31 October 2015

Netanyahu – Bad, Mad or Both

Bad or mad?
Below is an article by Uri Avneri, an Israeli peace activist, former member of the Knesset and someone who is on the fringes of Zionism but one of its most strident critics, having fought in the Israeli war of independence and having also been a former member of the Irgun.

My own view is that you can’t explain Netanyahu’s comments, especially about the holocaust, by reference to mental instability.  Whilst it is undoubtedly true that he suffers from some form of psychopathic condition and possibly manic depression, his utterances are, in the parallel universe of Zionism, quite logical.  The Arabs are the quintissential enemy.  The Nazis are past history and no longer enemies.  Clearly it would be immensely helpful if the guilt that attaches to the holocaust could be transferred to the Palestinians, then Israel could just have one enemy rather than two, especially as one cannot do anything with the old enmity with the Nazis whereas it is extremely useful in attacking the Palestinians.

There is certainly method in Bibi’s madness!

Tony Greenstein

Is Netanyahu Mentally Unstable or Politics the Politics of the Madhouse? 
Adolf, Amin and Bibi


IT IS not very pleasant when serious people around the world – historians, psychiatrists, diplomats – ask themselves if my prime minister is completely sane.
Hitler's meeting of 28.11.41. with al-Husseini
But this is happening now. And not only abroad. More and more people in Israel are asking themselves the same question.

All this is the result of one event. But people are now looking at many other events - past and present – in a new light.
Uri Avneri on a demonstration
Until now, many strange actions and utterances by Binyamin Netanyahu have been seen as the manipulations of a clever politician, a talented demagogue who knows the soul of his constituents and supplies them with ample lies.

Not anymore. A troubling suspicion is getting around: that our prime minister has serious mental problems. Is he losing his marbles?

IT ALL started two weeks ago, when Netanyahu made a speech to a world-wide Zionist assembly. What he said was shocking.
Netanyahu - enaged in is favourite pastime - building settlemetns [for some reason the Zionists called this cartoon anti-Semitic]
Adolf Hitler, he pontificated, did not really want to exterminate the Jews. He just wanted to expel them. But then he met the Mufti of Jerusalem, who convinced him to "burn" the Jews. Thus the Holocaust was born.

The conclusion? Hitler was not so bad after all. The Germans are not really to blame. It was the Palestinians who were the instigators of the murder of six million Jews.

If the subject had been different, this speech could be considered as one of the usual lies and falsifications typical of Netanyahu. Hitler was really not so bad, the Palestinians are to blame, the Mufti was the forerunner of Mahmoud Abbas. Just a routine piece of political propaganda.
But this concerns the Holocaust, of the most atrocious events of modern times, and by far the most important event in modern Jewish history. This event has a direct bearing on the lives of half the Jewish population of Israel (including myself) who lost their relatives in the Holocaust, or are themselves survivors.

This speech was not just a minor political manipulation, one of those we have become accustomed to since Netanyahu became prime minister. This was something new, something awful.

ALL AROUND the world there was an outcry. There are many thousands of experts on the Holocaust. Innumerable books have been written on Nazi Germany (including one by me). Every single detail has been researched over and over again.

Holocaust survivors were shocked, because Netanyahu was really absolving Hitler, and the Germans in general, of the main blame for the horrendous crime. So Hitler was not so bad, after all. He just wanted to expel the Jews, not to kill them. It was the evil Arabs who induced him to commit the atrocity of atrocities.

Angela Merkel did the decent thing and issued an immediate denial, assuming again the total blame of the German people. Thousands of furious articles appeared around the world, many hundreds of them in Israel.

This particular utterance of Netanyahu's was not just stupid, not just ignorant. It borders on the insane.

A MUFTI is a religious scholar, a high ranking authority in an Islamic society, well above a mere judge. A Grand Mufti is the highest local religious authority. In Islam there is no pope.
The Grand Mufti in this story is Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who was chosen by the British authorities in Palestine for the office of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. As it turned out, this was a grave mistake.
The man who made the mistake was a Jew – Herbert Samuel, the first High Commissioner of the British Mandated territory of Palestine after World War I. Young Hajj Amin was already known as a firebrand, and Samuel followed the well-established colonial practice of appointing enemies to high office, to quiet them down.

