes "to the Security Council, we would object very strongly, precisely because we think it would be 'counterproductive.' We don't think that it would actually lead to the outcome that we want, which is a two-state solution."

 

"Counterproductive" with no "two-state solution?"

 

Of course, his doublespeak distorts and inverts what Palestinians want and can get if proper procedures are followed.

 

Obama, Netanyahu and other officials from both countries are pushing to prevent them from achieving rights they've been denied for decades.

 

It's high time a ground swell of right over wrong support thunderously rejects the criminal class causing so much harm to so many. 

 

It's time it emerges globally against these two rogue states and their duplicitous allies. 

 

When committed and sustained, it's how great victories are won. 

 

Though never easily or quickly, they're only possible by trying.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Solidarity Call For Gerze Community-Turkey

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Sign the Solidarity Letter For Gerze Community, who has been fighting the power plant company and the state violence directed against them!

Implications of Palestinian Statehood

 Implications of Palestinian Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Previous articles discussed likely Palestinian statehood and full UN membership if proper procedures are followed. 

 

They also suggested Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will belie his supportive rhetoric by betrayal at the 11th hour.

 

When the General Assembly meets later in September, we'll know which Abbas shows up - a leader representing his people or an Israeli collaborationist like so often before. Smart money says the latter.

 

A September Anne Suciu and Attorney Limor Yehuda Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) paper headlined, "Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: Possible Implications of the Recognition of Palestinian Statehood," explaining future possibilities under statehood.

 

They depend on what course Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) choose, how Israel and Washington respond, and which side Western, regional, and other countries support.

 

ACRI agrees that full de jure UN membership is unlikely. Nonetheless, "the very recognition of Palestinian statehood" by a decisive General Assembly two-thirds majority "would have significant repercussions."

 

In fact, if statehood and full UN membership are granted, Palestine would "become party to international conventions and international courts." As a result, it would have new tools to uphold its rights as do all other recognized nations.

 

Conditions for Statehood Recognition 

 

ACRI cites four 1933 Montevideo Convention criteria:

  • a permanent population;

 

  • a defined territory;

 

  • an effective government; and

 

  • the ability to have diplomatic relations with other states.

 

 

In his important book titled, "Palestine, Palestinians and International Law," Law Professor and former PLO legal advisor Francis Boyle also discussed them, explaining that:

  • "A determinable territory" doesn't have to be fixed and determinate. Its borders may be negotiated. The new state would be comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians have lived there for millennia. As a result, they're entitled to all of it (22% of historic Palestine) as their nation state.

 

  • A fixed population as stated above.

 

  • A functioning government. In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government. 

 

  • The capacity to have diplomatic relations with other states. Up to 140 nations recognize Palestine, easily enough to qualify. Others haven't because occupation deprives it of effective territorial "control." 

 

 

Still others disagree, saying Israel isn't in control. It's an occupier. On December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy, according it UN observer status.

 

Palestine easily satisfies the above criteria. All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League of Nations Covenant article 22(4). 

 

Further, as the League's successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as Palestine's legitimate representative. 

 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body, empowerered to proclaim Palestine's existence. According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren are automatically citizens of the new state. 

 

In addition, diaspora Palestinians no longer would be stateless. Their right of return would be guaranteed and enforced. 

 

Those living in Israel and Jordan would have dual nationalities. Others in the Occupied Territories would remain "protected persons," according to the Fourth Geneva Convention - until a final peace settlement is reached.

 

The Proclamation of Independence must then create the Government of Palestine (GOP). As a final step, it should direct the GOP to claim Palestine's right to UN membership. It requires Security Council and General Assembly approval, according to five conditions. Applicants must be:

  • a state;

 

  • peace loving;

 

  • accept the Charter's obligations;

 

  • be able to carry them out; and

 

  • be willing to do it.

 

 

America provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it's barred from reversing its position by vetoing a Security Council Resolution, calling for Palestine's UN admission. 

 

Any veto would be illegal and subject to further Security Council action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the Security Council only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a simple two-thirds majority.

 

If Washington invokes its Security Council veto, the GA can override it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. 

 

In days, we'll know what actually happens, its implications and early stage repercussions.

 

ACRI said an entity meeting the above four criteria qualifies as a state, "and does not require the recognition of other states. The difficulty, of course, is that without....recognition....it cannot fully realize its sovereignty. According to the constitutive model, on the other hand, the act of recognition by others states is what bestows statehood."

 

However, if it's granted exclusive of recognition by Israel, Washington and other Western states, "its ability to realize its sovereignty will be limited." 

 

At least initially it's true, but that can later change, especially with key allies like China, Russia, Brazil, India, and other major ones - plus the weight of supportive numbers.

 

ACRI also suggests if two-thirds or more member states afford Palestine recognition, with or without Security Council approval, "the General Assembly could invite it to be party to various international conventions."

 

Normative Framework Applicable to the West Bank and Gaza

 

"According to the laws of occupation, statehood is irrelevant in determining whether a territory is occupied or not." As a result, Israel's standing in international law as an occupier may not be affected.

 

However, as Boyle explained, the League of Nations in 1919 provisionally recognized Palestinian statehood in its League Covenant Article 22(4) and its 1922 Mandate for Palestine - awarded to Britain. 

 

After proclaiming its independence in November 1988, the PNC began working for a comprehensive peace settlement. Its Declaration of Independence accepted the General Assembly's 1947 Partition Plan, thus reaching an historic accommodation for a good faith two-state solution.

 

It also declared:

  •  
  • its commitment to the UN Charter's purpose and principles; 

 

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), policy, and principles of nonalignment;

 

  • its natural right to defend the Palestinian state and to reject "the threat or use of force, violence and intimidation against its territorial integrity and political independence or those of any other state;"

 

  • its willingness to accept UN supervision on an interim basis to terminate Israel's occupation;

 

  • its call for an International Peace Conference on the Middle East based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338;

 

  • its asking for Israel's withdrawal from occupied Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem;

 

  • its willingness to accept a voluntary confederation between Jordan and Palestine; and 

 

  • its "rejection of terrorism in all forms, including state terrorism..." 

 

 

As a result, on December 14, 1988, the Reagan administration began dialogue. In June 1990, the Bush administration suspended it, alleging the PLO violated its pledge.

 

From then until now, US administrations call self-defense "terrorism" even though it's an inherent (individual and state) right under "customary international and humanitarian law, including:" 

  • Article 51 of the UN Charter;

 

  • the four 1949 Geneva Conventions; and

 

  • the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare.

 

 

The PNC accepts them. Israel doesn't, violating fundamental laws with impunity. Other nations are also culpable. Under Geneva's Common Article 1, all countries are obliged to pressure Israel to comply. 

 

America is especially culpable as Israel's paymaster/partner/supplier of weapons, equipment, supplies, generous handouts, loans, grants, and various other benefits. 

 

Without them, Israel couldn't wage aggressive wars or be strong enough to intimidate neighbors. At least not like now. Today no country threatens Israel (or America) despite claims to the contrary.

 

In contrast, Washington and Israel pose major threats, including to Occupied Palestine.

 

Nonetheless, the same day the General Assembly recognized Palestine, it called for a UN-sponsored Middle East Peace conference based on the following principles:

  • ending Israel's occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem;

 

  • guaranteeing security for all regional states;

 

  • resolving the Palestinian refugee problem;

 

  • dismantling illegal Israeli settlements;

 

  • placing Palestine under interim UN supervision; and

 

  • requesting the Security Council consider measures to convene an International Middle East Peace Conference.

 

 

The PLO was willing to cooperate and negotiate in good faith. It agreed to be flexible, including over Jerusalem's final status. The 1947 Partition Plan called for an international trusteeship administered separately from Jewish and Arab territories. 

 

Israel and Washington blocked efforts from the start. They obstruct regional peace. Without their cooperation they'll be none. This must end. The world community must no longer tolerate it. The fate of millions of Palestinians and Arab peoples are at stake.

 

Gaza

 

Following Israel's summer 2005 disengagement, the IDF regional commander declared Israel's rule over the Territory ended, but it never worked out that way with Israel maintaining control under siege.

 

As a result, "Israel bears legal responsibility for what takes place" in Gaza, but without international enforcement it's meaningless, as Israel literally gets away with murder with impunity.

 

Area A

 

Israel transferred area control to the PA. However, its complete West Bank/East Jerusalem occupation continues, so "control" excludes sovereign authority, rendering it meaningless.

 

Israel maintains responsibility for "security" - code language for real control, including over Area A.

 

Israel's Military Court of Appeals ruled the entire West Bank/East Jerusalem areas remain under belligerent military occupation as "a single territorial unit."

 

Unless that changes, Palestinian statehood won't affect Israel's de facto control as an occupying power unless World Court redress is achieved.

 

Oslo Accords

 

ACRI believes independence "contravenes this agreement, and opens the door to a declaration of the non-validity or revocation of the accords." However, absolute revocation needn't happen.

 

At the same time, Oslo only benefitted Israel, not Palestinians, so revocation would change little, just like Israel's Gaza disengagement afforded no rights, only siege after Hamas was democratically elected.

 

Changes in the Legal and International/Institutional Framework - Becoming a Party to International Conventions

 

With statehood comes access to them, as well as the ability to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for repeated crimes of war and against humanity, as well as other issues.

 

They include:

  • regular border infringements and incursions into Palestinian neighborhoods;

 

  • lawless arrests, prosecutions in military tribunals, imprisonment and torture;

 

  • Israel's illegal 44 year occupation;

 

  • land theft to expand settlements;

 

  • Separation Wall to steal up to 12% of the West Bank when completed;

 

  • defined borders for East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, as well as for the West Bank and Gaza to assure 22% of historic Palestine is retained; and 

 

  • other illegal acts under recognized international law.

 

 

Palestine could also ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israeli war criminals - specifically high-ranking government officials and military commanders.

 

Under the Rome Statute's Article 125(3), all signatory states may use this option. So may non-UN member states by ratifying the Statute.

 

The ICC restricts prosecutions to instances where states don't exercise appropriate jurisdiction, including proper investigations and trials for individuals believed guilty. 

 

A welter of evidence proves numerous present and past Israeli officials culpable for crimes of war and against humanity, as well as other offenses.

 

Notably, with statehood come obligations to respect human rights and other international conventions - for its own citizens and those of other states.

 

Besides benefits, in other words, statehood brings the legal and moral imperative to do the right thing. It also means bearing the full legal burden for failure.

 

Weighing all pluses and minuses, failure to use all legal procedures and avenues for statehood and full de jure UN membership no longer can be tolerated or delayed.

 

Doing so now, in fact, constitutes betrayal.

 

Is that challenging Abbas to do the right thing? You bet it is!

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian Tensions

 Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian Tensions - by Stephen Lendman

 

Issues affecting Palestinians include: 

  • statehood within 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine);

 

  • East Jerusalem as its capital;

 

  • full de jure UN membership;

 

  • 44 years of illegal occupation;

 

  • decades of unresolved Israeli crimes of war and against humanity;

 

  • daily land theft and dispossessions;

 

  • illegal detentions and torture;

 

  • argeted assassinations;

 

  • horrific levels of oppression and persecution overall; and

 

  • many other longstanding festering grievances.

 

 

For Turkey, relations have deteriorated for years. Cast Lead exacerbated them. So did murdering nine Turkish nationals on May 31, 2010, aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship.

 

On September 12, Today's Zaman (a Turkish English language broadsheet) headlined, "Erdogan: Mavi Marmara raid was 'cause for war,' " saying:

 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

 

"The May 31, 2010 (incident), the attack that took place in international waters, did not comply with international law. In fact, it was a cause for war. However, befitting Turkey's grandness (sic), we decided to act with patience."

 

He added more, saying Turkish warships will now patrol Eastern Mediterranean waters. Their mission will include escorting future Gaza humanitarian aid ships.

 

After Israel refused to apologize for the killings, Turkey expelled its ambassador, imposed sanctions, and suspended military agreements. It also said it'll enforce free Eastern Mediterranean navigation.

