Tag Archives: Israel

Protests Against Trump and Israeli Occupation as US Embassy Officially Set to Open in Jerusalem

“By relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. endorses and unlawfully legitimizes Israel’s policies and measures that seek to undermine Palestinians’ fundamental human rights.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2018

“The move further perpetuates the longstanding impunity granted to Israel in the face of its continuous and systematic violations of international law, including by endorsing the illegal annexation of Jerusalem.” (Photo: @omdimbeyachad/Twitter)

With the U.S. embassy officially set to open in Jerusalem on Monday after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital last December—a move that has been decried by much of the international community and human rights groups as a “stark violation of international law“—Israelis opposed to the embassy move gathered in Jerusalem Saturday night to denounce Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the brutal occupation of Palestinian territory.


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‘Nixonian’: To Kill Iran Deal, Trump Camp Hired Israeli Spy Firm to Dig Up Dirt on Obama Officials

This “is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-6-2018

Photo: YouTube

An ethics expert is declaring the Trump team “out of control” following a bombshell report by the UK’s Observer that aides for the sitting president hired Israeli spies to dig up dirt on two officials in the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.

“The idea,” said an unnamed source familiar the campaign, “was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.” Continue reading

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South Carolina’s New Hate Speech Law Outlaws Criticism of the Israeli Occupation

In bill author Clemmons’ view, discussing the military occupation of the West Bank, a reality recognized even by Israel’s Supreme Court, would be considered anti-Semitic under the new South Carolina law.

By Whitney Webb. Published 5-1-2018 by MintPress News

Rep. Alan Clemmons delivers an address from the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in a speech given via satellite to the Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem in 2011.

The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.

Once it is reconciled with an appropriations bill previously passed by the state House, the measure will become law and take effect this July. However, the law will last only until the next budget is passed, meaning that the new legal definition of anti-Semitism must be renewed on a yearly basis unless new legislation making the language permanent is passed in the future. Continue reading

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Most Unwelcome: Prominent US Human Rights Campaigners Denied Entry to Israel

“The abusive treatment,” said Columbia University law professor barred from entering, “ironically illustrates how the state of Israel refuses to respect the political and civil rights of its own citizens, of Palestinians, and of human rights defenders globally.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2018

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo: BookingIsrael)

The executive director and board chair of a prominent U.S. human rights group were denied entry by the Israeli government on Monday—detained at the international airport in Tel Aviv for hours of questioning and delay before being put back on a plane out of the country.

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. Continue reading

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Proving Eager to ‘Get the War Started,’ Pompeo Ramps Up Anti-Iran Rhetoric in Israel and Saudi Arabia

“Less than three years after Iran signed the Iran Deal and began dramatically cutting back its nuclear program, Israel, Saudi, and the U.S. are fast coordinating a military attack on Iran.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-30-2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 29, 2018. Photo: US State Department

Wasting no time confirming fears that he would would bring his disdain for diplomacy and zeal for war to the world stage if confirmed as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo used his first official visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to escalate the Trump administration’s anti-Iran rhetoric while ignoring the horrific atrocities currently being committed by America’s key Middle East allies.

Speaking alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Sunday, Pompeo claimed Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world” and said the Trump administration is “determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon.” Continue reading

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Israeli Sniper Targets, Kills Journalist in “PRESS” Vest

Corbyn: “The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end.”

By CommonDreams. Published 4-7-2018

Sources in Gaza have confirmed that journalist Yaser Murtaja has died after being shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sniper while covering the protests. He was clearly wearing a vest that identified him as press.

Yaser Murtaja, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media, was wearing a “PRESS” flak jacket as he was shot by an Israeli sniper Friday. He died of his injuries in a hospital on Saturday.

The 30-year-old journalist was one of nine people killed and more than 1,000 injured by Israeli troops Friday on the Gaza border.

Thousands of Palestinians continued “The Great March of Return,” the week-long protest on Friday, demanding the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families were driven out when Israel was created. Continue reading

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As ‘March of Great Return’ Begins, Israeli Forces Gun Down Palestinian Protesters Along Gaza Border

Israeli snipers killed at least 16 Palestinians and injured hundreds more as an estimated 20,000 gathered along the Gaza-Israel border for the launch of the six-week “March of Great Return” on Friday. “Dozens of signs have been set up across the border in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, saying ‘We are not here to fight; we are here to return to our lands.'”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-30-2018

An estimated 20,000 Palestinians marched along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

UPDATE: Today’s death toll has risen to 16 with many hundreds more wounded.

With worries that numbers will continue to rise, Israeli snipers killed at least nine Palestinians and injured hundreds more as an estimated 20,000 gathered along the Gaza-Israel border for the launch of the six-week “March of Great Return” on Friday.


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Under New Deal, Palestinians to Be Offered Less Than Half of West Bank

This deal is, it appears, being cooked up with the co-operation of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States. It will be presented to Palestinians on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

By Ben Jamal  Published 3-16-2018 by MintPress News

Screenshot: NBC

 

Having announced his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December of last year, reversing years of U.S. policy and violating international law, President Donald Trump seems determined to further rub salt in the wound.

He announced weeks ago that the new embassy would open on May 15. No more provocative a date could have been chosen.

