Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"That is the issue that will continue in this country... It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle.
The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings." Abraham Lincoln (October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois)
"Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!" Abraham Lincoln (February 22, 1842 Temperance Address)
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
In a video message, Benjamin Netanyahu said in reference to the removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, “The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.
There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous.” (Reuters, 10-9-2016)
One million children are suffering from "unlivable" conditions in the Gaza Strip, according to Save the Children, an international charity that promotes children's rights and provides aid worldwide. Save the Children considers Gaza to be unlivable now.
According to the charity, "60 percent of the sea around Gaza is contaminated with untreated sewage and over 90 percent of water sources [are] too contaminated for human consumption".
The besieged Palestinian territory, where more than two million people live, has also been suffering from an energy crisis since mid-April due to a dispute over taxes between Hamas, which rules the enclave, and the occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Gaza has also been under a tight Israeli blockade for a decade, and residents have been subjected to persistent blackouts.
The continuing electricity crisis and "environmental crisis" has left the more than one million children in Gaza unable "to sleep, study or play", Save the Children said.
According to the charity, more than 740 schools are struggling to function without electricity, and most families receive only two to four hours of electricity each day.
Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) spoke with Arutz Sheva about a range of issues, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's intention to allow soccer matches on Saturdays, the decision to grant municipal status to the Jewish community in Hevron, and the ongoing struggle by the Jews who purchased the Machpela House in Hevron to live in their own property. Rabbi Ben-Dahan criticized the prime minister's plans to allow soccer matches on Shabbat.
"Shabbat is the greatest gift that the Jewish people has ever given the world," Rabbi Ben-Dahan said. "Shabbat is important for all of us."
- When will we begin to see the paving of bypass roads in Judea and Samaria?
- "In the last year and a half we have been working on the planning of bypass roads. Now the planning is done, and we are waiting for the budget already approved by the government.
The bypass roads will be a blessing for all residents of Judea and Samaria, and they will strengthen Judea and Samaria communities, as well as adding to safety and security on the roads."
- Last week, the defense minister granted municipal authority to the Jewish community in Hevron. What challenges will we see on the ground?
- "Until now, the Jewish community of Hevron was associated with the Arab city of Hevron, and had no authority. The Jews of Hevron could not receive budgets from government ministries.. They were dependent on the Arab city of Hevron following the Wye Agreement.
"I am pleased that Defense Minister Shaked and the legal advisor for Judea and Samaria, and myself worked together and issued this special order - which was signed by the Chief of Staff - and I hope that this move will strengthen the Jewish community in Hevron."
- Do you expect the Supreme Court to allow the Jews to live in Machpela House?
- "The legal advisor of the defense ministry allowed the residents of the Machpela House to remain in the Machpela House because the purchase was lawful... Jews have the right to buy and live anywhere in the Land of Israel.
"There is a problem with the purchasing process, because the Palestinian Authority passed a law that sentences anyone who sells a house or land to a Jew to death... We have to undermine the law that decrees death for Arabs who sell land to Jews."
The ruling Likud party, under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Jewish Home, under Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, have agreed not to attack each other in the upcoming election campaign.
1 to 8: Jews
9. Male Goyim (gentiles or non-Jewish persons)
10. Female Goyim.
It is a well known fact that Likud's election campaign in 2012-13 focused on tearing apart the Jewish Home. Likud poured its multi-million-shekel campaign budget into an advertising drive that centered on the slogan, “the Jewish Home versus the women.”
In an attempt to convince the public that the Jewish Home's religious identity meant that it espoused a dark, misogynistic ideology, the campaign pointed at Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, number 4 on the religious Zionist party's list... Ben Dahan – whose large white beard gives him a hareidi look, and who served as Director of the Rabbinical Courts for 20 years – could be portrayed as menacing symbol of religious-patriarchal tyranny, who wanted to rob Israel women's of their “advancement” and its children of their “rights”.... Now elections appear near again. This time around, Likud will not repeat its mistake.
This means that Netanyahu and Bennett have buried the hatchet, and that Likud and the Jewish Home are allies - but it also means something deeper than that... This time around, Jewish tradition is not in the line of fire, and hareidi-bashing will not be the order of the day, at least not in Likud's campaign.... It seems safe to say that this election signals a return to Jewish roots, Jewish morals and Jewish strength – and given the threats Israel faces from without and within, this comes not a minute too soon.
"Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may The Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to The Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754.".
JERUSALEM - Israel has given Jewish settlement enclaves in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron the authority to manage their own municipal affairs, in what critics say is an entrenchment of "apartheid".
The army said it had signed an order to boost the powers of the settlers, who had until now run their day-to-day affairs in the council that served as a local authority but had no legal standing.
Hebron, in the southern West bank, is home to around 200,000 Palestinians, with about 800 settlers living under Israeli army protection in several heavily fortified compounds in the heart of the city.
The 1994 massacre of 29 Muslim worshippers there by Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein led to an agreement three years later giving the Palestinian Authority control over 80 percent of the city. The settlers and about 30,000 Palestinians living adjacent to them fall under Israeli military rule.
Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the new arrangement was more than a technicality.
"By granting official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalising the apartheid system in the city," it said in a statement on Thursday.
""This step... is another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions", it added.
Baruch Kopel Goldstein (December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994) was an American-Israeli physician, religious extremist, and mass murderer, who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125. Goldstein's gravesite became a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists. The following words are inscribed on the tomb: "He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land.."
A little over two-thousand years ago, while traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus were stopped by a giant cement wall. It’s not exactly how the New Testament story is told, but in a recently printed version of the iconic “Visit Palestine” poster, that’s how the scene is portrayed. The posters, widely available in tourist shops in Jerusalem’s Old City market, constitute unsubtle criticism of Israel’s security barrier, which Palestinians say is an unjust impediment to their freedom of movement.
The poster also taps into the recent trend in Palestinian nationalism, in which Jesus of Nazareth is regarded as a Palestinian
The poster suggests that even Jesus couldn’t have made it into modern day Jerusalem from Bethlehem.
The poster with Mary, Joseph and Jesus is one of a series of Palestinian remakes of the iconic “Visit Palestine” poster first designed in 1936 to promote Jewish tourism to the Holy Land prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
The iconic “Visit Palestine” poster was first produced in 1936 to bolster Jewish tourism to the Holy Land. The image has recently become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.
Israel began building the barrier, which is partly wall but mostly fences, along the border with and inside the West Bank in 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada... The Palestinians claim the barrier, which takes in about 7% of the West Bank, is a land grab aimed at stealing part of their future state.
Judaism: Old Testament, Covenant between God and Hebrew tribes Tribalism (Moses - former Egyptian prince - is a central figure)
Christianity = New Testament, Covenant between God and humanity Humanism (Jesus - the man from Galilee - is the mediator)
Jesus, the man from Galilee
who wanted to rescue the Jews
Jesus said to [the Samaritan woman]: “Believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (New Testament, John 4)
When Hillel [the Elder] died in 10 A.D., the Shammites took over the Pharisee role within the Sanhedrin and became the primary religious influence in Judea, whereas in the Galilee region, where Jesus lived and was raised, the teachings of Hillel held sway.
With this in mind, the pharisees that opposed Jesus we often identified as Judeans (or were located in Jerusalem in Judea), whereas the ones sympathetic to Jesus or his followers (like Gamaliel, Hillel’s grandson) were Gallilean.
The animosity shown between the Shammites and the Hillelites are hard to understate, with comparisons to the classic Calvinist/Arminian debate holding similarities, with the Shammites holding to a strict fundamentalist view of scripture and practice and the Hillelites holding to a much more lenient, contextual view which emphasized the balance between love for God and love for your neighbor.
In the debate of “who is my neighbor?”, Shammai taught that only God-fearing, observant Jews were ‘neighbors’ (thus, the only ones worthy of love).
Hillel, on the other hand, taught that everyone – including one’s enemies – were ‘neighbors’, with the exception of the hated, apostate Samaritans. (Jesus as rabbi)
Racially the area of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel (Galilee) had, ever since the Assyrian conquest in the eighth century B.C., a more mixed population.
Important cities as Tiberias and Sepphoris were Hellenistic centers. Culturally Judeans despised their northern neighbors as country cousins, their lack of Jewish sophistication being compounded by their greater openness to Hellenistic influence. Religiously the Judean opinion was that Galileans were lax in their observance of proper ritual. A Jewish Galilean in first-century Jerusalem was not among his own people; he was as much a foreigner as an Irishman in London or a Texan in New York. (Professor R.T France: Israel in the time of Jesus)
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin,
and you have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness." Matthew 23: Pharisaism Exposed
Exclusive: The U.S.-led aggressions against Iraq and Libya are two war crimes that keep on costing, with their grim examples of what happens to leaders who get rid of WMDs driving the scary showdown with North Korea, writes Robert Parry.
It is a popular meme in the U.S. media to say that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “crazy” as he undertakes to develop a nuclear bomb and a missile capacity to deliver it, but he is actually working from a cold logic dictated by the U.S. government’s aggressive wars and lack of integrity.
