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The United Nations is a marginalized entity, like the League of Nations, it was formed with the idea that humanity, as a species can do better than just sit within our imaginary borders and fling poo (sometimes thermonuclear) at each other.

It’s a noble and nice idea.

And that’s about it.

Any sort of movement toward a more globalized world is always drowned out by the odious strains of nationalism and exceptionalism of the powerful countries of the world.

The summation of Noam Chomskey’s work in international politics is this: “The same rules should apply to everyone.” Strip away the academic writing and the dense prose and you will see him return to this thesis repeatedly. A war crime is a war crime whether it is committed by the ‘good guys’ or the ‘bad guys’ and the judgments and punishments meted out should be the same in both situations. This, of course, would mean that every US president would be charged with war crimes and would be prosecuted thusly – a flight of fantasy in the current geopolitical order – but it would be what a just world would look like.

Possessing the biggest stick should not be an automatic exemption from the rules that everyone else has to follow. Breaking news on this one though – the current bearers of the big stick club resoundingly disagree with me on this point. And thus the big stick carriers rightly get annoyed when marginally global institutions like the UN fail to toe the line on important issues regarding the ‘national interest’ (see imperialism/exceptionism).

“The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries “disrespected” America by voting against it.”

Way to go UN! As far as impotent political statements and actions go, you are doing fantastic work.

“Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem – which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians – can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal.”

It’s hard to find a more prescient example of US exceptionalism.  The constant untrammelled stream of unwavering support for Israel – notwithstanding the incredibly shitty things Israel is doing/has been doing to the Palestinians for decades- by the US merely underlines how irrelevant the UN is to US foreign policy and its associated imperial ventures.

“Twenty-two of the 28 EU countries voted for the resolution, including the UK and France. Germany – which in the past has abstained on measures relating to Israel – also voted in favour.

Thirty-five countries abstained, including five EU states, and other US allies including Australia, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. Ambassadors from several abstaining countries, including Mexico, used their time on the podium to criticise Trump’s unilateral move.

Another 21 delegations were absent from the vote, suggesting the Trump’s warning over funding cuts and Israel’s lobbying may have had some effect.

While support for the resolution was somewhat less than Palestinian officials had hoped, the meagre tally of just nine votes in support of the US and Israeli position was a serious diplomatic blow for Trump.”

Yeaaaaaa Canada – we abstained.  Such a bold move for our country, we’re really standing up to the injustice and stupidity being visited upon the world by our neighbours to the South.

*sigh*

I suppose it is the best we can do given our geographical and economic situation.  But wouldn’t be nice if we could just denounce this bullshite -rightly on moral an ethical grounds – without always having to defer to the realpolitik of the situation.

 

[Source: The Guardian]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest uproar from the Trumpian led Republican Administration down South:

    ” -Washington (CNN)  President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday and announced plans to relocate the US Embassy there, a move expected to inflame tensions in the region and unsettle the prospects for peace.

     “Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do,” Trump said from the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room.”
    It is surprising to find nuggets of truth in what comes out of the current American Republican presidency.  US policy has always been one of obstructionism toward any sort of reasonable peace between Palestine and Israel.  Having this truth out in the open must be somewhat uncomfortable for many Americans and other supporters of the official historical narrative.  Noam Chomsky has been reporting on the false “peace process” for decades:

    

      “Many of the world’s problems are so intractable that it’s hard to think of ways even to take steps towards mitigating them. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not one of these. On the contrary, the general outlines of a diplomatic solution have been clear for at least 40 years. Not the end of the road—nothing ever is—but a significant step forward. And the obstacles to a resolution are also quite clear.

     The basic outlines were presented here in a resolution brought to the U.N. Security Council in January 1976. It called for a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border—and now I’m quoting—”with guarantees for the rights of both states to exist in peace and security within secure and recognized borders.” The resolution was brought by the three major Arab states: Egypt, Jordan, Syria—sometimes called the “confrontation states.” Israel refused to attend the session. The resolution was vetoed by the United States. A U.S. veto typically is a double veto: The veto, the resolution is not implemented, and the event is vetoed from history, so you have to look hard to find the record, but it is there. That has set the pattern that has continued since. The most recent U.S. veto was in February 2011—that’s President Obama—when his administration vetoed a resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy opposition to expansion of settlements. And it’s worth bearing in mind that expansion of settlements is not really the issue; it’s the settlements, unquestionably illegal, along with the infrastructure projects supporting them.

    For a long time, there has been an overwhelming international consensus in support of a settlement along these general lines. The pattern that was set in January 1976 continues to the present. Israel rejects a settlement of these terms and for many years has been devoting extensive resources to ensuring that it will not be implemented, with the unremitting and decisive support of the United States—military, economic, diplomatic and indeed ideological—by establishing how the conflict is viewed and interpreted in the United States and within its broad sphere of influence.”

-Noam Chomsky Speaking to Amy Goodman

So really, this latest ham-handed announcement should not be a surprise when viewed in context of the historical precedents on record.  So, what we are seeing is really the fruition of guided US policy in Israel regarding the one-state solution that moving the embassy to Jerusalem implies.

    “Except in stages, the one-state option is an illusion. It has no international support, and there is no reason why Israel and its US sponsor would accept it, since they have a far preferable option, the one they are now implementing; with impunity, thanks to US power.

     The US and Israel call for negotiations without preconditions. Commentary there and elsewhere in the West typically claims that the Palestinians are imposing such preconditions, hampering the “peace process.” In reality, the US-Israel insist upon crucial preconditions. The first is that negotiations must be mediated by the United States, which is not a neutral party but rather a participant in the conflict. It is as if one were to propose that Sunni-Shiite conflicts in Iraq be mediated by Iran. Authentic negotiations would be in the hands of some neutral state with a degree of international respect. The second precondition is that illegal settlement expansion must be allowed to continue, as it has done without a break during the 20 years of the Oslo Accord; predictably, given the terms of the Accord.

