Shithole – when a human being is honest

For those that cried when they heard President Trump used the term “Shithole” to describe garbage countries that currently send their lowest of the low to the United States, here are some examples of their beautiful countries and culture:

haiti2.jpgIs Haiti a shithole country?

 

la-limonada.jpgIs El Salvador a shithole country?

 

poor-in-africa.jpgAre they shithole countries in Africa?

 

When you look into your children and grandchildren’s eyes, is THAT the world you want to bring to them?

 

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Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa

NEWS FLASH – Even if President Trump did call these countries “Shit Holes,” normal hard-working Americans also refer to these garbage countries as Shit holes. It is a fact and if it isn’t true, then why do these parasites want to come to America? To escape these trash countries that are unable to govern themselves or even provide the basic essentials.

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday balked at an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and some nations in Africa, demanding to know at a White House meeting why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than from places like Norway, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.

Mr. Trump’s remarks, the latest example of his penchant for racially tinged remarks denigrating immigrants, left members of Congress from both parties attending the meeting in the Cabinet Room alarmed and mystified. He made them during a discussion of an emerging bipartisan deal to give legal status to immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children, those with knowledge of the conversation said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting.

When Mr. Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit from the proposed deal, he asked whether they could be left out of the plan, asking, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”

The comments were reminiscent of ones the president made last year in an Oval Office meeting with cabinet officials and administration aides, during which he complained about admitting Haitians to the country, saying that they all had AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who he said would never go back to their “huts,” according to officials who heard the statements in person or were briefed on the remarks by people who had. The White House vehemently denied last month that Mr. Trump made those remarks.

In a written statement, Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary, did not deny the account of the meeting on Thursday or directly address Mr. Trump’s comments.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” Mr. Shah said. “Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”

But the president’s vulgar language on a delicate issue left the fate of the broader immigration debate in limbo and had the potential to torpedo the chances of achieving the deal being sought to protect about 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. And they drew a backlash from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom called Mr. Trump’s utterances unacceptable at best and plainly racist at worst.

Representative Mia Love, a Republican of Utah who is of Haitian descent, demanded an apology from the president, saying his comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

“This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation,” Ms. Love went on in an emotional statement that noted her heritage and that said her parents “never took a thing” from the government while achieving the American dream. “The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”

“As an American, I am ashamed of the president,” said Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois. “His comments are disappointing, unbelievable, but not surprising.” He added, we can now “say with 100 percent confidence that the president is a racist who does not share the values enshrined in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence.”

The reactions were extraordinary bipartisan rebukes to a sitting president, but they only fanned what has been a long-simmering debate over Mr. Trump’s views and talk on race.

Mr. Trump sought to have the final word late Thursday, posting on Twitter shortly before midnight: “The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump, who rose to political prominence questioning the validity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, branded Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and was slow to disavow the support of the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

As the president, Mr. Trump has ordered a broad immigration crackdown while privately railing against immigrants from predominantly black countries and has repeatedly stoked racial divisions, denouncing “both sides” for violence after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and singling out black athletes for failing to stand for the national anthem before their games.

The episode at the White House, first reported by The Washington Post, unfolded as Mr. Trump was hosting a meeting with Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who are working to codify the protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the Obama-era initiative that provided temporary work permits and reprieves from deportation to immigrants brought to the United States as children by their parents.

Also present were Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the majority leader; Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia; Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas; and Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

None of the lawmakers would comment on Mr. Trump’s remarks.

The plan outlined by Mr. Graham and Mr. Durbin, according to people familiar with it, would also include more than $2.5 billion for border security and a grant of protected status for the parents of the immigrants, known as Dreamers, who would be barred from sponsoring their parents for citizenship.

Mr. Trump grew angry as the group detailed another aspect of the deal — a move to end the diversity visa lottery program and use some of the 50,000 visas that are annually distributed as part of the program to protect vulnerable populations who have been living in the United States under what is known as Temporary Protected Status. That was when Mr. Durbin mentioned Haiti, prompting the president’s criticism.

When the discussion turned to African nations, those with knowledge of the conversation added, Mr. Trump asked why he would want “all these people from shithole countries,” adding that the United States should admit more people from places like Norway.

About 83 percent of Norway’s population is ethnic Norwegian, according to a 2017 C.I.A. fact book, making the country overwhelmingly white.

Mr. Trump has long argued that the United States should base legal immigration on merit and skills rather than family ties, seeking new entrants who are highly educated, capable of assimilating and unlikely to use government programs for the poor. Some people familiar with his comments argued privately on Thursday night that the president had only tried to press that point, using salty language.

But it was the language he used that shocked and appalled many lawmakers and created a public outcry — the vulgar phrase Mr. Trump uttered quickly began trending on Twitter — overshadowing the substance of the DACA talks, and with it, the future of the immigrants at risk of deportation should those discussions fail.

Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana and the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the president’s closed-door comments “yet another confirmation of his racially insensitive and ignorant views” and said they reinforced “the concerns that we hear every day, that the president’s slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,’ is really code for ‘Make America White Again.’”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, described the comments as “the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy,” and argued that they would make it more difficult for the two parties to reach consensus on an immigration deal.

“It inflames and encourages the worst instinct and the basest dark side of immigration issues,” Mr. Blumenthal said. He added that he had spoken with several Senate colleagues who expressed “a combination of disbelief and a sense of repugnance” at what the president had said.

Mr. Durbin spoke with reporters briefly after the White House gathering, but did not share what the president had said. Looking dejected, he said he and Mr. Graham had gone to meet with Mr. Trump hoping to get the president’s blessing for their bipartisan plan.

“The president is not prepared to do that at this moment,” Mr. Durbin said, adding, “I don’t know what happens next.”

