Saturday, August 30, 2014

See for yourself: Aerial and panoramic views show devastation in Gaza

The video above, published by the Gaza-based video production company MediaTown, shows an aerial view of the devastated Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.
On 20 July, the area was subjected to indiscriminate artillery bombardment by Israel that was so intense that it shocked even US military officers.
A total of 2,168 people were killed, 521 of them children, during Israel’s 51-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip that ended in a ceasefire agreement on 26 August.
Such images help us to understand the reality behind the shocking statistics about the physical destruction: 108,000 people have had their homes destroyed or severely damaged and will need permanent rehousing, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
As the ceasefire allows for more in-depth assessments “it is clear that the scale of damage is unprecedented, with approximately 13 percent of the housing stock affected,” UN OCHA says. “Five percent of the housing stock is uninhabitable – an estimated 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged.”
This on top of a shortage of 71,000 housing units before the Israeli attack.
Since there is no functioning airport in Gaza and Israel controls the skies, many people have wondered how the aerial video was taken.
Another video published by MediaTown in March shows the company’s crew demonstrating their use of a quadcopter remote control aircraft similar to this one to make a video:
The notes to that video state that the company had recently succeeded in bringing the first such such quadcopter into Gaza, allowing them to shoot aerial video and still images. In May they published a video showing Gaza’s seaport from the sky.

Panoramic views

The photojournalist Lewis Whyld created the “The Gaza War Map,” a website that allows the viewer to see panoramic scenes of various places in Gaza.


A screenshot from “The Gaza War Map,” photojournalist Lewis Whyld’s website giving 360-degree views of areas devastated in Israeli attacks.
The viewer can select and virtually stand in any of 20 sites in Gaza from Rafah in the south to Beit Hanoun in the north and see a 360-degree view of the destruction all around.
Short of being in Gaza it is an effective way to get a sense of the scale of devastation Israeli bombing has caused. Try it yourself.

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UN satellite imaging

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has published a series of satellite images showing areas of Gaza before and after the Israeli bombardment. Such maps are used by international agencies to make overall damage assessments.
For instance, using satellite images, the UN estimated that as of 25 July, the Israeli bombardment had completely destroyed 700 structures and severely damaged 316 others in (a “structure” might be an individual house or an entire apartment block with a number of individual units) in the eastern Gaza City districts of Shujaiya, Tuffah and Shaaf (see the PDF below).

Gaza Crisis Atlas

UN OCHA has published another invaluable resource, the Gaza Crisis Atlas.
Viewable online, it contains numerous maps and satellite images with neighborhood-by-neighborhood information about the destruction in Gaza.

0:07 / 48:09 انتقادات عباس لحماس وفرص المصالحة الفلسطينية




Video: Aerial view of Al-Shejaiya’s destruction ميديا تاون - شاهد الان صور جوية لدمار الشجاعية


By Eric Margolis

30 August 2014
President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.
Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot –from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking “what then oh brave Washington warriors?” These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.
The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, “The Sleepwalkers,” Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.
The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt.
Today, other pro-war cliques in official Washington are at it again, each trying to dominate policy. Add a bunch of pro-Israel billionaires who have bought both the Republican and Democratic parties, apparently including Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.
President Obama has always found it extremely difficult to impose his will on all these different factions, even more now that he’s a lame duck. He has repeatedly made clear that he wants to avoid any new wars, but while allowing drone attacks to increase.
Both party politics and the need to shore up America’s shaky Mideast imperium – which I call the American Raj – are pushing Obama towards military action.
So we see small numbers of US troops being sent back to Iraq – enough men to get the nation stuck in a new conflict but not enough to make a major difference. In short, the worst of both worlds.
Now, Obama is being pressed to attack Syria, an idea so crazy it takes the breath away. Obama is largely responsible for the current disaster in Syria – nearly 200,000 dead and three million refugees. Once thriving Syria, the real heart of the Arab world, has been devastated. President Vlad Putin may not save Obama this time.
The US sponsored and armed the uprising against the Assad regime, which had brutally ruled Syria for 43 years. France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations backed the campaign to overthrow Assad, as a way to damage Iran, Syria’s principal ally. The result: a bloody war of attrition that is slowly being won by Damascus.
Worse, the western intervention in Syria produced what is known in the intelligence business as “blowback”- in this case the Mother of all blowback.
The Syrian jihadist supported by the western powers and, for some baffling reason, Turkey, ran amok. A previously unknown band of gunmen known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were trained and armed in Jordan by CIA, then turned lose on Syria.
ISIL became ISIS, then the by now notorious Islamic State(IS) which has been rampaging across northern and central Iraq. What makes IS so effective is that the major portion of its leaders and soldiers are veterans of President Saddam Hussein’s army, notably the Republican Guard. With IS is the last surviving Saddam insider, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.
When the US first invaded Iraq, Saddam predicted it would face the “Mother of all battles.” Westerners laughed. Eleven years later, the laughter has been silenced. Iraq continues to fight on and it is no longer safe for foreign oil companies. Saddam’s revenge.
The Islamic State is the perfect example of Nietzche’s over-used maxim, “what does not kill us makes us stronger.” It has risen from the ruins of Iraq and Syria to challenge the American Raj.
“Light” bombing by the US in Iraq won’t stop the IS. Pentagon chiefs now say US air power and special forces must go into Syria. This is standard Obama procedure: inching forward and launching trial balloons to test public opinion. But it’s clear the American public does not want new wars no matter what the pro-war media and bought Congress may say.