The Husseini family is the foremost Hamula (extended family) in Jerusalem. It has some 5000 members and occupies an entire neighborhood. It is one of the three or four most distinguished families in town, and for many generations a Husseini has been either the Mufti, the mayor or another dignitary in Arab Jerusalem.

Hajj Amin (hajj is the appellation of a Muslim who has made the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca) was a trouble-maker right from the beginning. He saw early on the danger of the Zionist immigration for the Arab community in Palestine, and several times incited anti-British and anti-Jewish riots. These came to a head in the Great Rebellion of 1936 – known to the Jews as "the events" – which shook the country for three years, until World War II.

During "the events", many Jews and many British were killed, but most of the victims were Arabs. The Mufti (as everybody called him) used the opportunity to have all his rivals and competitors killed off. For the Jews in Palestine he became the symbol of evil, the object of intense hatred.

By now, the British, too, had had enough of him. They chased the Mufti out of the country. He went to Lebanon, but when this country was occupied by the British in World War II (to drive out the troops of the French Vichy regime) the Mufti fled to Iraq, which was in the hands of anti-British and pro-Nazi rebels. When the British re-conquered Iraq, the Mufti fled to Italy, which was leading the Fascist "Axis" effort to win over the Arabs. The Mufti, whose main enemies were the British, acted upon the theory that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. (At the same time, a leader of the Jewish underground in Palestine, Abraham Stern, acting upon the same theory, also sought contact with the Italians and Germans.)

It seems that the Italians were not too keen on having Hajj Amin around, so the Mufti moved to Nazi Germany. At the time, the SS was trying to enlist Muslim volunteers for the war against Russia, and somebody had the bright idea that a picture of the Grand Mufti with Hitler might be useful.

Hitler did not like the idea at all. He was a true believer in the race theory, and the Arabs are Semites – an inferior and detestable race, just like the Jews. But in the end he was weighed upon to receive this Arab refugee for what we now call a "photo opportunity". A picture was taken – the only picture of the only meeting between these two persons. (There are also photos of the Mufti with Muslim Bosnian SS volunteers).

The meeting was short, a perfunctory protocol was taken, the Jews appear nowhere in it. The whole episode was insignificant. Until Netanyahu.

It is ridiculous to crown the Mufti as the father of the Palestinian nation. In all my hundreds of meetings with Palestinians, from Arafat down, I have never heard a good word about Hajj Amin, not even from the wonderful Faisal al-Husseini, a remote relative. They unanimously described him as a real Palestinian patriot, but a person with limited education and narrow-minded outlook, who bears part of the blame for the disaster that befell the Palestinian people in 1948. The bloodbath he carried out among the Palestinians in the 1936-1939 rebellion weakened the Palestinians so much, that when the crucial test came – the 1947 partition of Palestine and the 1948 war – the nation was devoid of any effective leadership.

The idea that the mighty Fuehrer needed or heeded the advice of a fugitive Semite in order to decide on the Holocaust is preposterous. Indeed, it is crazy.

Also, the dates don't jibe. The photo-meeting took place at the end of 1941. The extermination started immediately after the conquest of Poland in 1939, and took on its monstrous dimensions with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in the middle of 1941. It acquired its final, industrial format when Heinrich Himmler, the SS chief, decided that "one cannot demand of a decent German" to shoot all this Jewish scum. The Mufti had absolutely nothing to do with this, and the very idea is insane.
Until 1939, Hitler did indeed further the expulsion of the Jews, because physical extermination in a peaceful Europe was unthinkable. But once the war broke out, he saw at once the chance for mass extermination – and said so quite openly.