The meeting had gotten off to a grim start after Mr. Durbin and Mr. Graham, who had been summoned by Mr. Trump to discuss their compromise proposal, arrived to find a gaggle of Republicans they had not expected, including immigration hard-liners who have been skeptical of a DACA deal, filing into the room to discuss the plan.

One of them, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, later offered a blistering appraisal of the Durbin-Graham deal, calling it “a joke of a proposal” and arguing that Democrats had not offered Republicans “anything legitimate in return” for accepting legal status for the Dreamers.

The White House session was the second time this week that Mr. Trump has met with members of Congress to address the fate of the Dreamers, whose protections under DACA are set to expire in March after Mr. Trump moved to rescind the policy in the fall.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump convened a televised bipartisan negotiating session on the issue in which he said he wanted lawmakers to negotiate a “bill of love” for the DACA recipients and tasked the Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate to negotiate a final deal.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Thursday that any immigration compromise could not simply be hammered out by a small group of senators, referring to Mr. Durbin and Mr. Graham.

“I think what the president told them is it’s fine for them to have negotiated what they think is a reasonable proposal, but what they need to do is share that with others so that it will have broad enough support to actually get passed,” Mr. Cornyn said, adding, “We need to have more than six votes for a proposal.”

When he first moved to rescind the DACA program, Mr. Trump gave lawmakers six months to come up with a replacement. But Democrats have pressed to include a solution in a broad spending package, which must be completed by a deadline of next Friday, when a short-term bill funding the government will expire. They are under extraordinary pressure from their progressive base to withhold their votes to keep the government open unless the immigration measure is included.

One of the Senate negotiators, Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, cast doubt on passing a bill by that deadline. But he expressed hope that the deal being put together by Mr. Durbin’s group could move ahead soon.

“It’s the only game in town,” Mr. Flake said. “There’s no other bill.”

Report: Israeli Insurer Paid Kushner Firm $30 Million Before Kushner Trip To Israel

Critics question how Jared Kushner can profit from such a transaction and still function as an independent peacekeeper representing America.

An Israeli insurer paid $30 million to the Kushner family real estate firm shortly before White House senior adviser Jared Kushner traveled to Israel on a diplomatic mission in May 2017, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The funds have raised conflict-of-interest concerns about President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, who still has a stake in the real estate project that benefited from the insurance money, according to the Times.

In fact, the Kushner family firm benefits from several investments from Israeli financial institutions, including for other projects that provide income to Kushner, the Times notes. Kushner Companies has also taken out several loans from Bank Hapoalim in Israel. The bank is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over accusations that it helped Americans evade taxes, the Times reported.

And Israel is not the only case of Kushner Companies benefiting from investments from foreign countries while Kushner himself, a key stakeholder, is dealing with those same nations as a federal official.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Brooklyn federal prosecutors are investigating the Kushner company’s participation in the EB-5 visa program. The program provides green cards to well-heeled foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in certain businesses. At least two Kushner real estate projects in New Jersey have benefited from the program. Kushner retains an investment in one of them, and has collected millions of dollars from the other, according to his financial disclosure information, the Journal reported.

When Kushner’s sister was making a pitch last year to potential Chinese investors in Shanghai and Beijing, she invoked Kushner’s White House status and presented a slideshow that included a photo of Trump.

In the Israeli case, insurer Menora Mivtachim invested $30 million into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Kushner Companies, according to the Times. Kushner still holds an investment in the Baltimore-area properties. Soon after, Kushner traveled with Trump to Israel in May as part of Kushner’s mission to negotiate Mideast peace. According to federal ethics laws, he is only required to recuse himself from government negotiations that could have a direct impact on his financial holdings.

Critics, however, question how impartial Kushner can be in any Mideast negotiations when he’s profiting from investments from companies in one of the countries involved.

“I think it’s reasonable for people to ask whether his business interests are somehow affecting his judgment,” Matthew Sanderson, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., who specializes in government ethics, told the Times.

The Kushner foundation has previously contributed to Israeli settlements. Kushner himself was co-director of the foundation when it funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law, which he failed to reveal on his financial disclosure forms with the Office of Government Ethics, Newsweek reported. During the presidential transition, Kushner attempted to help block a United Nation resolution condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. Special counsel Robert Mueller has been examining Kushner’s actions then as part of his ongoing probe, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah told The Jerusalem Post that the Trump administration has “tremendous confidence in the job Jared is doing leading our peace efforts. He takes the ethics rules very seriously and would never compromise himself or the administration.”

Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

To the casual visitor or tourist driving through the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem, Israeli settlements may appear as just another set of houses on a hill.

The middle-class suburban style townhouses, built fast and locked in a grid of uniform units, stand like fortified compounds, in direct contrast to the sprawling limestone Palestinian homes below.

Settlement homes, mostly constructed of cement with a cosmetic limestone cladding, tend to fashion a similar look: American-style villas topped by red-tiled roofs and surrounded by lush, neatly trimmed green lawns.

The largest settlement, Modi’in Illit, houses more than 64,000 Israeli Jews in the occupied West Bank. The mega-settlement has its own mayor, as well as schools, shopping malls and medical centres.

Some settlements even have their own universities.

Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israelis live in these sizeable settlements, equivalent to roughly 11 percent of the total Jewish Israeli population.

They live beyond the internationally recognised borders of their state, on Palestinian land that Israel occupied in 1967, comprising East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Since then, the Israeli government has openly funded and built settlements for Israeli Jews to live there, offering incentives and subsidised housing.

So why have these housing compounds caused so much rancour and been called a threat to the prospect of peace in the Holy Land?

Follow this journey to find out.