George Galloway taken to hospital after street attack

George Galloway has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw after he was attacked on a London street, his spokesman has said.
George Galloway
The Respect MP was posing for pictures with people in Golborne Road, Notting Hill, when a man allegedly set upon him. Police were quickly at the scene and arrested a man.
The MP's spokesman said he had bruising and was in "a pretty bad shape".
He said the alleged attacker had been shouting something about the Holocaust.
"George was posing for pictures with people and this guy just attacked him, leapt on him and started punching him," the spokesman said.
"It appears to be connected with his comments about Israel because the guy was shouting about the Holocaust."
Mr Galloway was interviewed under caution by police earlier this month after he made controversial comments about Israel.
The MP for Bradford West said in a speech that Bradford had been "declared an Israel-free zone" and urged people to reject all Israeli goods, services academics and tourists.
His spokesman said he did not know whether the attacker was an Israeli, an EDL-supporter, or whether he had another motive.
Hospital treatment
He said Mr Galloway also suffered a suspected broken rib and severe bruising to the head and face in the attack, which happened on Friday evening.
The MP was taken to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, following the incident.
Meanwhile, a Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed police had been called to Golborne Road at around 19:40 BST after a man was assaulted in the street.
"Officers attended. The suspect was found a short time later and stopped," the spokesman said.
"He was arrested on suspicion of ABH (actual bodily harm) and taken to the south London police station."
A man was arrested and cautioned in 2008 in connection with an attack against Mr Galloway.
The politician needed medical treatment after he was pelted with a rubber stress ball while campaigning in an open-top bus in London.
An earlier version of this story reported that a man had been cautioned by police and that Mr Galloway was given medical treatment without being taken to hospital. However, this was based on information about an entirely separate attack on Mr Galloway in 2008 by a different man.

Egypt's prisons still rife with torture

Human rights groups say at least 25,000 people have been detained in the past year, while dozens have died in custody.

Last updated: 29 Aug 2014 09:50

Egypt has imprisoned political opponents, journalists, and protesters since the military coup in 2013 [Reuters]
Cairo, Egypt - Amr* was arrested in March while having a cup of tea with two friends at a coffee shop in downtown Cairo.
Four months later, the 17-year-old remains in jail, accused of involvement with Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, an armed group in the Sinai that has claimed responsibility for a number of armed attacks against Egyptian security forces.
"We didn't hear anything about him for 70 days," Amr's sister, who requested anonymity, told Al Jazeera. "Then we discovered he was kept for a week in Azouli military prison, where he was brutally tortured by the police."
After days of torture, Amr confessed to being a member of the armed group. "He has suffered from heart disease since he was a child," one of Amr's friends, who also requested anonymity, said. "He was tortured with electricity and was scared that he would die because of his weak heart."

VIDEO: Inside Egypt's prisons

Amr's story is not unique: Cases of torture inside Egyptian prisons have reportedly increased since a security crackdown began on supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and other dissidents across the country.
Abdallah* was also imprisoned. He said he was tortured after police arrested him following a demonstration to mark the third anniversary of Egypt's 2011 revolution. Although he was released in March, he still faces charges, including possession of weapons.
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt

His wife found out about the abuse he had gone through during family visits. "They kept him in the cold winter weather for hours with his hands tied behind his back and threw cold water on him," she told Al Jazeera.
Of course, allegations of abuse by Egyptian authorities date back to before the military takeover of July 2013. Samir*, a 17-year-old originally from Sudan, was arrested in May 2013, when Morsi was still in power. His family said he was tortured for more than three weeks.

