Posts by Jaime Ortega-Simo:

    How to deal with IRAQ effectively: One way strategy

    August 19th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

     

    Ancient history shows that the Middle East is a place harden by ideological sectarian fanatism; a no mans land, where violence has prevailed throughout millennia and continues to do so as of today.

    Western democracy does not and will never sequel adaptively on countries dominated by a 7th century mentality mindset. Applying democracy to solve Iraq‘s dilemma, is just ‘fantasia’ on the part of the United Nations and other socio-capitalist countries, who willingly ignore history to blindly meddle for another adequate solution to solve the reemergence of jihad via-diplomacy.

    Ideologies in general are intrinsic to problems

    Systems mold to form a stable idea and transform it into a solution when conflict of interest collides. The path is ideology, and the seed is establishment. They both work alongside together. One cannot work without the other, and every ideal needs to be set in practice for it to work adequately.

    But the idea of exporting ideological systems has failed many times across. The Sandinista Front of National Liberation (1961) was the brainchild behind British Empire and the emergence of American capitalism. The Reagan administration during the Iran-gate scandal found itself irrigated with accusations joined with the illegal funding of neo-fascist terrorist to expel the Sandinistas out of power.

    As a result of this forced ideological ideal, Capitalism failed in Nicaragua, East Timor and specially under the influence of Boris Yeltsin after the fall of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin backed by the Bush Sr. administration sponsored capitalism in Russia which in return hurt the economy, increased crime and set unemployment at a national high of %45; specially on those who relied on government jobs to survive, and benefited from its social programs.

    The point is that ideologies work on some nations, but don’t necessarily work on others. So to apply the right solution to the right problem, one has to go to history and see what works, what failed and how it failed to learn from the past!

    Socio-Capitalist principals have shown only to work on countries founded by past Judeo-Christian belief systems. Nicaragua for example was influenced by Roman Catholicism, alike other Mediterranean countries, and share analogous ideological dogmas as opposed to Northern European countries where Protestantism allowed opposite ideologies to sprang forward and give rise to their current political models.

    They are tons of examples of ideological integrations that failed the purpose of their cultural propaganda. You perhaps can think of a few, since they are many to explore and analyze.

    But some ideological amalgamations benefit more an ancient established structure for swifter change, than any ’philosophical incredulity’ the Foreign Relations Committee proposes with baseline diplomatic rearrangements. Historical outcomes show the guidelines for true change, and help reform an older system. But the older the ideology prevails, the more experience it gains; to interrupt any recent political procedure, having enough experience to use it for its own gain.

    That’s why Islam solidly benefits from democracy to insert its ideological spin successfully, using it as a tool to propagate its religious agenda by blurring the idea of equality and freedom rights into a 7th century mindset.

    After the resignation of Hosni Mubarak on 2011, The Islamic Brotherhood with the help of secular activist got the attention of the world during the widespread revolution known as the Arab Spring. Once Mubarak’s resignation became official, the country decided to give democracy a chance by promoting fair elections. But fear was amongst seculars who started to rethink, if the succession to Egypt’s power was a double edge sword and a dangerous glimpse into the future.

    Yes, eliminate the dictator, but as a result give radical fundamentalist more power to achieve their religious cause. Probably, not the best option available for progressive seculars to be stuck under a Taliban like government. Indeed the Islamic Brotherhood hid itself under the umbrella name ‘Freedom and Justice Party’ which sounds like a ‘made in China’ adaptation of a western democratic political party.

    Once the voters cast their ballots during the elections, the results couldn’t have been more controversial, as Mohammed Morsi, was elected new prime minister of Egypt. Within less than 48 hours Egypt’s senate rapidly morphed into a new ideological cancer, as the Islamic Brotherhood tried to revert basic constituencies in congress in order to start a new face-lift of the Egypt’s present constitution. Going back to a Sharia-Law government, that Abdel Nasser successfully stopped in the early 70‘s via-dictatorship by executing Islamic Brotherhood fanatics and sending others to solitary confinement in prison.

    So what happened to Morsi? The Egyptian Armed Forces arrested him, and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became the new prime minister. Al-Sisi was not elected democratically — Mubarak Dictatorship (part 2).

    What has the Middle East shown history in the past century? Dictatorships and tyranny have far better reaching implications and results on the Middle Eastern, than any new applied model which has only shown to work on Judeo-Christian based countries. Dictators with an “Iron fist” have shown how to control sectarian incumbents, and done a fair job at it.

    To rule the middle east you need tyranny, despotic oppressors of violence, cold blood and an iron fist; something the west has failed to recognize since the foundation of the UN, partly because for decades trans-national corporations have lobbied to get access to new foreign territories urging only to grow on a financial ecosystem artificially flavored to model and mimic a free market of trade without restrictions.

    Saudi Arabia, successfully applied this corporate subsidiary model that sultan Ibn Saud welcomed during the first US-Saudi oil exchange negotiations in 1943; as a result Saudi Arabia in half a century experienced more growth per-capita than any other Islamic neighbor. And every Al-Saud Sultan is keen on never letting “democracy” alter rip, and divide their kingdom which grew thanks to western expansionism in KSA.

    Abdul Karim Qassem, Hafez Al-Assad, Ruhollah Khomeini, Hissene Habre, Zine El Abidinie Ben Ali, Gaafar Nimeiry, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Islam Karimov, Muhammad Omar and least but not last Muammar Gaddafi. All founders and harsh persecutors of Islamic sectarian movements; dealing mostly with Sunni radical affiliations among other less known Islamic factions. Again dictatorship is the thumb of rule, and it has proven to work effectively in the Middle East, and North Africa.

    Foundation mandates the basis of the establishment of Islam

    Contrary to popular belief, Islam did not began as a peaceful religion. Raids, forced conversions, and violence is the grounds of its true foundation. Not to mention that the 9th to 19th Century Trans-Saharan slave trade makes the North Atlantic Slave trade look like a little innocent girl. Its calculated that over 100.000.000 western and central African’s died on the routes that connect both continents, but estimates also depend on the region.

    Islam has always been on its on plane, rejecting other modeled proceedings to feed its own political agenda without allowing other possibly political establishments the opportunity to grow. Historically Islamic fundamentalism was what gave rise to the first caliphates lead by Omar, that spread all the way to the Maghreb and South East Asia.

    The Wahabi version of Al-Islam is one of the multiple sects that never adapted to the 21century. Currently undermining politics and whatever deems necessary to never amend to other foreign diplomatic acts, and agreements giving their own justice priority on its followers behalf.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is the culmination of this ideology. And democracy will never triumph over a culturally wired self-fanatic religious agenda.

    How to stop ISIL and fundamentalism?

    During the early formation of the Abbasid Caliphate (1258) the Mongols seized Bagdad and besieged the city after 12 days of constant onslaughts. The Mongols nearly exterminated the Muslims after centuries of war between the two.

    The war did not start out of Mongolian hands as mainstream history fails to point out. The man who almost destroyed Islam, Genghis Khan, attacked the Turko-Persian Muslim Khwarazmian empire of Samarkand to avenge the attacks being launched by the Arab and Persian Muslims in to Tartary (Central Asia).

    Foul tactics used by Muslims and their legendary cruelty against the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazaks, led to the Mongol invasion of Iran and Iraq.

    From the 7th to 13th centuries many Persian Zoroastrians, the Persian Nestorian Christians, the Turks, Chinese and the Mongols had nursed within themselves a grievance against the savagery ‘peaceful Muslims’ used to convert the non-Muslim population of Persia and Central Asia to Islam. Muslims would torture and capture Mongols which they dragged through the streets and killed for sport to entertain the city residents.

    Sounds familiar doesn’t?

    Baghdad was a rich and well endowed city, the Caliphate owed its riches to the constant looting of Persia, Central Asia, North Africa, Spain which the Muslim armies had been indulging from the beginning of Islam in 630 C.E., till they were checked by Charles Martel in France in 732 C.E. and till their brutal march across Central Asia towards China was reversed with equal brutality by the Mongols from 1200 C.E.

    125.000 Mongol horsemen with Uigur in command as a response came as a whirlwind into Islamdom, and pierced through Islamic countries as a hot knife through butter, overwhelming Islam utterly. Slaughtering in gruesome fashion their Muslims enemies and pilling up bones to show other neighboring cities what would happen to them if they continued their Jihad.

    Muslim cities became very afraid of the Mongols, and calmed the region for a few centuries before the ottoman empire resurged only to subvert to Islam.

    The only tactic that works against fanatics

    The point is, that the United States needs to apply Mongol style tactics with ISIL, and not worry what its political allies and counterparts stand for. Democracy has null effects on terrorist organizations like ISIL, and on Islamic fundamentalism. If you’re not a Muslim, you’re an infidel and are consider an enemy in times of Jihad (It is written in the Quran).

    - Discard democracy, for experienced and historical proven results. Forget David Patraeous “Surge” and “Rebuild and Construct” strategy by Hillary Clinton and the rest of democrats (wont work).

    - No negations with insurgents.

    - The US, should go an exterminate and destroy any town who is ruled by religious fanatics, wipe all out, leave no remnants.

    - The more violence used the less likely the problem will escalate. No soft measurements. Full force will talk for itself and nail the point.

    - Display the gruesome tactics in television, the results, and show it to neighboring countries as a warning.

    - Repeat as many times as necessary without meddling into negotiations (surrender the only fallible option)

    - Kick out, and blow up mosques where radical insurgents gather, if problems continue to escalate. (Ideology is the key-holder of their belief system) destroy, destroy, destroy.

    - Tooth for Jaw, eye for face!

    - Victory is the only result and it will work.
    Using Mongolian 12th century tactics the US, will succeed in the war against terrorism by defeating insurgents and jihadist psychologically rather than just physically. Any other option will fail to work, and eventually given more time will lead to a bomb in a major US city, with thousands of casualties from a Jihadist terrorist organization.

    The sooner the better. Reality speaks for itself, so the key resides to not speak for it.

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    Kurd’s recover strongholds and ISIL executes 700 tribesmen in Syria

    August 18th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    The day after the  American aviation bombarded key strongholds from ISIL, Kurdish fighters have recovered Sunday Mosul’s Dam, the largest dam in Iraq. The Islamic State had seized this strategic site 10 days ago.

    A Kurdish official and two leaders of political parties have assuredthat ‘peshmerga’ (Kurdish fighters) had taken control of the dam that feeds water and electricity to most of the region and is essential to irrigate large areas in the Nineveh province (north).

    Kurdish forces, with air support from USA, also on Sunday, recovered Batnaya Christian cities and Telesqof in Nineveh province, in its offensive against jihadists to take control of the dam.

    The Air Force also bombed different groups, offices and positions of the radical group Islamic State (EI) Telquif area, said the president of the Security Commission Nineveh Provincial Council, Mohamed Ibrahim al Bayati.

    For its part, the United States Central Command said in a statement that American military forces conducted 14 attacks Sunday against ISIL in this area with the aim of recovering the hydraulic system.

    Since Saturday, military officials had reported that Kurds Kurdish fighters had managed to capture the east side of the dam. In the early hours of Friday to Saturday, American bombers launched the largest airstrike conducted on position to the Islamic State. During the day, they continued air attacks while ‘peshmerga’ (Kurdish fighters) advanced the field. It was the first attempt to recover this enclave since last August 7.

    Mosul Dam holds the main strategic water reserves in Iraq, with a capacity of several million cubic meters and is located 23 kilometers southwest of the city of Dohuk in the Kurdistan region, one of the strategic facilities and most important in Iraq.

    It also constitutes a major threat to Iraqi cities, in case of a collapse of the same result, as it is located in sandy soil, so you need a continuous injection of cement.

     

    ISIL executes 700 tribe members in Syria

    The jihadists of the Islamic State (ISIL) have executed more than 700 people, mostly civilians, in the past two weeks in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al Zur (northeast), said on the Saturday the Syrian Observatory for Rights human (OSDH).

    Executions (100 fighters and 600 civilians) took place in the towns of Al Shuaitat, Garanish, Abu Al Hamam and Kishkia, taken by extremists on 11 August, where members of the clan of Al Shuaitat resided. The tribe has tried to rebel against his authority in the east.

    Hundreds of members of this tribe are still missing, after being threatened by the IS, which are considered “infidels” who should be killed on mass and “truce, security, money, food, family, and wives” do not deserve, according to the OSDH.

     

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    ISIS “ethnic cleansing”

    August 13th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    Many refugees have escaped certain death at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS, its acronym in English) in the mountains of Sinjar. Upon arrival to the lands north of Iraq and into safe grounds, many’s lives are still in danger from lack of humanitarian aid. Thousands of people are without shelter, without water and without food in cities like Kocho or Zakho, where researchers at Amnesty International (AI) Donatella Rovera have found that “local charity” is the only assistance to those who’re displaced.

    “This humanitarian crisis has now begun, with the migration of thousands of  Yazidis in Sinjar Mountains fleeing ISIS, but in June, with the entry of ISIS in Mosul problems worsen. Humanitarian assistance should be organized,” complains the adviser of the Crisis international human rights organization.

    The highly publicized laid launch from planes or helicopters has not reached the most needy, showing its ineffectiveness. Therefore, Amnesty International calls “a concerted response from the international community to assist hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Iraq.”

    “People fleeing the mountains of Sinjar are outdoors, on roads, without assistance from local authorities or international organizations,” Rovera complaint in a telephone interview.  Schools and sports are full of refugees from the previous wave, two months ago, when SI took the city of Mosul and caused the flight of over half a million people. So the newly displaced have no place to take shelter. “Many have taken refuge in construction sites that dot the area, which are very dangerous places for children,” he adds.

    “It’s hard to understand that it is not organized help when Iraqi Kurdistan is home to NGOs for years,” he regretted. Many displaced people have told him they hear the planes at a distance, but have not received any help.

    -No place to hide

    The researcher moved for days in northern Iraq, and witnessed the exaction of ISIS in Mosul, shortly after taking Iraq’s second city. “ISIS is practicing ethnic cleansing. Unable to speak of genocide, massacres has not been great because people flee. Hence, in terms of international law, what is happening here is ethnic cleansing, because people can not even think returning to their homes while ISIS continue to monitor the area, “he notes.

    “ISIS is targeting Shiites, Turkmen, Yazidis and now Christian communities. Gives them the option to convert to Islam or die. Even Sunnis who think like they are being pushed out,” he says.

    Yazidis are mostly ethnic Kurds and practice an ancient religion that borrows synthetic rites of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam.

    Panic, ISIS main weapon

    According to AI researcher, this pressure was more gradual in areas under control of ISIS in Syria. But in Iraq, everything is faster. “The Christians of Mosul, for example, tried to stay in June At first, ISIS not bother them, but after the pressure began and gave them an ultimatum or convert to Islam or pay a tax or went Otherwise. kill them. When they began to flee, stole everything, “he recalls.

    The panic functions as an engine flight. Sometimes, ISIS not even have to make an appearance in town, the sound of which are directed towards the empty of people there. “It has already happened in several cities that once people hear the rumor that ISIS is near, they reacts with panic and flee in masses. People are traumatized,” stresses.

    ISIS reputation precedes any other terrorist organization of its ear by executing and imprisoning hundreds. “The killings occur in cities where men take up arms to try to resist. There are many men, women and ISIS has made children disappear without trace,” he says.

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    France will support the US with Iraqi aid

    August 10th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    The president of France, François Hollande, said Saturday to his American counterpart, Barack Obama, that Paris will support Washington’s efforts in Iraq “ignoble actions against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS)”.

    “The president has reaffirmed that France will take its place on a device that brings together the United States and to all countries that wish to join the action requested by the Security Council,” the UN said the head of the French state in a statement, in which he did not specify the nature of support to Washington.

    After talking on the phone with Obama, Hollande said that Paris and Washington “share the same outrage and the same determination” and reiterated “its position and supported the actions decided by the United States.”

    “They examined all the modalities of cooperation to help forces fighting the IS and emergency assistance to threatened populations,” according to the statement issued by the Elysee Palace, seat of the French presidency.

    Earlier, Obama had said that the governments of France and Britain will join the humanitarian support of the people of Kurdistan.

    In the telephone conversation, French President American president moved to Paris has initiated contacts with the European Union (EU) to “provide urgently needed assistance to the people” in northern Iraq.

    Hollande and Obama also discussed the “open for longer term help Iraq to find the exercise of sovereignty over its entire territory options.”

    France sent aid material

    France begins sending “in the coming hours” first aid kits in northern Iraq, said on Saturday the French president, François Hollande, who called for a “national unity government” is formed there.

    In a telephone conversation with President of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, Hollande told him “the will of France to stand with the victims of the ongoing charges of the Islamic State (IS) civilian populations.”

