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On the Politics of Victory and Defeat: How Gaza Dethroned the King of Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 2:42am in

How did Benjamin Netanyahu manage to serve as Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister? With a total of 15 years in office, Netanyahu surpassed the 12-year mandate of Israel’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. The answer to this question will become particularly critical for future Israeli leaders who hope to emulate Netanyahu’s legacy, now that his historic leadership is likely to end.

Netanyahu’s ‘achievements’ for Israel cannot be judged according to the same criteria as that of Ben Gurion. Both were staunch Zionist ideologues and savvy politicians. Unlike Ben Gurion, though, Netanyahu did not lead a so-called ‘war of independence,’ merging militias into an army and carefully constructing a ‘national narrative’ that helped Israel justify its numerous crimes against the indigenous Palestinians, at least in the eyes of Israel and its supporters.

The cliched explanation of Netanyahu’s success in politics is that he is a ‘survivor’, a hustler, a fox or, at best, a political genius. However, there is more to Netanyahu than mere soundbites. Unlike other right-wing politicians around the world, Netanyahu did not simply exploit or ride the wave of an existing populist movement. Instead, he was the main architect of the current version of Israel’s right-wing politics. If Ben Gurion was the founding father of Israel in 1948, Netanyahu is the founding father of the new Israel in 1996. While Ben Gurion and his disciples used ethnic cleansing, colonization and illegal settlement construction for strategic and military reasons, Netanyahu, while carrying on with the same practices, changed the narrative altogether.

For Netanyahu, the biblical version of Israel was far more convincing than the secular Zionist ideology of yesteryears. By changing the narrative, Netanyahu managed to redefine the support for Israel around the world, bringing together right-wing religious zealots, chauvinistic, Islamophobic, far-right and ultra-nationalist parties in the US and elsewhere.

Netanyahu’s success in rebranding the centrality of the idea of Israel in the minds of its traditional supporters was not a mere political strategy. He also shifted the balance of power in Israel by making Jewish extremists and illegal settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories his core constituency. Subsequently, he reinvented Israeli conservative politics altogether.

He also trained an entire generation of Israeli right-wing, far-right and ultra-nationalist politicians, giving rise to such unruly characters such as former Defense Minister and the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, former Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, and former Defense Minister, and Netanyahu’s likely replacement, Naftali Bennett.

Indeed, a whole new generation of Israelis grew up watching Netanyahu take the right-wing camp from one success to another. For them, he is the savior. His hate-filled rallies and anti-peace rhetoric in the mid-1990s galvanized Jewish extremists, one of whom killed Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s former Prime Minister who engaged the Palestinian leadership through the ‘peace process’ and, ultimately, signed the Oslo Accords.

On Rabin’s death in November 1995, Israel’s political ‘left’ was devastated by right-wing populism championed by its new charismatic leader, Netanyahu, who, merely a few months later, became Israel’s youngest Prime Minister.

Despite the fact that, historically, Israeli politics is defined by its ever-changing dynamics, Netanyahu has helped the right prolong its dominance, completely eclipsing the once-hegemonic Labor Party. This is why the right loves Netanyahu. Under his reign, illegal Jewish colonies expanded unprecedentedly, and any possibility, however meager, of a two-state solution has been forever buried.

Additionally, Netanyahu changed the relationship between the US and Israel, where the latter was no longer a ‘client regime’ – not that it ever was in the strict definition of the term – but one that holds much sway over the US Congress and the White House.

Every attempt by Israel’s political elites to dislodge Netanyahu from power has failed. No coalition was powerful enough; no election outcome was decisive enough and no one was successful enough in convincing Israeli society that he could do more for them than Netanyahu has. Even when Gideon Sa’ar from Netanyahu’s own Likud party tried to stage his own coup against Netanyahu, he lost the vote and the support of the Likudists, later to be ostracized altogether.

Sa’ar later founded his own party, New Hope, continuing with the desperate attempt to oust the seemingly unconquerable Netanyahu. Four general elections within only two years still failed to push Netanyahu out. Every possible mathematical equation to unify various coalitions, all united by the single aim of defeating Netanyahu, has also failed. Each time, Netanyahu came back, with greater resolve to hang on to his seat, challenging contenders within his own party as well as his enemies from without. Even Israel’s court system, which is currently trying Netanyahu for corruption, was not powerful enough to compel disgraced Netanyahu to resign.

Until May of this year, Palestinians seemed to be marginal, if at all relevant to this conversation. Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation looked as if they were mollified, thanks to Israeli violence and Palestinian Authority acquiescence. Palestinians in Gaza, despite occasional displays of defiance, were battling a 15-year-long Israeli siege. Palestinian communities inside Israel seemed alien to any political conversation pertaining to the struggle and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

All of these illusions were dispelled when Gaza rose in solidarity with a small Palestinian community in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem. Their resistance ignited a torrent of events that, within days, unified all Palestinians, everywhere. Consequently, the popular Palestinian revolt has shifted the discourse in favor of Palestinians and against the Israeli occupation.

Perfectly depicting the significance of that moment, the Financial Times newspaper wrote, “The ferocity of the Palestinian anger caught Israel by surprise.” Netanyahu, whose extremist goons were unleashed against Palestinians everywhere, similar to his army being unleashed against besieged Gaza, found himself at an unprecedented disadvantage. It took only 11 days of war to shatter Israel’s sense of ‘security’, expose its sham democracy and spoil its image around the world.

