#WarCrimes Cui Bono? BP Extracted £15 Billion of Iraqi Oil After British Invasion! #BP #Shell #ExxonMobil #NotInOurNames!

BP Extracted £15 Billion of Iraqi Oil After British Invasion | MATT KENNARD | Declassified U.K. | 22 Mar 2023

Despite UK ministers denying the war was about oil, the flagship British company reaped a bonanza upon its return to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, Declassified has found.

A British soldier patrols the Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq, 1 February 2005. BP was awarded the contract to be lead operator of the field four years later. (Photo: Andrew Parsons/AFP via Getty)
  • BP returned to Iraq in 2009 after a 35-year absence and was awarded a significant interest in the country’s largest oil field near British-occupied Basra
  • BP has pumped 262m barrels of Iraqi oil since 2011
  • Sir John Sawers, the UK’s first special representative to Iraq after invasion, has banked £1.1m since joining BP’s board in 2015
  • Other UK oil “supermajor” Shell also won Iraq contract in 2009 as lead operator developing “super-giant” Majnoon oil field

BP has pumped oil worth £15.4bn in Iraq since 2011 when it began production in the country for the first time in nearly four decades, new analysis shows.

The new information comes on the 20-year anniversary of the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, which was judged to be illegal by the UN. However, neither US president George W Bush nor British prime minister Tony Blair, the leaders who prosecuted the war, have been subjects of a criminal investigation. 

The invasion began in March 2003 and unleashed a catastrophic humanitarian disaster with an estimated 655,000 Iraqis killed in the first three years of conflict, or 2.5% of the population. 

It was widely denounced as a war for oil on the part of the US and UK: Iraq holds the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves. Iraq had no connection to the September 11th terrorist attacks which had taken place 18 months before and initiated the so-called “War on Terror”. 

The data on BP’s post-invasion production in Iraq comes from the company’s annual reports and was calculated using the average annual price for a barrel of oil for each year of production. 

From 2011-22, BP pumped 262m barrels of Iraqi oil.

Blair Petroleum

The company started producing 31,000 barrels of Iraqi oil a day in 2011, but that number had increased rapidly to 123,000 barrels a day by 2015.

By 2020, BP produced more oil from Iraq than its whole European operation, including Britain’s North Sea.

In the months preceding the 2003 invasion, BP had been dubbed “Blair Petroleum” due to the British prime minister’s intensive lobbying on behalf of the company. 

Both BP and Shell have histories in Iraq going back a century, and the country’s oil industry was to a significant extent dominated by the two British companies throughout much of the 20th century. 

The Iraq Petroleum Company, which had a virtual monopoly on the country’s oil production in the four decades up to the 1960s, was headquartered in Oxford Street in London. BP and Shell together owned 48%, before it was nationalised in 1972 and its concessions expropriated. 

‘Accessing resources’

But BP returned to Iraq for the first time since the 1970s six years after the British invasion. “We continually seek to access resources and in 2009 this included Iraq,” the company stated at the time.  

The new opportunity was a contract won from a state-owned company to expand production from the Rumaila field near Basra, one of the largest oil fields in the world. The British Army was at the time occupying Basra and surrounding areas in southern Iraq.

The Rumaila field, which extends 50 miles from end to end, had originally been “discovered” by BP in 1953 and is the largest in Iraq.

The initial Bush administration plan was for the Iraqi government to sign a new oil law which would have indirectly privatised Iraq’s oil through an unconventional type of contracting called “production sharing agreements” (PSA). 

These would have allowed foreign oil companies to sign contracts with the government to develop specific areas of Iraq’s petroleum sector in exchange for a share of the oil profits. 

But the Iraqi constitution requires the parliament to ratify laws, and because of the internal dynamics in the country at the time the parliament ended up being controlled by nationalist parties with anti-occupation politics. 

The Iraqi government had to revert to an older law that only allows for “technical service contracts” (TSC) which kept the oil under Iraqi ownership while giving foreign oil companies a flat rate in exchange for services.

BP’s investment in Rumaila took the form of a TSC, which became effective in December 2009. In the deal BP would recover costs, irrespective of oil price, and get a fee per barrel of production above a defined threshold. 

However, the company reported “the technical service contract (TSC) under which we operate in Iraq functions as a PSA [production sharing agreement]”.

‘Lead contractor’

BP was the lead contractor on the Rumaila development, with a 38% working interest. The China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) held 37% with the remaining 25% held by the Iraqi government.

BP said, alongside CNPC, it intended to invest $15bn over the next 20 years to increase production in Rumaila to nearly 3m barrels per day, or 3% of global oil production. 

At the time, Rumaila already produced half of Iraq’s oil exports and comprised five producing reservoirs. BP together with its partners would refurbish the wells and facilities.

In its first year of operation, BP increased production from the Rumaila field by 10% above the rate initially agreed with the Iraqi oil ministry, meaning the company became eligible for a share of the oil produced. Over the following decade, BP would extract an average of 65,000 barrels of oil a day from Rumaila. 

In 2014, BP increased its working interest in the Rumaila TSC to 48% and the contract was extended by five years to 2034. 

“Despite instability and sectarian violence in the north and west of the country, BP operations are continuing in the south,” the company reported

In 2015, it reported that “we continue to build relationships in BP’s historic heartlands of the Middle East, with growing opportunities” including in Iraq, where BP production hit a high of 123,000 barrels a day. Iraq was now designated one of BP’s “principal areas of production”.

UNDER PUTIN, MI6-LINKED BP EXTRACTED RUSSIAN OIL WORTH £271 BILLION

READ MORE 

Special representative to Iraq

One figure who has done well out of BP is Sir John Sawers, the UK’s first special representative to Iraq in 2003, who joined the company’s board in 2015. 

Over the following seven years, Sawers has earnt £1.1m in fees from the company. His BP shareholding was also worth £135,000 last year, up 181% from when he joined the company. 

Sawers joined BP as a non-executive director in May 2015 having apparently been “identified” the previous year as he stepped down as head of MI6, Britain’s external intelligence agency. 

“John brings long experience of international politics and security that are so important to our business,” the company reported. Sawers spent the bulk of his career in diplomacy “representing the British government around the world”, BP added. Owing to this experience, BP made Sawers chair of its Geopolitical Committee. 

