‘Aleppo Earthquake’: Russian Documentary Tells Real Story of Four Year Siege – By RT


aleppo ruins drone

Aleppo, once Syria’s thriving industrial hub, is now trying to rebuild itself from rubble. How did it happen, and why? A Russian documentary seeks answers to those questions, and tells stories of life during the siege.

Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city and a vibrant industrial hub before the war. Its residents were relatively well-off, with small businesses and tourists keeping most people afloat. None of this is the case anymore.

A 2011 rebel uprising and a terrorist invasion of Aleppo brought as much damage and death as the powerful earthquake that struck the ancient Syrian city back in the 12th century, according to a thought-provoking documentary by Russian ANNA-News outlet.

Entitled Aleppo Earthquake, the film features real-life stories heard by ANNA-News war correspondents from ordinary Syrians who lived in the city during the terrorist occupation, and those who joined the Syrian army and took up arms against foreign jihadists.

Comment: Instead of actual footage and actual reports from actual journalists on the ground speaking with actual people living there, Western media projected a myth about what was happening there via props like Bana al-Abed, a child of one of the ‘rebels’: Eva Bartlett: The Exploitation of Bana al-Abed in Aleppo

To this day, the Western media refuses to accept that its narratives have been blown away by real reports and documentaries like the above one.

 
 

See Also:

 

Reader Comments

Xerox
Xerox · 3 days ago

Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh. Ebla was an important center throughout the 3rd millennium BC and in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. Its discovery proved the Levant was a center of ancient, centralized civilization equal to Egypt and Mesopotamia and ruled out the view that the latter two were the only important centers in the Near East during the early Bronze Age. The first Eblaite kingdom has been described as the first recorded world power.

Ebla Tablets: No Biblical Claims. By Thomas O’Toole December 9, 1979. When 11,000 clay tablets dating from 23 centuries before Christ were unearthed in northern Syria three years ago, biblical scholars around the world rejoiced that ancient proof had been found for the Old Testament.

[Link]
The Ebla people elected rulers from the merchant class to one term only and this appears to be the first known democracy.

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This claim, that Ebla was first democracy is not right. Look at Sumerian ruller Hammurabi alias Ham-mu-rabi. Ham was his name and it show up in bible. It was also archetype of law on stones as biblical Moses presented. Mu is that he was not hereditary ruller of commune and he was elected. And Rabi means he was also head of religion-church. Judaism took all of him. It was common in ancient world. Unfortuantely. Democracy DO NOT originate in Greece as eurocentrists presents.

See Aleppo Codex

Eventualy. Jesus originate in Aram Damascus

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All linx goes to Israel aka Israhell

parallax · 3 days ago

My comment is on the documentary, nothing biblical.

Having come to read and catch up on the news tonight, and having tried to pay attention to this great horror is Syria that was helped along by western backed powers since 2011, it was indeed a sobering hour and a half.

Thank you SOTT for featuring the ‘Aleppo Earthquake’ by Anna News. There is much in this documentary noted and I don’t know where to begin. There was the absolute destruction, the pounding into rubble of the city itself and the shear loss of it’s citizens and those who tried to free her. And this made me think that friends, cousins, colleagues; especially our so called leaders etc. who to this day have ignored the reality there, only to echo the words of regime change that mimics the script on the MSM. This is nothing short of a great saddens, like the broken bones of the city. But the city’s backbone is not broken, and the spirit of her remains – the militant proxy thugs are either dead or have moved on to the next vile job. There is nothing much one can do about the programmed ignorance that still exists other than to wait and see if there is a break.

Couple of words in the documentary among many:

Older man;

…they cut off heads and shouted “Allah Akbar” for what is “Allah Akbar”?

This is not the place for these words – you cut off the head and say “Allah Akbar”?!

In Islam people say this only when they slaughter a ram chicken

You can’t do this with people!

He is our brother, our relative!

Near the end, the Syrian Christian Jesuit talked about the fear under the name of western ‘democracy’ coming with free elections (example Egypt), and in Syria the fear would be that it will come, being pushed by the west, with fundamentalists taking power – democracy will have to be discovered by Syrian’s in their own way.

Unseen man speaking;

…sooner or later the Syrian people will find a way to reconcile and years later many will look back and do not understand how they allowed this madness. Only cemeteries in the city squares like scars on the body will serve as a reminder of of how easy it is to break a delicate balance for the sake of imaginary freedom to roll into bloody chaos .

HashAttack2 · 2 days ago

parallax many will look back and do not understand how they allowed this madness

I have a Yugoslav friend who often say the same thing about her own country

Joyly · 3 days ago
Allah Akbar – God is good; everything good is from God, man has done the rest.

Russians reportedly bust al-Qaeda filming fake footage to blame Russia in Idlib – By SPUTNIK

nusra

© REUTERS / Ammar Abdullah

Militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Tahrir al-Sham) are preparing false flag attacks in Syria, including fake footage of the civilians’ evacuation by militants and the restoration of buildings said to be destroyed by Russian and Syrian air strikes, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria reported.

“The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria received information about the upcoming Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist provocation by telephone from residents of Idlib Governorate. According to the Syrians, who spoke to the center’s officers, last Friday a film crew from the news agency of one of the Middle Eastern countries came to the province. This group, together with the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, made fake videos about the evacuation of civilians to Alhelal al-Ahmar Hospital and the terrorists’ active “restoration” of civilian infrastructure, allegedly destroyed by Russian and Syrian air strikes,” the center’s statement says.

As the Russian Reconciliation Center specified, the film crew used for their footage residential buildings which had been destroyed during clashes between different militant groups in the area.

According to the information received by the center, the fake films were set to be released by some Arabian and Western media outlets and then blamed on Russia. The Russian reconciliation center concluded that this would also play into the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, helping them to receive funding from Western non-government organizations operating in Idlib.

Local residents cited by the center stated that the film crew had come to the province last Friday.

Various terrorist and militant factions operate in the Syrian province of Idlib, where one of the Syrian de-escalation zones is located. In particular, in April, militants from the Damascus neighborhood of Eastern Ghouta withdrew from the area and were transported to Idlib.

Comment: Given that the Syrians are in the opening stages of their offensive on Daraa, which will undoubtedly be successful (as have all their major offensives for the past year or so), we can probably expect another false flag from the Israel-U.S. camp and their proxy forces. It’s their way of lashing out at Syria and Russia for destroying the terrorists they spent so much time and money nurturing.

What the British really did to India – By Neil Godfrey – Vridar`(SOTT)

Shashi Tharoor‌

Oh my god. The lies we were taught in school. I have just finished listening to an interview with (v.i.p.) Shashi Tharoor about his book on the British rule of India: Inglorious Empire: What the British Did To India.

  • Before the British arrived India represented over 20% of the world’s GDP (textiles, steel, shipbuilding…) and had done so for centuries. By the time the British left it was reduced to 3% of world’s GDP.
  • There is an eyewitness account the British smashing Indian looms and breaking or cutting off the weavers’ thumbs so they could not rebuild the looms and resume production.
  • The Indian export textile industry was effectively destroyed as Indians were forced to sell cotton to Britain and then buy back inferior British textiles.
  • The railways did little to benefit Indians until after the British left.

An interesting datum given today’s situation…

  • The British were the ones responsible for introducing the Hindu-Muslim antagonistic divide. The Hindus and Muslims were united, serving under common native command, to oppose the British. The British responded by initiating policies that over time succeeded in their aim of building hostility between the two faiths – the old “divide and conquer” tactic.

And we are reminded again of the genocidal policies that I first read about in Mike Davis’s Late Victorian Holocausts. This time, however, it was Winston Churchill himself who emerged as the Stalinesque monster, diverting grain from regions where millions were dying in order to build up reserves for remotely hypothetical threats in Europe. Churchill is on record as saying the deaths are the Bengalis own fault for “breeding like rabbits”.

And on and on it goes…..

And we were taught how different the British empire was from any other previous empire. The British empire was a civilizing boon to the world, spreading law and civilization and lifting the standards of living of its subjects.

The only redeeming detail in Tharoor’s account is that there were many British voices who saw the reality of what was happening in their own day and did speak out. But like the anti-war and anti-neoliberalism voices today they were sidelined by those with the power.

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel Strives to Conceal Defeat in Syria, Final War to Liberate Palestine is Coming – By The Saker ( Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on June 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan)

Hassan Nasrallah: Israel Strives to Conceal Defeat in Syria, Final War to Liberate Palestine is Coming

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on June 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

Transcript:

 

[…] Today, Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Palestine, as Imam Khomeini wanted when he instituted the (International) Day of Al-Quds, became a cause of (Islamic) dogma, a cause of faith, outside the (opportunistic) area of ​​politics and the political bazaar, they became a cause of dogma, faith, humanity, truth, values…

Young Palestinians (in Gaza) go out (demonstrating) with bare hands against live bullets, and in Sanaa (tens of thousands of Yemeni) demonstrated under the bombs, just like in Al-Foua and Kafraya (Syria), the besieged and starving population demonstrated (for this International Day of Al-Quds). And combatants and Resistance are ready to shed their blood on all fronts for this (inevitable) day where Al-Quds and Palestine will be returned to their people, their owners and their (Muslim) community.

Today, this is our generation, these are our people, and this is a point of strength. Today, the power of the Resistance Axis lies firstly and fundamentally in his generations, one generation, a second, a third… Those who count on the fact that these (new) generations… Some refer to them as the generations of the Internet, Facebook, etc. Do not count on the fact that these generations in our Arab and Muslim world will stay silent, collapse, abandon or withdraw from the battle. And it’s the same for countries.

I have two words to say about the countries.

First, Iran. Since the first day of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it announced a resolute, radical and decisive stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue (“Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be wiped out”), and pays the price of this position. And I want to tell you quite simply that the Islamic Republic of Iran would never have seen any hostility from the United States, Israel and the Gulf if Imam Khomeini had said from the first day: “We, Iran, just overthrew a tyrannical regime, we have poverty in our country, needy, hunger, underdevelopment, unemployment, etc. What do we care about Palestine?” It was not necessary that he recognize Israel, it would have been enough for him to say that he did not care about Palestine, that it was a cause that didn’t concern them at all, and Imam Khomeini and Iran would not have suffered this hostility, this collusion and these huge plots.