"They took him from Mohammed Mahmoud street in downtown Cairo and they brought him to the Abdeen police station," Samir's mother told Al Jazeera. "They charged him with setting a police car on fire, but the attack happened the day before Samir was downtown."
In jail, he was kept in a basement and a group of policemen beat him every day, according to his mother. "They kept him in a one-square-metre cell in the basement without food or bathroom," she said. "There was a hole in the centre of the cell instead of the bathroom, and it was cleaned only every five days."
Since his release in March this year, Samir has suffered from psychological problems because of the torture and requires the help of a therapist, his mother said. "At the moment, he cannot see people wearing white clothes because they remind him of prison."

RELATED: Egyptian detainees 'tortured and raped'

Accusations of torture in Egypt have existed long before the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
Before the protests began in 2011, Human Rights Watch released a report that outlined the country'sendemic use of torture, stating that Mubarak's government "implicitly condoned police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officials accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted, leaving victims without a remedy".
Al Jazeera investigates the conditions inside Egypt's prisons
Between 2006 and 2009, Egyptians filed hundreds of complaints detailing police abuse, but only six police officers were convicted of torture.
One of the most prominent cases was that of Khaled Said, who was beaten to death outside an Internet cafe by two policemen in Alexandria in June 2010. After widespread media attention, demonstrations, and the Facebook pageWe are all Khaled Said, which received more than four million "likes", the two officers were sentenced to seven years in prison for his murder. Later, the sentence wasextended to 10 years.
Rights groups have had difficulty recording instances of more recent torture because they are prevented from visiting those imprisoned by the authorities. "We did our report(s) interviewing people who were already released because we are not allowed to enter the Egyptian prisons," a spokesperson for HRW told Al Jazeera.
"The Egyptian police system needs to change; torture is a well known practise that has not stopped in the three years since the revolution," the HRW official said.

RELATED: #FreeAJStaff: 200 days in jail for journalism

Evidence collected by Amnesty International and HRW showed that since July 2013, several detainees havedisappeared in secret military prisons with no judicial oversight.
Egyptian human rights organisations, such as the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, have also documented 30 cases of people being secretly held inAzouly military prison inside Galaa Camp in Ismailia, 113km northwest of Cairo.
Egyptian jails have become like hotels.
- Abdel Fattah Osman, Egyptian interior ministry
Families and lawyers are not allowed to visit prisoners in military jails. Amnesty International interviewed several people who survived the torture, and they said that around 400 detainees are being held with no charges in the three-storey prison block.
The Egyptian authorities have denied all the allegations made by the human rights organisations. The National Council for Human Rights, a government-linked organisation, set up a commission to inspect conditions inside Egyptian jails and denied that torture is an "endemic practise" in Egypt. It found that the only problem was a lack of comfortable accommodation and medical assistance.
In July, Abdel Fattah Osman, the head of the interior ministry's public relations department, declared on the ONTV satellite channel that the reports about torture "have nothing to do with reality or logic". He added: "Egyptian jails have become like hotels."
But the families of alleged torture victims strongly dispute this. "My son will never be like before his detention," Samir's mother told Al Jazeera. "I hope that one day there will be justice for all the people who have had their life destroyed by the Egyptian Security Forces."
*Pseudonyms have been used in this article to protect the identities of the people interviewed.