    “France will proceed in the coming hours the first deliveries of first aid kits,” Hollande said Barzani, according to a statement released by the French presidency soon after Barack Obama, showed the support of Paris Washington’s actions in Iraq.

    In his conversation with Barzani, Hollande said that he attempts to mobilize the international community and, in this regard, said he has asked the European Union (EU) to urgently take necessary measures “to respond to the immediate humanitarian needs.”

    He reiterated that France “will take its place on a device that brings together the United States and to all countries that wish to join the action requested by the Security Council,” UN.

    The French presidency said Hollande is “more convinced than ever that the solution to the crisis is also hitting Iraq policy” and therefore, it is necessary that “every effort is made to form a national unity government” in the country.

    On 10 June, the EI controlled Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and since then fighting in the north of the country to expand its declared “caliphate”, seizing cities like Sinjar, where it triggered a humanitarian crisis denounced by the UN more than 120,000 displaced.

    Fifth message from Pope Francisco

    The conflict in Iraq has also spoken Francisco Saturday the pope, who called on the international community to “protect all victims of violence in Iraq” by a message posted on his official profile on the social network Twitter.

    This is the fifth post on the situation in Iraq Pope published within 24 hours in your profile, followed by more than 16 million people and is available in nine languages​​, including Arabic.

    This Friday, the Vatican issued the Pope’s decision to send in northern Iraq to the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, aiming mainly to express the population to its proximity and Christians solidarity.

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    Israel peace negotiations in Egypt

    August 6th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    The negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza have given fresh impetus with the arrival of the Israeli delegation to the Egyptian capital on Tuesday. The mission consists of Isaac Molha, adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoram Cohen, head of the Shin Bet security agency and Amos Gilad, head of the political bureau of the Ministry of Defence, has landed in Cairo on a private plane and according to information released by the state news agency Mena, the visit will be brief.

    The Egyptian mediation is working around the clock after 72 hour humanitarian truce that took effect Tuesday at 5 in the morning GMT. A temporary cessation of hostilities, for the moment, being observed by both parties.

    If it seems unlikely that the commitment to non-aggression remain until fulfilled the three days stipulated, as similar initiatives have been dashed before, much harder will achieve a long-term agreement between the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas .

    The Palestinian delegation, comprising members of the Islamist group, as well as leaders of Fatah and Islamic Jihad, the Egyptian authorities presented their demands in the previous session of talks held Monday. The jointly signed text must be taken now.

    Egyptian diplomatic sources have told the television channel Al Mayadin that Tel Aviv would accept after preliminary considerations, four of the seven conditions of Hamas for a ceasefire.

    Among the possible demands compliance to the offensive in Gaza, lifting the blockade imposed on the Strip in the past seven years, the guarantee of the rights of Gazans fishing 12 nautical miles offshore and include release prisoners. Israel on the other hand, in the words of the quoted source, refuse to reopen the Gaza airport, allow the construction of a port and ensure permanent land connection between the Gaza and West Bank.

    United States, which has closely followed the negotiations conducted by the Egyptian government, has entered a new chapter in efforts to end a conflict that has claimed the lives of 1,867 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 67 Israelis . “These are the results from the secretary Kerry, Secretary General of the UN Ban and all our partners in the international arena have been working in recent weeks” read a document issued by the Department of State.

    Also through a statement, the EU has declared its satisfaction with the announcement of a humanitarian ceasefire 72 hours, urging “all parties to abide by their terms.” The twenty-eight have been shown to contribute to solicitous lasting pa, so immediately halt the loss of civilian lives.

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    Russia accuses EU of playing double edge game with Ukraine

    August 4th, 2014

     

     

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    Russia today accused the European Union (EU) of double standards by lifting restrictions on the import of military equipment and technology to Ukraine, the scene of a conflict between government forces and pro-Russian rebels since April.

    “During the recent meeting of the European Council of EU leaders agreed to lift restrictions to sneak exports to Ukraine with equipment that can be used for internal repression,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said today in a statement.

    According to the note, Brussels “also authorized the export of military equipment and technology.”

    Moscow remembers it was on February 20 when the European Council adopted the restrictions that were lifted this week, that is, “when in power President (Viktor) Yanukovych was” ousted on February 22.

    “When in the Maidan (Independence Square Kiev) continued violent clashes between armed radical ultra-nationalist and virtually unarmed security forces,” he adds.

    “in the EU are considered inaccurate supplying weapons and special equipment to ‘Yanukovych regime, ‘” he said.

    “Now, without regard to the continuation of the military operation in the South East by the present authorities in Kiev, the EU considered necessary to resume large-scale granting of licenses for the export of military equipment and special teams,” says.

    Discomfort in Brussels

    The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that “it is clear why the EU is determined to silence the undisputed facts of the shooting of Russian territory from Ukraine: the perspective of being part involved in such actions probably creates some discomfort in Brussels”.

    Therefore, Russia calls on the EU “to be guided by common logic and not by the situation or the ‘trappings’ of Washington”.

    “The decision to limit supplies of weapons and gadgets to Ukraine was taken after the start of the so-called anti-terrorist operation in the Donbass and Lugansk region. But even now it is not too late to resume such a ban,” he said.

    Otherwise, he warns, “without it, it will increase the responsibility of the European Union in the ongoing bloodshed in the south of Ukraine.”

    This week the EU adopted officially, among other restrictive measures against Russia for its role in Ukraine, an embargo on the import and export of arms and related materials to and from Russia, and a ban on the export of dual-use goods (civil or defensive) military purposes.

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    US accuses Russia of violating the nuclear treaty of 1987

    July 29th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    The United States has concluded that Russia violated the treaty of 1987, which banned the development and deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles based on land, which would be the most serious breach of an obligation of disarmament by that country after the cold war.

    As revealed by the newspaper The New York Times, citing as sources to senior U.S. officials, President Barack Obama has sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to warn and convey the protest.

    The State Department is scheduled to release on Tuesday its annual report on compliance with international disarmament treaties which shall include the realization that Russia violated the so-called Treaty INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty).

    The revelation represents a tension in relations between the U.S. and Russia member, faced for months by the asylum granted by Moscow to ex-contrabandist of the National Security Agency (NSA), Edward J. Snowden, and Russian support Ukrainian separatists.

    According to sources cited by the newspaper, the Obama administration concluded in late 2011 that Russia was not complying with the disarmament treaty, considered one of the historic agreements which ended the Cold War, as Moscow had already tested cruise missiles in 2008.

    In May 2013, senior officials from the State Department reported to Russian suspicions, but only in recent months the Obama Administration was certain that the trials were a serious violation of the obligations under the treaty.

    “The U.S. has determined that the Russian Federation violated its obligations under the INF Treaty to produce or perform tests cruise missile launched from earth (GLCM), with a capacity range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, and possess and produce such missiles launchers, “says the report obtained by the Times.

    In the letter to Putin, the U.S. President expressed his interest to hold a high-level dialogue with Russian officials aimed at preserving the treaty of 1987 and discuss measures that Moscow that should comply with the terms of the agreement. According to sources, the same message was conveyed by the Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a telephone call.

    The INF Treaty was signed in Washington in December 1987 by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and is considered the cornerstone of disarmament agreements between the two superpowers.

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    James Tracy answers questions about conspiracy theories

    July 29th, 2014

     

    Interviewed by Jaime Ortega.

    tracy

    James Tracy teaches courses at Florida Atlantic University examining the relationship between commercial and alternative news media and socio-political issues and events. 

     

    1.   There is a certain danger in the way conspiracy theories have eroded social media, especially on such platforms as YouTube.  Do people distrust mainstream television, radio, and print media?

    First of all, we have to seriously think about what we mean by “conspiracy theories” before delving into such a discussion. What are the term’s origins?  How and why is it used?  Without nailing these things down at the outset any discussion of such communicative and sociopolitical dynamics tends toward the nonsensical and comes to eventually become absorbed in the discourse it is seeking the examine or critique.

    A cursory look at reportage and commentary in major US news media from the late 1800s through the 1950s indicates that the term “conspiracy theory” is used sporadically in stories on criminal and court proceedings.  In the late 1960s, however, there is a major spike in usage of the term, specifically in items discussing criticism of the Warren Commission Report—President Lyndon Johnson’s commission mandated to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  On January 4, 1967 the Central Intelligence Agency issued a memorandum that became known as Document 1035-960.  The communique was directed at the Agency’s foreign bureaus recommending the deployment of the term by “media assets” to counter critics of the Warren Commission.  The main strategy involved suggestion that such individuals and their inquiries were flawed by slipshod methods and ulterior motives.  The then-foremost Warren Commission critic and JFK assassination researcher Mark Lane was even referenced in the document.

    This document was indicative of an apparent strategy via press and public relations maneuvers to undermine New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s then-fledgling investigation of the assassination.  1035-960 explained quite rightly that the CIA had a substantial investment in the credibility of the Warren Report.  Press reportage of Garrison’s ongoing probe revealed a heavy bias from the very outlets that had been long-compromised by Agency-friendly owners, editors, and reporters.  These included NBC and CBS networks, in addition to Time and Newsweek magazines, where the disparaging coverage of Garrison and his inquiry reached truly farcical proportions.

    Though he was repeatedly and vociferously decried as a “conspiracy theorist,” a corrupt and opportunistic politician, and even mentally deranged by such outlets, Garrison has been vindicated by the historical record.  For example, we now know, through copious records released as a result of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board, that the CIA was intimately involved in the assassination and cover-up, as were other US government agencies.  Yet the same news media that denounced Garrison almost fifty years ago still tout the legitimacy of the Warren Commission Report.

    Since the Garrison episode, but in an especially pronounced fashion over the past twenty years, the conspiracy theory label is routinely mobilized by major corporate media to denigrate honest and intelligent individuals who bring forth important questions on vital events and issues.  Keep in mind that most major media still have often strong ties to the US intelligence and military communities.  With this in mind, a rational citizenry has an obligation to scrutinize what is reported and analyzed in corporate media, and balance their observations and conclusions by considering reportage of foreign and independent alternative media. In this regard the Internet provides a wealth of opportunity.  One needs only exercise the fundamental principles of logic to locate and assess quality information and research.

    At the end of the day what we have in the “Conspiracy theory/ist” label is a psychological warfare weapon that has from the perspective of its creators been overwhelmingly effective.  Here is a set of words that is used to threaten, discipline and punish the intellectual class—mainly journalists and academics—who might question or otherwise refuse to tow the party line.  Using the term to designate pedestrian skeptics and researchers is redundant.  After all, as Orwell said, “The proles don’t count.”

    Thus, unless we forthrightly interrogate the phrase and its unfortunate history we will be prone to the same confusion and misdirection that its originators
    intended.

    2.    We did a poll here at The Daily Journalist a few weeks back, and the results indicated that 60% of people believed there was US government involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings, in addition to the events of September 11.  When people suspect their own government is involved on these attacks in US soil, what comes to mind?

    It is cause for optimism because the US government was almost without question involved in the Boston Marathon bombing and the events of September 11, 2001.  Major media were also complicit in wide-scale public acceptance of the official narrative put forth concerning each incident.

    For example, with the Boston bombing the New York Times played a key role in persuading the nation’s professional class and intelligentsia that a terror drill using actors, complete with a multitude of gaffes and outright blunders, was genuine.  In reality there were no severed limbs, no deaths, no injuries from shrapnel—only pyrotechnics and actors responding on cue. This is not only my view, but also that of multiple independent researchers and even former CIA officer Robert David Steele.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is well-known for entrapping and otherwise orchestrating such events to justify its own existence.  With the Boston bombing there were numerous federal, state and local agencies involved in an exercise that had been taking place in the city annually over the past few years with a similar scenario.  A plan for what would become the Boston Marathon bombing was authored by Director of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services Richard Serino in 2008.  Serino was tapped by President Obama in 2009 to become Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and there are photos of him directing the aftermath of the April 15, 2013 “bombing.”

    The public is being asked to believe that two Chechen immigrants expertly devised extremely sophisticated and deadly explosives with consumer fireworks, scrap metal and pressure cookers.  No such refractory ordnance was found at the scene because no thorough forensic investigation ever took place.  The entire affair was a photo shoot and an opportunity for federal authorities to gauge public response to a military-style lockdown in a major metropolitan region.

    With such a transparently phony event being proffered as “real” one needs to ask what the other 40% in your poll are actually thinking.  One can fool some of the people some of the time, and there’s still a significant portion of the population—including those who are highly educated, who can’t imagine it’s own government could be so corrupt.   This is a testament to the continued effectiveness of our educational and media apparatuses, each of which emphasize an unhistorical worldview and unquestioning deference to authority figures.

    3.       Modern media seems to have commercialized and sold its soul to sponsors, and media giants that profit from investments.  Is modern day news a fictional representation of reality?  Are journalists allowed to do their job of investigating serious cases?  Is there an agenda to not report on stories with higher impact?

    If a news media outlet gets most of its revenue from advertising it is to a significant degree compromised.  If its main revenue source is advertising and its owned by a transnational corporate conglomerate, “compromised” is not sufficiently powerful enough of a term to describe the given outlet’s probable journalistic vulnerabilities.  It should be barred from tying the term “journalism” to any of its information-related activities.

    When we use the term, “transnational corporate conglomerate,” which is often used to denote companies like News Corp and Viacom, we should include the US and British governments, each of which are in the practice of imperial expansion while either subsidizing or forthrightly funding news media.  All such powerful entities understand the importance of concealing, disseminating, and using information to shape public opinion in ways that will be favorable to its corporate and policy interests.  Walter Lippmann describes how this dynamic played out in World War One.  Such powerful corporations and governments shouldn’t even be involved in journalism, unless of course they describe what they are doing in honest and appropriate terms, which is often, as your question suggests, entertainment and public relations masquerading as journalism.

    The best journalism today is being produced by independent writers and news media.  At present there is a renaissance taking place in this regard because of the internet.  Corporate news media don’t want to invest the money in true journalism because for them it’s a net loss anyway they figure.  If major outlets fund investigative journalistic ventures and there’s little impact on readership (and thus advertising/revenue) then there’s no return on investment.  On the other hand, if such investigative work is genuine and worthwhile, it’s often delving into areas that reveal how political or economic power operate, which can bring complaints or retaliation from influential entities.  Real investigative journalism from mainstream outlets has been subdued for decades because of this very dynamic.

    4.       It’s hard not to distrust the government in some cases.  Take for example, the assassination of John F. Kennedy or CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal, to name a few.  Has the government have to change its ways for people not to believe in conspiracies?

    The US government doesn’t have to care a great deal about what the public thinks so long as it has major news media that’s committed to producing a steady stream of non-journalism and infotainment to distract the people from considering the things that really impact on their lives.  Events such as 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing aren’t questioned by such media because those media are more or less part of the operations.  As was the case almost 50 years ago with figures such as Mark Lane and Jim Garrison, those asking serious questions and conducting potentially meaningful research are dismissed within the parameters of permissible dissent as “conspiracy theorists,” at least long enough for a majority of the public to stop caring and forget.

    What is somewhat new is how the government and psychiatry are now involved in psychologizing the practice or tendency of asking questions about or interrogating disputed events.  In other words, certain interests want to deem “conspiracy theorizing” as mental illness, or otherwise associate it with aberrant and perhaps violent behavior.  In other words, ponder ideas that certain forces deem beyond question and one runs the risk of being institutionalized, losing their job, and so on.

    We saw this take place in the case of upstate New York school teacher Adam Heller, who, under the direction of the FBI, was involuntarily institutionalized and later fired from his tenured teaching position simply because of private exchanges where he discussed his views on the Sandy Hook massacre and probable government involvement in weather modification.  We have to keep in mind that the punitive use of psychiatry to punish thought crimes was common practice in the darkest days of the Soviet Union.  Now it’s emerging here.  In this way, government is changing its ways in order to force its own versions of reality on the public.

    5. Looking at this from a logical perspective, overall, is it harder to trust the government over the conspiracy theorist?

    The US government is responsible for devising and publicizing some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories in modern history while it accuses independent journalists and authors of being conspiracy theorists.  The major political assassinations of the 1960s (JFK, RFK, MLK) were all government operations, and “patsies” were produced with untenable scenarios accompanying the overall events.  The Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and the Boston Marathon bombing were all “false flag” terror events that were intentionally misrepresented to the American public.  One need look no further than the plans for Operation Northwoods, or the attack on the USS Liberty, to develop a distinct understanding of how certain forces within government regard the public and those who fight their wars.

    6.   Conspiracy theories through the use of social media could cause irreparable effects on the future of mainstream news media because they report on stories, where journalists might not have done a good job or gone deep enough reporting.  When there is distrust, what follows next for the future and credibility of most media outlets, particularly if people believe media such as YouTube?

