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TBR News December 27, 2016

Dec 27 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. December 27, 2016:”The convoluted mess in the Middle East has its inception in a plan by the Saudi king to establish a large Sunni Moslem empire with his country as the leader. To further his aims, the Saudis organized the radical Sunni IS and set it in motion in Shiite territory. Because the US buys Saudi oil, they agreed to train and arm the IS bands. But the Russians thwarted their disruptive and distructive plans by attacking the IS people, now called ‘Syrian rebels’ and disrupting the flow of stolen Syria oil to Turkey and from them to the US. The US does not like Russia’s Putin because he has disrupted their planning and they are distancing themselves from the Saudis because they are on the verge of bankruptcy and running out of oil.”

Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘Confirmed evidence’ US-led coalition supports ISIS & other terrorists in Syria

December 27, 201g

RT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “it’s very clear” that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) among them.

“They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS),” Erdogan said.

Saying that the US have accused Turkey of supporting IS, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the Turkish leader blamed the US-led coalition for assisting terrorists themselves.

Apart from IS, he also mentioned Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the coalition.

“We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he added.

On Tuesday, Moscow also accused Washington of “sponsoring terrorism” in Syria.

Commenting on the latest National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the new bill “openly stipulates the possibility” of delivering more weapons to Syria.

Those arms “will soon find their way to the jihadists,” ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, adding that America had “refused” to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.

Barack Backhands Bibi

December 27, 2016

by Patrick J. Buchanan

AntiWar

Did the community organizer from Harvard Law just deliver some personal payback to the IDF commando? So it would seem.

By abstaining on that Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and invalid, raged Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama “failed to protect Israel in this gang-up at the UN, and colluded with it.”

Obama’s people, charged Bibi, “initiated this resolution, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

White House aide Ben Rhodes calls the charges “falsehoods.”

Hence, we have an Israeli leader all but castigating an American president as a backstabber and betrayer, while the White House calls Bibi a liar.

This is not an unserious matter.

“By standing with the sworn enemies of Israel to enable the passage of this destructive, one-sided anti-Israel rant and tirade,” writes the Washington Times, “Mr. Obama shows his colors.”

But unfortunately for Israel, the blow was delivered by friends as well as “sworn enemies.”

The U.S. abstained, but Britain, whose Balfour Declaration of 1917 led to the Jewish state in Palestine, voted for the resolution.

As did France, which allied with Israel in the Sinai-Suez campaign of 1956 to oust Egypt’s Col. Nasser, and whose Mysteres were indispensable to Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Vladimir Putin, who has worked with Bibi and was rewarded with Israel’s refusal to support sanctions on Russia for Crimea and Ukraine, also voted for the resolution.

Egypt, whose Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was welcomed by Bibi after his coup against the Muslim Brotherhood president, and who has collaborated with Bibi against terrorists in Sinai and Gaza, also voted yes.

China voted yes as did Ukraine. New Zealand and Senegal, both of which have embassies in Tel Aviv, introduced the resolution.

Despite Israel’s confidential but deepening ties with Sunni Arab states that share her fear and loathing of Iran, not a single Security Council member stood by her and voted against condemning Israel’s presence in Arab East Jerusalem and the Old City. Had the resolution gone before the General Assembly, support would have been close to unanimous.

While this changes exactly nothing on the ground in the West Bank or East Jerusalem where 600,000 Israelis now reside, it will have consequences, and few of them will be positive for Israel.

The resolution will stimulate and strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which has broad support among U.S. college students, Bernie Sanders Democrats and the international left.

If Israel does not cease expanding West Bank settlements, she could be hauled before the International Criminal Court and charged with war crimes.

Already, J Street, the liberal Jewish lobby that backs a two-state solution in Palestine – and has been denounced by Donald Trump’s new envoy to Israel David Friedman as “far worse than kapos,” the Jewish guards at Nazi concentration camps – has endorsed the resolution.

The successful resolution is also a reflection of eroding support for Israel at the top of the Democratic Party, as a two-term president and a presidential nominee, Secretary of State John Kerry, were both behind it.

Republicans are moving to exploit the opening by denouncing the resolution and the U.N. and showing solidarity with Israel. Goal: Replace the Democratic Party as the most reliable ally of Israel, and reap the rewards of an historic transfer of Jewish political allegiance.

That Sen. George McGovern was seen as pro-Palestinian enabled Richard Nixon to double his Jewish support between 1968 and 1972.

That Jimmy Carter was seen as cold to Israel enabled Ronald Reagan to capture more than a third of the Jewish vote in 1980, on his way to a 44-state landslide.

Moreover, U.S. acquiescence in this resolution puts Bibi in a box at home. Though seen here as a hawk on the settlements issue, the right wing of Bibi’s coalition is far more hawkish, pushing for outright annexation of West Bank settlements. Others call for a repudiation of Oslo and the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

If Bibi halts settlement building on the West Bank, he could cause a split in his Cabinet with rightist rivals like Naftali Bennett who seek to replace him.