From Gaza with the worst news: Orphaned while at college in America

Palestinian student Iman Abu Aitah hears from abroad how most of her family was killed in Israeli strike on Jabaliya
MASON, Michigan — It had been a normal a day for Iman Abu Aitah, a Palestinian student going to college in the United States. A rising junior, she had spent the month of Ramadan with her host family in Mason and was making plans to visit her relatives back in Gaza for the first time in two years. But as she did her routine Facebook check of the Gaza Now news feed, she knew something was off.
“I saw that the Ajrami family’s house was bombed in the Jabaliya refugee camp, where I live, so I called my family, but no one was answering,” she said, describing a neighbor's home. “Finally my younger sister answered and was crying. I couldn’t understand her.”
The news was the worst it could be. Abu Aitah’s parents had been killed, along with her two eldest brothers and a 4-year-old nephew. Suddenly, she was an orphan.
They died in the recent 50-day conflict between Hamas, which governs Gaza, and Israel, which recently invaded the territory, with the stated aim of preventing rockets from being fired and destroying the tunnel network being used to infiltrate border areas. As the conflict raged, more than 2,100 Gazans were killed and almost 11,000 others injured; 69 Israelis also died, most of them soldiers.
The conflict caught the attention of the world, but with the loss of Abu Aitah’s family, it suddenly struck in Mason too. This small city near Lansing is home away from home for Abu Aitah, where she spends all her vacations with her host mother.
Her situation has shocked the organization that brought her to the U.S. “Iman’s situation has affected all 40 students in our program,” said Nancy Qubain, director of the Hope Fund. “They’ve all been traumatized and concerned about their own families, and they’ve been very supportive of her.”
The Hope Fund coordinates working partnerships with American universities for Palestinian students living in Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. It is now creating a scholarship in honor of the Abu Aitah family members who were killed. “We will be there for her not just over the next few months but until she graduates,” said Qubain. “We’re hoping she will continue on to graduate school.”
Abu Aitah first arrived the U.S. as a high school student through the State Department’s Youth Exchange and Study program in 2010. It was the first time she had left the Gaza Strip. “It taught me so much about myself,” she said. “I learned that I can do anything.”
Iman Abu Aitah
Iman Abu Aitah in Michigan.
 Sara Hassan
She said life is difficult in the Jabaliya refugee camp, in the North Gaza Governorate, even when there is no war. “The electricity comes on seven or eight hours,” she said. “It makes it difficult to get water because an electric motor is needed to supply each house. My family had to wake up really late at night or early in the morning to do normal chores like making bread or laundry, depending on when electricity is available. Many days there was no electricity at all.” Abu Aitah was one of nine children. Her father was a retired Arabic teacher.
She is majoring in literary studies and biology at Columbia College in South Carolina, a Methodist-affiliated women’s liberal arts college. “My expectation would be that Iman does not feel alone,” said Tracy Bender, a representative for the college. “As an institution, it is not a political thing. We are a community of people, and one of our own is suffering. This an opportunity for our community to show love and support for her, following this unspeakable and horrific incident.”
Abu Aitah has felt an outpouring of support. “I received emails from the college president and my professors,” she said. “They are all working hard to help me graduate in a year so I can go back to my family. I’m not going home without a degree.”
Faculty and alumni have established a fund for her. “This is certainly an opportunity for us as a community to learn about the issues and invite conversation,” Bender said.
Abu Aitah, through her grief, also sees it that way. “My hope is that Americans would understand what’s going on before taking sides,” she said. “I realized that people are just uninformed, so I’ve tried to simplify what’s going on for them. Many people think the conflict is a religious fight. Some of my classmates were surprised to know that there are Christian Palestinians.”
‘Iman’s situation has affected all 40 students in our program. They’ve all been traumatized and concerned about their own families, and they’ve been very supportive of her.’
Nancy Qubain
director, the Hope Fund
She has created a nonprofit organization, Youth for Change – Palestine. The goal is to empower young people in Gaza to build their own futures.
“When I was in second grade, I said goodbye to a friend after school. That night her house was bombed, and she died. For the longest time, I was traumatized and cried every time I heard an F-16,” said Abu Aitah. “Everyone deals with trauma in different ways, and I want to help these kids become leaders.”
Through her organization, she plans to engage youth in community service and help them build on their talents.
She says she’s doing her best to stay strong. “I have been living without my family for a while, so I’ve gotten used to that,” she said. “But I talked to mom every day, even if it was for only five minutes. It’s hard to think she won’t be there when I want to call her.”
Abu Aitah’s host mother in Michigan agreed it would be better for her to spend the rest of the summer with a Palestinian family in Minneapolis. From there, Abu Aitah plans to visit her sister — whose skull was fractured in the strike — at a hospital in Cairo.
But Egyptian authorities say her documents need review, since she holds a Palestinian passport that is up for renewal soon —  a process that could take weeks.