What are settlements and how did they come about?

Contrary to common belief, settlements are a legacy of the pre-1948 period, before the creation of Israel.

In the 1880s, the community of Palestinian Jews, known as the Yishuv, amounted to three percent of the total population. They were apolitical and did not aspire to build a modern Jewish state.

But in the late 19th century, the Zionist movement – a political ideology – grew out of Eastern Europe, claiming that Jews were a nation or race that deserved a modern “Jewish state”.

Source: Jewish Virtual Library

The movement, citing the biblical belief that God promised Palestine to the Jews, began to buy land there and build settlements to strengthen their claim to the land.

At the time, these settlements, built largely on the coastal plain and in the north of the country, were called “Kibbutzim” and “Moshavim”.

The first Kibbutz Degania, was established in 1909 by European Jewish colonists. Tel Aviv, now the economic capital of Israel, was also built in the early 20th century and was one of the first settlements.

The approach is known as “creating facts on the ground” – laying a stake in an area to ensure that it will be part of a future state and difficult to get rid of later on.

Source: PalestineRemembered.com

The distribution of the settlements determined the map of the proposed United Nations Partition Plan for Jewish and Palestinian states in 1947.

By 1948, prior to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist movement, Jews had control over less than six percent of the land.


According to Israeli statistics, there were some 80 kibbutzim and moshavim before 1948.

1950
214 kibbutzim
67,550 total population

What happened in 1948?

As European Jews began to colonise Palestine – many pushed by anti-Semitic persecution in Europe – the balance of land control between Palestinians and immigrant Jews shifted significantly.

The project was facilitated by the British, who were occupying Palestine from 1917 to 1947, with the aim of building a Jewish state.

Between 1922 and 1935, the Jewish population rose from nine percent to nearly 27 percent of the total population, displacing tens of thousands of Palestinian tenants from their lands as Zionists bought land from absentee landlords.

Under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Jews were allocated 55 percent of the land, encompassing many of the main cities with Palestinian Arab majorities and the important coastline from Haifa to Jaffa.

The plan would deprive the Palestinian state of key agricultural lands and seaports, which led the Palestinians to reject the proposal.

Shortly after the issuance of UN Resolution 181 that called for partition, war broke out between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist armed groups, who, unlike the Palestinians, had gained extensive training and arms from fighting alongside Britain in World War II

The loss of land in Palestine

Zionist paramilitary groups launched a violent process of ethnic cleansing in the form of large-scale attacks, massacres, and destruction of entire villages aimed at the mass expulsion of Palestinians to build the Jewish state. By the end of 1949, the Jewish state had taken up some 78 percent of historical Palestine.

Of the remaining Palestinian territories, the West Bank and East Jerusalem came under Jordan’s control, while Gaza was placed under Egyptian control.

The international community recognised Israel based on the 1948 borders.

But less than 20 years later – in 1967 – another Arab-Israeli war broke out. During the fighting, Israel militarily occupied the rest of historical Palestine, consisting of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel also occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. With the exception of the Sinai Peninsula, all the other territories remain occupied until today.

In response, the UN Security Council members voted unanimously for Resolution 242 on November 22, 1967 – exactly fifty years ago.

The resolution stated that Israel must withdraw from the territories it seized in the war and formed the basis for all ensuing diplomatic negotiations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the concept of “land for peace”.

Israel, however, did not accept the resolution and continues to violate it to this day, 50 years later, by building settlements on the territories meant for a Palestinian state.

What Israel did with Jerusalem

Shortly after the 1967 war, Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem and declared it part of its “eternal, undivided” capital.

Map of East Jerusalem in 2007 shows the separation wall (in red) and the Israeli settlements in purple on areas of the occupied West Bank illegally annexed to Jerusalem. Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

This meant that it extended its law to East Jerusalem and claimed it as part of Israel, unlike the West Bank, which it physically occupies but does not claim.

The annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognised by any country in the world as it violates several principles of international law, which outlines that an occupying power does not have sovereignty in the territory it occupies.

The international community, including the US, officially regards East Jerusalem as occupied territory.

However, since Israel considers East Jerusalem part of its state, it calls the settlements there “neighbourhoods”.

Israel’s settlement project after 1967: How is it different?

When the guns fell silent in 1967, the Israeli state began building colonies, or settlements, for its Jewish Israeli citizens on Palestinian land it had just occupied.

Settlements have become the hallmark of the Israeli colonial project in Palestine.

In the last 50 years, the Israeli government has transferred between 600,000 and 750,000 Jewish Israelis to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They live in at least 160 settlements and outposts.

This means that roughly 11 percent of Israel’s 6.6 million Jewish population now lives on occupied land, outside the internationally recognised borders of Israel.

Left-wing Israeli protesters hold signs during a protest in Tel Aviv condemning an attack by settlers that killed an 18-month Palestinian baby in 2015 in the occupied West Bank. Source: [REUTERS/Baz Ratner]

The dilemma of the settlements and the occupation has effectively split Israelis between those who believe it is their God-given right to settle land that was promised to the Jewish people, and others who believe the settlements are a death sentence for the Jews.

To religious Jews, the outcome of the 1967 war and the seizure of the remainder of historical Palestine – particularly East Jerusalem, which houses the Old City – led to a sense of euphoria.

Thousands of Jews, including secular Jews, flocked to the Western Wall, also known as the al-Buraq Wall to Muslims. They wept as they gave thanks for what they believed was a miracle from God.

The majority of Israeli Zionist leftists who oppose the settlement project however, believe in the Jewish state along 1948 borders and reject Israel’s expansion into the occupied territories.