 

Erdogan emphasized that "Turkish ships, I mean military ships, more often (will patrol) international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially in (Turkey's) exclusive economic zone."

 

Israeli bullying no longer will be tolerated.

 

Erdogan also challenged a Cyprus plan to explore offshore Eastern Mediterranean gas fields bordering Israeli waters, saying they belong to Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

 

In August, Israel and Cyprus discussed offshore energy exploration cooperation, Netanyahu citing "overlapping interests."

 

Erdogan responded, saying:

 

"You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas of the Mediterranean. You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and hold fast to the right to monitor international waters in the eastern Mediterranean."

 

By acting lawlessly and refusing to apologize, Israel "condemn(ed) itself to isolation."

 

While not wanting to jeopardize relations with Washington, Turkey's exerting its influence as a regional power. It has enough military might to back up its words with muscle. It includes 650,000 troops, second largest  NATO force after America.

 

Israel, of course, is a powerhouse in its own right, including nuclear weapons and delivery systems to launch them.

 

Forced Displacements While Disingenuously Talking Peace

 

Almost daily, Israel proves its rogue credentials. It's a regional menace threatening peace and security. Then it wonders why affected nations and people react adversely. 

 

Poor Israel! Why is it so misunderstood? Perhaps because Palestinians and regional neighbors long ago acknowledged its lawless disregard for international law, norms and standards.

 

Israeli/Palestinian peace talks are a case in point. They've been stillborn since inception and remain so, disingenuous rhetoric notwithstanding. 

 

Nonetheless, Israel "resurrects" them strategically to change the subject, as well as pressure Palestinians to accept subjugation, not freedom on their own land in their own country. 

 

Moreover, Washington lurks menacingly in the wings, backing up Israel's muscle with its own, and no shyness about using it.

 

At issue today is growing Israeli isolation ahead of Mahmoud Abbas petitioning the UN for statehood and UN membership. 

 

He's doing it even though smart money wagers he'll accept less than Palestinians deserve, leaving them  back at square one. Bet on it!

 

On September 13, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "Israeli intelligence urges return to peace talks with Palestinians," saying:

 

"In recent weeks, the Foreign Ministry, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad" distributed documents, saying negotiations will "tone down tensions and anger against Israel."

 

In recent cabinet meetings, discussions focused around restarting what never before worked because Israel won't tolerate peace - just its appearance, an illusion to continue illegal military occupation.

 

Nonetheless, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told ministers:

 

"By sharpening tensions with the Palestinians, we are inviting (greater) isolation on Israel."

 

Meanwhile, Spain, France, and Catherine Ashton (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) are trying to negotiate a "package deal" to have all 27 EU member states support "upgrading the PA to the status of a non-permanent member of the UN."

 

In other words, they back the status quo despite Palestinians deserving better. At the same time, they want Washington to abstain on UN membership and continue financial aid in return for Abbas promising not to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

They may, in fact, get what's totally unacceptable by hook, crook, or even threatening NATO intervention if Palestinians dare demand their rights.

 

Ravid reported that Abbas, knowing he faces a US Security Council veto (even though illegal and without teeth, as previous articles explained), "decided to turn to the UN General Assembly....in order to seek the support of (EU) member states in the vote."

 

Specific negotiated issues include:

  • Palestinians settling for permanent observer status, not full membership;

 

  • all or most EU nations supporting it without agreeing to recognize Palestine on a bilateral level;

 

  • Palestinians resuming no peace/peace negotiations, without preconditions, with no chance for an equitable resolution because Israel won't permit it;

 

  • Palestine's General Assembly petition "will be balanced and will combine elements of" Obama's May 19, 2011 speech, "and the conclusion of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council of December 2009."

 

 

In other words, while petitioning for recognition within 1967 borders, it appears Abbas will agree to unacceptable land swaps. 

 

By so doing, he'll accept both status quo recognition surrender along with Palestinian statehood on worthless cantonized scrub land. A bantustan state. 

 

Again he'll reveal his collaborationist credentials, selling out his people for whatever ways he benefits. 

 

He's done it before so often, so it shouldn't surprise now. But it should be strongly condemned and rejected.

 

At minimum, Palestinians deserve all land within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as their capital - nothing less now or ever. 

 

Settlers could then choose either to become citizens of Palestine, or retain their current status in a foreign country under its laws, not Israel's.

 

Doing what's right, however, was never Abbas' long suit. In days, it appears he'll again prove what Palestinians and their supporters already should know.

 

Israel will wiggle out of another tough spot. Palestinians will end up with nothing. They'll still be occupied. Their land will keep being stolen. Their rights will be entirely denied. 

 

Justice again won't be delayed. It'll be disgracefully denied with Palestinian Authority compliance, at least from Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and other PA Israeli collaborators, selling out their people for their own self-interest. On its own, Israel does it belligerently.

 

Displacing Bedouin Arab Israeli Citizens 

 

On September 12, Ma'an News said Israel's cabinet voted to displace tens of thousands of Negev Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens, offering them inadequate financial help to relocate.

 

"Around 160,000 Bedouins live in Israel." Over half live in so-called unrecognized villages without municipal water, electricity, and other essential services because Israel refuses to provide them. 

 

Many are also deeply impoverished, struggling daily to get by. Israel now agreed to make their lot tougher by stealing their land and property, in return for forced displacement.

 

Amnesty International (AI) condemned the plan, saying it "includes the forceful evacuation of thousands of Bedouins from their homes," calling it "a significant blow to (their) right to adequate accommodation."

 

It's that and much more. It's destroying a way of life, as well as spurning the rights of its own citizens lawlessly.

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed righteous indignation. So did Bimkom-Planners for Planning Rights in a joint statement, denouncing "continued discrimination of the Bedouin community."

 

Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens will be lawlessly uprooted from their homes - "against their will and in clear violation of their historical and proprietary rights to the land."

 

The so-called Prawer Plan facilitates state-sponsored discrimination, "disregard(ing) one of the most disenfranchised communities in Israel, during a period in which (an internal) mass protest movement" demands social justice for ALL Israelis.

 

Affected are 35 Negev Bedouin villages. They had no say in government policy. Since 1948, they've "suffer(ed) from severe neglect and lack of infrastructure...."

 

The Prawer Plan contradicts Goldberg Commission findings, calling Bedouin treatment unjust and ineffective. It also ecommended injustices be corrected by recognizing their communities as they exist.

 

"ACRI and Bimkom insist that only a master plan based on respect for human rights of the Bedouin population, and that includes them in the decision-making process with bring about a lasting and holistic solution in the Negev that will contribute to the betterment of all who live there, both Arabs and Jews."

 

Israel wants none of it. It refuses to end 44 years of illegal occupation. Again, it's about to deny Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, and its Gaza siege keeps suffocating over 1.6 million Palestinians who deserve freedom, not de facto imprisonment.

 

Israel's Gaza Closure Policy

 

On September 12, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement published Freedom of Information Act obtained documents, disclosing Israel's Gaza siege policy in its own words. Included were previously unknown details.

 

"Despite (introduced) measures to 'ease' the closure, introduced in July 2010....there has been no change" in policy regarding free movement between Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.

 

Exceptions include a handful of merchants with Israeli-issued permits. However, even they so far can't exercise the right Israel granted them.

 

Moreover:

  • movement restrictions affect categories of people, not individuals based on security concerns;

 

  • Gaza soccer players may access the West Bank, not students to attend universities or most Gazans needing medical care unavailable at home;

 

  • Gaza residents can't relocate to West Bank areas for family reunification or other reasons;

 

  • Gaza students awarded Fulbright scholarships can't leave to accept them;

 

  • Israel continues to prohibit construction materials and anything called "dual use" from entering Gaza; "dual use" is anything Israel says it is;

 

  • With few exceptions, exports are prohibited; and

 

  • Overall, isolation under siege is rigorously enforced; violators caught are arrested or shot.

 

 

A Final Comment

 

Israel wants it both ways. It demands Palestinians agree to their own occupation, subjugation, persecution, and continued status quo affording them no rights. At the same time, it talks peace.

 

The hypocrisy requires no comment, except to say they have a willing collaborator in Abbas. He's again about to back-stab his people like at Oslo as chief Palestinian negotiator, and numerous times thereafter, acting as Israel's enforcer.

 

In days, when he petitions the UN, he'll again prove his illegitimacy. His term of office also expired in January 2009, over two and half years ago.

 

Yet he remains in office, backed by Israel and Washington for obvious reasons while Palestine's legitimate government is persecuted, terrorized and isolated in Gaza.

 

As long as repressive conditions continue, Palestinians won't ever be free, even if granted statehood and full UN membership.

 

They'd still be no match for Israel's military might and no shyness about using it. Not to mention the world community turning a blind eye to its worst crimes.

 

Issue one thus demands changing that to give Palestinians rights they've long been denied.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Anti-Israeli Rage in Egypt

 Anti-Israeli Rage in Egypt - by Stephen Lendman

 

On August 18, Israel aggressively entered Sinai, killing five Egyptian security force members and injuring seven others. 

 

At issue was allegedly looking for unnamed attackers held responsible for eight same day Israeli deaths.

 

Filing an official protest, Egypt demanded an "urgent investigation," explaining reasons and circumstances surrounding the incident. Withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv also was threatened. 

 

Refusing to apologize, Israel claimed militants responsible for killing Israelis came from Gaza through Sinai. No corroborating evidence was cited because there is none. 

 

Israel lied about what has all the earmarks of another false flag to divert public attention from more pressing issues, including unmet social justice demands!

 

Egypt began its own inquiry.

 

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed the victim, saying the incident "reflects the weakening of Egypt's hold in the Sinai and the broadening of activities by terror elements."

 

Egyptian officials responded angrily. Sinai governor Khaled Fouda rejected Barak's comments, saying:

 

"We refute such statements and have increased security patrolling and checkpoints in Sinai."

 

The incident also sparked public anger, noticeably in Cairo where protests rallied outside Israel's embassy and continue. They denounced the attack, demanding authorities expel Israel's ambassador, and end its 1979 peace treaty, following the 1978 Camp David Accords.

 

To diffuse tensions, Egypt walled off Israel's embassy in recent days. It didn't help. Protesters sprayed the two and a half meter high barrier with comments like:

 

"The people want the fall of the wall."

 

Protests grew louder and angrier. On September 4, an unidentified man told Egyptian radio:

 

"Why would we protect a state that is killing our people? This is wrong, unfair and irritating."

 

Visceral street anger expressed the same sentiment. On September 9, it erupted. New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Heba Afify headlined, "Protest of Thousands in Cairo Turns Violent," saying:

 

Demonstrators Friday in Tahrir Square turned violent  when "thousands....tore down a protective wall around the Israeli Embassy, while others defaced the headquarters of the Egyptian Interior Ministry," expressing anger over lack of social justice progress and military junta repression.

 

Egypt's state news agency said hundreds were injured and numerous arrests made. In fact, since Mubarak's February ouster, thousands have been terrorized, tried in military tribunals, and imprisoned. 

 

On Friday, protesters "scaled the walls of the Israeli Embassy," removing Israel's flag for the second time in less than a month. The earlier incident replaced it with an Egyptian one.

 

Using wooden poles and hammers, they tore down the restraining wall while chanting, singing and carrying Egyptian flags. They also broke into offices, tossed documents out windows, and allegedly attacked an employee inside.

 

Egyptian soldiers and security police finally stopped them, but by 3:00AM Saturday, thousands still battled security forces in streets. "Demonstrators threw rocks and gasoline bombs at the officers, sometimes forcing them to retreat, and the police fired back with tear gas."

 

In response, Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, his family, and most embassy staff were flown out of the country for their safety.

 

Haaretz said an Israeli Air Force plane evacuated over 80 diplomats and their families. 

 

Later reports said three protesters were killed. 

 

Press TV reported that Egypt's Information Minister Osama Heikal said Cairo will enforce "all articles of the emergency law to ensure safety."

