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Israel swings ever more dangerously to the right

Cii News | 15 Muharram 1436/08 December 2014

The reason that the Israeli government is imploding, on the back of the Jewish Nation State Bill, is not due to a shortage of right wingers in the Binyamin Netanyahu-led Zionist state. Instead, right-wingers, who pose as liberal types, are concerned that the openly racist Bill will expose the veneer that they have employed for decades and, in the process, limit their access to foreign funds that continue to flow in despite the fascist nature of the Israeli regime.

The Bill, that has precipitated an early election and Netanyahu’s departure after “six bad years”, according to Isaac Herzog, an Israeli parliamentarian, overtly put people of Jewish ancestry on a pedestal. The Bill designated non-Jewish people, including fellow Semites – or Palestinians – and non-Ashnekazi immigrants as third-class citizens.

“The Bill inscribed in law that Jewish people have an elevated status and non-Jewish people have a lower level of status,” independent journalist and filmmaker David Sheen told Sabahul Khair.

“To have that explicit, certainly represents another level (of madness). It’s almost as if there’s no more fear in the sense that if, in the past, there was an effort – at least for outside consumption – to create veneer that, in fact, the society was equal, I’m not saying that there weren’t people who genuinely wanted that. But at least, for people outside in order to secure foreign funding, for projects, or just for people’s own self-image – I mean, people often want to think of themselves as enlightened liberal people,” said the Canadian-born veteran media practitioner said.

For those who benefit from the perpetuation of Israel’s lie that it doesn’t treat, notably the people of Palestine, as sub-humans or third-class citizens, threatening to remove the veneer was bad news, Sheen told Cii this morning. And that, he asserted, was one of the reasons why even the many right-wingers within the Knesset turned against Netanyahu, whose latest “ethnic cleansing” episode left 2,200 indigenous Palestinians dead this year.

“For those people that veneer needed to be there. But, in recent years, and more so, in recent months, we have had this phenomenon where it’s almost as if people don’t feel that (veneer) need for that anymore,” Sheen explained.

The Ramadaan massacre, which claimed 500 children in Gaza, is a case in point. These deaths coupled with the countless checkpoints that pockmark West Bank is yet another example that apartheid and holocaust are the way of life in Israel. The continued house demolitions and denying Palestinians a right to return provide further evidence. Meanwhile, powerful nations – notably Europe and North America – seem unworried, at the least. This kind of oblivion has enabled the apartheid regime to maintain and entrench the subjugation of indigenous Palestinians.

Sheen blames Netanyahu’s ever-worsening attitude on the world’s double standards. “It must be a response to the fact that the international community doesn’t respond – the crazier the (Israeli) government gets, the international community seems to just roll with the punches and act like it’s all good,” he said, adding that Israel’s almost guaranteed pre-election attacks on Palestinians or neighbours, such as Syria and Lebanon, have been ignored. Belligerent and fascist regimes, elsewhere, don’t have it as easy.

“In other countries that have elected neo-fascist parties or quasi-fascist parties or proto-fascist parties, we’ve seen the governments of other countries step back, downgraded their relations. Over the years, as neo-fascist parties have become part of the Israeli government there hasn’t been any such response (from the global community),” he said.

What about Zionists abroad? “They have continued to act nonchalantly as the government elected even more and more right wing elements. So, it definitely does represent an increase in the level of, I’m going to use ‘craziness’, in terms of not feeling that there’s a need to filter that we can just go for broke and do what we will and damn the world. It is scary,” Sheen said, and alluded to how Palestinians endure apartheid there.

“In addition to the traditional so-called rival or enemy of the Israeli government, the Palestinian people, there’s another community that could also play that (punch bag) role, it’s the African migrants, the asylum seekers who’ve entered the country since 2006,” he said of Zionists’ hounding of 50,000-strong community, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea. “The government is doing everything it can, short of outright rounding everyone up and deporting them.

Israeli parliament gets dissolved

2014-12-09 08:03

Jerusalem – Lawmakers in Israel’s parliament on Monday voted to dissolve the assembly and confirmed 17 March as the date for a snap general election.

At the end of a televised debate, members in the Knesset voted 93-0 in favour of a dissolution bill sponsored by opposition parties.

“The prime minister of Israel made two mistakes,” said former finance minister Yair Lapid, who led his Yesh Atid party into opposition last week after being fired by premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

“His first mistake was when he took Israel into totally unnecessary elections,” Lapid said from the Knesset podium. “The second mistake is that he will lose.”

After Lapid and fellow centrist, HaTnuah party head and justice minister Tzipi Livni were fired last Tuesday a bill to dissolve parliament was given a preliminary reading and passed into law on Monday evening.

The last general election was in January 2013, and the next poll had not been officially due until November 2017.

Cracks in Netanyahu’s right-leaning coalition emerged over the 2015 budget and a contentious bill aimed at enshrining Israel’s status as the Jewish state in law, a move critics say would institutionalise discrimination against minorities including Arabs.

According to the latest polls, Netanyahu’s Likud is expected to win 22 to 24 seats in parliament, compared with the 18 it now holds.