To Palestinians, Israel’s occupation and the settlement project did not come as a surprise; the Zionist movement was founded by non-natives to colonise the land, just as they did in 1948.

Munir Nuseibah, a law professor at al-Quds University in Jerusalem, says the occupation and the settlement project “reminded the world of the colonial aspects of Israel”.

Why are they illegal under international law?

In a series of agreements known as the Geneva Conventions, formulated in the aftermath of World War II, the international community established a set of accepted rules and standards for the protection of civilians, prisoners and injured people in times of war.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which defines humanitarian protections for civilians caught in a war zone, an occupying power is forbidden from transferring parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.

The rationale behind this is simple.

1. To ensure that the occupation is temporary and allow for a solution to the conflict by preventing To ensure that the occupation is temporary and allow for a solution to the conflict by preventing the occupying power from acquiring long-term interests through military control.

2. To protect occupied civilians from theft of resources by the occupying power.

3. To prohibit a de facto situation in which two groups living on the same land are subject to two different legal systems, i.e. apartheid.

4. To prevent changes in the demographic makeup of the occupied territory.

But the Israeli government maintains that the status of the Palestinian territories is ambiguous, as there was no internationally recognised government in the territories prior to the 1967 war. The Israeli government argues that it took the territory from Jordan, which had control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem between 1949 and 1967, while Egypt had control of the Gaza Strip.

Israel regards the West Bank as “disputed” territory and thus refutes the existence of a military occupation there; saying the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply. But the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice, and the international community have all affirmed that it does.

Israel also denies that any of the settlements were built on private Palestinian land.

What types of settlements are there?

There are three main types of Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories, all of which involve seizing Palestinian land and are all illegal under international law.

Built by the Israeli government, mainly in rural areas in the West Bank and Jerusalem, many are on private Palestinian property and within close proximity to Palestinian towns and cities,

After the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, the Israeli government stopped officially building new settlements but expanded existing ones,

In 2017, Israel started building the first new settlement in two decades.

How does Israel take over land?

Israel has developed a myriad of ways to seize Palestinian land.

Since Israel has not annexed the occupied West Bank and does not have jurisdiction there, it uses military orders as well as its own interpretations of Ottoman, British and Jordanian laws to seize Palestinian property.

In East Jerusalem however, the state applies Israeli law, despite the fact that the territory is considered occupied under international law, and the Palestinians who live there are not Israeli citizens.

Israel has declared at least 26 percent of the West Bank as “state land”.

Using a different interpretation of Ottoman, British and Jordanian laws, Israel stole public and private Palestinian land for settlements under the pretext of “state land”.

Though many Palestinians had paid taxes and cultivated their land for decades, most land wasn’t registered during the Ottoman and British occupations; in 1968, Israel stopped the process of land registration and declared any unregistered land as belonging to the Israeli government.

Settlements on “state land” often expand into surrounding, privately owned, Palestinian land.

As an occupying power, Israel does not own the West Bank and is not permitted under international law to seize land in this manner.

Why the locations of settlements matter

Settlements are scattered across the West Bank in a way that makes a contiguous Palestinian state impossible, while in Jerusalem the Israeli government has built settlements around the city to consolidate control over it.

These “ring neighbourhoods” are a set of major settlement blocs to the north, east and south of the Jerusalem, which Israel hopes to annex to its state.

The ring settlements have effectively cut off the West Bank’s north from the south, impeding the ability of Palestinians to travel between cities in a normal fashion.

The building of these Jewish settlements around the city was not random but rather tells of a deeper Israeli political aim.

After the 1967 war and the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, the mayor of the contested city, said in 1968: “The object is to ensure that all of Jerusalem remains forever a part of Israel. If this city is to be our capital, then we have to make it an integral part of our country, and we need Jewish inhabitants to do that.”

Indeed, Israel formalised its annexation of the eastern half of the city in 1980 when it passed the Jerusalem Law, claiming that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel”, in violation of international law, which states that the city should be administered by the UN for its importance to the three Abrahamic religions.

The purpose was to seal the fate of Jerusalem and thwart negotiations over the city in any future agreement.

The woman who first introduced the Jerusalem Law to the Israeli parliament, Geula Cohen, also believes that Israel could annex the entire West Bank “if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wills it”.

Israeli lawmakers are now making moves to annex three large settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank to the Israeli-defined boundaries of Jerusalem.

The so-called “Greater Jerusalem bill” would see the addition of 140,000 Jewish Israelis who live in these settlements to the population of Jerusalem, to ensure a Jewish majority in the city.

“The government will approve the Greater Jerusalem law that will strengthen the eternal capital Jerusalem – demographically and geographically,” Yoav Kish, the Knesset member (MK) who submitted the proposal for the bill, said on Twitter.

A man places the Palestinian flag on the controversial Israeli separation wall, with Israeli settlements showing in the background. Source: [REUTERS/Ammar Awad]

In 2004, Israel began building the separation wall, which was meant to provide “security” for Israelis by dividing between the West Bank and Israel following the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

Israel has however used the wall to annex more land to its borders and has built it around some of the largest settlements in the West Bank, placing them on the “Israeli side”.

Some 85 percent of the wall falls inside the West Bank, and not on the Green Line. Palestinians have therefore aptly described the wall as an “annexation wall”.

In 2009, the Jerusalem municipality adopted a master plan intended “to guide and outline the city’s development in the next decades”. The vision, as stated in the plan, is to create a ratio of 70 percent Israeli Jews to 30 percent Palestinians in the city.

Does Israel hope to annex the West Bank as well?

While many Israeli members of parliament hope to annex the entire West Bank – which they call by its biblical name, Judea and Samaria – there is a fear that bringing the territory into the boundaries of Israel would upset the population ratio by tipping the demographic balance in favour of the Palestinians in the country.