Indeed, the current North Korea crisis, which could end up killing millions of people, can be viewed as a follow-on disaster to President George W. Bush’s Iraq War and President Barack Obama’s Libyan intervention.
Those wars came after the leaders of Iraq and Libya had dismantled their dangerous weapons programs, leaving their countries virtually powerless when the U.S. government chose to invade.
In both cases, the U.S. government also exploited its power over global information to spread lies about the targeted regimes as justification for the invasions — and the world community failed to do anything to block the U.S. aggressions.
And, on a grim personal note, the two leaders, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, were then brutally murdered, Hussein by hanging and Gaddafi by a mob that first sodomized him with a knife.
So, the neoconservatives who promoted the Iraq invasion supposedly to protect the world from Iraq’s alleged WMDs — and the liberal interventionists who pushed the Libya invasion based on false humanitarian claims — may now share in the horrific possibility that millions of people in North Korea, South Korea, Japan and maybe elsewhere could die from real WMDs launched by North Korea and/or by the United States. Washington foreign policy “experts” who fault President Trump’s erratic and bellicose approach toward this crisis may want to look in the mirror and consider how they contributed to the mess by ignoring the predictable consequences from the Iraq and Libya invasions.
Remember that North Korea’s nuclear program had largely been mothballed before George W. Bush delivered his “axis of evil” speech in January 2002, which linked Iran and Iraq – then bitter enemies – with North Korea. After that, North Korea withdrew from earlier agreements on limiting its nuclear development and began serious work on a bomb....
Flashback 2003: US Hawks Present War Manifesto To Bush
By David Rennie, The Telegraph 31-12-2003
WASHINGTON -- President George W Bush was sent a public manifesto yesterday by Washington's hawks, demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites.
The manifesto, presented as a "manual for victory" in the war on terror, also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies.
The manifesto is contained in a new book by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and "intellectual guru" of the hardline neo-conservative movement, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter. They give warning of a faltering of the "will to win" in Washington.
In the battle for the president's ear, the manifesto represents an attempt by hawks to break out of the post-Iraq doldrums and strike back at what they see as a campaign of hostile leaking by their foes in such centres of caution as the State Department or in the military top brass.
Their publication, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, coincided with the latest broadside from the hawks' enemy number one, Colin Powell, the secretary of state.
Though on leave recovering from a prostate cancer operation, Mr Powell summoned reporters to his bedside to hail "encouraging" signs of a "new attitude" in Iran and call for the United States to keep open the prospect of dialogue with the Teheran authorities.
It is easy to have a negative view of US President Donald Trump. He is not a politician, so he does not use rhetoric in the way that professional politicians do. Trump says what he believes, which is both refreshing and sometimes shocking, especially when it is twisted by politicians and those sections of the media that dislike him.
In many cases, when you look at what Trump actually said, you realize that some of the media are distorting his words. They do that to others they dislike, such as Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians. As a consequence, Muslims and Arabs have been dragged into a contentious political debate in America over Trump.
A bipartisan coalition of US senators introduced a measure Wednesday that seeks to repeal the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last month that labels Israeli settlements illegal and calls for a complete halt to all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Co-sponsored by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D), Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin (D) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), the Senate resolution condemns the UN motion as “anti-Israel,” calling for it to be “repealed or fundamentally altered.”
The focus of Arab activists is on him, but that is not where it should be. The real threat comes from those people who are attacking Trump, and using him as a decoy to get us on their side, such as Senators Charles Schumer and John McCain.
While Schumer and McCain have been screaming about how much they love “Muslims,” they are quietly working behind the scenes with pro-Israel activists to target one group of Muslims: — “Arab Muslims” — with a barrage of repressive legislation.
Recently, Schumer introduced legislation to block funding for Palestinian institutions that he asserts support “extremism” and “anti-Semitism.”
Understand how Schumer defines “extremism”: he claims criticism of Israel is a “reinvented form of anti-Semitism.”
For example, the Friends School in Ramallah receives about $1 million a year from USAID (US Agency for International Development) to help its students understand Palestinian culture and rights. It hosts a summer camp called “Go Palestine.” The Israelis do not like the Friends School, hosted by the Quakers, because its programs include critics and criticism of Israel.
Schumer, and others, are demanding that USAID suspend funding to the Ramallah Friends School and other programs that “criticize” Israel.
On the other hand, Israel organizes summer camps for young people funded by numerous US government programs at which speakers constantly criticize Palestinians. That is acceptable. Criticism of Israel is not.
mccain supporting salafist rebels, al-qaeda & muslim brotherhood in egypt, libya and syria
Schumer sponsored a bill supported by 43 of his Senate colleagues that makes it a federal crime to “boycott” Israel.
What Schumer is arguing is that “boycotting” Israel is the same as committing an act of violent terrorism, or taking the lives of innocent American citizens. If Arabs would take a minute from screaming about Trump and open their eyes and ears to their surroundings, they might find that the real threat to their existence is Schumer and his cronies in the Democratic Party, in the anti-Trump Republican Party, and in much of the American news media.
The anti-Trump movement is using Trump to distract Arabs. This movement may dislike Trump, but believe me, they dislike Arabs more. They dislike Arab Muslims, who they think are more likely to criticize Israel, and that means they dislike Palestinians and Arab Christians, too.
Arabs are not smart. They ignore what they like and over-react to what they do not like. That is the emotional thing to do. And it makes it easy for the pro-Israel lobby to undermine our efforts. Instead of fighting the real battle against people such as Schumer and McCain, our conferences, speeches, articles and activism have all homed in on Trump... Yelling at Trump, we are missing the real fight...
In the last few months, several competing political, economic and military sectors - linked to distinct ideological and ethnic groups - have clearly emerged at the centers of power. We can identify some of the key competing and interlocking directorates of the power elite:
1. The Economic Power Elite: Israel-Firsters and Wall Street CEO’s
'Israel Firsters’ dominate the top economic and political positions within the Trump regime and, interestingly, are among the Administration’s most vociferous opponents. These include: the Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, as well as her Vice-Chair, Stanley Fischer, an Israeli citizen and former (sic) Governor of the Bank of Israel. The ‘Israel-First’ free market elite is spread across the entire ruling political spectrum, including ranking Democrats in Congress, led by Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer and the Democratic Head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff.
The Democratic Party Israel Firsters have allied with their free market brethren in pushing for investigations and mass media campaigns against Trump’s economic nationalist supporters and their eventual purge from the administration.
2. The Military Power Elite: The Generals
The military power elite has successfully taken over from the elected president in major decision-making. Where once the war powers rested with the President and the Congress, today a collection of fanatical militarists make and execute military policy, decide war zones and push for greater militarization of domestic policing...
Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster became National Security Adviser after the purge of Trump’s ally Lt. General Michael Flynn, who opposed the campaign of confrontation and sanctions against Russia and China. McMaster has been instrumental in removing ‘nationalists’ from Trumps administration
3. The Economic Nationalist Elite
The leading strategist and ideologue of Trump’s economic nationalist allies in the White House was Steve Bannon. He had been chief political architect and Trump adviser during the electoral campaign. Bannon devised an election campaign favoring domestic manufacturers and American workers against the Wall Street and multinational corporate free marketers. The combined forces of the free market economic and military elite and their allies in the mass media succeeded in purging Bannon – and marginalized the mass support base for his ‘America First’ economic nationalist and anti-‘regime change’ agenda.
4. The Business Power Elite
Exon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Energy Secretary lead the business elite. Meanwhile, the business elite associated with US manufacturing and industry have little direct influence on domestic or foreign policy.
While they follow the Wall Street free marketers on domestic policy, they are subordinated to the military elite on foreign policy and are not allied with Steve Bannon’s ideological core.
The architect of the Trump’s campaign and strategy, Steve Bannon, sought to displace the global economic and military elite with his alliance of economic nationalists, manufacturing workers and protectionist business elites.
Bannon pushed for a major break from Obama’s policy of multiple permanent wars to expanding the domestic market... He sought to end sanctions and confrontation against Moscow and fashion economic ties between the giant energy producers in the US and Russia. While Bannon was initially the chief strategist in the White House, he quickly found himself faced with powerful rivals inside the regime, and ardent opponents among Democratic and Republican globalists and especially from the Zionist neoliberals who systematically maneuvered to win strategic economic and policy positions within the regime.
While Bannon had secured several important economic appointees, the Zionist neoliberals undercut their authority. The entire Congressional elite from both parties united to paralyze the Trump-Bannon agenda.
What the rise and destruction of economic nationalism in the ‘person’ of Donald Trump tells us is that the American political system cannot tolerate any capitalist reforms that might threaten the imperial globalist power elite... Americans have a lot to learn and unlearn. Our strategic advantage may reside in the fact that political life in the United States cannot get worse – we really have touched the bottom...
