Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’

Some Thoughts On Current Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Today I am going up to West LA to the Federal building on Wiltshire to join the protests against the war in Gaza. War is what some people in the media are calling the Israeli assault now. Justifying the action, pro-Israeli pundits always use the analogy, of an enemy launching missiles from Canada as the example. Well history aside, of several American actual invasions of Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, the analogy is misplaced. What Hamas and other groups in Gaza are doing in striking back at the Israeli settler population is more akin to what if say the Native Americans in Morango, or some of the other reservations in Southern California were lobbing rockets at Los Angeles. It shifts the perspective, from one of two nations with established borders in a conflict to a conquered people, forced onto a reservation, resisting the occupiers. More correctly the analogy would have to be taken back to the 19th century when Native Americans actually had some resources to fight back and still had strong enough identification with their former freedom to resist violently. Just as in Africa the Zulu’s resisted the encroachment of the British and Boers and other tribal groups resisted the European colonists.

The image of Native American casino owners launching missile strikes on near by Palm Springs for example may seem absurd, why would then want to destroy the source of their income after all? But it brings up the point that these people have after two centuries barely clung on to their tribal existence and it is to their benefit that they have found another way to fight, in the US court system to gain the right to operate casinos as they are belatedly recognized as having some sovereign rights. This recognition did not happen in a vacuum, as the Indian gaming rights had resistance from the local states who felt they had authority to regulate gaming within their territorial boundaries. Supreme Court decisions, notably Bryan v. Itasca County, 426 U.S. 373 (1976), in which the court stated “should, as an admittedly ambiguous statute, be construed in favor of the Indians and against abolishing their tax immunities by implication.” Pp. 426 U. S. 390-393. (Bryan v. Itasca County, Justia.com). What I really want to speak to, is not Native American rights, which became encoded in Federal law with the passage of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, but to the fact that the Gazan’s have no such symbiotic relationship with Israel and thus that reservation, which is all it is at best, at worst an outdoor prison camp, has no reason to accept Israeli terms if there is a chance to resist and gain sympathy for their cause in the court of world opinion.

This is an important thing to recognize beyond the humanitarian disaster that the bombings, air strikes and such represent, that legally Hamas has been driven to this position because Israel will not recognize their authority in Gaza and when the Palestinian Authority and Hamas made a deal earlier this year to form a unity government, Israel could not countenance that, waving the avowed program of Hamas that Israel did not have a right to exist on Palestinian lands. The position of Hamas is no more unjustified than any group of Native Americans claiming that white settlers did not have the right to take traditional tribal lands. That goes into another issue of Native American collective land ownership concepts versus European private land ownership rights, something which was in conflict in Europe itself and the Enclosure movement of the commons there attests to. Israel in fact does negotiate with Hamas and has in the past, what Israel does not want to accept is an independent and prosperous Palestine, hence no Palestinian Gaming Authority, although there was a time not long ago when that very possibility existed. There is the interesting case of the Oasis Casino in Jericho which was opened in 1998 as a result of the Oslo accords in Palestinian territory very close to the Israeli border. It was a major investment meant to attract Israeli gamblers, very much like Native American Casinos rely on local non Native Americans. The exact scenario played out when “[d]uring the first days of the Second Intifada, Palestinian militants reportedly used the casino to fire at IDF soldiers, who in turn blew a hole into its front. Due to security concerns, which led to the absence of Israeli visitors, the casino was closed down shortly after” (Miri, The Tale of Jericho’s Oasis Casino, Green Olive Tours Blog).

How did this impasse come about? Israel had sown the seeds of much of the recent conflict with Gaza by supporting Hamas against the Palestinian authority. Andrew Higgins writes in the Wall Street Journal, ‘”Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,’ says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades….Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas” (Higgins, WSJ online 24 Jan. 2009). Israel’s divide and conquer policies have led to an unstable Palestine and has thwarted any real efforts on the part of Palestinians to establish an independent and viable state. With hard line conservatives in power, the Israeli position seems to have become one of toughing it out and extending the status quo for as long as possible.

Israel is not the United States where European immigrants swamped the indigenous population and killed them off through disease and warfare. Israel is in a position much more like the old South African regime in which a small white minority used similar tactics, those of apartheid to do much the same as Israel is now. In fact Israel and the old South African regime were close allies and had mutual weapons programs including their nuclear weapons program. Chris McGreal reporting for the Guardian UK wrote in his 2010 article “Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons”:

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

(McGreal, Guardian 23 May 2010).