Annexing the West Bank would mean giving the 3.1 million Palestinians who live there Israeli citizenship and extending Israeli law, instead of martial law, to the area. Many see this as “an end to the Jewish state”, as Palestinians would outnumber Jewish Israelis.

But the growing settlement enterprise across the West Bank brings this possibility closer to reality every day.

Map shows Area C (in dark brown), and the route of the separation wall, which Israel has used to annex parts of the West Bank to East Jerusalem

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

For some Israeli right-wing ministers, the annexation of Area C – which makes up 60 percent of the West Bank and is subject to total Israeli control – is a more realistic aim for the time being.

All the settlements are located in Area C, where some 300,000 Palestinians live – a figure consistently under-reported by Israeli politicians. Annexing the territory would mean that Israel could absorb the maximum amount of land with the least number of Palestinians.

The settlements in the West Bank are already connected to East Jerusalem and Israel through a series of Jewish-only roads that give the settlers the luxury of crossing the Green Line without having to pass through Palestinian population centres – as though they live in one single state.

The situation in Area C, where Israel consistently acts to minimise Palestinian presence through home demolitions, displacement, theft of resources and refusing to grant building permits, amounts to de facto annexation.

Quotes from Israeli politicians on annexation

How do they impact Palestinians?

Besides being built illegally on private and public Palestinian land, settlements impact the day-to-day life of Palestinians in many ways.

In 2016, the UN found that the economy of the occupied Palestinian territories would be twice as large if the 50-year occupation were lifted.

Israel’s policies of occupation and settlement have come to be seen as a purposeful strategy of de-development to weaken resistance to military rule and thwart attempts to build a successful Palestinian state.

Theft of resources

The settlements have only been able to thrive through severe economic exploitation of the occupied West Bank at the expense of the natives.

While the majority of the Palestinian population in the West Bank live in Areas A and B, the infrastructure upon which their livelihood depends either lies in or crosses into Area C.

Close to half of the Biet Owwa village (pictured) lies in Area C and has been severely affected by the settlements, checkpoints and the separation wall surrounding it. [5:28] Source: [REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma]

The area encompasses the territory’s water resources, most fertile pasture and agricultural land, as well as mining and mineral extraction resources and tourist sites.

Palestinian access to Area C, some 60 percent of the West Bank, is either completely prohibited or highly restricted, causing an annual loss of $3.4bn to the economy.

Israel controls some 90 percent about six times more w of the water resources

Israeli settlers use about six times more water than the 3.1 million Palestinians in the West Bank do.

Freedom of movement and the separation wall

Israel uses various methods to hinder Palestinian movement in the West Bank for the protection of Israeli settlers.

Palestinians cross through the Israeli Qalandia military checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah Source: [REUTERS/Ammar Awad]

  • By the end of 2016, there were 572 obstacles to the free movement of Palestinians, including military checkpoints and roadblocks, in the occupied West Bank.
  • The separation wall has physically separated Palestinian communities from one another and added hours to otherwise short commutes.
  • Palestinians in certain areas must cross a checkpoint to enter and exit their villages.

Settler violence

Due to the close proximity of settlements to Palestinian homes, friction and violence between settlers and Palestinians is a near-daily reality.

A Palestinian boy sits on his bicycle as he looks at a torched car in the Palestinian village of Zubeidat in the Jordan Valley in 2013. Source: [REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman]

  • In the first half of 2017, the UN documented 89 incidents in which Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property.
  • The main forms of violence by Israeli settlers include throwing stones at Palestinian homes and vehicles, physically assaulting Palestinians, uprooting or damaging olive trees, vandalising property, or setting fire to agricultural lands.
  • In 2016, more than 1,500 Palestinian olive trees were damaged or uprooted by settlers, in addition to 2.5 million trees uprooted since 1967.
  • The overwhelming majority of complaints filed against settler violence pass without any punishment of the perpetrators.

Home demolitions

While building homes for settlers, Israel employs a policy of home demolitions to restrict the expansion of Palestinian communities on the pretext that homes were built without necessary permits, while refusing to issue them.

A Palestinian girl cries as she walks past her family’s house after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers in Om Ajaj village, north of the occupied West Bank city of Jericho Source: [REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini]

  • Since 1967, Israeli authorities have demolished over 27,000 Palestinian homes in the occupied territory.
  • Between 2000 and 2007, Israeli authorities rejected more than 94 percent of permit requests in Area C.
  • Demolitions of homes and other structures that forcibly displace Palestinians may amount to war crimes.

Trump’s Deadly Embrace Of Israel

Thanks to Trump’s forcing of a UN vote, it is now more clear than ever before that pretty much no one outside of Washington and Israel recognizes Israel’s right to the entire city.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Donald Trump is doing a real job on Israel, specifically a hit job.

His most recent action — that United Nations vote on Jerusalem in which exactly seven countries in the entire world stood with Israel and the United States in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — made Israel look as isolated as South Africa at the height of apartheid. Not even Donald Trump’s (empty) threat to cut off foreign aid to any country which voted against the US/Israeli position could persuade even the major recipients of that aid to vote his way.

Of course the vote was totally unnecessary. No one is seriously challenging Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, with even Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt only managing the most ritualistic protest every few months or so. Israel’s illegal (according to the United Nations) hold on every inch of Jerusalem was totally secure.

Not so much now. Thanks to Trump’s forcing of a UN vote, it is now more clear than ever before that pretty much no one outside of Washington and Israel recognizes Israel’s right to the entire city. Whenever negotiations resume (probably after the next war, if the historic pattern holds), Jerusalem will undoubtedly be at the top of issues that must be resolved. Actually, resolution of the issue is not that difficult; the western (Jewish) part of the city will go to the Israelis and the eastern (Muslim) part of the city will go to the Palestinians. The Holy Sites will be internationalized and belong exclusively to neither side but rather to all sides.