Russian president Vladimir Putin joked that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had probably fallen into a bad company and was "moving in the other direction" in Washington. The Russian President also expressed hope Tillerson would finally return to the right path.
"We once awarded the Order of Friendship to… Mr. Tillerson, but he seems to have got into bad company and to be somewhat moving in the other direction. But I hope that the wind of cooperation, friendship and interaction will finally bring him to the right path," Putin at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
The relations between Russia and the United States has recently escalated due to US searches in the buildings of the Russian General Consulate in San Francisco and its trade mission in Washington.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented on the move saying that the searches conducted by the United States at the Russian diplomatic properties on US soil were outrageous and constitute aggressive violations of international law.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov informed his US counterpart Rex Tillerson of Moscow's intention to bring the issue of Russian diplomatic property seizure to court.
Washington demanded that Moscow close down its consulate general in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC by Saturday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that US actions constituted a violation of international law, including the Vienna convention on diplomatic and consular relations.
At the National Order of the Arrow Conference’s Gathering of Eagles, Rex Tillerson issued a challenge to every Eagle Scout...
He said that Eagle Scouts are expected to continue to act with personal integrity.
To illustrate this point, he talked about structural integrity, a key part of his job. He gestured to the 40-year-old building everyone was sitting in. You trust in the structural integrity of this building, he said, and that it won’t fall down on everyone. You don’t even think about it.
Personal integrity, he said, works the same way. “People trust you. They count on you,” he said. “Your personal integrity, once established and earned, people don’t have to think about it. They know. They know you. They know you’ll do the right thing every time.”
Rex Tillerson is the top executive at one of the world’s largest companies but it was the Boy Scouts of America that taught him much of what he knows about leadership: "I have often said that the best leadership training I ever got was in Boy Scouts of America,” said Tillerson, who earned the Eagle Scout rank in 1965, at age 13. "Scouting “is where I learned the fundamentals of leadership.”
Tillerson has remained a steadfast supporter of the organization ever since, even serving as its national volunteer president from 2010 to 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the “military hysteria” against North Korea resulting from its successful nuclear test, warning that any move that neglects diplomacy could lead to a global catastrophe.
"Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless, it’s a dead end,” Putin told reporters after the high-profile BRICS summit in Xiamen, southeast China, which gathered leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
"It could lead to a global catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, apart from through peaceful dialogue,” Putin added.
Putin voiced his concerns over Washington's approach to the Korean peninsula crisis, comparing the U.S. military threats against the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as the country is officially called, to situation in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion.
"Everyone remembers well what happened to Iraq and Saddam Hussein," Putin noted.
"Hussein abandoned the production of weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, under the pretext of searching for these weapons, Saddam Hussein himself and his family were killed during the well-known military operation." "Even children died back then – his grandson, I believe, was shot to death," he continued. "The country was destroyed, and Saddam Hussein was hanged. Listen, everyone is aware of it and everyone remembers it. North Koreans are also aware of it and remember it."
Vladimir Putin says NO
Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside a joint charm offensive launched by US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday, dismissing their arguments for a military assault on Iraq.
The Kremlin said Bush and Blair had called Putin within minutes of each other as they pressed on with their campaign to win international support for a controversial strike to unseat Saddam. The Russian president had said no to both of them, it said. (India Times, 8-9-2002)
"A serious political mistake"
Putin calls on US to stop Iraq war
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the United States to stop the war against Iraq, calling the campaign a "serious political mistake." "If we install the rule of force in place of international security structures, no country in the world will feel secure," he said. "That is why Russia insists on a quick end to military operations."
The Russian leader, in his first comments on the US decision to launch a war to disarm Iraq and overthrow its president Saddam Hussein, said "there was no need" for military strikes because UN-led weapons inspections in the country were taking their course.
"I would like to underline that military action is happening in contradiction of international public opinion and in despite of principles of international law," said Putin.
"This military action is unjustified," he said. "Iraq has presented no danger - not for neighboring countries nor for any region in the world." (Wold-AfP 20-3-2003)
Syria’s opposition must accept that they have not won the six-and-a-half year war against President Bashar al-Assad, UN peace talks mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday.
De Mistura suggested the war was almost over because many countries had got involved principally to defeat ISIS in Syria, and a national ceasefire should follow soon after. The main rebel-held area, the city of Idlib would be “frozen”.
“For the opposition, the message is very clear: if they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case. So now it's time to win the peace,” he told reporters.
Asked if he was implying that Assad had won, he said pro-government forces had avanced militarily, but “victory can only be if there is a sustainable political long-term solution.
Otherwise instead of war, God forbid, we may see plenty of low intensity guerrilla (conflicts) going on for the next 10 years, and you will see no reconstruction, which is a very sad outcome of winning a war.”
FSA & Al-Qaeda 2012: YES to guerilla - NO to democracy
De Mistura plans to join ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital Astana next week, which he said should help resolve the fate of Idlib, a city of 2 million where rebels designated as terrorists by the United Nations are gaining influence.
“I am confident...there will be a non-conflictual solution – let’s say not a new Aleppo, that’s what we want to avoid at any cost, if we have learned from the past,” he said, referring to the greatest battle and humanitarian crisis of the war. “If that takes place Idlib may become frozen in order to avoid becoming a major tragic end to the conflict.”
“The issue is: will there be a political process...?"
“Will the opposition be able to be unified and realistic enough to realize they did not win the war?”
Mrs. Asmaa al-Assad visits Dar al-Aman School
SANA, 7 September 2017
Mrs. Asmaa al-Assad visited on Thursday Dar al-Aman School which was opened in the city of Tartous at the beginning of the new school semester. Mrs. Al-Assad toured the classrooms and exchanged cordial speech with students about their hopes and aspirations for the future, encouraging them to exert effort and excellence in their studies to be “the best successor to the best predecessor.” Dar al-Aman has a specialized training cadre, that includes psychological and social guidance, and provides integrated services and facilitations for the sons and daughters of the martyrs, including entertainment, education, transportation, clothing, stationery and meals as well as providing monthly financial donation to families of the students. Dar al-Aman is currently accommodating 200 students.
The head of the (Saudi backed) Syrian opposition delegation, Nasser al-Hariri, described the remarks of UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, as “shocking and disappointing” on Thursday, stressing that de Mistura’s speech was in line with the Russian agenda.
The head of the Syrian opposition delegation said that “any international deal for a solution will not succeed unless the demands of the Syrian people are implemented.”
He added that the victories of the Assad military regime were achieved by Russians, Iranians and mercenaries. Hariri stressed the need to deal with the perpetrators of violations in Syria as war criminals.
Bashar al-Assad & his National Progressive Front
Ideology: Arab nationalism and Arab socialism
The National Progressive Front (200 seats in the Syrian parliament) is a political alliance of parties in Syria that supports the socialist and Arab nationalist orientation of the government.
The Front was established in 1976 by Syrian president Hafiz al-Asad to provide for a limited degree of participation in government by political parties other than the ruling Ba'ath Party.
Its constitution provides that the Ba'ath Party controls 50% plus one of the votes on its executive committee. A number of seats in the People's Council of Syria are reserved for members of NPF parties other than the Ba'ath Party. From 1972 to 2011, only parties participating in the NPF had been legally permitted to operate in Syria.
The Legislative Decree on Parties law of 2011, Legislative Decree on General Elections Law of 2011 and the new Syrian constitution of 2012 introduced a multi-party system in Syria.
The NPF is composed of ten political parties: Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, Arab Socialist Movement, Arab Socialist Union, Syrian Communist Party (Khalid Bakdash faction), Syrian Communist Party (Yusuf Faisal faction), Social Democratic Unionists, Socialist Unionists, Democratic Socialist Unionist Party, Arabic Democratic Unionist Party and the National Vow Movement.
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party is a loyal opposition party. With over 100,000 members it is the second largest legal political group in Syria. In Lebanon, it has been a major secular and highly organised elite party in the political history of the country for over 80 years.
Al Arabiya News Channel will be airing a special news documentary unravelling Iran’s involvement in the September 11 attacks.
‘Iran September 11’, will air on Friday at 11:00 PM, KSA time (midnight GMT).
The documentary, which was produced in the United States, carries never before seen interviews revealing the Iranian regime's relationship with the al-Qaeda terrorist group and the training it provided to its members to conduct major operations like September 11.
In one interview with Abolghasem Mesbahi ( a former senior European-based operative in Iran’s security service, Vevak) Iran’s support to al-Qaeda was revealed and detailed.
Robert Fisk: Al-Arabya & Saudi Government
Following an Op-Ed published on 5 March 2015, calling for President Obama to "listen to (Israeli PM) Netenyahu" when it comes to the threat imposed by the Iranian nuclear deal, many pro-Hezbollah Arab, Iranian and even Western media outlets criticized Al Arabiya English's editorial stance.
Based on this Op-Ed, The Independent's Robert Fisk wrote a piece on 6 March that the column, which was written by Al Arabiya English's Editor-in-Chief at the time, wouldn't have been published unless it was blessed by the Saudi Monarchy.