But the Islamic Republic, with Imam Khomeini, Imam Khamenei and its noble people, for 39 years, confirmed its resolute, radical and decisive position, of the magnitude of (religious) dogma, at the side of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and its absolute position with regard to Israel and Israel’s existence (illegitimate entity doomed to extinction). And Iran suffers the consequences of that position. It is natural, my brothers and sisters, that all those who oppose Iran find themselves allies of Israel. Excuse me (to emphasize this truth), but it is a natural equation. The hostility to Iran leads to embrace Israel, and it is a service rendered to Israel.

Also today, our Arab and Islamic peoples have the responsibility not to allow the United States, Israel and some of their instruments in the region to turn Iran into an enemy. Israel must remain the enemy, Palestine must remain the cause and Iran must be regarded as the fundamental, powerful, honest and truthful support. And this is what was expressed by His Eminence Imam Khamenei in his last speech, despite all Trump’s intimidation and threats, his withdrawal from the nuclear deal, US sanctions. And the US Secretary of State said Iran will face sanctions unprecedented in history. But these sanctions and threats, have they led to hesitation in the position of His Eminence Imam Sayed the Leader (Khamenei), officials of the regime or the Iranian people? Absolutely not. Today’s demonstrations in the streets of Iran confirm it.

Therefore, in our (Resistance) Axis, we also have a State, a regime and a people… Iran is not only a State and a regime. Behind us in Iran, stand a leader, a plan, a State, a people, religious authorities and a major regional power who support the Resistance, support Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Palestinian cause and Resistance movements, who persevered for 39 years and are determined to persevere (in this direction), refusing subservience, submission, surrender or abandonment of any of their rights. Therein lies (another) point of strength.

And to all those who, as it happened just a few months ago, are betting on the fall of the Islamic regime in Iran that would cause a substantial disruption of the strategic situation, I tell them that their hopes are illusions, mirages. These people do not follow the Iranian media. I want to give them proof, since yesterday was the last Night of Decree in Iran. If they had taken some time, or if they had asked their media to collect photos of the Night of Decree in Iran yesterday, in Mashhad, Qom, Tehran, in other cities, (they would have seen the fervor) of this people, who fasts during the day, and stays up all night until dawn, for three nights, and reads (for a long time). And listen to me, listen to me, they read the Quran in Arabic, while we Arabs read very little of the Quran. They read (long) invocations for hours in Arabic. We see it on television. They read for hours invocations in Arabic! And the father, mother, children and grandchildren (the whole family, all generations) go (to mosques) for these occasions. Can such a people abandon its religion? Can it abandon its Islam? Can it abandon its Imam? Can it abandon its Islamic regime that it established itself with the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs (during the Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war)? In what illusory world do you live? On what mirages do you base your hopes? This Iran, despite all the blockade that has been imposed, has become increasingly powerful, present and active, both inside and in the region. Even if people could manifest here and there (in Iran) because of such excuse or such problem, it was fixed and it will lead to nothing (this is not an uprising against the regime).

I declare to Palestine in the first place, and to all the Resistance movements in the Resistance Axis, and the (different) generations of our (Muslim) community, our Axis: this great regional country (Iran) is powerful, influential (and stands) with resolve and decisiveness (with you).

Second, the upheaval that took place in Iraq in recent years (is another point of strength for the Resistance). In 2016-2017, Iraq was in grave danger, under threat of ISIS, this ISIS created by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi thought. But Iraqis have overcome it, and today in Al-Quds Day 2018, armed demonstrations and military parades are held in Baghdad for the International Day of Al-Quds, organized by those who participated in the victorious struggle against ISIS.

The Iraqi people elect their deputies, and we know the choice of the people. The position of religious authorities in the holy city of Najaf on Al-Quds and Palestine is very old, going back well before 1948, intangible, from Imam Sayed Mohsin al-Hakim, God have mercy on him, up to Imam Al-Sayed Khu’i, God have mercy on him, up to the highly active current authorities, (all denunced Israel as illegitimate and supported Armed Resistance). This is a well-known historical position followed by all (the successive authorities). The political forces in Iraq, the Iraqi people (are also on the same Resistance line). I do not want to attribute an official position to the Iraqi government, but I know well, thanks to my information, my contacts and my meetings, the true position of these people, and I know where they will be when the great battle (against Israel) will be triggered in this region. I will return to this point in conclusion.

This great upheaval in Iraq favors the Resistance Axis and the armed forces of the Resistance. Iraq, which the United States wanted to see busy and submitted, has not been submitted and never will be.

(As for) Syria, pillar of the Resistance Axis… Please bear (my speech for) a few more minutes for Al-Quds’ (Jerusalem) sake. Syria, this essential country of the Resistance Axis, was subjected in recent years to great trials, a total war, world war. This country belongs to this Axis (par excellence). Unlimited amounts of money have been poured there from all sides, as well as all types of weapons and all means, and all the red lines have been crossed. Today we are in 2018, and by the Grace of God the Most Noble and the Almighty, the largest and most important parts of Syria have regained peace and security, and the State has restored its control and presence, (including) in Damascus and the Damascus suburbs. And it is clear that the enemy Axis is now trying (desperately) to achieve if only a few (tokens of) victory.

Let me (explain) as regards Israel. Since the beginning of the events in Syria, Israel… I do not have time to read it (all), but our young (Hezbollah members) have compiled for me statements by Israeli officials since 2011 to date: from the President, then Shimon Peres, to the head of the government, Netanyahu, to successive ministers of Defense, chiefs of the intelligence services and some experts. Since 2011 and until recently, what did they say? I’ll just read you the headlines.

All options are preferable to Assad‘.

Israel’s interest lies in the departure of Assad‘.

Nobody in Israel prefer Assad to jihadists‘.

The fall of Assad would be a clear victory for Israel‘.

Assad will fall within a few weeks‘, said Barak in 2011.

The decisions of the Arab League against Assad are courageous and important‘.

We do not want the defeat…‘ said who? The chief of Israeli intelligence in 2016, and we inflicted a defeat on ISIS with our entire Axis in 2017-2018: in 2016 (he said) ‘We do not want the defeat of ISIS in Syria‘.

The weakening of Assad and his government’s expulsion is in the direct interest of Israel‘, said Ya’alon (Chief of Staff of the Israeli forces) in 2013.

We must defeat the regime of Bashar al-Assad‘. Etc., etc.

And after (all these Israel hopes were dashed), see how they called the (alleged) battle. Allow me (to speak) a few (more) minutes. Now they have (changed the aim of the battle, which was toppling Assad), and called it (‘Kicking Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria‘). Rather than conceding defeat in Syria, and recognizing that their hopes in Syria, pinned on terrorist takfiri organizations, collapsed, (these very groups that) Israel supported with its media, (direct) assistance, through its airstrikes, by providing weapons, ammunition, and everything (they could provide them). Absolutely everything. Instead of declaring their failure and defeat in Syria, and (recognize) that the State will remain, as well as the President and the (Syrian) Army, and that the organizations they have supported in recent years are about to disappear, Israel wants to falsify the (real) meaning of the battle, and now, Netanyahu, Lieberman and other are discoursing day and night (pretending) that the battle in Syria aims to kick out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria.

We accept this battle. We accept it. But before turning the page and opening this new chapter, you should first acknowledge, O Zionists, that you have been defeated in Syria, you have failed to bring down the pillar of the Resistance camp in the region, your hopes on terrorist groups were scattered to the four winds. Acknowledge that, and then, we could open a new page for the (alleged) battle you have entitled ‘Kicking out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria‘. And some Gulf countries also regard this battle as their own today, looking forward to make this new achievement, imagining that Russia will cooperate with them to get Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. And they have high hopes and (are) happy (at this perspective), and they are ready to celebrate their victory.

I also say to these Gulf countries and all this Axis which fought (against us) in Syria: if you acknowledge your defeat, good. If you want to start a new battle under a new title, we can talk about it. I do not have time to talk about it in detail now, but I want to say a word regarding Hezbollah, so nobody thinks that this (PR stunt) is a (true) battle they can win.

As for Hezbollah, my brothers and sisters, when we went to Syria, we went there for two reasons, or rather for a reason that has two aspects. The first is our vision, our understanding and faith in the fact that what is happening in Syria is a major plot targeting the Syrian people, the Syrian government and the Syrian entity, and the Resistance Axis, and that if Syria fell into the hands of its enemies, into the hands of takfiris, a catastrophe would ensue for Lebanon, for Palestine and for the Resistance. And that’s what we explained for the last 7 years. That’s the first aspect. And the second aspect (is that we did it) at the request and with the agreement of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian government. That’s what got us in Syria.

When we went to Syria, we had no particular project. (Some say) that Hezbollah went to fight in Syria in order to get a seat in the Syrian government, or the Syrian Assembly, or to interfere in Syrian internal affairs, politics, government, or whatnot, or to get a share of the Syrian economy, etc., etc., etc. Sincerely and honestly, we had no particular project in Syria, and now that we are in 2018, and that Syria celebrates its victories, I declare to the world, to enemies as well as friends, that Hezbollah has no particular project in Syria, absolutely not. We are present in Syria where we need to be, and where Syrian leaders have asked us to be based on developments on the ground. There is (no project) for Hezbollah – as for Iran, they can speak for themselves, I will not appoint me as their spokesperson, unless they ask me to translate their position in Arabic. I speak for Hezbollah. This battle is an imaginary battle.

Naturally, when the goal is achieved, we will consider that we have won, from the position of those who have contributed (to victory), on their scale – you know me well, I do not increase the actual proportions of things and I do not exaggerate. Anyone has the right to comment on numbers, but as for us, we are not divulging (in detail the extent of our presence in Syria). At our level, with our contribution, (we participated) to the great Syrian victory in the World War (which was imposed on it). When Syria will be safe, when the remnants of armed terrorist groups disappear, when those responsible for the project (of destruction of Syria) will despair of (their ability to achieve) their project, we will consider it as a great achievement. And what I say publicly now, we (clearly) told it before to President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian leadership. We have no problem. There is no problem.

