Link to Video of the week:
Link to Video of the week:
Israel has carried out a de facto annexation of the Palestinian land northeast of the Jordan Valley and has given it to the Kibbutz (Israeli collective community) Merav. The route of the separation barrier in the area has been changed so that the piece of land in question, about 1,500 dunams (375 acres ), would now be on the Israeli side.
Israel has previously built roads on and given Palestinian land in the West Bank to Jewish settlements, but this is thought to be the first instance of Palestinian-owned land being transferred to a community on sovereign Israeli territory.
I don’t even know what to say anymore. Land seems to be the Yin to Israeli’s Yang. Like the fat kid in Willy Wonka’s candy factory….it just can’t help itself. Its carving up the land like its Christmas Turkey at a homeless shelter…. But where the carver gets most of the turkey and the homeless are left with scraps. Its not even like they try and hide it. Even though these acts are wholly illegal and are in breach of international law they continue to flout the rules carte blanche. Why? Because they know they can get away with it as they have gotten away with it countless times before. At most, they might get a strongly worded statement by the UN and if their real unlucky, a resolution passed against them. Any tangible form of action will be simply shot down by its Baby Daddy the US. Go figure.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will not harm me.
Despite speculation that it would heed international calls to end the freeze it imposed on Palestine two weeks ago, Israel has decided to continue to refuse to pay the Palestinians the £100 million in duties it owes them. The £100 million are mainly composed of customs revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians under the interim agreement. The reason why a freeze was called in the first place was over Palestines application and further acceptance into UNESCO (Untied Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Makes perfect sense doesn’t it. How dare Palestine even think to join this kind of twisted organization, which get this ‘Encourages international peace and universal respect by promoting collaboration among nations’. Pure Madness. Who does it think it is? A state? Seriously, at this point you would think there would be greater uproar at Palestine trying to integrate itself in the world governmental structure than if it was to declare another Intifada of sorts.
The icing on the cake though had to be the Israeli officials explanation on Israel’s diplomatic approach to Palestinian negotiations which involves ‘both carrot & stick’ … In which of course by carrot he also means stick.
Priorities Israel…..Get them right.
I know I haven’t written a new blog post in a while but I have unfortunately succumb to the laziness of the summer holidays. Plus I have been doing a bit of traveling and this has unfortunately messed up my writing schedule…yes I just used the word schedule to describe my erratic posting, I thought I’d bring a bit of sophistication to this post.
But it was actually through one of my travels that I was inspired to write this next blog post. I recently got back from a Viva Palestina conference which was held in Lebanon. It had a wide range of speakers who lectured at this event, from people like Salma Yaqoob, Ghada Karami and Karma Nabulsi to more controversial speakers like George Galloway. It was actually the last speaker who actually spurred me to write this post over his unabashedly biased and unfair views on the Syrian situation. So this post will basically flesh out some of the points I heard and have heard about before, regarding Syria.
Syria is Unique
Now this argument basically states that we cannot compare Syria to the revolutionary upheaval that is going on in other countries in the Middles East as Syria is ‘unique’ and is dealing with a ‘special’ set of circumstances.
Well to this I say, yes Syria is unique…so what? So is every other country on this earth and every human being for that matter. No one is stating that Syria is a de facto carbon copy of Egypt, Tunisia etc., all we are saying is that its PEOPLE share the same grief. What I don’t think is unique to Syria is the desire by its people to simply be free of tyranny, oppression, torture and censorship. The power structures do differ in each of the different countries in the Middle East but that doesn’t mean we can’t judge each regime as harshly or as equally when it comes to the crimes it commits against its people. This excuse of Syria being a ‘unique’ case baffles me. It baffles me because it not only was the same tried and tested excuse used by dictators like Gaddafi, Mubarak, Saleh etc. but it is an excuse which is as vacuous and hallow as its orators morals.
Bashar looking for peace and reform-
Correct me if I am wrong, but last time I checked Bashar wasn’t traipsing round Syria blowing bubbles, handing out daises and making peace signs.