    Again, we need to be precise.  YouTube is a medium with a multitude of “channels,” information, interpretations, and perspectives.  Some are potentially reliable and others may be dubious. This is, again, where education and, more specifically, the ability to employ logic and reasoning come to the fore.  How can we distinguish between good information and analysis versus that which is unhelpful or even purposefully misleading.

    Many researchers who use YouTube or blogs are sincere in what they are seeking to do, which is relate ideas and information to broader public.

    They may not be professionally-trained journalists, yet they are also subject to often profuse commentary and criticism from peers in a given research community examining a particular issue or event.  This process of scrutiny frequently yields fruitful exchanges where new information and insights are collectively revealed.  The participants may not have gone to graduate school to study politics or the media, and yet many of these exchanges are much more intense than that which takes place between a journalist and her editor as they vet a potential story.  There’s something going on there.  Of course, this assumes that those involved are serious in their participation, which is usually the case.  This depends on the quality and sincerity of participants.  The comments sections of many mainstream online news outlets can be bereft of serious exchanges.

    In my view, certain YouTube channels or blogs are successful and worth checking out as forms of citizen journalism because they have something of substance along the lines described above to offer.

    Mainstream commercial journalism has been challenged by counter forces since at least the early 1990s.  An initial challenge came from Hollywood in Oliver Stone’s JFK film.  That project incensed many establishment journalists and their institutions because it contested their fundamental investment and propagation of the flawed “lone gunman/magic bullet” explanation of the event ensconced in the Warren Report.

    If truth be told, Stone’s screenplay is among the most accurate renderings of the Garrison investigation and the events surrounding the murder itself.  This is because it was based on key works by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, journalist Jim Marrs, and Garrison himself.  JFK was in retrospect the initial last rights of mainstream journalism proper, which sold its soul to protect John Kennedy’s executioners.  The advent of the internet and Gary Webb’s brilliant exposé of the role played by the CIA in the crack cocaine epidemic vis-à-vis Webb’s excoriation by his own journalistic peers confirmed corporate journalism’s absolute demise.

    7.       Do conspiracy theorists have a solid opinion of the problems they observe when interpreting raw data, or is such data made to create propaganda to feed their belief systems?

    There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis.  Again, this is where one must use careful discretion to interpret between worthwhile information and evaluation versus misguided and poorly-conceived study.

    Because conspiracy research communities have no institutional bearings or specific research theories and traditions, as do academic schools of thought that take the shape of “disciplines” or “fields” with often considerable organizational and financial resources, there is a tendency toward infighting and fractiousness.  This is much more so the case than in academe where such disagreements, in the rare event they are exhibited, are often subsumed in other actions that enforce ideological conformity.  These include the refusal by scholarly organizations and their publications to entertain countervailing analyses and, ultimately, the denial of employment, promotion, tenure, and meaningful professional relationships.  Compulsory toleration of peers is entirely absent given the voluntary nature of conspiracy research collectives.  At the same time, a critical sense that comes with researching government conspiracies, combined with known attempts by government to “cognitively infiltrate” such research communities, can sometimes lead to unwarranted suspicion of colleagues or public figures and their motives.

    8.       Since the rise of conspiracies is higher than ever before, and un-education accompanies this, how do you think it will affect the government’s relationship with its citizens, particularly if government credibility vanished?  Could there be a future uprising of people who will oppose the government?

    As my above responses suggest, I am unconvinced that interest or acceptance of “conspiracy theories” has any correlation with a lack of intelligence or education.  In fact, some recent research suggests that entertaining conspiratorial explanations of reality—meaning that one does not take what their political leaders offer as explanations of policies or events—is likely indicative of a higher intelligence and simply good citizenship.

    I’m not sure if there is any more credibility left for the government to lose, at least among those inclined to rebel in the first place.  I think it’s important for us to keep in mind that the government is regarded by some as paternal or maternal protectors.  President Franklin Roosevelt was emblematic of the welfare state—a savior of the common man—even though he further established the banking sector’s control over the country and laid the groundwork for the present technocracy.  Since the Roosevelt administration and the aggressive expansion of the government in the post-World War Two era we have largely had a government by cult of personality.  For example, Barack Obama is the equivalent of a rock star, nevermind his family’s ties to the intelligence community and otherwise opaque background.  Like other recent presidents, his personality and charisma supersede public realization of the actual policies and trade deals he is enacting on the behalf of his sponsors—mostly powerful, anti-democratic interests.

    As this response is written, the United States is arguably being undermined by the Obama administration’s politicization and exploitation of the nation’s immigration policies.  The notion that such maneuvers will ultimately change the overall constitution of the American polity is subsumed by Obama’s simple rejoinder, “Let’s give these people a break.”  Enough of the population is trusting enough of Obama to dismiss his critics.  Many of those who know better are too afraid of either being called “racists” or “conspiracy theorists.”  And so it goes.

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    Barna Donovan answers questions about the impact of conspiracy theories

    July 25th, 2014

     

     

    Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.

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    Barna W. Donovan, Ph.D. 
    Director – Graduate Program in Strategic Communication
    Department of Communication and Media Culture 
    Saint Peter’s University 
    Interviewed by The Daily Journalist

     

    1-There is a certain danger in the way conspiracy theories have altered social media, specially on Youtube. Do people distrust modern Media (television, radio, print)?

    Absolutely. Conspiracy theories become very appealing in times when people distrust major social institutions, when they fear people in positions of power and privilege. Right now, the majority of people see the mainstream media as a major part of the so-called “system,” rather than as an independent watchdog of the system. Poll after poll, for instance, shows that the majority of Americans don’t trust the mainstream, traditional media. They see the media as being extensions of big corporations, of business interests rather than the public interest, of being little more than organizations that regurgitate governmental P.R. statements, of being ideologically biased in some way and ultimately dishonest and presenting an inaccurate view of the world. If people feel this way, it becomes very easy for them to imagine the mainstream media as being part of vast global conspiracies to lie to, exploit, and manipulate the world.

    For many, the antidote to this becomes the web pages, social media, YouTube, and blogs. Of course what the suspicious-minded then refuse to consider is that all of the conspiracy web pages and blogs might be no more than money-making schemes for the unscrupulous, a way to take advantage of the fearful and the gullible. Every major conspiracy web page bombards its readers with adds for self-published books and independently produced videos (for a reasonable price, of course) claiming to offer proof of everything from hoaxed moon landings and aliens in the Pentagon to weather-manipulating machines creating hurricanes and space lasers bringing down the World Trade towers on 9/11.”

     

    2-We did a street survey in UNLV campus a few weeks back, and the results pointed 60% of students believed the US government involvement in the Boston Bombings that took place on 2013 and also September 11. When people suspect their own government is involved in these attacks on US soil, what comes to mind as a conspiracy researcher? 

    These kinds of beliefs bring fear to my mind. They make me afraid because they hint at a very large percentage of the population that feels so completely alienated and disenfranchised today that they automatically reject any kind of consensus reality. These people have no faith in any public institution – be that the government or academia and science – even in our very political system, or democracy itself. What also worries me is the simple fact that the committed conspiracy believers also have no critical and logical thinking abilities.

    Of course they will swear all day long that they do, that they are smarter than all the “sheep” who don’t question the “official sources,” yet these are the same people who will accept at face value any unproven claim simply because it comes off of a YouTube video, a Facebook meme, or a blog. They will ignore all the empirical evidence debunking the 9/11 conspiracies, the moon landing hoax conspiracies, or the-government-created-Hurricane-Sandy conspiracies because they believe scientists and intellectuals are pawns of the system and can’t be trusted.

     

    3-Modern media seems to have commercialized and sold its soul to sponsors, and media giants that profit from consumer advertising investments. Are modern day news a fictional representation of reality? Are journalist allowed to do their job of investigating serious cases? Is there an agenda to not report on stories with higher impact? 

    There is not so much an agenda to keep journalists from reporting on serious stories and issues that have a high impact, as there is a fear that the average news consumer simply does not care about complex stories. There is a terrible epidemic of the underestimation of the audience in mainstream journalism today. Now the root of this does lie in the fact that the media have been commercialized so much. They have sold their souls to the sponsors and now they must deliver on high ratings and high sales, or higher rates of clicks and views and downloads in the case of online journalism. The quest for profits has turned journalism into infotainment, into watered down news that seeks to make the news-watching and reading process fun and light. This, of course, leads to the ignoring of serious news and it creates the impression in many that the news media are somehow a part of a sinister conspiracy to keep people ignorant.

     

     4-Its hard not to distrust the Government given some historical cases; The John .F. Kennedy assassination, and the CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal to name a few. Has the government have to change its ways for people not to believe in conspiracies? 

    What drives so many conspiracy believers is the fact that we have seen so many instances of corruption and criminality in the government. From the time Americans heard of the MKULTRA program where the CIA sponsored drug- and mind-control experiments on unsuspecting people, the Pentagon Papers affair, Watergate, or Iran/Contra, many started to develop a type of tip-of-the-iceberg mentality. If we’ve seen so much abuse of power before, we can now just stretch our imagination a little further and believe that the government is behind mass shooting and terrorist attacks. The antidote to all this is more transparent government, a government that owns up to its mistakes rather tries to lie about them and cover them up.

     

    5- Looking at it from a logical perspective, Overall, is it harder to trust the Government over Conspiracy Theorist?

    This comes down to the basic issue of proof. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The problem with most conspiracy theories is that they offer no solid proof of their assertions. They make tenuous connections between unrelated events and accuse various parties and organizations of wrongdoing because it’s conceivable that those parties might benefit from some sort of wrongdoing. So if the conspiracy theorist can’t offer any solid, incontrovertible proof that the official version of events is wrong, the government still remains more credible. For example, I have not seen persuasive evidence that the government’s version of the collapse of the World Trade towers is not correct, or that the Colorado or Sandy Hook shootings happened in any way other than what the police assert, or that Hurricane Sandy was caused by weather control technology.

     

    6- Conspiracy theories through the use of social media could propose irreparable effects on the future of mainstream media; Partly, because they report on stories where journalist might not done a decent job reporting, or taken the necessary steps to conduct an investigation. Take the case of Collin Powell discussing the Weapons Of Mass Destruction on live television back in 2003; holding a photo shopped picture of the storage bunkers he claim as reliable proof, in front of innumerable media outlets.  When there is distrust from media skeptics, what follows next for the future and credibility of most media outlets, if people believe mediums such as Youtube to be more reliable?

    This is something that worries me a lot because if people get more and more of their information from social media and YouTube, the mainstream media will start imitating them. I believe that so many people don’t just turn to this alternate media because their faith in mainstream journalism was so badly shattered. They do so because the weird, the sensationalistic, and the conspiratorial paranoia all over social media are simply fun and entertaining. I think mainstream journalism will start heading down a very dangerous road when it will try and out-sensationalize and out-conspiracy social media.

     

    7- Do conspiracy theorist have a solid opinion on the problems they observe when interpreting raw data, or is it made to create propaganda to feed their believe system?

    It’s definitely a process of feeding their own belief system. I would describe most of the really colorful and complex conspiracy theories as an exercise in the reverse scientific process. Instead of gathering data with a detached, open mind, conspiracy theorists make up their mind immediately about what they want to believe, then only present information that bolsters their belief and ignore every bit of data that contradicts it. This is apparent in the case of every conspiracy theory spreading on the Internet immediately in the wake of a major event. Within 24 hours of the Colorado theater shootings or the Sandy Hook shootings, conspiracy theories were all over the Internet. People who wanted to believe in a conspiracy did so from the first moment, then went to their web pages and blogs and only reported their take on events in such a way as to support their preconceived beliefs.

     

     8- Since the rise of conspiracies is statistically higher than ever before (un-education goes along that row), how do you think it will affect the governments relation with its citizen, if credibility suddenly vanished inside  a crisis? Could there be a future uprising of people who will oppose the government?

    Yes, this is something I’m concerned with. If Americans think all elected officials, all people in power, are liars and criminals, it will highly destabilize society. People will not want to participate in democracy if conspiracy theorists have them believing that the system is rigged anyway by some invisible, untouchable cabal. So people who don’t think they can have their voices heard through the democratic process might next resort to disorder, violent protest, and uprising. For a perfect example, we should look at all the anti-government militias and hate groups. They all believe in far reaching plots by international Jewish cabals and banking conspiracies coming to take over the world. These conspiracy believers – incidentally also poor, on the fringes of society, and uneducated – have come to believe that violence and rebellion are their only options in a world controlled by evil, shadowy conspirators.

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    Boko Haram is responsible for more than 3.000 deaths

    July 24th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    Boko Haram is now responsible for more than 3.000 deaths in Nigeria, including women and children. The total amount of official deaths is unknown given that many Nigerian villages don’t censor citizens.

    The leader of Nigerian Islamist armed group expressed support for the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (EI), which controls several regions of Syria, Iraq, Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban;  in a video released on Sunday, the  group claimed new attacks.

    “My brothers (..) that Allah will protect them,” says Abubakar Shekau in the video, delivered to the AFP, addressing heads of EI, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, and the leader of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Omar.

    In the 16 minutes that play, the leader of Nigerian Islamist group also claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and Lagos on June 25.

    “We were the ones to detonate the dirty bomb in Abuja,” Shekau said in reference to an attack on a popular shopping mall that left 22 people dead.

    Another explosion occurred hours later in Lagos without officially leaving victims that authorities attributed to a gas explosion. However, an investigation revealed that was a deliberate bombing.

    “In Lagos, a bomb exploded,” said Shekau in the video, which the authorities try to investigate.

    The leader of Boko Haram also scoffs at the video of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign (Give us back our girls), which emerged after the abduction of more than 200 teenagers on April 14 at the hands of Islamists in the town of Chibok (northeast )

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    Israel classifies as ‘parody” UN investigations

    July 24th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    The Human Rights Council of the United Nations agreed on Wednesday to launch an investigation into the ground invasion initiated by Israel in the Gaza Strip and it will send to a commission to investigate possible human rights violations and war crimes committed by Israel.

    Inquiries should cover the period from June 13, and includes the identification of those responsible for the crimes and recommend measures to be judged by their actions.

    The resolution that gives rise to this investigation found the outright rejection of the United States, Israel’s main ally, which has been the only country to vote against taking the view that its content is “destructive” and does not contribute to the cessation of hostilities.

    Voting results, with the orientation of each country.

    The Deputy State Department spokesman Marie Harf, found that the decision of the Human Rights Council “is the latest in a series of anti-Israel partisan actions”. In this regard reiterated Washington’s support for Israel “even if that means supporting them alone, and I think this is what you saw today.”

    Harf also claimed that “no one is looking at the missiles Hamas. Nobody has proposed anything more than look at Israel in this case,” She said.

    Besides the US, the resolution was approved by a vote with 29 states in favor (mostly Arabs, Muslims and emerging countries) and 17 abstentions (mainly Western countries, led by France, Germany and United Kingdom).

    The UN also notes that Israel’s attacks should be considered “war crimes”.

    The commission will examine the Israeli military operations “to prevent and end impunity and ensure that those responsible are subject to justice,” said the resolution, which “condemns in the strongest terms the widespread and systematic violations of human rights and freedoms flowing from Israel’s military operations. “In one paragraph, the text also condemns violence against Israelis and mentions two Israeli civilians killed by the impact of rockets fired by Hamas.

    The decision comes 16 days after the start of the Israeli offensive. The record to date is 670 Palestinians and 34 Israelis killed, along with more than 4,000 injured and more than 100,000 displaced. Three Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday in Gaza in clashes with Palestinian fighters.

    Before the vote, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay criticized both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the high number of civilian casualties left by the current conflict.

    The outrage of Israel

    Israel has described as “parody” the decision of the Human Rights Council to investigate the crimes and violations of international law that have been committed in its military operation in Gaza.

    “The Board’s decision is a travesty that must be rejected by all decent people,” says a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    “Instead of investigating Hamas is committing a double war crime of firing rockets at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, the HRC (Human Rights Council of the UN) calls for an investigation of Israel, which has reached unprecedented extremes to keep out of harm Palestinian civilians, including dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages, “continues the statement.

    The HRC should launch an investigation into the decision by Hamas to convert hospitals in military command centers, schools used as weapons depots and missile batteries placed next to playgrounds, private houses and mosques.

    He adds, “by not condemning the systematic use of Hamas human shields and blaming Israel for the deaths caused by this grotesque political human shields the HRC is sending a message to Hamas and terrorist organizations worldwide that use of civilians as human shields is an effective strategy. ”

    “The likely result will be to defame Israel and even increase the use of human shields in the future by Hamas who is going to pay the price, but will be not only the Israelis but to the Palestinians.”

    untenable situation

    Meanwhile, the director of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, considered that a simple return to the situation prior to the Israeli military offensive is not imaginable, as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip need life prospects, told the Swiss newspaper “Le Temps”.

