Вторник, 14 Август 2018 21:01

The cost of Middle East wars, $11 trillion and rising

Military conflicts have caused huge death toll and enormous economic, military, environmental, social and political losses for Arabs since 1948.

With more than 2 million death toll, Arab economies, mainly Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan and North Africa countries have lost up to $11 trillion since 1948. The first losses were a result of Arab-Israeli wars, the second was the eight-year Iran-Iraq war and the third was the Arab Spring.

Such conflicts have affected not only the countries per se but rather they have extended to neighboring countries, turning the entire region into a flaming ball, destructing trade, industry, tourism, and investment. This has led to massive exodus of citizens from rural areas to cities, resulting in ecological predicaments, desertification and drought.

For many years, the Middle East has been the scene of conflict, the worst conflicts in the world. This has been accompanied by arms race to purchase weapons.

That has been the case with the Middle East, where many countries sought to acquire the state-of-the art weaponry. Some recent studies estimated military spending in the Middle East for 2017 at $120 billion, an increase of 6 percent over 2016. Such papers indicate that the region accounts for an increase in the volume of military spending by 6 percent.

Balance of power

The balance of power in international politics is a highly complex and multifaceted concept, but there is an agreement on the broad lines theoretically and practically in the course of events. At present, the world has generally complex or multipolar balances; simple or binary poises.

The composite balance depends on multiple poles in each party, including states and blocs as it is dominated by the logic of competition and deterrence, and often avoids war, leading to stagnation and stability.

The current international conflict, although oriented toward a bilateral balance, is flexible due to absence of argumentative ideological factors

– Shehab Al-Makahleh

The simple balance is the most precarious as the blocs and alliances clash sharply leading to war and the period of stability is an impermanent period, which is the preparation for war and a test of how powerful such an alliance is.

Since the conflict is between two main blocs, each of which is controlled by a major nucleus state that makes the conflict look like an encounter between two major states. The same applies to regional balances but a regional power plays a dual role: an internal in the region and an external in international conflicts, where international engagements and developments depend on regional wars and balances.

Regional conflict for international wars

Given the gravity of major world wars because of nuclear deterrence, regional confrontations are the direct alternative, with each bloc supporting its allies in the region to gain a foothold and increase balance internationally.

The characteristics and nature of equilibrium are divided into rigid and elastic, where the rigid expresses a balance between heterogeneous and contradictory blocs while the flexible expresses a balance between relatively homogenous clusters of civilization, culture and ideology.

This explains why the Middle East and poor countries are witnessing non-stop wars since early 20th century. Given the current international and regional situation, one can say that since the collapse of the Berlin Wall as a sign of the end of the Cold War and the transformation of the world into unipolarity, balances have been constantly being shaped to counterbalance this imbalanced status. International and regional alliances have been formed to counter the Western bloc led by the US.

Due to multiple factors, coalitions have until recently formed balances of pluralistic, flexible and resilient types. Despite US President Donald Trump’s policies against many countries, including his allies in the West, power balance is flexible because Russia tends to be a nucleus power as well at the international level within its own bloc, using regional allies.

The source of flexibility is that the ideological factors are no longer the same as before, and a war like the Second World War which broke out in 1939 was to counter Nazism-Fascism ideologies. The demise of the Soviet Union and the offense against the USSR have broken out because of communist ideologies.

Bilateral balance

Thus, the current international conflict, although oriented toward a bilateral balance, is flexible due to absence of argumentative ideological factors. The two camps: Russia and its orbit on one hand and the US and its orbit on the other are pragmatic, and this will avert the two blocs from getting involved in another world war. Thus, a regional war is much more likely to happen.

However, the risks for the Middle East region are quite vibrant. Unlike the international community which is pragmatic, the Mideast regional balance comes from furthering ideological cognitive calculations into existential, which would lead to war anytime where each of the two blocs tests its policies, diplomacy and weaponry.

For Israel to launch a war, this is impossible to target any country except Syria, Lebanon and Iran. However, this necessitates that Tel Aviv seizes a rare regional moment that the whole region is undergoing to act. This cannot be achieved without a political and media cover. Right now, we are witnessing these two covers for Israel more than before.

Any future war could sweep through the entire region and undermine regional and international interests for years to come. Besides, countless implications on the people of the Middle East are projected. However, the Mideast is still an area where the major international blocs are testing their policies and state-of-the-art weaponry regardless of any Middle Easterners’ reaps that meet their aspirations and ambitions.

Article published in Al Arabiya: https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/07/27/The-cost-of-Middle-East-wars-11-trillion-and-rising.html

Опубликовано в Tribune

On August 2, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters: “From our perspective, the situation is returning to how it was before the civil war, meaning there is a real address, someone responsible, and central rule.” This is rather noteworthy at this time that the Syrian front will be calmer. In other words, Israel prefers to see Syria return to pre-war status when the central government in Damascus was in full control before March 2011.

Such a statement is not void and is of utmost importance as it demonstrates that the plans or schemes to divide Syria into various provinces or federal states had gone with the wind. What Lieberman said and the Jordanian armed forces’ assistance to the Syrian Army in the Yarmouk Basin against Khaled bin Al-Walid, an ISIS affiliate, reveal a fact that both Jordan and Israel are back to pre-Syrian war era in terms of cooperation with the Syrian government regarding securing borders. However, the issue at stake is Idlib, a predicament to the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and China on one hand and Turkey and the militants in Idlib province on the other.

Turkey is hostile to the Syrian regime. Ankara has ethnic and regional aspirations in Syria. At present, the Turkish government is at odds with the West. The Turks have never forgotten that once they were part of the Byzantine Empire, the first Christian State, and the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, the coming era for Turkey will be an existential war. Therefore, the clash of the Turkish civilization with others is in parity with existentialism which is inevitable. This justifies why Ankara is pragmatic, depending on situational contradictions in Syria on one hand and American-Western interests on the other.

The formation of the “National Liberation Front” in Idlib, a group of opposition factions, formed by the Free Syrian Army backed by Turkey, aimed to fortify the Turkish stance because the number of fighters reached 100,000. This figure would create a major dilemma for the Syrian Army and its allies to free Idlib as plans have been set up to start the operation in September. Thus, the battle of Idlib will be the last in the Syrian conflict that determines the future not only for Syria, but also for Turkey as a new ally will join the battle: China, which has Uyghur fighters amongst those militants in Idlib.