Having lost it’s main ally in the 1990’s when South African apartheid was dismantled, Israeli authorities under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin prompted by a sense of real politic signed peace accords with and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat under the auspices of then President Clinton who was himself looking to carry on in the tradition of the Camp David Accords under former President Carter. But due to bad faith, when the agreed upon date for self rule of 2000 for Palestine did not occur as planed, and the break down of the 2000 Camp David Peace Summit, the Second Intifada, sparked by an incident when Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, began the period of periodic Israeli assaults upon Palestinian territories which the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in August of 2005 did nothing to mitigate, because by relinquishing direct authority, it essentially presented the Palestinian Authority with a region it could not rule as Hamas had been developed by Israel as a counter authority, thus playing into the divide and conquer scenario, but resulting in the unintended consequence of Hamas taking its part as a body for the liberation of Palestine seriously and once it was out from under the direct scrutiny of Israel, capable of acting on its own initiative. This is of course an over simplification, but the conflict is both the result of an attempt by Israel to manipulate the aspirations of the dominated Palestinians while it jockey’s for its own survival as an independent polity in a hostile region of the world.

The status quo of cruelty and increasingly harsh tactics has turned Israel from a frontier community, into an increasingly organized prison guard state, Essentially Israel has become something like a community dependent upon it’s ability to guard the prison created for the Palestinians. Like the image of the Dutch dyke builders, holding back the ocean with concrete walls, Israel is doing the same to the Arab world. At some point the unstoppable force plying against the immovable object will win out. It just depends on how long Israeli intransigence is willing to maintain its strained position in this increasingly volatile region of the world. Biblical historical roots or not, the region is predominantly Islamic and if there are to be Christian, Jewish and other minorities in the region, they must find accommodation or eventually perish. The model of South Africa is a real path for the future. If there is an Arabic equivalent to Nelson Mandela, Israel should find a way to integrate and not wall off the Palestinians who are certainly not going away any time soon.

In the meantime I will go join the protests against the Israeli incursion in Gaza for the upteenth time in the last decade.

David’s Sling, Anakim, Gaza & Israeli Propaganda

Saturday, July 12th, 2014


Israel tests David’s Sling next generation anti-missile system.
Source: www.ainonline.com

Responding to a conversation between an Anarchist friend of mine and a relative of his who is a volunteer for AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), discussing their proposed solution for the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The solution suggested by my friend is annexation of the occupied territories and the secularization of Israel. His relative speaks of the fact that Jewish demographics in the region will soon eliminate the Arab problem due to a baby boom among the Jewish settlers. In fact this relative questions who exactly the Palestinians are.
Below are my comments.

Disappearing Palestine
Source: www.a-w-i-p.com

Realistically speaking there were political reasons why Israel could not annex the occupied territories, probably related to US policy at the time, which was more concerned with the cold war and did not want to give the Soviet Union anymore ammunition in the battle for the hearts and minds of the Middle East. They USA was embroiled in the hot war in Vietnam, and had become a net oil importer increasingly dependent on Saudi Oil. Israel was required as a potential base for launching strikes on Soviet supported Arab states, and frankly I don’t think US policy ever had the best interest of the Jewish or Arab people in the region at heart. That is why I think it is vital for the Israeli’s to develop strong local ties, like it seems to have developed with Jordan, the Saudi’s and the current Egyptian strong men.

Israeli Tanks Invading Gaza 7/18/2014.
www.dailymail.co.uk

As for the Israel giving up its Identity as a Jewish homeland, that would be totally against the very essence of Israeli exceptionalism, which is based on the Zionist interpretation of the promise to Moses and the Israelites for a homeland at the end of their punishment of the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, outside of Spotsylvania (but I digress onto another exercise in futility). I am talking about another wilderness, part of the American Civil War, probably not a very good pun. Yahweh literally had a cow when he saw the people wanted to stay in land where they could raise cattle, which I think had more to do with alien dietary restrictions than any misdeeds. Basically I think Yahweh was somewhat lactose intolerant. Here I am referring to the Book of Numbers 13 and 14, where Yahweh punished the would be Israelites for not wanting to enter a land of giants, thinking that they would be better off raising cattle where they were, and then being punished to remain goat herds on the wilderness until they had all died out, perhaps another bad pun.