    “After eight years of blocking humanitarian situation is no longer sustainable,” he said.

    In 2000 UNRWA supported while 80,000 people are currently 830,000. The camp manager is totally overcrowded. Before the Israeli military offensive thy were about 17,000 displaced Palestinians, and are currently 100,000. UNRWA to address them urgently needs $ 115 million (85 million euros).

    Continued suspension of flights to Israel

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lasted another 24 hours ban airlines flying to this country to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (Israel).

    Because of the “potential danger created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza,” the FAA restriction remains in force issued Tuesday for cargo and passenger aircraft with American flags, said in a statement.

    Air Berlin and Lufthansa group also decided to extend the suspension of its flights to and from that airport. This measure affects flights operated by Lufthansa, Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines. “In close coordination with the relevant authorities, Lufthansa is constantly evaluating the security status of your network,” he adds. Turkish airlines also fly to the country at the moment, like Air France and others.

    Meanwhile, Israeli Transport Minister Israel Katz said that no rocket could fall at Ben Gurion, near Tel Aviv, to try to persuade Western airlines to restore air traffic with their country international airport. “Without going into detail, there is no possibility that a rocket impact in Ben Gurion,” said the minister.

    A statement to the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Marie Harf, replied saying that Hamas has rockets that can reach the airport, although the evidence is not sufficient.

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    Putin expresses sadness for the aerial tragedy

    July 21st, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin promised that Moscow will do everything in their power to end the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine by peaceful mean settlements.

    “Russia, for its part, will do everything it can to end the conflict in Ukraine from its current military phase to a phase of discussion at a negotiating table with peaceful and diplomatic means,” said chief Kremlin.

    In a video posted on their website as a result of the demolition by a missile Malaysian Boeing 777 with nearly 300 passengers aboard in eastern Ukraine, Putin explained Russia’s position towards the conflict in the neighboring country.

    “On more than one occasion I have called on the warring parties to immediately end the bloodshed and sit at the negotiating table”, said the head of state.

    He said “You can say that if June 28 had not been resumed military operations in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy (the loss of passenger aircraft) had not occurred.”

    “At the same time, one should not have the right to use this tragedy to achieve selfish political objectives,” Putin stressed.

    The Russian president said that this type of event is “horrific and tragic”, “should not disunite the people, but unite.”

    “It is necessary that all persons who are responsible for the situation in the region must raise their responsibility to their own people and to the countries whose citizens died in the disaster,” he said.

    Putin stressed the need to create conditional security for international experts in the field to investigate the loss of the aircraft.

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    Israel versus Palestine? Who do you support?

    July 21st, 2014

     

     

    TDJ Community Question.

     

     

    Once again, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupts after innumerable peace broken proposals sponsored and signed by different western nations. (Waste of time, in my opinion) –Religious based problems are politically absurd!

    The IDF use of excessive force has set Israel’s reputation down the drains and under scrutiny on the eyes of some western countries; but after a blow up attack organized by Hamas with rockets, Israel’s retaliation is somehow justified. 

    Hamas with the help of Hezbollah, has activated the continuous crossfire lines on the western side on Gaza’s strip. Hamas hides from innocent Palestinians trying to get media attention to support their cause while Israel kills innocent civilians. 

    A few facts:

    –Zionist (Hill Top settlers) constructing illegal settlements in Gaza, who follow the dangerous teachings of Rabbi Kahane. 

    –Palestinians radicals constantly provoke Israel on its perimeters by throwing rocks and using other dangerous weapons.

    –Zionist taking personal revenge on innocents Palestinians, after an Israeli has being attacked by the other side. 

    –Hamas disgusting propaganda targeted to youths, regularly broadcast on Palestinian TV, promoting suicide bombings and hate.

    –Israel’s control of water supplies, energy and food products to upset Palestine. In times of war Israel cuts supplies and basic needs to thousands of innocent Palestinians. 

    –Palestinians democratically allowing Hamas (Terrorist organization) to be on parliament and indulge in revenge the fundamentalist way by using Suicide bombings…etc.

    –Palestinians treated as second class citizens in Israel. 

    –Palestinians not officially recognizing Israel as a state, but rather as an occupying force. 

    –Israeli forces destroying and bulldozing houses of innocent civilians to prove a point. 

    –Hamas hiding their terrorist members inside houses of Palestinian civilians. 

    The questions is?

     

    1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

    2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

    3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

    Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

    4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

    5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any, to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

     

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    Shabnam Sultana Nina.

    She has the experience of providing training to the different professionals from NGOs, government sectors and  hospitals in Bangladesh)

    “The conflict between Israel and Hamas culminates in a blood shaded tragedy of Palestine Civilization. Unfortunately Israel and Hamas are at war in the Gaza Strip again. Israel is answering back to Hamas murdering many armless civilians and innocent children at Gaza strip.

    When humanity is at stake there is no way and no question to ignore it at all. Arguments are not that much important next to life.

    Israel is bombing the refugee camps; schools … crowded places of Gaza street. The 21st century civilization is stunningly shocked seeing the children crying with their broken legs , wounded faces , lost body parts… broken homes , broken hearts.

    The world knows , Gaza City is one of the most compactly populated places in the world belonging a population of about 1.6 million. The government of Israel knows that any attack from air or land could cause a huge damage of human lives. The density of population is unnaturally woven here. Without hitting the civilians no operation cannot be executed, Israel knows that. And they deliberately hit the civilians that is threatening to the whole world.

    Keeping it in mind that the way of terrorist acts are out of any recommendation, it might be clarified that Hamas is an elected party adored by the Palestine people.

    There might arouse a question: Why Hamas is firing Rocket to Israel. Is that only to complicate the relationship between two nations continuing generation-long antagonism or anything else that Hamas wants do for it’s civilians? In one sense, Hamas is reluctant to be pacified with the Palestinian agreements with Israel in the past. The other part of the coin is indicating that Hamas would like to remove the blockades sustained by Israel at Gaza, which creates many crises to the Gazan People.

    History unfolds that since 2007, the obstruction maintained by Israel severely restricts all border crossings and naval pathways into the Strip. In addition, it trammels access to food, water, electricity, gas, construction materials, and other needed things. This might be a political technique by Israel, but hampers humankind. At the same time the economy of Gaza is falling apart for these restrictions.

    This is an indispensable reason for Hamas to act enemy against Israel. If we look back at Hamas’s terrorist’s activities it’s obvious that they create disasters to Israel; might be a paradoxical amalgamation of politics and Islamic fundamentalism.

    In this connection, I must say the terrorists do not belong to any religion. Islam does not support terrorist acts. In addition, I believe, surely no other religion supports so.

    Humanity is above everything. Human Lives are precious than anything.

    We cannot condone them who forced many Jews to death in gas chamber during 2nd world war, who killed many people during Vietnam war in 1950s, who dropped atom bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki during 2nd world war; still the nation is carrying the cursed impact of radiation generation to generation.

    We cannot condone them who killed savagely the innocent Chinese people during 1937 at Nanjing. We cannot pardon them who killed unanimous huge number of people and raped women and children during the Liberation War of 1971 in Bangladesh.

    So, we cannot overlook the frenzied attack by Israel to the unarmed Gazan civilians, especially when the children are meeting most dreadful and unwanted present and future.

    It’s a blood ridden game. Israel excels in power game definitely. Definitely they are much stronger than Hamas. To secure safety for her people Israel should seek help from world leaders and UN; that might mitigate the generation-long antagonism.

    The inhuman attack to the unarmed civilian by Israel cannot be ignored.

    Though it is very unfortunate that Hamas is turbulent to hurt Israel, murdering innocent children and noncombatant civilian cannot be a logical strategy from Israel. They must find some other humane strategies.

    Let UN do something! How to bring back peace between these two nations that should be taken care by UN leaders.”

     

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    Angela Liu. 

    ( Managing Technical Recruiter, Events Consultant and former Title I School teacher with Master’s in Educational Leadership at University of Maryland)

    The question of whether I’m pro-Israel or Pro-Palestine is a hard one to answer.  Inherently dangerous in that question is its positioning of stance as one that is for or against a people-based entity.  A “right” answer in this context can never be black and right.   What I can say is that I deviate from the United States government’s pro-Israeli stance—one that has effected our government, alongside the rest of UN, in failing to support non-Israeli, Arab state resolution efforts; overlooking recurring Israeli government violations for over half a century while committing over half of total foreign military financing to Israel; fueling a consistent Middle Eastern Arab perspective of Israel as the biggest threat with the United States as a second runner-up; and fueling sentiments of distrust, anger, and Intifada-propensities that manifests in humanist-based revolts against perceived imperialist dominance.

    Let’s start with the Palestinian Israeli conflict as it stands today with Israeli’s ‘ground incursion’ into Gaza.  Israel statedthat the objective here is to destroy terror tunnels.  Yes, this perhaps disrupts the conduit through which weapons/military material such as longer range rockets from Iran reaches Hamas. But the strategic advantage here is the opportunity of damaging the overall Hamas infrastructure and the basic medicine, construction supplies to Gaza civilians struggling under a 40%+ unemployment rate and shortage of aforementioned needs.  In keeping with these facts, the Hamas’ trumpeting objections to recent propositions have essentially been objections to the status quo—that is, border crossing restrictions that have sharply limited basic, sustenance-level goods and aid.  (Oh, and the allegations that the Hamas weren’t even consulted parties on the cease-fire proposal.)  In the 8-day Israeli operation led out in Gaza in 2012, Israel’s Interior Minister stated “the goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”

    Alright, so basic goods aside, still, the danger of weapon smuggling and, even, abductions.  The Israeli-trumpeted stance has rang tunes of ‘limited’ and ‘short term’ in its vision of this incursion to destroy these tunnels.  Yet, a day into the incursion, there were already talks of possible extensions.  For what?  Dry statistics over the last several weeks show a 200+ to 2 ratio of Israeli to Palestinian casualties with the majority being civilians (and, mind you, this ratio has been jarringly reminiscent of ratios in similar conflicts in the past few decades); a clear military superiority in deflecting most of Gaza’s missile launches with the Iron Dome. Israeli’s Gaza-based opposition has a military capability that’s comparably laughable; it’s emasculating on Israel’s part to say that Gaza is an actual threat.  A need to invade as a tête-à-tête measure, doesn’t tactically add up.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as regretting the Israeli offensive and, alongside French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, urging the state to restrain themselves in civilian-casualty-related moves.   Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced the ground incursion as an act of terrorism and genocide on the part of Israel—echoing his categorization, years ago, of Israel as a terrorist state for its treatment of Palestinians.  (The Turkish state has often been a desirable model of emulation, amongst a number of Arab countries.  Turkey has shared a [albeit wavering] partnership with the US and NATO allies while, at times, questioning their motives.)

    Even if Israel’s allegations of the Hamas using civilians as human shields stands, Israel has struck over 1500 Gaza targets within a densely populated (and impoverished) strip of land. And, maybe, Israeli military gave phone/flier warnings to civilians near/within Israeli military targets minutes (yes, minutes— what expansive, epochal units of time) before their own strikes or those mini mortar bombings before the actual bombs (in Jon Stewart’s words, “amuse bombs”) but, then, they’ve had incidences of striking prior to warned times and targeting civilians on the basis of being related to accused family members via ‘lawfully sanctioned” punitive home demolitions.

    Perhaps, the Hamas has rightful allusions to terrorist identifications but what about Israel? The United States government has quite loosely defined terrorism as activities/acts ‘dangerous to human life or potentially destructive to critical infrastructure or key resources.’  I’m not clear on how it negotiates this meaning when dealing with the endangerment and destruction of life and core infrastructure wrought from both sides—leading me, with my limited resources, to surmise (alongside the majority of Arabs polled) that the final negotiated designations are products of ‘special interests.’

    To my discredit, I’ve sifted through only enough information on the Hamas group to document redundant encounters of polarized sentiments ranging from the Hamas’ militant, self-destructive obstinacy, violence and suicide bombings, to their reputations for social service delivery and building bases of support lending to political party involvement (Hamas won majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections; from 2008 to 2010, member of Council on Foreign Relations/Board of Directors of Human Rights Shibley Telhami’s pollings showed that more Arabs in every country threw their support to the Hamas versus the US-backed Palestinian Authority).   The Human Rights Watch has documented war criminal activity on all involved parties.   The ends doesn’t justify the means; nor does the beginning justifies the move towards those means.  At the same time, the beginnings are important for us to gain kernels of perspective.

    So, let’s heat up the kernel, sit back, and watch: From 1947 to 1948, the UN designates over 55% of the region to an Israeli population at most half in volume to the Arab’s—on the pretext that Jews (for the most part, displaced thousands of years ago) would emigrate.  No kidding, Palestinians didn’t embrace this designation.  A year later, state of Israel has “bloomed” from 55% to 77% of the territory.  And, you have the broad-scale expulsion and ‘ethnic cleansing of Palestine’ (authored and termed by Ilian Pappe) replete with city/village-wide depopulations, mass slaughter, land/home demolishment, enclosures by separation walls, curfews/checkpoints, imprisonment and torture without cause (and, even in present day, within the past month, detaining about 700 Palestinians for undefined, renewable periods of up to half a year without due process, charge or trial).

    It’s the invisible Holocaust repeated—even, referenced by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai in the 2008 conflict when he warned that the Qassam rocket fire “will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah.”  (Shoah, in Hebrew, means Holocaust.  Google it; Wikipedia it to find that H word horrifically and unquestionably emblazoned in the search results.)  Again, cue US definition of terrorism—as acts ‘intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population… to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction…”  The human rights and economic injustices persists through the decades; between 1955 to 2013 there were 77 UN targeted resolutions on Israel—indicative of 77 formally/globally recognized violations—as opposed to one targeted resolution on Palestine: touching upon attacks, raids, and bombings on Lebanon, Syria, Karameh (Jordan), Tunisian; violating Lebanon’s sovereignty; continuing the proliferation of  settlements/’outposts’ in occupied territories; failing to abide by Forth Geneva Convention terms, etc.

    “It’s not you; it’s me.” Besides the aforementioned establishment of itself as an oppressive regime, Israel has numerous documented incidences of sabotaging opportunities for resolution.  So, call the Hamas self-destructively stubborn or what you will, but here outlines some of the ‘windows’ of glimmering (if not wholly bright) outlooks for de-escalatory dialogue and Israel’s response: Israel mowed over Camp David negotiation terms by carrying on with Palestinian land confiscation and settlement-building.  Israel rejected PLO’s 1988 renunciation of terrorism and efforts to dialogue until it saw militant groups as a greater threat to its secular counterpart.  In the 2006 conflict with Lebanon, Israel opted for an airstrike escalation over an Arab League summit led by Egypt.  In 2002, and, again, in 2007, it rejected the Arab Peace Plan (endorsed by all Arab states save for Libya) calling for “an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including recognition of Israel, peace agreements and normal relations with all the Arab states, in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967.” (Middle East Research and Information Project committee’s “Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict”)

    Foreign Policy journalist Mark Perry (in “You Can’t Kill Hamas, You Can Only Make It Stronger”) captures the tense climes of a world of states increasingly troubled by the disparity in their principles and reconciliatory shortfalls: During a Tel Aviv conference earlier this month, Philip Gordon, White House Coordinator for the Middle East, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out on Israel’s dehumanization of Palestinians in its ongoing occupation: “How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank?” Gordon asked. “How will it have peace if it’s unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?”

    Dial back to February, at the Munich Security Conference set ostensibly for talks on the Ukraine crisis, where John Kerry got an earful from the European Union representatives on Israel’s non-commitment to the peace process—with warnings that the EU “was willing to support efforts to delegitimize and boycott it.”   Kerry relayed to Netanyahu that Europe was fed up and done listening to the US on the matter.  The response? A very condescending finger-wagging from the Israeli secretary of state; subsequent allegations of Kerry as a proxy for “anti-Semitic forces,” and a frustrating question on why Israel would turn on “a country that’s one of [its] last friends in the world.” Anti-Semitic? The radicalizing rhetoric brings to mind such on the Hamas as part/parcel, in nature of being, with the ISIS movement or other ‘radical’ groups.   (This should really make you think twice about taking these rubber-stampings at face-value.)