غزة تنتصر.. هل حققت إسرائيل أهدافها في غزة؟

Friday, August 29, 2014

النظام السوري يتوسل التحالف مع شياطين المؤامرة الكونية

د. فيصل القاسم
ما أن خرج الشاب السوري الأعزل إلى الشوارع للمطالبة بقليل من أوكسجين الحرية والكرامة الذي حرم النظام السوريين منه لحوالي نصف قرن من الزمان، حتى راح الإعلام الرسمي يصرخ بأعلى صوته: «مؤامرة، مؤامرة» كعادته، لكنه كي يجعل من الكذبة أكثر تأثيراً وإرهاباً للشعب السوري، أضاف إلى «المؤامرة» صفة «الكونية»، فأصبح النظام فجأة يواجه «مؤامرة كونية» يشارك فيها مئات الدول، وربما كائنات من كواكب أخرى، خاصة وأن «الكون» يحتوي كل الكواكب بما فيها «الأرض». لكن القائد لم يتغير، فقد ظل المتهم بالتآمر على النظام هي أمريكا الامبريالية وربيبتها الصهيونية، بالإضافة طبعاً إلى بعض الدوائر الأوروبية الدائرة في الفلك الصهيوني.
لقد استخدم النظام على مدى أكثر من ثلاث سنوات، كل أنواع الإجرام، بما فيه السلاح الكيماوي ضد الشعب بحجة مواجهة «المؤامرة الكونية». لم يترك وسيلة قذرة إلا واستخدمها تحت شعار التصدي للمؤامرة. اغتصب النساء، واعتدى على ممتلكات كل من فتح فمه في وجه فاشية النظام. ناهيك طبعاً عن تسوية أكثر من نصف سوريا بالأرض بحجة محاربة المتآمرين. وحدث ولا حرج عن تهجير أكثر من نصف السوريين داخلياً وخارجياً، وتحويل النصف الآخر إلى فقراء وعاطلين عن العمل، حسب إحصائيات النظام نفسه. كل ذلك بحجة وقف «المؤامرة الكونية».
ولو افترضنا أن كل الدمار الذي لحق بسوريا والسوريين بحجة التصدي للمؤامرة الكونية لا يحرك شعرة في نظام الأسد على اعتبار أن الملايين التي خرجت ضده عبارة عن ثلة من العملاء والخونة، كما وصفهم رأس النظام في خطاب القسم، وبالتالي فهم يستحقون ما نزل بهم من عقاب، فكيف سيشرح النظام لمؤيديه الآن نسيانه وتخليه فجأة عن «المؤامرة الكونية» ومطالبته أو لنقل توسله على لسان وزير خارجيته وليد المعلم التعاون مع أمريكا والغرب عموماً لمواجهة الإرهاب؟ ماذا سيقول لذوي أكثر من مائة وخمسين ألف عسكري سوري نظامي قضوا في ساحات التصدي لـ»لمؤامرة الكونية»؟ ماذا سيقول لأبناء طائفته الذين خسروا أكثر من مائتي ألف ضحية بحجة مواجهة «المؤامرة الكونية»؟ ألم يقدم هؤلاء الغالي والنفيس في سبيل هزيمة «المتآمرين» على سوريا من أمريكان وأوروبيين وصهاينة؟ فكيف يأتي النظام على حين غرة، ويعيد اوروبا إلى الوجود بعد أن كان وليد المعلم قد مسحها من الخارطة في الأشهر الأولى للثورة بعد أن فرضت عليه عقوبات بسبب همجيته مع الشعب السوري؟ ماذا يقول النظام لحليفه حسن نصرالله الذي لا يلقي خطاباً إلا ويذكرنا بأن حزبه لا يمكن أن يكون في مكان فيه أمريكا. فكيف يقبل بأن يكون شريكه الأسد في نفس الفراش مع أمريكا لمكافحة الإرهاب؟ هل قدم حزب الله كل تلك التضحيات في سوريا كي يأتي وليد المعلم ليقول: «مرحباً بأمريكا وبريطانيا مدبرتي «المؤامرة الكونية» على حلف الممانعة والمقاومة؟