Of course, this is the last thing the Netanyahu government wants but, thanks to Trump, this is what it (or a successor government) is going to get. Score one for the Palestinians thanks to Trump.

The other big victory Trump handed the Palestinians was destroying, hopefully once and for all, the idea that the United States can mediate between Israelis and Palestinians. As journalist and author Clayton Swisher wrote this month in The National Interest, American mediation efforts, both the mediation and the mediators themselves, have been dedicated not to achieving peace but to advancing Israel’s interests. The very idea that the United States whose Middle East policies are essentially written by Israel’s lobby (AIPAC) can even pretend to be neutral is absurd. That is why Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have achieved almost nothing; the Americans always had their thumbs, actually both hands, on the scale.

But now, thanks to Trump’s ridiculous Jerusalem effort and his appointment of a negotiating team led by his settlement supporting son-in-law Jared Kushner, the whole idea of U.S. mediation is dead, a very bad joke. In the future, any credible negotiations will have to be mediated by the European Union, the United Nations, or something like the P-5 Plus 1 grouping (the 5 permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) that succeeded in achieving the Iran nuclear deal. President Mahmoud Abbas says that the days of Palestinians relying on the United States are over.

As for Israel’s standing in general, I heard the best analysis of that from a former top official at AIPAC who remains close to the organization. “Trump is a disaster for us. Essentially what he has done has fused Israel and its interests with himself. The world despises Trump and American Jews not only dislike him but fear the anti-semitism and racism he has incited. The Trump-Israel linkage has turned Israel into a cause for the 10 percent of Jews who are Orthodox and right-wing evangelical Christians. AIPAC is worried and should be. Israel was a consensus issue. Now it’s support comes mostly from the right.”

It’s true. Israel has to worry about essentially being identified in the eyes of the world with the most unpopular president in American history. Just two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was president and Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister of Israel, things could not have been more different. Israel was pursuing peace and its prime minister was perhaps the most popular foreign leader in the world (more heads of states gathered for his funeral than had been together for any event since John F. Kennedy’s rites in 1963). Israel days of isolation seemed over.

Now they are back with Israel moving into the status of international pariah. Much of the credit for that sad turn of events belongs to every prime minister who succeeded the martyred Rabin (especially Netanyahu), all of whom favored screwing the Palestinians over negotiating fairly with them. But plenty of the blame belongs to Donald Trump, that self-proclaimed friend of Israel who has it locked in a deadly embrace.

Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas retires after criticism over rally

The first African-American police chief of Charlottesville, Virginia, abruptly retired Monday, about two weeks after a scathing independent review criticized his “slow-footed response” to violence at a white nationalist rally this summer.

In a brief statement, the city did not give a reason for Chief Al Thomas’ departure, which was effective immediately.

“Nothing in my career has brought me more pride than serving as the police chief for the city of Charlottesville,” Thomas, 50, said in the statement. “I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly.”

Image: Al S. Thomas Jr.
Charlottesville Police Chief Al S. Thomas Jr. Steve Helber file / AP

Earlier this month, a former federal prosecutor hired by the city released a report that was sharply critical of Thomas and other law enforcement officials.

The report from former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy said Thomas’ response was “disappointingly passive” as the violence began to escalate on Aug. 12, the day of the “Unite the Right” rally that drew hundreds of white nationalists from across the county. A woman was killed that day when a car plowed into a crowd of people who were peacefully protesting.

According to the report, as brawling broke out between rally attendees and counterprotesters, Thomas said, “Let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”

Thomas did not recall making that statement, which was cited in accounts by two other police employees, though he confirmed he waited to “see how things played out” before declaring an unlawful assembly, the report said.

“Chief Thomas’ slow-footed response to violence put the safety of all at risk and created indelible images of this chaotic event,” the report said.

The report also said Thomas initially tried to limit Heaphy’s team’s access to certain information by directing subordinates not to answer certain questions and made officers fearful of retaliation for speaking with investigators. And it said Thomas had deleted text messages relevant to the investigation and used a personal email account to conduct some police business, then denied having done so in response to an open records request.

Kevin Martingayle, an attorney for Thomas, has said the chief disputes that he deleted text messages, as well as other parts of the report.

Martingayle said Monday night that Thomas was not accepting interview requests. He declined to offer further comment on his behalf, except for saying that while Thomas was retiring “for now,” he has not ruled out other law enforcement opportunities in the future.

City Manager Maurice Jones called Thomas “a man of integrity who has provided critical leadership for our department since his arrival.”

“We wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” he said in the statement.

Deputy Police Chief Gary Pleasants will guide the department until an interim chief is formally appointed within the next week.

A veteran of the Air Force, Thomas was appointed police chief in April 2016. Before joining the Charlottesville Police Department, Thomas had served as the police chief in Lexington, Virginia, since 2010. Prior to that, he spent 20 years with the Lynchburg Police Department.

Image: Violent Clashes Erupt at "Unite The Right" Rally In Charlottesville
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” clash with police as they are forced out of Lee Park after the “Unite the Right” rally was declared an unlawful gathering. Chip Somodevilla file / Getty Images

Thomas had not publicly discussed plans to step down or retire. He spoke earlier this month at a press conference, saying he was committed to implementing the recommendations in Heaphy’s report.

“This community needs leadership now more than ever before. It’s not a time for finger-pointing — it’s a time to come together,” he said.