The Chinese ambassador to Syria, Qi Qianjin, told a Syrian Arabic daily, few days ago that China will allegedly assist the Syrian Army in their upcoming battle in southwestern Idlib, and that the Chinese military is prepared to somehow take part in the upcoming Idlib offensive, especially because of the large presence of Uyghur fighters near Jisr Al-Shughour.

The Chinese ambassador to Syria, Qi Qianjin, told a Syrian Arabic daily, few days ago that China will allegedly assist the Syrian Army in their upcoming battle in southwestern Idlib, and that the Chinese military is prepared to somehow take part in the upcoming Idlib offensive, especially because of the large presence of Uyghur fighters near Jisr Al-Shughour

Shehab Al Makahleh

The ambassador elucidated: “The Chinese military has played an imperative role in protecting sovereignty, security and stability of China. At the same time, it (China) is seeking to take part in peacekeeping operations later on. At present, there is ongoing cooperation between Syria and China in combating terrorism. We also know that the war on terror is not only for the benefit of the Syrian people, but also for the Chinese people and the people of the world.”

That is an indication on the coming battle of Idlib where the Chinese army will be involved as China will not allow them back to their homeland as they are a high risk to Chinese national security.  

Chinese presence in Mideast via Syria  

The vigorous military interposition of the Chinese forces in Syria would be a major step forward towards a more ample participation of China in the Middle East and the world as a whole. China has refrained from taking part in military operations beyond its borders. Therefore, a military operation in Syria could open the door to more Chinese military engagements around the world. What Beijing fears most is the return of those Uyghur militants, members of the Turkestan Islamic Party, who are now in Idlib province to China where they can launch attacks against the Chinese government, seeking an independent state.

The Chinese ambassador’s statement demonstrates that China is paving the ground to send Chinese special operations forces (SOF) to actively take part in the forthcoming battle of Idlib to liquidate the Uyghur fighters amongst others. This Chinese bid will be of due concern to Turkey as the Turkish army cannot counter pressure from both Russia and China which both have huge economic and business transactions with Ankara. The Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan cannot lose them for a number of militants.
The Middle East has become the new playground for China strategically. With SOF arrival to the port of Tartous on the Syrian coast in order to participate in the coming battle in Idlib, such Chinese participation in Syria could lead to more competition between Washington and Beijing. The reason is that China has been deeply concerned about the large number of Chinese-born militants known as the “Turkmen” or “Uyghurs” movement who have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Today, with the arrival of two units of the Chinese (SOF), known as the Siberian and the Night Tigers, to fight the terrorist factions in the province, which is adjacent to Turkey, Beijing is seeking to fight those outside its territory for fear of their return to the region which is located in the territory known as Xinjiang as those pose an existential threat to the territorial integrity of China.

The number of Chinese militants fighting alongside terrorist groups in Syria is estimated at 5,000. Therefore, China’s participation in military operations against these militants is due to China’s own interests in Syria, not to mention the economic, political and security interests. The return of these Chinese fighters from Syria to China with their extremist and terrorist ideology means a great security and military threat to the Chinese economy and society. Moreover, China’s participation in the coming campaign against terrorists aims to protect its economic interests in Syria as China has invested more than $40 million in Syria’s infrastructure.

Few days ago, Ankara has prepared a document to discuss with the Russians and Chinese regarding the future of Idlib without going to war, fearing the spillover and the refugee influx to Turkey. The terms were not satisfactory to both Moscow and Beijing. This is conducive to the scenario of war which would end the dreams of Erdogan in Syria.

Article published in Al Arabiya: https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/08/10/The-new-Syria-amidst-conflicting-regional-international-interests.html

Опубликовано в Tribune
Суббота, 30 Июнь 2018 17:09

Dying in temporariness

Temporariness is a well-known Israeli procedure used with the Palestinians. The examples are many: Your presence in East Jerusalem for instance is considered to be temporary, and you will be defined as “ A Jordanian Citizen residing permanently in Israel”, or as a “ holder” of “Undefined” , or “ unclassified” status as it is new added in this year. 

Another example is the one related to Palestinians living in Area C of West Bank. Some of these were evacuated from the Negev in 1950’s. The Jordanian Government allowed them by then to reside in the so called “ Miri Land” in West Bank. 

Opposite to the Western concept of “ State land”, the “ Miri Land”, is part of the inherited Ottoman land law, which gives usufruct  rights to those who cultivate and use the land, including the right to inherent its use from one generation to other.

After 1967 occupation, Israel put it hands over all the Miri Lands in West Bank, and started to deal with them as “ State lands” disregarding as such the rights of the usufructs of these lands a generation after a generation since the 1948 Nakba. The Israeli High Court of Justice accepted such a definition , and Upon that the Bedouins of Al Khan Al Ahmar and others in the Jordan Valley and around Hebron began to face this claim that their presence in those lands is temporary and that they should be ready to leave them.

Yet a third example is from inside Israel of 1948. There, the Bedouins residency areas are considered temporary by the State of Israel, and therefore the Israeli authorities is seeking to evacuate them, the last example is Umm Al Hiran village which received an Israeli High Court decision of evacuation from the land of the ancestors in the last April. Besides it Al Araqeeb village is still struggling to stay in the place, by keeping building the “ illegal” village according to the Israeli law once and again after each demolition by the Israeli Aurhorities. These demolitions reached the number of 130 times till today. 

As such, the title of this column “ Daying in Temporariness”, refers to the fact that the Palestinian  spends his/her hall life in temporainess. In Such a life he/ she will need so creative ways of action in order to be able to stay in place, and/ or to manage the damage happening by decreasing its effects in case of the inability to get rid of it. In other words the policy of “ Temporariness”, include in it an integral component that make it impossible for the Palestinian to change it as much as the Israeli occupation and his legal structures continues. He/ She ( The Palestinian) has no option other than to find ways to maneuver in order to be able to continue existing till he/ she dies.

The Temporariness procedure is addressing both land and the human being and the link between them as well.

Starting with the Human being, the procedure allows for the punishment of the Palestinian, not because he/ she did something wrong, but because he/ She exists where he/ she is not supposed by Zionism to exist as Dr Adi Ofer indicated. As such one can understand why an angel like Razan Najjar the paramedic will be killed on the borders between Israel and Gaza, while practicing her paramedic services to the casualities. One can also understand why cruel violence and the heavy power of the Israeli army will be used against the Palestinian peaceful marches since 1967 till today. Other practices to understand in the light of this include also ( among others) the so called” Citizenship and residency procedures” used by Israel with the East Jerusalem Palestinians as mentioned above. 