Here in the U.S., the U.N. resolution is seen by Democrats as a political debacle, and by many Trump Republicans as an opportunity.

Sen. Chuck Schumer has denounced Obama’s refusal to veto the resolution, echoing sentiments about the world body one used to hear on America’s far right.

“The U.N.” said Schumer, “has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days (it said) ‘Zionism is racism’ and that fervor has never diminished.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he will urge Congress to slash funding for the United Nations.

If the folks over at the John Birch Society still have some of those bumper stickers – “Get the U.S. out of the U.N., and the U.N. out of the U.S.!” they might FedEx a batch over to Schumer and Graham.

May have some converts here.

What is BDS?

bdsmovement

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

Ongoing injustice

For nearly seventy years, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law.

Israel maintains a regime of of settler colonialism, apartheid and occupation over the Palestinian people. This is only possible because of international support. Governments fail to hold Israel to account, while corporations and institutions across the world help Israel to oppress Palestinians.

Because those in power refuse to act to stop this injustice, Palestinian civil society has called for a global citizens’ response of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

What are Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions?

BOYCOTTS involve withdrawing support for Israel and Israeli and international companies that are involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as well as complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.

DIVESTMENT campaigns urge banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from all Israeli companies and from international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights.

SANCTIONS campaigns pressure governments to fulfil their legal obligation to hold Israel to account including by ending military trade, free-trade agreements and expelling Israel from international forums such as the UN and FIFA.

The call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

In 2005, Palestinian civil society organisations called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel.

The BDS movement was launched by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, women’s organisations, professional associations, popular resistance committees and other Palestinian civil society bodies.

Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the Palestinian BDS call urges nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands:

1 Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel. As part of its military occupation, Israel steals land and forces Palestinians into ghettos, surrounded by checkpoints, settlements and watchtowers and an illegal apartheid Wall. Israel has imposed a medieval siege on Gaza , turning it into the largest open air prison in the world. Israel also regularly carries out large-scale assaults on Gaza that are widely condemned as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  1. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality

One-fifth of Israel’s citizens are Palestinians who remained inside the armistice lines after 1948. They are subjected to a system of racial discrimination enshrined in more than 50 laws that impact every aspect of their lives. The Israeli government continues to forcibly displace Palestinian communities in Israel from their land. Israeli leaders routinely and openly incite racial violence against them.

  1. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194

Since its violent establishment in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of more than half of the indigenous people of Palestine, Israel has set out to control as much land and uproot as many Palestinians as it can. As a result of this systematic forced displacement, there are now more than 7.25 million Palestinian refugees. They are denied their right to return to their homes simply because they are not Jewish.

BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia.

A global movement

The BDS movement is supported by unions, churches, NGOs and movements representing millions across every continent and there are vibrant BDS campaigns in communities across the world. Progressive Jewish groups play an important role in the movement.

Public figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters, Angela Davis and Judith Butler back BDS. The slider below features just a small selection of the movement’s supporters.

Growing Impact

Thanks to strategic campaigning, the impact of the BDS movement is increasing substantially.

BDS aims to end international support for Israeli violations of international law by forcing companies, institutions and governments to change their policies. As Israeli companies and institutions become isolated, Israel will find it more difficult to oppress Palestinians.

BDS campaigns also raise awareness about how Israel oppresses the Palestinian people.

The growth and success of the BDS movement sends a clear message to Palestinians and to world governments that people around the world are increasingly unwilling to accept Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Israel wrecks 18 Palestinian structures for every one it licenses in West Bank’s Area

Civil Administration data also show a steep rise in building permits for Area C to 37 in the first half of 2016, after just seven in 2015.

December 27, 2016

by Yotam Berger

Haaretz

Since 2014, Israel has demolished 18 times as many structures as it permitted the Palestinians to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Israel has both civilian and military control, Civil Administration data show.

The data also show a partial enforcement of demolition orders in the West Bank, against both Palestinians or Israelis building illegally.

According to the data released at the request of the NGO Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, a group identified with the left, between 2014 and 2016 Palestinians requested 1,253 building permits in Area C – 440 in 2014, 385 in 2015 and 428 in 2016.

Only 53 of these requests were approved. In 2014 only nine building permits were issued, in 2015, seven, while in 2016 there was a steep increase, an a total of 37 permits were issued through June.

During that same period, 2,141 demolition orders were given for Palestinian structures in Area C – 832 in 2014, 875 in 2015, and through June of this year, 434.

Less than half of these orders, 983, have been carried out so far. Nevertheless, far more structures have been demolished than new structures were approved.

In 2014 there were 408 demolitions; in 2015, 335, and through June of this year, 240.

“These demolitions can affect tens of thousands of people,” said Alon Cohen-Lifshitz, Bimkom’s Area C coordinator. “Two thousand orders can be relevant to 3,000 structures, and each structure can house between four and 15 people.”