The once untouchable Netanyahu became the mockery of Israeli politics. His conduct in Gaza was described by leading Israeli politicians as “embarrassing”, a defeat and a “surrender”.

Netanyahu struggled to redeem his image. It was too late. As strange as this may sound, it was not Bennett or Lieberman who finally dethroned the “King of Israel’, but the Palestinians themselves.

Feature photo | MintPress News | Associated Press

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is

The post On the Politics of Victory and Defeat: How Gaza Dethroned the King of Israel appeared first on MintPress News.

‘Mowing the Grass’ No More: How Palestinian Resistance Altered the Equation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/06/2021 - 1:04am in

JERUSALEM — The ceasefire on May 21 has, for now, brought the Israeli war on Gaza to an end. However, this ceasefire is not permanent and constant Israeli provocations anywhere in Palestine could reignite the bloody cycle all over again. Moreover, the Israeli siege on Gaza remains in place, as well as the Israeli military occupation and the rooted system of apartheid that exists all over Palestine.

This, however, does not preclude the fact that the 11-day Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip has fundamentally altered some elements about Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Resistance, in all of its manifestations.

Let us examine the main actors in the latest confrontation and briefly discuss the impact of the Israeli war and the determined Palestinian resistance on their respective positions.


‘Mowing the Grass’ No More‘

Mowing the grass’ is an Israeli term used with reference to the habitual Israeli attacks and war on besieged Gaza, aimed at delineating the need for Israel to routinely eradicate or degrade the capabilities of the various Palestinian resistance groups on the street.

‘Mowing the grass’ also has political benefits, as it often neatly fit into Israel’s political agendas – for example, the need to distract from one political crisis or another in Israel or to solidify Israeli society around its leadership.

May 2021 will be remembered as the time that ‘mowing the grass’ can no longer be easily invoked as a military and political strategy by the Israeli government, as the Gaza resistance and the popular rebellion that was ignited throughout all of Palestine has raised the price by several-fold that Israel paid for its violent provocations.

While Israeli military and political strategists want to convince us, and themselves, that their relationship with Gaza and the Palestinian Resistance has not changed, it actually has and, arguably, irreversibly so.


The Altered Equation

The Palestinian fight for freedom has also been fundamentally altered, not only because of the unprecedented resilience of Palestinian resistance, but the unity of the Palestinian people, and the rise of a post-Oslo/peace process Palestinian nation that is united around a new popular discourse, one which does not differentiate between Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza, or anywhere else.

Palestinian unity around resistance, not peace process, is placing Israel in a new kind of quandary. For the first time in its history, Israel cannot win the war on the Palestinians. Neither can it lose the war, because conceding essentially means that Israel is ready to offer compromises – end its occupation, dismantle apartheid, and so on. This is why Israel opted for a one-sided ceasefire. Though humiliating, it preferred over-reaching a negotiated agreement, thus sending a message that the Palestinian Resistance works.

Palestinian resistance

Palestanian fighters rally a week after a ceasefire was reached with Israel, May 30, 2021. Felipe Dana | AP

Still, the May war demonstrated that Israel is no longer the only party that sets the rules of the game. Palestinians are finally able to make an impact and force Israel to abandon its illusions that Palestinians are passive victims and that resistance is futile.

Equally important, we can no longer discuss popular resistance and armed resistance as if they are two separate notions or strategies. It would have been impossible for the armed resistance to be sustained, especially under the shocking amount of Israeli firepower, without the support of Palestinians at every level of society and regardless of their political and ideological differences.

Facing a single enemy that did not differentiate between civilians and fighters, between a Hamas or a Fatah supporter, the Palestinian people throughout Palestine moved past all of their political divisions and factional squabbles. Palestinian youth coined new terminologies, ones that were centered around resistance, liberation, solidarity and so on. This shift in the popular discourse will have important consequences that have the potential of cementing Palestinian unity for many years to come.


Israel’s Allies Not Ready to Change

The popular revolt in Palestine has taken many by surprise, including Israel’s allies. Historically, Israel’s Western supporters have proven to be morally bankrupt, but the latest war has proved them to be politically bankrupt as well.

Throughout the war, Washington and other Western capitals parroted the same old line about Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel’s security and the need to return to the negotiation table. This is an archaic and useless position because it did not add anything new to the old, empty discourse. If anything, it merely demonstrates their inability to evolve politically and to match the dramatic changes underway in occupied Palestine.

Needless to say, the new US Administration of Joe Biden, in particular, has missed a crucial opportunity to prove that it was different from that of the previous Donald Trump Administration. Despite, at times, guarded language and a few nuances, Biden behaved precisely as Trump would have if he was still  President.


What ‘Palestinian leadership’?

The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and his circle of supporters represent a bygone era. While they are happy to claim a large share of whatever international financial support that could pour in to rebuild Gaza, they do not represent any political trend in Palestine at the moment.

Abbas’s decision to cancel Palestine’s elections scheduled for May and July left him more isolated. Palestinians are ready to look past him; in fact, they already have. This so-called leadership will not be able to galvanize upon this historic moment built on Palestinian unity and resistance.

The Palestinian Authority is corrupt and dispensable. Worse, it is an obstacle in the way of Palestinian freedom. Palestine needs a leadership that represents all Palestinian people everywhere, one that is truly capable of leading the people as they attempt to chart a clear path to their coveted freedom.