Sawers was close to prime minister Tony Blair in the period around the invasion of Iraq, serving as his foreign policy adviser from 1999-2001. In May 2003, Blair appointed Sawers Britain’s first special representative to post-invasion Iraq. 

The role of the special representative was “to work with Iraqis, with Coalition partners and with other representatives of the international community to help and guide the political processes leading to the establishment of an interim administration.” 

Sawers then became political director and main board member of the Foreign Office from 2003-07. His influence in Iraq continued as he returned to the country representing the British government in October 2005 in the aftermath of the successful constitutional referendum. 

BP’s John Sawers (L), then director-general for political affairs at the UK Foreign Office, speaks during a joint press conference with Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari in the Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq, 25 October 2005. (Photo: Sabah Arar/Getty)

Close to MI6

It appears Sawers had been an MI6 officer earlier in his career. In 2009, when he was appointed head of MI6, the BBC commented: “As Downing Street coyly noted, Sir John is ‘rejoining’ the SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] – no details were given about his previous career in MI6.”

BP has long been close to MI6. In a 2007 Mail on Sunday article, which was subsequently taken down, a company whistleblower claimed “BP was working closely with MI6 at the highest levels to help it to win business…and influence the political complexion of governments.”

Renegade former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson wrote in his 2001 memoir that BP has “MI6 liaison officers who receive relevant CX [intelligence]”.

Sawers’ predecessor as head of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, was the senior intelligence official responsible for Tony Blair’s notorious dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction produced in the run-up to the invasion. Scarlett “proposed using the document to mislead the public about the significance of Iraq’s banned weapons”. 

Under his relevant skills section, BP reported Sawers’ “management of reform at MI6 also complements BP’s focus on value and simplification.”

Shell’s super giant oil field

The other UK “supermajor” oil company, Shell, also re-entered Iraq in 2009 when it “secured an important position” in the country with a government contract for developing the Majnoon field, again close to Basra in British-occupied southern Iraq. 

The company described it as “one of the world’s super-giant oil fields” with an estimated 38bn barrels of oil.

Shell was awarded a 20-year TSC as lead operator with a 45% interest in developing Majnoon. Malaysian oil company Petronas would hold 30% with the Iraqi state holding the remaining 25%. 

Production was expected to reach 1.8m barrels of oil a day, Shell said, up from the 45,000 it was producing at the time. Shell also said the field had “additional exploration potential”.

Also in 2009, Shell was awarded a 15% share in a contract for the development of the West Qurna 1 field – again near Basra – as part of an ExxonMobil-led consortium. 

This contract was renegotiated in 2014 and the government share was reduced from 25% to 5% and dispersed to other shareholders, including Shell.

However, in 2018, Shell sold out its now 20% interest in the West Qurna 1 field, and its 45% interest in Majnoon field, to the Iraqi government.

BP and Sir John Sawers did not respond to requests for comment. 


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Sumoud: صمود: Steadfast #Palestinians uphold traditional #Ramadan rites – despite being under Illegal Occupation! Ramadan Mubarak! ☽

Palestinian Heritage: Palestinian traditional Ramadan rituals | Wafa Aludaini GAZA | THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTRE | 23 Mar 2023

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims from all corners of the globe come together to celebrate. Each country has its own traditional rituals. In Palestine, Ramadan is more than just a month of fasting and worship; the month is an important opportunity to connect with the stolen culture of Palestine’s ancestral heritage. Although the occupation’s restrictions and technology impact the normally festive atmosphere of the holy month, Palestinians still preserve the practices and traditions which make the celebrations uniquely Palestinian. 


 
In the days leading up to the announcement that the month of Ramadan has commenced, Palestinians begin to prepare. Streets, mosques, homes are decorated with lanterns and lighting, and merchants prepare their shops with several kind of dates, sweets, pickles, juices and more.

Ola Abu Salim, a mother and artist used to design and produce Ramadan lanterns from her home in Deir Albalah town, gifting to her neighbors and relatives, but Ola, whose house is decorated with many kinds of lanterns in diverse sizes and shapes, confided to me: “I recently started to make big number of lanterns and sell them to shops and merchants to make a living for my family amid the ongoing dire situation in the blockaded Gaza (Strip).”

Ramadan Vibes
During Ramadan, family gatherings are prioritized and iftar meals are shared with entire extended families. Worship during Ramadan is essential. The late evening prayer, known as the Tarawih, is held an hour after eating the Ramadan iftar. Men and women perform prayers in mosques. Om Ahmed, 66, says “During Ramadan I go with my husband, sons, daughters and my granddaughters to the mosque.” She tells me, “We like walking to the mosque all together, we can see joy on the kids’ faces because we can gather in the mosques only during Ramadan and Eid.” She continues, “We enjoy watching fireworks at nights. In the past it was simple and we made handmade fireworks with simple things. Now it’s different, with more lighting.” Om Ahmed also recalled the atmosphere of Ramadan 40 years ago: “I used to cook and send a dish to my neighbor from what I cooked, and my neighbor sends me the same. The social and family relations were closer and stronger in the past than these days amid using the technology and the internet so people contact online more than in person.” 

A Musaharati is a drummer who wears a mask, beats a drum, and chants Ramadan songs as they roam neighborhoods in the early morning to wake the people up for Suhur, the pre-dawn meal before the daily fast begins. Despite the availability of alarms via mobile devices, the custom continues in most Palestinian cities and towns. Sometimes the Musaharati is one person, sometimes a group. It’s customary for people to offer gifts to the drummers to thank them for their efforts to wake them up. On the night of the announcement of the advent of the holy month, Palestinian children gather in the neighborhoods awaiting the proclamation that the fast has begun.

The audio-visual and print media outlets also devote a great deal of spaces during Ramadan to advise and support those who fast.  

Ramadan feast
The Palestinian holiday table offers a diverse range of popular and traditional dishes such as molokhia, sumaghiyyeh, fatteh, akoub, jereesheh, musakhan and maqlouba. No meal is left without pickles especially for Gazans. As for beverages, Palestinians prepare juices, particularly of tamarind, almonds, liquorice and carob. People also consume plenty of the qatayef desert.