Fear of sectarianism-
This point has been highly debated, so I won’t go into too much depth. But what I say is whose fault is it if it does turn into sectarian warfare? Syria, like Bahrain, suffers from a minority complex, a twist let’s say on the Napoleon complex. By simply keeping the status quo the threat of ‘sectarian’ warfare is only exacerbated as it simmers under the flames of injustice. You are not going to resolve these so called fears of sectarian warfare by sticking to the status quo and wishing the so-called divisions away.
Plus remind me again who is the one currently loudly spouting these fears of ‘sectarian warfare’? Yes you guessed it, none other than the state itself. Suddenly the people murdering their own civilians in cold blood have acquired a sense of worry and attentive care over the possibility that its people might supposedly kill each other without its help.
I have yet to hear protesters in the street abroad or in Syria scream and rant about sectarian warfare. Last time I checked the chants weren’t sectarian in nature but specifically Bashars-&-the-rest-of-his-regime-should-f-off in nature.
And to say this is purely sectarian would be a grand disservice and affront to the many Alawites who have also stood against the Syrian’s regimes actions. This belief in the sectarian card seeks only to benefit the regime in power.
Need Syria to stabilize region-
When has the region ever been stable? Countless wars and conflicts have time and time again torn the region apart. And these wars and conflicts usually have the fingerprints of foreign powers all over them. But this revolution sweeping the Middle East is the first time initiation and actions have been spurred by the domestic populace and not some elitist twats in offices in Washington or London etc. It is only through the direct rule of the people that the region will finally find some sort of stability or peace. No longer will we have to put up with the west’s feigned cries of concern about bringing democracy to the shores of the Middle East…through bullets & bombs. This democratic spirit will instead be carried and resolved by the voices and chants of the people.
Pro-Palestine & Anti –Israel:
Now this excuse was a big favorite with a few *cough George Galloway cough* pro-Palestinian activists. This excuse basically states that Syria is basically one of the few countries in the region which is unabashedly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli in its foreign policy. This is in stark contrast to lets say countries like Egypt under Mubarak’s rule which had stood by and done nothing to help ease the Palestinians plight.
So let’s tackle this point head on. Because Syria is ‘Pro-Palestine’ and ‘Anti-Israel’ (which by the way I don’t actually believe is truly the case) it means that it should be cut a little slack. What a Joke. How about if we used this type of logic and implemented it into another scenario. Just because a murder is a registered annual donator to Oxfam, Amnesty, The Red Cross etc. does not mean he should be judged any differently than a murder who is not as tickled pink when it comes to his charitable donations. That would be complete lunacy. I don’t care about Bashar’s foreign policy what I care about is his current disgraceful domestic policy. So even If he were to single handedly head into Gaza ready to do battle with Israel guns blazing like some Rambo stunt double, not a dam thing would change in my opinion. His people are still dying and being shot at in the streets. Fact. I don’t care if he cares & nurtures ill puppies to full health in his spare time and helps old ladies cross busy motorways as a hobby. This all doesn’t change the fact that as I type people are being shot at and bombed for the sake of securing his backside on the throne for a longer period of time.
And another thing, so he is pro-Palestine, tell me what has changed in the years he, or his dad in that case, have been in power? Correct me if I’m wrong but Palestine is still occupied and Gaza is still blockaded. Fat help his pro-Palestine stance has been to resolving the issue.
Also, there is a cloud of contestation surrounding the actual relationship between Israel and Syria. Israel in fact is not exactly popping champagne bottles and toasting to the idea of the Syrian regime maybe falling. Because as people rightfully say, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
So Bashar’s regimes political standing on the issue of Palestine doesn’t at all justify or excuse the brutal crackdown on protesters we see occurring. It’s still a tyrannical dictatorship regardless of whether or not it’s in bed or in a ring with Israel.
The blood of Syrians shouldn’t be used to wash away the blood of Palestinians, freedom should be a right afforded to all and not just the select few.