In regard to the land, considering it as “ Eretz Israel” by the current Israeli Government and its colonial settlers, leads to the disconnection in their minds between the land and those who lived over it for very long centuries before the “ return of the Jews” as it is called beginning from the 19th century.

The result is then twofold: In one hand the land presence in the hands of the Palestinians is considered by this continous Zionism as temporary till the “ People of Israel” take it back. This is in one hand. 

In the second hand, the attachment and the connection between the human being and the land is considered to be also temporary. What follow this consideration are policies not only to takeover the Palestinian Land, but also others that makes the presence of the Palestinians in the whole country as “ illegal”. Here this “ illegality” is not limited to the East Jerusalem Palestinians, but it also include the area C Palestinians who are subject to evacuations from their lands, house demolition, and all the other procedures that the Palestinian Jerusalemites face. Finally the people in areas A and B are under so many restrictions that “ invites” them to leave the country. To be added as well the policies of temporariness that are  still practiced against the Palestinians inside Israel, and those on the opposite that do not acknowledge any right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. The logic of the concept is going in the direction of creating new refugees instead of solving the previous ones continuous plight since 1948.

In conclusion, these policies of temporariness, are just other indications of a settler colonial project that is still expanding on the expense of other, rather than indications to the willingness of this project to solve the problem with the other by recognizing as the indigenous rights of that other. In the case of Israel we still have a state in the service of the settler colonial project not a vice verca. As such it’s borders did not stop on 1948, but it keeps expanding and expanding. This include a lot of resulting doomsday scenarios that one can see, and can also expect worsening in the future.

Article published in Akhbar El Balad: http://www.akhbarelbalad.net/ar/1/6/4055/

Photo credit: EPA

Опубликовано в Tribune
“Agricultural Terrorism”, is a kind of “ concept” that one finds when looking at Channel Seven of the settler colonialists( Now on: The settlers), and at some websites of those settlers.
The alleged concept describes the Palestinian attacks against the Settlers agricultural lands by burning tires, igniting fires, and the so called “ Weaponized Kites” like those flying from Gaza to the South of Israel creating arsons there.
The most important is the “retaliation” proposed and practiced by the settlers, and their Government in Israel. In the South West Bank the settlers decided to “ retaliate” themselves in addition to what the Israeli Army is doing , and that is by uprooting Palestinian trees and venyards, and leaving leaflets and writings on the stones saying that these attacks are conducted in response to the so called” Agricultural Terrorism” of the Palestinians. Inside the colonial settlements committees for  “self Defence” against arsons and the other Palestinian attacks are created like in Gush Etzion. This brings back the 1988 discusion about if the settlers will be allowed by the State of Israel to run special patrols outside their colonial settlements. Today this is not a matter of discussion any more. The settlers are already attacking in different places in Palestine. These attacks are well documented over years by the UN Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Assistance to the Palestinian People( OCHA), and B’TSELEM and many other human rights organizations. What we are interested here instead is about the assumptions  behind such concepts and practices.
The Israeli Government is also “retaliating” by giving the settlers the right to carry arms “ to defend themselves”, and by all the punishment procedures used, the last among them  is the suggestion of the Minister of Home Security Gilad Erdan to target and kill those who run “Weaponized kites” from Gaza, due to his claim that they are terrorists. Days ago the Israeli Army military jets attacked a group of those kites runners inside Gaza. Also Israeli missiles attacked others.?. Air-jets and Missles against kites: A highly proportionate and balanced confrontation!.
Why the Palestinians will face two kinds of the so called “retaliation”. One by the settler colonial state, and the second by the Non- State Actor called the “ Settlers”?. Let us here notice also the convergence between the two. The settlers are not separate from the official level. They have ten Ministers in the Government, and they now represent the biggest block in the Knesset. Accordingly the 1980’s discusion about the possibility of the settlers to split from the state and establish their own “Judea and Samaria” State is not valid any more today. Why they should split while they have all the state in their hands?. 
Further than that there are groups among the settlers and the Israeli right wing who call today for the transformation  of the state of Israel from a county that combines some democratic aspects with its Jewishness, to a pure Jewish State( These are Like: Lehava, and Price Tag, Elad and others). So why to split if your project became about the transformation of the State as a whole?.
The above question, have connections with different issues in the theory of “ conflict resolution” and the world political practice, and finally the Palestinian practice since 1993.
In regard to the theory, the field of conflict resolution, tends to understand the context in Palestine and Israel as a one about two parties who both have equal responsibility to compromise,  calm down the “ conflict” and prevent it from escalating. This is obviously wrong, but it is also in the surface only. When one digs behind, he/ she will find the original commitment to establish Israel by Britain and the Evangelicals and the Puritans led by Cromwell since the seventeenth century. 
This commitment by the politicians and by the “ Bible Academics” created the process of establishing the National Home to the Jews in Palestine”, then allowing this National home security wise to create the Haganah for “Jewish Defense” in 1921, then the  “ Special Night Squads” in 1936 led by the British Orde Charles Wingate who was an evangelical by himself, and other security bodies were also established under the so called “the right of the Jewish National Homeland to defend itself against  the Palestinian attacks”. The name of the game before 1948 was: Take their land, make them angry and ourageous to the extent that they will initiate” Terrorist attacks”, then use your right to “ retaliate” under the so called formula of “ self Defense”. Very easy: Their Land will be appropriated, and then they are the responsible for what will happen to them because of their attacks, and because of their rejection to stay calm, and impotent, like any “ obedient boy”.
Yet, this is not all the story in the conceptual level, what follows is the description of the “ Conflict” here as a “ Low Intensity Conflict” . The criteria used here is the number of casualties in the conflict.Upon this criteria our conflict is included in the tale of the academic lists about “ conflicts”. But this calculation is misleading,  Since  the “ Conflict” here is about land theft and transfer of population ( Spaciocide) , rather than being about full physical genocides that are used on the way, but the main aspect will continue to be the spaciocide. This Spaciocide is probably more painful than the physical genocide, because the people and their country places, space, territory, landscape, and society are all erased.
So we have a big problem first with the theory and practice of this emerging field called as” conflict resolution”. A lot of qualitative academic work is badly needed to bridge this big gap in the conflict resolution literature. 
Second, what follows are the political practices. Today we witness the same process that was practiced before 1948: We take your land( This is the real “ Agricultural Terrorism”, and not the Palestinian response to the grabbing of their land), then we have the right of self defense and retaliation to your attacks called by us as being “ terrorist”. In the pre 1948 the Zionist Groups were  “ retaliating” while the British Mandate was giving the support and the protection. Today the settlers groups are covered and supported by the Israeli Government that represents them.
In Oslo the Palestinians were ploughed with the same formula with its root in the academia clarified above: They were told: leave the essential issue of land theft aside, leave the rights of the refugees aside, leave Jerusalem aside, and let us talk and negotiate to reach a peace agreement that will end hostilities, while the theft of land in West Bank and East Jerusalem continues during the negotiations, and while no progress is made to end the plight of the Palestinian refugees.
This process, allowed for the gradual seizure of West Bank and East Jerusalem territories a piece after a piece, reaching the current point of planning to annex area C as a first stage to Israel, accompanied with the language about settlers being the indigenous population while the Palestinians are the “ strangers” and the “ terrorists” who should pay the price of their wrongdoings. The Palestinians face the Israeli Army oppression, but also the settlers one, both claiming as being “retaliating” to the Palestinian “ terrorism”, while the basic fact was an still that the Palestinians are those who retaliate all the time against the aggression practiced against them and their land.
A path of change, is not an easy thing to do, but it is possible with patience, persistence and strong follow up. Besides struggling In the academic and the conceptual levels. It is required that instead of focusing solely on the top down internationalization through diplomacy, other option will need to focus on bottom up processes of comprehensive non violent struggle( This one also include the top down political and diplomatic one, but as inseparable part of it).
The first process create symbolic resolutions of support to Palestine that are combined with empty words of calling the “two sides to go back to negotiations”. These are like checks without a deposit, and they will be confronted by the fact of the Israeli society shift to clearer settler colonial positions than ever. 
The second process will be more successful if well planned and includes political, diplomatic, legal, economic, developmental, and other creative actions of resistance, and if it will be coordinated by a united Palestinian leadership, and the participation of all the Palestinians from West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Palestinians inside Israel and the Palestinian Refugees. International participation will be also required.
Such a process will create the pressure needed to make change in the world positions that will lead to a change in favor of Palestine, and not vice versa.
It is not an easy undertaking, but it is about the reallocation of Palestine anew in the global camp struggling for justice, liberation, and ethics- based politics. It is also about the readiness to pay the sacrifices required for its success. 