At any time, anywhere, in any area where the Syrian leadership will consider, because of field data and national interests of Syria and the Syrian people, that Hezbollah should not be there, we will be grateful to them. We will not assume in any way that anyone inflicted a defeat us. O people, we will be glad and happy! Let Gulf countries know that. Let Israel know that. When we repatriate our youth (fighters), our people and our brothers to Lebanon, to their cities, to their homes and to their families, we will be happy and we will feel victorious, we will have the feeling of a mission accomplished. This is why we do not consider that there is any (real) battle in Syria aiming to have us stay or leave. What keeps us there is our duty and the Syrian leadership.

At the same time, I want to tell you something. At the same time, I want to tell you something. If the whole world formed a coalition… If the whole world formed a coalition to force us out of Syria, it would fail to make us leave. Even if the whole world gathered (against us). There is only one way (for us to leave), it is that the Syrian leadership tells us “Guys, God bless you, thank you…” They are grateful people and they thank us at every opportunity. “We are grateful and appreciate you, God bless you, the fighting has ended in this region and we won, you can go home.” How many fighters do we have (in order to) send troops to Syria (with no reason, our forces being limited)? Therefore, nobody should believe that there is a battle of this kind. Never. There is no battle here (these are lies of the enemy meant to allow him to save face). This whole issue concerns only the Syrian leadership, their estimate of the situation on the ground and their national security interests, and the current position of Syria against the great conspiracy which was hatched against it.

O my brothers and sisters! In Lebanon, we will bear all the pressure, (the designation as a) terrorist organization, etc. We have already talked a lot about the situation in Lebanon, the Israeli threats, I mentioned all these issues on May 25, and there is no need to evoke them again.

But on this International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), I want to say to the Israelis, to the Palestinians and to the peoples of the world: just like we believe firmly, decisively and irrevocably, that Al-Quds and Palestine are just causes, we firmly believe, basing ourselves on our faith, on the Koran, on our doctrine, on the lessons, experiences and principles of History, and on our prediction of the future, that Al-Quds will be returned to its rightful owners, and that Palestine will be (completely) liberated. And Netanyahu’s sophistry will be to no avail.

Yesterday, Netanyahu said that Imam Khamenei wants to enrich uranium again in order to make a nuclear weapon and kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine. These are lies. First, Iran does not seek the nuclear bomb, and secondly, no one wants to kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine.

 

What we say, what the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim peoples say, and even what Islam says — I can say that this is the view of Islam — and what the Resistance says is this: we do not want to kill, we do not want to destroy, we do not want to throw (or drown) anyone in the sea. We tell you in a very civilized manner: embark in your ships, embark on your planes, and return to the countries from which you came. Regarding the (minority of) indigenous Jews, who are from Palestine, they are people of Palestine and they can stay there. As for the (Zionist) invaders, occupiers and settlers who came from all around the world, let them pack up their things and leave. This is the message of Islam, and this is the message of the Resistance. This is the message of the peoples of the region.

Contrary to what Netanyahu says, nobody wants to perpetrate another Holocaust or anything like that. But if you insist on perpetuating the occupation, then I assure you that the Day of the Great War in this region, whatever triggers it, is coming (fast). That day is close on which we will all pray in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

We are awaiting that day, with a positive (active) expectation, getting ready for it, truly and faithfully. Fare well, and God’s peace be upon you and His mercy and blessings.

Review: The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews – Part One – By VT Senior Editors


The Jewish Origins of the Jesuits

18
28011

Andrew Joyce, Ph.D. and the Occidental Observer with Rights

[ The Original full text book, 316 pages, is free for download and distribution with proper attribution under commons.

As an editorial note from VT, the read itself is a useful dialog on historical studies of the Jesuits and the Inquisition. I have known some of the source authors for years. Gail Evans, now deceased and missed dearly, was our resident expert on this subject.

There are Q and A comment boards at the original site with some value for those with scholarly interest. Suffice it to say, there is controversy. The idea of Jewish origins of the Jesuit order and of the assertion that same maintained a contiguous agenda for centuries is well supported.

In its simplest form, it is asserted that Loyola and his associates began the Society of Jesus and unleashed a holocaust across the Christian world. In ways, I might go much further, tying in not only the tens of thousands murdered as witches, but the ethnic cleansing that, under Jesuit “Catholicism”, accounted for up to 100-million deaths, depending on whose figures you accept, in colonial conquests in the New World.

Consider the full download, it is a good read. g ]


The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus

Robert Aleksander Maryks

Brill, 2010.

Free Download

“Those from the circumcision subverted the entire house of the Society. As sons of this world who are shrewd in dealing with their own, and avid of new things, they easily excite disorders and destroy the unity of souls and their bond with the government.”
          Lorenzo Maggio, Jesuit Curia in Rome, 1586.

One of the more interesting aspects of Jewish group behavior is the presence of subversive strategies employing crypsis, often facilitated by a combination of deception and self-deception.

To date, the most forthright and convincing theoretical framework for understanding cryptic forms of Judaism is found in Kevin MacDonald’s groundbreaking Separation and Its Discontents: Toward and Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism. 

A substantial portion of the fourth chapter of the text (1998/2004: 121–132) is devoted to ‘Reactive Racism in the Period of the Iberian Inquisitions.’ Here MacDonald puts forth the view (147) that the blood purity struggles of the Spanish Inquisition during the 15th and 16th centuries should be seen as “an authoritarian, collectivist, and exclusionary movement that resulted from resource and reproductive competition with Jews, and particularly crypto-Jews posing as Christians.”

Convert, or be expelled from Spain

The historical context lies predominantly in the forced conversion of Jews in Spain in 1391, after which these ‘New Christians’ or conversos assumed (or indeed retained) a dominance in the areas of law, finance, diplomacy, public administration, and a wide range of economic activities.

MacDonald argues (148) that despite superficial religious conversions, the New Christians “must be considered a historical Jewish group” that acted in such a way as to continue the advance of its ethnic interests. An integral aspect of this was that Wealthy New Christians purchased and endowed ecclesiastical benefices for their children, with the result that many prelates were of Jewish descent.

Indirectly, and almost certainly unintentionally, MacDonald’s arguments find much in the way of corroboration in The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews (2010) by Boston College’s Robert Aleksander Maryks. Examining the same geographical area during the same period, Maryks presents an account of the early years of the Society of Jesus, during which a fierce struggle took place for the soul, fate, and control of the Order; a struggle involving a highly influential crypto-Jewish bloc and a competing network of European Christians.

Seal for the Spanish Inquisition Tribunal (Photo credit, WIkipedia)

In this unpolished but interesting book, Maryks illuminates this struggle with reference to previously undiscovered material, in the process shedding light on some of the most important recurring themes of reactive anti-Semitism: Jewish ethnocentrism, nepotism, the tendency to monopoly, and the strategic use of alliances with European elites.

Perhaps most fascinating of all, Maryks makes significant reference to Jewish responses to European efforts to stifle their influence, some of which are remarkable in the close manner in which they parallel modern examples of Jewish apologetic propaganda.

As such, The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews is highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand, via an easily-digested historical case study, the dynamics of the ethnic conflict between Jews and Europeans.

Maryks divides his text into four well-paced chapters. The first provides readers with ‘The Historical Context of Purity-of-Blood Discrimination (1391–1547),’ a detailed standalone introduction to the nature of the ‘New Christian’ problem in Iberia but which should be read in conjunction with MacDonald’s work on the same theme. The second chapter concerns ‘Early Jesuit Pro-Converso Policy (1540–72),’ which demonstrates the intensive manner in which crypto-Jews infiltrated key positions in the Society of Jesus, adapting its ideological positions in accordance with their interests, and eventually establishing a monopoly on top positions that extended to the Vatican.

The third chapter, ‘Discrimination Against Jesuits of Jewish Lineage (1573–93),’ concerns the establishment of a movement acting against the crypto-Jewish strategy, with an analysis of the key figures and their rationale.

The fourth chapter, ‘Jesuit Opposition to the Purity-of-Blood Discrimination (1576–1608),’ examines the efforts of crypto-Jewish Jesuits to fight back against the European counter-strategy, often involving the employment of tactics and stances that are now familiar to us as the hallmarks of a Jewish intellectual movement.

This sequence parallels the processes that led to the Inquisition—New Christians establishing themselves in top positions in Spanish politics, business, and culture, provoking a reaction by the Old Christians aimed at regaining power, followed by Jewish counter efforts against the Inquisition and the against the Spanish government generally, the latter typically played out on the international scene.

One of the key strengths of this fascinating book is that Maryks can rely on relatively recent genealogical discoveries to prove beyond doubt that many of the individuals once merely “accused” of being crypto-Jews were undeniably of Jewish lineage. Maryks can thus cut through a clouded period in which ancestry was vital and yet fogged with accusations, denials, and counter-accusations, with tremendous clarity. In the author’s words (xxix), “racial tensions played a pivotal role in early Jesuit history.”

Opening his book, Maryks recalls delivering a paper on converso influence in the Jesuits, and afterwards receiving an email from a man with origins in the Iberian peninsula. The email concerned the remarkably long survival of crypto-Jewish behaviors in the sender’s family:

From Friday evening through Saturday evening, his grandfather would hide the image of baby Jesus from a large framed picture of St. Anthony that he kept in his home. It was, in fact, a wind-up music box. On Fridays he would wind up the mechanism and push a button, so that Jesus would disappear out of St. Anthony’s arms, hidden in the upper frame of the picture. On Saturdays he would push the button, so that Jesus would come back out from hiding into St. Anthony’s arms. As eldest son in his family, my correspondent was told this story by his father, who also asked him to eat only kosher food. (xv)

The survival of such eccentric, and in this case apparently trivial, forms of crypto-Judaism into what one assumes to be the early twentieth century, might appear to be little more than a socio-historical curio. In actual fact, however, it is a small but memorable vestige of what was once a very powerful means of continuing the Jewish group evolutionary strategy in the Iberian peninsula after 1391 — an overwhelmingly hostile environment. In a political, religious, and social context devoid of the synagogue and many of the most visible aspects of Judaism, small reminders of group difference, even otherwise trivial ones like hiding images of Jesus or adhering to discreet dietary rules, became vital methods for retaining group cohesion.