Some residents have called for Thomas to resign or be fired. Others said he was unfairly bearing the brunt of the criticism.

“There’s certainly more than enough blame to be passed around throughout this whole fiasco of the summer,” activist Don Gathers said at a recent city council meeting.

Things “they” don’t teach you in school

On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the United States Navy research ship, the USS Liberty. If you are in school, be sure to ask your teachers why this is not taught. Also, think about why this incident was covered up and the United States never responded with military action.

During the Six-Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attack the USS Liberty in international waters off Egypt’s Gaza Strip. The intelligence ship, well-marked as an American vessel and only lightly armed, was attacked first by Israeli aircraft that fired napalm and rockets at the ship. The Liberty attempted to radio for assistance, but the Israeli aircraft blocked the transmissions. Eventually, the ship was able to make contact with the U.S. carrier Saratoga, and 12 fighter jets and four tanker planes were dispatched to defend the Liberty. When word of their deployment reached Washington, however, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered them recalled to the carrier, and they never reached the Liberty. The reason for the recall remains unclear.

Back in the Mediterranean, the initial air raid against the Liberty was over. Nine of the 294 crewmembers were dead and 60 were wounded. Suddenly, the ship was attacked by Israeli torpedo boats, which launched torpedoes and fired artillery at the ship. Under the command of its wounded captain, William L. McGonagle, the Liberty managed to avert four torpedoes, but one struck the ship at the waterline. Heavily damaged, the ship launched three lifeboats, but these were also attacked–a violation of international law. Failing to sink the Liberty, which displaced 10,000 tons, the Israelis finally desisted. In all, 34 Americans were killed and 171 were wounded in the two-hour attack. In the attack’s aftermath, the Liberty managed to limp to a safe port.

Liberty survivors, and some former U.S. officials, believe that the attack was deliberate, staged to conceal Israel’s pending seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, which occurred the next day. The ship’s listening devices would likely have overheard Israeli military communications planning this controversial operation. Captain McGonagle was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic command of the Liberty during and after the attack.

USS_Liberty

USS Liberty attacked by Israel

That is not a name & Ugly Jewish names concealed

As most visitors may have noticed, we have recently expanded our scope to other scumbags such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jewish Defense League, etc. Antifa have been hiding under their rocks more and more, as they are easily the most hated terrorist group in existence today. The Antifa cowards are finding less and less safe spaces and because of that, we are going to use our resources for what we deem to be more interesting.

With that said, I’d like to introduce you to a new segment we are starting titled THAT IS NOT A NAME. Simply put, we are going to list the “names” of individuals that are humorous or just plain stupid and hopefully you will get a laugh or two as well.

 

Ha’Sean TreshonHa HaClinton-Dix – Safety for the Green Bay Packers. Sorry, but neither Ha’Sean or Treshon are real names.

Pilot Inspektor Lee – Son of actor Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl). Trying to outdo jibberish “African-American” names, sorry but Pilot and Inspektor are not real names.

Ocean Whitaker – Son of Black actor Forest Whitaker. Sorry crazy eyes, but an Ocean is a body of water, not a real name.

Jermajesty Jackson – Son of Jermaine Jackson. As if good ole’ Michael Jackson wasn’t bat shit crazy enough, Jermajesty is not a real name.

Boomquifa is not a real name.

Precious is an adjective and a noun, but it is not a real name.

DeShawn is not a real name.

 

We’ll also poke fun as some famous Jews that changed their names:

Winona Ryder – born Winona Laura Horowitz

Gene Wilder – born Jerome Silberman

Barry Manilow  – born Barry Alan Pincus

Mickey Rooney – born Joseph Yule

Bob Dylan – born Robert Zimmerman

Jason Alexander – born Jay Scott Greenspan

Jane Seymour – born Joyce Frankenberg

Alan King – born Irwin Kniberg

Lorne Green – born Chaim Leibowiz

Kirk Douglas – born Issur Danielovitch Demsky

Woody Allen – born Allen Konigsberg

Elliott Gould – born Elliott Goldstein

Lauren Bacall – born Betty Joan Perske

George Burns – born Nathan Birnbaum

Michael Caine – born Maurice Micklewhite

Joan Rivers – born  Joan Molinsky

Albert Brooks – born Albert Einstein

Michael Landon – born Eugene Michael Orowitz

Tony Randall – born Sidney Rosenberg

Natalie Portman – born Natalie Hershlag

Ralph Lauren – born Ralph Lifshitz

John Denver – born Henry John Deutschendorf

Mel Brooks – born Melvin Kaminsky

Tony Curtis – born Bernie Schwartz

And I’ll end this first segment by telling you that Tyrone was originally a White person name, although it’s hard not to visualize every big Black Coon’s name as being Tyrone. Tyrone  is actually a county in Ireland.

Southern Poverty Law Center Gets Creative to Label ‘Hate Groups’

Principled conservatives are lumped together with bigots.

This is an actual hate group. It shouldn’t be lost in a list of 900.

Source: Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Family Research Council a “hate group” because of its orthodox position on homosexuality, and its occasionally incendiary defenses of that position.

In 2012, Floyd Corkins showed up at the Family Research Council headquarters with a gun.

I don’t mean to imply that these two things were connected. I’m telling you that they were connected. We know because the shooter told the FBI where he got the idea.

Conservatives have used this to try to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. But the sad truth is that if you criticize someone, there’s always some small chance that an unstable person will read your criticism and decide its subject needs killing. The shooting is still not the fault of the writer, but the fault of the shooter.

(Just in case it helps, I interrupt this column to point out that you should not shoot anyone I write about, or anyone I don’t write about, or anyone.)

Also, you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability in order to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.