Expanding the Circle of Solidarity

The incredible amount of global solidarity which made headline news all over the world was a clear indication that the many years of preparedness at a grassroots level have paid off. Aside from the numerous expressions of solidarity, one particular aspect deserves further analysis: the geographic diversity of this solidarity which is no longer confined to a few cities in a few countries.

Pro-Palestine solidarity protests, vigils, conferences, webinars, art, music, poetry and many more such expressions were manifest from Kenya to South Africa, to Pakistan to the UK and dozens of countries around the world. The demographics, too, have changed, with minorities and people of color either leading or taking center stage of many of these protests, a phenomenon indicative of the rising intersectionality between Palestinians and numerous oppressed groups around the globe.

A critical fight ahead for Palestinians is the fight of delegitimizing and exposing Israeli colonialism, racism and apartheid. This fight can be won at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), UNESCO and numerous international and regional organizations, in addition to the countless civil society groups and community centers the world over.

For this to happen, every voice matters, every vote counts, from India to Brazil, from Portugal to South Africa, from China to New Zealand, and so on. Israel understands this perfectly, thus the global charm offensive that right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been leading for years. It is essential that we, too, understand this, and reach out to each UN member as part of a larger strategy to deservingly isolate Israel for ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Feature photo | Palestanian fighters carry a drone on the back of a truck through the streets of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2021. Yousef Masoud | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is

The post ‘Mowing the Grass’ No More: How Palestinian Resistance Altered the Equation appeared first on MintPress News.

Panel Discussion: Israeli Intelligence Colludes with Facebook, Google to Censor Palestinian Voices

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/05/2021 - 4:00am in

The ongoing assault on Palestine has captured the world’s attention. The latest violence was sparked by an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by Israeli security forces, resulting in over 300 casualties, as Muslims had gathered to celebrate Ramadan in the region’s holiest place of worship. Outside, far-right groups cheered as the mosque was damaged, and launched pogroms against non-Jews inside Israel.

In response, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel, which, in turn, spurred a massive Israeli retaliation that has seen hundreds killed, thousands injured, and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Images of worshippers suffocating due to Israeli tear gas, Gazan buildings being leveled in airstrikes, and mortally wounded children have gone viral, reaching millions. But perhaps not as viral as they should have been if we had an open and uncontrolled social media ecosystem.

Palestinians the world over have reported having their content being taken down and their social media accounts blocked on a host of platforms — including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok — for spurious reasons, including anti-hate speech violations. When pressed for comment by MintPress, Facebook told us that their widespread suppression of Palestinian content at a time of such tensions was merely a technical error, stating:

We know there have been several issues that have impacted people’s ability to share on our apps, including a technical bug that affected Stories around the world, and an error which temporarily restricted content from being viewed on the Al Aqsa mosque hashtag page. While both issues have been fixed, they never should have happened in the first place. We’re so sorry to everyone who felt they couldn’t bring attention to important events, or who felt this was a deliberate suppression of their voice. This was never our intention.

Yet, even as they insisted nothing suspicious was afoot, MintPress CEO and Palestinian rights activist Mnar Muhawesh Adley had both her professional and private Facebook accounts restricted, just as thousands were turning to her for information and views. Other American outlets suffered similar consequences. The Grayzone reported that their interview with Palestinian journalists in Gaza was removed without explanation by YouTube.

This is, unfortunately, all too common a story for activists the world over. During U.S.-backed coup attempts in Venezuela and Bolivia, progressive and antiwar voices in those countries found themselves locked out of their suspended social media accounts at precisely the time it was most crucial for their voices to be heard, suggesting some sort of collusion.

In recent years, social media monopolies like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit have developed increasingly close links to the U.S. national security state. In November, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM signed a contract with the CIA worth tens of billions of dollars to provide the agency with tech solutions and intelligence support, instantly making the firms among the largest military contractors in the world.

Silicon Valley is well aware of this, and is even leading the charge to turn social media into a weapon for the West. “What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies [like Google] will be to the twenty-first,” boasted Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen. All of this results in a situation where it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between big tech and big government.

Facebook has long worked alongside the NATO-cutout organization The Atlantic Council in order to determine what content is appropriate and what isn’t, effectively giving the national security state control over the world’s news feeds — the most influential source of information and news globally. And in 2019, a senior Twitter executive was unmasked as an active-duty officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade — a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. Mainstream media almost completely ignored the revelation, and Gordon MacMillan is still head of editorial for the Middle East and North Africa on Twitter.

The Israeli state, too, has many deep connections with the social media giants. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked boasted that she worked closely with Facebook to censor Palestinian voices, with the Silicon Valley corporation agreeing to take down around 95% of the content she asked them to. Today, former Director General of the Ministry of Justice Emi Palmor sits on Facebook’s advisory council, the board ultimately responsible for content moderation on the world’s largest news and social media platform. In her previous role in the Israeli government, Palmor directly oversaw the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the stripping of the Palestinians’ legal rights.

Discussing the big-tech censorship of Palestinian voices and the collusion between Israel and Silicon Valley are Mickey Huff, Suhair Nafal and Jessica Buxbaum.

Mickey Huff is Professor of Social Science and History at Diablo Valley College, California and is director of the media freedom foundation Project Censored. He hosts the Project Censored Radio Show. His latest book is “Project Censored 2021: State of the Free Press.”