Another common practice is “Takaya,” where groups of people cook and provide hot iftar meals for low-income families. Muhammad Astal, 52 a Palestinian from Gaza “In the past, I used to help my father during Ramadan to prepare and distribute Ramadan Takaya for the poor and the orphaned families. And now I serve it by myself after my father passed away 2 years ago, for the sake of taking Ajr and helping people.”

Fears grow of renewed escalation
Ramadan comes this year amidst growing fears of rising tensions and escalations in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza and the occupation jails. In the occupied city of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque has in the past been the main center of worship for all Palestinians but now it has become impossible to reach for those coming from outside the city. The Israeli military checkpoints, the deployment of occupation soldiers on the roads, and the closure of the entrances to the city to Muslim visitors; all of these measures have made the Holy City inaccessible to Palestinians from outside of Jerusalem. Nevertheless, many Palestinians always succeed in praying in the Old City, bypassing all barriers. In the occupation prison, Palestinian detainees have announced that they will go on hunger strike with the start of Ramadan, a step that comes after several protest steps refusing the new inhumane practices imposed upon them including banning them from fresh bread, medical treatment and Canteen access.

And despite all of the occupation’s harassments which increase during Ramadan, the Palestinian custom of celebrating Ramadan remains. 

  • Wafa Aludaini is a Gaza-based journalist and activist.
    She contributed this article to the Palestinian Information Center.

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#WarCrime of the Century #IRAQ #RegimeChange #DrDavidKelly #Bush #Blair #ICC: 20 years on from the disastrous US-led invasion of Iraq!

20 years on from the disastrous US-led invasion of Iraq | Shaheer Choudhury | ISLAM21C | 20 Mar 2023

Weapons of mass destruction that simply did not exist, trillions wasted by the US, and over a million killed: we look back on the illegal invasion of Iraq


Helsinki, Finland: a placard with the war criminal and US President, George W. Bush, is held up during an anti-war march, 22 March 2003. Editorial credit: Eric Carlander / shutterstock.com

Today, the world solemnly marked exactly twenty years since the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies commenced one of the bloodiest and protracted invasions of a Muslim country in recent history. In marking this anniversary, we remember the 1.2 million who have perished, and the hundreds of thousands left with physical and mental wounds to this very day. [1] [2]

Many will remember clear as day, when on 17 March 2003, the US President, George W. Bush, made an Address to the Nation. In it, he demanded that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his two sons immediately leave the country.

After giving President Hussein and his children 48 hours to comply, the US began its invasion without so much as a declaration of war. Led by US Army General Tommy Franks under the pathetic code-name, Operation Iraqi Freedom, this was to be the beginning of over two decades of needless societal, economic, and natural resources being ransacked or destroyed. [3]

Excuses for the invasion

Prior to the invasion, the US and its allies – including the United Kingdom under the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair – boldly claimed to have found evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Indeed, during the State of the Union address on 29 January 2002, Bush told members of Congress,

“The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.” [4]

Of course, following the invasion, such lies regarding WMD were rapidly debunked and refuted by international entities. [5]

Crime of the century

Dr. Anas Altikriti, a former hostage negotiator, founder and CEO of the Cordoba Foundation, and key leader in the anti-Iraq war movement, said in exclusive remarks to Islam21c,

“Today, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of, arguably, the crime of the century. An absolute horrendous crime, and I insist on the word ‘crime’, so that what the media pass as a ‘blunder’ is challenged; a crime that was based on a lie, with the complicity of politics and media, in laying the foreground and creating the … public approval for what has evidently become an incredibly horrifying act against an entire nation, arguably even an entire region – one of the most volatile, one of the most difficult regions in the entire world.

“An entire generation of Iraqis have known nothing but sectarianism, hatred, fear, corruption, division, violence, death – they know nothing else; an entire generation of Iraqis. Millions of Iraqis have had to leave their homes, over a million Iraqis have died as a direct result of the invasion and the subsequent occupation of Iraq.

“Billions upon billions, probably in their hundreds of billions, have been siphoned by virtue of corruption, and by virtue of a security sector in Iraq, that is the only booming sector in Iraq. The security sector, simply because politicians taking part in what is a failed political system, have to employ dozens, probably even several dozens of personnel in order to maintain their safety and security. And they move around in convoys of scores of armoured vehicles, each one to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

An indictment and legacy of Bush and Blair

In further blistering remarks, Dr. Altikriti added,

“The situation in Iraq today is an absolute indictment of Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and the world that gave them backing in order to commit their crime against the Iraqi people. The situation in Iraq today, and the squalid conditions politically, from the security point of view, from the social point of view, the squalid conditions that Iraqis must exist and suffer [under], is an absolute indictment of the decision to commit this crime.

“This crime will forever hang round the necks of every single one, of not only the politicians, but also everyone else who clapped them, who encouraged them, who egged them [on], and then went on a campaign to silence any dissenting voices, anyone who dared speak out against this, this crime. And for those who plea innocence because, well they read the reports issued by the intelligence at the time, I state that millions of Brits, including the two million who marched on the streets of London on the 15th of February 2003, they knew better. They knew better.

“And they said this will happen. We said at the time, we wrote at the time, we protested at the time, and said that there will be no good that comes from this war, no good whatsoever. That the Iraqi people will suffer, the country will collapse, and that this will be a scar and a stain on our conscience forever and a day. And it has been.

“Everything that those millions of Britons said will happen, did happen. So why is it, that those who should be smarter, who should be in the know, who should be privy to secrets, evidence, or information, why were they not as smart as the rest of us? What happened in Iraq will be marked down as a war in which, probably militarily, George W. Bush and Tony Blair achieved victory. But one that they set as a condition never ever to be asked about in every single interview they attend, in every single lecture or public appearance that they are present.

“In normal circumstances, military victors should have statues erected in their memory, and in celebration of their feat. But in the case of George Bush and Tony Blair, their legacy is ‘My condition for attending this interview is never ever mention Iraq’. And whatever words they might utter – and they haven’t yet, but whatever words they might utter – in pleading that they only acted upon the intelligence that they were given, the world will condemn them as war criminals, because of whose actions and decisions, millions died. And tens of millions, probably even hundreds of millions, continue to suffer until this very day.