From an Israeli Tourism Poster.
remnantofgiants.wordpress.com

But whatever reasons the “great one” had for killing off the older generation (wasn’t that Jackie Gleason’s reverential epitath?), most likely to wipe out the collective memories of the good old days in Egypt, what is really interesting is that the Anakim retreated to Gaza after being defeated by Joshua in southern Canaan. Here is a reference to Joshua 3:10 and the clearing of Canaan of the others and as Joshua 11:22 says he drove the giants into Gaza. These descendents of the Nephilim mingled with the Philistines and fought the good fight against David’s airborne advanced technology. Spear chucking Philistines could not compete with the laser accuracy of David’s surgical strikes and supported by the power of the US, I mean Yahweh, the poor residents of Gaza were encircled. The propaganda of the victors turned the story on its head with David as the underdog. It is not ironic that the next generation anti Hamas anti-rocket weapon is called “David’s Slingshot” reflecting underlying Jewish association of Gaza with the Nephilim who were giants driven out of the promised land. It is a coded justification for wars of extermination as Yahweh ordered for the Israelis to do. Because of the association of fear of these giants with betrayal of the Lord, showing a lack of faith, those who would compromise with the Philistines hiding the Anakims, as human shields should be exterminated also. Essentially I am saying that Israel is using this Biblical story to prop up its justification for a racialist attitude toward Gaza both from the perspective of Jewish militant pride, ie David, and the fears of giants ie Hamas and terrorists in general. Playing on the tale of David and Goliath, and the history of the settlement of Palestine is an old game in the Israeli propaganda machine.

Israel critique Hamas Call for Human Shields in Gaza.
www.jewsnews.co.il

Slingers were very effective fighters in the ancient world and armies would recruit them especially from the Balearic Islands where they were known to be experts at that type of medium range missile warfare. Often slingers would be deployed at the onset of battles to soften up the enemy at the beginning of an engagement.

Artists conception of a Balearic Slinger
commons.wikimedia.org

Obama Administration Flounders In Palestinian Peace Talks And Middle East

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Protests of Settlements

A Palestinian protester holds a placard in front of Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank village of al-Masara near Bethlehem, marking the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by the United Nations. Friday Nov. 30
(photo credit: AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

US Policy In Middle East Caught Between Idealism and Real Politik, Results in Confusing and Mixed Messages

Immediately before the peace talks were about to start, Israel announced plans to build more settlements, immediately threatening the peace talks, which even if the Palestinians want to continue, would have to give up even the pretense of being an equal player. This seems to be a deliberate effort at sabotage, or if that is not the case then at least rubbing the Palestinians noses in their lack of power and playing up the American’s lack of sincerity in attempting to give the Palestinians a fair break.

I am not exactly saying that is the game plan, but well, what else can it be. The US is taking hits all over the Middle East as Obama’s policies are proven to be just verbiage from Libya, to Syria, most significantly in Egypt and even the propaganda ploy in Palestine is being shown up almost immediately as little more than pretense. It is hard to understand what exactly Kerry is planning here unless the US is going to use some real leverage and remove military aid to all these players. But Obama has claimed to want to try a soft diplomatic effort, which becomes mired in the Gordian knot of the politics of the region. If the US wants to pursue some wings of Al Qaeda in say Yemen, support for others such as in Syria seems to be the price that the Saudi’s extract for the US to play on their turf.

The sad thing is that Obama with his speech in Cairo lifted expectations of the peoples of the Middle East and then the real politics of the US long term politics would leave these people high and dry, or as in the case of Egypt in a descending spiral of violence and the Syrian people engaged in a civil war that will probably end in the partition of the nation. Libya has become an Al Qaeda base for moving into the West Africa, and leading to destabilization in Mali, Nigeria, Chad and others to be seen.

Unintended consequences or simply the result of the on going game of chess that is international politics? Lives are at stake and the conclusion is still that the US should withdraw or completely change from a capitalist exploiter to some kind of a socialist people’s republic and even then there is no guarantee that national interests won’t trump international solidarity. There simply are too many factors and factions in the world today. It would behoove the US policy makers to attempt to pull back as much as possible and let international policy to be made through the UN, but that would take real change. Right now we have a muddling policy after an aggressive and pointless one under the Bush administration.

The USA when it was clearly pro Israel and pro dictators was at least consistent. Now that it is giving lip service and pseudo support to democracy, it is confusing people and causing unneeded misery throughout the region. Capitalist priorities make it impossible to implement a true democratic policy. We need to reject the control of the elite interest groups and work seriously for change or not pretend and cause people’s unwarranted deaths.

From Electronic Intifada

Quit meddling, Kerry, leave the Israel problem to the proper authorities

by Stuart Littlewood

No sooner had peace talks restarted under the warped patronage of the United States than Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu published bids for the construction of more than 1,000 new housing units in Palestinian East Jerusalem and existing illegal West Bank squats.

This and all the other unpunished illegal squatter building by Israel should have caused any sensible Palestinian to walk away from the ‘peace’ table, and never to have sat down in the first place. Of course, no sensible Palestinians are taking part in this latest peace pantomime. Instead we have to suffer the antics of Abbas and Erekat, the most obliging negotiators on the planet, who think nothing of holding talks without a popular mandate and while the thieving, blockading, lethal military force and trashing of their country continue unchecked.

http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2013/08/quit-meddling-kerry-leave-the-israel-problem-to-the-proper-authorities/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+intifada-palestine%2FyTiY+%28Intifada+Palestine%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Kerry and Netanyahu

Wikimedia Commons
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, May 23.