    So, maybe, “It’s not just you me; it’s also me.”  So, yes, about six decades into the oppression, during the second intifada, you behold the genesis of suicide bombings from these dubbed ‘militant,’ ‘extremist’ groups.  So, yes, there are, in fact, long standing acts of violence against the sanctity of human life, from people within Hamas or various other groups just as there has been from Israel.   But we need to understand these wrongs—while remaining wrongs—in the fuller historical context.  Decades of cyclic and, ultimately, failed peace processes and a sense of hopelessness, distrust, and humiliation have played into peaceable to violent uprisings and quells against the former.

    In “The World through Arab Eyes,” Shibley Telhami aggregates a decade’s worth of polling data.  He finds that “every major regional political movement since 1948 has made Palestine and Jerusalem a central theme of its origin and narrative” and that the issue “remains a ‘prism of pain’ through which most Arabs and many Muslims [anywhere from 70% to 86%, to be precise] see the post 9-11 world.  In a 2006 poll amongst Arab countries,  the Shiite Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, won voted acclaim as the most admired world leader (even amongst Sunni-majority countries) because of his unapologetically vocal stance against Israel.  In 2009, his ranking was usurped by Turkish minister Erdogan: Erdogan embodied a similarly decisive stance but perhaps, more vividly so, in his storming out of a World Economic Forum debate after denouncing Israel’s offensive against Palestine.  Arab countries see Israel as a derivative of American power, an engine of oppression, a subject of their ‘prism of pain.’

    Telhami’s polling data in 2011 also shows that, while over two-thirds of Arabs in six Arab countries, and a lesser but still prominent 43% of Israeli Jews, supported the two-state solution, the majority believed the two-state solution would never be successfully realized.   It’s been a solution talked to death.  Seemingly simple answer: A two-state solution with separated political franchises but shared, open economic zones and borders.

    The death is always in the details—from the question of how to draw up the two-state borders, to the Israeli skittishness against the right of Palestinians to return (but, we know, dependent upon where they’ve ended up in refuge affects their choice to return and, then, there’s the option of financial restitution), to the status of Jerusalem (‘easy’ answer: some unique status as a site/capital for both).   And, we need outside nations to step up their hand in mediation; the U.S., sometimes as a price of backing Israel, has done quite a bit of pussyfooting here.  If I got a penny for every person naming the two-state model as a solution….well, you know.

    Decades of variegated pundits, leaders, leagues of states, coalitions, regional and global movements— in acts of brilliance or flawed strokes—couldn’t bring us any closer.  There’s a heavy history here that coalesces into stories and processes of the political and the personal, the religious and the material from different points of identities.  There hangs heavy, as a breath, that status quo that is both intolerable yet seemingly indomitable.

    In the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the gods condemn a king to ceaselessly roll a boulder up a mountain.  He is the ‘absurd hero’ in mental and physical recursion of his burden although some look at the struggle as something meaningful in and of itself, with this very perception as a means of reclaiming one’s own fate.   My hope is that, like Sisyphus, we know the night in the reverse of victory and understand the ‘heights’ in the toil.

     

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    Peter D. Rosenstein.

    (He is a non-profit executive, journalist and Democratic and community activist. His background includes teaching; serving as Coordinator of Local Government for the City of New York; working in the Carter Administration; and Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia)

    “1)     Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

    The simplistic answer to this would be to pick one side or the other. That isn’t the answer that makes sense. I support the State of Israel and I would also like to see a Palestinian State. Israel has a right to exist and not face continued rocket bombardment by the Hamas in Gaza. Because Israel has such overwhelming military strength they must also be careful on how it’s used to retaliate. But they have a right to retaliate.

    The picture also becomes less clear when it appears that the Palestinian government can’t control those who are sending the rockets into Israel. I believe that Hamas- and they might have no control over their militants, missed an opportunity to accept a cease fire which Israel accepted. It is the people of Gaza who then suffer the most.

    2)     What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

    Israel has every right to retaliate when attacked by missiles. No nation would accept that kind of an attack and not respond. The concept of turn-the-other-cheek is not acceptable when rockets are launched against your people. Again there is a responsibility that Israel has as a civilized nation to try to keep civilian casualties on its enemies side to a minimum. But it is clear the Hamas are hiding in the general population so that they must take a major responsibility for the civilian casualties on their side if they are in essence using them as human shields.

    3)     Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

    This is a question that someone has to ask the world as well. Do we condone Hamas sending rockets into Israel and trying to kill people sitting at café’s in Tel Aviv. The fact that there is shield- or so called Iron Dome – which has shot down some of those rockets over Israel doesn’t absolve Hamas from the responsibility of aiming to kill civilians in Israel.

    At some point Israel has a right to defend its people and to go after the perpetrators in Gaza who are hiding among innocent people. That is not Israel’s fault that they do that. But as I have said I believe Israel has the responsibility to be as surgical as they can be in going after the Hamas militants but that won’t guarantee that innocent women and children may die. It is tragic and should be stopped but Hamas could stop it tomorrow if they wanted too.

    Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

    Israel needs the most humane stragtegy they can find while still protecting their own population. It would be good to ask Hamas if lobbing rockets into civilian areas of Israel is the most human strategy they have for moving their people forward.

    4)     Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

    That is an interesting question. Clearly they represent those that voted for them. But the reality is what one of the women in Gaza said who lost a child said when speaking of Israel – she blamed Israel for the death of her child but said Hamas was responsible for the deaths of even more of her family.

    It is clear that Hamas is a terrorist organization, or at least some of the militants that claim they do what they do in the name of Hamas. Hamas leaders could denounce them but they don’t. If Hamas represents the Palestinian cause I feel sorry for the Palestinians because thus far it appears they have only made life worse for them or at least have not made it better.

    6)     In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

    It is never a waste of time to try to make life better for people and the Palestinian people have suffered much over many years. I think that we need to continue to work toward the two state solution and to work toward seeing that Israel and Palestine can then live in peace. Once there is a Palestinian nation I believe the world needs to come to their aid to build a vibrant economy and education system for the future. The world must continue to work on this so that young people can find some hope for the future.”

     

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    Fadi F. Elhusseini.

    (He is a Political and Media Counselor in Turkey and served as a Diplomat at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.He is an Associate Research Fellow (ESRC) at the Institute for Middle East Studies- Canada. He was the Executive Director of the Palestinian Council on Foreign Relations)

    “A new Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, not the first and won’t be the last if the political equation in that region does not change. Throughout the previous aggression’s Israel launched on the Gaza strip, several military goals were declared. This time, “Protective Edge” operation comes in a different context, with new domestic, regional and international circumstances. These conditions, by and large, are more prosaic and complex that have been key elements in determining Israel’s goals from this operation, as part of a larger strategy that goes beyond the war itself.A clear change in the map of World Politics underlined a rising Russian role. With Russia’s fundamental stance in the Syrian crisis and the evident US and EU bewilderment toward the issue of Ukraine and Crimea, the political weight of Russia can be barely overlooked anymore and the fading US influence has become a fact.China has revised its position and role in the Middle East and opted to stay away from the limelight, maintaining at the same time its interests but with lower voice.

    This was seen the best way to stop its depleted popularity in the region in the aftermath of its obvious position supporting the Syrian regime.  Regionally, this war comes when the events of the Arab Spring continue to surprise all observers. The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, coercively in Egypt and voluntarily in Tunisia, the escalated crisis in Syria, the unprecedented chaos in Iraq, Yemen and Libya are a case in point. On the other hand, Iran managed to defuse some of the international pressure and has been successful in reviving and preserving the diplomatic track of its nuclear file.In Israel, a volatile coalition has been facing mounting domestic criticism. Several domestic travails and economic difficulties made many Israeli intellectuals and politicians to call repeatedly for dissolving the current government. In Palestine, the aggression on the Gaza Strip comes shortly after the long awaited national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, a new deadlock in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations (Israel has been widely blamed for this stalemate), and a wave of violence in the West Bank, started with the incident of killing three Israeli settlers and followed by the murder of a Palestinian teen in cold blood.

    Israel had constantly asked the Palestinian authority to choose between reconciliation with Hamas and peace with Israel. For this reason, Israel could not hide its irksome from the Palestinian reconciliation and the unity government, threatening the moderate Palestinian authority of serious circumstances. With Israel’s exaggerated stance against the Palestinian authority, its closest allies called upon Israel to put the Palestinian new government to the test and to give it a chance.In light of the noticeable decay in Israel’s popularity, living day after day in an international solitude, its frustration folded with the international position, especially the American, who welcomed the Palestinian unity government. Hence, it would not be bizarre to see Israel’s leaders accusing the Palestinian authority of isolating Israel internationally.In this vein, one should concede that the Palestinian leadership has succeeded recently in building bridges of trust with both the people and the governments around the world.

    The international community has become closer to the Palestinian narrative on peace from that one of Israel and international campaigns to boycott Israeli institutions and products expanded to include civil societies, universities and official positions.Considering the above, a decision by the Israeli government to seek a way out of its domestic crisis and international dilemma becomes unimpeachable. Intriguingly, any internal cohesion (home front) depends mainly on a sense of fear from an external threat and, hence, making up an external crisis is not a novel strategy by decision makers; but what would be the destination in this chaotic region and critical time?

    Iran; although there is a wide anti-Iran sentiments in Israel and a considerable popular support for a military strike on Iran, polls showed Israeli’s lukewarm to the Sisyphean task of attacking Iran unilaterally. What about the Northern Front?

    Hezbollah; in spite of the sizable insomnia caused by Hezbollah to Israel’s leaders, they are fully aware of the strategic, logistic and military capabilities Hezbollah enjoys. More so, Israeli leaders are also aware the Hezbollah’s venture in Syria and the losses they received there have not exhausted Hezbollah enough to evade any surprises; But, what about the Southern Front?

    Palestine; Whether the story claiming that Israel ‘fabricated’ the killing of the three settlers (according to this story, the three settlers died in a car accident in Israel and the government hided their death in order to use it later to corner the Palestinian Authority and Hamas) is accurate or not, Israel was interested in picking a fight with the Palestinians.

    Since the Palestinian side is the weakest link, the Israeli decision maker is circumspect that any escalation and bloodletting would neither bring huge damage and losses nor wide attention, considering the bloody regional conditions and international chaos.Israel has blamed Hamas for concocting the killing the Israeli settlers (Hamas did not claim responsibility, when it usually does). However, Israeli settlers did not give the Israeli government the time to benefit from this incident when a number of settlers burned a Palestinian teen alive.Hence, Israel decided to transfer the battle to the Gaza Strip, aiming at involving Hamas (at the helm of resistance in Gaza) officially in a confrontation that does not intend, of course, to end Hamas. One may notice the sequence of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip; targeting unpopulated open areas at first and gradually developed to strike almost every spot in the Gaza Strip. The required confrontation- which goals were not outright said- aims to drag Hamas and the other groups to react and fire more rockets at Israeli towns.

    Fully aware of the limited losses from the Palestinian rockets, the Israeli government succeeded, despite some criticism, to huddled together its people against the threat coming from the Gaza Strip and to distract the attention away from any domestic problems or diplomatic or international crises.Gains have not stopped at the domestic level. With every rocket fired from Gaza, the Israeli government gets closer to other goals.

    The US, French and other international positions were just a case in point. Tellingly, whereas most of the actors in the international community started to accept the Palestinian position and reprimand the adamant stands of Israel- who became a quasi-loner state, the rockets fired from Gaza brought them back to the Israeli barn, announcing that Israel has the right to defend itself, regardless of the excessive use of force and the horrifying death toll among the Palestinians.Not limited to these gains, “Protective Edge” operation gave the Palestinian new unity government that bothered Israel, a heavy blow. Any plans of this new government to implement the reconciliation and to prepare for national elections have gone unheeded as the priorities have changed by the provisions of a fait accompli. Also, Israel bet- as it has always done- on the contradictory positions among the Palestinians on how to deal with such aggression, which would increase the chances for setback in the reconciliation.

    The only military goal Protective edge would achieve is debilitating and draining the capabilities of the Palestinian resistance groups in light of the limited stock of weapons and the continuity of the siege and closed tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.Thus, Israel would accept/ accepted the cease-fire, without any further conditions. Unexpectedly, Hamas refused the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, taking the Israeli government to unplanned scenarios- a ground operation.

    The longer the operation lasts and the more losses Israel receives, the more likely that Israel would seek new terms and amendments on the 2012 truce so that it can be adduced in Israeli street.As per Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, they will not accept languishing in the besieged Gaza strip anymore and thus will not consent to the terms of the 2012 truce. Finding a port to the outside world has become sine qua non- either through the Rafah border, or a sea port or even an airport. It is obvious that neither Hamas nor the disgruntled and weary people in Gaza would accept to return to the by gone detestable era.”

     

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    Ranjit Gupta.

    (He is a retired Indian Foreign Service officer. He was a member of the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisory Board for the term 2009-2010. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies)

    “The creation of Israel was a Western imperial-colonial venture to expatiate their own guilt but its creation is a historical reality which cannot be obliterated – history is not about fairness but about the exercise of power in one’s own interest.

    The less powerful have to learn to live with realities until these change over time which has also happened throughout history.

    The Israeli – Palestinian standoff is the world’s most enduring and intractable geopolitical conflict. Even in the most unlikely event of a conclusion being arrived at on the merits of the case in a theoretical debate, that does not help, because the consequences flowing therefrom cannot be translated into reality on the ground, which is created by hardliners in Israel and extremists amongst the Palestinians.

    Statesmanship and vision is totally lacking on both sides. Continuing Arab disunity and lack of even substantive interest in, let alone meaningful support for, the Palestinian cause on the one hand and the US Administration’s steadily diminishing influence on Israel on the other have dramatically reduced any possibility of arriving at a solution any time soon.

    Very sadly and most regrettably misery and bloodletting is going to continue for the foreseeable future. The only way a solution can be arrived at is by an agreement between the five Permanent Members of the Security Council on a fairly detailed blueprint which is imposed on the ground by fiat.

    However, arriving at an agreement between the P -5 is almost impossible to envision in current circumstances; it may happen when the situation becomes so utterly horrendous that there will be no option left.

    Until then, even harbouring a hope for a solution is delusional. Extremely sad, but this is the grim reality!”

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    Barry Shaw. 

    (Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues, The Strategic Dialogue Center, Netanya Academic College, Israel)

    “I am 100% pro-Israeli and a proud Zionist.

    Israel is the expression of the self-determination of the Jewish people after thousands of years of rejection and persecution. It is expressed through Zionism, the movement for the return of Jews to their homeland.

    As it clearly states in the League of Nations resolution of 1922 and the Mandate for Palestine, it is the re-establish of the National Home of the Jewish People.  Notice the word “re-establishment.”

    This was further enshrined into the UN Charter.

    The attacks on Israel by Hamas showed the real intent of the Palestinian movement, which is to damage and destroy Israel. It has nothing to do with Jewish settlements in Judea & Samaria. Not one settlement was targeted by Hamas in this conflict. It is the presence of the Jewish State of Israel that is offensive to them,

    This war was inflicted on us, but also on the people of Gaza, by Hamas and its partner Islamic Jihad. Both are officially designated as terrorist organizations by the international community. So what Israel is facing is a war on terror, radical Islamic terror that is determined to eradicate Israel. For them, the presence of a Jewish state is an abomination.  That is the racist, religious, anti-Semitic root of the conflict.

    As such, Israel expects the international community not only to declare Hamas as an outlawed terrorist organization but that also all elements of Hamas are declared illegal. This must include it’s so-called political wing.

    It must be clear to everyone that peace is impossible between Israel and the Palestinians if Hamas is allowed to retain control of Gaza, and influence on the West Bank, Hamas is the obstacle to any possible peace agreement. For this reason it must be banned.  If this is done, Israel must be allowed to do what is necessary in degrading and destroying the Hamas infrastructure, removing all weapons, arresting and imprisoning its leaders, and allowing the Palestinian Authority to assert its control over the Gaza Strip.

    Their administration should be protected by NATO forces. The Gaza Strip must be a demilitarised zone. Both Israel and Egypt will open their borders with Gaza and help with supplies and the reconstruction.  This must be done with a Palestinian Authority that it will recognize and respect Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state at the end of a signed and permanent peace agreement.”

     

    Claude Nougat. 

    (Passionate traveller (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

    “There are no best solutions and everybody bears the blame here, some more than others.

    This could turn into a 100 Years War unless the West (and I include Russia in this definition) intervenes.

    America has a huge responsibility here since it protects Israel (and has allowed it to get nuclear weapons – something it won’t allow Iran; in my view, nobody should be allowed nuclear weapons). But the rest of the developed world is also responsible for letting the situation get out of control.

    Back in April when Hamas and Fatah had at last gotten together and create a (nearly) united Palestine, there was a glimmer of hope since both sides had agreed to recognize Israel and there was no Hamas member in the new Palestinian government. But Israel jumped on the agreement and would not let it stand.