Suhair Nafal is a Palestinian-American activist living in California. Earlier this year, she was taken to court by an IDF soldier who sought $6 million in damages after Nafal called her “evil” in a Facebook post. Bizarrely, the prosecution attempted to get the California judge to apply Israeli law to the post.

Jessica Buxbaum is an Israeli-American journalist based in Jerusalem and a contributor to MintPress News. Her latest article is “Facebook, Social Media Giants Admit to Silencing Palestinian Voices Online.”

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

The post Panel Discussion: Israeli Intelligence Colludes with Facebook, Google to Censor Palestinian Voices appeared first on MintPress News.

“The Palestinian Sharpeville” – Dr Haidar Eid on the Global Implications of the Gaza Massacre

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/05/2021 - 12:47am in

Behind The Headlines’ Dan Cohen speaks with Dr. Haidar Eid, a professor of cultural studies at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University. They discuss Israel’s targeting of middle and upper-class segments of Gaza, comparisons to the fall of South African apartheid, and how the current attack on the Gaza Strip will fuel the rise of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement

Feature photo | Palestinians inspect the rubble of their homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. Khalil Hamra | AP

Dan Cohen is the Washington DC correspondent for Behind The Headlines. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. He tweets at @DanCohen3000.

The post “The Palestinian Sharpeville” – Dr Haidar Eid on the Global Implications of the Gaza Massacre appeared first on MintPress News.

“He Dedicated His Whole Life to His Patients” – Israel Kills Gaza Doctor and His Entire Family

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/05/2021 - 2:41am in

Behind The Headlines Dan Cohen speaks with Sara al-Saqqa, a surgical resident at al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. She describes responding to mass casualties, including the massacre that killed Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, the chief of internal medicine at al-Shifa, and his entire extended family.

Feature photo | An Israeli bomb hits an apartment complex housing various international media, including The Associated Press in Gaza City. Mahmud Hams | AP

Dan Cohen is the Washington DC correspondent for Behind The Headlines. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. He tweets at @DanCohen3000.

The post “He Dedicated His Whole Life to His Patients” – Israel Kills Gaza Doctor and His Entire Family appeared first on MintPress News.

Abby Martin on the Israeli Onslaught and Gaza’s Fight for Freedom

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/05/2021 - 7:25am in

Despite publicly urging caution, restraint and calling for a ceasefire, the United States government continues to aid Israel, this week approving $375 million worth of arms sales to the Jewish state, even as it uses U.S.-made weaponry to attack civilian buildings and other infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Hospitals, health clinics and homes have been destroyed, with reports confirming the deaths of at least 63 children in Gaza alone. Three pregnant women have also been killed. As of Wednesday morning, the death toll stands at 276.

Also destroyed was the largest bookshop and publishing house in Gaza. “They not only want to shut down our voices, but our access to other works. This is an attack on knowledge, education, literature, and the exchange of narratives,” wrote Palestinian writer Mariam Barghouti.

After more than one week of bombing, a reported 38,000 people have been displaced within Gaza alone, with thousands taking shelter in United Nations buildings and schools.

The Biden administration has stood firm in its support for Israel, blocking three times this week United Nations statements that condemned the Jewish state for its offensive. As the bombs rained down, President Joe Biden reiterated his belief that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” a statement that has drawn criticism from a growing number on the left. Senator Bernie Sanders, for instance, characterized the U.S. as an apologist for the far-right Netanyahu government. In response, Trump lawyer and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz labeled Sanders a “self-hating Jew” and accused media outlets like The New York Times of supporting Hamas.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton went further, justifying the unprovoked Israeli destruction of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera building in Gaza, suggesting that they were in league with Palestinian terrorists.

Global opinion, however, is distinctly more hostile towards Israel’s actions. Both Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have accused Israel of “war crimes” in targeting residential buildings and media outlets. The Israeli government has also been condemned by the Arab League and a number of Asian nations.

Palestinians of all persuasions in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel are currently holding a general strike, attempting to show their collective opposition to aggressive Israeli actions and disrupt the economy. Millions have put down tools this week, as stores closed and offices emptied. Instead, many headed to public squares, holding flags aloft in demonstration in a rare show of nationwide solidarity.

While the roots of the conflict can be traced back to at least the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the current violence was sparked on May 7, when Israeli forces stormed Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Worshippers celebrating Ramadan were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades, with more than 300 injuries reported.

In response, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel, actions that have caused 10 reported deaths. Israel escalated the situation by ordering airstrikes on Gaza, pounding the densely populated strip for days on end.

Joining MintPress to talk about the situation in Palestine is journalist, activist and filmmaker Abby Martin. Abby began her journalistic career in 2009, founding her own citizen journalism outlet, Media Roots. She later hosted Breaking the Set on RT America and is now an independent filmmaker for Empire Files. She recently made the 2019 feature-length documentary movie Gaza Fights for Freedom, free to watch on the Empire Files YouTube channel.

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

Alan MacLeod assisted in the production of this episode.

The post Abby Martin on the Israeli Onslaught and Gaza’s Fight for Freedom appeared first on MintPress News.

Chris Hedges: Israel, the Big Lie

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/05/2021 - 2:46am in

Princeton, New Jersey (Scheerpost Nearly all the words and phrases used by the Democrats, Republicans and the talking heads on the media to describe the unrest inside Israel and the heaviest Israeli assault against the Palestinians since the 2014 attacks on Gaza, which lasted 51 days and killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, are a lie.  Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising “the right to defend itself.” It is carrying out mass murder. It is a war crime.