 

Egyptian political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah said:

 

"This action shows the state of anger and frustration the young Egyptian revolutionaries feel against Israel, especially after the recent Israeli attacks on the Egyptian borders that led to the killing of Egyptian soldiers."

 

Haaretz said an unnamed senior Israeli official denounced the overnight attack, calling it a "grave violation" of diplomatic norms and a "blow to peaceful relations" between both countries.

 

Netanyahu said Israel won't compromise its peace treaty with Egypt, adding that regional turmoil shows he's right to insist on security assurances in any future peace deal.

 

He also bogusly linked events in Cairo to stalled Middle East peace negotiations, pointing fingers away from who deserves blame. Instead, he insisted Israel must "defend its interests in the region." 

 

Left unsaid always is its belligerent way of doing it, making enemies, not allies, especially on Arab streets.

 

On September 10, New York Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, "Beyond Cairo, Israel Sensing a Wider Siege," saying:

 

"With its Cairo embassy ransacked, its ambassador to Turkey expelled and the Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the United Nation, Israel found itself on Saturday increasingly isolated and grappling with a radically transformed Middle East where it believes its options are limited and poor."

 

Context was entirely missing from his article, including:

 

-- longstanding below-the-surface Arab street anger over years of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity, as well as 44 years of illegal military occupation;

 

-- Israel's premeditated May 31, 2010 murder of nine unarmed Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship, bringing vital aid to besieged Gaza;

 

-- Israel's refusal ever to apologize for its most grievous crimes; and

 

-- its collusion with Washington to block long overdue Palestinian statehood within 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine), East Jerusalem as its capital, and full de jure UN membership.

 

Israel, in fact, is lucky Arab anger didn't erupt sooner. So far, it's on a low boil in Egypt, but it's only a matter of time before it engulfs the entire region and beyond. 

 

When it does, its Washington paymaster/partner will also be affected, and well it should for much greater cause than just supporting Israel.

 

Keep that in mind on 9/11's tenth anniversary. Honor the millions of Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Pakistanis, Somalis, Yemenis, Bahrainis, Palestinians, and other global victims of US lawlessness, in partnership with NATO allies and Israel.

 

Think of them in the aftermath of the duplicitous 9/11 weekend commemorations, especially on what passes for US television.

 

Understand 9/11 truth, and condemn the criminal class in Washington, complicit Western capitals, and Israel for partnering in a global state terror war for the spoils of imperial triumphs.

 

Then get mad enough to do something about it!

 

Anti-Military Protests Across Egypt

 

Besides anti-Israeli anger, rage against Egypt's military junta erupted again in cities across Egypt, including a new wave of strikes for better pay and working conditions among other grievances.

 

Despite Egyptian security forces occupying Tahrir's central island since August 1, thousands massed in the square. Another demonstration started on Cairo University's Giza campus.

 

Protesters also rallied in Cairo's Shubra neighborhood, carrying banners saying:

 

"A minimum wage for those who live in cemeteries," and "A maximum wage for those who live in palaces."

 

Farmers joined in as well, marching past Dokki's agriculture ministry on the Nile's Western bank, directly across from downtown Cairo in Giza.

 

In addition, protesters denounced repressive mass arrests and military trials, calling for "purging the judiciary of all of Mubarak's supporters."

 

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling junta, was also condemned, including by protesters chanting "A word in your ear, marshal. The revolution in Tahrir," and "Tantawi is Mubarack."

 

Alexandria demonstrators demanded all members Egypt's military junta be put on trial, saying "Everything is the same even after the revolution."

 

Earlier strikes paralyzed the country. Since Ramadan ended in late August, they erupted again. Workers demand social justice, including better pay and benefits, ending corruption, and Mubarak-era officials purged from top posts in factories and institutions.

 

Egypt's state-owned Al-Ahram said striking postal  workers reflect "wider disillusionment of many public sector employees with the lack of progress" under the ruling junta.

 

Other strikes and industrial actions targeted the High Dam Electrical and Industrial Company, as well as auto, chemical, textile, and other workers demanding their rights.

 

In addition, law students protested against judicial system nepotism in front of Egypt's Supreme Court, and Beheira Governate residents blocked a highway in Edku, protesting Egypt's collaborating with Big Oil giant BP.

 

Beginning September 10, an open-ended textile workers strike was planned in Mahalla, home of Egypt's largest textile factory. Besides their own grievances, they also want working conditions for all Egyptians improved.

 

At the 11th hour, negotiations with labor minister Ahmed Borai stopped it. An agreement was reached to accept monthly meal and other incentive increases. Discussions about other grievances were also delayed, pending a meeting of the Holding Company for Cotton, Spinning and Textiles.

 

At the same time, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and his cabinet discussed the "deteriorating security situation," issuing directives relating to new Satellite television state licenses, legal procedures reviewing those issued to stations with programming accused of inciting violence and protests. 

 

In other words, airing views of street protestors and strikers, as well as others calling for democratic reforms won't be tolerated.

 

Other directives related to halting and criminalizing politically and economically disrupting strikes, saying Sharaf won't "negotiate with strikers over any demands until workers halt their workplace actions."

 

Nonetheless, as evidenced by continuing street protests, Egyptians know ousting Mubarak changed nothing. 

 

A previous article discussed an Arab spring yet to bloom, saying throughout the region, people want jobs, decent pay, better services, ending corruption and repression, as well as liberating democratic change in a part of the world where poverty, unemployment and despotism reflect daily life for tens of millions repressively.

 

Access it through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/04/arab-spring-yet-to-bloom.html

 

Another headlined, "Hold the Celebration: Egypt's Struggle Just Began," saying everything changed but stayed the same, calling it a common bait and switch scheme. 

 

In this instance, a military junta replaced Mubarak, assuring no possibility of democracy and social justice without sustained heroic pressure forcing it.

 

Indeed, Egypt's liberating struggle just began, as it has across the region in Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco, Qatar, other Gulf States, and elsewhere in the region - notably in Occupied Palestine, seeking statehood and full de jure UN membership later this month. 

 

Its 11th hour draws near.

 

Virtually everywhere, moreover, the struggle for liberation never ends.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Riots in England/Uprising of the unheard

 


Palestinian Statehood: Now's the Time

 Palestinian Statehood: Now's the Time - by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinians worldwide want it. So do supporters and up to 140 countries. They comprise more than enough to ensure it and full de jure UN membership.

 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) can petition the General Assembly directly. It has sole admittance power, not the Security Council only able to recommend.

 

UN Charter Article 80(1) and others empower the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood and take all necessary measures to end Israel's illegal occupation.

 

If Washington invokes its Security Council veto, the GA can override it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. 

 

The choice is in Mahmoud Abbas' hands. Later this month, he can either support his own people or don his collaborationist hat. His recent comments and body language suggest the latter, whatever his next moves. 

 

Hopefully enough pressure will push him in the right direction to back long denied recognition and justice for millions deserving more than they're now getting. 

 

On September 8, Mohamed Elshinnawi headlined his Voice of America article, "Palestinians and UN - Statehood or Stalemate?" saying:

 

Palestinians seek General Assembly recognition, "but the final vote could fall short of the two-thirds majority required for final passage."

 

False! As explained above, up to 140 countries express support, including China, Russia, Brazil, India, Japan, and most others, well more than enough needed for a simple two-thirds majority of voting members. Abstentions and no-shows don't count.

 

Abbas is expected to address the General Assembly on September 23 when he'll submit his request. Law Professor Francis Boyle explains practical membership benefits, saying:

 

“With admitting the Palestinian state as a full member in the UN, it will be able to file formal state-to-state complaints against Israeli officials...." If it "ratif(ies) the Genocide Convention, (it can) sue Israel at the International Court” for redress.

 

Theoretically it may be able to halt settlement construction entirely, and automatically make all diaspora Palestinians citizens of a new state they're free to return to as international law mandates, including Resolution 194's Article 11, stating:

 

"Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible." 

He said Palestine's upgraded status would provide a strong incentive for Israel to negotiate in good faith and reach the much promoted two-state solution to end the conflict. 

 

He also argued that statehood would incentivize Israel to negotiate in good faith, to end years of conflict and agree to an equitable two state solution within 1967 borders as Palestinians demand - 22% of sovereign Palestine.

 

Former Israeli UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev said Israel should understand invoking Resolution 377 is possible. In 1956, when France and Britain vetoed a Security Council resolution, condemning their attack on Egypt, General Assembly members used the measure to override.

 

Passed in 1950 during the Korean War, it came when Washington wanted power to circumvent Soviet Russia's Security Council veto power.

 

It lets the General Assembly recommend various "collective measures," including sanctions and use of force if permanent Security Council members can't reach unanimity, and “there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.”

 

Former US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Schifter said General Assembly members involved Resolution 377 in 1981 to advance Namibian independence. It called on member states:

 

"to render increased and sustained support and material, financial, military and other assistance to the South West Africa People’s Organization to enable it to intensify its struggle for the liberation of Namibia.”

 

It also urged members to cease “all dealings with South Africa in order totally to isolate it politically, economically, militarily and culturally.”

 

Why not do the same for Palestine if America invokes its veto. The power is there to be used for long overdue rights too important to kick down the road and delay, even if risk US and Israeli hostility. 

 

Many other allies are supportive, so the power of numbers may compensate, especially for the world's newest state, millions don't want to end up stillborn.

 

On September 9, Ma'an News said Palestinians "on Thursday began a campaign in support of their UN membership bid, as their senior leaders met to fine-tune the plan to become the UN's 194th member state."

 

Abbas met with senior Palestinian representatives including Fatah central committee members, the PLO's executive committee, and leaders of various Palestinian political parties.

 

At issue is finalizing details of the likely bid to be submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon later this month.

 

In Ramallah, a solidarity march to UN headquarters was held to present a letter, requesting his support. Campaign coordinator Ahmed Assaf said:

 

"Today we began our campaign on the ground and we chose the UN building because it represents the United Nations and we expect them to respond to our demands."

 

"We are no less important than the other 193 states in the United Nations, and our message will ask for our state to be 194."

 

He added that campaigning for statehood will continue until "Palestine is finally admitted as member state number 194."

 

Latifa Abu Hamid, mother of seven sons who spent time in Israeli prisons (Israeli forces killed her eighth one), said:

 

"I'm delivering this message to the UN to say we have a right to our own state just like everyone else in the world and we have a right to see the end of the occupation." 

 

The letter called on Ban to "stand by justice and do right by our people."

 

"The admission of the state of Palestine to the UN is an important step towards ending the occupation and achieving Palestinian independence and realizing a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East." 

 

"We hope that you will join the international consensus and support the Palestinian bid for its long overdue recognition."

 

About 100 marchers chanted, "We want our identity. We want a state." We want as many supportive states globally as possible.

 

On September 9, Ban Ki-moon said it. Does he mean it, affirming support for Palestinian statehood, but added that member states must decide.

 

Washington will invoke its veto. According to State Department spokesman Victoria Noland:

 

“It is not a surprise that the US will veto the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in the city of New York. A Palestinian state can only be established through direct peace talks with Israel. So, yes! We are going to use the veto against the Palestinian bid.”

On September 8, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined, "Palestinian Leader Says US Is 'Too Late' on UN Bid," saying:

Abbas said America's last-ditch efforts "to prevent the Palestinians from applying for membership in the United Nations this month were 'too late.' "

As of now, they'll petition the Security Council first. If America invokes its veto, General Assembly affirmation will be sought. 

However, if the quartet arranges a settlement construction freeze and agreement on using pre-1967 borders based on land swaps, Palestinians "will go to the United Nations and we will return back to talks."

Israel offered them with no preconditions, meaning they're stillborn before getting started and worthless.

It's time to move forward for full recognition, whether or not Washington and Israel approve. 

The power of numbers solidly backs what's long been denied. This time perhaps it's enough for full recognition by invoking Resolution 377 if necessary.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Allegedly Foiling Jerusalem Terrorist Attacks

 Allegedly Foiling Jerusalem Terrorist Attacks - by Stephen Lendman

 

Here we go again. We've seen it all before strategically timed, especially in America. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/false-flags-american-tradition.html

 

It said:

 

With or without bin Laden, bogymen threats are plentiful. Since WW II alone, America's had numerous ones, including communists, Al Qaeda, Saddam, WMDs, the Taliban, Gaddafi, and a host others yet unnamed, as well as numerous "foiled" domestic ones. 