For some time, these methods were largely successful in facilitating the continuance of Jewish life ‘under the noses’ of the Christian host society. During this successful period, conversos were able to expand nepotistic monopolies of influence in a wide range of civic and even (Christian) religious spheres. When it failed, however, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Maryks points out (xxii) that from its founding in 1540 to 1593, the Society of Jesus had no discriminatory legislation against individuals of Jewish heritage, and that during this period converso Jesuits “held the highest administrative offices, and defined the Society’s institutional development and spirituality.”

However, significant resistance to this crypto-Jewish monopoly had developed by the latter date, and from 1593 to 1608 a power struggle resulted in the defeat of the crypto-Jewish element and the introduction of laws prohibiting the admittance of members of ‘impure blood.’ From 1608 until 1946 this involved a review of the ancestry of any potential member of the Society of Jesus, up to the fifth generation.

The Jewish Origins of the Jesuits

Ignatius of Loyola

On 15 August 1534, Ignatius of Loyola (born Íñigo López de Loyola), a Spaniard from the Basque city of Loyola, and six others, all students at the University of Paris, met in Montmartre outside Paris, in a crypt beneath the church of Saint Denis, to pronounce the religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Ignatius’ six companions were: Francis Xavier from Navarre (modern Spain), Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla from Castile (modern Spain), Pierre Favre from Savoy, and Simão Rodrigues from Portugal.

At this point they called themselves the Compañía de Jesús, and also Amigos en El Señor or “Friends in the Lord.” The Spanish “company” would be translated into Latin as societasderiving from socius, a partner or comrade. This soon evolved into the “Society of Jesus” (SJ), by which they would later be more widely known.  In 1537, the seven traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests. The official founding of the Society of Jesus occurred in 1540.

The presence and influence of conversos in the Society of Jesus was strong from the beginning. Of the seven founding members, Maryks provides categorical evidence that four were of Jewish ancestry — Salmeron, Laínez, Bobadilla, and Rodrigues. In addition, Loyola himself has long been noted for his strong philo-Semitism, and one recent PhD thesis[1] has even advanced a convincing argument that Loyola’s maternal grandparents, (his grandfather, Dr. Martín García de Licona, was a merchant and financial advisor at court), were full-blooded conversos — thus rendering the ‘Basque nobleman’ halachically Jewish.

Jewish scholar of the Inquisition, Henry Kamen, who had earlier argued that the Inquisition was “a weapon of social welfare” used mainly to obliterate the conversos as a distinct class capable of offering social and economic competition to ‘Old Christians,’ once voiced his own personal view that Loyola was “a deep and sincere spiritual Semite.”[2]

Straightforward assessments of the reasons for Loyola’s philo-Semitism are, as Maryks admirably elucidates, complicated by the ubiquitous presence of converso propaganda. More specifically, Loyola’s reputation as an ardent admirer of the Jews rests predominantly on a series of anecdotes and remarks attributed to him — and many of these derive from biographies penned shortly after his death by converso Jesuits aiming to promote and defend their interests.

For example, the only source for the argument that Loyola had an overwhelming desire to be of Jewish origin so that he could “become a relative of Christ and his Mother” is the first official biography of Loyola — penned by the converso Pedro de Ribadeneyra. Ribadeneyra is described by Maryks as “a closet-converso” who distorted many now-established facts about Loyola’s life, including a concealment of the fact that “the Inquisition in Alcalá had accused Loyola of being a crypto-Jew.” (43)

An important aspect of Ribadeneyra’s biography was thus the promotion of the idea that being Jewish was desirable and admirable — Loyola’s philo-Semitism (real or imagined) was intended to be emulated. Meanwhile the sinister aspects of crypto-Judaism, and their suppression by the Inquisition, were excised from the story altogether.

Whether Loyola was in fact a crypto-Jew, or whether he indeed was a European but possessed a strong desire to be a Jew, remains unconfirmed at time of this writing. However, it is certain that Loyola surrounded himself with many conversocolleagues and that he opposed any discrimination against converso candidates within the Society of Jesus. Maryks argues that, issues of crypsis and philo-Semitism aside, Loyola was probably “motivated by the financial support that he had sought from their [converso] network in Spain.”(xx)

In this reading then, Loyola was fully aware of the elite position of the conversos within Spanish society and was prepared to accept their money to establish his organization in exchange for adopting a non-racial stance in its governance.

The question of course remains as to why the crypto-Jewish elite in Spain would back, both financially and in terms of manpower, a Christian religious order. The important thing to keep in mind is that religion and politics in Early Modern Europe were intimately entwined, and that, through spiritual confraternities and their relationships with local elites, even poverty-espousing religious orders like the Franciscans could exert a strong form of socio-political influence.

This was often made even more sharply evident when religious orders engaged in missionary work in foreign lands, often taking pioneering roles in colonial regimes, and even assisting with their economic enterprises. William Caferro notes that in Renaissance Italy “the Florentine political elite was closely tied to the church. Government officials often held high church office and benefice, which aided their local political power.”[3]Involvement in religious orders was thus a necessary aspect and extension of political, social, and cultural influence.

Unsurprisingly then, it can be demonstrated that crypto-Jews straddled the interconnected networks of royal administration, the civic bureaucracy, and the Church. Citing just some examples, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh note in their history of the Inquisition:

In 1390 the rabbi of Burgos converted to Catholicism. He ended his life as Bishop of Burgos, Papal legate and tutor to a prince of the blood. [Burgos’s son would later become an important pro-converso activist and will be discussed below]. He was not alone. In some of the major cities, the administration was dominated by prominent converso families. At the very time the Spanish Inquisition was formed, King Ferdinand’s treasurer was converso in his background. In Aragón, the five highest administrative posts in the kingdom were occupied by conversos. In Castile, there were at least four converso bishops. Three of Queen Isabella’s secretaries were conversos, as was the official court chronicler.[4]

For the crypto-Jewish elite of early modern Spain, the founding of an influential religious order headed by a philo-Semite (if not a fellow crypto-Jew), staffed predominantly by a conversoleadership, and constitutionally tolerant of conversoapplicants, would undoubtedly have been an attractive prospect.

That a bargain of some form existed between Loyola and his crypto-Jewish sponsors is suggested, as noted above, by the nature of the early Jesuit constitution and by early correspondence concerning the admission of candidates of Jewish ancestry. The founding of the Jesuit order had coincided with the rise of a more general Spanish anti-converso atmosphere that reached its peak in 1547, “when the most authoritative expression of the purity-of- blood legislation, El Estatuto de limpieza [de sangre], was issued by the Inquisitor General of Spain and Archbishop of Toledo, Silíceo (xx).”

King Philip II

Pope Paul IV and Silíceo’s former pupil, King Philip II, ratified the archbishop’s statutes in 1555 and 1556, respectively, but Ignatius of Loyola and his converso successor, Diego Laínez (1512–65) vigorously opposed the Inquisitor’s attempts to preclude conversos from joining the Jesuits. In fact, in a letter addressed to the Jesuit Francisco de Villanueva (1509–57), Loyola wrote that “in no way would the Jesuit Constitutions accept the policy of the archbishop (xxi).”

Seeking to quell rising tensions over the issue, in February 1554 Loyola sent his plenipotentiary emissary, Jerónimo Nadal (1507–80), to visit the Inquisitor. Nadal insisted that the Jesuit Constitutions did not discriminate between candidates of the Society on the basis of lineage, and even personally admitted a number of converso candidates during his visit to Iberia.

In a heated debate with the Inquisitor over the admission of one of them, Nadal replied: “We [Jesuits] take pleasure in admitting those of Jewish ancestry.” In what would become a striking pattern, most of the pro-converso arguments were made by crypto-Jews claiming to be native Spaniards. Maryks notes that his historical investigations suggest that Nadal was “most probably a descendant of Majorcan Jews (77).”

Pope Paul IV, born Gian Pietro Carafa, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 May 1555 until his death on 18 August 1559

Jewish attempts to alter Christian thinking about Jews from within Christianity, were already well-established by the date of Nadal’s intercession with the Inquisitor. An excellent example is the classic work of Alonso de Santa María de Cartagena (1384–1456) — Defensorium unitatis christianae [In Defense of Christian Unity] (1449–50).

Alonso de Cartagena had been baptized (at the age of five or six) by his father Shlomo ha-Levi, later renamed Pablo de Santa María (c. 1351–1435), who— as chief rabbi of Burgos—converted to Christianity just before the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 and later was elected bishop of Cartagena (1402) and Burgos (1415). The fact that the wife of this Bishop of Burgos remained an unconverted Jewess does not appear to have impeded the latter’s career in the Church is interesting to say the least.

Meanwhile his son, Cartagena, like many other conversos, studied civil and ecclesiastical law at Salamanca and went on to a highly influential career straddling royal, civic, and religious spheres. He served as apostolic nuncio and canon in Burgos. King Juan II appointed Cartagena as his official envoy to the Council of Basel (1434–9), where he contributed to the formulation of a decree on “the regenerative character of baptism without regard for lineage (4).”

Like other examples of pro-converso propaganda, however, Cartagena’s arguments always went beyond mere appeals for ‘tolerance.’ According to Cartagena, “the faith appears to be more splendid in the Israelite flesh,” Jews naturally possess a “civic nobility,” and it was the duty of rough and uncouth native Spaniards to unite with the “tenderness of the Israelite meekness.” (14, 17)

Conversos thus emerge in the works of the earliest crypto-Jewish activists as more special than ordinary Christians, as naturally deserving of an elite status, and, far from being the worthy objects of hostility, were in fact uniquely blameless, ‘tender,’ and ‘meek.’ One is struck by the regular use of similar arguments in our contemporary environment, a similarity that only increases when one considers Cartagena’s attribution of anti-Jewish hostility solely to “the malice of the envious.” (20)

Against this backdrop of crypto-Jewish apologetics, Maryks demonstrates, whether he intends to or not, that the early Jesuits were largely a vehicle for converso power and influence (both political and ideological). Loyola continued to be “surrounded” by conversos throughout his leadership (55). Enrique Enríques, the son of Portuguese Jews, even authored the first Jesuit manual of moral theology, Theologiae moralis summa, in 1591. (65)

Crypto-Jewish grave marker in Southwestern USA

Maryks describes Loyola as having an unlimited “trust” in candidates of Jewish heritage, citing his decision to “admit in 1551 Giovanni Battista Eliano (Romano), the grandson of the famous grammarian and poet Rabbi Elijah Levita (1468–1549) …. He entered the Society at the age of twenty-one, just three months after his baptism (66).”