Israel has made it clear it is ready to destroy and kill as wantonly now as it was in 2014. Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz, who was the chief of staff during the murderous assault on Gaza in 2014, has vowed that if Hamas “does not stop the violence, the strike of 2021 will be harder and more painful than that of 2014.” The current attacks have already targeted several residential high rises including buildings that housed over a dozen local and international press agencies, government buildings, roads, public facilities, agricultural lands, two schools and a mosque.

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters. I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage.

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror.  And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas.

The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia.  Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel.

The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime. It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”

This is the truth.  Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

Israel’s once vibrant peace movement and political left, which condemned and protested against the Israeli occupation when I lived in Jerusalem, is moribund. The right-wing Netanyahu government, despite its rhetoric about fighting terrorism, has built an alliance with the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia, which also views Iran as an enemy.  Saudi Arabia, a country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks, is reputed to be the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting Salafist jihadism, the basis of al-Qaeda, and groups such as the Afghanistan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front.

Saudi Arabia and Israel worked closely together to back the 2013 military coup in Egypt, led by General Adbul Fattah el Sisi. Sisi overthrew a democratically elected government. He has imprisoned tens of thousands of government critics, including journalists and human rights defenders, on politically motivated charges.  The Sisi regime collaborates with Israel by keeping its common border with Gaza closed to Palestinians, trapping them in the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel’s cynicism and hypocrisy, especially when it wraps itself in the mantle of protecting democracy and fighting terrorism, is of epic proportions.

Those who are not Jewish in Israel are either second class citizens or live under brutal military occupation. Israel is not, and never has been, the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people.  From the 7th century until 1948, when Jewish colonial settlers used violence and ethnic cleansing to create the state of Israel, Palestine was overwhelmingly Muslim. It was never empty land.  The Jews in Palestine were traditionally a tiny minority. The United States is not an honest broker for peace but has funded, enabled and defended Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.  Israel is not defending the rule of law.  Israel is not a democracy.  It is an apartheid state.

That the lie of Israel continues to be embraced by the ruling elites–there is no daylight between statements in defense of Israeli war crimes by Nancy Pelosi and Ted Cruz–and used as a foundation for any discussion of Israel is a testament to the corrupting power of money, in this case that of the Israel lobby, and the bankruptcy of a political system of legalized bribery that has surrendered its autonomy and its principles to its major donors. It is also a stunning example of how colonial settler projects, and this is true in the United States, always carry out cultural genocide so they can exist in a suspended state of myth and historical amnesia to legitimize themselves.

The Israel lobby has shamelessly used its immense political clout to demand that Americans take de facto loyalty oaths to Israel. The passage by 35 state legislatures of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a mockery of our Constitutional right of free speech. Israel has lobbied the U.S. State Department to redefine anti-Semitism under a three-point test known as the Three Ds: the making of statements that “demonize” Israel; statements that apply “double standards” for Israel; statements that “delegitimize” the state of Israel. This definition of anti-Semitism is being pushed by the Israel lobby in state legislatures and on college campuses. The Israel lobby spies in the United States, often at the direction of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, on those who speak up for the rights of Palestinians. It wages public smear campaigns and blacklists defenders of Palestinian rights–including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein; U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, also Jewish; and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine.

The Israel lobby has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate U.S. elections, far beyond anything alleged to have been carried out by Russia, China or any other country.  The heavy-handed interference by Israel in the American political system, which includes operatives and donors bundling together hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in every U.S. congressional district to bankroll compliant candidates, is documented in the Al-Jazeera four-part series “The Lobby.” Israel managed to block “The Lobby” from being broadcast. In the film, a pirated copy that is available on the website Electronic Intifada, the leaders of the Israel lobby are repeatedly captured on a reporter’s hidden camera explaining how they, backed by the intelligence services within Israel, attack and silence American critics and use massive cash donations to buy politicians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear agreement.  Netanyahu’s open defiance of Obama and alliance with the Republican Party, however, did not stop Obama in 2014 from authorizing a 10-year $38 billion military aid package to Israel, a sad commentary on how captive American politics is to Israeli interests.

The investment by Israel and its backers is worth it, especially when you consider that the U.S. has also spent over $ 6 trillion during the last 20 years fighting futile wars that Israel and its lobby pushed for in the Middle East.  These wars are the greatest strategic debacle in American history, accelerating the decline of the American empire, bankrupting the nation at a time of economic stagnation and mounting poverty, and turning huge parts of the globe against us. They serve Israel’s interests, not ours.

The longer the mendacious Israeli narrative is embraced, the more empowered become the racists, bigots, conspiracy theorists and far-right hate groups inside and outside Israel.  This steady shift to the far right in Israel has fostered an alliance between Israel and the Christian right, many of whom are anti-Semites. The more Israel and the Israel lobby level the charge of anti-Semitism against those who speak up for Palestinian rights, as they did against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the more they embolden the real anti-Semites.

Racism, including anti-Semitism, is dangerous.  It is not only bad for the Jews.  It is bad for everyone.  It empowers the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred on the extremes.  Netanyahu’s racist government has built alliances with far-right leaders in Hungary, India, and Brazil, and was closely allied with Donald Trump. Racists and ethnic chauvinists, as I saw in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, feed off of each other.  They divide societies into polarized, antagonistic camps that only speak in the language of violence.  The radical jihadists need Israel to justify their violence, just as Israel needs the radical jihadists to justify its violence.  These extremists are ideological twins.

