Posted in Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

Israel, the United States, and the real Writing on the Wall

Peter Münch has been writing on Israel for ‘Die Süddeutsche Zeitung’ for a long time and his most recent article “Menetekel”, which translates as “the writing on the wall”, can only confirm a contention made in this blog exactly seven years ago; his reporting represents “drivel of the sort that requires very little research and certainly no thought.” Or, how else are we to view his account and analysis of Israel’s latest incursion into Syria?

The reader is told that this was a routine mission and Israel has been launching attacks like this for years and, even if it does contravene international law, it is given a veneer of normality when it would in fact be normal if Israel was criminalised for its actions. However, what is not normal for hack writers of Mr Münch’s persuasion is, …. wait for it, ….that Syria has retaliated, which Mr Münch sees as an indication of the following scenario if Assad and his allies win in Syria.

Iranian troops will be on Israel’s border, there will be a constant threat to the Golan Heights, which our hack fails to mention is illegally occupied Syrian territory, and the Hezbollah, battle hardened and armed with Syrian weapons, will be relieved of its commitments elsewhere and better prepared for a war with Israel than it was in 2006.

Not only does it appear doubtful that Mr Münch knows how well-prepared the Hezbollah actually was in 2006, but he seems to be unaware that Israel attacking its neighbours, which he says it has been doing for years, and describes as “routine”is in fact a blatant breach of international law. Indeed, all that his piece would appear to do is support the Zionist state in its belief that it needs to adopt an “iron wall” strategy in order to deal with the Palestinians and with its neighbours from a position of unassailable strength.

However, that should come as no surprise as the strategy has become almost synonymous with Israel’s raison d’être and, even if it should be a justification for putting the Zionist state beyond the pale, it is highly unlikely that Mr Münch and millions of other apologists for Israel are going to make that point. Therefore, what we have here is a classical rogue state, minus the unpredictability,unleashed, and unconstrained.

Of course, the reader has to leave the daily drivel pumped out by the mainstream media to get a more realistic assessment of what Israel is doing and Stephen Lendman hits the nail on the head when he says, “Israel reserves the right to attack Syria preemptively at its discretion for any reason any time – a flagrant international law violation” before referring indirectly to the “iron wall” strategy when he points out “if Syria exercises its right of self-defense in response to an Israeli attack on its territory, the IDF will unleash greater aggression than before.”

Mr Lendman the Journalist and Mr Münch the pseudo Journalist seem to agree on what Israel is doing. However, it is only the former who questions the legality of Israel’s actions before going on to criticise the world community when pointing out that it “is silent in the face of Israel’s announced intention to violate international laws governing warfare, besides numerous previous breaches against Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, along with subversion against Iran and other nations.”

Furthermore, Mr Lendman succinctly argues that “Israel’s only threats are ones it invents” to effectively continue its ethnic cleansing of Palestine and to continue its support of Washington’s foreign policy. Indeed with the US sending an additional 400 troops to Syria and with the American military having “declined to say how many troops it has deployed”, the evidence would appear to suggest that an original neocon/Israeli/Saudi plan for “regime change” in Syria is still very much on the agenda. Hardly unexpected, but at least proof that Trump’s promised move away from the policy of “intervention and chaos” was nothing more than hot air, but that is another story, even if it represents that bigger picture which totally eludes hacks like Peter Münch.

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East

“Us” and “the Other”

westcliffads.jpg

There he is, a guy you hardly know, a self-proclaimed Zionist, who prefers to live in Innsbruck  than in the Oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”; ranting and raving in your living room. “The  Arabs this, and the Arabs that …..”, “Muslims threaten Western Civiisation” and “Israel will smash everyone and doesn’t give a fuck (“Wir machen alle fertig”) what the world  thinks”.

So, what do you do after the coffee has been supped, the guests have left, hands have been shaken, and a civilised “do drop in again”has been spontaneously expressed in the most willy-nilly way imaginable? Well, you chew the cud and think you could at least have given him a copy of Pappe’s “Die ethnische Säuberung Palästinas”, or maybe, just maybe, you could have shown him the attached copy of adverts taken from an English newspaper the twenties.

Who knows he might have just about understood. And is it really so difficult to understand that Arabs and Muslims have never done him any harm? They have never tried to set up home in his garden in Innsbruck and they are not even allowed to live in the same street as him in Tel Aviv. Not to mention the fact that Arabs and Muslims, and not only those in Palestine, are more likely to kill each other, or be killed by us, than they are to kill us. Oh and the “us”?