“al-Qaeda in Iraq is the legacy of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. ISIS in Iraq and further afield is the legacy of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. That is something that must be said, time and time and time again, because it is true. Not until the war – this criminal war – was launched, did Iraq ever, ever have even a sign, a smell, of suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, car bombs, let alone criminal organisations such as al-Qaeda or ISIS.

“The sectarian militias who run wild and create havoc and chaos throughout Iraq today are a legacy of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. The division of Iraqis along imagined lines – the lines that were cemented by a media narrative – that Iraqis weren’t one nation, but they were Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds, and that they each needed to stand in line: that is a crime that adds to the crime of war and bloodshed.”

Also read


Notes

[1] https://www.iraqbodycount.org/

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-war-bush-twentieth-anniversary-b2302031.html

[3] https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030317-7.html

[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20090502151928/http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html

[5] https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/7/9/12123022/george-w-bush-lies-iraq-war

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Iraq War Based on Fake Intelligence: “Sexed up” Report on the Death of Weapons Inspector Dr. David Kelly: Lord Hutton Findings challenged by Medical Doctors

Iraq War Based on Fake Intelligence: “Sexed up” Report on the Death of Weapons Inspector Dr. David Kelly: Lord Hutton Findings challenged by Medical Doctors | Dr. C. Stephen Frost, Dr. Christopher Burns-Cox, Dr. David Halpin, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky | Global Research | 19 Mar 2023

Introduction by Michel Chossudovsky

Our thoughts today are with the people of Iraq, whose country was invaded twenty years on March 19, 2003. The destruction and loss of life is beyond description. More than a million deaths have been recorded. 

It is important to analyze the political justification of the invasion of Iraq which was presented to public opinion. The evidence is overwhelming. The justification to wage war on Iraq was based on fake intelligence. War crimes committed at the highest levels of government. 

Smoking Guns

The War narrative which unfolded with Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council was that Saddam possessed “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

The intelligence Dossier presented by Colin Powell to the UNSC emanating from Tony Blair’s cabinet was  fake, confirmed by Dr. Glen Rangwala 

See our earlier article:

Colin Powell and the “The Sloppy Dossier”: Plagiarism and “Fake Intelligence” Used to Justify the 2003 War on Iraq: Copied and Pasted from the Internet into an “Official” British Intel Report

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky and Glen Rangwala, March 18, 2023

The Assassination of Dr. David Kelly

Another important event, which occurred in the wake of the invasion was the assassination of Weapons Inspector Dr. David Kelly. 

Dr. David Kelly was Britain’s foremost expert on biological weapons, with direct access to WMD intelligence on Iraq. In the months leading up to his death, he had become increasingly skeptical regarding Iraq’s alleged WMDs. Dr. David Kelly was found dead on July 18th, 2003. The official position was that he had committed suicide as contained in the Lord Hutton report. 

Lord Hutton was confronted by Drs. Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and  David Halpin, who courageously challenged the official narrative” presented by Lord Hutton on behalf of Tony Blair’s government.

See below the text of the medical doctors entitled “Response to Lord Hutton”. 

The Chronology 

According to  Yassmeen Radif, Matt Roberts and Harry Zacharias in a comprehensive report:

“The basis for this war had been laid out in two distinct dossiers [September 24, 2002 and the February 3, 2003 Dossier]”

The latter was published 2 days prior to Colin Powell’s presentation to the UNSC.

When he began to raise concerns about the integrity of these documents, he would find himself caught in a political storm. Four months later, Kelly was dead.”

March 2002: Prime Minister Tony Blair commissions an Intelligence Dossier about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in four countries.

24 September, 2002. The intelligence dossier described as ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government’ is completed. Dr. David Kelly was involved in this Dossier, providing a historical review of UNSCOM inspections and analysis of “Iraq’s concealment and deception”. He expressed reservations with the September 2002 draft Dossier prior to its release on September 24, 2002: 

“Kelly believed that the wording was not incorrect, but had ‘a lot of spin on it‘”.

3 February 2003. A second Dossier entitled  ‘Iraq – Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation’ was made public.    It would appear that Dr. Kelly was not involved in the drafting of the February 3, 2003 version of the Intelligence Dossier.

5 February 2003. The intelligence Dossier on WMD released on February 3, 2003 was presented by Colin Powell to the UN Security Council.

20 March, 2003. The invasion and bombing of Iraq

22 May, 2003. David Kelly meets journalist Andrew Gilligan ( i.e. in the wake of the invasion which was completed in April 2003). 

15 July 2003. David Kelly was invited to appear before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons pertaining to his meetings with BBC  journalist Gilligan. 

“…His evidence to the committee was that he had not said the things Gilligan had reported his source as saying, and members of the committee came to the conclusion that he had not been the source. Some of the questioning was very precise. The Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay, in particular, used a forceful tone in his cross-examination. … Kelly was deeply upset by his treatment before the Committee (Military History)

17th of July:

Kelly was working as usual at home in Oxfordshire. Media coverage of his public appearance two days before had led many of his friends to send him supportive emails, to which he was responding. …

At about 15:00, Kelly told his wife that he was going for a walk as he did every day. … His wife reported him missing shortly after midnight that night, and he was found early the next morning [18th of July 2023].” (Military History)

The evidence suggests that his alleged “Suicide” was staged.

See statements and analysis of Drs. Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin

The Hutton Report

More than two years later, on November 3, 2006, The Times published a letter by Lord Hutton, in which he attempted to defend his report on Dr. David Kelly’s death.  In the letter, Lord Hutton dwells on the issue of the allegedly “sexed up” intelligence, ignoring the arguably much larger issue of his failure to establish exactly how Dr. David Kelly died.

The inquiry purported to obviate the need for an inquest. Suicide was seemingly assumed from the outset by Lord Hutton, and the Hutton Inquiry descended into establishing who, between the BBC and the Government, was to blame for the suicide of Dr Kelly.  But, crucially, suicide was never proved, either by the Coroner or Lord Hutton, as required by law. 

Whether or not the intelligence was sexed up (itself a serious enough matter) was, as it turned  out, viewed as a side issue.  It was completely missed by the mainstream media that Lord Hutton, who seemingly assumed suicide from the outset, thereby undermining due process, laid himself open to charges of cover-up, by himself “sexing up” his own findings on the cause of Dr David Kelly’s death. 