This polarization fosters a fearful, militarized society.  It permits the ruling elites in Israel, as in the United States, to dismantle civil liberties in the name of national security.  Israel runs training programs for militarized police, including from the United States.  It is a global player in the multibillion-dollar drone industry, competing against China and the United States.

It oversees hundreds of cybersurveillance startups whose espionage innovations, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, have been utilized abroad “to locate and detain human rights activists, persecute members of the LGBT community, silence citizens critical of their governments, and even fabricate cases of blasphemy against Islam in Muslim countries that don’t maintain formal relations with Israel.”

Israel, like the United States, has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. One million Israelis, many of them among the most enlightened and educated, have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—endure constant government surveillance, arbitrary arrests and vicious government-run smear campaigns. Mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, physically assault dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and African immigrants in the slums of Tel Aviv. These Jewish extremists have targeted Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, demanding their expulsion. They are supported by an array of anti-Arab groups including the Otzma Yehudit Party, the ideological descendant of the outlawed Kach party, the Lehava movement, which calls for all Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories to be expelled to surrounding Arab states, and La Familia, far-right soccer hooligans. Lehava in Hebrew means “flame” and is the acronym for “Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land.” Mobs of these Jewish fanatics parade through Palestinian neighborhoods, including in occupied East Jerusalem, protected by Israeli police, shouting to the Palestinians who live there “Death to the Arabs,” which is also a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches.

Israel has pushed through a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that echo the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law, for example, permits “small, exclusively Jewish towns planted across Israel’s Galilee region to formally reject applicants for residency on the grounds of ‘suitability to the community’s fundamental outlook.” Israel’s educational system, starting in primary school, uses the Holocaust to portray Jews as eternal victims.  This victimhood is an indoctrination machine used to justify racism, Islamophobia, religious chauvinism and the deification of the Israeli military.

There are many parallels between the deformities that grip Israel and the deformities that grip the United States.  The two countries are moving at warp speed towards a 21rst century fascism, cloaked in religious language, which will revoke what remains of our civil liberties and snuff out our anemic democracies.  The failure of the United States to stand up for the rule of law, to demand that the Palestinians, powerless and friendless, even in the Arab world, be granted basic human rights mirrors the abandonment of the vulnerable within our own society.  We are headed, I fear, down the road Israel is heading down.  It will be devastating for the Palestinians.  It will be devastating for us. And all resistance, as the Palestinians courageously show us, will only come from the street.

Feature photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures at alleged Palestinian tunnels during a briefing to ambassadors to Israel at the Hakirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 19, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. 

The post Chris Hedges: Israel, the Big Lie appeared first on MintPress News.

Trained by Years of Guerilla War, Yemen’s Houthis Want to Export Thier Revolution to Palestine

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/05/2021 - 8:17am in

HODEIDA, YEMEN — Ayesh Atta arranges rings of long, light yellow Jasmine flowers into necklaces to give to the protesters and passers-by of his Mina Street flower shop in the coastal city of Hodeida. In the past, the 34-year-old Ayesh preserved the flowers in an icebox to sell in distant markets for Eid al-Fitr at a substantial profit. Now, despite desperately needing money, he’s decided to distribute the Jasmine necklaces for free to people who have taken to the streets in front of his shop in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The Jasmine necklaces were one of the dozens of items adorning massive demonstrations in the streets of most major Yemeni cities in solidarity with the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Waving Palestinian and Yemeni flags, banners, and photos of resistance leaders, and hoisting Kalashnikovs in the air, demonstrators didn’t seem deterred by the armed drones and military aircraft of the Saudi-led Coalition that hovered over the massive crowds.

The recent Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza came at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and in the wake of Israel’s forced expulsion of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The timing of the move has agitated the Yemeni public, who share a strong sense of solidarity and kinship with the Palestinians on religious grounds and through a shared sense of brotherhood borne of having to endure violence and oppression with little support from the international community.


United Yemenis take the streets in solidarity

In Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a, hundreds of thousands of residents from the suburbs and neighboring towns gathered at Bab al-Yemen, the city’s main square, carrying Palestinian flags and holding banners encouraging Hamas to continue its campaign of pressure against Israel. In Hodeida, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets despite the ever-present threat of incoming artillery shells, snipers’ bullets, and Saudi warplanes hovering above.

The demonstrations, organized by the Ansar Allah (Houthis), also took place in Sana’a Province in northern Yemen, where hundreds of thousands rallied. Ibb, al-Jawf, Reimah, Dhamar, Amran, the northwest province of Hajjah, the central province of al–Mahweet, and Taiz overlooking the strait of Bab al-Mandab (which was closed in the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel by Yemeni forces supportive to Egyptian forces) also saw large mobilizations of protesters.

The protests drew crowds from across Yemen’s social and political divides. Military field commanders in the Yemeni missile force joined with the Left Party members alongside dozens of Palestinians, including representatives from Hamas.