 

Опубликовано в Tribune
Воскресенье, 10 Июнь 2018 20:57

Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow

M.K. Bhadrakumar's article on Vitaliy Naumkin's interview to Izvestiya

In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known “Orientalist” scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, “Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn Moscow into a venue for such talks.”

Naumkin explains that Moscow has unique credentials to kickstart peace talks, since it is a veto-holding member of the UN Security Council with an obligation to pursue the implementation of relevant UN resolutions on Palestine and is also a member of the Middle East Quartet. Alas, US obduracy has stalled the Quartet, while Washington is stonewalling by casting its veto in the Security Council. He lamented that the US is hobnobbing with extreme right-wing elements in Israel who are not even representative of Israeli opinion.

The idea of Russia acting as a mediator in talks on the Palestinian problem dates back to the Soviet era. It’s been a non-starter due to the West’s dogged determination to keep the Soviets out of the strategic Middle East region. But although Cold War has ended, any Russian attempt to highlight the Palestine problem as the core issue in the Middle East will run into strong headwinds from Tel Aviv and Washington.

So, why is Naumkin, a top establishment pundit (who heads the Russian Academy of Science’s hallowed Institute of Oriental Studies), wading into the whirlpool? In a manner of speaking, he is actually using an “objective co-relative” to clarify the real state of play in the Russian-Israeli ties.

In the interview, Naumkin dispels any notion that Russia and Israel are in any “strategic alliance.” He prefers to call it a “normal trust-based relationship,” which enables the two countries to “fight terror together” and maintain excellent economic ties. Period. Quintessentially, as he puts it, the two countries “no longer see each other as enemies.”

Naumkin points out that Israel’s stance on Ukraine is helpful insofar as it refuses to join western sanctions against Russia, and, secondly, Israel is in harmony with Russia as regards attitudes toward World War II and fascism. But does it mean that Moscow and Tel Aviv have identical stance on everything under the sun? For heaven’s sake, no!

What makes Naumkin’s remarks very interesting is not only his subtlety of mind but that he belongs to the great Soviet tradition of scholar-diplomats who are on the frontline of Russian foreign policy. Quite obviously, Naumkin has marked some distance between Russia and Israel at a complicated juncture when the self-serving western narrative would be that the two countries have struck a deal at the highest level of leadership regarding the future of Syria, leaving Iran out in the cold.

Moscow feels that poison is being injected into Russia’s complex equations with Tehran and Damascus

Moscow feels that poison is being injected into Russia’s complex equations with Tehran and Damascus. Who else but Naumkin could provide the perfect antidote? The heart of the matter is that Russia has substantially improved relations with most countries in the Middle East in recent years after a decade of limited cooperation through the first decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian diplomacy has shaken off the Soviet-era ideological baggage and is highly pragmatic. Thus, although Saudi Arabia and the UAE significantly contributed to the bleeding of the Red Army in Afghanistan in the 1980s and had covertly fostered “jihadism” in Chechnya in the 1990s, the Kremlin today is eager to build relations with them. In fact, Saudi Arabia is Moscow’s strategic partner in the so-called “OPEC+ deal” aimed at stabilizing the world oil market.

Again, Qatar, which has been called the “Club Med for terrorists” and was a latent ally of Chechen rebels, is currently negotiating the purchase of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defence system.

Moscow’s diplomacy aims to convey the impression to its Middle Eastern interlocutors – be it Israel, Jordan, Iran or Saudi Arabia – that Russia keeps its end of a mutually beneficial bargain. But if anyone adds mystique to the bargain and elevates it to a Faustian deal, Moscow may be left with no option but to bring it down to terra firma.