Till Next time,
You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes
Yea, you PMS like a bitch
I would know
And you always think
Always speak cryptically
I should know
That you’re no good for me
‘Cause your hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
If you didn’t know any better you’d think that these words by Katty perry were aimed at the countless Israeli leaders who have come and gone in the past few years. Why you hear me ask is it addressed to them? Because it seems to be a bang on trend for an Israeli leader to be elected on there *tough-hard-won’t-budge-an-inch-to-the-Palestinians-right stance* and then find them claiming to want to do good-by getting caught up in so-called ‘peace’ negotiations. It’s like they want to have their cake and eat it. And so far, they have succeeded in doing just that. Examples I hear you ask? How about Ariel Sharon who once famously quipped and urged Israelis to settle more land fast by “Grab(bing) the hilltops, and stake(ing) your claim” . Simply put he was encouraging the growth of Illegal Israeli settlements. And if you want a more contemporary one, just look at the current Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He heads one the staunchest right-wing parties in the Israeli government and its no secret that he is a staunch supporter of illegal settlements being built and believes their should be no ‘concession on settlements’ .
Now with all that being true its funny how each these leaders have found them self at a time engaging in ‘peace’ negotiations. Now before I broach the absurdity of this subject, let me just quickly recap some small brief facts. Under international law and in the view of the UN and the majority of member countries the pre-scribed border for Israel and Palestine is the internationally recognized 1947 borders. Anything built over these lines by Israel are considered illegal settlements as they are built on land that is meant and prescribed for the Palestinian people. Now lets look at a picture of the prescribed 1947 borders and how the map should look today;
Ok, so Israel seems to have lucked out majorly in this little agreement because as far as i can see they have been given the most land. lucky them, guess that means they won’t have to complain about the lack of land …….*glances at current map of Israel*
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh *awkward silence*.
My bad, looks like they weren’t happy with their fairly substantial share. Talk about taking the piss and pushing boundaries. Looks like Israel practically hasn’t looked at a map SINCE 1947 and has kept building thinking sooner or later they will come across a thick border line of some sort. Someone should have told them the line on the map was only an imaginary border, not a physically present one.
Now Regardless of why, how, or when they acquired it the land they have acquired over the borders is ILLEGAL. Its land that belongs to the Palestinians and is land that under any future or current peace deal will be returned to the Palestinians in one form or the other.
So basically, any Israeli leader that enters negotiations KNOWS that this land grabbing will be an issue and if there is to be a successful deal reached this matter will have to be resolved and the land repatriated to the Palestinians. This whole issue of Palestine and Israel has been going on for many many years and each successive Israeli government has engaged in brief talks that if followed through would return that very same land that they had previously laid claim to.
So now back to the present and the issue surrounding the current crisis in the peace talks. The crisis revolves around the settlement freeze that Israeli enforced for over 10 months and which recently ended. Lets not comment on how amazing the timing of the ending of the settlement freeze is as it just comes a mere 2 weeks after talks first started. Now that it has ended Benjamin won’t reinstate it or even extended it to help facilitate the talks. WHAT THE HELL, they were imposed for a good 10 months or so and as far as I can see Israel is still standing so there is no good reason why it can’t be extended for a few more months for the sake of ‘peace in the middle east’. The US has literally been working to sweeten the deal for Israeli *and trust me the deal was sweet* to extend the freeze but to no avail. Without the freeze being implemented the negotiations will simply will fall apart. This is because the Palestinian delegation headed by Mahmoud Abbas is already in a weak state and has had to make enough concessions to just get the talks started. It is one of the few conditions they have asked to be implemented for the talks to go on.
This request makes complete sense as if you are coming to negotiate how to give back the land you took you’d think that maybe you’d want to stop taking land. Would make the process MUCH easier. So why in god’s name is Benjamin Netanyahu not extending this settlement freeze for the sake of maybe resolving a crises and conflict which has engulfed the middle east for countless of years?