Observers say another right-wing government would reduce the chances of resuming the Middle East peace process, after the last round of US-backed negotiations collapsed in April, notably over the issue of Israel’s settlement building on Palestinian territory.

Hardline ministers in Netanyahu’s coalition have pushed to step up the construction of Jewish settler homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, drawing international condemnation and angering Palestinians who want that land for their future state.

Foreign Mercenaries fuelling the killing in Afghanistan

Cii News | 16 Safar 1436/09 December 2014

The  recent killing of a South African Pastor, Werner Groenewald and his two children, in Afghanistan, has inadvertently focused renewed attention on foreigner currently in Afghanistan and their alleged links to instability in the country.

Groenewald was said to have been working for the American aid organisation, Partnership in Academics & Development (PAD), which helps educate poor and orphaned children in various countries in the middle east and central Asia, and not as a Christian missionary.

Cii Radio spoke to Rahimullah Yousufzai, editor of The News International based at the Peshawar Bureau about the often unspoken role these foreign proxy players have in the conflict region.

” They [Taliban] want to show their presence. They are trying to unnerve the Afghan Government before the drawdown of the foreign process so they are attacking, not only the foreign forces, but also the workers of the UN and the NGOs. Whoever is foreigners and non Afghan who they think are helping the Afghan Government or is part of the American led alliance. So they are under attack. They may not be helping the foreign forces but the Taliban believe that foreigners are in Afghanistan because they want to help the Afghan Government. They want to fight the Taliban through different means.”

Yousufzai says that killing women and children and civilians gives the Taliban a bad name and is causing them to lose their much needed public support. The Taliban are very careful of not losing the support of the Afghan people as this support in the conflict areas allows them to survive there. Local support gives them a place to live, hide and plan attacks.

But the foreign contingency, made up of American forces, other NATO troops, South Korean troops, thousands of private contractors or international mercenaries, Christian missionaries and international aid agencies and NGOs have caused the Taliban to increase their number of attacks.

A recent media report stated that more than 60 000 private contractors and their employees are present in Afghanistan, helping NATO forces, providing logistic support and supplies and guarding the NATO bases in Afghanistan. “You can call them mercenaries, these are soldiers for hire.”

“Nobody actually mentions these foreign contractors or mercenaries. They are just in the background and on the one hand the NATO forces are being reduced and on the other hand the private contractors are growing in strength. So on the one hand you withdraw and you tell the world we are leaving but then you induct new forces, mercenaries who will stay there. In a way there are more private contractors than foreign soldiers.”

This means the violence will continue and the conflict will perpetuate. There will be no incentive for the Taliban to become engaged in a peace process and the Afghan Government can offer nothing substantive to Taliban to make them agree to stop fighting.

“I think now after the bilateral security agreement between the US and Afghanistan nine military bases will be in the hands of the Americans. American troops will stay there. They will have a combat role and they will not be judged by the Afghan law. Whenever they commit a crime they will only be tried under American law. It means there will be no end to fighting and there can’t be a peace process. It means more trouble for the Afghan people and also more concern for the neighbouring countries,” explained Yousufzai.

But what attracts Christian missionaries and aid workers to such a difficult and dangerous place like Afghanistan, he questions, saying it arouses suspicion “not only amongst the Taliban but also among the common Afghan people.”

In the past Taliban have attacked missionaries. In the past South Korean missionaries who had come to Kabul were attacked and hostages taken. Two of them were killed and a deal was struck between the Taliban and the South Korean Government. South Korean forces left the country only to return a few years later.

“… I’m surprised that these missionaries get Visas and why do they come to Afghanistan. They know Afghanistan can be a dangerous place and they know it’s very difficult, almost impossible to convert Afghan Muslims to become Christians. There have been a few incidents and that has aroused country wide protests in Afghanistan. It never happens, they are so difficult to convert and Afghan Muslims are very conservative.”

More than 41 000 NATO forces are still in Afghanistan and foreign “soldiers for hire” are working for aid agencies, UN agencies and other several International NGOs. Afghanistan has a large expatriate population who has become a Taliban target. But while Obama speaks about withdrawing its troops their agenda is the opposite.

“They have this “draw down” plan. I don’t think the word withdrawal is correct because there will be no complete withdrawal.”  Though the US is reducing the number of its troops until two weeks ago there still remained thousands. By December 31  there will be 9 800 American troops, about three to four thousand troops from the other NATO countries and approximately 14 000 foreign troops left behind.

“Earlier they were being given two roles. One was the training of the Afghan security forces. Secondly they were required to do counter terrorism operations, mostly against Al-Qaedah and its allies. But now president Obama has signed a new decree according to US media and now they will also, for one year, do combat missions. So they will come out of their bases, US Special Forces will be used and they will also take part in night time raids which were disallowed by Karzai but now have been allowed by President Ashraf Ghani.”

Because of the new combat missions which the Americans are going to run and these renewed night time raids Yousufzai doesn’t expect any peace process to take place any time soon.

LISTEN to Cii Radio’s Interview with Rahimullah HERE

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