The Civil Administration does not have data on the number of building permits issued in the settlements, since these are not processed through the Civil Administration, but it does have the number of demolition orders issued and carried out against illegal Jewish construction.

Those figures show that since 2014, 865 demolition orders have been issued against structures in the settlements – 349 in 2014, 378 in 2015, and 138 in 2016. Here, too, enforcement has only been partial, with only 438 demolitions carried out – 181 in 2014, 188 in 2015, and 69 to mid-2016.

Yaniv Aharoni, the land coordinator of the right-wing Otef Yerushalayim Forum, who monitors illegal Palestinian construction in the Mishor Adumim area, claims the data for Palestinian demolitions are inflated.

“Every stake is defined by the Civil Administration as illegal construction,” Aharoni said. “In our district, when an inspector comes to me and says he took down 11 illegal structures, I go to the site and find that of those illegal structures, there are three pens and stakes, and even the things that kids used to mark off a soccer field.”

Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist –

December 20, 2016

by Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

mondoweiss

Trump’s election is having fascinating consequences. Today the New York Times ran a long piece titled, “Liberal Zionism in the Age of Trump,” by Omri Boehm of the New School saying that liberal Zionism is a contradiction: liberal American Jews have “identified themselves with Zionism, a political agenda rooted in the denial of liberal politics.”

Boehm’s most startling point is that Zionism has anti-Semitic strains, witness its collaboration with Nazis. Hannah Arendt is happy today.

The piece will greatly increase the pressure on liberal Zionists to choose one idea or the other, and to stop denying the existence of apartheid.

Boehm says white nationalist Richard Spencer helped to blow up the liberal Zionist hypocrisy in his famous encounter with a Texas rabbi when he said he admires Israel for its ethnic purity and the rabbi had nothing to say. Some of Boehm’s hammer blows:

by denying liberal principles, Zionism immediately becomes continuous with — rather than contradictory to — the anti-Semitic politics of the sort promoted by the alt-right…

insofar as Israel is concerned, every liberal Zionist has not just tolerated the denial of this minimum liberal standard, but avowed this denial as core to their innermost convictions. Whereas liberalism depends on the idea that states must remain neutral on matters of religion and race, Zionism consists in the idea that the State of Israel is not Israeli, but Jewish. As such, the country belongs first and foremost not to its citizens, but to the Jewish people — a group that’s defined by ethnic affiliation or religious conversion…

Boehm never comes out and uses the term “racist,” but he might as well.

Trump has changed the map.

As long as liberalism was secure back in America and the rejection of liberalism confined to the Israeli scene, this tension could be mitigated. But as it spills out into the open in the rapidly changing landscape of American politics, the double standard is becoming difficult to defend…

[T]he following years promise to present American Jewry with a decision that they have much preferred to avoid. Hold fast to their liberal tradition, as the only way to secure human, citizen and Jewish rights; or embrace the principles driving Zionism.

By the way, the denial of the right of return is racist:

Opposition to the Palestinians’ “right of return” is a matter of consensus among left and right Zionists because also liberal Zionists insist that Israel has the right to ensure that Jews constitute the ethnic majority in their country. That’s the reason for which Rabbi Rosenberg could not answer Spencer.

And then this verboten history: Zionists collaborated with “anti-Semitic politics.” With Nazis:

The “original sin” of such alliances may be traced back to 1941, in a letter to high Nazi officials, drafted in 1941 by Avraham Stern, known as Yair, a leading early Zionist fighter and member in the 1930s of the paramilitary group Irgun, and later, the founder of another such group, Lehi. In the letter, Stern proposes to collaborate with “Herr Hitler” on “solving the Jewish question” by achieving a “Jewish free Europe.” The solution can be achieved, Stern continues, only through the “settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine.” To that end, he suggests collaborate with the German’s “war efforts,” and establish a Jewish state on a “national and totalitarian basis,” which will be “bound by treaty with the German Reich.”

It has been convenient to ignore the existence of this letter, just as it has been convenient to mitigate the conceptual conditions making it possible.

This is an opinion piece by an outsider, not a New York Times article. Hell and everything else would freeze if the NYT started writing news pieces which presupposed Zionism as actually practiced is racist. They won’t do that yet. They might conceivably start writing articles where people with that view are treated respectfully as they express it, rather than hiding the view from readers or treating people who express it as moral lepers.

Many of Boehm’s arguments have been made on the left for years, of course. The liberal Zionists chose to ignore them and talk about the two-state solution. They are losing that luxury. Though, expect some pushback from the Zionist forces inside the New York Times.

The Times would never have run this piece if Boehm were not Israeli. Just as the newspaper insisted, according to the late Tony Judt, that he identify himself as Jewish when he defended Walt and Mearsheimer in 2006. There are double standards in the press too.