 

Among others, they include:

 

-- a fake shoe bomber;

 

-- fake underwear bomber;

 

-- fake Times Square bomber;

 

-- an earlier one there;

 

-- fake shampoo bombers;

 

-- fake Al Qaeda woman planning fake mass casualty attacks on New York landmarks;

 

-- fake Oregon bomber;

 

-- fake armed forces recruiting station bomber;

 

-- fake synagogue bombers;

 

-- fake Chicago Sears Tower bombers;

 

-- fake FBI and other building bombers;

 

-- fake National Guard, Fort Dix and Quantico marine base attackers;

 

-- fake 9/11 bombers; and 

 

-- others to enlist public support for the fake war on terror and very real ones it spawned.

 

Israel, of course, uses the same tactics. In this instance, it's strategically timed ahead of the upcoming General Assembly vote for Palestinian statehood and full de jure membership.

 

Israel's also wants Syria blamed for giving safe haven to Hamas leaders to intensify pressure on Assad's government during ongoing internal strife.

 

On September 7, US Middle East envoy David Hale and special State Department advisor Dennis Ross (a notorious pro-Israeli hardliner) met with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to pressure him to drop his UN bid.

 

On September 6, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned him to give it up, saying "continue (instead) to work hard with us to avoid a negative scenario in New York at the end of the month."

 

In other words, save Washington the embarrassment of a Security Council veto. In fact, it's without teeth as only the General Assembly admits new members. The Security Council can only recommend.

 

Nonetheless, in recent days, Abbas statements indicate he's waffling, suggesting he'll again prove collaborationist by seeking less than statehood and full de jure membership.

 

Saying a final course of action has yet to be decided suggests a strong undertone of surrender. Hopefully it's not so, but don't bet on it at the moment of truth. 

 

The Latest Israeli False Flag?

 

On September 7, Haaretz writer Anshel Pfeffer headlined, "Israel security forces foil multiple terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, arrest dozens of Hamas militants," saying:

 

Sin Bet security forces "foiled a suicide terrorist attack last month in Jerusalem, it emerged Wednesday." 

 

If so, why wait until now to announce it? 

 

Allegedly "an explosive belt was seized only 24 hours before the planned attack, after it was smuggled into Jerusalem," according to Israeli officials.

 

They claimed foiling the attack "was part of a large-scale operation by Shin Bet, the IDF and the police against the Hamas military infrastructure in the West Bank and Jerusalem."

 

Israel said they operated from 13 separate cells, the main one in Hebron. The full Shin Bet report can be accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.shabak.gov.il/SiteCollectionImages/english/TerrorInfo/reports/shotef070911-en.pdf

 

Read it with caution. It's a thinly veiled propaganda piece, not legitimate information about terror cells planning attacks on West Bank and Jerusalem locations. 

 

It claims the main Hebron cell and Hamas headquarters in Syria set August 21 for the attack. Allegedly it involved a fire extinguisher, containing six kilograms of explosives, supposedly to be carried by a suicide bomber on a bus for use in the Jerusalem Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood.

 

Shin Bet said the device was discovered in Azhak Arrafa's East Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighborhood home, a man called a Hamas operative. The alleged suicide bomber was identified as Hebron-based Said Qawasmeh.

 

Israel blamed the same cell for a March 23 attack at Jerusalem's central bus station, killing a British tourist and wounding 47 others. No evidence proves it.

 

Shin Bet said Hamas wanted to restore its West Bank infrastructure to launch terrorist attacks. Notably, alleged reasons behind the "scheme" and verifiable proof weren't given, except to say kidnapping an Israeli soldier was planned to negotiate Palestinian prisoner releases.

 

Shin Bet's account wreaks of illegitimacy, including why an elaborate terror plot would be needed to capture an Israeli soldier when doing so, if intended, could be done by other means. 

 

Notably at issue is why Hamas would risk it when success or failure carries such a big price, entirely benefitting Israel.

 

Yet, according to Shin Bet, discovering Hamas terror cells proved its Damascus leadership plans  rehabilitating its West Bank infrastructure to attack Israel. 

 

Take it with a grain of salt, but expect Israel to exploit what appears to be bogus accusations fully. 

 

They include claiming a terror cell operated out of Ketziot prison, without explaining how, and accusing Hebron resident Ahmad Madhoun of getting $10,000 in Saudi Arabia to buy weapons for the operation.

 

Unsubstantiated accusations were made. No information was given on how he got there and back undetected or who allegedly funded him.

 

Israel also said militants received orders and money from a Syrian official through Jordanian national Iman al-Adm. Israel arrested him. Expect him to be tortured to confess, whether or not he did anything.

 

In fact, Ynet News said interrogations learned he'd "undergone extensive military training in Syria and was involved in Hamas operations worldwide, including in Syria, Turkey and China."

 

Under torture, of course, suspects say anything to stop it. Israel writes confessions it wants signed, usually in Hebrew detainees don't understand or well enough. 

 

Information obtained by torture lacks legitimacy, yet it's used by Israel, America and other nations to convict. Guilt or innocence doesn't matter.

 

Ynet added that Israeli intelligence sources said the Hamas "West Bank infrastructure was partially funded by Gaza-based Hamas elements."

 

In June, Israeli security forces arrested alleged Hamas operative Shaher Skaphi in Hebron. Under torture, he admitted being being part of a terror cell instructed to kidnap an Israeli soldier to be used in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

 

Shin Bet also claimed Hamas tries to launder money in China. In addition, its members living in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey try funneling funds to West Bank operatives.

 

Shin Bet's account reads more like a B movie scrip than an elaborate terror plot when, in fact, only the victim would benefit.

 

Again, Israel saying it doesn't make it so. All governments lie. Believe nothing they say - ever.

 

Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman, Abu Ubayda, emphatically denied Israel's accusations, calling them politically motivated, "express(ing) a hostile point of view."

 

He added it may involve increasing Israel's bargaining power in negotiations for a Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, the captured Israeli soldier. 

 

Nonetheless, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff headlined their September 8 article, "IDF raids prove Hamas growing more active in West Bank," saying:

 

Arrests of dozens of "Hamas militants from the West Bank....points to a significant uptick in the activity of (its) military wing...."

 

"In the past five years, these militants had lowered their profile, carrying out few terror attacks. Most of the organization's leaders....had been killed or jailed by Israel, while others were pursued by (collaborationist) Palestinian security forces."

 

In fact, both writers made inflammatory unsubstantiated accusations, acting more government spokesmen than journalists, who'd demand proof before publishing Shin Bet's version of events.

 

Even they, however, admitted only one alleged Hamas attack was carried out in recent years. Notably, no evidence links it to them. Claiming it doesn't make it so. 

 

Both writers should say so, but they didn't. It represents a serious lapse of journalistic ethics, especially about something as important as terror attacks claiming lives.

 

Nonetheless, they added the following:

 

-- a Hamas terror infrastructure "was maintained in part by activists who did time in Israeli prisons;"

 

-- there they learned about terror operations;

 

-- Hamas terror reflects operational as well as policy considerations;

 

-- while Hamas leaders want no confrontation with Israel in Gaza, they "apparently (have) no objection in principle to suicide attacks and abductions" in the West Bank and Jerusalem; and

 

-- "Shin Bet officials believe the attacks were approved by" Damascus-based Hamas leaders though no evidence proves it.

 

A Final Comment

 

Israel is pulling out all the stops to deny legitimate Palestinian rights. The August 18 bus and other attacks, killing and wounding Israelis, appeared very likely to be another strategically timed Israeli false flag.

 

An earlier article explained why, saying Israel benefits if it they help derail Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, as well as diffuse and end social justice protests by changing the subject.

 

So far, achieving the former one only appears likely but not certain. Last weekend, up to half a million Israelis rallied across the country for rights they seem committed to keep working for until gotten.

 

At the same time, both Israelis and Palestinians have miles to go to achieve what they've been long denied. Perhaps if they joined forces their chances would improve. 

 

The power of coming together for social and political justice might be just what's needed, but never accomplished easily or quickly.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Systematic Israeli State Terror

 Systematic Israeli State Terror - by Stephen Lendman

 

Despite his own cross to bear, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan got it right calling Israel responsible for "state terror."

 

In fact, it's official policy, ongoing for decades against non-Jews, especially Palestinians without letup.

 

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), from August 18 - 24 alone, Israel launched 41 air strikes against Gaza, killing 17 Palestinians, including two children and a doctor, wounding 20 others, and destroying or damaging a number of facilities attacked.

 

During the same period, Israeli forces conducted at least 27 military incursions into Palestinian West Bank communities, arresting 77 civilians.

 

On September 5, Press TV said Israeli settlers torched a mosque in Qusra village near Nablus "when they threw burning tires inside it." 

 

As a result, fire damaged the walls and ceiling. They also broke windows, threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles, wrote insulting graffiti about the Prophet Mohammed and Israeli social justice protestors, and drew the Star of David on the wall of Ayman Tayseer Omran's house, located near the mosque.

 

Condemning the incident, PCHR this and others "are carried out in the context of incitement practiced by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people, which encourages settlers to continue their attacks."

 

It's not the first time mosques have been attacked and for sure not the last, nor many other ways extremist settlers vandalize Palestinian property with impunity, and commit acts of violence, including murder.

 

None of this gets reported by Western media, especially America's, or when done, one-sided bias for Israel is expressed, and/or reports are sanitized, omitting key facts. 

 

For example, New York Times writer Fares Akram headlined his September 6 article, "Gaza: Israelis Kill Militant," saying:

 

An Israeli attack helicopter killed Khaled Sahmoud "after (its) forces carried out an incursion into Gaza....and clashed with members of a small militant group, shooting at them and receiving mortar fire back, according to the Israeli military and officials of....the Popular Resistance Committees."

 

Israel accused him and other militants of "carr(ying) out the terrorist attack from the Sinai region of Egypt on southern Israel last month that killed eight Israelis."

 

Akram's article was little more than a propaganda piece, a virtual IDF press handout, presenting its version of events as fact.

 

A previous article contradicted the official account, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/another-israeli-false-flag.html

 

It cited compelling reasons to hold Israel responsible for killing its own citizens to incite fear, ahead of the September General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, as well as because of weeks of social justice protests Netanyahu very much wants diffused and ended. What better way than to change the subject.

 

Like America, Israel doesn't hesitate killing Jews as well as enemies when its purpose is served. That's one definition of terrorism. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary calls it "an intense, overpowering fear....the use of terrorizing methods of governing or resisting a government."  

 

The US Code defines it as involving:

 

(A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"

 

(B) are intended to -

 

  (i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

 

  (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

 

  (iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

 

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States...."

 

The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) shortens the above definition to be "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature....through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."

 

It's state terrorism when committed by nations against anyone - other states, groups or individuals, including state-sponsored assassinations.

 

It's also illegal violence to influence behavior, inflict punishment, take revenge, or accomplish other illegal aims. Israel commits it regularly - terrorism, in one form or other, against Palestinian civilians.

 

Last April, a masked gunman killed General Director of Jenin's (2006-founded) Freedom Theater, Juliano Mer-Khamis, inside his car after leaving the building. A woman with him was wounded. Whether or not Israel was responsible isn't known.

 

Haaretz writer Avi Issacharoff quoted former resistance leader/now co-theater manager Zakarya Zubeidi calling it a "well-planned assassination. There is one organization or body, central, big, behind this act. This was not a simple operation. There is a big hand" behind it.

 

Two previous times, the theater was torched because of the type drama it produces. 

 

In remembering a man he admired, Gideon Levy called his documentary "Arna's Children" the best film about the occupation he ever saw. Nothing "approaches its emotional impact or captures the way in which the trasher of the occupation methodically destroys the lives of everyone in its path - and (yet) those in its way resist it no matter what."