By doing so, Fisk was echoing unconfirmed claims that Al Arabiya is owned by the Saudi government and as such unable to publish views that weren't aligned with those of Riyadh.
Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a “pro-Israel” think tank spun off from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A central focus of Levitt's work has been Iran's alleged support of international terrorist organizations.
"As Iran presses on in its efforts to become a nuclear power," Levitt wrote in July 2012 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "the regime in Tehran also employs an aggressive foreign policy that relies heavily on the deployment of clandestine assets abroad to collect intelligence and support foreign operations. The world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, Tehran relies on terrorism to further Iranian foreign policy interests."
In the past, Levitt has called sanctions against Tehran "tremendously effective," adding that they must be used in conjunction with "military options," "covert actions," and "diplomatic options."
Among Iranian proxies, Levitt places a particular emphasis on Hezbollah, the subject of his 2013 book, Hezbollah.
Although Hezbollah primarily operates within Lebanon, Levitt has accused the group of serving as an agent of Iran's "asymmetric war” against the West.
In 2013 testimony before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, Levitt linked the group to “terrorist plots in Azerbaijan, Thailand, Cyprus, Bulgaria, kidnapping plots in Africa, [the delivery of] weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, and more.”
Levitt, who has complained that Washington receives "limited help from Europe" with respect to tracking Hezbollah's operations, concluded by warning Europe to “designate Hezbollah—in whole or in part—a terrorist group,” adding that “failure to do so could result in still more attacks by an emboldened Hezbollah.” Levitt links the group variously to drug trafficking in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, cigarette smuggling in North Carolina, and robberies in Philadelphia.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington DC may have funded a “dry run” of the 9/11 attacks, according to evidence submitted to an ongoing lawsuit against the Saudi government. As reported by the New York Post, the embassy might have used two of its employees for the so-called dry run before a dozen hijackers flew two planes into the Twin Towers, killing nearly 3,000 people in 2001.
The complaint, filed on behalf of 1,400 family members of the victims, stated that the Saudi Government paid two nationals, posing as students in the US, to take a flight from Phoenix to Washington and test out flight deck security before 9/11.
FBI documents, submitted as evidence, claimed that the two Saudi nationals who came to the US, Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, were in fact members of “the Kingdom's network of agents” in the country. The documents claimed the men trained in Afghanistan with a number of other al-Qaeda operatives that participated in the attacks.
Qudhaeein was allegedly employed at the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and Shalawi was a “longtime employee of the Saudi government” in Washington DC.
In November 1999 they boarded an America West flight to Washington, and tried to access the cockpit several times, asking the flight attendants “technical questions” and making the staff “suspicious”. Qudhaeein reportedly asked staff where the bathroom was and was pointed in the right direction; instead he tried to enter the cockpit. The pilots made an emergency landing in Ohio and the two men were released after an initial interrogation from the FBI. The Saudi government has long denied any links to the terrorists and lawyers representing the government have filed motions to dismiss the claims. A total of 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi.
Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan on Friday launched a fresh tirade against Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizbullah.
“Iran and its eldest child, Hizbul Shaitan (Party of Satan), are the cradle of terrorism and extremism in the world.
The same as the world has dealt with Daesh (Islamic State group), it should also deal with its cradle. Our peoples need peace and security,” Sabhan said in a tweet. A previous tweet by the minister had created confusion in Lebanon about its real target and objectives.
Accusing Hizbullah of committing “inhumane crimes in our nation that will definitely affect Lebanon,” Sabhan said “the Lebanese must choose whether they want to support or oppose (Hizbullah)..."
As politicians and journalists close to Hizbullah said the tweet was directed at Prime Minister Saad Hariri in connection with his stances on the latest military operations on the eastern border, al-Mustaqbal Movement described the tweet Thursday as a “warning message” over Hizbullah's actions.
Flashback - Iraq 2003
Dr. Sa’doun Hammadi: "Professional and honest way"
Maintaining that Iraq had always cooperated with the weapons inspectors despite misgivings of some of them, Mr. Hammadi (shi'ite intellectual and speaker of the assembly) said all that his country wanted was for them to do their work in a professional and honest way.
“In the first eight-year-long inspection, which was called off in 1998, "276 inspection teams consisting of 3,845 inspectors/experts came to Iraq and inspected 3,392 sites repeatedly; adding to a total of 10,266 visits. Besides, they set up permanent monitoring systems at 665 sites. They found nothing then, and they have found nothing now.” (Iraq Daily, 27-1-2003)
Geneva, SANA – Syria affirmed that it never used and will never use toxic gases against its people because it does not possess them in the first place and it considers the use of such gases a moral crime that must be condemned.
The affirmation came in a letter sent by Syria’s Permanent Representative at the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Hussam Ala, to the President of Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in response to the allegations made by a committee affiliated to the Human Rights Council claiming that the Syrian state used toxic gases in Khan Sheikoun and other places. The Representative reiterated in the letter that the International Commission of Inquiry’s report and the void political accusations included in it are groundless, based on political accusations, not on legal analysis, far from being neutral or professional.
The letter said that the Commission’s insistence on getting itself involved in the issue of chemical weapons and its use is a blatant departure from its mandate and the mandate of the Human Rights Council, as it transgresses upon the jurisdiction of the Technical Inquiry Committees established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the mandate of the Joint Investigation Mechanism, and the jurisdiction of the UN Security Council which established it.
Ala noted that the report and the provocative statements seek to give excuses to launch new attacks on Syria and cover up the US attack on al-Shuairat airport after Trump’s administration failed to provide any evidence to back up its allegations...
He went on to say the Commission ignores professional criteria and is completely devoid of professionalism, credibility, and neutrality.
Ala affirmed that the politicized and selective behavior of the Commission prompts the Syrian Arab Republic to disregard all its reports, as it has become a cheap propaganda machine serving the agendas of certain states.
In 1895, Theodor Herz was asked by a journalist, “What is your relation to the Bible?”
Answer: “I am a freethinker, and our principle will be: Let everyone seek salvation in his own way.”
On September 3, 1897, Theodor Herzl concluded the First Zionist Congress in Switzerland by stating in his diary, “At Basel I founded the Jewish State..."
This congress sparked the beginning of the Jewish national movement, which eventually, almost exactly 50 years later as Herzl intuited, established the State of Israel.
The milestone of 120 years since the congress is a good opportunity to contemplate the vision of Herzl and the early Zionist leaders against the reality of contemporary Israel. Was the original vision realized? Did the Zionist leaders of that time share the same vision as today’s leaders?
"Shall we end by having a theocracy? No, indeed. Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood.
We shall keep our priests within the confines of their temples in the same way as we shall keep our professional army within the confines of their barracks... They must not interfere in the administration of the State...
-- Ilan Troen (Brandeis University): “He had a much more universal state in mind, one that is less nationalistic. He spoke of a state for Jews, but one that is secular..."
“His capital city was Haifa. It doesn’t have real sacred sites [for Jews]. Should he arrive here today, he wouldn’t go to pray at the Western Wall. No, no. He would have wanted to sit at a cafe or visit the opera house; he’d look for a salon and go to the blue cosmopolitan Mediterranean, not black Jerusalem.”
-- Esther Carmel-Hakim (University of Haifa): “I do think that it is a great disappointment for women’s rights that Zionism granted [religious] Orthodoxy a monopoly on faith.... There is still much work to do. Israel is still a patriarchal society. But women are fighting this fight.”
-- Dmitry Shumsky (Hebrew University): “The explicit and hidden aims of the congress were to turn the Jews into a normal political nation ‘like the other nations,’ and with a territory and defined borders… “We are half a democracy. That we don’t have clear borders and that the system of government is shaky leads to ambiguities… 1967 was a step back. On the one hand we have a sovereign state, but on the other hand it’s a hybrid creature between state and movement.
Shumsky also relates to a recent comment by Culture Minister Miri Regev. “She wrote on Facebook that Herzl envisioned having a Temple. But Herzl’s Temple wasn’t on the Temple Mount,” he stresses.
-- Yossi Yonah (Zionist Union MK): “We don’t live in the liberal democratic state they envisioned. Herzl would probably not be too happy with the exclusive dominance of one specific conception of the Jewish religion in the state.." ..
"They didn’t envision such an overly nationalistic messianic state." “I think that 1967 was a critical turning point in this regard that encouraged the messianic understanding of the Zionist project..."
-- Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman (Bar-Ilan University): “Herzl was blind to the Arabs living in this country,” she adds. “I cannot recall any reference to them in his writings. They were influenced by the Western approach that sees Arabs as ignorable natives. Herzl just wanted to solve the Jewish problem. He wasn’t a human rights activist.”
Ezra, father of the Orthodox Jewish State
Inventor of 'the holy race'
Ezra (480–440 BC), also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest returned from the Babylonian exile and introduced the Torah in Jerusalem.
The most serious problem Ezra faced was the age-old practice of intermarriage between Jews and their neighbors:
"They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and they have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness" (Ezra 9:2).
