The American Israel Public Affairs Committee kicked off its annual policy conference in Washington this morning. A total of 32 members of Congress are scheduled to speak (full list below). One of them is Senator Ben Cardin, who this past Thursday, March 23, 2017–just three days before the conference was set to begin–introduced a bill in the Senate, S.720, designed apparently to deny his Maryland constituents the right to boycott Israel.
Other scheduled speakers are Vice President Mike Pence, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, leader of Israel’s far right Jewish Home Party, Eli Ben-Dahan, another member of the Jewish Home Party who once said that Palestinians “are like animals, they are not human”, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, current Israeli ambassador to the US, Paul Kagame, who heads an authoritarian government in Rwanda that has assassinated opposition figures, and Stephen Harper, the former prime minister of Canada.
“The two-state solution has been, and continues to be, the goal that we aspire to, and that will be a message we’ll continue to send through the conference,” says an AIPAC official quoted in the Jerusalem Post.
Really? Below you will find: a) a live stream of the AIPAC conference, b) the full letter of resignation by Rima Khalaf, the UN official who recently resigned rather than repudiate a report on Israeli apartheid, c) latest breaking news from Occupied Palestine, d) an interview with Jacob Rothschild, the current reigning member of the Rothschild family, regarding the letter known as the Balfour Declaration, and, e) much more.
Live stream of AIPAC conference…
Powerful Resignation Letter By UN’s Rima Khalaf About Removal of UN Apartheid Report
The following is the resignation letter by Rima Khalaf, executive secretary of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, in response to orders by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that the ESCWA withdraw a scholarly report finding Israel guilty of apartheid.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I have carefully considered your message conveyed through the Chef de Cabinet and assure you that at no point have I questioned your right to order the withdrawal of the report from our website or the fact that all of us working in the Secretariat are subject to the authority of its Secretary-General. Nor do I have any doubts regarding your commitment to human rights in general, or your firm position regarding the rights of the Palestinian people. I also understand the concerns that you have, particularly in these difficult times that leave you little choice.
I am not oblivious to the vicious attacks and threats the UN and you personally were subjected to from powerful Member States as a result of the publication of the ESCWA report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. I do not find it surprising that such Member States, who now have governments with little regard for international norms and values of human rights, will resort to intimidation when they find it hard to defend their unlawful policies and practices. It is only normal for criminals to pressure and attack those who advocate the cause of their victims. I cannot submit to such pressure.
Not by virtue of my being an international official, but simply by virtue of being a decent human being, I believe, like you, in the universal values and principles that have always been the driving force for good in human history, and on which this organization of ours, the United Nations is founded. Like you, I believe that discrimination against anyone due to their religion, skin color, sex or ethnic origin is unacceptable, and that such discrimination cannot be rendered acceptable by the calculations of political expediency or power politics. I also believe people should not only have the freedom to speak truth to power, but they have the duty to do so.
In the space of two months you have instructed me to withdraw two reports produced by ESCWA, not due to any fault found in the reports and probably not because you disagreed with their content, but due to the political pressure by member states who gravely violate the rights of the people of the region.
You have seen first hand that the people of this region are going through a period of suffering unparalleled in their modern history; and that the overwhelming flood of catastrophes today is the result of a stream of injustices that were either ignored, plastered over, or openly endorsed by powerful governments inside and outside the region. Those same governments are the ones pressuring you to silence the voice of truth and the call for justice represented in these reports.
Given the above, I cannot but stand by the findings of ESCWA’s report that Israel has established an apartheid regime that seeks the domination of one racial group over another. The evidence provided by this report drafted by renowned experts is overwhelming. Suffice it to say that none of those who attacked the report had a word to say about its content. I feel it my duty to shed light on the legally inadmissible and morally indefensible fact that an apartheid regime still exists in the 21st century rather than suppressing the evidence. In saying this I claim no moral superiority nor ownership of a more prescient vision. My position might be informed by a lifetime of experiencing the dire consequences of blocking peaceful channels to addressing people’s grievances in our region.
After giving the matter due consideration, I realized that I too have little choice. I cannot withdraw yet another well-researched, well-documented UN work on grave violations of human rights, yet I know that clear instructions by the Secretary-General will have to be implemented promptly. A dilemma that can only be resolved by my stepping down to allow someone else to deliver what I am unable to deliver in good conscience. I know that I have only two more weeks to serve; my resignation is therefore not intended for political pressure. It is simply because I feel it my duty towards the people we serve, towards the UN and towards myself, not to withdraw an honest testimony about an ongoing crime that is at the root of so much human suffering. Therefore, I hereby submit to you my resignation from the United Nations.
News from Occupied Palestine…
Israel Kills Three Palestinian Children in One Week
Maureen Clare Murphy
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian boy and critically injured three others in the central occupied West Bank on Thursday night, bringing to three the number of children killed by soldiers in the past week.