Plainly put, Naumkin, (who, interestingly enough, also happens to be Russia’s advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura) knows perfectly well what Russia is attempting in southern Syria – namely, to eliminate the remaining strongholds of terrorist groups ensconced in that region bordering Jordan and Israel. Indeed, if Israel could persuade Washington to shut down the base in Al-Tanf (which makes no sense from a military point of view anyway), it will help the overall Russian efforts. On the other hand, Israel has no reason to worry, because Iran does not intend to participate in the liberation of the provinces of Daara and Quneitra that straddle the Golan Heights.

Besides, it is no secret that Russia has nothing to do with Iran’s policy of resistance against Israel. But then, to put two and two together to shout and dance in jubilation that Russia is muzzling Iran is completely unnecessary – and can turn out to be counterproductive. Of course, if anyone tries to create confusion, Moscow will clarify. That is what Naumkin has ably done.

Article published in Asia Times: http://www.atimes.com/top-russian-pundit-calls-for-palestine-talks-in-moscow/

Photo credit: Vesti.ru

 

Опубликовано в Interviews
Понедельник, 28 Май 2018 17:36

The theft of Palestine in action

The last two weeks developments were intensive in a way that included all the components of what was going on since the second half of the nineteenth century. The process of the displacement of the Palestinians, and the replacement of them by colonial settlers.

Colonial Settlement expansion wise, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics new report released in the 15th of May, showed that the number of settlers reached the number of 636,402 in the end of 2016, representing the percentage of 21,8 in comparison with each 100 Palestinian. In East Jerusalem 68.3 of its population is already settlers. Besides that there are a majority of settlers versus the Palestinian population in area which represent 64 percent of West Bank. This means that East Jerusalem and area C are already Judaized in regard to their population. While the 6,310,000 Palestinians calculated by the end of 2017 are condensed in the tiny Strip of Gaza, and the area A, and to lesser extent area B of West Bank both representing no more than 36 percent of West Bank. 

What will be the next step of the settler colonial project now on?

The trend is not for peace, but for more grabbing of land, and more settlement expansion. In the last two weeks the Israeli Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared the establishment of new 3900 settler units in West Bank. In Jerusalem 58 new units decided  for Gilo settlement , and 92 for Pisgat Zeev. More importantly the government decided a new plan of 2 billion shekels in the 13th of May aiming clearly this time to Israelize Jerusalem as opposite to the previous plans that were released on the name of sustaining security in the city as the Israeli Journalist Nir Hasson indicated( Haaret, 14/5). Moreover the Judaization of Bab Al Rahmeh Cemetey is still going on combined with a plan to create cable cars project going from the Mount of Olives to the Wailing Wall, accompanied by a full change of the landscape of the Old City of Jerusalem and its environs. 

 These examples of  settlement and Israelization processes are accompanied with laws and practices of displacement such as the law to confiscate the Jerusalem ID’s from any body who do not show loyalty to Israel( Hamas PLC members were the first to pay the price of this law), and the ongoing discussions for ousting Kufr Aqab and  Shufat Refugee Camp from Jerusalem aiming to decrease the Palestinian population from the city. Also there are the new decision of the Israeli Ministry of Justice to oblige the Palestinian Jerusalemites to register their houses and properties on their names. Failure to do so due to problems resulting from the Islamic inheritance system, or from the fact that many of the lands and properties are endowned will lead to confiscation of the House or the property. In the other side a legal coverage is on the way to annex the settlements of  Adumim and Givat Zeev and Gush Etzion to the city to increase the number of the Jews in it. Finally the incursions to Al Aqsa Mosque by the extremists of the “ Temple Mount” calling for the rebuilding of the Temple reached new number of 1410 in the 13th of May, which is called as “ The Jerusalem Day”. 

The displacement process is also ongoing in area C, for Instance the Israeli High Court approved in 22/5 the evacuation of Al Khan Al Ahmar Bedouins including 40 families, and destroying their houses and a school that serves more than 170 Bedouin pupils. This decision will allow for further expansion of the neighboring settlement of Maale Adumim. The Israeli Journalist Amira Hass wrote in the middle of the month in Haaretz about the two villages of Umm Al Jammal and Ein Helweh In the Jordan Valley, which the Government decided to ask the Israeli High Court to release an order for their evacuation with their 300 persons due to the justification that their houses are build without permits. New in this case was the claim of the Government that the law should be implemented equally for both the settlers and the Palestinians, and therefore demolition orders should not be limited to one party than the other. Further in area C other example is related to the village of Sosya close to Hebron that the government decided also to demolish and evacuate its 400 inhabitants. Also in Al Aqaba village close to Tobas a military’s decision was made to destroy 20 houses in the 27th of May, made few days after the release of a new military order that will make the process of demolition of constructions in area C faster and with less obstacles included. In Hebron 2, the neighborhoods of Salaymeh and Gheith Families were closed by gates in 14/5 which prevents them the right of direct access to Al - Ibrahimi Mosque in the city, in the meantime the nearby settlement of Tal Rmiedeh continues to expand over historical archeological sites.

These practices of displacement, are further accompanied by uprooting trees and vineyards. As examples: In Halhoul 500 vineyards were cut owned by Jibril Jahshan a week ago, and yesterday 700-800 vineyards were destroyed owned by Shukri Abu Rajab in East Hebron. In another example the settlers attacked in the 14th of May an initiative to plant trees in Turmos Ayya village close to Ramallah.  

In one hand the people in area C are uprooted, but in second hand their means of living are attacked and destroyed. Thirdly their symbols are under attack. For example carrying the Palestinian flag is not prohibited by the Israeli law, but the MK Ahmad Tibi was attacked harshly by the Police when he was carrying this flag during the demonstration of 14/5 close to the new location of the new American Embassy that was opened at that day. 

Further ahead, there is also the process of demonization as a fourth component . Look for instance to Avigdor Lieberman description of Hamas as a “ Bunch of Cannibals that treat their children as armaments”. Such a statement reminds of the well known attack made by the white settlers in the 16th Century against the Red Indians in “ Abya Yala” which was their original name of what became to be known later as America. This logic was followed by making Hamas responsible for the killings that the Israeli Army committed against the demonstrations of the “ Return Marches” in the borders of Gaza, in which the number of casualties reached around 123 killed and more than 13,000 injured since the Marches  started in the end of March this year, that all besides 50 who are in the status of coma in the hospitals . In the opposite no single Israeli was killed by these Marches demonstrators, and the Army used the massive force of 11 brigades, and jets shelling from the air against them. Besides that the demonization became comprehensive against all the Palestinians, for instance the demonstators in Haifa in the 18th of May were attacked as being loyal to Hamas and the director of Mosawah Center in Haifa Mr Jafar Farah got his leg broken after he was arrested by the Police. The High Court made again a legal coverage to the killings in Gaza when it decided in the 22nd of May that the killings conducted are “ part of the state of war that exists between Israel and Hamas”. Accordingly the court rejected two petitions for instructing a change in the firing orders by the Army.