 

Levy called it a work of genius, as well as representing the inspirational courage of Mer-Khamis' mother and the humanity of Jenin's children.

 

Whether or not Israel killed him or ordered his death, it certainly had motive to silence a powerful voice against occupation and injustice.

 

Despite his death, the theater remains threatened. In late July, Israeli forces targeted it. A press release recounted what happened, saying:

 

The sound of "heavy blocks of stone" hurled at the building's entrance woke night guard/technician student Ahmad Nasser Matahen. "As he opened the door, he found masked and heavily armed Israeli Special Forces around the theater."

 

He thought they'd kill him. Location manager Adnan Naghnaghiye "was arrested and taken away to an unknown location together with Bilal Saadi," a theater board member.

 

When its general manager, Jacob Gough, and co-founder, Jonatan Stanczak "arrived on the scene, they were forced to squat next to a family of four small children surrounded by about 50 heavily armed Israeli soldiers."

 

When Stanzak and others tried explaining they were attacking a cultural venue and arresting its members, they were told to shut up and were threatened. When they later tried contacting Israel's civil administration, the person answering hung up. No explanation of why this happened was gotten.

 

On August 25, Israeli forces again surrounded the theater around 2:00AM, beat the security guard, ransacked his home, then abducted him and two others.

 

Stanczak called Israel's behavior "systematical harassment (and) scandalous. This proves that the Israeli army and security apparatus is either lost in their investigation or that they have the actual intention of damaging the theater. It also seems that after the murder of (Mer Khamis, the theater) is no longer exempted from the kind of oppression (Palestinians are) subjected to in general."

 

Twice earlier, the theater was torched. On April 16, 2009, a press release headlined, "The Freedom Theatre Under Attack!" saying:

 

"In the morning of April 15, 2009, an unknown individual set fire to The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine. The main door of the theatre was completely burned, but the fire did not spread inside the building and the theatre remains largely unharmed."

 

"This was the second (arson) attempt....On the night when Al Kamandjati Music Centre in Jenin was devastatingly set on fire three weeks ago, there was also a failed attempt to destroy The Freedom Theatre."

 

In addition, for weeks, Israeli security forces have systematically harassed and raided The Freedom Theater on the pretext of investigating Mer-Khamis' assassination.

 

General manager Gough called it "tactics to damage us," adding:

 

"An investigation into murder should be done in certain ways, not kidnapping people, torturing them and trying to make them confess."

 

It suggests something more sinister is involved. Perhaps Israel wants Palestinians blamed for its own crime. It wouldn't be the first time.

 

Access the theater's web site through the following link:

 

http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/

 

Calling itself "the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia in the north of the West Bank, (it) offers children, youth and young adults in the Jenin area a safe space (to) express themselves, to explore their creativity and emotions through culture and arts."

 

"It provides them with opportunities to develop the skills, self-knowledge and confidence which can empower them to challenge present realities and to speak out in their own society and beyond."

 

For these and other reasons, Israel wants documentaries like "Arna's Children" and other productions silenced. It wants militarized occupation  continued, land theft through settlement expansions unchallenged, voices for liberation suppressed, and others resisting occupation imprisoned or killed.

 

It wants no opposition to its worst crimes, including terrorizing and virtually imprisoning an entire population  for the crime of not being Jews. It wants the myth of its victimhood believed, to be able to commit crimes of war and against humanity with impunity. It wants the right to do any damn thing it pleases and get away with it, within or outside the law.

 

It wants the power of creative expression eliminated to remove a motivating voice for popular resistance. As a result, The Freedom Theatre threatens what no longer is tolerable to allow - preventing freedom for all Palestinians on their own land in their own unoccupied sovereign country.

 

It's an idea whose time has come. It's a threat Israel will use any means to stop. It's the obligation of everyone to stand for what's right over wrong. It's time 44 years of occupation ended so Palestinians again can be free. 

 

It's what everyone everywhere deserves in peace under governments representing all their people, not just the privileged few. It's an idea worth fighting for. It's why all popular struggles exist and deserve universal support because nothing is more important.

 

A Final Comment

 

Mer-Khamis' mother, Arna, the inspiration for his "Arna's Children" documentary, founded the original theater in 1988 after witnessing the first Intifada's devastation.

 

On February 24, 2006, Maureen Clare Murphy's Electronic Intifada article headlined, "Photostory: Freedom Theatre in Jenin aims to plant the seeds of dignity," saying:

 

The theater's opening the previous week showed "(t)he spirit of resistance has not been beaten out of Jenin..."

 

"Calls by speakers for the Palestinians to stand firm despite Israeli and American pressure resonated with the crowd, men on one side of the hall and women and children on the other."

 

Adorning the theater's walls were photos of the original theater Arna Mer-Khamis created, a Jew from a Zionist family, married to a Palestinian. Her picture is displayed inspirationally in the middle of the arranged montage.

 

In 1993, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, called the Alternative Nobel Prize presented annually "for outstanding vision and work on behalf of our planet and its people."

 

She donated her $50,000 award to the original Jenin camp Stone theater she founded.

 

In 2002, it was destroyed during Israel's attack on Jenin, killing dozens, cutting it off from outside help, destroying hundreds of buildings (many with people buried inside under rubble), cutting off power and availability of food and water from the outside, and refusing to let help come in (including medical aid).

 

Despite the recurrent threat of Israeli violence, "the forces behind The Freedom Theatre are undeterred" in their mission to use "(c)culture (to plant) the seed of human dignity" and inspiration to resist.

 

Why else would Israel want Theater principals silenced and their vision stopped by whatever means it takes.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Israeli Oppression Continues While Talking Peace

 Israeli Oppression Continues While Talking Peace - by Stephen Lendman

 

No wonder Palestinians want and deserve statehood, as well as full UN membership to be able to seek World Court redress, and be able to sue under Genocide Convention provisions, and why not. 

 

Israel's lawless hypocrisy is shameless given what goes on daily - bombings, killings, mass arrests, settlement expansions, dispossessions, and other civil and human rights abuses on an ongoing basis. More on that below.

 

On September 5, ahead of the September General Assembly meeting, Netanuyahu predictably said he wants peace talks restarted with no chance whatever of succeeding like all previous attempts for decades because Israeli violence is official policy.

 

Nonetheless, after meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Yyves Leterme, he said:

 

Abbas "can come to Jerusalem. I could go to Ramallah, or we could both go to Brussels." In fact, the proper response to a man spurning peace is go to hell, in diplomatic language, of course.

 

Netanyahu's gambit is another attempt to pressure Abbas to back off from seeking statehood and full UN membership. 

 

Plans to petition the General Assembly still stand, though perhaps with less resolve than earlier based on recent comments and a new "strategy."  

 

Instead of seeking recognition within 1967 borders, 22% of sovereign Palestine, a new proposal seeks statehood with permanent borders to be determined in later negotiations with Israel. It still wants them as originally drafted, but with more flexibility. 

 

In other words, with enough wiggle room for Israel to maneuver Palestine into an unacceptable position it can't refuse, the way Oslo turned out. It left Palestinian rights entirely out of the final agreement at the same time Israeli terror attacks continued then and now.

 

Overnight Monday, Israeli planes raided an area west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. No injuries were reported. In recent weeks, numerous others killed or wounded scores of Gazans. 

 

The same day, Israeli forces detained 20 West Bank "wanted Palestinians," for the crime perhaps of wanting freedom.

 

Palestinian lawmaker Mohammed Abu Teir was also arrested and his home ransacked. Former PA Jerusalem affairs minister Khalid Abu Arafa expressed concern after Israel earlier revoked his city ID card. 

 

Then in December an Israeli court expelled him to Ramallah for the second time after imprisoning him for four months for ignoring a previous ban. At issue is his Hamas affiliation, Palestine's legitimate government, wrongfully designated a terrorist organization.

 

An August 30 B'Tselem report discussed earlier in the month incidents. On August 19, an Israeli missile killed Gaza City's Mu'ataz Kreqa', his two-year old son and brother Munzar. Others nearby were wounded.

 

On August 19, a Gaza wastewater treatment facility, its main one, was bombed north of the Nuseirat refugee camp. It was one of many Israeli acts of vengeance against people for the crime of not being Jews.

 

On August 25, the Beit Lahiya a-Salam Sports Club was bombed, belonging to Islamic Jihad. Two civilians were killed, another 20 wounded, and the attack destroyed much of the building used as a kindergarten and school. Nearby houses were also damaged.

 

These and many other attacks are serious breaches of international law, yet Israel gets off every time with impunity.

 

Israeli Mistreatment of Jews

 

Growing numbers of Israeli Jews are also treated with disdain. An August 29 Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) report explained headlined, "Putting Israel's Periphery in the Center," saying:

 

"The gaps between" Israel's center and its so-called periphery "have reached an all-time high, as a result of government policy."

 

For example, the number of people with diabetes is four times higher among periphery located poor than wealthier center of Israel residents. The rate of families living in poverty is three times higher, and job seeker rate in the southern city of Kiryat Gat is triple the Tel Aviv figure.

 

As a result, besides weeks of social justice protests in cities across Israel, an August 28 march left from the Yeruham local council in Israel's south heading towards Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence.

 

Yeruham Local Council head Michael Bitton and Amram Mitzna led it. Its purpose was to raise public awareness of extreme social injustice in Israel's periphery.

 

ACRI attorney Tali Nir, Director of its Social and Economic Rights Department, said:

 

"(T)he economic logic, upon witch the Israeli economy is  founded, is based on the assumption that market forces will generate a trickle-down effect from the rich to the rest of Israel's citizens. But this trickling is limited and meager."

 

"Thanks to the economic growth, wealth has been" concentrated in a few hands in Israeli's center, "and does not reach the south, the north, or" even most Israelis in the center.

 

"This is an inequality-promoting policy. The current socioeconomic policy helps those who are powerful to become even more powerful, and those who are weak to become even weaker."

 

Moreover, those in the middle keep getting weaker and are gradually "vanishing. Unfortunately, in recent years the term 'periphery' has begun to serve as a euphemism for the term 'the majority of the citizens of Israel.' "

 

How wide is the gap, ACRI asked?

 

In 2008, Tel Aviv had 5.5 doctors per 1,000 persons compared to 1.6 in the North and 2.1 in the South per 1,000 population.

 

In Israel's center, the rate of "expert physicians" among doctors was 72%, 82% in Tel Aviv. In the North and South respectively, it was 58% and 57%.

 

In Israel's center, individuals with no private or supplementary health insurance was 11%. In Jerusalem it's 31% and 23% in Israel's North (except for less adequate public coverage).

 

In Israel center, 6% of its residents skipped a doctor appointment because of cost. In Israel's North, it was 16%, 12% in Jerusalem, and 10% in the South.

 

Diabetes among wealthy Israeli is 4%. Among Ethiopian immigrants, it's 17%. In Ethiopia, it was zero. Among Israel's poor, it's 16%.

 

Average life expectancy in the wealthy city of Raanana is 83.7 years. In Nazareth, a northern Arab city, it's 75.7 years.

 

In 2009, those eligible for a high school diploma was 66%. In Raanana, it's 76% In poorer areas, it's 47.3% and among Arab Israelis it's 34.4%. In Lod, it's 37%.

 

For the 2008-09 academic year, the college graduate rate among 20 - 29 year olds in Tel Aviv was about 20%. In Or Yehuda, it was about 9%.

 

In 2009, poverty in Israel's center was 13%. In Jerusalem it was 33.7%, 32.3% in the North and 23.6% in the South.

 

In 2009, the percent of workers paid less than minimum wage was 35.5% in Israel's center and 38% in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem it was 45.7%, 44.9% in the North and 44.1% in the South.

 

In 2010, 3.1% of Tel Aviv residents were job seekers. In Kiryat Gar, it was 10.4%.

 

In 2007, 57% of workers in high tech jobs lived in Tel Aviv and other Israeli center cities. Only 5% live in Jerusalem and its surroundings.