    People in Gaza had hoped their situation would improve but that did not happen.  The Gaza city employees that should have gotten paid, never got paid because America continued to view them as part of a terrorist organization (Hamas) and therefore deemed any payment illegal, even if funnelled through the United Nations.

    With the last hope gone, Hamas resumed its war on Israel and Israel fought back without regard to proportionality (nearly 300 Palestinians killed to 2 Israeli). Another new aspect needs to be factored in here: Hamas feels cornered, it has also lost Egypt as an ally now that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are either pursued or locked up.  Any way out? None, unless the West, as suggested in a recent NYT op-ed, moves in and imposes peace on both parties.”

     

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    Arik (Oren) Smila.

    (He is the co-founder and executive director at Diplomacy.co.il, he is a Masters degree graduate from Tel-Aviv University at the field of Diplomacy studies)

    “As an Israeli, you would expect a pro-Israeli response from me. And yes, my response will be mostly against Hamas, however it is not coming from a place of the Israeli side, but from the Palestinian side.

    We all watch the news and the day to day developments in Israel. We all saw the tens of daily rockets raining Israeli cities, terrorizing Israel’s citizens. We all saw the tragedy of innocent Gaza children losing their lives as casualty of a war they have nothing to do with.

    The Palestinians in Gaza are trapped. Hamas had built a complete social infrastructure that offers the only solution for a decent life in Gaza. Should they refuse to receive this much needed help, they will find themselves in a position that will make their survival very difficult. Hamas uses the funds contributed to Gaza as he pleases.

    Most of it is being directed to the leadership, and some of it is being channeled to building kindergartens, schools,clinics, and other social services. These services do not come without a price, should you be interested in education for your daughter, you’ll have to support Hamas, should you like to work or get health services, you’ll have to support Hamas. There is no apparent reason to oppose to this organization because it seems that the people of Gaza don’t fully understand the repercussions.

    Israel have been wronged Gaza for many years, avoiding to provide for basic human needs created a vacuum that Hamas took advantage of fairly easy. You can always count on leaders to take advantage of their best resources in order to stay in power and Hamas is no different than the others. Israel’s believe as “to not help those who wish us death” backfired and it is dealing with the results ever since Hamas took power.

    Hamas has a bulletproof political system that allows them political freedom regardless to what the Palestinian people of Gaza think. Hamas can drag the violent conflict for months and still will stay in power (that is unless Israel will succeed in assassinating all of the leadership). There are no fair elections, there is no local criticism, there is no strong opposition. Hamas is claiming to fight in the name of the Palestinians but he is causing them more harm then good, in war time and in ceasefire.

    In regards to the Israeli reaction to the missiles, I don’t believe that Israel had a better option. Imagine any other country being fired with missiles and not retaliating as Israel does? London under missiles, Paris under missiles, Washington under missiles? Can any of these cities stay for long under an attack before their governments use their full arsenal at their disposal to defend them?

    Many say that the sides are not equal in power and Israel is much stronger that Hamas. Yes, that is correct. But this is not a basketball game. Israel has the right, according to the Geneva convention, to defend it self and could use all of it’s sources in order to do so.

    Israeli defense forces are using pamphlets and phone messages to warn innocent civilians from an attack approaching, no other army is doing so nor has never done it before. Israel is treating civilians and injured Hamas members in Israeli hospitals. needless to say that Hamas is not doing so. A ground action is needed and it has proven itself within the past two days. 13 underground tunnels were discovered under Gaza and the count continues.

    War is a continuation of diplomacy in different measures. The worst ones. However, it is very easy to criticize and accuse without knowing all the facts. Hamas is placing children next to missile launch sites to avoid counter attack, that is a fact. The more civilians and especially children are heart from Israeli attacks, Israel will suffer from international pressure and seem as the aggressive side. Hamas has no value to Palestinian life in Gaza, they are all pawns in it’s chess gams against Israel.

    In regards to the question if the conflict will see it’s end in our generation. Sadly, I don’t believe so. Israel and Mahmud Abbas can reason over most major issues including the core 4 questions but he is very limited in his jurisdiction as he only control\represent the west bank. Hamas will have to be out of the picture in order to reach a full peace agreement. You make peace with enemies, but not the ones ideologically believe you have no right to exist.”

     

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    Jose Luis Chalhoub Naffah.

    (He is a political scientist with a masters in international oil trading and an independent politics consultant on politics and geopolitical risk based in Venezuela focusing on Russia AMD Middle East issues)

    “1.) Based on my lebanese backgrounds, and the sufferings inflicted by the Israeli state on Lebanon, Palestine and the whole arab world, I must say that I dont agree with the actions taken by the Netanyahu administration, even more so given his ultra nationalist position. In other words, all things linked in Israel to the LIKUD party is antiarab and antipalestinian, but more extremist. Lets remember the Ariel Sharon strongest than ever position against Palestine. So in this conflict one cannot be neutral, on the contrary, there´s a position and stance to be taken. And one other thing is that extremism on both sides is pretty much dangerous, and in times like these, where things seem to spiral out of control, moderation has to come on the table.

    2.) Militarily speaking, disproportionate is the best word that comes to mind. Everybody knows the superiority that the IDF has compared to that of the HAMAS, logistically and militarily speaking. The death toll is always higher in the palestinian population, and that´s the consequence.

    Israel has a massive support from the White House, the Pentagon and all the israelí lobby in the US political establishment, so it has the best advantage in this conflict, even if in any time in history, HEZBOLLAH defeated the IDF in Lebanon. If the most ultraconservative and ultranationalist are in power in the Israeli government such as in this case the likes of Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, even if the international community claims for a cease fire and moderation, the response from Israel always will be overwhelmingly superior than that of the palestinian community, and the HAMAS.

    3.) HAMAS was elected by Palestinian people in general elections, and even if it´s an islamic party, it reached power in democracy, US style. What about if in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, if democracy was seriously promoted by the White House, Islamic parties reach power? Should they be called “terrorist”?

    I definitely don’t agree with the very hypocritical double-edged and double standards foreign policy by the White House for the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Remember what happened in Algeria in the 80¨s where after the Islamic Front won the elections and then bloodshed ensued. Why? Because nobody wants this, and nobody strictly speaking of the US and the EU. There are extremism and terrorism in both sides of course, but HAMAS authorities were democratically elected so be it.

    4.) If the LIKUD is on power in Israel, i would say its just wasting time, because of the lack of political will of these people to reach a final agreement with Palestinian authorities. Of course, foreign powers and interests in either side will be decisive to reach either a happy ending  or let this thing roll and roll again for the years to come.

    And one more thing added to this explosive cocktail is the energy factor: both Israel and Gaza have natural gas and in Lebanon as well, so we have religion, territorial claims, politics, and now energy, and of course, the always present industrial-military complex adding flames to nurture conflicts just to increase profits, no matter the death tolls, so its very hard to find a solution with such a blurry landscape like this one. And the saddest thing, is the ones that suffer the most are children, no matter from which side of this conflict. I wonder that the UN is doing now? Or the Arab League?

     

    Catherine Haig.

    C. Bonjukian Patten.

    (I am a Financial Consultant with my own Bookkeeping/Office Management LLC working in the Greater NYC Area for clients in a cross section of industry)

    “Admittedly I do not know a lot about Israel except to say that first England and then the United States carried that country and then committed to it’s existence which blocked Palestine to any land on the Gaza.

    At least that is my understanding. However as much as the Palestinians seem like David to Goliath (Israel) Hamas has damaged any reconciliation with Israel and doesn’t deserve any recognition as a country.

    It is a total waste of time in my opinion because there is no solution unless they (the Semitic brotherhood) walk down that same path and come to an understanding.

    I also think any other countries involvement will just result in disaster for the rest of our planet.”

     

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    Steven Hansen.

    (Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

    “1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

    I am pro looking at accurate information

    2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

    take out the attackers. this is a two way street – Palestine can also respond in kind.

    3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

    it seems to me that Israel has continually escalated this conflict to higher and higher levels. as Israel is the stronger – it seems the responses are meant to punish Palestine much more than they are published.

    Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

    At this point – there is a lot of history which are ingrained in the minds of all in the region. You simply cannot view any incident in isolation. If one uses their army (regular soldiers) against irregulars – there will be always be human rights violations (combatants and non-combatants wear the same clothes).

    4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

    It seems to me your question itself shows bias – and I am not sure whether this entire series of questions is not engineered to elicit an anti-Palestinian bias. I think both Israel and Palestine encompass terrorist organizations. Anyone who has visited Israel knows you cannot have two major religions significant holy sites within a stones throw of each other – and not have a fundamentalist response from both sides.

    5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

    The USA needs to stay out of forming an opinion or helping anyone. USA actions appear to most in the middle east as pro-Israel – making any actions to help “solve” suspect. there is now almost 100 years of conflict – and i see no solutions which all parties can accept. For now, unfortunately, I see no solution other then to let both sides wear themselves out.”

     

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    Barah Mikaïl.

    (He is a senior researcher at FRIDE. Prior to joining the organisation, he was senior researcher on Middle East and North Africa and on Water Issues at the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS))

    “1) Are you pro-Israel, neutral or Pro-Palestine? And why?

    Neutrality is impossible in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The obvious is that we have an occupier on the one hand, and an occupied on the other hand. So my stand is that the 21st century cannot witness anymore situations of occupation. This is why the creation and the recognition of a Palestinian State is more than a requirement: it is a legitimate right for Palestinians that has been recognized by the UN resolutions.

    2) What should Israel’s response be when attacked by missiles?

    Violence brings violence. Nobody discusses the right of Israel to its own security. The question is whether the methods that Israel is using are an efficient answer; clearly, no. Israel rejects any peace talks arguing that it will do so the day Palestinians recognize its right to exist. The fact is that Palestinians are not challenging the existence of Israel, and the few of them that do so have a threatening rhetoric first and foremost.

    As for the rest, we have had several periods of calm over the last decade; Israelis could have taken them as an opportunity to build on positive prospects and agree on what future they could foresee with Palestinians. But obviously, the contradictions of the Israeli political scene are what they are, and it is hard to believe Israelis are really willing to end their occupation of the Palestinian territories. This will only bring more frustration on the Palestinian side, with more radicalization and more violence.

    3) Do you condone Israel’s brutal ground response inside Gaza?

    Israel’s brutal “response” to Palestinians is not justified. If Israeli arguments concerning their anti-terrorist motivation and their willing to dismantle tunnels were right, then why are we witnessing the killing of so many innocent civilians that include children playing on Gaza’s beaches? It makes no sense, and the argument of “collateral damage” just doesn’t fit with the situation that we are witnessing, the way it hardly fit in the past.

    Does Israel need a more humane strategy when entering Palestine in times of conflict?

    Israel needs to take a brave decision and to consider that its duty is to give Palestinians a State. This would be part of the human attitude that is required indeed when it comes to addressing Palestinians.

    4) Is Hamas a coward organization that doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause, but rather uses it to promote Islamic fundamentalism? Does Hamas represent the Palestinian cause considering the majority voted for them?

    Hamas did represent the Palestinian vote when it was elected in 2006. Though many surveys showed that Hamas popularity had decreased meanwhile, it could still pretend to a 40% popularity a month ago. The Israeli violent operations can only contribute to increase the popularity of Hamas and to strengthen the organizations that are even more radical than Hamas.

    As for the rest, Hamas is an opportunist organization, the way every political party or movement can be. But this does not make Hamas more evil than other organizations are or could be. Hamas has a particular ideology, but it is its proclaimed struggle against occupation that brings its votes and popular support. Hamas may manipulate religious arguments for political objectives, but its denunciation of the Israeli occupation coincides with an ongoing reality.

    5) In short words: What is the best solution, if any to solve the never ending conflict on the Holly lands? Or is a waste of time?

    This conflict must be solved, but Israelis and Palestinians will not head for that alone. The United States remains the most influent actor because it can have leverage on Israel, the most powerful protagonist. Joint efforts between the US and the EU would even bring more consequences. If other meaningful actors decided to join such a move in favor of peace, then Israelis and Palestinians would have no other choice than to head towards a resolution of this painful and threatening conflict.

    This time around I have decided to take on your questions in the exact numerical order they are posted.

     

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    Adil F. Raja. 

    (He is an independent Political and Security analyst from Pakistan with a diverse background in Governance, International Relations, Special Ops and International Security/Political Consultancy)

    “1) I am definitely Pro-Palestine, why, because I am a humanitarian who is against the apartheid policies on which Israel was created and is being run. Distinguished scholars and humanitarians like Nelson Mandela and Gandhi stated it clearly in their writings to support this argument.

    2) Israel being attacked by rockets which are neutralized anyways by their Iron Dome Air Defence system should be to change their path and ideology based on apartheid, genocide and rule of might over right. I don’t see that happening by the way.

    3) Israel’s ground assault on Gaza and brutal massacre of innocent children, women and elderly is a disgusting act of terror against an oppressed nation cornered by Israelis themselves having left with no other option but to “blow themselves up”.

    4) Hamas and its actions are a natural reaction of an oppressed nation who are subjugated to the terror tactics of a mighty enemy that is the Zionist regime of Israel. Israel is supported by the global corporate media influenced deeply by the Global Zionist Empire which controls most of the financial power hubs based on capitalism of the western world hence are in a position to dictate policies to the western governments.

    The way AIPAC controls and runs the US congress and influences the US administration is a point in case for any thinking mind, if there are any, and I am sure they are many. In the case of Palestine vs Israel, the global corporate media owned and influenced by the Zionist lackeys have led the wide world to believe, that Israel is not an occupation force but the innocent party having the right to exist, may it be over countless dead bodies of innocent Palestinian children, women and men. Hamas and it’s tactics are mere acts of desperation and resignation to life and its beauty in a situation where they are subjugated to a systematic genocide by Israel in the greatest Land Grab in the history of mankind.

    5) The only solution to the conflict is “Peace as a way forward” starting from the grass root level. This can only be achieved by returning the latest occupied territories to Palestine by the Israelis confiscated through force in last two decades at least. And allowing the establishment of a vibrant economy in the state of Palestine by the Israelis. The Jewish settlers should be withdrawn to Israeli main land and the holy city of Jerusalem must be declared as an International City under an indigenous multinational administration and governed such as the Vatican City is.

    This is the only way forward, but it seems Israelis want to continue on the path of the systematic holocaust by wiping off the Palestinians through controlled genocide as it is happening for past five to six decades. This path will ultimately lead to the annihilation of the grater part of middle east and the destruction of Israel and Palestine both by a growing anxiety among the wide Muslim world against the Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians shamelessly supported by the US administration which is in any case shackled by the whims of the AIPAC and its likes…”

     

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    Raphael Cohen-Almagor.

    (D. Phil., Oxon (1991); Chair and Professor of Politics; Founder and Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull (2008 – ) human rights and peace activist;  Raphael was Visiting Professor at UCLA (1999-2000), Johns Hopkins (2003-2004), and Fellow, the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars (2007-2008))

    “The Israeli society has been living since birth in abnormal conditions. Sixty six years after its establishment, Israel has no internationally recognized borders; some of its neighbors do not accept its very existence; security was and still remains Israel’s toughest challenge. Since its establishment, Israel has had to fight. From 1948 until now, some 23,000 Israelis were killed in wars and terror attacks. This loss is felt in every home in Israel, given the size of the population. On the eve of Israel’s 66th Independence Day, its population was 8,180,000 people.

    Israel’s objectives are to continue its existence, to provide a home for the Jewish people, and to uphold the political prerogatives of nationality. Facing an unequal balance of power, unfavorable geo-strategic conditions, and constant threats of physical annihilation, Israel was forced to develop a strong army that could withstand the siege. Violence is a constant present, perceived as inevitable, and the periods between wars are perceived as latent wars.

    Until now, Israel experienced seven wars: the 1948 Independence War; the 1956 Suez War; the 1967 Six Day War; the 1969-1970 War of Attrition; the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the 1982 Lebanon War, and the 2006 Hezbollah War. In addition, Israel had faced a Palestinian uprising (Intifada) that lasted six years (1987-1993), and since September 2000 it has been under constant terror attacks launched by various Palestinian factions. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Israel has been facing terrorism since its inception but the last few years have been particularly harsh. Sometimes, as in July 2006, it reaches the scale of a full-fledge war. At present, the threat of yet another full-fledge war is in the air. At the time of writing (July 18, 2014), it is not clear how this military operation will end.

    In 2005 Israel evacuated Gaza, aiming not to return. Prime Minister Sharon saw Gaza as a test case, leading to a two-state solution, first in Gaza and then expanding to include the West Bank. The Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2006 reshuffled  the cards. Hamas does not recognize Israel and its right to exist. Israel does not appear on its maps. Hamas is firmly committed to the destruction of Israel.