Changing the landscape is a fifth component. After the displacement, the new comers who replace start the process of changing the landscape. In a former article here, we quoted Netanyahu speaking about “ dissolving the Countryside”. This is of course is conducted on the name of modernity and modernization.

Colonial settlers attacks is a sixth component. Like the attacks on Al Aqsa mentioned above, or the example of the “Price Tag” Group night attack in Shufat this month destroying partially 28 cars, and writing racist slogans. Many other settler attacks taking place around Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah areas can be also mentioned.

A seventh component is about what the Israeli Journalist “ Zvi Bar’ el” called as the “ Abolishing of the Nakba”( Haaretz, 15th of May”. This abolishement took place legally by the law that criminalize the “ celebration” of the Nakba, and now by the new decisions in the making to prevent taking pictures of the soldiers while they are oppressing or killing Palestinians subject to 5 years imprisonment to those who take these pictures. Haaretz called this new decision in the making as “ Leor Azaria law”, referring to the soldier who killed the Palestinian Abdel Fattah Al Sharif while he was injured and can do nothing. Azaria was sentenced for 18 months, which was decreased to 14 months, then he was released after he spent nine months only in the prison. The abolishing of the Nakaba is also genocidal to the memory. The aim is to prohibit the people their right to remember.

Where we are heading to with these politics of theft of land, changing its landscape (Spacio-Cide as it was called by Sari Hanafi), demonizing the other and the denial of his/ her equal rights as human being, and use the laws to twist the arm of justice, and as such make the law as a “ law- making violence” as it was called by Walter Benjamin.

These processes expreses the continuation of the Nakba as Saeb Erekat wrote in the 14th of May. In the same day the Journalist Fatina Dajani described the Nakba as a “ Past- Present”.  If these processes continue,then  no place, and no space will be left to the Palestinians in their homeland. Striking enough to see Netanyahu calling the Mayor of Maale Adumim settlement to congratulate him for the new government decision few days ago to expand settlements, and to promise him that the Maale Adumim expansion plans are on their way to be approved by the Government. In other hand why the Israeli Government meetings till the end of July were moved to a cave build in the underground close to Jerusalem, where no leaks of the discussions whatsoever will happen. This reminds of Ben Gurion secret meetings with the Zionist leadership before 1948. What the “ evils” that they are discussing?and what the upcoming atrocities that they are planning for?. In the lack of information, one can only use historical evidence to speculate. 

The next columns will analyze the current Israeli proposals about what to do with the Palestinians.

Article published in Akhbar El Balad: http://www.akhbarelbalad.net/ar/1/6/3967/

Опубликовано в Tribune
Среда, 23 Май 2018 23:23

A Game of Thrones for the Palestinian Authority

President Mahmoud Abbas seems to be on his way out as the leader of the Palestinian Authority. Who will take his place? 

Palestinian politics today is undergoing a change as President Mahmoud Abbas’ health condition deteriorates. With no clear heir to ensure a landslide victory, the question over who will replace Abbas remains unanswered. The possible successors are a source of argument among the Palestinians and the international community. Currently, speculation centers around four names.

Among them is Mahmoud al-Aloul, the first vice president of Fatah. Abbas himself supports Aloul to be his successor to lead the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, Aloul is not a welcome choice for some Arab countries because he is hawkish and opposes the two-state solution. Sources have stated that Fatah’s General Councildecided in March to change the party’s internal constitution in order to appoint Aloul as the acting leader for three months if Abbas’ health affects his ability to rule. Israel is also concerned about the succession, as a PA power vacuum could lead to further violence.

The second candidate in the race is Jibril Rajoub, a former West Bank security chief and a senior Fatah figure. He served as head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank until 2002, after which then-PA President Yasser Arafat appointed Rajoub as his national security adviser in 2003. Rajoub believes he is the most suitable candidate to lead the PA after Abbas.

The third candidate is Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza security mastermind who was forced to flee Ramallah in 2011 following allegations of corruption and an attempted coup against Abbas. It is said that Elliot Abrams, a National Security Council adviser during the George W. Bush administration, nominated Dahlan to lead the PA mission against Hamas in Gaza in 2007, which earned him the warlord moniker. While in exile in the United Arab Emirates, Dahlan was accused of sending money to some Fatah members in Gaza to undermine Abbas’ authority in Ramallah, the headquarters of the PA. Dahlan had always opposed Islamist movements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, and is waiting for the right moment to return to the West Bank as president.

The fourth candidate is Nasser al-Kidwa, the nephew of Yasser Arafat and senior Fatah official. Kidwa has served as the Palestinian foreign minister and envoy to the United Nations. He is the most likely candidate to win the presidential race as he is supported by the Arab Quartet that includes Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Possible Scenarios

There are three possible scenarios in the coming months to replace the aging Abbas, as per NPR. The first option, if Abbas is no longer able to uphold his office, is that the speaker of the Palestinian National Council, Aziz Dweik (who is a member of Hamas but is based in the West Bank) would replace Abbas for 60 days until elections are held. The second is for Abbas himself to select a temporary replacement until the elections. The third is to set a date for elections where the four candidates would nominate themselves, unless a tectonic change takes place at the very last moment, such as a new intifada in Gaza and the West Bank.

The first option is unlikely to happen because Dweik is a member of Hamas. Abbas will not cede power to a rival organization due to internal and regional complications and ramifications. Thus, Dweik could not take over the Palestinian leadership unless the US, Israel and other regional powers suddenly back Hamas, which Washington, Tel Aviv and the European Union classify as a terrorist organization.

As for the second alternative, Abbas would select a person close to the PA leadership to rule for a transition period before the election date is set. The selected leader will also have a chance to nominate himself as leader of the PA in the presidential elections. This would be Arafat’s nephew, as he was backed by regional and international powers, including the US and Israel, when he served as foreign minister. This can lead to the third scenario in which the temporary president of the PA could become a candidate and winner in the presidential elections.