Yemen Israel

Ansar Allah supporters attend a massive rally against Israeli in Sanaa, Yemen, May 17, 2021. Hani Mohammed | AP

Yemen Israel

A Yemeni boy protests through a Palestinian flag during a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza, in Sanaa, May 17, 2021. Hani Mohammed | AP

Sporting Palestinian headbands, Houthi fighters raise weapons at a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza, May 17, 2021, in Sanaa. Hani Mohammed | AP


Heroic retaliation

Many Yemenis see the Palestinian protests, as well as the barrages of Hamas rockets into Israel, as heroic retaliation on a par with their own resistance against the heavily armed Saudi-led Coalition. “We shouldn’t let Palestinians drink from the same cup [as we do]. So any Yemeni military intervention against Israel will make me happy and give me hope of an eventual victory,” Ayesh said in the wake of Ansar Allah’s announcement that Yemen is ready to provide military support to the Palestinian resistance.

Abdul Malik al-Houthi, the movement’s leader, announced Ansar Allah’s stance on May 11:

We [Houthis] are making necessary preparations according to developments, meaning that a military intervention depends on current developments in all of Palestine… Today in Palestine we [stand ready] to fight alongside you side by side and shoulder to shoulder with everything we have.”

Admitting that Ansar Allah is closely coordinating with the Palestinian resistance, he also announced a fundraising campaign to gather donations for Palestinian people. The campaign has reportedly already been quite successful in gathering voluntary donations despite the dire humanitarian situation and economic crisis that plagues the country.

The move is not without precedent: three years ago, al-Houthi told Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that 10,000 Yemeni fighters would unite with Hezbollah against Israel if it launched a war in Lebanon or Palestine. Thousands of Yemeni fighters have reportedly already been trained to fight on the border of the occupied Palestinian territories. In March 2020, al-Houthi announced an initiative to release five Saudi prisoners of war, including a fighter pilot, if Saudi Arabia agreed to free a number of Hamas members detained since April 2019. Hamas welcomed the initiative, saying, “We highly appreciate the sympathy and brotherly spirit with Palestinians and the support for their resilience and resistance.”


Hoping to turn the tide

Ansar Allah, which has enjoyed extraordinary grassroots success in staving off the wholesale invasion of their country by the U.S.-backed Saudi military, is eager to export their resistance mentality and battlefield knowledge to Palestine. They see the Palestinian struggle as part of a broader campaign to violate the sanctity of Muslims around the world and hope to turn the tide by supporting the Palestinian resistance to Israel through transfer of battlefield know-how, specifically the use of ballistic missiles and armed drones, to fight a highly-advanced enemy equipped with the latest Western weapons. Ansar Allah was able to leverage these neo-guerrilla tactics to inflict a painful toll on the Saudi-led Coalition and, many experts believe, force them to the negotiating table.

Arab Spring Yemen

Protestors place a necklace of jasmine on a soldier during a protest demanding the resignation of Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. Hani Mhammed | AP

The Yemeni army, loyal to Ansar Allah, has reportedly now developed its arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones to a point where they are capable of hitting targets inside of Israel. At a military exhibition last March, Ansar Allah inaugurated new winged missile systems with a range of 2,000 kilometers, putting Israel well within striking distance. Of the missile systems unveiled at the exhibition was the Quds 2, named after the Arabic word for the city of Jerusalem.

Ansar Allah’s threats should not be taken lightly; the group is known to strike sensitive targets without hesitation. Some of the newly unveiled missile systems were used to successfully strike Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco oil facilities in Ras Tanura, an oil terminal in the far northeast of the Kingdom, far from Ansar Allah’s seat of power in western Yemen.

Other home-brewed Ansar Allah missile systems, such as the  Borkan 3, have been successful in accurately striking targets deep inside Saudi and United Arab Emirates territory, putting Israel well within reach of multiple types of Ansar Allah missiles. The Borkan is a modified Scud and was used for a strike on the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, more than 800 km from Yemen’s northern border. The missile was able to evade U.S. Patriot missile air-defense systems.


Now is the time

Signs of an imminent Israeli attack on Yemen seem closer than ever, according to statements by Israeli officials as reported by MintPress in January. Many Yemeni military experts who spoke with MintPress say that there is an increasing feeling within Ansar Allah that they should not wait for Israel to surprise them and that, if preemptive measures must be taken, now is the time to strike — both because of Israel’s ongoing violence against Palestinians and because the move could provide Ansar Allah much-needed support from the Arab world for its resistance against Israeli aggression, especially in light of the spate of highly unpopular normalization efforts between Israel and Arab governments.

The Ayesh family once ran a commercial horticulture operation cultivating jasmine in western Hodeida before it was partially destroyed by a Saudi double airstrike. He says the aggression against Palestinians should remind the world of the aggression that Yemenis have faced for years with support for the Saudis from the United States and Israel. On Friday, a number of civilians were killed in a Saudi airstrike on civilians preparing to protest Israel’s violence in Gaza.

To Ayesh and many Yemenis, it makes no difference if it happens in Gaza or in northern Yemen — both are subjected to constant bombing of populated areas with Western weapons and with little international media coverage.

Feature photo | Ansar Allah supporters hold weapons as they chant slogans during a protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, in Sanaa, Yemen, May 17, 2021. Hani Mohammed | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

The post Trained by Years of Guerilla War, Yemen’s Houthis Want to Export Thier Revolution to Palestine appeared first on MintPress News.

Activist Rapper Lowkey on Gaza, UK Complicity in Israeli Apartheid and Settler Colonialism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/05/2021 - 7:59am in

Welcome to MintCast, the official MintPress News podcast featuring dissenting voices the establishment would rather silence. I’m your host, Mnar Adley.

