Israel Apartheid Showcased In Editorial Cartoons

Not for the first time does this blog speak to the issue of proportionality when it comes to the massive airstrikes unleashed by Israel. The pounding of Gaza, such a confined area, packed with poorly protected people has led to a death toll, as reported this morning in a front-page story in The New York Times, 20 times as high as that caused by Hamas. In Gaza over 1,200 people have been injured. Nearly 200 have been killed.

The international press has reported in-depth on the carnage in this latest decades-long struggle. The editorial cartoonists have perhaps caught the moment best with the following journalism. The drawings are determined to make the point. You know you have an international conscience if these hit a nerve. Taking land in war and through an immoral settlement policy is not a good way to win respect or peace.

Same Worn Language As Biden Makes Terrible Statement Regarding Israeli Actions

Israel continues to make for casualties and destruction in the Middle East. If the headlines over the years were not about warring for more land then they were about the undermining of rights and dignity of Palestinians. All this has been going on so long that as a teenager I was reading and learning of these actions in history classes. That was over four decades ago!

This morning I awoke to learn of the latest over-reach and lack of proportionality from Israel.

The high-rise housing the AP and other media outlets were bombed by Israeli military.

About an hour after that nation’s military ordered people to evacuate a bombing strike destroyed the building housing the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices. Must try to stop those reporters from showing the horror of the Israeli military in Gaza!

I would mention that the building also housed residential apartments, but that would not be news. Israeli military efforts aimed at the average person in Gaza, after all, is a policy more than an exception. Meanwhile a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a hard-right corrupt politician told NPR that Hamas military intelligence used the building, but provided “no evidence to back the claim,” according to NPR reporter Daniel Estrin.

Well of course there was no evidence, just as there was no evidence in 1939 of atrocities in western Polish towns concerning Germans being victimized. But Hitler still created the mania for press coverage and that narrative resulted in his massive invasion. While it is imperative for the press to push hard upon the events now taking place in Gaza and demand facts, history shows that the worst elements will always obfuscate and lie.

This is why it is imperative for President Joe Biden to step away from the same language and pabulum used by other administrations when Israel uses its military hardware supplied by the United States in their efforts to strike at humanity. It is essential that Biden not get caught up in the same downward spiral that results when failure to stand with Palestinians makes the White House nothing more than an Israeli puppet.

But that did not happen.

This week Biden “condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” and also “conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians.”

To say that Israel has a right to protect itself is like saying the baboonish bully on the playground has the same right after taking the lunches of other kids. At least 115 Palestinians, including 27 children, and eight Israelis have been killed, officials on both sides have stated. That statement was being made as the Israeli military bombardment of the impoverished Gaza Strip continued.

What I found insulting from the statement offered by the White House this week was the lack of even a mention of Sheikh Jarrah. The neighborhood was not lost on this blog.

The headlines now are catching the attention of many readers but the ills that have been caused from years of tyranny from Israel towards Palestinians also need noting. Israeli restrictions on building permits in East Jerusalem, as just one clear example, have forced Palestinian residents to either leave the city–which they should not need to do– or to build illegal housing and risk demolition.

The fight over Sheikh Jarrah matters as East Jerusalem must never be allowed to be controlled by only Jewish residents. After all, that land is Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967.  Palestinians know that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state. In addition, for those who claim to honor laws and international norms let them start by enforcing UN Resolution 242 stating Israel must withdraw from occupied lands.

For the Biden Administration to join forces with the Zionists who have undermined the rule of law and human decency, again, is nothing short of a dark day for the Palestinians.

And so it goes.

Israel Demonstrates Lack Of Character in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood

My very first post on this blog in July 2007 addressed a Middle East problem, the larger aspect of it that has not been resolved in these 14 years. The recent international headlines testify to that fact. Then it concerned a soldier captured in Israel and taken to Gaza, while now the tensions are rightfully high as Israeli efforts to remove Palestinians from strategic parts of Jerusalem continue.

In 2007 I wrote that Israel through its actions only invites more anger and resentment by Arabs pointedly stating, the harsh reality is that at some point soon America needs to have a stern conversation with Israel.

Israel desires to have complete Jewish control over East Jerusalem. That is, obviously, unacceptable.

Most newspaper readers are now aware of a single Jerusalem neighborhood that is central to the larger thrust by the current right-wing movement in Israel to again marginalize and damage the lives of Palestinians. As the news was being reported late this afternoon Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, had fired rockets at Jerusalem. Then Israeli airstrikes left at least 20 Palestinians, including nine children, dead.

That offense followed Israeli soldiers raiding and actually launching grenades inside the Aqsa mosque. Let me put that in the most basic and clear context I can. That site is the Islamic world’s equivalent to the Vatican. That is the level of behavior that Israel now engages in, and somehow think the world will accept.