Some of the groups named are what anyone would think of as a hate group, like, you know, the Ku Klux Klan. But other entries are a festival of guilt-by-association innuendo about people with at best a tangential relationship to the target institution, and whose statements fall well short of blanket group-calumny or calls for violence. Or the center offers bizarrely shifting rationales that suggest that the staff started with the target they wanted to deem hateful, and worked backward to the analysis.

I spent a day diving down the rabbit hole of one of the listings on the hate group, for the Ruth Institute, a small nonprofit that thinks the sexual revolution was a giant mistake. The Ruth Institute does seem to have a couple of marginally attached figures who have at some point theorized an unsupported connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. But however wrongheaded and insulting this may be, by itself, it hardly merits branding the whole organization a “hate group.” And a lot of the other “evidence” for this designation is simply … well, fully deserving of those contemptuous quotation marks.

Let’s look at how the center justified dubbing the Ruth Institute a hate group:

  1. One link presents the Ruth Institute’s president, Jennifer Roback Morse, as having offered the “race-baiting” comment that President Barack Obama was “more gay than he is black” — an assertion that turns out to be an out-of-context quotation of an obvious verbal slip during a radio interview. That link also asserts that the Ruth Institute “reprinted a column blasting the LGBT movement’s ‘mythology of grievance and sexual oppression’”; in fact, the column is on the broader topic of the sexual revolution, not just LGBT activism, and the “mythology” refers to the (true) fact that many of the landmark legal cases that paved the revolution’s legal path, including Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, were not entirely what they seemed. 1
  2. That same source claims that “The Ruth Institute even reprinted a column which attempted to link the Lawrence decision to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal” — referring to a column about legal trends in which Lawrence is mentioned only in passing, as an example of the weakening of community moral standards as a basis for law. (Whether or not you think it was a good idea, this weakening has indisputably occurred, and the Lawrence case was a landmark exhibit.)
  3. The SPLC also criticizes Morse (a Catholic) for calling homosexuality “intrinsically disordered,” which I grant does sound gratuitously insulting to non-Catholics. But this is in fact a technical term in Catholic theology which also covers things heterosexuals frequently get up to. Disagree with it (and Catholic sexual teaching) as you will, it is not by itself evidence of a special animus toward homosexuals.

If misspeaking in a radio interview, quoting the Vatican and promoting articles like these on your nonprofit’s blog are what now earn a spot alongside the Klan on a list of hate groups, then it may be time for the Southern Poverty Law Center to close up shop, because their work is largely done.

Unfortunately the center’s hate group designation remains extremely influential. Recently, a payment servicer cut off the Ruth Institute because of that “hate group” label. This piqued my interest, because I knew Morse’s work on liberty and the family from long before the gay marriage debate dawned on the political horizon. I’d always found it interesting and thought provoking, and I was surprised to see her lumped in with Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. My astonishment seems to have been well-founded.

“Hate group” is, of course, not a scientific term with a precise definition. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s entries do highlight a lot of language about various groups that may not strike me as the equivalent of Klan rhetoric, but does make me uncomfortable. And who am I to say that “discomfort” is a better characterization than “hate speech”? In criticizing them, am I not committing the same sin of which I accuse the SPLC, trying to leverage my platform to curtail speech I don’t like through unofficial censure?

Well, yes, indeed, the SPLC has a perfect right to decide what they mean by “hate group.”

Unfortunately, it also has an incentive to apply this term broadly. When people see that the SPLC lists over 900 hate groups — 900! — this seems like good reason to panic. And maybe write a check to the SPLC.

Even fairly large institutions that theoretically have ample resources to investigate the SPLC’s list often rely on it, to their detriment. CNN published the list under the headline “Here Are All the Hate Groups Active in Your Area,” then had to alter the story upon realizing that this was effectively joining the SPLC in branding local churches and conservative nonprofits as “hate groups.” Guidestar, which rates nonprofits, added the SPLC designations to its listings, then had to make an embarrassing volte-face when conservatives called them out. Given the increasing tendency of powerful tech companies to flex their muscle against hate groups, we may see more and more institutions unwittingly turned into critics or censors, not just of Nazi propaganda, but also of fairly mainstream ideas.

That’s not just a problem for the groups that will be burdened when the “hate group” label is slapped on them; it’s also a problem for the rest of us. The broader the definition, the more Americans will be swept up under that label, and the less sustainable it will be. If media and other institutions use the label, they will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors. Worse still, those readers and donors will be unable to reliably discern the actual hate groups that still exist.

For exist they do. They are tiny relative to the population, they are marginal, and they have little power. As political scientist Justin Murphy says, overt racism “likely appears larger than it is, especially to progressives, precisely because it has never been less common in American history,” making the few die-hards stand out in sharp relief. The same is probably true of other hateful “isms.” But even a handful of hate group members is too many, and it would be useful to have data on their numbers. Instead, we’re getting data that tells us little about the problem of hate groups, and a whole lot about the SPLC’s agenda and fundraising.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

  1. For those who are interested in the details: Griswold, the case that struck down birth control restrictions and arguably started the wave of sexual revolution legislation, involved a dead-letter law that was rarely enforced; Planned Parenthood had to open a clinic in New Haven and get the cops to raid it in order to have standing to sue to overturn it. Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, claimed for years that her pregnancy was a result of rape, making her the perfect test case in a country that is reluctant to endorse abortion except in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother; she later recanted that claim. Lawrence v. Texas, the case that struck down sodomy laws, appears to have involved two men who were not actually having sex when the cops showed up; had they pleaded not guilty, they might well have walked, denying activists the test case they wanted. Instead they pleaded “no contest” and kept the case alive.

To contact the author of this story:
Megan McArdle at mmcardle3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg.net