During the last few centuries, European-American Judaism became more and more a religion imbued with a universal moral message. Jewish thinkers believed that it was the “mission” of the Jews to bring universal ethics to the nations of the world, seeing that as the real substance of Judaism.
Zionism came into being as a part of the nationalist revolution in Europe and as a reaction to its generally anti-Semitic character. It originated the theory that the Jews are a nation like other European nations, and that this nation must set up its own state in the country now called Palestine.
Not by accident did the teachings of Herzl arouse the violent and vocal opposition of almost all the great rabbis of his time, whether Hassidim or their opponents the Mitnagdim, whether orthodox or reformist.
But when the Zionist community in Palestine established a state, something happened to Judaism there. The connection with the territory, the soil, changed the face of the religion, as it did to all other parts of national life.
It is no exaggeration to claim that the Jewish religion in Israel underwent a mutation, which has become more and more extreme in recent years. A religion with a universal message became a tribal cult. A religion of ethics became a religion of holy places. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a Jew of the old kind, defined the religion of the settlers as a pagan, idolatory cult. (Gush Shalom website, 18-9-2004)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be visiting Saudi Arabia and Jordan during September 9-11, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. He will be received by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jeddah and will have talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
The Saudis hosted a meeting of Syrian opposition factions last month, pushing for an accord between the main anti-Assad group that Riyadh has backed, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), and two other blocs closer to Moscow.
A Saudi shift would mark a fresh blow to militants who have seen Assad regain control of much of the country in the past two years.
The Saudis have steadfastly supported the ouster of the Assad government since 2011, pouring arms and funding the Islamist Revolution in Syria.
Assad's foes, however, are losing heart in the face of back-to-back government advances and realizing that they have to live with the Syrian government.
Earlier this week, the Syrian Army and its allies broke Daesh’s three-year-long siege over the strategic northeastern city of Dayr al-Zawr. Elsewhere in the country, other factions have been pegged back into ever-smaller enclaves. Yahya al-Aridi, a senior figure in the firebrand HNC, said his faction was “worried” that the Saudis would reach an accommodation with Russia. “There’s a vicious campaign to rehabilitate the Assad regime,” he said.
Observers say one motivation for rapprochement with Russia is the Saudi desire to counter Iran's role in the Syrian victories.
Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement have played a major role in the military turnaround which is now favoring Assad. As the prospect of removing Assad recedes, his enemies are switching focus.
For the Saudis, “the regime is no longer an issue, even the president is no longer an issue,” Alani said. “The problem is the question of the Iranians on the ground.”
Russia and Saudi Arabia see the de-escalation zone plan for Syria as an important step forward for the Syrian peace process. The deal for the fourth zone around Idlib may be finalized during the upcoming Astana talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
There are currently three zones of de-escalation in effect in Syria. The one in the south of Syria was negotiated with Jordan and the US. Two others were established in eastern Ghouta and Homs.
“The next meeting in Astana will happen next week, and I hope the agreements on the parameters of the fourth zone in Idlib will be formalized there,” Lavrov said.
His Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, who was hosting Lavrov in the Saudi city of Jeddah, expressed support for Russia’s peace efforts in Syria, saying the two countries have a common goal in ultimately resolving the conflict through peace talks in Geneva.
The two ministers also discussed the ongoing conflict between a bloc of Arab countries and Qatar.
“Qatar knows exactly what it needs to do. We want a clear position from Qatar and a serious approach to resolving the crisis. We want it to implement the principles, which all nations of the world agree to: no funding of terrorism, no support for extremists, no dissemination of hatred and no interference in sovereign affairs,” Adel al-Jubeir told the conference.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) on Monday participated in International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s (ICT) 17th annual international conference in Herzliya.
"All Islamic terror is supported by Tehran," Liberman said. "This includes Sunni terror, the groups in Yemen, and even Al-Qaeda. And we are all aware of the cooperation between Al-Qaeda and Iran's Revolutionary Guard."
"As long as the Muslim government in Tehran supports the terror ideology - there will be terror..."
"Will Hezbollah continue to exist without Iranian support? Absolutely not. Can Hamas exist without Iran? Certainly not in its current proportions. Certainly, the Islamic Jihad cannot exist without Iran..."
"We can identify the source, but not always do we say it in public. The main issue today is Iran."
Israel will not be bound by any political agreement on Syria’s future as long as the Iranians are part of it and as long as Bashar Assad remains president of the country, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said last week.
“There are efforts to reach an arrangement. This does not obligate us,” Liberman told a briefing of military reporters at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. “We will not accept any agreement in which the Iranians are involved.”
The only acceptable agreement to Israel, Liberman said, would be one that included the withdrawal of Iran and its proxies from Syria, along with the removal from power of Assad. “We will not agree to an arrangement that legitimizes Assad..,”continued Liberman. “We cannot accept the ‘axis of evil.’ We will continue to assist Syrian rebels in the vicinity of the border with the provision of basic goods and medical treatment....”
Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman declared North Korea, Syria and Iran the new "axis of evil," claiming that North Korean weapons seized in Bangkok in December were bound for Middle Eastern militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. "Axis of evil" originated in then-President George W. Bush's first State of the Union address in 2002, where he named North Korea, Iran and Iraq as threats to the United States.
Lieberman said during a visit to Japan that the three countries are cooperating and pose the biggest threat to world security because they are building and spreading weapons of mass destruction.
"This axis of evil that includes North Korea, Syria and Iran, it's the biggest threat to the entire world," he told journalists in Tokyo.
Israel has long accused Syria of aiding the Jewish state's enemies. In recent weeks, Israel's president, Shimon Peres, has accused Syria of providing Scud missiles to Hezbollah, potentially upsetting the balance of power in the region, and claimed that North Korea is a "duty free shop" for weapons that reach Iran, Lebanon and Syria.
Amman, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that any foreign presence on Syria’s soil and it its airspace without the approval of the Syrian government violates international law.
Lavrov said in a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman on Monday that “Since the very beginning, we have consistently taken a very clear stance. Everyone who is on the Syrian soil or in Syria’s airspace without the consent of the Syrian government violates the international law.” “Russia, as well as the representatives of Iran, including the representatives of the Hezbollah movement, is working here upon a direct invitation of Syria’s legitimate authorities,” he said.
However, “some unwelcome guests with arms in their hands are in Syria’s territory,” Lavrov said... “As we saw a possibility to cooperate with them in the war on terror in the interests of all Syrian citizens, such contacts were established,” he added. Lavrov pointed out that many members of the US coalition are dealing with double standards and are trying to maintain Jabhat al-Nusra, stressing that this is totally unacceptable, because Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS are listed by the United Nations as terrorist organizations.
Lavrov said Russia and Jordan share common stance on resolving the crisis in Syria, launching the political process in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and the right of the Syrians to determine the future of their country, pointing out that the two sides discussed the situation related to the formation of a de-escalation zone south of Syria.
For his part, the Jordanian foreign minister said that he discussed with his Russian counterpart the de-escalation zones in Syria and the progress towards a political solution to the crisis and joint commitment in the fight against terrorism, pointing out that his country supports Astana track in this regard.
-- Convinced that the strict observance by States of the obligation not to intervene in the affairs of any other State is an essential condition to ensure that nations live together in peace with one another, since the practice of any form of intervention not only violates the spirit and letter of the Charter, but also leads to the creation of situations which threaten international peace and security,
-- Recalling the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State,
-- Considering it essential that all States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,
-- Considering it equally essential that all States shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the Charter,
-- Reaffirming, in accordance with the Charter, the basic importance of sovereign equality and stressing that the purposes of the United Nations can be implemented only if States enjoy sovereign equality and comply fully with the requirements of this principle in their international relations,
-- Convinced that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a major obstacle to the promotion of international peace and security..
Solemnly proclaims the following principles:
1. The principle that States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations...;
2. The principle that States shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered;
3. The principle concerning the duty not to intervene in matters within the domestic jurisdiction of any State;
4. The principle that States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter...
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:00 PM) – At least five Syrian rebel groups associated with the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) organisation, a coalition of Syrian rebels closely linked to Al-Qaeda (ideology: Salafist jihadism, Wahhabism), have announced their defection, marking another episode in a recent string of defections affecting HTS.
The announcement comes in the wake of the recent resignation of Abdullah Al-Muhaysni from the movement.
Al-Muhaysni, a Saudi cleric who was formerly the head of the HTS Shariah Courts, resigned from the group yesterday, allegedly in protest over announced reforms within Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
In a similar move, ten senior rebel commanders also chose to defect from several rebel groups a few days ago, and surrendered to Syrian government forces following extensive negotiations with the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides.