May 15 marks 70 years since the state of Israel was established in a process that saw 750,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes and over 450 towns and villages destroyed. Continue reading

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Genocide? As Gaza Dries Out, Israel Turns Off Fresh Water Spigot

Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 2-15-2018 by MintPress News

Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: UNICEF

Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”

This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to. Continue reading

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Trump, Congress and the case for Treason

What happens when a sitting president kicks the legs of Democracy’s stool?

Written by Carol Benedict

President Donald Trump delivered his 2018 State of the Union address on January 20, 2018. Since that time, the consequences and ramifications put forth in that speech are still being discussed after having set new precedents to the tone, nature and policies spelled out to the American people.

Congress has always held the tradition that when the sitting president delivers these speeches, the opposing party withholds applause and ovations for most the speech, and only the most basic and inarguable points receive unanimous approval. Like all traditions in Washington since Trump’s inauguration, this too has now changed.

Agreeing with a critic who called the actions of the democrats “treasonous” and “un-American” for not applauding policies they disagree with, Trump has taken a step into an entirely new territory that should have caused alarm bells to go for all.

“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy, wild—they loved everything, they want to do something great for our country. And you have the other side, even on positive news—really positive news, like that—they were like death and un-American. Un-American,” the president said. “Somebody said, ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

The White House quickly defended Trump’s words, saying it was meant as a joke. When the President of the United States makes a JOKE of calling for the DEATHS of the opposing party’s members of Congress, we have entered a perception and introduction to authoritarian rule and dictatorship. Opposing the president is not punishable by death in the US, and to suggest otherwise demonstrates total ignorance or self-absorption. In fact, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution provides for the right of every American to not only disagree with the government or even the President, but to also assemble together to make their grievances known. Most people know this concept as “protest” or “dissent.”

In service to our country, we have put together a short refresher course about the history of Treason charges in the US since World War II. Let’s begin with what the law states as the punishment for Treason.

“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

One person convicted of treason was Tomoya Kawakita, a Japanese-American sentenced to death in 1952 for tormenting American prisoners of war during World War II. Even such a clear-cut case created qualms; Kawakita was commuted to a life sentence and was eventually deported to Japan and barred from ever entering the United States again.

On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after being convicted of committing espionage for the Soviet Union. They were accused of transmitting nuclear weapon designs to the Soviet Union; at that time the United States was the only country with nuclear weapons. They were also accused of providing top-secret information about radar, sonar, and jet propulsion engines to the USSR. Espionage is considered a treasonable act.

Treason is a serious, non-jokable charge with very unfunny consequences. But don’t overlook this as just another benign statement from an overly-vociferous president. What he is actually demanding here is a One Party System that does not allow dissent or protest, that prevents a press from publishing negative articles and results in job losses of federal employees who oppose his authority.

His latest claim is that if he does not get his way on immigration, he will shut down the government. This holds the American people hostage and in economic jeopardy and is questionably illegal.

The irony in all of this is that for all intents and purposes, this president has walked up to the line of committing Treason himself, and is so close in reality that only legal experts can parse out if or why he has not actually committed that crime. In psychology, this is called “Projectionalism;” to accuse others of what you are carry inside yourself.

Since taking office, Trump has assembled quite a laundry list of things he has done for the benefit of the Russian government.

* Shortly after his inauguration, Russian officials were invited to an Oval Office meeting, in which Trump revealed to Foreign Minister Lavrov secrets that compromised the coordination of intelligence gathering with Israeli operatives, jeopardizing Israeli and the U.S. ability to track down terrorists and proliferates.
* Following the events in the Ukraine in 2014 and Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Congress imposed sanctions against Russia and individual operatives of the Russian government. Since taking office, Trump has refused to take actions to impose these sanctions, despite the fact the law requires him to do so.
* The recent meeting in the United States dealing with cybersecurity and counterterrorism between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the heads of Russia’s intelligence agencies, one of which is included in the above mentioned sanctions and not allowed travel to the US.
* The Gasleys, a tanker carrying Russian LPG, docked in Boston and unloaded its cargo recently. Russia’s gas and oil industry is currently under sanctions, or is supposed to be at any rate.
* The Nunes memo and the Republican efforts to discredit the FBI and other intelligence services as a way to slow or stop Robert Mueller’s investigation has weakened the trust between Congress and the intelligence community, and has shown sources that their identities may not be protected.
* On April 7, 2017, the Trump administration launched a cruise missile strike against Shayrat airbase in Syria. The US launched 58 cruise missiles at the base, yet the base was operational within two days of the attack. Why? Because Trump had warned the Russians about the attack, so most of the planes, etc. had been moved before the missiles were even launched.

Moreover, words in the State of the Union address called for extending presidential powers and other non-restrictive measures which, in effect, abolish the Rule of Law for the President and his Administration’s activities.

America is now teetering on the balance between being ruled, not governed; in complete spineless fear, the GOP clenches their power at the cost of democracy and nation, shredding the ideals of the Constitution as fast as this administration has shed regulations protecting the American people, environment, public lands and diverse society.

At the fulcrum, we wait for something – anything – to prevent further decay of the country once known as a shining example of democracy.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an independent researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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