But, a cover-up of what?  What was so important to hide that such an elaborate cover-up, if that is what it was, was deemed necessary, given the huge inherent risks? 

A response to Lord Hutton’s letter to The Times was hurriedly drafted and submitted to The Times by three distinguished doctors.  However, The Times refused to publish the letter, and declined to give a reason.

We bring to the attention of our readers the text of the letter which the Times refused to publish.

It is important to note that two of the authors of this letter, Drs. C. Stephen Frost and David Halpin (together with Dr Searle Sennett) succeeded in breaking the mainstream media silence on the possibility that Dr David Kelly did not commit suicide, by having a letter published in The Guardian on 27 January 2004 (see link in Annex), the eve of publication of the Hutton Report. 

The letter directly led to the splash headline “Was Dr Kelly Murdered?” in The Evening Standard later the same day, though the doctors had not suggested that. 

Later that evening, despite unprecedentd security to prevent such a leak, the Hutton Report was duly leaked to the Sun.  

Thus, instead of The Evening Standard headline becoming the main story in the mainstream media the next day (the very day on which the Hutton Report was published), the leak to The Sun became the main story. 

Lord Hutton and Tony Blair were said to be incensed by the leak, and an inquiry was immediately ordered to identify the source of the leak. 

Some months later, that inquiry’s report was quietly published and was hardly noticed; it said that it had not been possible to establish the source of the leak.  

Not surprisingly, many suspect that the source of the leak was none other than 10 Downing Street itself.  

The original three doctors were subsequently joined by other doctors, and lawyers, and, as a result, five more letters appeared in The Guardian in 2004, and one in The New Statesman (2 May 2005), just prior to the 2005 General Election.  

Below is the Response to Lord Hutton, by Drs. Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin

The original November 3 letter by Lord Hutton to the Times is reprinted in Annex, together with links (in chronological order) to the texts of the letters of Dr. Frost et al. published in The Guardian and The New Statesman. 

We remain indebted to Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin for having revealed the truth regarding Dr. David Kelly. 

Dr. David Kelly’s Legacy will Live.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 28 November 2008, March 19, 2023


Response to Lord Hutton 

by

Drs. Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin

Dear Sir

Lord Hutton presided over an inquiry which sought to apportion blame between the BBC and the Government for the “suicide” of Dr David Kelly when no “verdict” of suicide had been (and still has not been) reached.  His report was widely labelled a “whitewash”, because he was perceived to apportion that blame unfairly (given the evidence he had heard), all but exonerating the Government, and placing the blame almost entirely on the BBC.  Now, in his letter published in the Times (3 November 2006), he seemingly seeks to defend his report by setting out his case re the minutiae of the “45 minute claim”.

Lord Hutton misses the essential point. What is more, it appears that he was used by the Government to subvert due process in establishing precisely how Dr Kelly died.

We and several other medical colleagues (and lawyers) attempted in a series of six letters published in The Guardian and one in the New Statesman to inform the public, and the mainstream press, that all doctors learn at medical school that, in order to return a “verdict” of “suicide”, a coroner must prove suicide beyond reasonable doubt (a very high level of proof), including  “intent” to commit suicide, also beyond reasonable doubt. If the Coroner cannot achieve the necessary level of proof, he is required by law to return an “open verdict”, assuming that “foul play” has at the outset been excluded in the proper manner.  Unfortunately, there is some doubt as to whether “foul play” was properly excluded in the case of Dr Kelly.

However, disregarding any such failure in such a high-profile death, it is important to understand that the public was invited to believe that Dr Kelly’s death would be better investigated at the Hutton Inquiry than at a coroner’s inquest, when the exact opposite was the case.

Lord Hutton possessed none of the powers normally available to the Coroner.  He could not (and did not) hear evidence under oath, he could not subpoena witnesses, he could not aggressively cross-examine witnesses, and he could not call a jury.  Not enough with that, his inquiry was an “ad hoc” inquiry, not a public inquiry (as the public and the press were led to believe) subject to the provisions of the Public Inquiries Act !921 (itself quietly repealed last year and replaced by the Inquiries Act 2005).  Lord Hutton was invited (and consented) by Lord Falconer (the Lord Chancellor and the Minister for Constitutional Affairs) to conduct an inquiry on the very day that Dr Kelly’s body was allegedly found.

Later, Lord Falconer, used his powers as Lord Chancellor to invoke Section 17a of the 1988 Coroners’ Act and order the Oxfordshire Coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, to “adjourn indefinitely” his inquest.

But, Section 17a had become law on 1 January 2000, largely, it is believed, at the instigation of Lord Falconer.  Its purpose was allegedly to obviate duplication of inquiry following multiple death scenarios (eg train disasters), when the cause of death could to some extent be assumed.  But, Dr Kelly’s death was a solitary death.

In addition, Lord Hutton’s remit and powers (since it was an “ad hoc” inquiry) were determined by Lord Falconer.  Lord Hutton’s remit was extremely narrow (and Lord Hutton seemingly sought to narrow it further), and his powers were very limited, so limited in fact that Lord Hutton could not prove anything, let alone “suicide”.

After all, Lord Hutton was directed by Lord Falconer to do no more than “inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly”, and it appears that establishing the cause of Dr Kelly’s death was not viewed as a priority.  But, the cause of the death should have been THE priority in an inquiry which eventually purported to obviate the need for a full inquest.

Despite all this, the Coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, on 16 March 2004, thought fit to conclude that there was no “exceptional reason” for him to re-open the Inquest, and even deferred to Lord Falconer by saying that he (Lord Falconer) was happy with the findings of Lord Hutton, and then went on to say  “and so am I”.

Given the obvious “insuffiency of inquiry” re the cause of Kelly’s death over which Lord Hutton presided, he (the Coroner) should not have been sharing in Lord Falconer’s happiness.  In addition,  the Coroner was surely extremely unwise to talk to the Mail on Sunday some weeks before his final hearing in March 2004, saying that he wished to achieve “closure” at his coming hearing, and hinting at that stage that he could see no “exceptional reason” to re-open the Inquest.

Apparently, it is unprecedented for judges to discuss publicly their findings, as Lord Hutton has done, not once, but twice.  But, then, it is unprecedented for the Government to lead the public to believe that a “verdict” of suicide has been reached, and the Inquest “closed”, when no such verdict could be reached, and for that reason the Inquest could not be closed.