    The relationships between Israel and Gaza may be likened to a zipper. Every once in a while, one of the sides escalates the situation, the zipper is opened, both parties embark on a round of violence, hitting each other hard. The “politics of numbers” is taking its toll, until the number of casualties reaches an intolerable height. Both parties then decide to close the zipper without real agreement. They only agree to cease violence for a while but they do not address the core issues. As a result, after a certain period of time, the zipper is opened again.

    Living under the threat of violence and terror is anything but easy, or normal. You cannot really get used to it. When violence erupts, it takes you by the balls and shakes your entire world. But even in this abnormal living, when tranquility is non-existent, you expect some minimal norms of civility and common decency. When the enemy is breaking these minimal norms, common sense is then losing grounds and radicals have more leeway to dictate realty.

    The abduction and killing of the three Israeli school boys, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, has shaken Israeli society. Once again, the brute reality has hit hard in the face: Israelis are facing a bitter enemy, full of hatred, who celebrates death, who knows no boundaries, who wishes to destroy you wherever you are, no matter how innocent and young you may be. There cannot be any reconciliation, not to mention peace, with such an enemy who does not recognize your very existence, who abhors norms of civility, who seeks your destruction even if this demands tremendous sacrifice and loss of human lives from its side. In such periods, when hope is lost, sentiments take over and blur the mind. Calls for revenge, for exacting a price from the enemy, rule supreme.

    Israeli politicians had to respond to this senseless killing. Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a trigger-happy leader. He is a risk-averse leader. Until the abduction and killing of the three youth, he has shown caution in the employment of violence. Netanyahu authorized a measured response. Israel targeted Hamas terrorists as the organization is deemed responsible for the abduction of the three slained school boys. Dozens of air strikes were launched against Hamas targets. Hamas retaliated with rocket fire on Israeli towns. While Israel targets terrorists, Hamas targets everyone, any Israelis wherever they are. On July 7, 2014, nearly 300 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel towns and cities, including a barrage of about 80 projectiles. On July 8, 2014, Israel responded with a military operation against Gaza. The offensive, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” is aimed at striking Hamas and ending the rocket fire.

    My family and I had lived under rocket terror in 2006. We know how it feels. The siren goes off. You have a couple of minutes to seek shelter, wherever you are. The siren might go off a number of times in a single day. Living becomes disturbed, under constant stress. People fear for their lives. It is very unpleasant. It is awful. No one, but no one, no matter one’s nationality and/or religion, should live in such abnormal reality.

    We are worried about our family and friends in Israel. We speak to them on a daily basis. They are concerned about their well-being, and especially about the well-being of their children. At the same time, the Israeli public is tired of the constant Hamas violence and wishes the government to provide a solution. People are willing to endure if an action can be taken to make Hamas desert violence.

    The word “peace” is not mentioned. People realize that peace is a far-fetched dream when dealing with radical Hamas. The words mentioned are “we need to be tough”, “we need to teach them a lesson they won’t forget”, “we need to be resilient and eradicate the rockets”. Unsurprisingly, similar words are uttered by the enemy despite its great loss. Presently the death toll in Gaza is said to be 264 Palestinians, the majority are innocent civilians. Hamas has posted testimonials of citizens that “Israel does not frighten us” and “Israel withstands Hamas rockets”. As always, Hamas is willing to suffer heavy losses. But for what?

    On July 15, 2014, the Israeli Cabinet accepted Egypt’s proposal for a cessation of hostilities with the Gaza Strip. While Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal, Hamas did not. Hamas continued to launch rockets on Israeli civilians. Yesterday, on July 17, Israel saw no other option to stop the terror rocket but by opening a ground operation into Gaza.

    When the dust is settled, and the bad winds will relax as another wave of violence will come to a closure, there will come the realization that the only thing that violence breeds is more violence. The “zipper relationships” between Gaza and Israel of endless rounds of violence can hardly be said to constitute nay solution. In the short-term, this round of violence is likely to play to the hands of extremists on both sides. Hamas power is likely to rise, especially in the West Bank where Palestinians were not subjected to the IDF might.

    I hope the Gazans will elect for a different way of reconciliation over violence. In Israel, Lieberman’s Israel Is Our Home, and Bennett’s Jewish Home are likely to increase their popularity among the Israeli public. But in the long run, peace was and still remains the key for Israel’s security. And, in turn, two-state solution is the key for peace. In the post-Hamas era, two-state solution is the promise for a decent, normal future for both Israel and Palestine. Israeli leadership should aspire to settle the disputes with the Palestinians in a fair, just way. The Palestinian government needs to replace violence and terrorism with diplomacy, and be able to have full control on the monopoly of weapons. Without such a monopoly, the Palestinians will never have sovereignty and they will never be perceived as worthy of having an independent state.

    President Barack Obama has recently said: For all that Israel has accomplished, for all that Israel will achieve, Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace. It is never too late to seed the ground for peace—a true and living peace that exists not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of all Israelis and Palestinians.”

     

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    Nicole Horelt. 

    (She is a freelance writer from Canada with a strong interest in geopolitics and foreign policy. She’s written with emphasis on the topics of Israel, the Middle East peace process, the EU, and has continued interest in the unique politics of the SCO, Eurasia, and international Arctic issues)

    “In response to the first question posed, the ‘why’ of it is sought first; this portion of the answer challenges a persons discernment and love for the truth. Though this writer respects all opinions and listens to all views, it is clear that there is only one answer; one truth: Scriptural and Historical facts speak for themselves, there is no Arab ‘Palestine’. Nor, should there ever be as there is no case for it, only continued propaganda fuelled by the underlying germ of global antisemitism – disguised behind many veils, both light and dark.

    The truth is that Israel has stood, is standing, and will continue to stand as the nation G-d has designated as the home for the Jewish people forever. The One True Judge: G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob supports this stance in the Holy Scriptures of the Law, the Torah, and entire Bible and International Law supports what the EU and others in the Int’l community say’s it Doesn’t, according to their own false interpretation of it. (‘there is no justice in this world, only men’s interpretation of it’)

    Due to continued global political pressure knowledgeable of Israel’s peace-seeking nature, in the spotlight and the germ of antisemitism at the ready to infect and spread in the nations, false peace treaties are pushed

    at Israel with partners who don’t seek real lasting peace.

    To answer the second and third question, when Israel is terrorized with missiles, Israel must respond to eliminate the threat. There is no such thing as a ‘proportionate response’ against terrorism!  What other country is questioned in such a way and why ?  What other country takes such measures to protect civilians before strikes against terrorism targets, what other nation is more humane than the IDF in their responses against terrorism? They are not perfect, no one is, but their strategy is close to it, and should stand a s example of how an army should act.

    Hamas and all those who voted for them are represented in detail by what is written in the Hamas charter. It can be found online. Summed up, they are for not for true peace, but for jihad.

    The best solution would be 1.for the Int’l community to leave Israel alone to deal with those who live inside its borders with no strings attached.  Stop the BDS pressure and allow Israel an exit out of EU’s ENP ‘more for more’  plan with steps connecting ‘more’  Israeli integration (into the EU single market/economic trade zone)’ in reward for ‘more compliance’ by Israel.

    The steps agreed upon in this plan are unfairly imbalanced with her ‘neighbours’ , and connected to the current middle east ‘peace plan’ according to the EU’s false interpretation of Int’l law. The pressure of financial isolation looms over Israel if non-compliant with it.

    2.Let those Arabs (many Arabs are citizens of Israel who love it there)  and Jews who truly love peace get along and build their own bridges.

    3. Finally, since the root of this conflict is Spiritual in nature, it can only be solved in a Spiritual manner with the return of the LORD: “For He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity.” Psalm 99:8″

     

    Ronald Bleier.

    (Freelance journalist based in New York where he edits the DESIP website. His articles have appeared in Left Curve, In These Times, Middle East Labor Bulletin,The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs)

    “There is already credible evidence that the murder of the three teens that has been the pretext of the current attack on Gaza was a false flag operation conducted by the Mossad. In addition to terrorizing and oppressing  the Gaza population, the current bombing program  and invasion is  meant as  punishment of the Palestinian people for daring to oppose Israeli oppression by attempting to unify their governments. That is why so many civilians and their infrastructure is targeted.

    A telling bit of evidence that the teens’ deaths was a Mossad operation  is the emergency phone call to the police made by one of the teens when  he realized that they were being kidnapped. The quick interruption of the call by shooting the boys was not inconsistent with what could be expected of an experienced  Mossad operative.

    If the murder of the teens  was really an Israeli black operation, it would only be yet another example  of the  theory that for Israeli policymakers  the problem is that there isn’t  sufficient terrorism to cover  their  ruthless intentions. It’s hardly a secret that Israelis intend to reduce the non-Jewish population to 20%  or less in Eretz Yizroel, of  the ever-changing boundaries. They made great progress in 1948 and 1967, amounting to the expulsion of about 1.5 million Palestinians and perhaps 70,000 to 90,000 Syrian Golanis. Ever since then they’ve settled down to the long haul, making life as difficult as possible for the millions of non-Jews they want to remove.

    Critical to their purposes is the full support of the United States.  In George W. Bush and Barack Obama they have finally found U.S. presidents who are as cold towards the Palestinians as they could wish.  When Barack Obama was elected, he chose to allow the December 2008-January 2009 Cast Lead operation to go forward and to continue until the very last moment — minutes before he took office.

    When will the current Gaza operation end? It will end when Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama agree it will end. It could end today (7.19.14) with a phone call from Obama.”

     

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    Frank Palatnick.

    ( He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for ” networking global education administrators in order to understand other countries, cultures and specifically students in order to create a pathway to a sustained peace.) 

    “1) I am neutral. Even though I was brought up in a Jewish household ( now I am an Atheist ), I do not bring my upbringing philosophies to my work. As a global facilitator I understand that I must see all factors in a situation. The wholistic approach is used in teacher, legal and judicial training academies around the world. Ethically, I cannot take any sides.

    2) based on the concept of ‘ Violence begets Violence ‘ I feel that Israel should find a more peaceful modality to prevent further hostilities. If someone slaps me, I will turn the other cheek. Bringing an offending/belligerent party to the International Criminal Court, in my opinion, would be the most rational approach to the problem. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( Article 15 ) ” Everyone has the right to a nationality ” and ” No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his/her nationality nor denied the right to change his/her nationality “.also the U.N. Resolution 181 created and established the partition plan for Palestine and Israel.

    3) Israel needs a more humane and peaceful strategy.

    5) The solution: I am attempting to do that as we speak. After World War II, specifically in 1956, President Eisehauer suggested that a civilian approach to the world problems be used. He therefore created and established an international organization that would ” exchange individual civilian experts in many fields and arenas in order to find a more down to earth approach that would attempt to solve many political and diplomatic issues and problems “. It was to be known as ‘ People to People Ambassador Programs ‘.

    In 1998 I was invited to be an education administration ambassador. I was sent to China, Australia and Jordan. I learned a lot about one culture’s understanding of another culture. They were seeing it as a generalized concept. Everyone was understanding the paradigm ‘ Those Americans……….. ‘ or ‘ Those Israeli’s ……. ‘ or ‘ Those ( fill in the blank )……. ‘. As I became more experienced and therefore understood more I found that the paradigm/mindset should be ‘ Individuals are individuals ‘ . Each one of us has different experiences based on the fact that I, and only myself, have my own experiences. Individuals interpret their experience/s in their own way based on their upbringing.

    After taking courses in ‘ Pre and perinatal psychology ‘ , which includes epigenetics, I came to the conclusion that our understanding and approach to our environment was due also to our ancestors. Of course, that wasn’t set in stone. Based on neuroplasticity, the brain/mind can always change. However, if our peers and immediate societal relations stay the same, that original mindset will stay the same. I have made it my business/career to attempt to alter the understanding of the Middle East whether they have a terrorist mindset or not.

    As we speak I am currently dialoging with government officials in Palestine and Israel through electronic modalities I.e. Email and efax. They include the Director of Teacher Training and ex Minister of Justice of Palestine as well as an ex Member of the Israeli Knesset. I am trying, with some success, to get them to understand that (1) Individualism is the proper understanding of society (2) Empathy is a more successful mindset than hatred and (3) Nuclear holocaust is not the answer based on the movie ‘ The Day After ‘.

    I am also trying to inculcate the frameworks found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other legal frameworks found in the Manual of Human Rights for Judges, Prosecutors and Attorneys in the minds of Palestinians and Israelis. There is a facilitators guide for that manual. I am using that guide in its entirety to facilitate the understanding that it is about individual rights. Everyone is endowed with inalienable rights as a human being. We cannot afford to understand group philosophies. That can be and is dangerous to our continuance as a society.”

     

    Jaime Ortega-Simo. 

    (The Daily Journalist president and founder) 

    “Morally speaking, I support innocent people from each side. killing to prove a point to someone else is just plain wrong! because one way or another, its all based on biased opinion and personal beliefs.

    I am against the occupation of settlements from the Zionist regime, which secular Jews are having a hard time containing on Israel’s western borders; the movement is growing everyday larger in members, and there is an internal war that secular’s have to fight against in order to neutralize the rise of the ultra orthodox community.

    I believe the IDF, should punish more severely the Zionist and Hill Top movement, who are taking land segments from Palestinian territory only to feed their ultra orthodox Ideologies. Palestine is infested with illegal settlements occupied by Kahanist as of today, which I personally blame the IDF for not removing with more incisive determination.

    Palestinians have the right to protest against such occupations, and Netanyahu cannot complain against their demands because they have grown tired of Israel’s inefficiency to take down illegal settlements.

    The rockets launched into Israel come out of frustration. So I support Palestine based on a political basis. Israel’s excuse to attack Gaza, is based on the disappearance of 3 Jewish kids; in contrast, Israel has killed many more Palestinians on a one-on-one basis than what the media reports. Overall its not a fair war.

    Israel is a democracy, but when it starts to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians to prove an uncessary point, they simply look like a tyrannical regime that is blood thirsty for revenge. Israel doesn’t stand out for democracy, if it continues its military strikes. They are “humane” ways to solve problems, its not all based on retaliation and destruction. Palestinians hate Israel, and giving the current circumstances, rightly so.

    However, the problem where the Palestinian cause starts to crumble is based exclusively on their religious beliefs.

    I don’t support Islamic ideologies and despite their propaganda to paint a beautiful world, I don’t think Islam is a ‘peaceful’ religion by any stretch of the imagination (specially historically speaking); And no matter what part of the world you look into, even as of today (2014), with Islam always follows conflict of interest opposing other belief systems (its almost a norm everywhere).

    You just have to watch and hear the persecution of Christians, Hindus, Bahais, Buddhist, Atheist, homosexuals, women, non believers on different parts of the world; who either get kidnapped, tortured or killed for not following Islamic laws.

    I don’t want to witness the day when a western democratic culture is torn away by a 7th century believe system, that doesn’t deem necessary to adapt and adopt our present model of society with all its applied rules. I think that the adaptation of Islam is dangerous for the future of democratic nations, since Islam instead of adapting, uses democracy to try to conquer via ‘ideological propaganda’ the hearts of lower class citizens as an strategical advantage to their cause. Historically, everyone targets poor people to grow larger in numbers because a sandwich with a cute label, can transform into a future vote if you play your cards right.

    Case and point! One has to look at the Islamic Brotherhood, and how they successfully used democracy, feeding the needy in the streets of Alexandria and El Cairo for decades. After they defeated the regime, used ‘elections’ and called the peasants to promote their Islamic agenda to win seats in congress as an exchange to their decades of kindness. Trying to transform Egypt into a Talibanic state. They also used the secular youth to achieve their goal to expel Mubarak from power, and when Morsi won, they rebelled and turn their back to kill secular activists.

    I am pro ‘El-Sisi‘! And HAMAS, did not accept the peace treaty sent by El-Sisi, based exclusively on his hard stance with the Islamic Brotherhood; supporting religious based decisions over political decisions. HAMAS wants peace not based on a political view, but on a religious outlook.

    HAMAS is a Islamic fundamentalist based organization, backed by Al-Shabab, Al-qaeda, Al-Nusra, The Brotherhood…And its Hezbollah the Iranian fundamentalist organization the one supplying HAMAS with weapons. So its one fundamentalist organization supplying another — Not a Walt Disney story!

    Palestinians must understand that their belief system pushes the Israel-Palestinian cause back to an empty wall, ‘specially’ when they vote for an organization that supports radical Quranic beliefs. When terrorism strikes in Europe ,or the US, everyone naturally (despite their view of the Palestinian cause) goes against them and their party because it is viewed as a terrorist organization. And that helps and fuels the Israeli propaganda against terrorist organizations.