One word, again, sums up the actions by Israel.

Proportionality.

And with that word comes mine from over a decade ago. Israel through its actions only invites more anger and resentment by Arabs.

What Israeli government officials are allowing to happen in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem is appalling, immoral, heartless, soulless, and without anything other than pure meanness as a guiding force. Homes, families, children, pets, lives, aspirations, and plans for the future are being tossed aside as Jewish residents eye the homes and property of Palestinians. Hmmm…what does that sound like from the pages of history? Is it any wonder that many support Hamas and their threats to respond to Israeli provocations in Jerusalem?

The headlines now are catching the attention of many readers but the ills that have been caused from years of tyranny from Israel towards Palestinians also need noting. Israeli restrictions on building permits in East Jerusalem, as just one clear example, have forced Palestinian residents to either leave the city–which they should not need to do– or to build illegal housing and risk demolition.  See, I do not think that is how a ‘Godly ordained” country should act.

The Israeli occupation has been a decades-long cancer that has crippled and severely damaged the long-term interests of the rightful residents of the land–the Palestinians. To remedy, in part the behavior of the right-wing government in Israel there should be a severe cutting in the US taxpayer funding of the regime. While that will not happen due to the control of the Israeli lobby, the truth remains that nation has been a constant ache to everyone since 1967 and their wars aimed to take over lands they did not own.

That source of trouble is now front and center as it inflicts damage on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The world stands with the men, women, and children who live there. And should be able to continue to do so.

And so it goes.

‘Roadmap’ In Middle East Is Another Stunning Injustice For Palestinians

It was a most bizarre scene which played out in Washington on Tuesday.  And given what we have witnessed in Washington over the past weeks that is saying a lot.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is under indictment, was beaming alongside Donald Trump, who is undergoing an impeachment trial, as they both gleefully threw Palestinians under the bus in the Middle East.  The two legal outcasts were so proud of an idea that would allow for Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel while relegating the Palestinian capital to a suburb.  It is nothing short of obscene.

I fully grasp the mouth-breathers in the Trump base have no scintilla of background about the scope of the issue at hand.  For the rest, we are aware that what has been proposed upends 60 years of bipartisan support for a negotiated process between Israelis and Palestinians, in which both make concessions and land swaps that would define the lines of a new map.  To sweep in a plan based on Jewish zeal, being pushed by Netanyahu to an under-educated and unstable person sitting in the Oval Office, is perhaps the most sickening blow towards the Palestinians since the creation of Isreal.  Before that the Balfour Agreement.

The plan is simply repulsive.  For instance, gerrymandering is at play in a way that makes what happens in the drawing of political lines in the U.S. seem like children’s play.  (Redistricting is a topic this blog has long been concerned about.)  The plan devised by the two felons-to-be would require the construction of a giant tunnel across Israel to connect two areas of Palestinian control.   Simply a most unforgivable proposal.

Neither of the international jokes who stood side-by-side Tuesday seemed at all aware that permanently legitimizing the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank is in clear violation of international law.  Since they both have evaded laws of many kinds in both their countries what does international ones mean?

Israel has stolen land again and again.  Their ruthless policy is the reason they face so much scorn on the world stage.  The fact that too many Jews have moved to Israel that land is scarce must not be the reason for stealing yet more land.   The creation of Israel was a decision made after emotional baggage from World War II needed to be dealt with.  I get that part of it, and understand it.  But the actual creation of this state in the Middle East, while undercutting Palestinians, was always going to be the seed of hatred and tensions.  Getting deeper into the bed with the Israeli governments over the many years has not made it any better.

I must say, as one who can trace his genealogy back to Cherokee Chief John Ross at the time of the Trail of Tears, that this whole sad episode is reminiscent of the treaties in this nation from the 19th century.  Power brokers who steal land, and push others aside.  Just as the removal of Native Americans was a mistake, so was the creation of Isreal.

We see that truth with each passing decade.

Great News: Young Man Starts First Day At Harvard, Welcome Ismail Ajjawi

Ismail-Ajjawi

When I read last week that Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student was denied entry to the United States, it made me sad.  We should always be in the corner of those who seek to better themselves with the power of education.  We should always be on the side of those who know the value of an education.

Today I read this young man, just 17 years of age, did get past the needless hurdles and ignorant blockages and was able to start the first day of classes at Harvard.

We all should be pleased.

Ajjawi landed at Logan International Airport in Boston on Aug. 23 and was turned back after immigration officials objected to his friends’ social media posts.  There is reason to be concerned and troubled on free speech grounds for simply espousing views on social media.  That is certainly one part of this story.  In the end, however, the United States Embassy in Beirut reviewed his case and reissued a visa.

Harvard now has another eager mind on campus.  But let us not lose sight that at the center of this story are the needless obstacles put in place by the Trump administration making it more arduous for foreign students and scholars to study in the United States.