So far, five of the recently defected rebel groups linked to HTS have been identified. According to reports, these groups are the Al-Ansar and Muhajireen regiments based in Sarmada, the Siyouf Al-Islam regiment that was active in western Aleppo Governorate, the Abu Rabee regiment based in the Shahshabo mountain area in Hama; and lastly the so-called 1st regiment based in the countryside of both Idlib and Aleppo. Local sources claim that it is expected that several other HTS-linked rebel groups are likely to announce their resignation or defection from the organisation as well in the coming couple of days. A move that could herald the beginning of the end for Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a popular Saudi cleric who has relocated to Syria, has used his highly trafficked social media presence to endorse the new Islamic Front formed by some of the leading Syrian insurgent groups. He called for the Islamist coalition to cooperate with al Qaeda’s two official branches inside Syria. Al Muhaysini proposed that a common sharia court be established, with each of the leading jihadist groups contributing two judges. The court would adjudicate disputes between its members.
Al Muhaysini even said that the new court’s rulings should be made public such that Muslims worldwide could read the decisions for themselves.
Tehran, SANA – A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in electricity sector was signed between Syria and Iran on Tuesday.
The memo provides for establishing a new power generation station in Lattakia with a total capacity of 450 MW, establishing 5 gas units with a capacity of 125 MW in Banias, in addition to evaluating the damage caused to Aleppo Thermal Station and rehabilitating the 1st and 5th gas units in Aleppo.
It also stipulated for rehabilitating and reactivating the Electrical Supervisory Control Center and Data Acquisition (ESCADA) in Damascus, rehabilitating the 90-MW al-Taim generating plant in Deir Ezzor and improving the performance of Jandar Generating Plant in Homs.
The memo was signed by Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutli and Director General of the General Establishment for Electricity Generation Hammoud Ramadan on the Syrian side and Iran’s Deputy Minister of Energy Sattar Mahmoudi and MAPNA Group Chairman and CEO, Aliabadi on the Iranian side.
A new UN report has strongly condemned Israel for the "de-development" and "deteriorating humanitarian conditions" of the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, brought about by Israel's 50-year occupation.
"Jordan is still waiting and waiting, in the end it will produce “nothing”. King Abdullah of Jordan is in a deep depression, anxieties, and complications with himself and around himself, he cannot go anywhere and has nowhere to turn. All this is done by the Holy One, blessed be He, so that they will leave in peace the Holy Land of Israel." Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi Shalita, 2017
The report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), published on Tuesday, said the performance of the Palestinian economy is "far below potential", while unemployment has persisted at levels rarely seen worldwide since the Great Depression.
"2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the longest occupation in recent history. For the Palestinian people, these were five decades of de-development, suppressed human potential and denial of the basic human right to development, with no end in sight," the report states. "Instead of the hoped-for two-State solution envisaged by the United Nations and the international community, occupation is currently even more entrenched, while its complex socioeconomic toll has worsened over time."
Among other issues, the report reviews the steady decline in gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past two decades, the imposition of Palestinian economic dependence on Israel, the theft of Palestinian natural resources, and Gaza's isolation.
It reaffirms a previous finding that the Palestinian economy would be at least twice as large if the occupation were lifted.
The primary causes for the economic stagnation include "continuing loss of land and natural resources to settlements and the annexation of land in the West Bank", along with market fragmentation and Israeli-imposed import restrictions, the report notes.
Although the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994 with the hope of creating an independent Palestinian state and economy, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the building of the separation wall have made this goal increasingly difficult to achieve.
Israel also has direct control over more than 60 percent of the West Bank, including most of its natural resources.
All of Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank, numbering around 125, are located in Area C, where 300,000 Palestinians live [next to 600,000 settlers, a Jewish majority, that has to make the region 'democratic'...: the majority rules... ].
Israel prohibits Palestinian construction and development in about 70 percent of this area.
In Gaza, which has been under an Israeli siege for more than a decade, the situation is markedly worse. Israel directly controls what enters and exits the territory, and keeps the borders largely shut.
The rift between the two main Palestinian political parties, Hamas and Fatah, has made the situation worse. Recently, the PA, led by the Fatah movement, requested that Israel reduce the electricity supply to Gaza in an attempt to pressure Hamas to forfeit control of the territory.
Jordan is trying to close the chapter on almost 10 years of economic sluggishness that began with the 2007/08 global financial crisis and was exacerbated by the political turbulence of the so-called Arab Spring that erupted in 2011 and whose reverberations continue to be felt across the Middle East.
In this regard, Amman and Baghdad celebrated the reopening of the only land crossing between their two countries on Aug. 30, two years after it was closed due to the Islamic State’s (IS) gaining control of most of Anbar province...
The reopening of the crossing in late August signals the slow resumption of bilateral trade between the two countries. Perhaps more importantly, it is a sign that Jordan’s efforts to normalize relations with Baghdad, after a tumultuous period under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, are bearing fruit.
Jordan Rebel Trainingscamp 2013
The closure of Jordan's borders with Iraq and Syria due to the crises there complicated Amman’s efforts to kick-start its stalling economy.
With the road to Baghdad now open, the government is looking north with the hope that the crossing with Syria can also reopen in the near future. Amman closed its side of the border near Daraa after the Syrian army lost control over the Nasib crossing in 2015...
During the past two weeks, top Syrian officials have made positive statements about the future of relations with Jordan. In response, Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani told a local TV station on Aug. 25, “Our relations with the Syrian state and regime are going in the right direction.”
Al-Ghad political columnist Fahd al-Khitan thinks it is still too early for Jordan and Syria to restore normal relations.
“Jordan is exploring all possibilities, and this is a trademark of its pragmatic policy,” he said. “We never broke ties with Damascus, and we never called for regime change. We backed a political solution from the onset of the crisis, and we have to look at where our interests lie.”
Syria’s Permanent envoy to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, during a joint press conference with the Iraqi envoy to the UN, said.. " Resolution (2199) is very important for both Syria and Iraq, which are the main victims of [..] terrorism", pointing out that terrorists in the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq, do not come by parachutes but rather across joint borders of both countries and the majority of them cross into Syria and Iraq from Turkey and Jordan.
“Training centers established in Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and Jordan are not for means of peaceful negotiations to find out political solutions but rather are death-making camps for Syrians”, Syria’s UN envoy said..
Here are 7 policies the Saudi government can change if it wants a more positive image in the US press.
1. They have to end their savage and fruitless war on poor little Yemen, which has been bombed intensively by Saudi Arabia and its allies. The war has caused 600,000 cholera cases and 2000 cholera deaths, not to mention the people who have died being pummeled from the sky.
2. They have to give up on overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad of Syria and recognize that Salafism (the Sunni version of Wahhabism) wouldn’t work in Syria.
Now that Russia has come in strongly to back al-Assad, funding anti-Assad hard line rebels will just prolong the country’s agony. Syria is resource-poor and poses no threat to Saudi Arabia. Let it go.
3. They should cease their effort to force Qatar to fall in line behind Riyadh.
4. They should seek a diplomatic resolution of the stand-off with Iran. Actually if they stopped bombing Yemen and made peace with Syria, there wouldn’t be much reason to demonize Iran.
5. They should license churches for their Christian guest workers, the way Qatar has. There isn’t any reason in Muslim law that Christians can’t worship in the Arabian Peninsula. The Qur’an deplores interfering with or destroying churches and other houses of worship (The Cow 2:114).
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process expressed support for Hamas’ expressed willingness to reconcile with the Fatah movement, head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), in a statement released on Wednesday.
Nickolay Mladenov said that he welcomed developments this week, after a Hamas delegation in Cairo stated it was ready to hold meetings with the Fatah movement, Hamas’ longtime rival.
“Reconciliation is critical to addressing the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza, preventing the continuing militant buildup and restoring hope for the future,” Mladenov said. He urged parties to “seize the current positive momentum” in order to “immediately take up its responsibilities in Gaza.”
“Gaza is and must be an integral part of any future Palestinian state. Unity is an essential step towards the peaceful realisation of the Palestinian national aspirations," Mladenov added...
Hamas said in a statement following meetings in Cairo that it was ready to “immediately” sign an agreement with Fatah... The two parties have been embroiled in a bitter conflict for more than a decade, since Hamas won legislative elections in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2006.
One of the most important elements of Egypt’s soft power is Al-Azhar.
Al-Azhar, under the leadership of its open-minded Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, stood resolute against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egyptians will never forget the uniting image on July 3, 2013, of his presence at the announcement of the revolution’s success against then-President Mohammed Mursi.
I am not biased toward or affiliated with Al-Azhar as I have criticized it in the past.
For example, I object to parts of its curriculum that involve violence, sectarianism and incitement to hate people from other religions. This goes against logic and the spirit of tolerance that should be the basis of any faith. But I believe in the importance of state power, so I defend the elements of that power, including Al-Azhar. Blaming it for the rise of terrorist ideology and activity is unfair, but it is partly responsible as it needs to review its curriculum.
In the past few years, Al-Tayeb has restored Al-Azhar’s image. During the Brotherhood’s rule, he tried to preserve his enlightening and political role.. He hindered the Brotherhood’s project to take down Al-Azhar Mosque... On July 3, 2013, he declared his support for the popular revolution, and said Islam cannot be hijacked by a political faction or an ideology exploited to achieve other goals.