     In the early years of the occupation the US joined the world in regarding the settlements as illegal, as confirmed by the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice. Since Reagan, their status has been downgraded to “a barrier to peace.” Obama weakened the designation further, to “not helpful to peace,” with gentle admonitions that are easily dismissed. Obama’s extreme rejectionism did arouse some attention in February 2011, when he vetoed a Security Council resolution supporting official US policy, ending of settlement expansion.

     As long as these preconditions remain in force, diplomacy is likely to remain at a standstill. With brief and rare exceptions, that has been true since January 1976, when the US vetoed a Security Council resolution, brought by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, calling for a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border, the Green Line, with guarantees for the security of all states within secure and recognized borders. That is essentially the international consensus that is by now universal, with the two usual exceptions – not just on Middle East issues, incidentally. The consensus has been modified to include “minor and mutual adjustments” on the Green Line, to borrow official US wording before it had broken with the rest of the world.”

“The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel” – Noam Chomsky

The reason for this post is that I had to get some context out there as I’m hearing, even on my beloved CBC, about America’s “concern” over the what will become of the “peace process”.  It is such a crock of shit.  There has not been and nor will there be any sort of “peace process” with US acting as an “honest broker” in the proceedings.

Ah, the joy of the free press down in the US.  Let’s catch up with Noam as takes us through some possible solutions to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

 

gaza-strip-map-20131The following article reproduced in its entirety from Altnet.org.

 

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

“The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.”

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.
Read the rest of this entry »

gazaairstrikeNo one should have to live in fear.  Death by airstrike, death by rocket.  Same result.  I cannot even imagine having to deal with every day life in Gaza, especially if I had children.

“I am used to the bombings, but my children are worried. So I have to keep reassuring them.”  Explaining what is happening in the skies to children sometimes proves difficult for some Palestinian parents.  “When my child becomes scared I try to pacify her,” said Yasir Fatih. “I tell her the noise is far away and it’s not dangerous. Or sometimes I tell her it’s not real, it’s a game.”

One hell of a bogeyman no?

Of course the situation is complex, of course there is aggression from both parties.  The violence being perpetrated though, should not be thought as a war between equals.  If there ever was a case of David vs Goliath it would be the situation of Hamas versus the IDF.

We have different labels for similar situations…this comment from DierYassin summarized nicely how varied the world stage is.

  “Facing international opprobrium over apartheid, Pretoria angrily asked why the world was focusing on them when far more serious atrocities abounded elsewhere.
      They boasted of the better living conditions of blacks under white rule. And of how they were a “beacon of civilization” in a backward continent surrounded by countries wanting their “destruction”.   They labelled armed resistance as terrorism and gave blacks truncated enclaves ruled by powerless chieftains and called it self-determination.

Sound familiar?

Ah, but we in North America are ardent supporters of Israel so obviously, this cannot be the case…

 

[Source]

 

 

 

Israel is basking in the glow of yet another effective public opinion campaign, but this time rather than brutalizing the Palestinians it is the Bedouins turn.

“Israeli authorities have demolished the homes of about 300 Bedouins in a village in the southern Negev desert.
The entire village of al-Arakib was bulldozed on Tuesday, with many of the former residents’ cattle, trees and belongings lost.”

I wonder what would happen if the Palestinians decided to bulldoze an illegal Jewish settlement?

“Haia Noach, director of the Negev Co-existence Forum, was present at al-Arakib during the demolition and said that at least five Israeli bulldozers arrived around 5:30am (0230GMT).

“It took them about three or four hours to destroy all the houses,” she said, describing the scene as “appalling.”Scuffles erupted as the villagers and around 150 rights activists tried to stop the police from carrying out the demolitions, with several people wounded and a handful arrested, activists said.”

At least no one tried to get in front of a bulldozer.

“Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed the early-morning operation, saying the homes had been “illegally built” and were destroyed in line with a court ruling issued 11 years ago which was never implemented.

Around 30 shacks were removed and several hundred people were taken back to the Rahat area where they originally came from,” he said, referring to a nearby Bedouin town in Israel’s arid south.”

Well at least they deported them back to where they came from.  No mention of compensation or any sort of help from the government, just the police and the ‘dozers.  How nice.

“Noach said Israeli authorities had first given residents of al-Arakib a notice to evacaute on June 15, but that no action had followed, so the residents began to doubt that the demolition would occur.

But this morning, Israeli police arrived and forced residents to leave their homes within minutes, Noach said.
The demolition team destroyed water tanks and removed generators.

“It’s like a declaration of war. They don’t want you here,” Noach said. “It’s unthinkable.”

Unthinkable is in the eye of who is behind the bulldozer.  Is this issue as cut and dried as just the courts taking 11 years to get moving on a decision?  Where there other motivations present, did this group of Bedouins piss off the wrong people?  Just speculation of course, but I would not be surprised if there were other less savoury aspects to this story.

Israeli continues withe bulldoze first and answer no questions later policy, although full marks to them for not contravening international law on this one.

I’m always impressed when goodwill and feces flow freely between neighbours.

“Israeli settlements have been dumping untreated waste directly into a sewage canal that runs through the occupied West Bank, affecting Palestinian villages along its banks.” – See the video here.

It is almost like they are not considering the welfare of people who share the land with them.   In any case, it is surely going to advance the peace process and make for a brighter tomorrow in the Middle East.

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