This world needs more bright minds and curious-oriented people who seek facts and truth so to lead us into the future.  Alienating those who would otherwise be inclined to form a favorable impression of American society and be educated in our classrooms sends a most damaging perception around the world.

I am glad to welcome Ismail Ajjawi to America.  Study and learn.   And have fun, too.

Wretched Moves By Netanyahu Will Kill Palestinians For Hopes Of Electoral Success

It must be election season in Israel as the nation is about to use their military on poor Palestinians.

Israel claims that Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, was responsible for a rocket launched overnight that destroyed a private home in a farming community.  What did, or did not happen, is not clear.

What is clear is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a forceful response, using his strident tone to show strength as he maneuvers for an election only two weeks away.  He is even showing his ‘resolve’ by cutting short his US visit after meeting with Donald Trump.  This morning I read in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, that the military alerted some reservists to prepare to be drafted in the event of a significant escalation.  Mind you, that is the first time in years that the army has taken that move.  Netanyahu must really be wary of the electors this cycle!

What many fear, of course, is the deranged military moves may indicate that the Israeli army is gearing up for a ground incursion into Gaza.  The ones who will be most hurt are the poor and young Palestinians.

The polls in Israel show Netanyahu’s party trailing a new political alliance, the moderate Kahol Lavan (“Blue and White”) party, in part because Netanyahu is facing indictment on corruption charges. To secure a victory Netanyahu has proven he will go to any ends to win–even using the Golan Heights, captured from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War, as a tool.  There is no way to support the reckless candidate while he shows such disregard for international norms that hold permanently acquiring territory through war is illegitimate, or using military might against poor populations which is reprehensible.

Just another black eye for Zionists.

Another Slam At Palestinians With Pro-Israel Bias

The funniest line from the White House on Monday was when spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated. “We are as committed today as we ever have been to the peace process.”

Or maybe that was the most honest statement. (Depends what words one emphasizes.)

Because from the very start the Trump Administration has been in the hip-pocket of Israel and makes every effort possible to undermine the Palestinians.  The recent actions are very much in line with the desires of Zionists.

The Trump White House closed the PLO office in Washington on Rosh Hashana. There is no way the move will not–and should not–inflame this administration’s bitter relations with Palestinians.

Those who know and care about history–which would then exclude Trump–know that for decades, even during times of regional strife and when U.S.-Israeli ties were at their strongest, Washington had tried to position itself as a neutral party in the Mideast conflict.  We had over half a century been willing to call out both sides when they took moves seen as contrary to the pursuit of peace.

Let us not forget that several U.S. presidents, from both parties, made concerted efforts to broker a peace accord.  Those efforts did not work, but the two-state solution envisioned an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, with the boundaries negotiated in talks between the parties.

The U.S. does not currently recognize the Palestinian territories as an independent state, though the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in 2012 to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.”

The backwards and self-defeating move by the Trump administration of closing the PLO mission will–and should–stiffen the Palestinians’ opposition to anything the Trump team thinks they can propose regarding peace in the region.   There is a clear pro-Israel bias and that not only hurts the Palestinians but also the United States.

Our role in the world as a fair and objective arbiter between clashing parties has taken a serious hit.  Just one more example, added to a growing list of reasons, of the undermining of our stature on the world stage during the Trump Administration.

Which is exactly what those who wish to see us pull from our international responsibilities desire.

President Carter Correct: United States Wrong To Move Embassy To Jerusalem

European foreign ministries were among many around the world who correctly slammed the United States decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.   The move is simply counter to international law, and it will create a more heightened atmosphere where violence can be expected, and that outrage now can be understood when it does occur.   Furthermore, no one should feel concerned for whatever blow back Israel receives as we should know this embassy move to be wrong and illegal.

The Israeli government claims Jerusalem as its capital, but the Palestinian National Authority considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel since the Six Day War in 1967.  Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital in the future Palestinian state.

For my birthday in 2006 James bought me Palestine; Peace not Apartheid written by President Jimmy Carter. It is one of the best quick reads on a region that still seeks a way forward.  As Carter explains a two-state solution is self-evident, and the role for the U.S. as mediator is the only one that will work.

Today the U.S. removed itself as a credible objective force in the Palestinian dispute.  It did so by undermining the most serious part of any final agreement between Palestinians and Israel–that being the final status of Jerusalem.

The part of the world community which still is based on law knows–as Carter does–that UN Resolution 242 stating Israel must withdraw from occupied lands is one that should be adhered to and not placed aside.  For the U.S. to join forces with the Zionists who have undermined the rule of law and decency is nothing short of a dark day for the history books.

No one wants violence in the Middle East–but do the same ones who espouse peace not understand that Israel has confiscated and subjected a people for decades which breeds a resentment that will have to be reckoned with?  Again.