Answer is, he probably doesn’t care to be the one to resolve this crisis. Because resolving it would mean combating the hard right members of his party and government who got him into power. Whilst also combating the zealot religious right who see the whole of the Palestinian land being rightfully theirs as its their god given right and religious mission to acquire and lay stake to this land. To dismantle their settlements would result in an internal conflict as they have no interest in letting go of this land and going away quietly. To do so would be an affront to their so-called religious beliefs.
Regardless of how hard it is it is something that MUST be done if the conflict is to be resolved. So for this to happen their needs to be a tough no nonsense leader who cares to actually seriously resolve this crises head on. Till then peace negotiations will simply come and go acting as mere symbolism of Israeli leaders pretending to care about the plight of the Palestinians.
Till Next Time
So the story that interested me today concerned border clashes between Israel and Lebanon. The border between these countries has been tense and on high alert ever since Israel invaded Lebanon in the 2006 war. And with the recent events surrounding Israel and the Turkey flotilla incident tensions have become ever more prickly with that of its continents neighbours. Lets just remind ourselves briefly of this flotilla incident. A flotilla of aid and materials was being shipped unofficially from Turkey by a humanitarian group to Gaza in response to the blockade in Gaza. They where there to assist and provide much-needed materials to the closed off city. Israel had not approved this ship to enter Gaza as it would breach their ‘blockade’. So they met this flotilla in International waters *an important point* and through the following confrontation killed 9 people on the flotilla.
Now lets look at the recent clash between Israeli and Lebanese border troops. The Lebanese say that Israeli soldiers crossed their border to uproot a tree and shrubbery that was blocking their view of a town in Lebanon . The Lebanese claimed to have fired warning shots and where met with artillery fire from the Israeli side which sparked the direct clash which resulted in 3 Lebanese officers being killed along with 1 Israeli officer and a Lebanese Journalist. Now the Israelis say that they where on their side of the border and the troops that were fired on where 300 – 400 meters away from the border watching over their fellow troops as they cut away at shrubbery that was falling on their side.
Now regardless of which side is telling the truth *though i doubt with Israelis recent track record of honesty we have much trouble deciding on the truth* Israel would be hard pressed to be able to defend its actions. This is bearing in mind the fact that they don’t believe they did anything unlawful with their handling of the flotilla incident. The flotilla was a distance away from the Israeli waters but was still attacked because Israel believed that they would be infringing on their territorial sovereignty even though they hadn’t reached there shores just yet. So using that argument the Lebanese soldiers could easily argue that regardless of the fact that the Israeli soldiers weren’t at their border as the Israelis claim they where close enough to threaten their territorial sovereignty.
And since when did gardening become such a top Israeli priority. Overgrown shrubs? not in my neighbours backyard if i have anything to do with it. it’s all about the scenery, It’s the little details that make a big difference as any keen gardener will tell you. Who knew Israeli border officials had such green fingers. Aid and much-needed material for the imprisoned Palestinian population in Gaza, not really that necessary. A shrub and a tree infringing on their view or land, Unfathomable. It’s good to see their priorities are in place correctly. Not only that, if it is true that the shrubbery was infringing on their view of a village in Lebanon and which they needed to be able to view for security reasons im pretty sure they could have taken the common courtesy of communicating this to the Lebanese border officials rather than doing what they do best and taking matters into their own hand and lauding about the place as they see fit. Especially with all the recent hoopla over Israelis over-aggressive and i’ll-do-what-i-want-regardless-of-what-anyone-thinks attitude being questioned and criticised in the wake of the flotilla incident.
You’d think they would have wanted to buck the trend this time and maybe take a more diplomatic approach especially considering the tense nature of things in the middle east at present. But no, I guess when a shrub or tree has got to go, its got to go asap. That train ain’t waiting for no one, your either on the green carriage or your left stranded on a shrubbery platform. It’s the kind of can-do attitude people welcome at gardening shows who knew it would blossom so passionately in the Israeli border patrol.
That’s all for now
till next time