SO HOW did this son of a "renowned historian" come to say this crazy thing?). (This appellation of Ben-Zion Netanyahu is now de rigueur in the Israeli media, though I never met anyone who has read his work on the Spanish inquisition.)

Perhaps he heard it from some crackpot hired by Sheldon Adelson – but even so, the fact that he did not reject it outright shows not only that he is a complete ignoramus about the most important chapter in modern Jewish history, but also that he may have some mental problem.

In this light, many others of his decisions now look different, including this week's decision to take measures to cancel the "inhabitant" status of tens of thousands of Arab Jerusalemites. When East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967, the inhabitants were not granted Israeli citizenship, only reduced resident's rights, which deny them the right to vote for the Knesset. They were graciously allowed to apply for citizenship individually, but, of course, almost nobody did, since this would mean recognition of the annexation.

Now I am afraid. If indeed we are governed by a man with mental problems – just where is he leading us?

Turkey holds elections amid murder and intimidation by Erdogan's AKP and the Deep State

As Turks go to the polls tomorrow, Turkish tyrant Erdogan is hoping that the failure of his AKP party to obtain a majority in the parliamentary elections earlier this year will be remedied. 

There have been wave of bombings, including the recent one in Ankara that killed over 100 people, the war against the Kurds and the PKK and a crackdown on the media.

The big question will be whether the pro-Kurdish HDP party, which includes feminists and gays, will surmount the 10% hurdle for a second time.

Tony Greenstein

Erdoğan says Turkey may hit US-backed Syrian Kurds to block advance

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks to the media during a news conference in Ankara on Oct. 13. (Photo: AP)
October 29, 2015, Thursday/ 10:15:53/ REUTERS WITH TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ISTANBUL

Turkey will "do what is necessary" to prevent US-allied Syrian Kurds from declaring autonomy in the town of Tel Abyad near the Turkish border, which includes conducting further military operations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday.
PKK pick up truck
NATO member Turkey is part of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria, but it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as a threat to its own national security, fearing they could stoke separatism among Turkish Kurds.
Turkish jets recently hit the Syrian Kurds' armed People's Protection Units (YPG) targets twice after they defied Ankara and crossed west of the Euphrates River.

"This was a warning. 'Pull yourself together. If you try to do this elsewhere -- Turkey doesn't need permission from anyone -- we will do what is necessary,'" Erdoğan said, signaling that he could defy Washington's demand that Ankara avoid hitting Syrian Kurds and focus his military might on ISIL targets.
Erdoğan, in remarks broadcast live on the Kanal 24 television station, also accused the PYD of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" in the area and said that Western support for the Syrian Kurdish militias amounted to aiding terrorism.

Backed by US-led air strikes, YPG fighters captured Tel Abyad in June from ISIL and this month a local leadership council declared the town part of the system of autonomous self-governing "cantons" run by the Kurds.
"The PYD is committing ethnic cleansing here [of] Arabs and Turkmens," Erdoğan said. "If the Kurds withdraw and don't form a canton, there's no problem. But if the mindset continues, then what is necessary will be done or we will face serious problems.

"We are determined to [combat] anything that threatens us along the Syrian border, inside or out."
Turkey does not want to see an autonomous Kurdish entity resembling Iraqi Kurdistan emerging on its southern flank, said Erdoğan, speaking days before a Turkish parliamentary election that has aggravated political and security tensions. Western allies are now arming the Kurds, he added.
Demonstration two weeks after bomb in Ankara
"They don't even accept the PYD as a terrorist organization. What kind of nonsense is this?" he said. "The West still has the mentality that 'My terrorist is good, yours is bad.'"

Within Turkey, the armed forces have resumed their 30-year fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has close links with their ethnic brethren across the border in Syria.
Erdoğan said 1,400 PKK militants were fighting alongside the YPG in Syria.

The US and Europe, like Turkey, classify the PKK as a terrorist organization but regard the Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish groupings as valuable allies in the fight against ISIL and other jihadists.