After U.N. resolution on settlements, Israelis say the worst is yet to come

December 27, 2016

by Ruth Eglash

The Washington Post

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials fear that a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal and a barrier to peace could be the start of a wave of international declarations against the country.

Days after the measure was approved, Israel’s foreign ministry is bracing for what it believes could be another U.N. resolution that would impose parameters on negotiations with the Palestinians.

Such a resolution could come out of a meeting in Paris of some 70 international leaders, scheduled for Jan. 15, an Israeli official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Israeli officials are also concerned that a speech being planned by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, which he could present in Paris or before, will outline the Obama administration’s position on a final peace agreement and add fuel to a second resolution.

Israel has long said that any future peace deal with creation of a Palestinian state alongside it could come only from direct peace negotiations, with no preconditions. However, since early 2014, there has been little progress in bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table to end the decades-old conflict.

As the stalemate stretched on, the Palestinians have pressed to hold Israel accountable in international forums for its actions in the West Bank, including expanding existing Jewish settlements and laying the groundwork for new communities.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Tuesday that in recent days senior government ministers had been presented with information suggesting the French conference will outline a plan for peace that will immediately be brought to the U.N. Security Council for a vote before Jan. 20, when President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned ministers that Friday’s resolution on the settlements might not be the last measure taken by the international community regarding Israel and that there will probably be additional steps, Haaretz reported, quoting an unnamed official.

The resolution, which was approved late Friday by a vote of 14 to 0, declares that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have “no legal validity” and constitute a “flagrant violation under international law.” It also calls the settlements a major obstacle to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.

The United States abstained instead of using its veto, breaking with a long-standing policy of blocking resolutions dealing with Israel.

Since Friday, Netanyahu has announced a series of diplomatic measures, including summoning the envoys of countries that voted for the resolution, recalling Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal, two of the four countries that brought the resolution, and canceling some diplomatic meetings with officials from countries that allowed the resolution to pass.

In addition, right-wing voices in Netanyahu’s coalition have called on him to ramp up Israeli construction in the settlements, and some have even said it was time for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank.

News media reports indicated that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was set to finalize plans to build 600 units in East Jerusalem in a meeting of Jerusalem’s Planning and Construction Committee on Wednesday. Although the agenda for the committee was in place before the Security Council vote, the plan to approve permits to build the apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem was viewed by some as a rebuke to the U.N. declaration.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Jerusalem Municipality said, “The Jerusalem Municipality has not changed its stance that building in Jerusalem is necessary for the development of the city and will continue to develop the capital according to zoning and building codes without prejudice, for the benefit of all residents.”

Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem estimates that, combined, about 600,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The figures are based on official data provided by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. Palestinians say the figure is higher.

Sophie Lagoutte, a spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv, said the Paris initiative was not aimed at creating a new U.N. resolution but was intended to “reaffirm the importance of a two-state solution, with Palestinians and Israelis living side by side in security.”

The French hope the decisions made at the meeting will help reignite the peace process, Lagoutte said.

Palestinian officials praised the U.N. resolution and the French initiative.

The Israelis have repeatedly stated that they will not go to Paris, and Netanyahu said Friday that Israel would not abide by the U.N. resolution.

“Such steps are counterproductive to the situation,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told The Washington Post in an interview. “People are in love with an easy formula and ignore the complexity on the ground.”

Israel does not intend to be part of the Paris conference, she said, or of “any international idea to force a final resolution on Israel” without it first sitting down and negotiating a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Hotovely said she believed the Obama administration “had failed in so many arenas” and that President Obama was on his way out and “did not care if he left behind a bad legacy in the region.”

Hotovely’s comments came after Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said in a CNN interview Monday that Israel had proof that Obama himself was behind Friday’s U.N. resolution. Dermer said Israel would give Trump evidence that Obama had colluded with the Palestinians in hopes that the new administration would work with Israel to override the resolution by submitting an alternative one on the issue.

“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang-up,” Dermer said on CNN. “And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang-up. I think it was a very sad day and really a shameful chapter in U.S.-Israel relations.”

In an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 News, also Monday, Obama adviser Ben Rhodes said that “the true face of this president’s support for Israel can be seen in his entire record.”

“A few weeks ago we completed a 10-year, $38 billion [memorandum of understanding] for security assistance, the largest such package for any country in American history,” Rhodes said. “Obama has been outspoken about his support for a two-state solution and concern about settlements throughout his entire administration. This is not a new position.”

Israelis are involved in a significant diplomatic push to gain the support of other countries heading to the Paris conference. It is also cementing ties with Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, two countries set to become nonpermanent members of the Security Council on Sunday. Netanyahu visited both countries this year.

Oded Eran, a former Israeli diplomat and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said, however, that gaining the support of two nonpermanent members was unlikely to prevent a resolution from passing. Only nine affirmative votes are needed from the 15-member council to approve a resolution, but the five permanent members hold veto power.