 

In 2008, 0.83% of Tel Aviv area residents got income support. In Kiryat Malachi, it was 3.83%.

 

In 2008, 140.7 applications per 1,000 population sought social services help in Israel's center. In its periphery, it was 184.2.

 

In the past decade, Israel's high tech industry thrived mainly in its center. Not only don't periphery residents benefit, they aren't getting the required education or training to do it.

 

As a result, a self-perpetuating socio-economic gap defines the two areas. According to University of Haifa Dean of the education faculty Ofra Mayseless:

 

"You have a shortage of good teachers, a lack of laboratories and facilities, less choice of subjects, and it translates to lower levels of opportunities" in periphery areas.

 

Despite various efforts to improve opportunities through special programs outside of conventional classrooms, most education leading to high tech and other good employment takes place in them.

 

As a result, for periphery areas to keep up, resources must be allocated for them. Efforts are being made to do it, but much more needs to be done.

 

So far, Israel's wealth gap and privileges with it remain extreme, leaving most Jews socially and economically deprived.

 

It's shown up for weeks with hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting for long denied social justice they'll have a long struggle ahead to get because Netanyahu and other officials will go to extremes to deny them.

 

Only continued pressure may turn the tide. It remains to be seen if most Israelis are in the struggle for the long haul. It's their only chance.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Is Syria Next?

 Is Syria Next? - by Stephen Lendman

 

America's business isn't just war and grand theft. It's also regime change by whatever means.

 

A previous article mentioned General Wesley Clark, from his book, "Winning Modern Wars," saying that Pentagon sources told him two months after 9/11 that war plans were being prepared against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. Months earlier, they were finalized against Afghanistan.

 

Clark added:

 

"And what about the real sources of terrorists - US allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia? Wasn't it repressive policies of the first, and the corruption and poverty of the second, that were generating many of the angry young men who became terrorists? And what of the radical ideology and direct funding spewing from Saudi Arabia?"

 

"It seemed that we were being taken into a strategy more likely to make us the enemy - encouraging what could look like a 'clash of civilizations' - not a good strategy for winning the war on terror."

 

On September 5, Nil Nikandrov's Global Research.ca article asked if "After Libya: Is Venezuela Next?" saying:

 

NATO insurgents attack on Venezuela's Tripoli embassy and compound narrowly missed claiming casualties as "ambassador Afif Tajeldine and the embassy staff moved to a safer location at the last moment and left Libya shortly thereafter."

 

Nikandrov added that Venezuela's embassy was the only one looted, suggesting perhaps a message threatening Chavez as America's next target.

 

He certainly was in April 2002 for two days by a Washington instigated coup, aborted by mass street protests and support from many in Venezuela's military, especially from its middle-ranking officer corp.

 

Later in December 2002 and early 2003, he was again by a general strike and oil management lockout, causing severe economic disruption, and by an August 2004 national recall referendum he won handily with 59% of the vote.

 

Chavez knows Washington targets him for removal, yet he remains Venezuela's democratically elected president since first taking office on February 2, 1999, and still popular.

 

Nonetheless, last June, the Republican controlled House Foreign Relations Committee wanted the Obama administration to aggressively "contain (his) dangerous influence (and) his relations with Iran," according to Rep. Connie Mack (R. FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs for the Western Hemisphere.

 

He and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL), another right-wing extremist, got the White House to impose sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), its state oil company even though America relies on imported oil it supplies.

 

They and others also want Venezuela designated a supporter of state terrorism with greater consequences if they succeed, unfriendly to US business interests very much opposed.

 

As a result, whether other actions follow bears close watching. Moreover, Venezuela's late 2012 presidential election is important, especially with Chavez recovering from cancer, so perhaps is more vulnerable than earlier.

 

Ahead of the precise date to be announced, Washington is funding his opposition as done previously, meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, what's illegal in US elections.

 

Since 2002, in fact, America's State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) directed over $100 million to anti-Chavez groups, candidates, and media campaigns.

 

Despite America's debt and budget problems, it continues perhaps in amounts greater than known, and may increase substantially next year as part of a greater regime change campaign. 

 

Are more aggressive actions planned? Only the fullness of time will tell, but given the Obama's penchant for regime change, events ahead bear close watching.

 

In Syria also since externally generated uprisings began last March, then intensified, suggesting regime change there as in Libya. Both countries were targeted with violence, so far, however, without NATO intervening against the Assad government or able to get a Security Council resolution passed to facilitate it. 

 

However, according to National Security Council director of strategic communications Ben Rhodes, the Libya model is a template for future US/NATO interventions, but "(h)ow much we translate to Syria remains to be seen. The Syrian opposition doesn't want foreign military forces but do want more countries to cut of trade with the regime and break with it politically."

 

By opposition perhaps he means Washington, NATO allies, and supportive regional regimes, not Syrians or its business leaders, harmed most by sanctions and other tactics.

 

On August 31, Corbett Report editor James Corbett told Russia Today that manipulated video footage is being used to falsify events on the ground, saying:

 

"There's even been the implication that some of the images being shown have been digitally manipulated," online reports discussing it. One instance cited video footage from Bahrain. Claimed to be from Hama, various stations airing it used different digitally "dropped in backgrounds."

 

"So there are some very strange things going on, and unfortunately we live in an age when media manipulation is so easy." 

 

It's thus harder to distinguish between reality and fiction. It was true in Tripoli when alleged rebel-supportive euphoric celebrations were, in fact, produced at a Doha, Qatar Green Square Hollywood-style sound stage mockup. In other words, they were staged and untrue. Apparently, the same deception is now repeated in Syria.

 

A September 3 Corbett Report video with Michel Chossudovsky focused on destabilizing Syria, suggesting a greater global war could result, involving Russia and China.

 

"Whatever the nature of the Syrian government," he said, falsely intervening based on "the doctrine of the responsibility to protect is a derogation of the sovereign rights of a country," according to fundamental international law prohibiting it.

 

In fact, Western media suppress reports of well armed insurgents, brought in from the outside, stoking violence since last March. At the same time, Assad's forces were blamed for responding.

 

In all anti-government demonstrations, disruptive "Islamists, snipers, and armed gangs are involved in acts of arson directed against government buildings," including a "court house and the agricultural bank in Hama."

 

At the same time, nonviolent civilians, legitimately protesting grievances, are trapped between waring sides, resulting in deaths and other casualties.

 

At issue, however, is "an armed insurrection, spreading from one city to another. We now have very firm evidence that both Turkey and Israel are" supporting militia groups (financially and with weapons), some of them, in fact, used as death squads. 

 

At the same time, "they're using this a pretext to demonize the Syrian regime, and demand the resignation of Bashar al-Assad," perhaps heading toward NATO intervention and greater war.

 

On September 2, Chossudovsky's Global Research.ca article headlined, "The Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria: Recruiting Jihadists to Wage NATO's 'Humanitarian Wars,' Part III," saying:

 

Despite its authoritarian nature, Assad's government is "the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party," supportive of Occupied Palestinians as is Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

 

At issue is the US/NATO plan to "displace and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the national economic elites and eventually replace the" current government "with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US Islamic republic" or US-style democracy meaning one in name only.

 

As always, America's pack journalism produces one-sided falsified report, supporting US imperial wars and disruptive insurgencies preceding them. 

 

As a result, accounts and commentaries suppress information about efforts to recruit thousands of jihadist "freedom fighters" like earlier in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia, and currently a de facto NATO invasion force in Libya, massacring anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi.

 

Already battling an outside instigated insurrection, is Syria's turn next, a topic MK Bhadrakumar addressed in his August 30 article, saying:

 

If earlier events in Iraq and current ones in Libya are "any indication, the future of (Syria's) sovereignty might be hanging by a thread." In fact, as he and others believe, regime change in one form or other is core regional US policy for strategic gains against rivals Russia and China.

 

Images from Syria now are all too familiar, including falsified reports hyping them, as well as claims about people yearning for Western liberators to free them.

 

As a result, expect Libya to replicate post-Iraq and Afghanistan occupations, highlighted by protracted conflict and violence, including insurgent forces warring amonst themselves, innocent civilians harmed most as a result.

 

Moreover, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg ominously said:

 

"I want to make it absolutely clear: the UK will not turn its back on the millions of Arab states looking to open up their societies, looking for a better life?"

 

After destroying and preparing to loot Libya, did he mean Syria is next? Surely not Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, other Gulf States, Yemen, or other loyal regional allies, according to Bhadrakumar and other analysts.

 

Although accomplishing regime change in Syria may be harder than in Libya, never underestimate the ability of Western plotters to find a way. Perhaps what's now ongoing mere prelude to greater planned disruption politically, financially or by direct military intervention.

 

"Sustained efforts are afoot to bring about a unified Syrian opposition." A Turkey-held meeting, "third in a row, finally elected a 'council' ostensibly representing the voice of the Syrian people."

 

In fact, it represents predominantly Western interests as well as Turkey's and Israel's. "The fig-leaf of Arab League support is also available," pro-West autocratic regimes now "in the forefront" for regime change in Syria.

 

Key ahead is getting another Security Council mandate for intervention. "The heart of the matter is that regime change in Syria is imperative for the advancement of" America's Middle East strategy.

 

It includes delinking Syria from Iran, then Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, isolating the Islamic Republic, while at the same time, strengthening Israel's position, and weakening that of Russia and China.

 

Portraying both countries as being on the "wrong side of history," Bhadrakumar calls the strategy a "clever ideological twist to the hugely successful Cold-War era blueprint that pitted communism against Islam."

 

Western body language and supportive media rhetoric suggest "no conceivable way the US would let go the opportunity (for regime change) in Syria."

 

Whether it's coming, only time will tell. In the meantime, regional violence continues subverting Arab spring aspirations everywhere from blooming.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Commute the death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan

September 5, 2011

Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil
President of India,

Rashtrapathi Bhavan,

New Delhi -110001

INIDA

Tel: +91 11 23015321

Fax: + 91 11 23017290 / 23017824

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Dear President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil,

 

RE: Commutation petition as per Art. 161 of the constitution of the Constitution of India to commute the death sentence of the three prisoners, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan currently lodged in Vellore Central Prison. 

 

I am William Nicholas Gomes, a human rights activist and journalist. I have been campaigning for the abolishment of the death penalty for years. I want to start my appeal to you by quoting a comment of eminent jurist, W.J. Basil Fernando, who is the Director for Policy and Programme Development of Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), “I am opposing the execution of the killers of Rajiv Ratna Gandhi, not because they are the killer of 6th Prime Minister of India but it is because no State has a right to take the life of a human being, it being against the Right to Life.  I am for abolition of death penalty”.

 

I am really very hopeful and praise the decision taken by the Madras High Court, in southern India which suspended the execution, of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, three men who were earlier sentenced to death for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi scheduled for September 9, by eight weeks high, according to local media reports.

 

I am therefore writing to you in connection with the impending execution of the three prisoners whose mercy/clemency petitions were recently rejected by you, a fact that I have came to know by the newspapers. I am presenting this memorandum for the pardon and commutation of death sentence into one of life of the said three persons.

 

The Tamil Nadu assembly passed a unanimous resolution asking you to review the mercy petitions filed by the three convicts all convicted for being part of the group that conspired to kill the former Prime Minister in 1991 and who were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 1999 to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment, according to local media reports.

 

In today’s world the trend in criminology is to reform the convict and not to be vindictive. An eye for eye is no solution to any human problem.

As I understand that no human being however high, even the Judges of the Highest Court in a country are infallible. Evidence may be found out later for reversing the conviction and by that time it would be too late as death sentence already carried out is irreversible. Several such cases have occurred in history.

 

For an instance, even if the Judges may be right in convicting the accused on the evidence presented before them, the prosecuting agencies might have been flawed in collecting the adverse evidence, due to incompetence, negligence or bias. There are no statistics that in the countries where the extreme penalty is abolished, there is an increase in commission of heinous crimes, or to support that in counties where the death sentence is retained, there is no repetition of similar cruel crimes.