In explaining Loyola’s lax requirements for converso applicants, and resultant acquiescence in flooding the Society with crypto-Jews, it is strange that Maryks should abandon his own prior suggestion that the founding of the Jesuits may have rested on a quid pro quo with the converso elite in favor of a less convincing theory based on a putative and ill-explained “trust” that Loyola possessed for Jews. Unfortunately this is a common theme throughout Jewish historiography, where the facts and conclusions presented in the same text are often on entirely different trajectories.

In a similar vein, Maryks’s skeletal explanation that crypto-Jews flooded the Jesuits simply because Loyola had “numerous contacts with the converso spiritual and merchant network” before he founded the Society of Jesus, seems woefully inadequate and lacking in context.

Despite the best laid plans of Loyola and his colleagues, and just 32 years after its founding, the Society of Jesus would undergo a revolt from below against a rapidly expanding crypto-Jewish elite.

The features of this revolt represent a fascinating case study in the reactive nature of anti-Semitism. Maryks narrative of how two competing ethnic groups struggled for the future of the Jesuit Order, outlined in his second and third chapters, is certainly the greatest strength of the text. It is to this European counter-strategy that we now turn our attention.

Go to Part 2.


[1] See Kevin Ingram, Secret lives, public lies: The conversos and socio-religious non-conformism in the Spanish Golden Age. Ph.D. Thesis (San Diego: University of California, 2006), pp. 87–8.

[2] Quoted in Maryks, The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews, p.xx.

[3] W. Caferro, Contesting the Renaissance (Oxford:Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p.158.

[4] M. Baigent & R. Leigh, The Inquisition (London: Viking Press, 1999), pp.75-6.

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First Free Syrian Army Group Sides With Syrian Gov’t Forces – Russian MoD – By Sputnik

A fighter from Free Syrian Army's Al Rahman legion walks near piled sandbags in Ain Tarma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria July 17, 2017

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The Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria reported that the first large group of Free Syrian Army militants had sided with the Syrian government forces in the Southern deescalation zone.

“On June 22, after talks between the representatives of the Russian reconciliation center and the Syrian authorities with the militants of the Free Syrian Army in the Southern zone of de-escalation, the leader of the Tajammu al-Wiyat al-Omari [Omari Brigades] announced that his group is siding with the Syrian government,” the center said in a statement.

According to the statement, the Omari Brigades leader also stressed that his group will fight against militants from Nusra Front* and Daesh* together with the Syrian army in the south of the country.

“By Friday evening, the first units of the Syrian army entered the settlements of Dama and Ashiyah in the Southern zone of de-escalation,” the document said.

The Syrian military ramped up their operation in the southwest, which might be risky, as both Israel and Jordan are openly nervous about Syrian forces regaining control along with their borders. Israel says there are Iranian forces coming closer to the Golan Heights along with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, posing a danger to the state of Israel, while Jordan, in its turn, is more concerned about dealing with another wave of refugees fleeing southward from the conflict.READ MORE: Syrian Army Steps Up Offensive in Southwest — Reports

Most of the territory of Syria has been liberated by government forces with Russia’s air support, while the remaining terrorist pockets are located in US-controlled areas, including Deir ez-Zor.

READ MORE: Daesh Continues Resistance in Syria Only in US-Controlled Areas — Russian MoD

*Nusra Front, Daesh — terrorist organizations, banned in Russia

 
 

Welcome to Hadar: A Village Under Siege by Syrian “Rebels” and Israeli Forces Alike – By Eva Bartlett @EvaKBartlett (Mint Press)

A Hadar resident stands outside of his shrapnel damaged home. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

 

The village of Hadar, in Southern Syria, is buttressed on one side by Israeli watchtowers and walls – and endures deadly attacks from jihadist Syrian rebels from the other three.

 

 

HADAR, SYRIA — Situated in the northern part of Quneitra governorate, with the towering Jabal al-Sheikh (Mt. Hermon) overlooking it and the region, Hadar is in both a beautiful area of Syria and a dangerous one.

The roughly 10,000 defiant villagers of Hadar are isolated and under constant threat of attack. Until December 2017, Hadar was surrounded on three sides by terrorists and was attacked many times.

Positioned in a valley, with the al-Qaeda alliance until December 2017 occupying Beit Jinn and other villages to the east, Hadar also borders the ceasefire line of the occupied Syrian Golan, an area teeming with still more al-Qaeda terrorists. From their positions inside the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) zone of the occupied Syrian Golan, terrorists in Jubata al-Khashab (roughly 6 kilometers directly south of Hadar), Turunjah (roughly 5 kilometers south of Hadar), and Ufaniyah (further south than Jubata al-Khashab), have fired mortars, missiles, and other explosives on Hadar, something acknowledged even by the UN Secretary-General.

In his December 6, 2017 report, the Secretary-General noted that terrorist groups fighting in the UNDOF area of operation include “the listed terrorist group Jabhat Fath al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front) and Jaysh Khalid Ibn al-Walid, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

The same report noted the attacks from the three villages towards Hadar were preceded by a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device,” which killed nine people. In Hadar, I would learn that the car bomb didn’t just target “a pro-Syrian forces checkpoint in Hadar,” as per the UN report, but was headed towards the heart of the village when shot at by Hadar defenders. The vehicle exploded less than 100 meters from a school, at 9 a.m., according to Hadar resident Mahmoud Taweel. Had the village not been on alert, and families staying at home, the number killed would have surely been higher and included many children.

The road leading to the site of the deadly, Nov 2017 suicide car bomb. An Israeli observation post is visible atop in the mountain in the background. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Most recently, on June 16, Syrian state media, SANA, reported that terrorists in Jubata al Khashab, “set fire once again to a large area of agricultural lands in the vicinity of Hadar village,” burning acres of fruit orchards south of the village. SANA further reported that firefighters were unable to reach the area to quell the fire, devastating the farmland and depriving landowners of their prime source of income.

The support of Hadar villagers for their army and president is unsurprising, given these are the two bodies that have protected them and supported them against attacks from al-Qaeda and Israel, next door to Hadar.

According to a report by Syrian journalist Alaa Ebrahim, the last attack on Hadar was on November 3, 2017, “… a ground offensive in three different directions, in an attempt to take the last few kilometers the government still controls along the border with Israel.” The Syrian army, Ebrahim noted, controls only five kilometers of the border with Israel and is limited in the number of military units it can move to the area, under the disengagement agreement reached following the 1973 war with Israel.

Mr. Taweel explained that people of his town view Jabal al-Sheikh as a symbol of blessings. On top of that same mountain, Israeli observation posts oversee all activity. Hadar residents and Syrian soldiers believe that Israel has been coordinating with terrorist groups in their attacks on the village. Given that UNDOF forces themselves have documented Israeli soldiers interacting with terrorists in the occupied Syrian Golan, and given that Israel has attacked Syria on numerous occasions, the belief that the Israelis are aiding al-Qaeda terrorists in attacks on Hadar is more than reasonable.

The corporate media silence on Hadar, in spite of what the villagers have endured and continue to face, would be surprising if it wasn’t already clear that corporate media isn’t interested in highlighting these kinds of Syrians. Just as they dismiss narratives of Syrians who do not support any of the terrorist factions, so have they corporate media dismissed narratives of Syrians who are proud supporters of the Syrian army and the democratically-elected president and Syrians whose experiences defy outside claims of a “civil war,” “revolution,” or “sectarian conflict.”

 

“Our farmers can’t reach their land”

On May 4, in a hired taxi and with a translator, I headed for Hadar to meet with Mahmoud Taweel, an English teacher, who would also introduce me to other Hadar residents, to hear from them on the attacks they’ve endured and the threats they’ve fought off, along with the Syrian army — largely to the silence of corporate media.

Along the way, our taxi was joined by a car of four Syrian soldiers, who accompanied us both to show us the safest route to Hadar and also to protect us should terrorists in surrounding areas attack.

We drove along a road flanking a heavily fortified UN base for a brief period, then followed another road cutting through open fields, Jabal al-Sheikh in the distance, finally descending along a narrow road winding its way through endless fruit-tree orchards before entering Hadar.

In the town square, I chatted with a woman and man in a small shop until Mr. Taweel arrived. After a five minute walk, we reached his stone house, surrounded by fruit and other trees and adorned with yellow rose bushes.

Watch | Hadar resident Mahmoud Taweel on life under threat from terrorism

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I asked Mahmoud Taweel to speak about life in Hadar over the past years. He said, of the terrorists south of Hadar and those formerly east of the town:

They have been terrorizing us, by shelling, mortars. The most important thing is that they are depriving us of reaching our fertile farms. Ninety percent of our civilians depend on farming for their living. But our farmers can’t reach their land.”

I was struck by the similarity of the situation of Palestinian farmers and these Hadar villagers. In the case of Palestinians, it is Israeli illegal colonists and soldiers who violently prevent them from accessing their lands, whether in West Bank areas of occupied Palestine or in the tiny and all too familiar Gaza Strip.

According to Hadar resident, Mahmoud Taweel, farmers are prohibited from farming their land near Israel's 'security' fence. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Having worked for years with farmers in Gaza and also in the West Bank,  with the violent Israeli tactics of shooting live ammunition to harass farmers off their land. This harassment has killed dozens of farmers and maimed many more. The situation in Hadar isn’t much different, except al-Qaeda and other terrorists do the attacking, bombing and burning of farmland and killing of villagers.

 

Many maimed, many martyrs

Hadar has a population of around 10,000, according to Mahmoud Taweel. I asked him about those injured and killed by terrorist attacks. He replied:

Too many people were killed. At least 130 martyrs, and around 400 injuries and casualties. Some of them are hopeless cases: they can’t walk, speak, talk, and they need a very intensive health care on a daily basis.”

So I asked him whether there is a hospital in the town to provide the needed health care to the injured:

No hospital in Hadar, just a small mobile clinic with insufficient equipment. Ambulances took injured to Damascus, always under the threat of sniping from terrorists on either side.”