Well, of course, the “us”is that increasingly islamophobic West, a West which has pillaged the Middle East, and the rest of the planet since time immemorial and it is also that “plucky” little oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy”, which  is armed to the teeth by us and doesn’t begin to understand the real message behind those adverts in an English newspaper in the 20s. It is all quite fucking sad, really!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

UN Security Council condemns Israeli settlements

Still, in Hanoi and, while there is some time to gradually chew the cud, there will be no proper post for the time being. No, more just a celebration of good news from the planet as I read in the Guardian that:

“The security council adopted the landmark resolution demanding Israel halt all settlement building and expansion in the occupied territories after Barack Obama’s administration refused to veto the resolution on Friday.”

Benjamin Netanyahu has called Obama’s decision not to use the American veto “shameful” and Trump has said that when he comes to office things will be different at the UN. A reference to Washington cutting back on its funding of  the United Nations in response to the vote, perhaps.

Nevertheless, the message is now loud and clear; the settlements are illegal and there is certainly some substance in chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s assertion that  “Trump’s choice was now between “international legitimacy” or siding with “settlers and extremists.”

Of course, it might be expected that after the 20th of January the new man in the White House will blatantly flaunt international law at every turn and not only in the Middle East. That might be no bad thing and one can only hope that for the sake of the planet Washington is increasingly marginalised and ostracized. No more masks and interesting times are around the corner.

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East

Palestine, Symptoms and Causes

cropped-maps-53Final day of the SNP conference and ego’s attention was focused on the ‘Friends of Palestine’ fringe meeting on Israel’s flouting of international law in the West Bank. One of the speakers repeated the same little anecdote from the Medical Aid for Palestine meeting a couple of days previously about an irrelevant meeting he had had with Arafat about 25 years ago along with his unreserved praise for the confidence trickster Shimon Peres, while the other speakers, with the exception of Hugh Lanning from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, almost competed with him when it came to giving voice to an array of platitudes, even if they did, at least, appear to have their hearts in the right place.

The theme appeared to be that we have to concentrate on justice now and not on the history. The Palestinian Right of Return was mentioned, but it was put into a context where it might be recognised and applied as a trade off in final status negotiations, although UN Resolution 194, which guarantees that right, is reaffirmed regularly in the UN General Assembly.

And there we have the problem; very often good people are doing good and very necessary work. However, it really didn’t start with the building of illegal settlements, it didn’t even start with the illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. It started with the Zionist project. The oxymonic Jewish democracy has to be called what it is and Israel has to be held for account not only for the crimes which are being perpetrated on a daily basis, but indeed for an ongoing ethnic cleansing which began in 1948.

That ethnic cleansing appears to be reaching its conclusion and while the symptoms still have to be addressed, it is important to get to the root cause of this cancer. Until that happens there can be no justice for Palestine and it is time for all those with their hearts in the right place and, who knows, maybe even the “anecdotal man”, to recognise this.

 

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

The United States and its Allies have no legal right to operate in Syria

The real news behind the story told in today’s ‘Guardian’ is out there somewhere and it might even be that the story is at least a part of the real news. We are told that  “a convoy of 31 trucks provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (Sarc) was targeted by either Syrian or Russian aircraft”  and it might be expected that information will leave us in no doubt as to who is responsible not only for the truce collapsing and who the real villains of the piece are.

Of course, even if the trip home from Barcelona doesn’t allow for any real evaluation of this piece of news, it is not too difficult to look elsewhere and find another story which at least indicates that understanding the bigger picture might not be just as simple.

Away from the mainstream media the American investigative journalist Robert Parry  gets to tell us that American airstrikes have killed “at least 62 Syrian soldiers as one of several “mishaps” that had occurred over the past week.” So, what appears to be an almost tit-for-tat scenario, might just be one more episode in the blame game? Well, it might be if it were not for Mr Parry going on to write:

“……the U.S. and several allies have been routinely violating Syrian sovereign airspace to carry out attacks was not even an issue, nor is it a scandal that the U.S. military and CIA have been arming and training Syrian rebels. In the world of Official Washington, the United States has the right to intervene anywhere, anytime, for whatever reason it chooses.”

And this is the bigger picture! Of course, we might be suspicious of Russian interests in Syria and it might be expected that the Syrian army will be fighting its own dirty war. However, whatever the nature of the regime in Damascus the fact is that without the United States and its allies violating international law on a daily basis, there would be no war in Syria and there would be no slaughtering of innocent civilians.