From the Middle East Monitor

Kerry was aware of latest settlement plans

Friday, 16 August 2013 12:04

Israeli newspaper Maariv has revealed that US Secretary of State John Kerry scolded Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s latest plans to expand settlements; they will, Kerry said, reduce the country’s legitimacy in the international arena. The secretary of state’s telephone call was an attempt to deflect Palestinian criticisms of settlement expansion.

Maariv portrayed this news as if the US is capable of being an honest broker in the conflict, but the truth of the matter is entirely different. In reality, Secretary Kerry was well aware of Israel’s plans to expand settlements in Jerusalem prior to resuming negotiations and he did not object.

According to the newspaper, Thursday’s telephone call came after a three-way conversation between Kerry, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu on Monday. Kerry is alleged to have urged Netanyahu to halt all settlement expansion for the first nine months of negotiations. This, said Maariv, was despite the fact that he already knew about the Israeli plans for 1,200 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem as well as another 920 units in the Gilo colony-settlement.

According to Israeli officials, Kerry’s criticism of settlement expansion was lip service for the Palestinians’ benefit.

- See more at: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6939-kerry-was-aware-of-latest-settlement-plans#sthash.Y4Sbw1YQ.dpuf

Netenjyahu Approves New settlements

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel announced Sunday that he has given final approval for the construction of 1,187 apartments in settlements
Photo: AP

From the Independent

Peace talks at risk as Israel approves 900 more settlement homes despite Palestinian prisoners release

Long-awaited negotiations near collapse before they start - even as release of Palestinian prisoners begins

Ben Lynfield

Jerusalem

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Close to 560,000 Israeli nationals now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel occupied those areas in the 1967 war and considers its rule of East Jerusalem as reflecting a “liberation” of the area and its Jewish holy sites.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the approval of thousands of homes for Jewish settlers could bring about the “collapse” of the talks. “This settlement expansion is unprecedented,” Mr Abed Rabbo said. “It threatens to make talks fail even before they have started.”

The surge in construction plans is intensifying Palestinian criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to return to peace negotiations with Israel without securing a freeze on further settlement.

The 900 homes will include an extension of East Jerusalem’s Gilo settlement towards the West Bank town of Beit Jala. Israel considers Gilo, which is built on land expropriated from the Palestinians of Beit Jala, an integral part of its capital.

Palestinians believe the new buildings will reinforce a wedge of settlement that separates Arab areas of East Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area in the West Bank. “This [move] means that Israel is determined to force its position,” said Jad Ishaq, director of the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem, a non-governmental organisation that monitors settlement activity. “There is a shortage of land in Beit Jala and this should be land on which Beit Jala expands.”

Efrat Orbach, a spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry, confirmed that approval had been given to expand Gilo. She said more approvals were needed and it could be years before building began. But Israel’s Peace Now organisation disputed this, saying that construction could begin within weeks.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Palestinians should not be surprised by the plans since Israel had rejected Mr Abbas’s demand for a freeze on settlement building as a precondition for talks. “They knew that a freeze was unacceptable and they entered the talks nevertheless,” he added.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/peace-talks-at-risk-as-israel-approves-900-more-settlement-homes-despite-palestinian-prisoners-release-8760194.html

Israel Makes Palestinian homeland a non-starter

Map shows Disappearing Palestine

From the International Middle East Media Center

Israeli-Palestinian Officials Meet In Budapest

Sunday August 18, 2013
by IMEMC & Agencies Report post

Israel and Palestinian officials held a meeting, last week, in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and discussed the efforts to ensure the continuation of the recently resumed direct peace talks, mediated by the United States.

Israeli daily, Maariv, reported Sunday that members of Knesset (MK’s) of the Yesh Atid Party (There is Future) Dov Lipman, Boaz Toporovsky, and Yifat Kariv, in addition to MK Moshe Mizrahi of the Labor Party, and David Tsur of the Hatenua Party, met with Fateh officials Qaddoura Fares and Sameeh Al-Abed, legislators Abdullah Abdullah, and Jamal Zaqqout.

MK Kariv stated that the meeting was held to help boost direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
“The sooner we achieve the two-state solution, the better it is for both sides”, she said, “I left the meeting knowing we can talk with them”.

“Any support to a one-state solution from the river to the sea harms the peace process”, Kariv added, “The Israeli government also needs to make some responsible and brave decisions”.

Responding to a question regarding the effects of political stances of her party on the coalition with the Jewish Home Party, she said that “the two parties helped form the current government in Israel”, and added that “whenever a difference in political stances emerge, we need to find common ground”.