Additionally, Hadar has suffered periods of no electricity. “Three months with no power at all,” Mr. Taweel said. “And the moment that the government restores power, the terrorists shell and destroy it…to make us live in darkness.”

Mr. Taweel said Hadar village has two high schools, two primary, two intermediate, and one kindergarten. We drove to one of the schools, the one near to the site of the November 3, 2017, suicide car bombing just at the northern edge of Hadar. Mr. Taweel pointed to a deep rut in the road, now filled in with gravel, saying that was where the suicide bomber had detonated the explosives. Some meters away, the ruins of a small shop.

Zooming in on the Israeli observatories overlooking Hadar, I asked whether they believed Israel had a role in the attacks that day.

One of the two Israeli observation posts overlooking the Hadar, Syria. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

“For sure,” Mr. Taweel replied, “The final battle on November 3 was schemed, planned, and supported by Israel.”  

In his November 5, 2017 report, Alaa Ebrahim interviewed a Syrian army official who said: “Militants and Israel prepared this assault for three months and were thwarted in two hours.”

By mid-December, Syrian army units recaptured areas to Hadar’s northeast that had been occupied by al-Nusra. By the end of December, following military operations by the Syrian army and local defenders, terrorists were evacuated from Beit Jinn (to Hadar’s east), part of a deal to restore peace to that area. By January 2018, families who had been displaced from Beit Jinn and surrounding areas were returning. The restoration of security to Beit Jinn and surrounding areas also, importantly, meant one less front from which terrorists could attack Hadar. Terrorists remain in areas south of the village, and continue their attacks.

 

Facing occupied land

Descending the winding road a few kilometers to the west of Hadar, the hills of Majdal Shams, in the occupied Syrian Golan, appeared. Between the hill I stood on and Majdal Shams, an Israeli road fortified by a fence sliced the two Syrian lands, securing the land Israel has stolen and illegally occupies.

The Syrian mission to the UN post on the occupied Syrian Golan reads:

…[T]he Golan was home to over 140,000 Syrians, most of whom were driven out of their homeland and into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) status. Till this day, almost 40 years later, the Syrian inhabitants of the Golan are still unable to return to their homes, towns and cities. Today these Syrians exceed 500,000 people. Some Syrians remained in the Occupied Syrian Golan and continue to live in small villages amounting to approximately 20,000 Syrians.

Most of the Syrian cities, towns and villages in the Golan were destroyed by Israeli occupation forces, who in turn have built over 40 illegal settlements despite all international condemnation. Israel continues not only to occupy the Syrian Golan but to also destroy its ancient ruins and geopolitical atmosphere for the sole purpose of cleansing the Golan of its Syrian people and their history.”

The hill I stood on, far lower than surrounding hills, was known as the Shouting Valley, because shouting by megaphones was for many years the sole means of communication between Syrians from Hadar and those in Israeli-occupied Majdal Shams.

As Israeli road, heavily fortified, cuts through Syrian land on both sides in the occupied Golan Heights. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

A February 2014 article in al-Akhbar by Firas Choufi noted:

After the 1973 War, residents of liberated Hadar and occupied Majdal Shams were separated into ‘two banks,’ and since then, they would meet, converse, and share news and concerns by shouting in megaphones, giving the area its name.

…The villages of Majdal Shams, Baqaatha, Masaada, Ain Qanya, and al-Ghajar are in truth the only villages in the Golan still inhabited by their native residents. In the 1967 War, the Israeli occupation ethnically cleansed two cities and more than 300 villages and farms in the Golan, using systematic massacres, bombardment, demolition of homes, and arrests, completely leveling existing villages.

Today, around 23,000 Syrians live in the Golan Heights, and reject Israeli citizenship. They inhabit an area that is no bigger that 7 percent of the total area of the Golan Heights, which represents the primary source of water for occupied Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).

Meanwhile, 10,000 Jewish Israeli settlers live in 45 settlements built atop the ruins of Syrian villages, the largest of which is the settlement of Katzrin, which was built on the ruins of the Syrian town of Qisrin. Recently, the Israeli government officially declared the settlement an Israeli city.”

In the valley to my right, between Jabal al-Sheikh and the hill I stood on, lay farmland belonging to residents living in occupied Majdal Shams. Mahmoud Taweel explained that since the owners can’t cross from occupied Majdal Shams, relatives tend the land for them. He also noted that the lush land roughly two hundred meters from the fence is not workable; it is prohibited. Yet, on the side occupied by Israel, houses and worked farmland extend right up to the fence.

I was again reminded of Gaza, where farmers can’t access fertile land within up to a kilometer along the fence with Israeli-occupied Palestine. This land, the former breadbasket of Gaza, has been forcibly rendered dry and wasted. Israel has systematically destroyed wells and cisterns to ensure that those brave farmers who try to work their land regardless of Israel’s unilaterally and illegally imposed restrictions will find it nearly impossible to grow wheat and vegetables. On the Israeli-occupied side of that Gaza fence, the land is lushly green, irrigated with modern equipment. The same Israeli double-standards apply around the occupied Syrian Golan.

 

UN condemns then collaborates

The United Nations’ Security Council and General Assembly have long-condemned Israel’s many violations of international law with respect to its occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, including Israel’s “failure to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981)…” That resolution included demanding that Israel rescind its “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.”

The UN General Assembly declared:

Israel’s decision of 14 December, 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights constitutes an act of aggression under the provisions of Article 39 of the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolution 3314 … Israel’s decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and has no legal validity and/or effect whatsoever.”

The UN rightly views Israel’s occupation and annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights as a “continuing threat to international peace and security.”

That Israel essentially has gotten a carte blanche from most Western nations to illegally annex further Palestinian land, occupy Syrian and Lebanese land, and continue murdering Palestinians and attacking Syria is not terribly surprising given the Israeli-UN collaboration in the occupied Syrian Golan, a collaboration notably including al-Qaeda terrorists.

A photo from the Israel, Syrian border along the Golan Heights showing IDF soldiers conversing with Jabhat al Nusra fighters.

On December 22, 2014 Al Akhbar reported:

Observers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) confirmed in a report cooperation and coordination between the Israeli army and militant groups in Syria.

The UNDOF report said that observers witnessed several meetings between rebel leaders and Israeli army forces between December 2013 and March 2014, in addition to witnessing the transportation of hundreds of injured militants to Israeli hospitals following confrontations between the militants and the Syrian army near the occupied Golan border.”

Regarding the November 3, 2017 terrorist attacks on Hadar and surrounding Syrian areas, a UNSC report noted:

Armed groups launched an attack involving heavy machine gun, small arms and indirect fire from the tri-village area of Jubbata al-Khashab, Turunjah and Ufaniyah in the area of separation against pro-Government forces in the vicinity of Hadar, which is largely inhabited by members of the Druze community.

…Preceding the attack, open sources reported that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeted a pro-Syrian forces checkpoint in Hadar, killing nine people.”

Two men, not specified which group of rebels, ride a motorcycle towards an abandoned UN base at Syria's Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

But the role of the UN regarding Israel’s interaction with, and support of, terrorists doesn’t end with merely reporting on these facts. The UN also whitewashes the Israeli-al-Qaeda coordination and puts the blame on Syria for defending itself.

As I wrote previously:

In a November 2014 report, the Secretary-General mentioned the presence of al-Nusra and other terrorists in the ceasefire area ‘unloading weapons from a truck,’ as well as a ‘vehicle with a mounted anti-aircraft gun’ and Israeli ‘interactions’ with ‘armed gangs.’ Nonetheless, he went on to condemn strongly the Syrian army’s presence, offering no alternative solution to how to fight against those who fire on Syrian army and civilians from within the UNDOF-deserted area.”

 

The Syrian Mandela

In April 2017, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, speaking on Israel’s occupation of Syrian territory, also said:

We have to call on Israel to free Sedqi al-Maqt—who we call the Syrian Mandela—and others who are in Israeli prisons for taking pictures, taking photos that prove that Israel is cooperating with the al-Nusra Front in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Maqt is a Syrian in his early 50s from the occupied Syrian Golan who was imprisoned 27 years in Israeli prisons for his resistance to the Israeli occupation of Syrian land. He was released in 2012. Later, Maqt began filming the “joint cooperation between,” as he stated, Israeli soldiers and al-Qaeda terrorists near the Quneitra crossing. He was re-arrested by Israeli secret police in February 2015.

Maqt also reported seeing Israeli forces supplying terrorists with weapons and munitions, and conveyed his feeling that the crossing had been turned into an operations room and safe shelter for terrorists attacking Syria, with the support and knowledge of the Israelis and the UN.

Sedqi al-Maqt was arrested by Israel’s Shin Bet for exposing collaboration between Syrian rebels and Israel.

In one of his reports, Maqt noted that, “the terrorists would move with complete freedom,” from the areas they occupied in the Syrian Golan to areas where UN and Israeli forces were present. He noted that when the Syrian army shelled them, al-Qaeda and other terrorists took cover in areas where the Israeli and UN forces were present.  

Prior to his 2015 arrest, Maqt also reported on the Israeli field hospitals that are treating terrorists, and reported that residents of the occupied Syrian Golan daily see Israeli ambulances transporting terrorists, and Israeli forces interacting with terrorists:

There’s no way you could bring these terrorists to this field hospital if there wasn’t a joint operations room and daily communication and coordination..between Israeli forces and terrorist commanders.”

Ironically, when Sedqi al-Maqt was arrested, Israel charged him with “terrorism offences.”

When I visited the last couple hundred meters of Syrian land before occupied Majdal Shams, the sight of the vacated UN post, just to my left and before the illegally annexed Majdal Shams, was a visible reminder that Israel — with over 70 UN resolutions condemning it for its genocidal, land-thieving, war-criminal behavior against Palestinians, also including attacks on Syria and Lebanon — continues to evade facing any proper justice, making a farce of the UN and international law.

 

Hadar villagers speak through tears of terrorism they’ve faced  

Just before the main square in Hadar, I met Atef Nakkour, sitting in his small shop. He welcomed me and spoke of Hadar’s defiance:

You are very welcome in Hadar, this resistant village that has provided the invaluable to defend its dignity and freedom, and the dignity of the motherland. We are clinging to our land regardless of who agrees or disagrees.”