Even as the Biden administration calls for calm to be restored across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, on Monday it approved $735 million in new arms sales to Israel. U.S. weapons continue to be used in the onslaught against a civilian population. The death toll continues to rise and is now well above 200.

Last night, the Gazan Ministry of Health was attacked, along with the Al-Rimal Health Center. “This targeting of medical institutions is a war crime,” said Deputy Minister for Health Dr. Youssef Abu Al-Rish.

The bombs that destroyed the apartment block housing the Al-Jazeera and Reuters news outlets over the weekend were made in the U.S. and there is mounting scrutiny of the American position, with prominent political figures like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for a change in policy.

Palestinian activists are organizing a general strike nationwide in an attempt to generate economic consequences to the bombardment, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the United States’ permission to carry on for two to three more days.

While most know that the U.S. government is a strong backer of Israel, the United Kingdom also leads in unfettered support for the Jewish state, with a new U.K. military strategy document describing Israel as a “key strategic partner.” Investigative journalists at Declassified UK recently revealed the deep connections between the militaries of the two countries, with Britain training and arming the IDF as well as supplying it with weapons and helping it maintain its nuclear capabilities.

This is over the vocal opposition of much of the British public, with between 100,000 and 150,000 people marching this weekend in London alone against the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Joining MintPress to discuss the latest developments is British-Iraqi rapper and political activist Kareem Dennis, better known as Lowkey. In a career spanning nearly two decades, and one that has taken him across the globe, Lowkey has established himself as an underground favorite of hip-hop junkies and music connoisseurs alike. Despite his acclaim, his music is rarely played on mainstream radio, precisely because of its political message, which covers war, imperialism and injustice. His track “Long Live Palestine” was released in 2009.

Lowkey has long been involved with activism in the Middle East and is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A fierce critic of the Israeli government, he recently stated that “Zionism is not about your feelings; it is about the material reality of ethnic cleansing that has continued…till this day.”

Feature photo | Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

Alan MacLeod assisted in the production of this episode.

The post Activist Rapper Lowkey on Gaza, UK Complicity in Israeli Apartheid and Settler Colonialism appeared first on MintPress News.

Podcast Panel: The Israeli Assault on Gaza with Malak Mattar, Dan Cohen and Miko Peled

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/05/2021 - 3:36am in

Welcome to MintCast, the official MintPress podcast featuring dissenting voices the establishment would rather silence. I’m your host Mnar Adley.

Israel’s latest attack on Palestine has captured the world’s attention. On Saturday, the Israeli military attacked the Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza, killing 10 people, including eight children. The same day, Israeli missiles hit a high-rise building housing the headquarters of Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press. On Sunday, Israeli strikes killed at least 42 people, bringing the death toll to over 200, including 50 children. All of these actions amount to war crimes.

Although the roots of the conflict can be traced back to at least Israel’s founding in 1948, the current violence was sparked off on May 7, when Israeli forces stormed Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Worshippers celebrating Ramadan were met with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades, with more than 300 injuries reported.

Far-right Israeli groups celebrated the damage to the mosque, and inside Israel, armed groups continue to harass and beat up non-Jews.

In response, Hamas has fired rockets into Israel, with the Israeli government reporting at least 10 deaths as a result.

Despite the violence, the U.S. government has stood firmly behind its ally in the Middle East, with President Biden stating that “Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” while his administration has repeatedly blocked any coordinated United Nations efforts to respond. The Biden administration even approved a $735 million arms deal with Israel amid its massacre in Gaza.

Palestinians, however, see the conflict not as Israel defending itself, but an onslaught against a civilian population trapped inside the world’s largest open-air prison.

Israel continues to attack not only houses but also the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, continues to attack the limited economic resources of Gaza, hitting small factories and small companies, which means that the outcome of this continuous attack will be seen later on in more poverty, more unemployment and a collapsing government– in particular the health and social affairs sectors. Therefore, this aggression is not targeting (as Israel says) military compounds, but the whole life of Palestinians– the souls of innocent civilians– as a way to break down the will of Palestinians and the raise the price paid by the Palestinian people who are supporting and embracing the resistance,” Basem Naim, the former Minister for Health for Gaza told MintPress.

Malak Mattar is an artist from the Gaza Strip who began painting in 2014 as a response to Operation Cast Lead: the Israeli assault on Gaza. Today, she is known worldwide for expressionist paintings and abstract designs and her work has been displayed across Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Latin America.

Dan Cohen is my partner at “Behind the Headlines,” a new viewer-supported investigative journalism series. A Jewish-American journalist, Dan is an expert in Israel-Palestinian politics. He produced and released the documentary “Killing Gaza,” about the 2014 Israeli attack on the densely populated strip.

Miko Peled is an author, journalist and human rights activist from Jerusalem. His latest article, “Israel’s Pogroms in Jerusalem Could Spark the Destruction of al-Aqsa,” can be found at MintPress News.

MintPress News is a fiercely independent, reader-supported outlet, with no billionaire owners or backers. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and by subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, iTunes, and Sound Cloud. 

Also, be sure to check out the new Behind the Headlines channel on YouTube.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

Alan MacLeod assisted in the production of this episode.

The post Podcast Panel: The Israeli Assault on Gaza with Malak Mattar, Dan Cohen and Miko Peled appeared first on MintPress News.