Dr David Kelly is the first British citizen to be denied an inquest in such circumstances.  Given the clear “insufficiency of inquiry”, regarding the cause of death over which Lord Hutton presided, the Coroner should have re-opened the Inquest.

There are unconfirmed reports that he (the Coroner) now regrets that he did not do so.  It is our view that if the Coroner is not able at this late stage to reverse his decision, a fresh inquest should be ordered.

Yours faithfully

C Stephen Frost,
BSc MB ChB Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (Stockholm, Sweden)

stephen.frost@btinternet.com

 
Christopher Burns-Cox,
MD FRCP

 
David Halpin,
FRCS


ANNEX:

Text of Lord Hutton’s Letter to The Times


Sexed-up means just what it says and no more

From Lord Hutton

The Times, London, 3 November 2006

Sir,

Your summary (report, Nov 1) of my report into the death of Dr David Kelly was too brief to give an entirely accurate description of my finding in respect of the alleged “sexing up” of the September 2002 dossier.

On May 29, 2003, Mr Andrew Gilligan, the BBC defence correspondent, reported (inter alia) on the Today programme the allegation that “the Government probably knew that that 45 figure was wrong, even before it decided to put it in…Downing Street, our source says, a week before publication ordered it to be sexed up, to be made more exciting and more facts to be discovered”.

He went on to say: “Our source says that the dossier, as it was finally published, made the intelligence services unhappy because, to quote the source, he said there was basically unhappiness because it didn’t reflect the considered view they were putting forward”.

In the evidence to my inquiry the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and four other members of the Joint Intelligence Committee stated that the dossier was issued with the full approval of that committee. There was no evidence that the very senior figures in British Intelligence who gave evidence to the inquiry had taken part in a conspiracy with the government to mislead the country by inserting intelligence in the dossier which was known or believed to be wrong. Therefore, I found that the allegation reported by the BBC that “the Government probably knew that the 45 figure was wrong even before it decided to put it in” was unfounded.

In paragraph 220 of the report I stated: “The term ‘sexed-up’ is a slang expression, the meaning of which lacks clarity in the context of a discussion of the dossier. It is capable of two different meanings. It could mean that the dossier was embellished with items of intelligence known or believed to be or unreliable to make the case against Saddam Hussein stronger, or it could mean that while the intelligence contained in the dossier was believed to be reliable, the dossier was drafted in such a way as to make the case against Saddam Hussein as strong as the intelligence contained in it permitted. If the term is used in this latter sense then, because of the drafting suggestions made by 10 Downing Street for the purpose of making a strong case against Saddam Hussein, it could be said that the Government ‘sexed-up’ the dossier. However, having regard to the other allegations contained in Mr Gilligan’s broadcasts of May 29 I consider that those who heard the broadcasts would have understood the allegation of ‘sexing-up’ to be used in the first sense which I have described, namely that the Government ordered that the dossier be embellished with false or unreliable items of intelligence…Therefore, in the context of Mr Gilligan’s broadcasts, I consider that the allegation that the Government ordered the dossier to be ‘sexed-up’ was unfounded.”

Brian Hutton

House of Lords


Links to Letters by Drs. C Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox,  David Halpin and Searle Sennett, et al. in The Guardian and The New Statesman:

Our doubts about Dr Kelly’s suicide
http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1131833,00.html

Medical evidence does not support suicide by Kelly
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,13747,1146232,00.html

Questions still unanswered over Dr Kelly’s death
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,,1151352,00.html

Reopen the inquest into Kelly’s death
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,,1169514,00.html

New doubts over Kelly
http://www.guardian.co.uk/hutton/story/0,,1314212,00.html

Questions over Kelly
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,,1378539,00.html

Due process and the Kelly inquest
http://www.newstatesman.com/200505020027

The original source of this article is Global Research

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US Arming + Funding Israel Violates Foreign Assistance Act 1961 + Arms Export Control Act 1976! Israel kills Americans with impunity: #USSLiberty #RachelCorrie #ShireenAbuAkleh et al! #EndIMPUNITY

U.S. Funding to Israel Violates Foreign Assistance Act | Institute for Palestine Studies | Julia Sackett | 18 Dec 2021

Human Rights Watch regularly report on Israel’s crimes against Palestinian people. Yet, the U.S. government continues to provide Israel with weapons, financial assistance, and public support. The United States must reevaluate its relationship with Israel to adhere with its own laws and purported values.

The United States has provided Israel with approximately $146 billion in military assistance to date. The dispersion of these funds directly violates U.S. law. The Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that no assistance can be given to a country that regularly violates human rights. The U.S. State Department outlines the “significant human rights issues” facing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in 2020. The United States faces clear evidence, found by its own agency, that aid to Israel contradicts U.S. law.

Israel itself is in direct violation of two international conventions – the Apartheid Convention [1973] and the Rome Statute [1998].

The Apartheid Convention condemns acts committed with the intent of establishing the dominance of one racial group over another.

The Rome Statute condemns the systematic oppression of a racial group through an institutionalized regime.

In 2020, Israel demolished 848 Palestinian residential structures in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. In 2021, the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into Israel’s perpetration of these and other crimes. The international community clearly recognizes the ongoing crimes against humanity committed by Israel. The United States, however, has turned a blind eye. It has vetoed over 50 U.N. Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel since 1972.

 Allison Bailey / Alamy Live News

President Joe Biden, in his own words, claims the United States should place emphasis on its “cherished democratic values.” But U.S. support for Israel contradicts these values that include the defense of freedom, opportunity, and universal rights. Israel suppresses the freedom, opportunity, and universal rights of Palestinians on a daily basis. Yet, Biden’s policies continue to show support for the Apartheid state. He supports continued funding of Israel and has upheld Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The United States certainly talks the talk when it comes to human rights, but it continually refuses to walk the walk.

There are consequences if the United States continues down this road. For one, it contradicts U.S. behavior towards other countries. The United States withheld some military aid to Egypt in 2021 over its appalling human rights record.

In October of 2021, the United States cut $700 million in aid to Sudan after a military coup endangered Sudanese civilians. This inconsistent behavior risks frustrating other nations – why does Israel get a pass on human rights, but not Egypt or Sudan?