He too mentioned at least 130 martyrs from the village, and spoke of Hadar’s gratitude to the Syrian army:

We wholeheartedly endorse our army and our leadership.”

Hadar’s former mukthar (mayor), Jawdat al-Taweel, “Abu Abdu,” is a towering, charismatic man. He is still a popular figure in Hadar, and now runs a clothes shop in town.

He gave me a tour of the destruction from terrorist attacks. We stopped first at an internally-gutted, one-level shop that used to sell dairy and other food products. The shop, run by a family of women, was shelled and its equipment and goods destroyed in September 2017. The women now have no income.

Watch | Jawdat al-Taweel, Hadar’s former mayor, shows damage to homes after terrorist’ shelling

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We continued, Abu Abdu pointing out scars of the shellings, in walls and roofs on either side. From around a corner, Atef Nakkour shouted for Abu Abdu to show me his own damaged home. We climbed onto a rooftop and walked to its edge. The former mayor pointed out more damage, the remnants of shelling, and called down to Nakkour, “Where were you standing when it happened?”

Nakkour, standing on the street below us, replied that he’d been standing in the same spot, that a shell landed on a car parked nearby, shrapnel exploding towards the second level, damaging his home. Largely repaired, pockets in the roof overhang evidence the shelling.

Walking down from the square and to a small home surrounded by a stone wall, bushes and flowers, an elderly man and his wife spoke of their murdered son and relative. Mr. Hassoun spoke slowly, and as he described losing his son, Minhal Ahmed Hassoun, both he and his wife next to him began to cry. Through tears, he began:

Yes we lost young men, but we invaded no one, and we had no intention to kill anyone. They came to us on our land, and wanted to kill us and to humiliate us, but our youth and our heroic men preferred martyrdom to humiliation.”

Mahmoud Taweel added that the village men had fought alongside the Syrian army, fighting the terrorists who attack Hadar.

Mr. Hassoun continued:

They [terrorists] came in large numbers, and Israel backed them with artillery, but our men refused to withdraw a meter from their trenches. When the hero Minhal was martyred, his brother was next to him. He closed Minhal’s eyes, and said to him: ‘Your blood is invaluable, and they will pay for what they did.’”

Minhal had been studying law at Damascus University, Mr. Hassoun said:

I told him, ‘My son, finish your studies and get your degree, these battles are long.’ He answered me, ‘My father, the degree dies the moment its holder dies, but martyrdom for the motherland never dies, it lasts for generations.’

He took his wife to Jaramana, to the hospital so that she could give birth. They told him that there were  still three or four days until it was her time, but he left his wife with his siblings, and said to her: ‘I  want to go, the elders [his parents] are there and I won’t leave them alone.’

He came back in the evening, left for the battle next morning, and was martyred at 8 a.m.”

The newborn baby was named after his martyred father, Minhal.

Watch | Abu Minhal speaks of his son, who was killed defending Hadar

Minhal’s mother, who had been quietly wiping away her tears, listed their losses:

My grandson was the first martyr, his name was Anas. Then after him my son was martyred, his name was Minhal. After him my nephew was martyred, his name was Ismaeel. After that two more nephews of mine were martyred: one was called Hamed and the other one Hasan.”

She finished with a stoic comment reflecting the resilience not only of Hadar but of Syrians in general:

Losing a feather wouldn’t make a bird nude. No matter how many we lose, it’s better than those dogs come here.”

Before leaving, Mr. Hassoun brought out his old rifle and said:

We are following our ancestors’ steps and will never give up our motherland as long as we are alive.”

The terrorist attacks on Hadar and its farmland continue to the shrugs of Western corporate media precisely because reporting on such devastation by what the same media sells us as “rebels” would once again shatter the myth of “moderates,” the myth of a “revolution,” and of a “civil war.”

In addition to Hadar’s strategic position, the people of Hadar are being attacked because they stand with their army and president. But after years of such attacks, and after over 130 martyrs, it is clear Hadar villagers have no intention of changing their stance, much like defiant Syrians throughout Syria.

Top Photo | A Hadar resident stands outside of his shrapnel damaged home. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Visit her personal blog, In Gaza, and support her work on Patreon.

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US Leaves UNHRC: Big Step to Isolation – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

US Leaves UNHRC: Big Step to Isolation
Arkady SAVITSKY | 21.06.2018 | WORLD / Americas

So, the US is leaving the 47-member Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made the announcement on June 19. The move followed criticism of the US immigration policy, especially the forced separation of alleged undocumented migrant parents from their children.

Formally, the reason is the bias against Israel, the failure to hold human rights abusers accountable and US calls for reforms remaining unheeded. Strange logic! Being a member, the US could protect its Middle East ally and attract world attention to violations of human rights. The premier intergovernmental human rights body may not be as effective as it could be but it is a platform to address the burning problems and a dialogue bridge.

The ambassador added that the council could be rejoined in the future if reforms were made. That’s the essence of Washington’s approach. Either the US has it its way or it quits, there is nothing in between: no compromise, no discussions, and no diplomacy. More and more often, the US demonstrates its “it’s my way or no way” approach to international problems.

The opposition to the withdrawal is strong, including US lawmakers and well-known NGOs, such as the Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Campaign, Save the Children, Freedom House and many others but their arguments have been ignored. Washington came under strong criticism internationally.

The pullout is a very decisive step conforming to the trend of the US stepping back from multilateral accords, international bodies and forums. Under the current administration, America has pulled out from the Paris climate accord, the UN educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) and the Iran nuclear deal. It also defied the world by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there. Its participation in UN activities has been curtailed recently. For instance, in January, the US announced the decision to cut funds for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. In March, Ambassador Haley said that UN peacekeeping operations will be axed. The idea to withdraw from the United Nations Organization has been reinvigorated recently in the US.

There are other reasons the US officials prefer not to mention. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is pressing ahead with the investigation of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by British forces in 2003-2008. This is a warning for America. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was headed by the US without the approval by the UN Security Council. Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has mentioned alleged US violations to be investigated. She says the United States may have abused human rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The US strongly opposes the ICC, so it’s only natural for it to be against the UNHRC and the UN in general. Washington has not ratified various international human rights related agreements. The country still has death penalty. It has failed to cope with police brutality and is known to have the world’s largest prison population (about two million people).

In 2014, the UN Committee Against Torture released a report that deeply criticized the US for racial discrimination and other human rights abuses, including electronic surveillance, CIA interrogations, immigrant detentions, the failure to shut down the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay etc. In 2015, a UN report slammed America for being the only country in the world to imprison children for life without parole. According to the recent Human Rights Watch paper, the US moved backward on human rights at home and abroad last year.

On many occasions, the legality of using armed drones by the US military and the CIA has been questioned by the international community. Last December, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution calling on the US to reverse its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Washington threatened those who backed the document with retaliation. The US sanctions policy has been criticized by UN officials saying it constitutes the violation of human rights. Actually, Russia or any other country under sanctions could launch a complaint with the UN Human Rights committee in accordance with Article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Nobody’s perfect. So is the UN. Still the organization remains a vital instrument of international governance. It has managed many conflicts preventing abuses and saving lives. The UN Human Rights High Commissioner as well as a half dozen core human rights treaties have played an important role to protect human rights. An extensive international criminal justice system exists under the UN auspices. The attempts to free America from the burden of international law and global commitments in a high-tech era are hardly implementable. With the UN jettisoned, the US would return to pre-Second World War isolationism but will it make it richer, stronger, or more influential? How does the concept of the whole world marching out of step benefit the United States?

True, the council has serious drawbacks but the US leaves for another reason. While lecturing others on human rights, values and freedom, the US is far from being lily-white but it wants no curbs on what it does and no criticism, objections and discussions. Looks like “America First” and “America Isolated” have a lot in common. 

Fanatic barbarians: Israeli settlers celebrate burning Palestinian baby, chant “Ali is on the grill!” – By Jonathan Ofir (Mondoweiss) (SOTT)

Hussein Dawabshe

Hussein Dawabshe, with his grandson Ahmad, in 2016.

There’s something particularly disturbing about celebrating the burning alive of a baby.

This is precisely what Israeli Jewish settlers were doing yesterday, outside the court in Lod. “‘Ali was burned, where is Ali? Ali is on the grill!”, they chanted, in reference to the 18-month old baby Ali Dawbsheh, who was burnt alive by Jewish terrorists in the West Bank town of Duma in 2015. Ali’s mother Riham and father Saad died of their wounds a few weeks later. Of the family of four, only 5-year-old Ahmad survived the arson with severe burns.

The terror-supporters were actually taunting Ali’s grandfather, Hussein Dawabshe, who was attending a preliminary hearing at which the court decided to indict one adult suspect who confessed to the murders, as well as a minor who was an accomplice. Hussein was accompanied by Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi. Tibi posted the video of the chanting, with policemen standing by doing nothing, and wrote:

“Where’s Ali? There’s no Ali. Ali is burned. On the fire. Ali is on the grill” – all this was thrown at our face – including at the grandfather Dawbsheh concerning his 18-month-old grandson by the riff raff of ‘price tag’. In front of us stood policemen and officers and did nothing. No words…

The terror supporters also referred to the other family members: “Where is Ali? Where is Riham? Where is Saad? It’s too bad Ahmed didn’t burn as well.”

This is certainly not the first time that the burning of this baby was celebrated. In December 2015, a video showing dozens of wedding guests celebrating the arson went public via Channel 10. The guests are seen dancing with Molotov cocktails, knives and guns, and stabbing a photo of baby Ali Dawabsheh. The wedding couple was said to be “very well known in the radical right”. Following widespread public outrage, Netanyahu distanced himself from the event, saying that these were “shocking images” which “show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger”, but he also provided the “many sides” narrative:

“That is not the proud religious Zionism that contributes to the state, and whose sons serve in the elite units in the army… It is also impossible to compare the scope of that terror with Arab terror. In the last month they [Arabs] carried out hundreds of attacks against us, and we saw just a few Jewish terrorist attacks.”

Comment: In fact, Israeli terror is comparably worse in practically every way.

A year later, 13 people from what became known as the “murder wedding” were indicted for incitement to terrorism.