Video and photos appear to contradict Israel’s claims about the slaying of 17-year-old Muhammad al-Hattab, who was shot in the chest and shoulder.
Israeli forces in a military tower opened heavy fire on the car in which al-Hattab and the other youths were traveling, Palestinian media reported.
An Israeli army spokesperson told media that the youths had thrown firebombs towards a food stand near the Beit El settlement adjacent to the Jalazone refugee camp.
Soldiers in the Golani Brigade – whose fighters have incited the killing of Palestinians on social media and are suspected of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza – shot at the youths after they had exited the car next to the settlement, the army claimed.
“In response to the threat, Israeli forces in the area fired towards the suspects, and several hits were confirmed. The suspects then fled the scene,” according to an army spokesperson.
But the military’s assertion that the youths were shot outside the vehicle and managed to flee appeared to be contradicted by photos and video showing the driver’s seat of the car stained with blood, shattered windows and bullet marks on the vehicle’s exterior…
Israeli Authorities Quash Prison Memorial for Assassinated Hamas Member
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) –The Israel Prison Service (IPS) prevented Palestinian prisoners in Ktziot prison from organizing a mourning gathering for Mazen Fuqahaa, after the Shalit-deal prisoner and Hamas leader was killed in the Gaza Strip on Friday, in what Hamas has branded an assassination by Israel.
The Gaza-based prisoners’ rights group Muhjat al-Quds Foundation said in a statement that IPS authorities dispersed a gathering held to commemorate Fuqahaa, and also prevented prisoners from organizing any activity in solidarity with him, according to a letter from prisoners in the Negev-region prison.
The letter said prison authorities also placed Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoner Jumaa Abdullah al-Tayih in solitary confinement, along with three other unidentified Hamas-affiliated prisoners.
IPS also tried to move all Hamas and Islamic Jihad affiliated prisoners from Section 5 to Section 22 of the prison, “but they refused to move,” according to the statement.
IPS authorities have regularly used raids, punitive solitary confinement, confiscation of personal belongings, and forcible prison transfers to suppress resistance among Palestinian prisoners.
Interview with Baron Jacob Rothschild
“To advance the cause of the Zionist movement…”
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which the British government committed itself to support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Britain was the colonial occupying power at the time. It had no right to give away Palestine to Zionist settlers. But Britain was fighting World War I at the time and was dependent upon global bankers to continue the war effort.
List of US Congress members scheduled to speak at AIPAC
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN)
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Sen James Lankford (R-OK)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Democratic Leader in the House
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX)
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
Rep. Michael D. Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Speaker of the House
Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)
More News from Palestine…
Israeli Army Stages Five-Day Drills Across West Bank
A round of five-day military maneuvers is expected to be carried out by the Israeli occupation army across the West Bank as of Sunday.
According to the Israel Hayom newspaper, the military drills are to kick off on Sunday and be wrapped up on Thursday.
An Israeli army spokesman said the maneuvers make part of a preplanned scheme allegedly intended to boost the army’s vigilance and preparedness for anticipated anti-occupation attacks.
For the Palestinians, particularly children, Israeli military drills across the occupied territories represent a nightmarish episode marked by around-the-clock sounds of bullet fire, blasts, and outcries.
Hebron School Girls Denied Entry to Jerusalem Despite Having Permits
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces prevented Palestinian students from the Umm Salma primary school for girls in the village of Yatta, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, from entering Jerusalem for a school visit on Thursday, despite them having Israeli permits, locals told Ma’an.
The director of education in Yatta, Khalid Abu Sharar, condemned the move, saying it was part of Israel’s “vicious campaign against Palestinian students and education, aiming to separate Palestinian students from the holy city.”
Head of public relations for education in Yatta Jibril al-Bababsa also condemned the move, noting that the students were all 12-year-old girls.
Poppies of Compassion
Deep red, like drops of blood of the martyr
Like the scent of his perfume as he pays his farewell
Like silk stitches in the velvet dress of his mother, wet by tears
Like the chants of his ascending soul, to paradise
Where awe and tranquility dwell
Surrounded with wings of angels
Passionately racing the wind
Eager to meet the face of the Beloved
Talk by Grant Smith…
This is a talk by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, or IRmep, given at the Israel Lobby and American Policy conference that was held last Friday in Washington. The conference has become an annual event, held usually immediately before the AIPAC conference.
Jews Protesting against AIPAC…
Moral Failure at the United Nations
March 24, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – On 15 March 2017 the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report on Israeli practices and policies toward the Palestinians. Using international law as its comparative criterion, the report came to a “definitive conclusion” that “Israel is guilty of Apartheid practices.” The term Apartheid was not used in the report merely in a “pejorative” way. It was used as a descriptor of fact based on the evidence and the accepted legal meaning of the term.
