Washington, DC – “Americans should not blame others in vain,” Iranian general Esmail Gha’ani has declared, “this is a fire they have lit and today has engulfed them.” Gha’ani, a veteran military commander who heads the Quds Force, the branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for extraterritorial operations, was speaking about the massive fire that has overtaken a U.S. navy vessel in San Diego. Gha’ani chose his words carefully. He skirted suggesting that Iran had a role in the blaze, instead saying it was the “result of the actions and crimes of the American government” and was “carried out by American elements” themselves.
Members of the Palestinian community in the United States have issued a declaration of principles that included a set of preconditions to support federal candidates in the presidential elections later this year. The document, signed by Palestinian cultural, political, social and academic figures, included 13 preconditions namely recognizing the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination as an inalienable right as well as the need for the Israeli occupation to immediately and unconditionally end and the refugees’ right to return to their homes in accordance with UN Resolution 194. The Declaration considered the activities carried out by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a legitimate right in full harmony with the First Amendment of the American Constitution.
Palestine - The announcement Sunday that the first two cases of the coronavirus had been diagnosed in the Gaza Strip transformed the situation there from a state of readiness for the prospect that the virus would surface in the densely populated enclave to a sense of major anxiety. “We knew that it would reach here too, and that has made everyone tense,” a Gaza resident told Haaretz. Even though the two patients diagnosed in Gaza contracted the virus in Pakistan and have been in isolation since returning, Gazans remain on edge. “Maybe they had contact with an employee at the border crossing or with someone else who is not in quarantine,” another Gaza resident said. “The concern is that we will ultimately lose control, and everything will explode. That’s what’s making everyone anxious.”
Just four days before the South Carolina Primary, about 100 young Jews and allies descended on former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters and disrupted the Biden campaign’s day-to-day activities for over two hours. Seven young people were arrested when they refused orders by police to stop blockading the elevator entrance, while a large group of supporters occupied the building’s lobby, shared stories, and sang and chanted.
A Washington appeals court has upheld a ruling that dismissed a lawsuit against former board members of the Olympia Food Co-op for the co-op’s decision to boycott Israeli goods. The ruling came yesterday in a case that was originally filed in 2011 by five co-op members, purporting to act on behalf of the co-op and seeking to block the boycott and collect monetary damages against the board members. The case was dismissed five months later as a SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, but reinstated when Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute was struck down. The ruling affirmed today dismissed the case a second time.
By rendering the illegal settlements “consistent” with international law, Washington is paving the road for Israel to annex all major settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. Israel, which was never truly concerned with international law in the first place, urgently required this American nod to move forward with annexing at least 60% of the West Bank. With the hemorrhaging of US concessions to Israel, Netanyahu is eager for more. Desperate to strengthen his faltering grip on power, the Israeli leader agreed on November 20 to advance a bill that calls for the annexation of the Jordan Valley.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) has been systematically torturing Palestinians using a variety of techniques. The international legal regime prohibits torture through customary international law as well as a variety of international and regional treaties. While Israel ratified the Convention against Torture (CAT) in 1991, it has failed to incorporate it into its domestic legislation. Moreover, despite the UN committee’s affirmation to the contrary, Israel claims that CAT does not apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This allows Israel to assert that there is no crime of torture in Israel...
My short visit to Palestine in early November began around the time of the commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, went through the assassination by Israel of Islamic Jihad leader, Bahaa Abu Al-Atta and his wife in Gaza, and ended as Prime Minister Netanyahu, who should be indicted for his countless crimes against the Palestinian people, was indicted for low grade corruption (valued at about $200,000), pulling strings and lying. And as always, Palestinians continue to bury their dead as Israelis bury their heads in the sand.
As a Kashmiri living in North America, I have been to Kashmir some twenty times. I have experienced the instability, power outages, curfews, and closures that are a cruel part of everyday life, and witnessed massive non-violent demonstrations against the military occupation. I have seen Indian military personnel haul Kashmiri kids playing cricket into armored vehicles, and listened carefully to the stories of my aunt, an ophthalmologist, who operated on hundreds of youth blinded by pellets shot by the Indian army.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to severely cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is another step in what seems to be an attempt by the U.S. and Israel to erase the Palestinian refugee issue. Festering for seven decades, the Palestinian refugee crisis has been an open wound affecting Palestine and the countries around it, and now Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claim they have found a solution: deny the existence of the refugees.
At 20:06 (CEST) we lost contact with the sailing vessel Freedom, sailing under a Swedish flag, which is on a mission to break the illegal Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza. We have reason to presume that the Israeli Occupation Forces has now begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in International Waters. The latest reported position was approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza. Freedom is a gift for the Palestinian fishers of Gaza and is carrying a cargo of medical supplies, including #Gauze4Gaza. On board are 10 participants and two journalists from five countries.
The New York Times today printed a long article giving credence to Israeli claims that Razzan al-Najjar, the young medic killed by an Israeli sniper a week ago, was not innocent. The article takes at face value Israel’s desperate efforts to taint the young woman, whom the army has previously maintained it killed by accident. The first paragraph announces the Times’s service to Israel: "The Israeli military published a brief video on Thursday aimed at showing that a Palestinian medic killed by Israeli forces last week was not the neutral health care worker she has been portrayed as." The article parrots Israeli hasbara, or propaganda, about al-Najjar: that in a video interview of the medic that the Israelis passed along she described herself as a “human shield.”
Psy-Group, a mysterious Israeli company that is reportedly being investigated by the FBI in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged illegal interference in the 2016 US presidential election, was also involved in covert anti-BDS efforts, according to a lawsuit against the company and multiple sources who spoke to The Times of Israel. BDS is a campaign by some pro-Palestinian activists encouraging people to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel over what they call its ill-treatment of the Palestinians. Psy-Group, which operates in Israel under the name Invop Ltd, is a self-styled leader in “intelligence and influence” which boasts in its marketing material of its covert techniques and capabilities.
At 4:30 PM, when the bosses left work early to beat the rush to the northwest Baltimore suburbs, there were few waves and honks at our banner “Israel Stop Killing Protesters.” Neither were there digits of disapproval. But by 5:30 when the workforce passed under our bridge over the Jones Falls Expressway, the waves and honks were noticeably more frequent. Sympathy for our protest more than doubled as traffic slowed in the 5 o’clock rush. The fingers of foes also increased, but were still only one out of 20 waves, thumbs up and honks of support. At first, the silence was deafening, compared with last week’s banner du jour “No War on Iran!” when support was twice as evident. Our count of 130 cars per minute during rush hour totals to 7,800 vehicles per hour of visibility. We could not ask for a better captive audience.