 

I wish to bring to your notice that the validity of the death penalty as a punishment was questioned more than once in the Supreme Court. The court held the penalty valid on the ground that for the imposition of death penalty, which is no longer mandatory; reasons have to be furnished as the law stands today. For supporting its ruling that the death sentence is a valid penalty, the court evolved the principle of “rarest of rare cases”. It is a major concession to the contention of Human Rights activists that death penalty should be abolished.

 

I know that the crime of the said three person is horrendous and they should be punished, but, not by the death penalty.

 

Dear President, Your jurisdiction transcends ‘the rarest of rare cases’ jurisdiction of the courts. Hard-core practical men who are not plagued by the philosophical questions you are plagued with advise you Steeped in the political humdrum of daily politics, they have no time to implement constitutional and human values. Sir, I would request you not “to surrender to the blind acquiescence of the familiar”. For your kind consideration I am submitting the some legal points bellow while you reconsider mercy petition.

 

CASE DETAILS:

 

Prolonged delay in executing sentence: 

 

All the three accused were in this case arrested in 1991. The legal process ended in the year 1999 with the confirmation of death sentence against Nalini, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. Nalini’s death sentence was subsequently commuted.

 

The clemency petition for Santhan , Murugan and  Perarivalan was submitted in 1999 and kept pending for last 12 years until they were rejected by your office in July –August 2011. During the 20 years of incarceration none of them have even once seen the outside world through release on parole, family reasons or other grounds. In particular from the time of the confirmation of their death sentence by the Supreme Court, they have spent 12 long years in great insecurity not knowing the fate of clemency petitions.

 

A constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in “Smt. Triveniben v. State of Gujarat, 1989(1) SCC 678 held that undue delay in execution of death sentences amounts to violations of fundamental rights. Based on this ruling a later bench of Supreme Court held in “ Daya Sing v. Union of India” 1991(3) SCC 61, that “ – as stated that delay in execution of death sentence should be “sufficient to entitle the person under sentence of death to invoke Article 21 and demand quashing of death sentence”.

 

In “Sher Singh v.State of Punjab” (1983) 2 SCC (Cri) 248, the Supreme Court highlighted in great detail the psychological impact of prolonged delay of death row convict. The apex court in the “Jagdish v state of M.P.’ 2009 (9) SCC 495 also expressed its anguish at the plight of death row convicts. Speaking about the effect of delay in deciding on commutation petitions the Supreme Court said: “ The condemned prisoner and his suffering relatives have, therefore, a very pertinent right in insisting that a decision in the matter be taken within a reasonable time, failing which the power should be exercised in favor of the prisoner. The plight of a prisoner who has been under a sentence of death for 15 years or more living on hope but engulfed in fear as his life hangs in balance and in the hands of those who have no personal interest in his case and for whom he is only name. Equally, consider the plight of family of such a prisoner, his parents, wife and children, brothers and sisters, who too remain static and in a state of limbo and are unable to get on with life on account of the uncertain fate of a loved one. What makes it worse for the prisoner is the indifference and ennui which ultimately develops in the family, brought about by a combination of resignation, exhaustion and despair. What may be asked is it the fault of these helpless individuals and should they be treated in such a shabby manner” (paras 48, 50, 51)

 

In the present case, it is clear that there has been a prolonged delay in deciding the clemency petitions. The Supreme Court has pointed out such delay has extremely harmful effect on the prisoners and their families. Such unconscionable delay by itself constitutes cruel, degrading, inhuman treatment violative of Art.21 of the Indian Constitution. Such delay constitutes a valid ground for the commutation of the death sentence against Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan.

 

Grounds for Fresh Consideration of Commutation Petition:

 

According to the information received, the persons who filed the clemency petition are Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. They along with 23 others accused, were prosecuted in the case know as the “Rajiv Gandhi Assassination” case relating to the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi,  during an election rally  on 21st May 1991 at Sriperumbudur, 40 km from Chennai. Apart from Rajiv Gandhi, 18 others were also killed. The investigation agency, the CBI laid the final charge sheet implicating 26 accused for offences under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987 (TADA), Indian Penal code, Explosives Substance Act,  Arms Act and other laws . The trial was conducted before the Designated TADA court in poonamallee. At the end of the trail Designated TADA court convicted all 26 accused for offences under TADA (P) Act, IPC and other laws.

 

Confirmation of the death sentences and also the appeals filed by the accused were jointly heard by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, set aside the conviction and sentence passed by the trail court for the offence u/s 3(3), 3(4) and sec.5 of the TADA(P) Act against all accused.

 

The Supreme Court confirmed only the conviction and sentence under the laws only such as the IPC, Arms Act, Explosive Substance Act and other laws as it related to the different accused.

The Supreme Court confirmed the conviction u/s 120B read with 302 IPC only as against 7 accused viz., 1)Nalini b) Santhan 2) Raguraj (A2)  3) Murugan @ Thas (A3)  4) Robert Pyas(A9) 5) Jayakumar (A10) 6) Ravichandran @ Ravi (A16)  and 7) Perarivalan @ Arivu (A18)

The conviction and sentence for the remaining 19 accused as regards offense u/s 120B and 302 IPC was set aside. Some of them were convicted for lesser offences and set free if they had served the maximum sentence; a few were fully acquitted and set free.

 

Of the seven accused referred to above, the death sentence against only four accused, viz namely Nalini, [email protected] Ravidas , [email protected] Thas and [email protected] Arivu were confirmed. The remaining 3 were sentenced to life time imprisonment.

 

All the four persons filed petitions seeking commutation of the death sentences.In April,2000,the Governor of Tamil Nadu commuted the death sentence  of Nalini to life time imprisonment (ref: Letter Ms.No.406 dated 24.4.2000, Home Department, Government of  Tamil Nadu) and she is currently lodged in women’s prison , Vellore.

 

The commutation petition of [email protected] Ravidas, [email protected] Thas and [email protected] Arivu which was pending before the president of India waiting for about 12 years was finally rejected by you in late July, 2011, as reported in all leading newspapers.

 

I want to note that Art. 161 is in the nature of a residuary sovereign power which does not get extinguished on the rejection of a petition of clemency or commutation. The Supreme Court in “G.Kristha and J Bhoomaiah v State of Andhra Pradesh” (1976(1) SCC157) held that, “the rejection of one clemency petition doesnot exhaust the power of the president of Governor” and there is nothing to debar the president or the Governor from reconsidering a mercy petition in view of changing circumstances, especially changes in the world opinion against capital punishment.  Thus additional mercy/ commutation petitions can be submitted for consideration.

The consideration of a second or even a third commutation petition is not without precedent. In the case of Govindasamy of Erode district of Tamil Nadu successive mercy petition were dismissed and writ petitions also came to be dismissed. However, in March 2000, based on a fresh clemency petition submitted to the then Union government, an executive stay (ES) was granted pending final decision on the mercy petition. Eventually, the Union government recommended to your office to commute the death sentence to one of life imprisonment. The said prisoner Govindasamy is lodged in Coimbatore Central Prison.

 

The power of granting clemency is one of the prerogatives which have been recognized since time immemorial as being vested in the sovereign wherever the sovereignty may lie. “This sovereign power to grant pardon has been recognized in Indian constitution in Articles 72 and 161. In this situation I want to recall a precedent, Supreme Court in “State (Govt. of NCT Delhi) v Premraj (2003(7) SCC 121).

In its judgment the Supreme Court very clearly held that there was absolutely no evidence to establish any of the offences under the TADA Act,  viz, both terrorist acts and disruptive activities. On State v Nalini and others, 1999(5) SCC 253 the SC said:

“59. From the aforesaid circumstances it is difficult for us to conclude that the conspirators intended, at any time, to overawe Government of India as by law established. Nor can we hold that the conspirators ever entertained an intention to strike terror in the people or any section thereof. The mere fact that their action resulted in the killing 18 person which would have struck great terror in the people of India has been projected as evidence that they intended to strike terror in the people – But there is absolutely no evidence that any of the conspirators ever desired ever desired the death of any Indian other than Rajiv Gandhi ---- Not even one of them has stated that anybody had the desire or intention to murder one more person along with Rajiv Gandhi except perhaps the murderer herself”.

61. “In view of the paucity of materials to prove that the conspirators intended to overawe the government of India to strike terror in the people of India we are unable to sustain the conviction of offences under sec. 3 of TADA”.

67. “If there is any evidence, in this case, to show that any such preceding act was perpetrated by any of the appellants towards killing of any police officer who was killed at the place of occurrence, it would, no doubt, amount to disruptive activity. But there is no such evidence that any such activity was done for the purpose of killing any police personnel”.

Dear President, I have quoted from the Supreme Court judgment to stress the point that while the crime committed by the accused was indeed heinous, the Supreme Court itself found from evidence that what motivated the accused was to avenge atrocities committed by IPKF in Sri Lanka. It may not be out of place to point out that, as the Supreme Court highlighted in its judgment, that not even one of the accused had the desire to murder any other Indian other than Rajiv Gandhi. (pa 59/pg.300)

I submit the background circumstances to the crime, as brought out by the Supreme Court Itself, are important factors to be kept in mind when considering the plea of those sentenced to death for commuting their death sentence to life time imprisonment.

 

The three death row convicts, Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan have been in prison for the last 20 years. The acts of commutation will not in any manner erase the fact of the conviction or set them free.  To the contrary, executing them will serve no purpose. Instead their continuing to serve life sentence will act as a reminder and deterrent to others.        

      

Dear President, It is clear that it is clearly within the powers of your office to independently examine various factors underlying the case going beyond the facts and circumstances highlighted in the judicial process and arrive at a conclusion independent of the judicial finding. It is also clear that more than one clemency petition can be entertained. I urge you to consider afresh the issue of commutation of the death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. Stated differently, on its violations of u/s 54 r/w 55 A IPC, s.433 (a) and 432(7) Cr.P.C and also art 161 of the constitution can independently commute their death sentence to life time imprisonment. 

     

Dear President, I have already discussed the fact that power of the state to grant pardon and clemency are in the nature of plenary, sovereign power, executive in nature and untrammeled by the decision of the judicial process. While exercising commutating powers, the government can consider a wide variety of factors including the background of the convict, his conduct while in the prison and so on.  Surprisingly however, no clear guidelines have been formulated to guide the clemency powers.

 

The former President of India, Dr. Abul Kalam, during his presidency between 2002-07, had formulated a set of criteria to guide the Home Ministry when it considered commutation petitions. These Include:

1. The Home Ministry, before recommending any action on a petition, should consider the sociological aspect of  the cases;

2. Besides the legal aspects, the ministry should examine the humanist and compassionate grounds in each case; these grounds include the age of the convict and physical and mental condition;

3. The ministry should examine the scope for recidivism in a case death sentence is commuted to life time imprisonment through the President’s action; and

4. The ministry should examine the financial liabilities of the convict’s family.

 

The Supreme Court in Santa Sing vs. State of Punjab (AIR 1976 SC 2386) highlighted some issues to be considered to before deciding on nature of sentence. Even though what the SC said was in context of guiding determination of sentence, the issues are equally relevant during consideration of commutation petition. The following are the main highlighted issues: “ --- the prior criminal record, if any , the age of the offender , the record of the offender as to employment, the background of the offender with reference to education , home life, sobriety, and social adjustment,, the emotional and mental condition of the offender , the prospects for the rehabilitation of the offender, the possibility of return of the offender to normal life in the community, possibility of treatment or training of the offender, the possibility that the sentence may serve as a deterrent to crime by the offender or others and current community need if any, for such a deterrent in respect to the particular type of offence”.

 

According to the information received all the three persons for whom I am advocating for clemency have exhibited exemplary conduct during the last twenty years in prison. None of them have any previous criminal records. During the twenty years they have been in prison, all the three of them have not only been socially useful but also very helpful to all other inmates in the central prison, Vellore. They have helped to educate other prisoners, have assisted in the formation of cultural troupes and have also been of assistance to the prison officials.