Cold Blooded Murder in Hebron

Below are two horrifying videos showing the cold-blooded execution of a wounded Palestinian in Hebron by Israel’s Border Police.  No doubt there will be an ‘investigation’ but I won’t be holding my breath as to the outcome.

Tony Greenstein

Israelis execute injured Palestinian — video and eyewitness

Mourners in Qabatiya, near the West Bank city of Jenin, carry the body of Ahmad Kamil, shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly trying to stab one of them at Jalameh checkpoint, during his funeral on 30 October.  Nedal Eshtayah APA images
Warning: This article contains graphic video and images of violence.

Israeli occupation forces executed an injured Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday, an eyewitness has told The Electronic Intifada.

Video corroborates this clear case of extrajudicial execution, a war crime and part of a pattern of such killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces.

Five Palestinians have been killed since Thursday, bringing the total this month to 71, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry.

This number includes five Palestinians who died as a possible result of tear gas inhalation, delayed medical treatment due to checkpoints and medical neglect by prison authorities.

Fifteen of the dead are children.

Nine Israelis were slain in the same period.
More than 1,200 Palestinians, including at least 256 children, have been injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 20 October, the United Nations monitoring group OCHA reported.
This video published at the Facebook page “Ramallah Mix” shows the injured al-Muhtasib lying on the ground.

 Summary execution

Mahdi Muhammad Ramadan al-Muhtasib, 23, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron on Thursday after he allegedly lightly injured an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint with a knife.

An Israeli soldier stands at a distance of several meters. Al-Muhtasib moves and the soldier, still at a distance of several meters, aims his rifle at him and fires. Al-Muhtasib continues to writhe on the ground as the soldier moves around him.

Two more soldiers then approach al-Muhtasib but at no point is he provided medical assistance.
The one-and-a-half minute video shows one shot clearly being fired at the already injured and immobilized al-Muhtasib, but an eyewitness told The Electronic Intifada that many more shots had been fired.

Isa Ajlouni, who lives in an apartment building next to the checkpoint, told The Electronic Intifada that he heard approximately five shots in close succession. “I went to the window and saw the young man wounded, lying on the ground,” he said.

He added that he looked around and saw an Israeli soldier walk over to al-Muhtasib’s fallen body. The soldier stood right above al-Muhtasib, who was still moving, and fired six bullets into his body.
Ajlouni said that he also saw a bleeding Israeli officer by the checkpoint.

A second video, published by the Hebron group Youth Against Settlements, shows al-Muhtasib lying on the ground with soldiers milling around him. It then shows another close-up of al-Muhtasib, but this time he is covered in much more blood. Israeli personnel then drag his body, put it on a stretcher, photograph and cover it.

It also clearly shows the faces of soldiers and officers involved in this slaying. The soldiers are wearing vests that identify them as belonging to Israel’s paramilitary Border Police.

After al-Muhtasib’s killing, youths began throwing stones at the checkpoint and Israeli forces opened fire. Throughout the day, the Israeli military fired sound grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at protesters in the Old City of Hebron.

On 27 October, Amnesty International said it had documented at least four other recent instances “in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life, in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions.”

Three of the killings were in Hebron and one was in occupied East Jerusalem.

Hisham Sharabati, a field researcher with the human rights group Al-Haq, told The Electronic Intifada that he believes Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy is intended to deter Palestinians from resisting.

Another factor, he said, is that Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints are trigger happy, a situation likely made worse by the inciting portrayals of knife-wielding Palestinians in the Israeli media.

Human rights groups have condemned top Israeli police and political leaders for inciting summary executions.

On Wednesday, Israeli authorities announced that Isra Abed had not attempted, and had no intention, of stabbing anyone before she was shot multiple times and seriously injured in Afula, a city in the north of present-day Israel, earlier this month. The Palestinian citizen of Israel from Nazareth will be released without charge.

Meanwhile, Israel has charged 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra with attempted murder for his part in an alleged stabbing attack at an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem earlier this month. Mansara was seen in a video lying on the ground covered in blood as Israelis shouted obscenties at him and told him to die.