Meanwhile, last month, in what was probably much less noticed, the Dawabsheh family home was torched once again:

“A group of settlers attacked my home at dawn today, breaking a window and throwing a Molotov cocktail inside before fleeing the scene,” Yasser Dawabsheh said. “We were lucky that I was able to hear them when they attacked, so I was able to evacuate all my family,” he said. “Fire crews reacted quickly and put out the fire before the whole house burnt down…”

So yesterday was a hearing in the court case concerning the original arson/murders. And the defense opened a can of worms concerning torture.

The defendants made an issue of their interrogations by Shin Bet officers, saying that they were tortured. In fact, the settlers had held a press conference to this effect at the very same hall in which the “murder wedding” was held.

The court announced at yesterday’s preliminary hearing that confessions obtained under torture by the Shin Bet interrogators would not be admissible, but that later confessions would be admissible. Haaretz note:

“If the confessions had been declared admissible, they probably would have ended in a conviction of the two suspects, legal experts had said. The rejection is a blow to the State Prosecutor’s Office as it will now be more difficult to obtain a conviction.”

Of course, Israel and the court refer to torture with euphemisms such as “moderate physical pressure” and “special methods”. But it’s torture – and the Haaretz coverage is clear about that, and even charts out some of the torture methods. The thing is, that torture (under whatever euphemism) is legal in Israel under certain circumstances, known as the “ticking bomb” scenario – where there is knowledge of other network members at large, who are bound to perpetrate an attack. Haaretz:

“Law enforcement agencies said the interrogation was justified because the two suspects had knowledge about a group that sought to perpetrate similar attacks. In the event, there were two failed attempts to commit similar attacks.”

So is the court now saying that torture is not permissible under any circumstance?

In 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that torture was permissible under those ‘special circumstances.’ The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) slammed it, saying the ruling was interpreted by the Shin Bet as a green light to torture almost every Palestinian detainee. “Today in Israel, there is no effective barrier – not legal and certainly not ethical – that stands in the way of using torture. A secret service organization such as the GSS (Shin Bet) decides independently to use torture and, afterwards, investigates itself as to whether the use of interrogation was justified,” the committee said.

Israel has effectively been permitting torture in various modes. In 1987 the Landau commission overtly legalized torture. This prompted the outspoken scientist Yeshayahu Leibowitz to call Supreme Court judge Moshe Landau a “Judeo-Nazi“. Israel has wandered back and forth with the legality and its more or less overt modes, but the practices have continued.

Comment: Only democracy in the Middle East? More like the Jewish Saudi Arabia.

Yet now the Lod court is effectively saying that confessions from such practices are simply inadmissible under any circumstances. Would this also apply to Palestinians? This is doubtfully the case. The court is only a District Court, and it is only relating to this particular case, which happens to involve Jewish – not Palestinian – terrorists.

Judge Ruth Lorach was particularly effusive in her appraisal of the “special methods.” She said, “These methods have hurt the basic rights of the defendants in a severe manner – rights concerning preservation of the wholeness of the body and soul, and they have hurt their dignity.”

(This quote is notably only to be found in the Hebrew version of the Haaretz coverage).

So how much “dignity” are Palestinians really going to get from all this?

The virulently hateful scenes outside the court yesterday did not bode well.

Ahmed Tibi told Ynet that he asked police officers to do something about those chanting and taunting, but that they responded with indifference.

“What would have happened had the situation been reversed?”, he asked. “If 20 Arab youths were shouting about a Jewish fatality ‘he’s on the grill, he’s burning’? How many of them would have gone home with broken legs? How many would have been arrested?” Tibi wondered. “Part of the reason it was horrifying was the police’s indifference, like nothing had happened,” he explained. “They (the police) could have at least removed them from the court. (No need) to break legs. Legs are only broken to Arabs in Haifa, not to Jews. But they could have at least removed them,” he added.

Comment: The evil of banality.

Tibi notes that there were expressions of disgust from across the political spectrum, but silence at its top:

“But lo and behold-not a single minister (said anything), not Miri Regev [minister of culture], not Yisrael Katz [minister of intelligence], not Ayelet Shaked [justice minister], not Naftali Bennett [education minister] and in particular not the prime minister, who knows how to retweet awful things. He remained quiet instead of condemning this sickening phenomenon”.

Comment: Because they’re just as sick in the head.


H/t Edith Breslauer

About Jonathan Ofir: Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Comment: There’s a lot said about radical Muslims and their incompatibility with Western culture. Well, the same goes for these Jewish fanatics. Identity politics will do that.

As Trump and Xi Wage Trade Roar, Kim Sees Both Sides of His Bread Buttered – By Elliott Gabriel – (MINT PRESS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, hosts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Dalian, China in this undated photo released on May, 9 2018 by KCNA.
How Not to Win a Trade War

 

Donald Trump has backed himself into a corner with his tariff-imposed trade war with China, undercutting the most important lynchpin of peace with North Korea.

BEIJING – Tremendous; great, incredible and tremendous; very historic, and very, very comprehensive. Such were the terms U.S. President Donald Trump used to praise last Tuesday’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and he was far from alone in welcoming what appeared to be a major breakthrough in burying the memory of nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

A week later, Chinese President Xi Jinping also hailed the “positive” outcome of the meeting as he welcomed Kim to Beijing for a two-day trip, the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea chairman’s third visit to the Chinese capital in only three months.  

The Chinese leader has plenty of reason to hail the unfolding peace process, as it represents the triumph of the dual suspension or “double freeze” proposal China offered last year, which prescribed an end to the DPRK’s weapons’ tests in exchange for an end to U.S.-South Korea war games.

The process is also lifting the shroud of diplomatic and financial pressure from Beijing’s shoulders when dealing with its counterparts in Pyongyang, who are counting on China’s diplomatic and technical reinforcement as it introduces further market reforms and seeks reintegration with the global economy.

According to Chinese press reports, the two held a candid and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations while agreeing to work closely together to further deepen ties, including joint efforts to denuclearize the peninsula.

“No matter the changes in the international and regional situation, China’s party and government’s resolute position on being dedicated to consolidating and developing Sino-North Korea relations will not change,” Chinese reports quoted Xi as saying.

The DPRK will require China’s assistance to ensure that the U.S. remains committed to fulfilling the security guarantees it gave to the country, rather than veering toward the so-called “Libya option” of disarming Pyongyang before proceeding to violently topple Kim.

While U.S.-DPRK negotiations have progressed at a stunning breakneck pace, they have also coincided with increasing strains in relations between Beijing and Washington, especially over the trade war Trump has launched against China.

 

Trade war heats up

As Chinese newspapers have brimmed over with quotes of officials hailing Trump’s U-turn on the Korean nuclear issue, the same media has spared no effort piling derision on the U.S. president’s successive introduction of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Just last week, Washington announced the introduction of a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion of Chinese goods, provoking Beijing’s retaliation in the form of its own tariffs on U.S. products. China’s reaction resulted in Trump demanding that the U.S. Trade Representative’s office compile a new list of $200 billion in goods that would be subject to a 10-percent tariff. The reality TV star noted that if China follows through on its threat to levy retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, the U.S. would introduce duties on yet another $200 billion in trade.

A giant TV screen broadcasting the meeting of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, June 19, 2018. Andy Wong | AP

China has reacted furiously to what it sees as a blatant attempt at strong-arming it into accepting unfair trade terms, promising strong countermeasures to Trump’s “intimidation.” On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman noted:

Such practice of imposing extreme pressure and blackmailing is contrary to the consensus the two sides have reached through rounds of consultations, and disappoints the international community …The trade war waged by the United States is against both the law of the market and the development trend of today’s world. It undermines the interests of both Chinese and American people, the interests of companies and the interests of the people all over the world.”

The backdrop of fierce trade negotiations bordering on an all-out trade war between the two major powers may have led to the DPRK finding itself in the crosshairs of love-bombing attempts by both Washington and Beijing.

For the famously shrewd U.S. president, the prospect of disrupting the Chinese relationship with North Korea may be seen as a means of depriving China of leverage in trade talks. The former real-estate mogul may well believe that loud promises of glistening timeshares along Mount Paektu and Ritz Carlton hotels along the country’s east coast will entice Kim to drop his nukes and join the U.S. fold.

 

China-DPRK relations supported by the weight of modern history

Meanwhile, Beijing has pulled out all stops in feting Kim during his visits, which acclimates global public opinion to the idea that “Chairman Kim” isn’t some horrific dictator who should be treated as a pariah unless the U.S. says otherwise – no, he’s just the head of state in a nation seeking development.

In the meantime, the Communist Party of China and Workers’ Party of Korea have promoted a range of exchanges meant to promote the “all-round” fraternal relations and “mutually beneficial” alliance between the historically-intertwined organizations, whose ties date back to the 1930s, when first-generation leaders of their respective parties like Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, fought as comrades-in-arms as guerilla fighters versus the Japanese.

For the DPRK leadership, which spent the Cold War practicing a policy of equidistance between its mutually-opposed allies the Soviet Union and China, the position is comfortable and allows Kim to enjoy the benefits of amicable relations with both powers.

Reports have also emerged detailing how Chinese firms producing goods for the DPRK are resuming operations while North Korean laborers are being hired by clothing manufacturers in China, a sign that sanctions on the North are increasingly being shrugged off despite Washington’s unmet conditions for their relief.

“Although it seems there is a booming romance between Kim Jong-un and Trump, Kim understands the hierarchy. He knows that Xi is the Asian Godfather,” said Yanmei Xie, a China policy analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics, an economic research firm in Beijing. “[Kim] is making a pragmatic calculation that China can provide economic assistance to integrate North Korea diplomatically and economically into Northeast Asia.”

Now, with Xi’s go-ahead, the trade between the two countries could skyrocket in a manner that wipes away the foul taste of existing sanctions faced by Pyongyang, drastically undercutting Trump’s option of renewing the U.S.’s hostile policies toward a non-compliant DPRK.

Either way, war and pain are fast fading as prospects for the people of the Korean peninsula.

Top Photo | Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, hosts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Dalian, China in this undated photo released on May, 9 2018 by KCNA.

Elliott Gabriel is a former staff writer for teleSUR English and a MintPress News contributor based in Quito, Ecuador. He has taken extensive part in advocacy and organizing in the pro-labor, migrant justice and police accountability movements of Southern California and the state’s Central Coast.

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