This action also sets a precedent for elected officials to mirror that inconsistency in other circumstances. For example, former U.S. President Donald Trump showed deference and support for Saudi Arabia, despite the country’s various human rights violations, such as the murder of former Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This action flies in the face of U.S. laws on foreign assistance. However, it aligns with U.S. behavior towards Israel. The more this unlawful behavior is accepted, the more it will occur.

The Israel lobby argues that the Apartheid state’s strategic value outweighs the cost of any misgivings about its actions. Israel and the United States share a number of security concerns, namely the nuclearization of Iran. Supporters of Israel also argue that Israel’s nuclear program provides an increased deterrent against Iran for the United States. However, the United States does not need to rely on Israel for defense. The United States possesses 5,550 nuclear warheads – more than enough to deter any potential attacks.

There is no upholding of values in enabling military and settler violence against an occupied people. Biden’s actions must align with his words. It’s time that the United States stop funding the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

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ALSO SEE:

US Military Aid to Israel Is Illegal Due to Horrendous Israeli War Crimes Against Palestinian Civilians in Gaza, in July-August, 2014 ~ Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding.

There are two primary laws that place conditions and restrictions on how foreign governments can use U.S. foreign assistance:

the Foreign Assistance Act and

the Arms Export Control Act.


Bringing Assistance to Israel in Line With Rights and U.S. Laws | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | JOSH RUEBNER,  SALIH BOOKER,  ZAHA HASSAN | 12 May 2021

Ensuring that Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. security assistance, complies with federal laws and international human rights standards will require closely tracking and monitoring its weapons use.

After many years of increasing U.S. military aid to Israel, members of Congress are beginning to debate the wisdom and morality of writing a blank check for weapons—some of which are used against Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in violation of U.S. laws.

A recent exchange between legislators shows the evolving debate. Congresswoman Betty McCollum introduced a bill on April 15—currently co-sponsored by seventeen representatives—to ensure that U.S. funding is not used for Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian children in its military judicial system, forced displacement of Palestinians through home demolitions and evictions, and illegal annexations of Palestinian land. In response, Congressman Ted Deutch produced a letter on April 22, signed by more than 300 representatives, arguing against “reducing funding or adding conditions on security assistance”—which essentially means disregarding Israel’s egregious policies and violations of existing U.S. laws aimed at protecting human rights. The fact that a bill restricting aid to Israel drew seventeen sponsors to date and a letter defending that aid was signed by three-quarters of members—as opposed to all of them—shows that the debate is slowly shifting.

Meanwhile, the emerging policies of President Joe Biden’s administration reflect an uncomfortable paradox. The interim national security strategy calls for the United States to defend and protect human rights in its foreign policy and to lead in restoring multilateralism and rules in the international system. The word “values” appears twenty-five times in the twenty-three-page document. However, the strategy also pledges to maintain an ironclad commitment to Israel’s military aid—despite the apparent contradiction with declared U.S. policy objectives, such as a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and the continuing de facto annexation of the West Bank, home demolitions, evictions, and destruction of entire Palestinian neighborhoods and communities.

Leading progressive Democrats are calling for the Biden administration to center values in its policy toward Israel and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. And a growing number of voters support initiatives to restrict U.S. aid to Israel due to its human rights violations. Yet, even if there were enough votes in Congress for these initiatives to become law, another challenge looms: establishing transparent weapons transfer practices to ensure the necessary tracking and end-use monitoring. Until then, the administration should enforce existing laws that prohibit the use of U.S. security assistance for illegitimate purposes and specifically restrict aid from further entrenching Israeli occupation.

THE LARGESS OF U.S. ASSISTANCE TO ISRAEL

Through FY2020, the United States has provided Israel with $146 billion in military, economic, and missile defense funding. Adjusted for inflation, this amount is equivalent to $236 billion in 2018 dollars, making Israel the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. assistance since World War II.

Today, almost all U.S. assistance to Israel is in the form of weapons grants. Israel receives $3.3 billion annually in foreign military financing (FMF). It also receives $500 million for joint U.S.-Israeli research, development, and deployment of missile defense systems; however, these anti-missile systems almost wholly benefit Israeli military needs. In FY2021, the administration of former president Donald Trump requested $3.3 billion in FMF for Israel, constituting 59 percent of the requested global FMF budget. Israel receives more FMF than all other countries in the world combined (see figure 1).

Yet Israel is more than capable of purchasing its own weapons. According to the World Bank, it has the twenty-ninth-largest per capita GDP in the world, ahead of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, and Japan.

Since 1999, the parameters for U.S. assistance to Israel have been set in memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between the two countries. These ten-year MOUs include promises of presidential budgetary requests for assistance to Israel, but Congress must still appropriate the actual amounts of assistance annually. In practice, Congress adheres to the president’s budgetary requests without changes.

The last MOU was signed in 2016, pledging $33 billion in FMF and $5 billion in missile defense funding for FY2019–2028, the largest totals in the history of these MOUs. However, notably, this MOU phases out an exemption known as offshore procurement (OSP), which allows Israel to use a percentage of FMF on its domestic weapons industry; all other countries receiving FMF are required to spend it solely on U.S. weapons. This is a significant change, as in FY2019, OSP amounted to an $815 million annual subsidization by U.S. taxpayers of Israeli weapons manufacturers. The phaseout reflects that Israel has become one of the world’s leading arms exporters, selling approximately $9 billion in arms in 2017.

Although both countries agreed in the MOU not to seek changes to the specified amounts of FMF and missile defense funds, Congress has made these already unprecedented levels of assistance to Israel a floor rather than a ceiling. In the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress authorized “not less than” $3.3 billion annually in FMF to Israel, giving it the flexibility to appropriate funds beyond those agreed upon in the MOU.