Many political analysts now believe that President Morsi’s next move will be imposing the Brotherhood’s complete control over Egypt or “Islamising the country”.
“The Brotherhood could soon be in complete control of the executive and legislative authorities,” said Gamal Zahran, an independent political analyst, adding that “as for the judiciary, Morsi’s Brotherhood will move quickly to silence all defiant judges and contain any dissenters who might insist on asking for independence. “Morsi and his allies will do their best to Islamise — or rather Brotherhoodise — the judiciary to ensure complete control on the three branches of power,” said Zahran.
Zahran also expects that the Sunni Islam learning institution of Al-Azhar will be an important target of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist extremist allies in the next stage. Yasser Burhami, a Salafist firebrand, said this week that “Salafis would do their best to remove the current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb from office.” Burhami made it no secret that Islamists view Al-Tayeb as an NDP remnant and that they would dispose of him as soon as possible.
Zahran believes that “the real intentions of Islamists are to impose complete control over Al-Azhar to turn it from an institution raising the voice of moderate and centrist Islam into “a reactionary Islamist force.
The practice of the Brotherhood in real life contradicts Islam
The National (UAE), Dec 27, 2012
The Brotherhood and Salafists do not understand religion the way regular Muslims understand it, wrote Egyptian novelist Alaa Aswani in the Cairo-based paper El Masry El Youm...
The behaviour of the Brotherhood and Salafists in real life is starkly at odds with the true teachings of Islam, and their take on religion is dissimilar to that of regular Muslims. This is because their understanding of religion, according to Aswani, rests on the following factors:
** First: sheer obedience to the Guide. A Brotherhood member swears unquestioning allegiance to the Guide. Stripped of judgement, they back everything he does or says. Many of these youth are educated: engineers and doctors. But they are all mindlessly subordinated to their leader. ** Second: they claim an exclusive understanding of religion. When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, there is no way to debate on religion. Islam to them is exclusively what a sheikh or the Guide says. ... They will reject any view that is not identical to the view of their leaders' even it is from eminent scholars. ** Third: they demonise opponents. The Brotherhood and Salafist sheikhs usually dehumanise their rivals, strip them of individuality and brand them as "secularists", "lackeys of the West", "enemies of sharia"... ** Fourth: the great conspiracy. Supporters of the Brotherhood and Salafists are persuaded by their sheikhs that a conspiracy against Islam has been in place.
Saudi clerics have reacted angrily to recent remarks by Egyptian Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, who excluded Salafists from Sunnis during a religious conference in Chechnya, Russia.
In the past El-Tayyeb criticized the insistence of the Salafis on minimalist interpreting Islam, stressing that Muslims have recognized a plurality of trends as correct for hundreds of years. He accused Salafis of putting too much focus on appearance, which should not be the priority of a Muslim.
New Testamant, 1 Peter 3:3-4:
"Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
Tunisia's parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial law granting amnesty to officials accused of corruption during the rule of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. The bill was proposed by President Beji Caid Essebsi, himself a former Ben Ali official, and sent to parliament in 2015.
The law was approved by 117 deputies.
After months of protests, the bill was amended from an original draft which would have also granted amnesty to corrupt businessmen. As it stands, they will be liable to prosecution for crimes committed during Ben Ali's 24-year rule.
Opposition lawmakers shouted slogans before the session was temporarily suspended.
"The opposition no longer has a pretext, they resorted to unacceptable methods..They rejected democracy", Sofian Toubel a lawmaker of Nidaa Tounes said.
Critics of the so-called "Economic Reconciliation" Law say it is a step back from the spirit of Tunisia's 2011 revolution to oust Ben Ali..
But government officials say the law helps to turn the page on the past, improves the climate for investment and gives confidence to the administration and officials.
"The time has come to stop the isolation of those officials who could contribute to the building of the new Tunisia," said Mohamed Souf of the governing Nidaa Tounes party. "We must reconcile, as happened in South Africa and Rwanda."
al-arour, father of the salafist revolution: 'we will punish them...' (2012)
Nasser: Pragmatic and logical approach
Gamal Abdel Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. It reveals a sweeping yet deeply analytical mind and acute observer of human behavior whose periods of disillusionment and exhilaration were intense. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world. (Rompedas 23-7-2009)
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
"We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity . . . we found dissension. We needed work . . . we found indolence and sloth... Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else.
Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins. ...
"We were deluged with petitions and complaints . . . but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness."
Leftist Knesset members were outraged on Thursday evening at the proposal made by Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, aimed at reining in the Supreme Court and imposing constitutional limitations.
"The idea of the rule of law envisages a fundamental separation of powers between legislator or lawmaker, on the one hand, and those who ‘execute’ or administer the laws, on the other."
"The principles of equality and due process lie at the heart of the rule of law, when interpreted as an ideal of constitutionalism, based on each citizen's equal dignity..." (T. R.S. Allan, in: Constitutional Justice)
** "It is not a constitution they seek. but rather the destruction of democracy and the Supreme Court. We have to stand up to the D-9 of the Jewish Home,” said MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), referring to a controversial Facebook post made by Jewish Home MK Motti Yogev in 2015, in which he called for the Supreme Court to be leveled with a D-9 bulldozer after the Court ruled that homes in Beit El would be torn down.
** MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) called Bennett and Shaked’s plan an "absolute lunacy" and claimed that "only in dark dictatorships is a court subject to the whims of politicians
The Supreme Court is a gatekeeper that prevents moral deterioration in the face of the wrath and tyranny of some politicians on the right. Therefore, this plan must be vigorously opposed.”
** MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said that "under the guise of a balance between authorities, Bennett and Shaked continue their efforts to destroy the rule of law in the State of Israel."
"Using a consistent process, they trample the rule of law in order to pass anti-democratic legislation. Instead of arranging rules that would enable the Knesset to prevail over the Supreme Court, it would be better if they stop their unconstitutional legislative attempts,” she added.
** MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said, "It is not a constitution that Shaked and Bennett seek. They seek to paralyze the Supreme Court in Israel, thereby violating the balance between the authorities, especially so that they can continue to go wild and erode the democratic foundations of the State of Israel."
** The head of the Knesset State Control Committee, MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), attacked the plan as well, saying, "Bennett and Shaked want to destroy the separation of powers in the State of Israel...
Hamas’s dramatic announcement Sunday morning that it would dismantle its government in the Gaza Strip is especially significant as it comes days before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet US President Donald Trump and address the United Nations.
Hamas’s establishment in May of an “administrative committee” to run the Gaza Strip in place of Abbas’s Ramallah government led the Palestinian Authority to slash funding to the coastal enclave, sparking the most severe power crisis the Strip has ever known.
Now, with no preconditions, Hamas has changed its approach and announced that it will dismantle the body, which was the main catalyst of the recent escalation in the crisis between the two sides.
Furthermore, Hamas’s announcement, made by its delegation in Cairo, said the organization is prepared to hold general elections at the earliest opportunity, to conduct negotiations with Abbas and his Fatah movement, and to form a national unity government. A Hamas delegation featuring the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh, and its Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, has been in Cairo since early last week for talks with the Egyptian intelligence agencies about Palestinian unity.
On Friday, a Fatah delegation, led by senior official Azzam al-Ahmad, arrived in Cairo for talks with the Egyptians mediating between the sides.
Do policymakers in Washington and Europe ever feel ashamed of their scandalous double standards?
Before and since the Palestinian elections in January, they have continually insisted that Hamas comply with certain demands. They want us to recognise Israel, call off our resistance, and commit ourselves to whatever deals Israel and the Palestinian leadership reached in the past. But we have not heard a single demand of the Israeli parties that took part in this week's elections... Even Ehud Olmert's Kadima party campaigned on a programme that defies UN security council resolutions. His unilateralism is a violation of international law.
Olmert's unilateralism is a recipe for conflict. It is a plan to impose a permanent situation in which the Palestinians end up with a homeland cut into pieces made inaccessible because of massive Jewish settlements built in contravention of international law on land seized illegally from the Palestinians... The problem is not with any particular Palestinian group but with the denial of our basic rights by Israel.
The message from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to the world powers is this: talk to us no more about recognising Israel's "right to exist" or ending resistance until you obtain a commitment from the Israelis to withdraw from our land and recognise our rights.
Peaceful means will do if the world is willing to engage in a constructive and fair process in which we and the Israelis are treated as equals.
We are sick and tired of the west's racist approach to the conflict, in which the Palestinians are regarded as inferior.
Though we are the victims, we offer our hands in peace, but only a peace that is based on justice.
US politicians - from Senators Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch to Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden - have been outspoken in their condemnation of the Unite the Right March in Charlottesville.
They condemn the hate and are rightly appalled by the white supremacist chants of “Blood and Soil” and “You Won’t Replace Us”—or, as it became, “Jews Won’t Replace Us”.