Since 2016, Arab leaders have looked for an alternative to Abbas. That same year, they spoke to Abbas personally on his 81st birthday when they congratulated him and wished him good health. At the time, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi were in charge of an Arab initiative to seek out a successor. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, had sent their representatives to Ramallah to discuss the issue directly with Abbas, as the leaders of both nations did not want to see a power vacuum in the political arena of the PA.

Critical Time

In December 2017, after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Kidwa said that any protests by Palestinians should be conducted “in a peaceful and an unarmed, sustainable way, so that would lead to serving the Palestinian national cause in this regard.” His moderate stance toward the American decision is one reason why he is favored by many countries, unlike his rivals who call for escalation.

The move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14 is deemed critical to the coming Palestinian leadership, whoever the candidate will be. However, the tough rivalry among the candidates, mainly between Rajoub and Dahlan, will only increase in the coming months, preventing both from heading the PA.

With the start of Ramadan, it is expected that Palestinians will try to raise the question of Jerusalem as a core issue not only for them, but for Muslims and Christians as well. Thus, we might witness a kick-off of a new uprising in Gaza and the West Bank, of which the violence against Palestinian protesters on the border with Gaza on May 14 could become a tragic preview. This could lead to either Aloul or Kidwa winning the race for the PA presidency based on their wide national support.

The PA presidential race is critical. The next president will be accountable for establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, while ensuring its peoples’ right to self-determination. The president will be working with Arab and Muslim leaders to secure the status of the holy shrines in East Jerusalem as part of the capital of an independent Palestinian state, without offending Jewish holy sites in the city. That is why the best solution for the issue of Jerusalem is to divide it into West and East capitals, for Israel and Palestine respectively, to avoid any future regional war.

Article published in Fair Observer: https://www.fairobserver.com/politics/palestinian-authority-succession-fatah-mahmoud-abbas-gaza-west-bank-middle-east-news-76251/

Опубликовано в Tribune
Среда, 23 Май 2018 23:18

Russia seeks win-win Middle East peace deal

Since 1948, Russia has been an advocate of the two-state solution and has been pushing both Arabs and Israelis to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with this plan, leaving Jerusalem for the final talks. Recently, Russia has started to exert more pressure on Israel to cease building new settlements in the occupied West Bank. This has been clear from the many statements issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry expressing deep concern at the deteriorating situation when it comes to Israel’s settlement projects.

Why Moscow is pushing for the two-state solution and for the procrastination of the status of Jerusalem can be explained by Russian fears that a lack of progress in the peace process could result in unilateral steps that would undermine the prospects of resolving the conflict. In other words, Russia is concerned about the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

If the superpowers of the US and Russia do not have the sincere will to reach a solution, it would lead either to seriously harming the Palestinian cause or to the spreading of extremism in the region. Russia seeks to achieve a win-win deal for both Israelis and Palestinians rather than a win for one party at the expense of the other.

The announcements by the US of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy there were deemed by Russia as a blow to all peace attempts, driving the whole region toward a direct clash.

With the increased tension between Iran and Israel in Syria and the failure so far to eradicate terrorism from Syria and Iraq, as well as other countries in the region, there is great potential for further conflict if the stalemate in the peace process continues and if new settlements continue to be built. The Israeli government has, in the past few months, approved plans to build 1,100 new units in 20 settlements in the West Bank. This not only undermines the whole peace process, but it is also a blatant attempt to wipe out Palestinian identity.

Why has the Russian position toward Israel changed in the past few years? It is a result of the shifting Israeli perspective on the peace process, which was supposed to solve the conflict and declare an independent Palestinian state many years ago. 

Russia alone cannot solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — it needs regional cooperation and support from the EU and of course, the US.

– Maria Dubovikova

When the region’s leaders make official visits to Moscow, their meetings with President Vladimir Putin touch on bilateral relations. However, Putin also insists on discussing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which, if it remains unresolved, will lead to further skirmishes throughout the Middle East.

During his trip to Moscow this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was told by Putin that the issue of Jerusalem should only be determined in final status talks and that the two-state solution is the best way to avoid any spillover to neighboring countries.

As Russia adheres to the UN resolutions on the principles of a peaceful settlement, including the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, Moscow seeks the leeway to bring both sides together in a conference similar to that in Sochi for Syria. It is hoped these direct negotiations would help the two parties reach appropriate agreements.

But clearly, Russia alone cannot solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — it needs regional cooperation and support from the EU and of course, the US. Only concerted efforts can bring peace to the region and solve the complicated conflict in a manner that leads to co-existence in two states where both peoples respect each other and cooperate for the betterment of their nations.

Article published in Arab News: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1307581

Опубликовано в Tribune

In response to the savage massacre committed by the Israeli Army against the “ Marches of Return and Seige Lifting” of yesterday in Gaza, the White House in Washington DC released a statement blaming Hamas for using violence, and supporting the “ right of Israel to defend itself”. Also Mr Jason Greenblat the American Envoy to the Middle East “ Peace process” wrote an article in the Israeli newspaper “ Yisrael Hayoum” accusing Hamas of returning Gaza back to the “ Iron Age”

Till Nine PM yesterday evening, the death toll among Gaza Palestinians participating in the Marches reached the number of 55 (increased to 58 by 1:26 am this morning), in addition to 2410 injured. According to the Ministry of health in Gaza, there are 203 children and 78 women among the injured. 40 of these were in a critical conditions and 76 seriously injured. 1204 got injured by live bullet, and 130 by rubber covered metal bullets. Further than that the Ministry of health report includes calculations about the parts of the bodies that were injured, for instance 79 injured in the neck and the head, 76 in thier chests and stomaches, 164 in different places of their bodies, and 1055 in the lower parts of their bodies. As such many of the injured will be left with permanent disabilities life long.

How comes that these killings and injuries just in one day are merely practiced in the framework of “ Israel right to defend itself”?. How comes that later in the day the USA prevented a UN Security Council Statement approved by the other 14 members of the Council condemning the massacre and calling for the formation of an international committee of investigation about them?.