If a second resolution is brought before the Security Council in coming weeks, it would probably “enshrine the U.S. position on the major issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, set out the borders between the two states and refer to East Jerusalem as being the site of a future Palestinian capital,” Eran said. “If that happens, it will be interesting how the U.S. will react to it this time.”

The Root Causes of the Mid-East Conflicts

December 27, 2016

by Brian Harring

Dublin, Eire- With the savage Israeli bombing and artillery attack on the civilian population of Gaza under the specious excuse of “anti-terrorist” actions, there are very few people, outside of Israel, who actually understand the underlying reasons for this decades-long and very bloody struggle between Israel and all of her Arab neighbors. Many historians are, in fact, well aware of the underlying  factors but few, if any, would dare to discuss them in light of the savage retaliation that would immediately be visited upon them by pro-Israeli entities.

Forced out of Roman-controlled Judea by the Romans following a long and bloody series of revolts, internal massacres and destructive activities, the Jews were eventually expelled from Judea and went to reside in various places such as Alexandria, Egypt.

These deportees are today known as Sephardic Jews and are the descendants of the original Semitic inhabitants of Judea.

Another, larger, group of Jews are called Ashkenazi and are the direct descendents of the Khazar tribes of Central Asia. Originally nomadic peoples, the Khazars were located on the west bank of the Caspian Sea, noted for their savage behavior and in about 700 AD, were converted by their king to Judaism.

Defeated by the Russians, the Khazars spread to Russia, what is now Poland and other eastern European areas. They are not Semitic by background and today, 95% of the citizens of Israel are descended from these nomads, which were composed of Mongols, the occasional Swedish rus or Viking and other diverse ethnic groups.

The oft-repeated claim by Israel that they were the original inhabitants of Judea or Palestine is, from a historical point of view, entirely false.

Modern Zionism was the creation of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) a Hungarian Jewish writer who advocated a Jewish state in Palestine. That the area was occupied, as it had been for thousands of years, by Arabs, themselves of Semitic origins, did not seem to bother the modern Zionists at all.

Following the end of the Second World War when huge masses of Eastern European Jews had been displaced from their countries in Poland, the Baltic states, Hungry, Romania, Greece, Germany, Austria and other European countries, they decided to move to Palestine and form their own state.

From 1944 through 1948, the entire area was subject to a literal reign of terror as large groups of DPs (Displaced Persons) descended on Palestine, wreaking havoc on the area. Murders, kidnappings, bombings, counterfeiting, bank robberies, blowing up hotels full of people and drive-by shootings were commonplace.

Eventually, the disruptions proved to be too much for the British, who occupied Palestine after the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire which once controlled it, withdrew and in 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed.

To anyone  who wonders why the Palestinians, and later the entire Arab Middle East world hates Israel, a study of the UN report immediately puts the motivating factors behind the long-ongoing bloodshed in accurate perspective.

What is past is certainly prologue.

 

Year and region where Jews have been expelled since 250 A.D.

 

YEAR                            PLACE

 

250 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Carthage

415 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Alexandria

554 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Diocese of Clement (France)

561 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Diocese of Uzzes (France)

612 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Visigoth Spain

642 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Visigoth Empire

855 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Italy

876 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Sens

1012 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1276 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Upper Bavaria

1290 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – England

1306 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1322 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France (again)

1348 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Switzerland

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hielbronn (Germany)

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Saxony

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1360 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1370 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Belgium

1380 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1388 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1420 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lyons

1421 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Fribourg

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Zurich

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cologne

1432 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Savoy

1438 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1439 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Augsburg

1442 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1444 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1446 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Breslau

1454 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1462 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1483 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1484 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1485 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vincenza (Italy)

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Spain

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

1495 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Portugal

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nuremberg

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Navarre

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenberg

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prussia

1514 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1515 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1519 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Regensburg

1533 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1541 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1542 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague & Bohemia

1550 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1551 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1555 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pesaro

1557 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1559 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1567 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1569 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Papal States

1571 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1593 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg, Austria

1597 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cremona, Pavia & Lodi

1614 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Frankfort

1615 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Worms

1619 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kiev

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Ukraine

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Poland

1649 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hamburg

1654 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1656 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Oran (North Africa)

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1670 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1712 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sandomir

1727 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1738 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurtemburg

1740 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague, Bohemia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Livonia

1745 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moravia

1753 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kovad (Lithuania)

1761 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bordeaux

1772 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Deported from Imperial Russia to the Pale of                                                     Settlement (Poland/Russia)

1775 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1789 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alsace

1804 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages in Russia

1808 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages & Countrysides (Russia)

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lübeck & Bremen

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Franconia, Swabia & Bavaria

1820 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bremen

1843 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russian Border Austria & Prussia

1862 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Areas in the U.S. under General Grant’s

Jurisdiction

1866 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Galatz, Romania

1880s – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1891 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moscow

1919 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria (foreign- born Jews)

1938– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Poland (emigrated Polish-born Jews)

1938-45 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – German Controlled Areas

1941-44– – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1944– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Hungary

1948 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Arab Countries

Report: Online booking security gaps allow hackers to steal free flights

IT security researchers have uncovered a gap that allows hackers to take plane tickets from customers who booked and paid online, German media reported. The results spell big problems for passengers and airlines alike.