The convening Palestinian and Israeli officials agreed on issuing a joint statement that would “pressure Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach an agreement”, and expressed support to the Geneva Initiative for peace.

On his part, Fares confirmed the meeting took place, but did not give any further statements or details.

http://www.imemc.org/article/65984

Netanyahu

Netanyahu

Netanyahu: “Israel Will Always Maintain Sovereignty On Settlements, New ‘Jewish Neighborhoods”
Saturday August 17, 2013 by IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated during his recent meeting with UN General-Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, that Israel will continue to build and expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and that settlements, and what he labeled as “new neighborhoods”, and settlement blocs will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.

During his meeting with Ki-moon two days ago, Netanyahu said that there is nothing to discuss or negotiate on regarding Israel’s settlements.

“Everybody knows new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, all settlement blocs, will always remain under Israeli control”, he said, “There is nothing to talk about, there will be no discussion on the issue”.

The Israeli Prime Minister also claimed that “it is clear everybody known that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the core source of tension in the Middle East”, and alleged that “the fundamental issue, the core problem in the region, is not recognizing Israel is a state for the Jewish people”.

http://www.imemc.org/article/65981

Cookbook

After taking a break from describing my meals, I have decided to add them again. I would really like to figure out how to transfer images from my cell phone to my wordpress account. It would make this a lot more graphic.

I had an egg free breakfast August 18th. Chorizo, plantain, nopales, onion, garlic, two strips of Turkey bacon with hing and ginger, half a potato, a decent chunk of Panela cheese, chili powder, basil, Thai sweet chili sauce and turmeric. Corn Tortillas, fresh lettuce pieces, cilantro and New Mexican Salsa. Tastes good and has plenty of protein.

Palestine Peace Talks, Iranian Sanctions, More Food Stuff

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Peace Talks Between Israel and Palestine to begin again

From the Jerusalem Post:

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talks in Jerusalem on Aug. 14, the US State Department said on Thursday.

The sides held their first peace negotiations in nearly three years in Washington on July 30 in US-mediated efforts to end the conflict of more than six decades.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said last week that Israel was expected to release 26 Palestinian prisoners on August 13 to constitute the first of four stages of prisoner releases as a gesture for resuming direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said last week that the parties had agreed on alternating venues for talks in initial meetings with the first to be held in Israel.

“We and the Palestinians both determined that the first meetings would be held once in Israel and once in the Palestinian Authority … we want to do it directly (and close to home). The next meeting will be in the second week of August in Israel,” she said in a broadcast interview.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/US-Israeli-Palestinian-peace-talks-to-resume-Aug-14-in-Jerusalem-322526
Palestine is a new focus for Secretary of State Kerry. He claims to be working for a new peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians. The chances of success seem fairly slim but Kerry seems to be adamant about moving things forward. Kerry would certainly like it in his legacy that he was the one to crack this nut. Interesting how fundamentalist Christians are so interested in the goings on over there. They are constantly seeking signs of the coming end of the world as the video below with its weird music indicates.

Report from Arise TV and JN1 on Kerry Peace Plan for Palestine and Israel

Former President Carter has lambasted Israel and called what they are attempting to impose on the Palestinians as being a form of apartheid. This has been unpopular to say the least among the pro Israel members of Congress.

Hardball interview with Carter on his book about Palestine, note how MSNBC host tries to change subject to Rwanda.

Iran Sanctions

The election of a new more moderate government in Iran should lead to renewed negotiations but the reaction of Congress seems to be one of increased sanctions. But with the exemptions allowed by the State Department, and others who seem to simply be ignoring the US sanctions, it seems that Iran will be able to continue exporting oil and maintaining an independent policy. Below are criticisms of the US policies by Webster Tarpley and Congressman Ron Paul as well as a report on sanctions from an Iranian opposition group.

Webster Tarpley on Press TV calls new US Congressional Sanctions impotent

This is from the People’s Mojahedin an Iranian opposition socialist group in exile. But the article itself seems to be straight from the AP wire.