ألم يتهم الإعلام السوري منذ اللحظات الأولى الغرب وأزلامه في المنطقة بالتآمر لتدمير سوريا وتخريبها وحرفها عن مسارها المقاوم؟ ألم يملأ حلفاء النظام في لبنان والأردن والعراق وأبواقه الإعلامية، ألم يملأوا الدنيا ضجيجاً وهم يهاجمون الامبريالية والصهيونية المتآمرتين على قائد حلف المقاومة والممانعة في المنطقة؟ ألم نسمع في الإعلام السوري وإعلام «الممانعة» كلمة «الصهيونية» مئات المرات يومياً في معرض الهجوم على «المؤامرة الكونية» التي تتعرض لها «سوريا الأسد»؟
كيف غفر النظام فجأة لهؤلاء المتآمرين، وعلى رأسهم طبعاً أمريكا والصهيونية غلطتهم التاريخية بالتآمر على سوريا؟ ألم يبد وزير الخارجية السوري في مؤتمره الصحافي الأخير وهو يستجدي «المتآمرين» للتعاون معه لمواجهة ما يُسمى «الإرهاب»؟ أليس الذين تآمروا على سوريا يجب أن يدفعوا ثمن مؤامراتهم الكونية التي أعادت سوريا خمسين عاماً إلى الوراء ودمرت بنيه التحتية ونسيجه الوطني، ودفعت الملايين من شعبه خارج منازلهم؟ هل يعقل أن هذه الجرائم التاريخية الكبرى بحق الشعب السوري التي ارتكبها مدبرو «المؤامرة الكونية» ستذهب دون عقاب، لا بل إن النظام بات يستجدي المتآمرين من أجل الصلح والوفاق؟ والبعض يتحدث عن أن النظام مستعد أن يقدم تنازلات «تاريخية» تحت الطاولة كي يقبل به أصحاب «المؤامرة الكونية» شريكاً.
وليد المعلم أطلق بالأمس النار رسمياً على «المؤامرة الكونية» التي تبين انها كذبة كبرى استغلها النظام وتعلل بها للقضاء على الثورة، بدليل انه توسل الى الذين اتهمهم بإدارة المؤامرة كي يقبلوه حليفا في مكافحة الارهاب. لقد سقطت كل مقولات النظام عن المؤامرة الخارجية عليه، واتهاماته الغرب وأمريكا بدعم القاعدة والإرهاب في سوريا، سقطت باستجدائه التعاون مع الغرب وأمريكا لضرب الإرهاب.
ألم يصدع النظام وحلفاؤه رؤوسنا منذ سنوات بأن الجماعات الإرهابية، وخاصة «داعش» هي صناعة أمريكية هدفها تدمير سوريا؟ فكيف يتنطع الآن لعرض خدماته على الأمريكان لمواجهة «داعش» التي يعتبرها حليفة الأمريكان؟ ألا يخجل وزير خارجية النظام عندما يعرض على الامريكان غزو سوريا بحجة محاربة الإرهاب؟ ألم ينتقل حلف الممانعة من الاحتفاظ بحق الرد الى طلب تدخل قوات على الارض؟ ألم يقل وليد المعلم حرفياً:» ضربات جوية أمريكية لسوريا لا تكفي وحدها». ألا يعني ذلك ضمناً دعوة لشياطين «المؤامرة الكونية» أن يغزوا سوريا براً؟
لقد لخص أحد رسامي الكاريكاتير تخبط النظام السوري ونفاقه وكذبه وضياعه بتعليق على صورة لوزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم والرئيس الأمريكي أوباما. يقول المعلم الذي كتب الرسام تحت اسمه «مسيلمة»، يقول لأوباما: 
«مستعدون للتعاون مع أمريكا التي تقود المؤامرة الكونية على سوريا للتخلص من داعش التي تحاربنا بأمر أمريكا».