December 27, 2016

DW

Millions of people book plane tickets online – it’s a relatively simple process made even easier with six-digit booking codes that allow customers to check-in, select seats, add a rental car or even change flight times.

Although the six-digit codes can help to ease travel stress for passengers, they are also security gaps that can be exploited by hackers, German media reported on Monday.

A new report from the German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and public broadcaster WDR has uncovered how easy it is for hackers to gain access to booking codes, change customer information and steal a free flight.

Easy and illegal

Karsten Nohl, the founder and head of Security Research Labs (SR Labs), showed reporters from “Süddeutsche” and WDR how the process works – by stealing the reporters’ own plane tickets.

Computer programs are able to search for the six-digit booking codes in a matter of minutes. Hackers can then use the code to access the original customer’s booking and change the flight time and email address.

Easy online check-ins and Europe’s Schengen zone also mean that most European travelers rarely – if ever – have to show their passports while traveling in the passport-free area.

“Really everyone can manage to do it,” Nohl told “Süddeutsche” and WDR – even those without particularly advanced hacking skills can manage to steal a free flight.

“Booking systems lack a security feature that we know from all other computer systems – the password,” Nohl said.

Airline bookings do not require passengers to enter a password at any point in order to change personal information or to add a rental car – they simply identify themselves with the booking code and their name.

Privacy, security consequences

The security gaps in booking systems and codes present serious threats to travelers’ privacy and security issues as well.

“This is an industry-wide problem,” Nohl said in the reports, adding that a solution is only possible if all airline and booking service providers implement security changes such as changeable passwords.

Travel bookings are managed by a few systems which administer over 90 percent of flight reservations and other travel bookings, the SR Labs website said. These systems connect travel agencies, online booking sites, airlines and passengers – storing a massive data bank of flight and booking information.

Amadeus, one of the largest travel booking systems, is used by airlines such as Air Berlin and Lufthansa and served some 747 million passengers in 2015, the reports said.

When asked to comment on reports of security gaps, an Amadeus spokesman told WDR that a “temporary maintenance window” was to blame for hackers being able to briefly access dozens of booking codes.

Nohl and his colleagues, however, said that they were able to try out “several million combinations over several weeks.”

China to rein in outward investment as domestic growth stalls

Government to make it easier for firms abroad to invest in China and tougher for Chinese companies to buy assets overseas to contain capital outflow

December 26, 2016

by Rob Davies

The Guardian

Beijing has signalled plans to curb Chinese firms’ investment in foreign assets, after revealing that companies from China are on course to spend 1.12 trillion yuan (£130bn) on everything from British football clubs to a Hollywood film producer in 2016.

Companies from China ramped up their spending on overseas assets during the year, as a weakening domestic economy saw investors turn their attention overseas. A diverse array of targets included the maker of Godzilla, Aston Villa Football Club and the pub in which former prime minister David Cameron and Chinese premier Xi Jinping once shared a pint.

The spending spree boosted non-financial overseas investment 55% in the first 11 months of 2016, putting Chinese companies on course to spend £130bn this year, compared with £86bn in 2015, said commerce minister Gao Hucheng.

While foreign investment has soared, the amount of money flowing into the country is set to remain broadly flat at £92bn. This means the difference between investments abroad and those coming into China has reached an unprecedented £39bn.

The widening gap has triggered concerns about capital flight, where investors send their money out of the country rather than investing it to spur domestic growth. Gao signalled that Beijing would move to address the investment gap by reining in Chinese firms’ overseas spending and making it easier for firms from abroad to access the Chinese economy.

He said the government would “promote the healthy and orderly development of outbound investment and cooperation in 2017”, in remarks at a conference that were published on the commerce ministry’s website. In November it was reported that China was preparing a clampdown on non-Chinese mergers and acquisitions.

Separately, the ministry said on its blog that China would sharply reduce restrictions on foreign investment access in 2017 to make it easier for overseas firms to spend their cash in the People’s Republic. No details were given on what restrictions would be changed.

Major Chinese investors have spread their investment around the world and across multiple sectors during 2016. One of the most high-profile purchases was part of a multi-billion dollar bet on high-end US real estate by Chinese buyers. Insurer Anbang spent $6.5bn (£5.3bn) on luxury group Strategic Hotels & Resorts from private equity group Blackstone, continuing a flood of Chinese money into prime US property.

The deal came two years after the same firm paid Hilton Hotels $1.95bn for the Waldorf Astoria in New York, a landmark art deco building ranked among the world’s most fabled hotels.