His 15-year-old cousin Hasan Khalid Manasra was shot dead by police during the incident.

Hebron youth slain

Later on Thursday, Israeli forces in Hebron shot dead 19-year-old Farouq Abdulqadir Omar Sidr near the Beit Hadassah settlement.

Israel claimed he tried to stab a soldier at a checkpoint.

A Palestinian woman in the area at the time told the Ma’an News Agency that she “heard gunshots and saw Israeli soldiers and settlers firing at a young Palestinian man while he was walking down a staircase,” adding that she did not see anything in his hands.
Israeli forces stand near the body of Farouk Sidr, who allegedly tried to stab a soldier at a Jewish settlement in the center of Hebron on 29 October.  Yotam Ronen ActiveStills
Today, Amnesty International called on Israel to “protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and ensure effective investigation of all attacks.”

It noted in particular the killing of 18-year-old Palestinian Fadil Qawasmi by a settler in Hebron on 17 October.

“Settlers have long attacked and harassed Palestinians in Hebron and the rest of the occupied West Bank with impunity, and sometimes with the apparent assistance or acquiescence of Israeli forces,” 
Amnesty said.

International activists reported Friday that Israel has declared the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron’s Old City a closed military zone to Palestinians, except for residents who will have to register with the army in order to access their homes.

Baby suffocates

On Friday, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians and an infant died after inhaling tear gas.
Eight-month-old Ramadan Muhammad Faisal Thawabta died after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli military at nearby protestors in Beit Fajjar, a village south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health ministry sources said.

Israeli forces and emergency personnel stand next to the body of a Palestinian man who was shot dead after allegedly trying to stab Israeli police south of the West Bank city of Nablus on 30 October.  Nedal Eshtayah APA images
Earlier on Friday, at a checkpoint near Nablus in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces shot two Palestinians after they allegedly tried to stab a Border Police officer.

Qasim Mahmoud Sabaneh, 20, was immediately killed, while another youth was left in critical condition. The name of the injured youth was not immediately available, but Palestinian media reported that he was 17 years old.

After noon prayers the same day, Israeli forces shot Ahmad Hamada Qneibi, 23, after he allegedly tried to stab an Israeli near a light rail station outside the French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.
Israeli police later announced that the critically injured Qneibi died after they took him into custody.

Children’s bodies returned

Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Hebron on Friday evening as the bodies of five slain Palestinian children, which had been withheld by Israeli forces, were transferred.

The teenagers, all killed by Israeli forces this month in apparent extrajudicial executions, were Dania Irsheid, 17, Bayan al-Esseili, 16, Tariq Ziyad al-Natshe, 16, Husam Ismail al-Jabari, 17, and 15-year-old Bashar Nidal al-Jabari. They will be buried on Saturday.

Children in “administrative detention”

In an escalation of its crackdown on Palestinians, Israel has reintroduced administrative detention, incarceration without charge or trial, for children.

In the early hours of 19 October, Israeli forces arrested Fadi Hasan Abassi, 17, and Muhammad Saleh Ghaith, 17, from their homes in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, according to Defence for Children International – Palestine.

A third boy, Mahmoud Sbaih, 17, was seized at his home in a predawn raid on 16 October in the city’s Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood. All three youths are to be held for three to six months without trial on the orders of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, allegedly for throwing stones.
Israel currently holds hundreds of Palestinian adults in administrative detention, a practice widely condemned by human rights groups.

It has not been used against any Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank since 2011, according to Defence for Children International – Palestine.

The children’s rights group says it has no record of administrative detention ever being used against children in East Jerusalem, part of the West Bank that Israel purports to have annexed in violation of international law.

The UN also noted this week that investigations by several human rights organizations regarding an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on 11 October that killed a pregnant Palestinian and her baby had “found that the missiles had directly hit the victims’ home, not weapon production sites belonging to members of armed forces,” as Israel had previously claimed.

Charlotte Silver reported from Hebron.