Palestinian Resistance Offering Arabs Some Dignity!

كاريكاتير: المقاومة

أردوغان يتعهد بمكافحة جماعة غولن ومناصرة قضايا الشعوب


Could U.S. Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq Weaken Islamic State — or Win Them More Recruits?

Democracy Now!

"President Obama is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to help build a regional coalition against the Islamic State, or ISIS, the militant group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama admitted. We speak to journalist Jonathan Steele, author of “Defeat: Losing Iraq and the Future of the Middle East.” Steele says that at this point, he believes ISIS represents a “marginal threat” on Western interests and that airstrikes will be counterproductive....."

Palestinian Message to Israel: Deal with Us Justly. Or Disappear

Aug 29 2014 / 1:10 pm
Israel may have finally discovered the limits of force and violence. (
Israel may have finally discovered the limits of force and violence. (
By Jeff Halper
Until Operation Protective Edge, most of the “messaging” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, certainly that which broke through the mainstream media, came from the Israeli side. Since Zionism’s official beginnings in Palestine some 110 years ago, the Jewish community, whether the pre-state Yishuv or constituted as the state of Israel, never took the Palestinians seriously. They were dark-skinned “natives” wrapped sinisterly in kafiyas, fedayeen or terrorists without names, history or humanity, an existential threat subsumed under the rubric “Arabs.” In 1967, when Israel finally came face to face with an organized, visible, politically aware Palestinian society, the idea of talking to them did not even occur to Israel’s leaders.
They preferred to take what land and resources they wanted from the West Bank and “return” its Palestinian population to Jordan. (No one until this day in Israel has the faintest idea what to do with Gaza, except isolate it.) One Prime Minister, Golda Meir, even denied vociferously and derisively that a “Palestinian” people even existed. No Israeli government ever acknowledged the national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination in their own country, even in a tiny, truncated state on parts of the Occupied Territory. In the brightest days of the Oslo “peace process,” all a Labor/Meretz government agreed to do was recognize the PLO as a negotiating partner. It never accepted the idea of a truly sovereign, viable Palestinian state, even if demilitarized and arising on but a fifth of historic Palestine.
To be sure, the Palestinian people resisted and, when possible, tried to negotiate. Their leadership was often weak, but we must remember that since 1948, when the nascent IDF went from village to village with ledgers containing the names of those who should be assassinated, until the attempted assassination of Muhammed Deif a few days ago, Israel has conducted a systematic campaign of eliminating by murder or imprisonment any Palestinian showing real or potential leadership. Fearful of giving any credit to Palestinian peace-making lest it undermine their own absolute claims by legitimizing a Palestinian “side,” Israelis forget and deride any Palestinian hand reaching out to them. Who remembers, for example, the moving words of Yasser Arafat at the (unsuccessful) conclusion of the Wye Plantation negotiations in 1998?  That’s when Netanyahu decided to stop agreed-upon Israeli withdrawals in the West Bank and his Foreign Minister Sharon publically called on the settlers to “grab every hilltop.” Nonetheless, in the concluding press conference, with nothing to gain and no prompting, Arafat said:
“I am quite confident that I’m talking in the name of all Palestinians when I assure you that we are all committed to the security of every child, woman and man in Israel. I will do everything I can so that no Israeli mother will be worried if her son or daughter is late coming home, or any Israeli would be afraid when they heard an explosion.”
The Palestinians’ messaging of peace, security and, yes, justice, was always buried under Israeli spin. At that very same Wye Plantation meeting, Sharon demonstrably refused to shake Arafat’s hand before the cameras. “Shake the hand of that dog?” he told reporters: “Never.” Mahmoud Abbas has gotten little better from Sharon or Netanyahu, despite repeated televised meetings with Israeli students, Knesset members or anyone else willing to listen to his pleas for peace, even at the price of giving up parts of East Jerusalem and some major settlement blocs. Abbas and his Palestinian Authority bear their share of the responsibility for this as well.
For his own reasons Abbas has silenced his most articulate spokespeople, filled his Authority’s diplomatic posts for the most part with ineffective political hacks and makes it almost impossible for reporters to get information or responses – all in contrast to Israel’s vaunted hasbara and legions of professional spin-doctors. As a result, there has been little official Palestinian messaging at all. What has saved the day until now has been the efforts of civil society supporters of the Palestinian cause: the contributors to the Electronic Intifada, articulate Palestinian activists and academics on al Shabaka, events and actions initiated on campuses by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the myriad analysts, activists and organizations of the international civil society, including critical Israeli ones, not to forget the growing BDS movement.
That seemed to change suddenly when, on August 26th, Israel announced that it had accepted a permanent cease-fire with no pre-conditions, to be followed by a month of negotiations over issues of concern to Gazans – opening borders, reconstruction under international supervision, the rebuilding of the airport and seaport, ending restrictions on Palestinian fishing and on farming in the “buffer zone,” the reopening of the “safe passage” to the West Bank, release of prisoners and more. Hamas, who led the confrontation with Israel, was careful not to disconnect Gaza from the wider struggle for Palestinian national rights.