Among the larger British acquisitions by Chinese firms in 2016 was the £1.4bn that travel firm Ctrip.com paid for flight comparison website Skyscanner. The takeover was announced just a day after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, promised to stem the flow of British firms being sold to foreign investors before reaching their full potential.

Government-backed SinoFortone sealed a much smaller but diplomatically significant deal when it bought a 16th-century Buckinghamshire pub for an undisclosed fee. The Plough at Cadsden, Buckinghamshire – a rural tavern near Chequers, the official country retreat used by British prime ministers – hosted former PM David Cameron and Chinese premier Xi Jinping during a diplomatic visit that saw them set the world to rights over a pint of Greene King IPA.

Chinese investors were also involved in the consortium that agreed to pay £13.8bn by a majority stake in the National Grid’s gas pipeline network.

This year’s deals increase the scale of investment into the UK from China, which already owns or holds large stakes in household names such as Weetabix, Pizza Express and Thames Water.

One huge deal that was agreed this year but may not complete until early 2017 is ChemChina’s $43bn takeover of Swiss seeds and pesticides giant Syngenta. The deal would be China’s largest ever foreign acquisition and is seen as a key plank of its strategy to ensure food security for its huge population.

The bright lights of Hollywood have also attracted Chinese money. Investment group Wanda, headed by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, paid $3.5bn for the Legendary studio behind films including Godzilla and Pacific Rim. Elsewhere, copper-processing company Anhui Xinke New Materials proved a more unlikely investor in the silver screen. The firm paid $350m for the company that owns Voltage, the studio behind Oscar-winning films The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers’ Club.

Five major Chinese investments in 2016

£6bn – China General Nuclear will have a 30% stake in the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, approved this year.

£5.3bn – Insurer Anbang bought Strategic Hotels & Resorts from private equity group Blackstone.

£2.8bn – The Dalian Wanda conglomerate bought Legendary studios, which made Godzilla and Pacific Rim.

£1.4bn – Flight comparison site Skyscanner sold to Chinese travel firm Ctrip.

£300m – Chinese businessmen and investors spent a combined £300m on three West Midlands football clubs, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

British assets have also proved tempting for Chinese firms and wealthy businessmen looking to add to their already sizeable clutch of UK investments. State-backed China General Nuclear took a 30% stake in the £24bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, helping France’s government-owned energy group EDF fund the project.

While Hinkley was the highest-profile Chinese foray into the UK, its investors have also showed they are partial to English football clubs, particularly those from the West Midlands. Entrepreneur Guochan Lai bought West Bromwich Albion for a sum thought to be between £150m and £200m earlier this year. Businessman Tony Xia spent £76m to buy Aston Villa, even after the club had been relegated from the Premier League, vowing to restore the club to its former glory. Investment group Fosun International paid £45m to gain control of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Russia calls U.S. move to better arm Syrian rebels a ‘hostile act’

December 27, 2016

by Andrew Osborn

Reuters

Moscow-Russia said on Tuesday that a U.S. decision to ease restrictions on arming Syrian rebels had opened the way for deliveries of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, a move it said would directly threaten Russian forces in Syria.

Moscow last year launched a campaign of air strikes in Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad and his forces retake territory lost to rebels, some of whom are supported by the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the policy change easing restrictions on weapons supplies had been set out in a new U.S. defence spending bill and that Moscow regarded the step as a hostile act.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has been sharply critical of Russia’s intervention in Syria, signed the annual defence policy bill into law last week.

“Washington has placed its bets on supplying military aid to anti-government forces who don’t differ than much from blood thirsty head choppers. Now, the possibility of supplying them with weapons, including mobile anti-aircraft complexes, has been written into this new bill,” Zakharova said in a statement.

“In the administration of B. Obama they must understand that any weapons handed over will quickly end up in the hands of jihadists,” she added, saying that perhaps that was what the White House was counting on happening.

The U.S. decision was a direct threat to the Russian air force, to other Russian military personnel, and to Russia’s embassy in Damascus, said Zakharova.

“We therefore view the step as a hostile act.”

Zakharova accused the Obama administration of trying to “put a mine” under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump by attempting to get it to continue what she called Washington’s “anti-Russian line.”

The Obama administration has in recent weeks expanded the list of Russians affected by U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.

Trump, during his election campaign, said he was keen to try to improve relations with Moscow and spoke positively about President Vladimir Putin’s leadership skills.

A back-and-forth exchange between Trump and Putin over nuclear weapons last week tested the Republican’s promises to improve relations with Russia however. [nL1N1EI12P]

The Obama administration and U.S. intelligence officials have accused Russia of trying to interfere with the U.S. election by hacking Democratic Party accounts.

“The current occupants of the White House imagined that they could pressure Russia,” said Zakharova. “Let’s hope that those who replace them will be wiser.”