 

Posted in Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

Image and Reality and the child pulled from Aleppo rubble

The reference is to a picture and an article in today’s ‘Guardian’ under the headline “Boy in the ambulance: shocking image emerges of Syrian child pulled from Aleppo rubble.”

Of course, your heart goes out to the little boy in the picture, and so it should, and it is meant to. However, how shocking is this image in the context of children being blown to pieces by ISIS, by the rebels, by Assad’s troops, by the Americans and by the Russians? Oh, and while we see the “horrific” “hole in the middle of the great big garden” results of a Palestinian Qassam rocket, how many images of “blown to pieces” Gazan children do we get to see?

Still, David Milliband and a nonentity labour campaigner David Baines get to be appalled  as does a certain Lydia Shelly, an Australian lawyer. All “appalled, appalled, appalled” and when we leave the comfort zone that the lowering of our affective filters has permitted us to enter, we are allowed to cognitively process the information that:

“On Tuesday, Russia launched airstrikes in Aleppo and two other provinces from a base in western Iran, the main regional ally of the Assad regime.”

It might be implied, or even explicitly stated, that the culprits can only be found in Damascus, Moscow, and Teheran, but then we never got to see those pictures of the dead Gaza children and if I can remember David Milliband being appalled back then, it was when the Qassam rockets had Israelis having to interrupt their dinner and scurry for shelter.

And on that note, and having introduced my very current, “image and reality” gripe, it might be time to direct you to Norman Finkelstein’s ‘Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict’ and who knows a little chewing of the cud could just lead to you treating articles like the one in today’s ‘Guardian’ with the contempt they deserve.

 

Posted in China, History, Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

China, Historical Deception, and letting People speak the Truth

When I was back in Munich recently, I met an old friend whose father worked at the Hungarian embassy during the Cultural Revolution. His matter-of-fact account of what he could see from his apartment window was only out of the ordinary because it came from someone who no longer has any active, or academic, interest in that period, but who could, nevertheless, relate events as if they had happened only yesterday.

His window looked out onto Tiananmen Square and he recalled how he watched trucks full of Red Guards rolling past with an occassional  hapless individual, with a sign around his or her neck, in the middle of them. Interesting information from someone who had been there and got the t-shirt, but had never read the book.Should the historians tell the story, their credibility might suffer somewhat should their narrative be substantially different. At least for as long as people like my friend are around. Of course, similarly it might be thought that it is difficult for someone to tell all and sundry that they are living in their own house, when some old lady can hold up the keys to that house, which she was forced to leave at gunpoint. The reference there is obvious, but back to the China narrative and fast speed forward to 1989.

At the moment, I am reading Louisa Lim’s ‘The People’s Republic of Amnesia’ . Her narrative is based on testimony given by people who directly experienced the events of May and June 1989 and who were affected by them. An ex-PLA soldier talks about his first deployment to Tiananmen and how they had to return to barracks because their paths to the square were blocked by students and citizens who “tried to employ reason against the use of force” (Lim:11). And then it is fast forward again, but this time to 2011 and an English colleague in China telling me why he likes living in Beijing. The Běi jīng rén” are great people  and they are very politically aware, he told me, before going on to relate a very similar narrative to the one delivered by Ms Lim. 

Of course, that was in 2011 and, as my recent stint in China informed me, in four years a lot can change and there is evidence to suggest that today the truth narrative is as unwelcome in China as it was during the Cultural Revolution and that the ability or willingness to deal critically, not only with the ten years from 1966 to 1976, but also with the preceeding and following years, has actually decreased. History is, once again, being re-written, it is being selectively and subjectively sourced, and everything is just hunky-dory in a pseudo-Marxist country which apes a growth model that is completely based on the most blatant contradictions in capitalism, and which inevitably lead to the pursuit of ridiculous geopolitical goals that are based on a mythical past.

As indicated in the second paragraph, the phenomena of re-writing history and conjuring up some mythical past in order to achieve Machiavellian political goals is not unique to China and elsewhere there also exists some very strange concocted notions to give the state its raison d’État”. Moreover, the oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy” founded on a mythical  “land without people for a people without land” might be at least as absurd as China’s Xi Jinping contending that China is a Marxist country.

Nevertheless, it is with China that this post began and it is where it will end by returning to Lousi Lim’s book which is a welcome countermeasure to the “2 + 2 = 5” version of history being pursued by Beijing today. Moreover, while it might also serve as a wake up call for those followers of myths elsewhere, it is what is happening in China that might push us all into the abyss sooner rather than later. The first step, therefore, is to provide a voice to those isolated by the truth, and Ms Lim’s book does that.