    So, on a religious basis, I can’t morally support the Palestinian cause. It goes against democracy, and against western laws achieved by its citizens after centuries of progress.

    Anyone who is serious about peace must look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in its complete entirety without picking just one slice that supports their personal opinion. Its much bigger than just one problem.

    Israel needs to pull back their troops from Gaza immediately, take down the illegal settlements build from the hand of the Zionists, treat Palestinians more humanly and not as second class citizens. They might not own the land now, but they have been there for millennia and should be respected. Israel should also not cut supplies to their Palestinian counterparts because its inhumane and intolerable morally speaking. Revenge doesn’t solve conflicts, that’s why ‘I don’t stab my neighbor if he drops trash in my garage.’

    Palestinians on the other hand, have to abide and respect Israel as its a ‘real country‘, and treat it not, as an occupational force. Palestinians must not vote for ‘radical Islamist organizations’, who look outside the world of politics, into a religious cause to support their inner ideologies which are of no good use for politics.

    If Palestinians vote for HAMAS again, then Israel in response holds the right to treat them as a terrorist organization, and not as a peaceful political party, since they represent the votes of the Palestinian majority. In no western culture that would be allowed because it could mutate into a systemic cancer, and the results would be no other than the expulsion of that country from NATO or from any other importance western alliance.

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    Directed to Putin, no mere accident “says Biden”

    July 18th, 2014

     

     

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, that crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine carrying 295 passengers aboard was shot down by a Ukrainian missile that was aimed at the aircraft of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a source at the Russian Aviation cited byRussian media.

    The source, who requested anonymity, told Interfax that there is the likelihood that the target of the missile launched from land or from a Ukrainian aerospace could have been directed to the Russian presidential plane.

    “I can say that the Air Force and Boeing Malaysian Airlines crossed at the same point and in the same corridor. This happened near Warsaw in level flight 330a at an altitude of 10,100 meters. Presidential plane was there at 4.21 pm  local time and Malaysia Airlines tickets to 3:44 pm  ”has specified the source.

    “The outline of both aircraft apparently linear in dimensions are also very similar in color and the plane, at a distance large enough, it is also almost identical,” the source added.

    Both Channel 1 as the Russian RT TV have echoed this information.

    U.S. President Barack Obama was intermediately informed of the accident by his Russian counterpart (Vladimir Putin), who had a telephone conversation, according to the Kremlin said in a statement.

    As reported by the Russian radio station Echo of Moscow in Twitter, in the Boeing-777 23 had U.S. citizens traveling. In turn, Putin expressed his deepest condolences to the Malaysian Prime Minister and asked him to convey his deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the incident.

    The Boeing Company 777-Malaysian Airlines, covering the route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in the eastern Donetsk region, the scene of fighting between government forces and pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels. Around the accident, the Government of Kiev and the pro-Russian rebels accused each other of having shot down the device.

    Joe Biden has said late Thursday that what happened with the Malaysian plane carrying 298 people, ‘was no mere accident’, as was already pointed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, saying: “We do not rule this plane also was hit. ”

    U.S. President Barack Obama had declared hours earlier that his priority was to find out if there were U.S. citizens aboard and offered U.S. assistance “to determine what happened and why” in the event.

    “As a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all passengers and their families, wherever they are,” concluded the president in a very short speech in which he made ​​no reference to the possible causes of the event.

    Obama spoke by phone today with President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, about the incident. The White House phone calls, Obama did from his presidential plane to New York, but only provided details for the first one.

    Poroshenko Obama thanked “the assistance of international researchers to ensure a full and transparent investigation of the scene.” “Obama assured (a Poroshenko) U.S. experts will provide all possible assistance immediately,” the White House said in a statement.

     

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    Hamas distrust Al-Sisi

    July 16th, 2014

     

     

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    The truce proposal designed in the offices in Cairo, foundered Tuesday, chocked by the internal situation in the Arab country that surged more than a year ago.

    The Palestinian Islamist movement, a branch of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, has lost faith in the solvency of mediation that Egypt exercised for decades. Sources of the group, which has governed since 2007 punished the Gaza Strip, and Tuesday regretted not having been consulted by Egyptian negotiators during the drafting of an initiative received by the Arab League and the United States, giving the green light for six hours Tel Aviv.

    They also blamed his refusal for the lack of concessions mentioned in the draft with extreme lightness “once the security situation stabilizes” and ignored their demands to free the 56 prisoners released in 2011 exchange. Those recently arrested on the “siege” of Gaza to Egypt contributed to the closure of the Rafah crossing, destroying the smuggling tunnels. On Tuesday there was even considered the inner voices that Hamas planned giving an ultimatum to Israel and Egypt.

    After these Rebuttals reality underlies a total distrust of the regime of former military leader Abdelfatah to Sisi, which meets Wednesday in Cairo with Palestinian President Abu Mazen. “The initiative has failed for the deep mistrust between Egypt and Hamas and that lacked enthusiasm, beyond serving the local placate opinion in respond to international pressure,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, visiting professor of Kings College London.

    Since the overthrow of the Islamist Mohamed Mursi, who sponsored the 2012 ceasefire – demonizing Hamas was shared with the Brotherhood. His name appears in conspiracy theories that marked the coup and the process by which judges Mursi concoct the “greatest conspiracy in the history of the country.” The courts banned in March movement activities on Egyptian soil and declared a “terrorist organization.” The media animosity has led some reporters to defend Egyptian Israeli operation and Palestinian lives cut short by lead.

    With so much animosity, Hamas, has offered its last word on the proposed truce and has asked Turkey and Qatar to gain weight in the dialogue at the expense of Cairo. “Egypt needs to rebuild its regional influence. And at this moment, it seems that domestic policy is what determines  international operations,” says the expert.

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    Tripoli airport under attack from militias

    July 16th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    Tripoli’s international airport is for the second consecutive night, the scene of fighting between militia groups who have bombed the facility, causing nearly a dozen deaths in the last hours.

    At least two Army soldiers have been killed tonight, victim of the bombings that have also caused damage to the airfield and in 90% of aircraft located there, as confirmed by Ahmed Lamine, Libyan government spokesman. The situation is extremely worrying and the Executive is even raises “the possibility of bringing the country to strengthen international security forces.”

    As a result of increased violence and tension at the airport in recent days, authorities have closed traffic and suspended all flights.

    The victims this morning include seven people who were also killed on the eve, and 36  injured in the crossfire between militants from the town of Zintan, who control facilities, and Islamic fundamentalists.

    Libya is on the brink of tension, since the fall of the regime of Moammar Gadhafi in a tense security situation that the transitional authorities have failed to solve and has been deteriorating in recent months to lead to a deep crisis. The result of this situation, the UN has withdrawn its staff in the country in a “temporary” and announced through their website that they will return “as soon as the security situation permits”

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    Merkel and Obama first meeting after CIA scandal in Berlin

    July 16th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    U.S. President Barack Obama spoke today by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and proposed a bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Their first conversation since the expulsion last week of the head of the CIA in Berlin. “The president spoke today with German Chancellor Merkel on Ukraine, Iran and cooperation between the U.S. and Germany,” said in his Twitter account the deputy of national security and adviser to the White House, Ben Rhodes.

    Soon after, the official spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S.  in a statement that Obama and Merkel “exchanged views” on cooperation in intelligence. “The president said it would maintain close communication on ways to enhance cooperation ,” Earnest said.

    Relations between Washington and Berlin experiencing low moments after the German intelligence found this July a German spy accused of acting as a double agent for Washington.

    In addition, federal prosecutors announced last week that it was investigating a person who works at the German Ministry of Defense  with the possibility that he had leaked information to U.S. intelligence services. Repeated cases of espionage led Germany to ask the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the U.S. embassy in Berlin to leave the country.

    The White House has avoided comment on any of these two cases being linked to intelligence activities.

    Measures against Russia

    Moreover, the two leaders agreed on the conversation today that Russia “must take immediate steps to reduce tension in eastern Ukraine.” Merkel and Obama believe that Moscow should support a bilateral ceasefire, a roadmap for dialogue under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the establishment of a monitoring mechanism of the border between Russia and Ukraine by that entity.

    Moreover, both agreed that the Kremlin should encourage pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to release all hostages and stop the trafficking of heavy artillery, equipment and human resources flowing to the rebels. “The leaders agreed that so far neither the U.S. nor Germany have seen Russia or meet those aforementioned actions,” Earnest said.

    They also chatted about the ongoing negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program between Iran and Group 5 +1 (U.S., China, Russia, France, the UK and Germany) and the progress made during the talks.

    “They agreed that it is imperative that Iran take steps to assure the international community that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes,” Earnest said.

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    Israel invades Gaza Strip

    July 9th, 2014

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    At least 22 Palestinians were killed Tuesday morning in a massive military operation against the Gaza Strip by Israel. There are over a hundred injured. The military struck 150 targets from the air and from warships that block sea access to the Palestinian region. It is the largest military operation in the area ruled by the Islamist Hamas since late 2012. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his troops to “be prepared” for a possible ground invasion of Gaza, which would be the first since the end , 2008. The Israeli executive on Tuesday authorized the mobilization of 40,000 reservists.

    Israel, who baptized the attack as Operation Margin Protector enters a new phase between the recent hostilities with Hamas. The offense is, according to the Army, “an answer” to the more than 160 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel on Monday. The air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, shortly before bouncing a loud explosion and a smaller one on southwest of the city.

    Tel Aviv. A witness said that the air raid sirens interrupted the Peace Conference organized by the Daily Haaretz in the city. Alarms triggered in major Israeli cities suggest that Hamas was dusting off its powerful arsenal for this violent escalation. The Army requested that the population within a radius of up to 40 kilometers from the Gaza remain near bomb shelters.

    The rocket attacks are the most dangerous for Israeli civilians. Yesterday Israel, started opening its doors in Jerusalem for people to access bomb shelters. According to military sources, the military attacked nearly 100 Palestinian rocket launchers. They also bombed military buildings and the infrastructure of Hamas, as well as the homes of several of his alleged militants.

    Netanyahu asked the Army to “silk gloves until the problem is removed.” A military spokesman said the attacks had “reached” to various Islamist militants in their bombing. But, according to emergency services in the Gaza and hospital sources quoted by Reuters, the dead there are also seven children and 10 adult civilians.

    The rest of the casualties are of Hamas or other militant Islamist groups including a local leader of the Islamic Jihad, who died on Tuesday night in an air raid on his home in which his parents were also killed with his two brothers. The armed wing of the organization announced a “widening of the attacks.” The Israeli army reported an attempted landing on the beach of Zikim, near Gaza, repelled by soldiers. Killed five militants and one Israeli was slightly injured. The skirmish allowed a spokesman for the military to speak of “attacks by land, sea and air.”

    The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, called “immediate cancellation of the attacks on Gaza.” The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Yaalon warned however that the military operation “will not end in a matter of days.” The Israeli military yesterday highlighted two brigades of infantry in the vicinity of the Strip. Netanyahu said he ordered “a long, continuous and powerful operation” in Gaza. He acknowledged that the transaction “could be of prolonged” time, yet undetermined. He argues that it is directed against Hamas and will serve to stop the rocket fire against its territory.

    Only left Gaza on Monday 165 different caliber projectiles and scope. Islamists, meanwhile, threatened to bomb Tel Aviv and its vicinity with more powerful missiles provided by Iran, or militias in Syria.

    Tensions grow Israel and the Palestinian border since June 12 when three young students of Jewish religion disappeared in the West Bank. The discovery of their bodies off a wave of consternation among the Israelis, who were buried on Tuesday in a mass ceremony. Hours later, they began a series of public disorder and attacks on Palestinian residents in Jerusalem, culminating that evening with the murder of a young man who, according to the Palestinian authorities, was burned alive. Israel arrested six Jewish right-wing for the crime. Immediately after the killing began massive Palestinian protested in Jerusalem.

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    Attack in Karachi’s airport diffuses negotiations in Pakistan

    June 9th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

    After the release on May 31 of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl almost five years in the hands of the Taliban. A new resolution opened the door of hope for a possible negotiation with the rebels to end the conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan and therefore in return, the U.S. government would allow the release of five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo’s detention center. Even so the swap was encouraging: the dialogue and agreement with the Taliban seemed finally possible.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has also decided since coming to power last year to sit at and negotiate with the insurgency. The second strength of the Pakistani National Assembly of Pakistan Justice Movement, the popular former cricketer Imran Khan, has come to defend the “holy war” of the Taliban.

    Yesterday all these hopes were dashed with the brutal attack in Karachi’s airport on southern Pakistan, in which at least 30 people died. Voices against negotiating with the insurgents have multiplied throughout the country, and the popularity index of Sharif and Khan began to plummet.

    “If a dozen insurgents can paralyze an international airport for hours, how many will thousands of them be able to achieve?” Many Pakistanis wondered on social networks. The local media also added fuel to the fire.

    Terrorists accessed the airport by eleven pm, local time, with false identity documents, uniforms and airport security emblems. They wore vests with explosives and opened fire with machine guns and grenade launchers at a terminal used for VIP and cargo flights. Pakistani security forces failed to regain control of the airport five hours later. All flights were suspended or diverted, and passengers evacuated.

     

    Objective: Destroy the aircraft

    The insurgents aimed to destroy all aircraft parked at the airport, according to a report on the attack that Prime Minister Sharif received yesterday. Still, no plane was hit but a building that is used for loading was completely destroyed, according to Rizwan Akhtar, head of the Pakistani elite Ranger forces . “The terrorists were foreigners. Some seemed Uzbeks” he explained.

    The known under the name Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, justified it as revenge for the death of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, killed in November by a drone. He also said that the attack was planned before the peace talks with the Pakistani government began, but was not carried out precisely because of these conversations.

    The negotiations failed weeks ago. The Government representative at the roundtable, Rustam Shah Mohmand, said yesterday that from now unto the talks be conducted according to “the terms of the Government.” The problem is that few want now Pakistan to start a dialogue. We prefer the rod over the hand.

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    Obama gives Putin an ultimatum in the midst of EU’s breakdown

    June 6th, 2014

     

     

    By Jaime Ortega.

     

    President Barack Obama is hoping his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, takes the opportunity given by the G7 to “re-align with international law” because otherwise, the West will “trigger sanctions directed to Russia that will have more economic impact and  less harmful to the European Union. ”

    Obama spoke of “several weeks” as the deadline for its position on Russia to redirect its politics and military strategy in eastern Ukraine’s territorial crisis. While admitting that Russia has “legitimate interests in Ukraine due to its neighborhood and its historic ties,” he reminded Putin that he must respect the country’s sovereignty.

    Obama will speak tomorrow in Normandy with the Russian president, where he has confirmed will have the opportunity to talk “face to face” but for now there is no scheduled bilateral meeting on the official agenda between the two leaders.

    The British prime minister, David Cameron, has advanced and advice Putin to require Russia to cooperate with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko, and to use his influence to stop pro-Russian attacks in favor of independence.

    The final declaration of the summit of the G7 condemns the “unacceptable” interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine and warns that it triggers new restrictive measures if Moscow does not meet the demand: “We demand to Russia to recognize the outcome of the elections, complete the withdrawal of its military troops on the border with Ukraine, stop sending arms to the pro-Russian activists and exert its influence between armed separatist groups to renounce violence.”

    U.S. wants the UK to be part of the EU

    The institutional debate on the new president of the European Commission has starred in the ‘parallel’ agenda of this summit, convened in Brussels rather than the Russian city of Sochi in response to the international crisis around Ukraine.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the group is opposing the candidate countries to the European People’s Party, the most voted in recent elections. Jean-Claude Juncker, appointed the new President of the Commission.

    Faced with reports that suggest that Britain had threatened to leave the EU if Juncker is  finally elected, the UK ‘premier’ has said that the only thing that matters is that “the Commission and all European institutions are led by politicians who get the message of the elections and are willing to make changes in the EU. ”

    “I have a strategy and know how what to do. I Want that Britain remains within the EU Member States to recover some of its powers,” said the British leader, who could be in a difficult political situation in his country if Juncker became the new president of the Commission. “In two of the largest countries in Europe, France and the United Kingdom, anti-European forces have won. We can ignore or get the message and act,” he recalled.

    U.S. President also praised the impact of a possible departure from United Kingdom within the EU. “I cannot believe that the European project is going to do well without the United Kingdom in the same way that the UK is interested in having a seat in the place where important decisions on economic and policy developments are made,” he assured. It has also been shown in favor of UK to remain a “strong, united and effective” partner in reference to the possible secession of Scotland, but acknowledged that the decision “is for the citizens to choose.”

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