Beyond the shock from these positions, three issues should be emphasized (among others that there are no enough space for all to be discussed in a short column like this one):

The first among these is that United States is not any more just a supporter to Israel politically and militarily, but moreover United States is a partner in the Israeli ongoing settler colonial project in the ground. A latest research had shown that 15 percent of colonial settlers in West Bank (without East Jerusalem) today are Americans. Sara Yael Hirschhorn from Oxford University presented these results showing that there are sixty thousand settlers in West Bank only ( without the inclusion of East Jerusalem), who are originally Americans. Therfore President Abbas was fully right to describe the move of the American Embassy yesterday to Jerusalem as “ an establishment of an American Settler outpost in Palestine”. This is one.

Secondly, the significant point regarding the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem yesterday, is that it is about dictation of the final status results  in the ground in contradiction with Oslo Agreement article five text which stated that Jerusalem as a whole ( East and West) is subject to the final status negotiations. In other words Oslo Agreement included what the late Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini was saying all the time till he passed away in 2001, that the Palestinians property rights in West Jerusalem should be negotiated and agreed upon before any political agreement about the city and on how to share two capitals for two states in it. The Americans violated this article and adopted the Israeli position which again makes the American Embassy in Jerusalem of a colonial type as mentioned above. 

Thirdly: The American Administration becoming a partner of the Israeli settler colonial project, will share as well the Israeli position of finding no place to the Palestinians within this project. Accordingly the Palestinians should hide and show no presence, expressed by keeping fully silent towards what is imposed and dicatated, or they will pay the price by getting to be” removed” forcefully when they oppose. In this sense all kind of Palestinian struggle armed and non- armed become illegal according to this perspective because they make the Palestinian visible while he / she is supposed to be invisible. Adi Ophir wrote once and again that the Palestinian is punished not because he made something wrong, but he/she is punished becsuse he/ She is found in a place where the settler colonial project expect him/ her not to be existing in. Gaza wise this means that the Gazan Palestinians should continued acting in impotent way despite the move of the Embassy, and despite the anniversary of 70 years of the Nakba given also that 66 percent of Gaza residents are refugees according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics new report released yesterday.

It was James Zughby who wrote yesterday that the the Americans consider the Palestinians as” invisible victims” that do not count anything by themselves, but they merely represent a “ problem to Israel” that the latter has to deal with and solve. Accordingly no attention will be made to the plight of the Palestinians since 1948.

Article published in Akhbar el Balad: http://www.akhbarelbalad.net/ar/1/6/3933/

Photo credit: AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed

Опубликовано в Tribune
Пятница, 11 Май 2018 17:45

Acknowledgment of the Nakba is required

This year witnesses the seventieth anniversary of 1948 Nakba. In the 1980’s the Israeli New Historians found out what Walid Al Khalidi and others discovered since 1960’s that the Palestinians did not leave due to calls from the Arab Radios calling them to leave their country. In the opposite they found that the majority of Palestinians who left were obliged to do so due to Zionist attacks. First Benny Morris showed through checking Israeli Archives that 282 villages were evacuated due to Zionist groups attacks. Nur Masalha further found that 292 locations were evacuated due to these attacks, other 87 were evacuated due to fear from Jewish attacks or as a result of the evacuation of neighboring villages, and finally 12 locations were evacuated because of terrifying rumours. Later Ilan Pappe wrote an outstanding book about ethnic cleansing recording and analyzing all its process based also on informations that he got through his access to to the Zionist Archives.

However, the  majority of people in Israel still think that what happened in 1948 is legitimate. They deny the fact that other people were evacuated by force from their country. This denial did not led only to the continuation of the plight of the Palestinian refugees till today, but it was also used as a coverage for the repetition of what happened in 1948 once again in 1967 and after. By checking the official Israeli Archives Nur Masalha found out that in addition to those who left during the 1967 war, other 200 thousand were forcefully evacuated after the war, this include most of the residents of the Morrocan Quarter and Al Sharaf neighborhood  in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the former villages of Yalo, Emwas and Beit Nuba in the Latrun area that were destroyed after the war( Canada Park today). After that war also 850 to 2000 houses were destroyed by Dynamite in Qalqilia city according to different estimations, the same goes for destroying the villages of Beit Awwa and Beit Mirsem close to Hebron, and the village of Jiftlik in the Jordan valley and others. Besides that the Refugee camps of Ein Al Sultan, Nweimeh, and Aqbat Jaber were evacuated.

The period from 1948 to 1967 witnessed also several campaigns of evacuating the Bedouins of the Negev to Egypt and Jordan. These campaigns continued till 1959. Also when Gaza was occupied in 1956 for few months several plans for the evacuation of its population mainly the refugees were prepared, also several massacres were conducted leading to the killing of more than 2000 Gazans as Isam Sakhnini wrote. Till 1948 and as the Israeli historian Aryeh Yitzhaki showed 10 big massacres were conducted by the Zionist groups each of more than fifty people killed, and other smaller 100 massacres were also committed.

This brief review showed that the settler colonial project that has no place to the other continued  also after 1967. Some call what is going in the post 1967 territories as a colonial case of occupation. But this description is misleading. What we have here is a settler colonial project that is stretching itself in the ground using the same methods that were used in the pre 1948 period. It is then a matter of time only when the moment of full confrontation between this project and the indegenious population will come if the expansion of this project will continue with the American support, and the European inability to confront it, and the Arab and the Palestinian divisions and internal fights. 

Today we have around 650 thousand colonial settlers in West Bank and East Jerusalem according to the minimal estimations, also the refugees are still in there place, and new numbers of refugees keep emerging, either in the shape of internal displacement (what is going on with the Bedouins in Area C for instance), or by external ones.

The path to confront this is well known, and were written and called for once and again. It is not by waisting the precious time in the diplomacy of seeking for negotiations,  but by creating an international non violent struggle for the freedom of Palestine and the emancipation of its people. Such a struggle should take place in Europe cities, United States, and every were in the world in addition to Ramallah, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the other Palestinian cities. Such a struggle needs to use political, economic, legal, and diplomatic means, and not to be limited to the organisation of marches and demonstrations. The like-minded Israelis are invited to join, but first they need to cross the bridge from dialoguing with the Palestinians to join them in the struggle for freedom. Crossing this bridge can’t be achieved without their one by one recognition first on the individual basis of the plights of 1948 and 1967, and the Israeli responsibility of creating them. By this recognition they create an example for other Israelis to join. Can they have the courage to do so, and come to a position of truth and honesty for oneself and in their relation with the other?.

Article published in Akhbar el Balad: http://www.akhbarelbalad.net/ar/1/6/3920/

Опубликовано в Tribune
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