Such was the immediate uproar from the United States and Israel that U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in a moment of moral failure, ordered the report’s withdrawal. The head of ESCWA, the Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf, decided that she could not, in good conscience, do so and so tendered her resigation.
The initial New York Times coverage of the incident paid little attention to the accuracy of the report, an approach which, if pursued, would have at least educated the Times’ readers as to the real conditions of Palestinians under Israeli domination. Instead it called the report, and those involved in producing it, into question. For instance, the NYT told us that “the report provoked outrage from Israel and the United States.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, was quoted as declaring that, “when someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N. it is appropriate that the person resign.” At no point in the NYT story was it noted that Ms Haley’s charge that the report was false, was itself false. Other coverage by the NYT improved only slightly.
The NYT did pay attention to the fact that, among the authors of the report, was former U.N. human rights investigator Richard Falk. Falk served six years as U.N. Spacial Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories. According to the NYT, his presence had to “gall[ed] many Israeli supporters who regard him as an anti-Semite.” There is something troubling about a newspaper that claims to represent the epitome of professional journalism reporting such slurs without properly evaluating them. Richard Falk, who is Jewish, has an impeccable record of both academic achievement and public service. His reputation for honesty and dedication to the cause of human rights exemplifies the best practice of Jewish values. Thus, he has every right to say that “I have been smeared in this effort to discredit the report” – a study which “tries its best to look at the evidence and analyze the applicable law in a professional manner.”
An objective consideration of Israel’s behavior makes it hard to escape the brutal reality of its officially condoned practices.
On 17 March 2017, at the same time as the forced withdrawal of the ESCWA report, the U.S. State Department released a report on “grave violations against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation.” This was part of the department’s annual “country reports on human rights practices.” Among the problems cited were Israel’s practice of unlawful detention, coerced confessions and excessive use of force, including torture and killings.
Usually these annual human rights reports are made public by the Secretary of State. This year Rex Tillerson, who presently holds the office, was nowhere in sight. And, of course, President Trump failed to issue any of his characteristic tweets in reference to the Israel’s barbaric behavior.
Earlier, on 8 February 2017, it was reported that “Israel has banned anesthesia gas from entering the Gaza Strip.” There is a current backlog of some 200 patients in Gaza requiring surgical care, and some will die due to Israel’s ban.
A week later, on 14 February 2017, it was reported that Israeli officials were blackmailing Palestinian patients seeking permission to enter Israel for necessary medical treatment. A 17-year-old Gazan boy who suffered from congenital heart disease and needed a heart valve replacement “was explicitly told that in order to [leave the Gaza Strip and] have his operation, he would have to cooperate with the security forces and spy for Israel.” He refused and subsequently died. This is not a new or unusual tactic for the Israelis.
Blackmail All Around
The moral failure at the U.N., represented by the withdrawal of the ESCWA report, is the result of Secretary General Guterres’s decision to acquiesce in a denial of reality – the reality of Israel’s practice of Apartheid.
On the other hand, it probably also stems from Guterres’s acceptance of the reality of U.S. financial leverage along with the apparent threat to bankrupt the United Nations. This is, of course, a form of blackmail. Significantly, U.S. use of its financial clout at the U.N. mimics the same practice by the Zionist lobby in the halls of Congress.
Obviously the United Nations, to say nothing of U.S. politicians, needs alternate sources of income. My wife Janet once suggested that the UN be awarded the right to exploit and profit from all undersea resources. Not a bad idea. Likewise, U.S. politicians should agree to, or be forced to rely upon, government-based campaign funding rather than be pressed into putting themselves up for sale.
However, such changes do not appear imminent. As it stands now, reality in Palestine is what the Americans and Israelis say it is because politicians and international leaders literally can’t afford to challenge their corrupted views.
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history. http://www.tothepointanalyses.com
Regional, World War Possible as Israel Continues to Provoke Full Scale Confrontation with Syria
The war in Syria is heating up yet again with signs that the conflict may soon be about to take greater international dimensions. This is all due to greater Israeli participation and aggression in Syria against the Syrian military and on the behalf of terrorist organizations fighting against the Syrian government. The questions that remain, however, are whether or not the Israelis are willing to tempt the resolve of the anti-terrorist coalition of Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia and how steadfast that resolve of those powers might actually be.
In the past week, we have seen an escalation in the Syrian conflict the likes of which we have not seen in decades in terms of Israeli-Syrian tensions as well as the potential for a clash of nuclear world powers in the Middle East as a combat theatre
After a mobilization of U.S. troops near Manbij – designed to prevent the Syrian military from retaking the city and as a means to stop combat between Turkish and Kurdish forces – Israel launched an air attack on Syrian targets near Palmyra, the Zionist settler state’s furthest penetration into Syria yet. Israel claimed it was bombing an Iranian-Hezbollah weapons convoy while the Syrian government claimed Israel had targeted Syrian military positions who were in the process of combating ISIS. Regardless, Israel clearly violated international law and the concept of national sovereignty.