US House approves tough new Iran sanctions
AP, Washington, 31 July 2013 - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved tough new sanctions on Iran’s oil sector and other industries.
The Obama administration fears the measures could undercut the Islamic republic’s incoming, more moderate president ahead of new nuclear negotiations.
No date has been set for such talks, which would include other world powers Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The bill makes no mention of Hasan Rouhani’s recent win or his pledge to improve Iran’s relations with the world.
He will assume office this weekend.
The bill adopted Wednesday blacklists any business in Iran’s mining and construction sectors and commits the United States to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015.
Petroleum sales are the biggest source of money for Iran’s nuclear program. Washington fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran says its program is for energy and research purposes.
The bill builds on U.S. penalties that went into effect last year that have cut Iran’s petroleum exports in half and hurt its economy.
Still, China, India and several other Asian nations continue to buy billions of dollars of Iranian oil each month.
That provides Tehran with much of the money it spends on its weapons and nuclear programs.
President Barack Obama and his national security team are gauging whether Rouhani is willing to slow some of his country’s uranium enrichment activity.
The administration wants to give him a chance to make concessions before Iran reaches nuclear weapons capacity.
Obama has given Iran until sometime next year to prove that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful energy and research purposes.
He prefers diplomacy to the alternative of a military intervention by the U.S. or Israel, which sees an Iranian atomic arsenal as a threat to its existence.
“We believe crippling sanctions are a key part of the pressure we put on Iran,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Wednesday.

http://www.mojahedin.org/pagesen/index.aspx

Ron Paul critique of Iran Sanctions and US ignoring of civil liberties

I don’t usually find myself agreeing with Ron Paul, but his foreign policy ideals are right on. He wants to pull US troops back from our over extended foreign presence. Obama has given some credence to this by pulling out of Iraq rapidly but he replaced that with Afghanistan and seems about to do the same in Syria or Iran, depending on which way the wind blows.

It is interesting to see Kerry pushing so hard on the Palestinian issue, reflecting what I see as an outdated view that the lynchpin to US problems in the Middle East stem from the Arab Israeli conflict. That was the case up until recently, but now with the Arab spring, what is really going on is a massive uprising of the people of the region and it can no longer be pinned to the Palestinian struggle, it is now everyone’s struggle for freedom.

More culinary delights

I have been remiss in not reporting my daily doings in the kitchen for a day or so. Let us recap, I am doing what I am calling loosely an anarchist cookbook. As a former anarchist myself, and something of a low budget gourmet, well really more of a semi health conscious comfort food eater, one who tends to throw the kitchen sink into every meal, I have developed my own style of cooking, something rather anarchistic in that I tend not to follow recipes, and I add foods together that often are not thought to belong together.

Mr Peabody and his boy Sherman

Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman going into the Wayback Machine.

Lets take the way back machine to the evening of July 7th, my meal was miso soup and salad. Miso soup included a medium-large turd sized dollop of white Miso in a smallish pan half filled with boiling water, add a slice of chopped onion, half an El Serrano pepper, a third of a bell pepper chopped, cube up a fifth of a block of firm or extra firm tofu and at the end a decent sized wad of Korean sea weed, and one twist of rice pasta. This cooks fast and is ready in ten minutes.

The salad was romaine lettuce broken into pieces, a slice of onion chopped, the other half of the El Serrano pepper chopped, a small Roma tomato chopped, a dollop of humus, a two finger sized slice of sharp Cheddar cheese, a ripe avocado, sprinkle wheat germ on it, pour the dressing on, and it is done. The dressing was made from sesame oil, canola oil, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and that is it, I left out the vinegar this time and it was delicious.

Yesterday morning, July 8, I had errands to run so I grabbed a meaty breakfast burrito at Jack in the Box.

Meaty Breakfast Burrito

Jack In the Box Meaty Breakfast Burrito

Dinner was more pasta, my visiting roommate from Mexico likes pasta. So it was some thin spaghetti, sauce made of canned plum tomatoes and tomato paste on top of a third of a chopped onion sauteed in olive oil, with basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf and leftover sauce from my last pasta. On the frying pan I sauteed another third of a chopped onion, added a Mexican (white) squash chopped, a jalapeno pepper chopped, two links of pork sausage, three strips of pork bacon with fat left in, a Roma tomato chopped, and a chayote with skin peeled off, and pit, or in this case the white area where there would have been a pit, sliced up and added last to the pan. This was very fruity almost like an unripe honeydew. I added basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and some chili powder. Lastly I boiled up three chopped carrots. I put the left over carrot juice into the frying pan, simmered it down. The pasta I put in the strainer, added leftover pasta from the last meal, it was heated by the new pasta, poured the rest of the carrot juice on top, and then served pasta, with sauteed veges and meats and tomato sauce, grating Pepper Jack cheese on top, on the side were the carrots with Mexican Oaxaca cheese chunks melted on top helped by a minute in the microwave. A slice of lime on the side and it was done.

This morning August 9 Nagasaki day, I sauteed in olive oil two pork sausages, chopped up a slice of onion, a jalapeno pepper, washed and included a handful of nopales, sliced up a small prebaked potato and added it and spiced with basil, lemon grass powder, a slice of lime squeezed in with the rind thrown in, chili powder, and some cumin. I then added some sweet chili sauce and slices of Mexican Oaxaca cheese. In the microwave I heated left over rice, leftover pancake, and tortillas. I poached a couple of eggs and then served with fresh cilantro, hot sauce and black pepper on top. I put a dollop of vanilla yogurt on the pancakes. This was a great breakfast, too much in fact, I had to put about a third of it back in the fridge for future meals. I especially liked how the sunflower seeds in the pancakes had mellowed and softened over time and tasted really nice giving the pancakes a nice crunchiness.