(Additional reporting by Peter Hobson in Moscow and Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

 Court intervenes in gas dispute, says Polish ulitity

Polish energy concern PGNiG says it’s won a European Court of Justice stay on high-volume gas deliveries by Russia’s Gazprom through the pipeline “OPAL.” The conduit forwards supplies to the Czech Republic and Germany.

December 27, 2016

DW

A European Commission decision in October to enlarge a previous 50-percent cap of Gazprom deliveries through the pipeline had been “suspended” by the Luxembourg-based court, PGNiG claimed Tuesday.

The court itself did not issue a matching statement. PGNiG, 72-percent-owned by the Polish state, said the suspension ruling was issued on December 23, just before Christmas, requiring the commission to explain its decision in detail in response to Poland’s complaint.

OPAL (in German the Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungsleitung), completed in 2011, draws natural gas off the main “Nord Stream 1” pipeline lying on the Baltic seabed from Russia to Germany.

From Greifswald on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, OPAL extends south 470 kilometers (290 miles) through eastern Germany to the Czech Republic.

The Nord Stream-Opal linkage skirts Baltic nations such as Lithuania and Poland.

In breach, says Polish utility

The Polish concern had filed a complaint on December 4, arguing that Gazprom would gain access to 80-90 percent of OPAL’s throughput – in breach of EU treaties and a 2009 directive setting common rules for the EU’s gas market.

Gazprom was “striving for complete dominance” on the German and central European gas market by using OPAL and seeking to terminate gas transits through Ukraine, claimed PGNiG board president Piotr Wozniak on Tuesday.

He accused the Brussels-based commission and Gazprom of trying to “act aside from the regulations on transparency and competition on the EU’s internal market.”

Anxiety over Russia

Analysts had warned in October, when the  commission granted Gazprom more capacity in OPAL, that this would trigger anger in some EU nations already demanding a tougher stance toward Russia over its military actions in Ukraine.

Russia’s state exporter, which supplies about a third of the EU’s gas, had already had access to 50 percent of OPAL’s throughput.

The commission’s ruling handed Gazprom the right to bid for higher volumes – beyond 50 percent – if other suppliers did not take up capacities allocated to them.An EU source told Reuters in October that the EU executive wanted guarantees that Gazprom would keep piping gas across Ukraine after its contract expiry in 2019.

Guarantees would ensure uninterrupted winter supplies to European and Ukrainian clients, the source said.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014, eastern European countries and the US have opposed projects that sideline Ukraine as a transit route.

In October, Ukraine’s state energy company had said it stood to lose up to $425 million (406 million euros) a year in transit fees.

Second Baltic pipeline planned

Currently in planning is a second Baltic Sea pipeline, Nord Stream 2, billed at 1,200 kilometers as one of the world’s longest pipelines.

Its Swiss-headquartered consortium includes Gazprom and partners such as BASF/Wintershall of Germany, the English-Dutch concern Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and the French concern Engie.

Natural gas is widely seen in the EU as a energy “bridge” during Europe’s planned transition away from coal to renewable sources such as wind and solar capture.

North Stream 1 was completed in the wake of a 2009 crisis, when EU nations were caught up in a payment and delivery row between Russia and transit nation Ukraine.

U.S. appeals court revives Clinton email suit

December 27, 2016

Reuters

In a new legal development on the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, an appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling and said two U.S. government agencies should have done more to recover the emails.

The ruling from Judge Stephen Williams, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, revives one of a number of legal challenges involving Clinton’s handling of government emails when she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, used a private email server housed at her New York home to handle State Department emails. She handed over 55,000 emails to U.S. officials probing that system, but did not release about 30,000 she said were personal and not work related.

The email case shadowed Clinton’s loss to Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 presidential election. Trump, who had repeatedly said during the bruising campaign that if elected he would prosecute Clinton, said after the election he had no interest in pursuing investigations into Clinton’s email use.

While the State Department and National Archives took steps to recover the emails from Clinton’s tenure, they did not ask the U.S. attorney general to take enforcement action. Two conservative groups filed lawsuits to force their hand.

A district judge in January ruled the suits brought by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action moot, saying State and the National Archives made a “sustained effort” to recover and preserve Clinton’s records.

But Williams said the two agencies should have done more, according to the ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Since the agencies neither asked the attorney general for help nor showed such enforcement action could not uncover new emails, the case was not moot.

“The Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder – e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General – might not bear more still,” Williams wrote. “Absent a showing that the requested enforcement action could not shake loose a few more emails, the case is not moot.”

The State Department does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson said.

Williams noted that Clinton used two nongovernmental email accounts at State and continued using the Blackberry account she had while a U.S. senator during her first weeks as the nation’s U.S. diplomat. She only switched to the email account hosted on her private server in March 2009, the ruling said.

“Because the complaints sought recovery of emails from all of the former Secretary’s accounts, the FBI’s recovery of a server that hosted only one account does not moot the suits, the judge wrote.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Leslie Adler)

 

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