This time, however, Israel was not able to bomb and bail as they have done eleven times in the past as Syrian air defense systems were mobilized and an Israeli jet shot down as a result. This shoot down was apparently launched after the Syrian military informed the Russian military of its intention to shoot the Israeli planes down. It is assumed that the Russians did not object to the use of force.
Indeed, Russian Marines were only a few kilometers away from where the Syrian military was attacked. After the attack, the Russian government summoned the Israeli Ambassador, Gary Koren, to demand an explanation for the operation. This, in and of itself, is an unprecedented event.
Very soon after the shoot down, both Syria and Israel engaged in a war of words and threats regarding any future incidents. For instance, Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stated that, “The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation.”
Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari also responded to the incident with statements of his own.
“Putin sent a clear message,” he said. “The fact is that the Israeli ambassador [to Russia] was summoned for a conversation only a day after he submitted his credentials [to the Russian Foreign Ministry last Thursday], and was told categorically that this game is over.”
Jaafari pointed out that the attack has changed the rules of the game and that Syria will not sit idly by while Israel attacks its forces.
But, on Sunday, a new incident arose with the Israelis launching an airstrike in Quneitra, located in the Golan Heights. Syrian news media reported the incident first, saying that a militia commander had been killed in the strike. Lebanese television station, al-Mayadeen identified the man killed as Yasser Assayed, member of the National Defense Militia. He was a commander of the Golan Brigade, a Druze militia fighting alongside the Syrian military against terrorists. The assassination was allegedly conducted by virtue of an unmanned Israeli drone.
On March 19-20, Israel launched more airstrikes on the Lebanese-Syria border, supposedly targeting a Hezbollah weapons supply convoy.
On Monday, March 20, an Israeli drone was shot down over the Golan area allegedly by Syrian aerial defense systems. Hezbollah paraded pictures of the downed drone on its social media pages as proof of the shoot down, forcing Israel to admit that the UAV had indeed been brought down.
And the Israelis have yet to stop their aggression. In fact, despite having been warned by the Syrian government and having apparently angered Russia over the initial airstrikes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doubling down on the perceived Israeli right to bomb anyone anywhere anytime without consequences.
“If there is feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue,” said Netanyahu during his visit to China. He added that he informed President Putin of Israel’s intentions.
On Wednesday, March 22, Israel launched more airstrikes deeper inside Syrian territory, targeting Syrian army posts near the capitol, Damascus. This marks the fourth Israeli airstrike operation in Syria within one week.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Russia is relying on Israel to abide by the agreements that were established during Netanyahu’s official state visit to Russia earlier in March where the two men held extensive talks regarding the Syrian crisis.
“We will judge not by their statements, but by their actions, to what extent our Israeli partners are sticking to these agreements,” said Lavrov.
Syrian President Assad told Russian MPs visiting Syrian that he is counting on Russia to do something about any further Israeli attacks on Syria and to assist Syria in avoiding a real full-scale war with Israel.
Israel has been regularly bombing Syria over the last decade with increasing attacks taking place since the Western-backed destabilization beginning in 2011. 2017, however, have seen the biggest concentration of attacks thus far.
But while the conflict between Syria and Israel heats up, the ever-present suicidal American readiness to fight and die to the last American to preserve Israel also comes into play. In the past, the United States, due to geopolitical interests at vastly higher levels than that of the Oval Office, the immense sums of money use to purchase members of congress, and the extraordinary religious brainwashing of many American Christians, the United States is always poised to leap into World War Three to protect the “little Jewish Ulster” and biggest destabilizing factor in the Middle East today.
Assad’s comments and Israel’s behavior reveals that a full-scale war is bubbling just below the surface, perhaps only hours away. Comments coming from a number of Israeli officials only a week ago has made it clear that Israel would naturally draw Hezbollah into such a war as well, perhaps involving Iran if for no other reason than the fact that Iran is the principal patron of the militia group. The question would then become whether or not Russia will simply allow Israel to undo all of the anti-terrorist work it has undertaken since it became involved militarily in Syria. The United States is another wild card, having instigated the entire crisis and having been an unwavering goon for Israel since the settler state’s beginnings. At this point, we would be witnessing the steep drop off to not only regional war but also potentially a world war of unimaginable proportions.
Hopefully, for the sake of the world, Russia will be able to talk Netanyahu from leading the world into conflagration but, given the Israeli penchant for being unreasonable, we at least hope that the United States will not sacrifice itself to become further embroiled in the Syrian conflict on Israel’s behalf.