There you have it, I am going to try and get those pictures figured out this weekend so I can add them.

Ruminations On Los Angeles Radical Community, Israel & Palestine

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

I am a member of the Green Party in Long Beach, CA. It is not exactly the most politically active group down here. I find the local anarchists to be more of a presence than the Green Party. Yesterday I went to a protest against the launching of a missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The protest was at the Missile procurement and research center the LA Air Force Base in El Segundo, CA a suburb of Los Angeles.
About 30 people attended. They were mostly from the War Resisters League, Catholic Workers and a representative from the Global Peace March. I was the only self identified anarchist/communist. One guy asked me if the wobblies were still around when he saw my IWW cap. I replied yep and that I didn’t know the War Resisters League was still around until I saw the guy with a war resistors cap.
This year I have made a point of going to events where there would be people I didn’t necessarily know or normally work with. I went to a couple of protests of the Israeli assaults on Gaza, most of the people attending were from the ANSWER coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. I also met a member of Workers World Party there and a member of the News & Letters Group. I met quite a few Palestinians there who were supporters of Hamas with their green flags. It was interesting to see communists and islamic fundamentalists together. Again I was the only self identified anarchist communist. There might have been a thousand people at the event in January but only a few hundred at a rally in April. The RCP made a presence in January but I did not see them at the April event.
I also attended the Anarchist Conference at the People’s Library in South Central LA. This had perhaps a thousand people at last years book fair but only a few hundred at this years conference. It was still a decent turn out and there were representatives from the IWW, RAC, Insane Dialectical Posse and even a Turkish Member of the ICC. This was a crowd where I recognised some of those present. Some old time Food Not Bomb participants from the 90’s were still active but mostly they were new people I didn’t know.
What is my point? Well I am making an effort to survey the current state of the radical community in LA. What we have is a fragmented scene, much like the city. Where as a few years ago communists and anarchists and peace activists and Palestinian activists all went to one an other’s events. Now I find less of that happening. Anarchists seem to be doing their own thing, and are hooked up with struggles in the Latino community such as the immigrant workers rights struggles where some anarchists were among those attacked by the Police on May Day 2007, but in anti militarism events and in Palestinian events there was no Anarchist presence. It could be simply because most Anarchists are opposed to nationalism and many are not pacifist. Catholic Worker was once identified as anarchist back in the 1930’s but now they are more affiliated with the anti-nuke activists than with the current anarchist movement.
Back in the 1990’s and in the build up to the big march against the war in Iraq in 2003 I was involved in an effort to bring people from different groups together. I also had a band of people who came together just for that event. We made banners and marched together in a breakaway demonstration and then we dissolved. That is one kind of anarchist ideal. Temporary autonomous organization for the specific event. It is a structure that works in today’s instant communication email society. You are committed for the moment and when it passes your commitment passes. That may be ok for a demonstration, but is it the structure for a movement?
It may be the best we can expect in our current society. People are bombarded with stimulus. They choose a few sources of information, decide that is what they trust and go with it. It may be good for an event but it also leads to isolation of groups from one another with similar causes but because we have become so fragmented into such specific interests we are not even aware of what others are doing that we might have united with a few years before.
Lets take the example of the Gaza demonstrations. In January I went to the demonstration in Orange County at a mini mall. There were perhaps a thousand people. Many from the community. This area had a large population from the middle east. Members of Communist and Muslim independence groups spoke, from Palestine, and from the Philippines. The crowd included many families and teenagers.
I then drove up to the Federal Building in West LA where there was another demonstration. Here was a different crowd. Students from UCLA, professionals, few children or families. It was a smaller group also it had a much less militant outlook. The crowd in Orange County had many Hamas supporters. The crowd in West LA was more anti militarist and anti war and not as pro Palestinian. There were Jews for Peace here and it would be tough for this crowd to fly green Hamas flags as they did in Orange County. It was the difference between a national liberation crowd and an anti war crowd. What they had in common were communists in both groups.
In Orange County the slogan was “Drive Israel Out of Palestine”. In West LA the Slogan was “Peace Now”. These are quite different demands. There were no Anarchists besides myself to comment on the difference. The Communists seemed to not want to confront the contradiction. Perhaps they were unaware, I doubt it though. Members of the RCP were at both events.
Israel is a bone of contention that divides many in the left.
The differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis, or any other groups that is one where we have to start from the premise of being fair. When the British first took over the land from the Turks in World War One the Arabs and Jews got along. Jews migrated and bought land from the Arabs but in 1929 there was a riot over access to Jerusalem. The British simply mishandled the situation.