It was Abbas who announced the cease-fire, not Khaled Mashal or Ismail Haniya, stressing that the struggle was a Palestinian one, not merely Gazan. In fact, although Netanyahu initiated Operation Protective Edge with an eye to destroying a Palestinian Unity Government of Fatah/Hamas, he ended up strengthening it. Hamas emerged the darling of the Palestinian people, as least as far as resistance goes. It was announced that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be joining the PLO. And, in order to allow a kind of civil relationship with Egypt, Hamas lowered its pan-Islam Muslim Brotherhood profile in favor of its Palestinian one.
Still, the messaging belonged to Hamas, the ones who not only confront the Israeli Occupation but who have seized the political initiative from it. In stark contrast to Abbas, who has declared security cooperation with Israel to be “sacred” and who passively allows Israel to take effective control of Area C, the 62% of the West Bank where the settlements, the massive matrix of Israeli highways and the Separation Barrier spell the end of the two-state solution, Hamas has sent a clear and forceful message to Israel: We won’t submit even if you kill us. Deal with us justly – or disappear.
Yes, even in its moment of triumph – an Israeli commentator wryly noted on TV this week that “a Six Day War this will not be,” and polls show that 59% of Israelis do not believe Israel won – Hamas has left the door open to a two-state solution. Their position, as I understand it and as set out in the Prisoners’ National Conciliation Document of 2006, is nuanced but principled and coherent. Hamas and Jihad reject utterly the legitimacy of Israel, viewing it as a settler colonial state, and thus reject any negotiations with it or any subsequent recognition. That said, if other Palestinian parties (i.e. Fatah) enter into negotiations with Israel and the outcome is a total withdrawal from the Occupied Territory based on conditions that would allow a truly sovereign and viable Palestinian state to arise, and if such a outcome would be approved by a referendum of all Palestinians around the world, Hamas and Jihad would respect that as the voice of the Palestinian people.
Thus, while still rejecting the legitimacy of Israel in principle, Hamas has agreed to join a Unity Government that accepts the two-state solution – enough for the Netanyahu government to try and break it apart. Hence Hamas’s post-Operation Protective Edge message to Israel: deal with us justly – or disappear. This is your last chance. The alternative to the two-state solution, which few Palestinians believe is still possible, and rightly so, is a single state. That’s a democratic state in the eyes of the Palestinian left, an Algeria-like situation in which the colonialists leave in the eyes of Hamas and Jihad.
This should give Israel pause, although ironically it is Israel that has eliminated the two-state solution and has left a single state – an apartheid one in the eyes of all Israeli governments, including Labor – as the only other option. Indeed, just last month Netanyahu said publicly: “There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” For 110 years “practical Zionism” has believed it can beat the natives, that it can judaize Palestine and, with its metaphorical and physical Iron Walls, cause “the Arabs” to despair of the Land of Israel ever becoming Palestine.
Well, Israel has given it its best shot. After grabbing almost all the land, driving most of the Palestinians out, imprisoning and impoverishing them in tiny enclaves in both Israel and the Occupied Territory, after burying the Palestinian presence and patrimony under Israeli-only cities, towns, kibbutzim and national parks, after assassinating its leaders and leaving its youth with no hope of a future, it now brings the full force of one of the best-equipped militaries in the world against two million poor people living in an area the size of Mobile, Alabama. More than 2000 killed in Gaza, another 12,000 injured. Some 20,000 homes destroyed, 475,000 people displaced. Six billion dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure.
And for what? Israel may have finally discovered the limits of force and violence. After taking its best shots for more than a century – and, it is true, dealing the Palestinians devastating blows, as Netanyahu and the IDF proudly claim – Israel has gained one thing: an opportunity before it is too late to learn that the Palestinians cannot be beaten militarily, that Israel itself will never know security and normal life for all the “blows” it administers the Palestinians, as long as it maintains its Occupation. Indeed, for all its strength, it is liable to disappear if it doesn’t deal justly with the natives.
At least Abbas seems to have gotten the message. He now discards further pointless negotiations with Israel as brokered by the US, preferring to have the UN set a target date for Israeli withdrawal, and perhaps going to the International Criminal Court. Hamas is likely to prevent any backsliding on his part. Maybe Israel will never get the message, its hubris blinding it to tectonic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, especially among the people of the world. But the collapse is happening. Perhaps slower than in apartheid South Africa, the Soviet Union, the Shah’s Iran or Mubarak’s Egypt, but happening none the less. Having lost the power of deterrence, Israel will either have to deal justly with the Palestinians or, indeed, disappear.
Jeff Halper is co-founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. (This article originally appeared in Mondoweiss)