 

Exemplary conduct of Santhhan, Murugan and Perarivalan in prison, pre and post conviction:

 

Perarivalan alias Arivu

At the time of arrest Perarivalan (an Indian)  was aged 19 and had a Diploma in Electronics and communications from Krishnagiri Govt. Polytechnic scoring 86%. During his long incarceration Perarivalan has secured a B.C.A (Bachelor of computer Applications) from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University). He is currently pursuing his post graduation in M.C.A.

In all the twenty years Perarivalan has not been accused of committing any prison offense or come for any adverse notice by the prison official.  While in prison, he has helped educate numerous illiterate and semi illiterate prisoners.

 

Murugan alias  Thas

A Srilankan Tamil by birth, Murugan has passed his “A” level (equivalent to +2 in India). During his stay in prison Murugan passed both his B.C.A and M.C.A from IGNOU. He has also passed a certificate course in radio and TV mechanics and also a certificate course in two wheeler engines mechanism in Jail. He is a talented painter. An exhibition of his paintings was formally inaugurated by the former Director General of prison Mr.Nataraj, IPS, in 2009. Murugan also has been very helpful to the prison inmates as also the officials. In all the twenty years Muruganhas not been accused of committing any prison offense or come for any adverse notice by the prison official. 

Santhan alias Ravidas

He is also a Srilankan Tamil by origin, has passed his “O” level school final exams. His novel titled “13-5-2009” has been widely acclaimed. Apart from his creative talent, Santhan is a pious and religious person. During the last few years in the prison, he is tending to the temple inside the central prison, Vellore and has been performing daily poojas and he is widely respected by the fellow prisoners and prison officials.

From the above mentioned facts it is clear that all three prisoners Santhan , Murugan and Perarivalan  an important aspect of their behavior in prison in the last 20 years, which shows that there is no scope for recidivism , is their helpful, amiable and supportive conduct towards co-prisoners , particularly helping people from disadvantage families to families to acquire literacy education.

 

I request you that I have given an opportunity to explain in person to the grounds seeking commutation in respect of death sentences of Santhhan, Murugan and Perarivalan . I also seek permission to place for your consideration any fresh fact or circumstances which may be brought to my notice which may facilitate a just decision in this commutation petition.

As a first step towards such an eventual decision, your act of kindness by utilizing your sovereign power to grant commutation of death sentences of Santhhan, Murugan and Perarivalan will be widely welcomed by many in Tamil Nadu as also amongst the national and global human rights community. Very importantly, it will be tune with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of December, 2010 which urged countries and states around the world to abolish death penalty. Through such an act you will also be signaling your government’s commitment to join 137 nations around the world which have, as on date abolished death sentence in their countries as an anathema of modern civilized societies. 

 

The retributive theory of punishment is not acceptable to the modern world. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India has expressed similar views and are strongly advocating for the abolition of the death penalty. However, this barbaric practice remains in force in India. India must ratify the 2nd Optional Protocol of the ICCPR. I demand the abolition of the death penalty in India.

 

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Hong Kong

 

 

 

Cc:

1.Mr. Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office, Room number 152, South Block, New Delhi, Fax: + 91 11 2301 6857, E-mal: [email protected]

2.Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 104-107 North Block, New Delhi 110 001 India, Fax: +91 11 2309 2979;

3.Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.H. Kapadia, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, Tilak Marg, New Delhi -1, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email: [email protected]

4.Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110 001, Fax: +91 11 2334 0016, Email: [email protected];

Lawlessness and Injustice Define America and Israel

 Lawlessness and Injustice Define America and Israel - by Stephen Lendman

 

Rogue state lawlessness and contempt for humanity define both nations.

 

At home, America is plagued by police state laws, contempt for human and civil rights, out-of-control corruption, banker occupation, corporate control of Washington, record budget and national debt levels, as well as depression-sized unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger and despair.

 

Abroad, America wages permanent wars on humanity, killing millions for wealth, power, and unchallengeable  global dominance at the expense of suffering billions.

 

The rancid stench of Washington's war on the world permeates everywhere, threatening human and environmental survival.

 

It's no better in Israel, a nation believing only Jews have rights, and increasingly less of them under neoliberalized harshness, favoring the few at the expense of most others.

 

Like America and other Western states, Israeli policies disproportionately favor the rich. Since at least the mid-1980s, they've caused extreme wealth disparities, unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness and gradual loss of social benefits, heading toward ending them entirely.

 

Israelis finally reacted, protesting for weeks about unaffordable housing, high food and energy prices, onerous taxes on working households, lack of free education and better healthcare benefits, weak labor rights, and a nation no longer fit to live in for Jews. 

 

It never was for Arabs comprising one-fifth of the population. Yet they're treated more like fifth column threats than citizens with equal rights.

 

On September 3, Haaretz writer Ilan Lior headlined, "Hundreds of thousands of Israelis expected (Saturday night) at massive 'March of the Million' rallies," later saying in a follow-up article:

 

At 9:30PM, Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina plaza filled for the main event, preceded by a march from Habima Square via Marmorek, Ibn Gvirol and Jabotinsky streets.

 

Protest leaders and supporters addressed eager crowds. Featured entertainers heightened the popular spirit for change. Earlier, student union head Yuval Bdolah expected the rally's size to be unprecedented in Israeli history.

 

It didn't disappoint as around half a million Israelis massed in cities nationwide. Over 300,000 filled Kikar Hamedina. Protest leader Yonatan Levy said the atmosphere was like "a second Independence Day."

 

National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli addressed the crowd, saying:

 

"Mr. Prime Minister, the new Israelis have a dream and it is simple: to weave the story of our lives into Israel. We expect you to let us live in this country. The new Israelis will not give up. They demand change. They demand change and will not stop until real solutions come."

 

Protest leader Daphni Leef added:

 

"My generation always felt as though we were alone in this world, but now we feel the solidarity. They try to dismiss us as stupid children, and as extreme leftists," but hundreds of thousands rallying for social justice prove otherwise.

 

Over 50,000 massed in Jerusalem's Paris Square, double the previous largest number. Actress Orna Banai addressed the crowd, saying:

 

"I am not amused that there are hungry children here, that we have a soldier rotting in captivity for five years, (and) that Israel is one of the poorest examples there (is for) human rights."

 

Others also spoke across the country for long denied social justice. Their common theme was keeping up enough pressure to succeed, and in Haifa to end discrimination against Arabs.

 

Shahin Nasser, Haifa's Arab Wadi Nisnas representative, addressed protesters, saying:

 

"Today we are changing the rules of the game. No more coexistence based on hummus and fava beans. What is happening here is true coexistence, when Arabs and Jews march together shoulder to shoulder calling for social justice and peace."

 

"We've had it. Bibi, go home. Steinitz (Israel's finance minister), go and don't come back. Atias (Israel's housing minister), goodbye and good riddance."

 

Rallying for social justice across Israel since mid-July so far shows no signs of ebbing. Succeeding, of course, depends on sustaining enough energy disruptively for change. Though never easy, it's the only way.

 

Approaching Zero Hour for Palestinian Statehood

 

Sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership is the only acceptable alternative for Palestine. However, dark Israeli and Washington forces aim to subvert it.

 

In February, Washington vetoed a Security Council resolution denouncing expanding Israeli settlements. In a White House statement, Obama "emphasized that a vote at the United Nations will never create an independent Palestinian state," even if the General Assembly grants it by a simple two-thirds majority.

 

Moreover, Congress near unanimously condemned Palestine's legitimate right to independence. In addition, it threatens to withhold support and perhaps impose sanctions if achieved. 

 

In fact, political Washington contemptuously spurns universal rights, especially everywhere not under its control. As a result, whether democrat or despot, regime change threatens all independent leaders by one means or other, including naked aggression.

 

Ask Iraqis, Afghans, Haitians, and Libyans among others. They'll explain.

 

A previous article discussed The New York Times opposition to Palestinian statehood, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-york-times-opposition-to.html

 

In fact, its longstanding policy staunchly supported Israel's occupation, belligerence, and right to reign terror on Palestinian civilians with impunity, in less than so many words.

 

On September 3, Steven Lee Myers and Mark Landler headlined, "US Appeals to Palestinians to Stall UN Vote on Statehood," saying:

 

"The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over" Palestinian statehood and full UN membership.

 

Once again it's playing the peace talks game even though past efforts for decades proved stillborn. Moreover, how can Palestinians negotiate without a willing partner, especially since its legitimate government is entirely shut out. 

 

Both writers omitted these and other key facts, focusing instead on worrying whether "Obama would be put in the position of threatening (a) veto (or going along and) risk alienating Israel and its (US) political supporters...."

 

They also suggested support for Obama "trying to translate the broad principles (he) outlined in May into a concrete road map for talks that would succeed where past efforts have failed...."

 

In fact, as both writers know or should, equitable peace talks are impossible because Washington and Israel never tolerated them and don't now. Neither country negotiates. They demand. For Occupied Palestinians, it's stay that way, or else.

 

At the same time, past articles explained that Washington earlier provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can't reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission. 

 

Doing so is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority. At this time, enough support exists to get it.

 

Moreover, if Washington does, in fact, play its veto card, the General Assembly can circumvent it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution. 

 

Abbas Holds the Wild Card

 

Ultimately, long-time Israeli collaborationist Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may prove the wild card. Ahead of petitioning the General Assembly, he's expected to explain his strategy, according to presidential aide Nabil Abu Rudaineh, saying:

 

"The president will define all the political moves which will be taken before submitting the UN bid, so as to make clear where the Palestinian cause is headed."

 

He'll "address the Palestinian people, telling them exactly why the (PA) will go to the UN, and what caused the current political situation after negotiations stopped, and after the international community failed to work out solutions to the question of Palestine, and to move the negotiation process forward based on clear foundations."

 

Abu Rudaineh added:

 

Palestinian leaders will petition the UN "as long as negotiations have not started, and Israel has not committed to clear references to start" them. 

 

"We will go to the UN Security Council in coordination with all Arab countries. Going to the UN will be the only way to gain our rights and to maintain our gains."

 

Clearly, Abbas left himself wiggle room to avoid confronting Washington and Israel by backing down at the 11th hour, despite enough world support and international law on his side to succeed.

 

If so, millions of Palestinians will be betrayed by their own president, proving again his collaborationist ties to to Israel and Western interests for whatever personal benefits he's afforded.

 

Planned Settler West Bank/East Jerusalem Belligerence

 

According to International Middle East Media Center writer Saed Bannoura, Palestinians also face another threat.

 

On September 2, he headlined, "Settlers Plan Attacks Against Palestinians In September," saying:

 

Armed by Israel's military with tear gas, stun grenades and other weapons, "extremist right wing factions (are) preparing (to) respond to any popular Palestinian move" to petition the UN for statehood and full membership.

 

Already, settlers are heavily armed with automatic weapons and "unlimited amounts of ammunition." Using them and other weapons, they prepared a plan called "children against children, women and women" to attack unnamed West Bank and East Jerusalem populations.

 

Extremist MK Michael Ben-Ari heads the scheme along with militant settlers, apparently spoiling for a fight and using Palestinian statehood efforts as a pretext.

 

"The eight-page plan includes instructions regarding operations in Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank and in Jerusalem. Its main slogan is 'let's transform September from a threat to a historic opportunity to change the rules of the game.' "

 

It adds:

 

"should the UN officially recognize a Palestinian independent state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will take off to the streets, to celebrate, and they might approach the settlements." 

 

"Unarmed Palestinian women and children will lead the processions heading to the settlements. This will push the Israeli soldiers to open fire at them, and this issue will lead to a full collapse in the security situation, and the Palestinians will resume their attacks against the settlements."

 

The plan calls for Israeli children to confront their Palestinian counterparts, Israeli women and men doing the same thing.

 

Palestinian settlers have a long history of attacking Palestinians with impunity, including acts of vandalism, desecrating mosques, and murder. 

 

Their most extremist elements now see a chance to escalate violence to the next level, aided and abetted by Israel's military, operating under Operation Summer Seeds provisions.

 

A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/israels-operation-summer-seeds.html

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] 

 

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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