This was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The Arabs helped the British kick the Turks out of the middle east and thought they were promised Palestine as part of the deal. Jews thought that they were promised the same land because of the Balfour Accords. The British let Jews move in but in the 1930’s began to restrict the number of Jews who could emigrate. This led to Jewish terrorist attacks on the British. Arabs felt betrayed because the British kept the land after World War One as part of their Protectorate. Finally after increased terror attacks after World War 2 including the bombing of the British Military headquarters the British and the new United Nations came up with a plan to divide the country into two an Arab and Jewish portion.
As soon as the British left war broke out between the new Jewish state of Israel and the Arabs who had thought this land was theirs.
Historically the Ottomans Empire invited the Jews from Spain when they were kicked out by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The Arabs freed the Jews and non conformists Christians in what was then part of Syria from the Rule of the Roman Church in the 600’s. The Jews were considered to be people of the book and treated like Christians with respect by the Muslims. Islam was considered to be the final revelation of gods word to mankind. To them Jews and Christians were their predecessors.
The problem with the way the situation was handled in the 1940’s was a matter of disrespect. The British were dumping an empire. They had just given up India, the jewel in the crown. They didn’t want to but they had promised. The Labor Party wanted to implement the National Health Service and they could not afford to fund that and a war to keep India part of the empire. Palestine was simply a way station on the road to India, without India there was no need for Palestine and it looked like a nice place to put the Jewish survivors from the Nazi death camps as well as being the Biblical homeland of the Jews.
But the Jews had been forcefully removed by the Babylonians 2500 years ago. They were returned by the Persian king when he conquered Babylon and set the Jews free. Later they were conquered by the Greeks who were in turn conquered by the Romans. The Romans at first let a Jewish King rule, Herod because he had helped the Romans fight the Parthians. Later they implemented direct Roman Rule, the Jews rebelled twice and were exiled from Jerusalem and the vicinity. This was almost 2000 years ago. Many Jews went to live in Babylon where they were protected by the Parthians and Persians.
After the Arabs conquered the region Jews, Christians and Muslims lived there in relative harmony for centuries. The Turks took over the area in the 1500’s and continued their relativly tolerant rule. It wasn’t until the British took over after World War One that things got screwed up. Now we have a royal mess there and in India. Both were situations where the British decided it was easier to simply divide the people Jews and Arabs in Palestine or Muslims and Hindus in India and let things fall where they may.
People let their beliefs in nations based on religious differences be the determining factor but there is no reason why this has to be a determining factor. It is almost simply an easy excuse to use for politicians looking for a way to stir up hatred between peoples. In India the Congress Party was made of Hindus and Muslims. It was only after the Caliphate in Istanbul was destroyed by the victorious allies in World War One that the Muslims in India united to form a movement to restore the Caliphate that evolved into a muslim separatist movement. In the middle east Arabs and Jews had gotten along for centuries it was only when European Jews decided that they needed their own country and that it should be in a land that had not been ruled by Jews for 2000 years that the troubles began with this modern Zionist movement. It was aided and abetted by Christians who had misplaced notions of apocalyptic visions that by giving the Jews back their state they could recreate the conditions for Jesus to return to the planet Earth. This arcane notion is one of the main reasons why there is tension in the middle east.
Really there is no reason why the Jews and Arabs can’t have a united state of Palestine that accepts all religions as equal. It is only the nationalists who stir up differences and then give certain people other people’s land and then protect them, thus creating a constituency and a justification for conflict, that we have these problems. The Middle East crisis could be solved in a couple of weeks with a just peace if there was simply the will. Just like Cypress worked out its differences, between Greeks and Turks, so can the Arabs and Jews in Palestine. There are rich people getting richer over the differences and there are politicians who have created constituencies out of creating an imbalance that will perpetuate conflict until balance is restored.
Capitalism is one of the big reasons behind this, capitalism and the wilful perpetuation of ignorance by elites to control the mass of people who really have better things to do than to become embroiled in politics. The problem is, if you leave it all up the the experts, and don’t pay attention they will steer you off a cliff. So pay attention people.
Not all these differences are simply because of manipulation. Some of them have a basis in historical issues that have to be resolved. Class, and hierarchy, patriarchy and elitism are at the root of most issues. Some are simply matters of misunderstanding but most have a basis in power and control over access to resources. The sooner we all learn to deal with these things in a straightforward not mystified manner and adopt rational methodologies of distribution, the sooner these issues will disappear into the primitive history of the past. We must achieve socialism or we will revert to some form of primitive barbarism.


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