Meanwhile, the same senators are united by their ardent support for a [right-wing] regime that is no less inspired by racial supremacy and an ideology that demands ethnic cleansing. All have signed on to a bill that would protect the state of Israel by imposing civil and possibly criminal penalties on anyone who protests its ongoing violations of Palestinian rights...
Zionism has always recognized that in order to create and maintain “a Jewish state for a Jewish people” it would have to dominate and/or displace the native Palestinian population.
Though some idealist Zionists like Martin Buber once believed in the possibility of sharing a Jewish homeland in Palestine with its indigenous inhabitants, that dream has long been overtaken by the ugly reality of a supremacist state and its system of discrimination and dispossession.
It is increasingly difficult and painful for liberal Zionists to defend a system that so violates the sense of justice and equality that they elsewhere defend. How can one condemn white racists for fighting to preserve their privileges and supremacy in their “homeland” while defending the right of Israel to maintain a regime based on exactly those values?
It is time for consistency and to end the exception made for Zionist racial supremacy.
In solidarity with those who protested fascism in Charlottesville, and with those who continue to protest police killings, deportations, Islamophobic travel bans, and homophobic laws, progressives across the board must condemn Zionism and cease to offer uncritical support of the state of Israel.
Instead, they should stand with the activists who demand justice for Palestinians even as they protest racism in the US. It is no longer possible to serve the agenda of supremacism in one place and decry it at home.
David Lloyd is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
You see, the founding fathers were really influenced by the Bible. The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the "image of God," is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected.
Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man...
This is why we must fight segregation with all of our nonviolent might.
Segregation is morally wrong and sinful. To use the words of a great Jewish philosopher that died a few days ago, Martin Buber, "It’s wrong because it substitutes an ‘I-It’ relationship for the ‘I-Thou’ relationship and relegates persons to the status of things."
That’s it. (Yes, sir)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman touted settlements as Israel’s “defensive shield” at a Jewish new year’s toast with settler leadership.
Liberman boasted of increased West Bank building approvals since the beginning of the calendar year — some 3,500 building plans that received final approvals and some 8,000 that were advanced in various planning stages — and rejected criticism that he should have authorized much more.
Prior to the toast at the Vered Yericho settlement, the defense minister toured several other communities in the Megilot Regional Council near the Dead Sea. The day was organized by the YESHA COUNCIL, the umbrella organization representing West Bank settlements.
Despite the airing of grievances, Liberman made clear that there was little daylight between him and the settlers from an ideological standpoint.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s clear that settlement in Judea and Samaria… is the real defensive wall of the State of Israel,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names.
While acknowledging the growing importance of cyber security and missile defense, Liberman asserted that “even today, the argument is first of all about territory.”
Outgoing Yesha Council chairman Avi Roeh thanked Liberman for his efforts on behalf of settlers. “It is an honor for us, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah to host the Minister of Defense, who is responsible for the settlement in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” he said. “I think that the issue of settlement should be one of the national missions of the State of Israel,” Roeh concluded.
Much of the international community view the settlements as illegal and have frequently tried to pressure Israel to halt settlement construction. The Palestinians say it is one of the major obstacles to reaching a peace deal.
The Six Day 1967 War reopened the question of borders, rekindled mass interest and excitement in the whole Land of Israel, and helped Menachem Begin escape from the political wilderness into the Israeli political mainstream.
Soon after the Six Day War discussions began among young rabbis and rabbinical students associated with Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook as to how settlement in the "liberated areas" might be advanced.
Such meetings produced little in the way of organized activity, but the urge to settle the West Bank for ideological reasons led Moshe Levinger, a disciple of Rav Kook and a future leader of Gush Emunim, to establish a small, illegal presence in a hotel in the middle of Hebron during the spring festival of Passover in 1968.
After more than a year and a half of agitation and a bloody Arab attack on the Hebron settlers, the government agreed to allow Levinger's group to establish a town on the outskirts of the city. That town is now one of the largest Jewish settlements on the West Bank-Kiryat Arba. As a model for later actions by Gush Emunim to use the "creation of facts in the field" as a powerful political weapon, Levinger's success was important.
The actual founding of Gush Emunim and the beginning of its serious effort at political mobilization took place in 1974.
In the spring of 1974, another, somewhat overlapping group of rabbis, religious war veterans, and hawkish Young Guard political activists, most of whom had been strongly influenced by Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, established an organization they named Gush Emunim.
The express purpose of this organization was to advance what one of their number, Hanan Porat, termed the Zionism of Redemption.
In August 1974 a secretariat was formed, and a statement of principles and specific plans for political organization and action were approved. The immediate task was to mobilize mass opinion against the willingness of the Labor government to disengage from territories captured from Syria in the 1973 war. This, in turn, was seen as but the beginning of a struggle against Labor's policy, in the context of peace negotiations, to withdraw from territories Israel had held since 1967.
But their primary focus was the West Bank heartland-Judea and Samaria
Although the Labor party did invest substantial resources in settling the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, the greater East Jerusalem area, and the Gush Etzion area, the government continued to resist Gush Emunim demands to create a large Jewish presence in the heavily populated highlands of the West Bank. The Labor party had intended to keep this area, as well as a corridor to Jericho through which Arab travel to Jordan was possible, free of Jewish settlement in anticipation of its eventual return to Arab rule.
From mid-1974 until the Labor Parry's ouster from power in May 1977, Gush Emunim's primary efforts were directed toward challenging this policy and laying the groundwork for a Jewish settler presence in precisely those areas targeted for return to Arab hands.
In 1977 Gush Emunim greeted the Likud victory with enthusiasm. Its expectations were heightened that the country was moving rapidly toward redemption.
The new government immediately granted official status to several small Gush settlements that had received de facto recognition by the previous governments. In September 1977 Ariel Sharon, the new agriculture minister and head of the Israel Lands Administration, announced a plan to settle more than one million Jews in the West Bank within twenty years.
The plan redirected infrastructural investments, residential construction, and land acquisition away from Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and toward the highlands.
The following year Mattitiyahu Drobles, chairman of the Land Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, who was closely associated with Gush Emunim, issued the first version of a similar document, the "Master Plan for Judea and Samaria." Between 1977 and mid-198l the Likud government spent $400 million in the West Bank and Gaza, built twenty settlements in considered off-limits by previous governments and in-areas creased the number of settlers living in the West Bank, minus the Jordan Valley and East Jerusalem, from approximately 3,500 to 18,500.
Following its second election victory in 1981, the Likud dramatically increased settlement-related expenditures and accelerated programs of land acquisition and infrastructural development beyond the already hectic pace achieved in the previous four years.
By the end of Likud's second term, in August 1984, some 113 settlements were spread over the entire West Bank, including a half-dozen sizable towns. Some 46,000 Jewish settlers lived in the area (excluding expanded East Jerusalem), and housing and services were under construction to absorb 15,000 additional settlers each year.
Regarding the future of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the objectives of Gush Emunim and of the Likud have largely coincided. But beyond this key issue and related questions, substantial differences have always existed. Gush Emunim is a fundamentalist organization. The Likud is a coalition of practical political parties. The former wants to transform Israeli society and bring redemption.
Both the Likud and the fundamentalist movement, particularly Gush Emunim, have sought to use each other to accomplish their own objectives.
From 1977 to 1984 Gush Emunim developed from a rather loose association of settlement activists and ultranationalist rabbis, writers, and military figures into an umbrella movement containing an elaborate array of interdependent organizations, each specializing in particular aspects of the overall fundamentalist/redemptionist struggle or in appeals to one or another particular constituency.
These organizations have drawn most of their recruits from a mass base composed of many overlapping segments of Israeli society.
The most visible part of this recruitment pool were the West Bank and Gaza settlers themselves. Few in number until the late 1970s, the Gush Emunim settlements in Samaria, the Etzion bloc, and Kiryat Arba attracted the most dynamic fundamentalist activists.
In August of the year 1984 Yesha adopted a wide-ranging and detailed list of bylaws specifying its political objectives and institutional structure.
It identified the Yesha Council as "representing the settlers and settlements of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza..."
My father [Ariel Sharon], from the moment he was appointed minister of agriculture in 1977... My father’s other role in Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s government was chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Settlements. In this role he put Likud policy and his own beliefs into practice. He founded many dozens of settlements in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip, Galilee, the Golan Heights, the Negev, and in the Arava. ...
My father’s plan called for fortifying the hills to the west of the Jordan Valley with additional settlements, building a cross-Samaria road that would be protected by settlements and serve in a time of need as emergency routes for troops heading to the eastern front. ...
The third element of his plan was Jerusalem. The question was how to secure Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people... The solution my father presented was a ring of Jewish settlements around the city. The rise of the Likud to power and the fact of his service in government were not enough to get the project off the ground. They needed people willing to settle the land, too. These were found in the form of the Gush Emunim loyalists.
These God-fearing religious nationalists felt that settling in the biblical land of Israel was a commandment of supreme importance. Years later, my father would remark with a smile that they viewed him as “the Messiah’s donkey,” the man who would help them realize their ideals and faith.