LAWS GOVERNING U.S. ASSISTANCE

Debate about whether U.S. security assistance to foreign countries should be conditioned upon human rights criteria discounts a simple fact. U.S. law is clear: all countries receiving U.S. aid must meet human rights standards, and countries violating these standards are liable to be sanctioned and ineligible for U.S. funding:

  • The Foreign Assistance Act (P.L. 87–195) regulates all forms of U.S. assistance to foreign countries. It states that no assistance may be provided to a country “which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
  • The Arms Export Control Act (P.L. 90–629) regulates U.S. military assistance and sales to foreign countries. It states that the United States can furnish weapons to foreign countries “solely for internal security, for legitimate self-defense,” and for a few other limited purposes. No credits, guarantees, sales, or deliveries of weapons can be given to a country if it is “in substantial violation” of these purposes.
  • The Leahy Laws require the Departments of State and Defense to vet individual military units and individuals before they are eligible to receive U.S. equipment or training. The Department of State version of the law states that no form of assistance can be provided “to any unit of the security forces” committing “a gross violation of human rights.” The Department of Defense version states that no training or equipment can be given to a military unit that “has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

Another indisputable fact is that the United States has placed conditions on other countries’ FMF. For example, in the FY2021 budget, $225 million of $1.3 billion in FMF for Egypt is withheld from obligation until the Department of State certifies that Egypt is “taking sustained and effective steps” to strengthen human rights.

However, when it comes to Israel, additional conditions do not apply and general human rights laws are almost never adhered to. Furthermore, weapons flows to Israel are much less transparent than those to other countries, making implementation of these laws more difficult.

TRANSPARENCY AND OVERSIGHT

Most countries receive allocations of FMF in quarterly installments, and the money is kept in U.S.-controlled bank accounts until the country wishes to draw down from its allocation to purchase weapons. This arrangement allows the United States greater oversight over weapons purchases and better control over the purse strings to ensure countries’ compliance with U.S. laws.

Israel, however, enjoys preferential status. Since FY1991, Congress has authorized Israel to receive its FMF allocation in one lump sum and early (within thirty days of the budget’s enactment). Moreover, Israel is allowed to hold these FMF funds in a U.S. interest-bearing bank account so that Israel ends up with more than its annual allocation of $3.3 billion.

Israel is also the only country in the world for which the United States does not have tracking mechanisms to determine which weapons go to which military unit. This opacity makes it nearly impossible for the Departments of State and Defense to properly implement Leahy Law vetting requirements. Vetting only occurs for Israeli military personnel applying to U.S. training programs, and this training is a drop in the bucket of Israel’s FMF package—just 0.02 percent of FMF in 2018, leaving the remaining 99.98 percent of FMF untraceable.

Another unique feature of U.S. assistance to Israel that undermines oversight is the provision for OSP. Although this subsidization of Israel’s military weapons manufacturing will be phased out by FY2028, it will still amount to hundreds of millions of dollars per year until then. Prior to 2016, the United States had no mechanism to track how OSP funds were used—it was essentially giving Israel a blank check. The 2016 MOU requires Israel to provide “detailed programmatic information” on OSP to the executive branch but omits any provision for transmitting it to Congress or making it public.

AFTER THE U.S.-ISRAEL MOU ENDS IN 2028

Some U.S. assistance could be justified as fulfilling Israel’s legitimate self-defense needs and be in line with U.S. law—for example, defense against Iran and its regional proxies and against oftentimes indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups from the Gaza Strip. But the continued provision of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance to Israel—which helps entrench its military occupation of Palestinian land in violation of U.S. law—is becoming more difficult to justify, particularly given U.S. budgetary constraints and given that Israel, with a per capita GDP rivaling Western European countries, could (and already does) purchase weapons, equipment, and fuel from the United States (see figure 2).

Though some might argue that ending grants to Israel will push it to purchase from other countries and undermine the alliance, U.S.-Israel co-development and research of weapons systems and the need to maintain interoperability make this unlikely. In fact, Congress passed a new program to institutionalize U.S.-Israel co-development in cooperation with defense contractors. Both the executive branch and Congress are committed to fully funding the terms of the MOU through 2028. However, ending FMF after this MOU and ensuring that Israel’s future purchases of U.S. weapons are consonant with U.S. law would make taxpayers less directly complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians.

Others might argue for continuing security assistance despite human rights concerns because of the U.S. national security benefits that derive from sharing defense technologies with Israel. But these technologies are generally purpose-specific and based on Israel’s location, size, and strategy; U.S. dollars would be better spent in funding development that meets U.S. specifications and needs. Foreign weapons grants and sales also create domestic economic dependencies around their continuation, which have little to do with the raison d’être for the security assistance.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

The United States is not the world’s police, but it does have obligations under both federal and international law to ensure that it is not furthering human rights abuses. Toward meeting those obligations and preventing further deterioration of the situation on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians, the administration should:

  • Enforce U.S. law. No country should be above the law. Israel should be held to the same standards as other recipients of U.S. assistance or purchased weapons. This means that the State Department must robustly vet not only individual Israeli soldiers receiving U.S. training but also Israeli military units receiving U.S. equipment. The flow of weapons to units that commit gross violations of human rights must be cut off as required by the Leahy Laws. The United States should investigate Israel’s potential violations of the Arms Export Control Act and suspend the sale and delivery of weapons used to commit human rights abuses. Finally, the United States must comprehensively review the entirety of Israel’s human rights records in light of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits providing assistance to a country that engages in a systematic pattern of human rights violations.
  • Ensure U.S. policy objectives are achieved by further restricting assistance. U.S. assistance to Israel should not take the form of a blank check that Israel can use to entrench its occupation and obstruct U.S. policy goals. First, U.S. weapons should be conditioned on normative behavior, thus requiring a complete and verifiable freezing of settlement growth. Second, the Biden administration should work with Congress to insert language into the budget to withhold a portion of U.S. assistance until Israel makes demonstrable improvements in its human rights record. Such language could be borrowed from conditions currently imposed on U.S. assistance to Egypt. Third, Israel should not be allowed to employ U.S. weapons in occupied territories in prima facie violation of the Arms Export Control Act; language restricting U.S. aid to Israel’s sovereign territory could be lifted from previous conditionality on U.S. loan guarantees.
  • Establish transparent mechanisms for weapons transfers to Israel. Under the current MOU, Congress should end special treatments such as lump-sum payments of FMF to an Israeli-controlled, interest-bearing bank account. The State Department should create a tracking mechanism to determine which pieces of equipment go to which Israeli military units. Tracking these transfers is standard for all other countries, and without a mechanism, the United States cannot adequately vet for Leahy Law violations. The United States should make public the annual reports that Israel is required to submit to account for its OSP; the public has a right to know how tax dollars are being spent, and victims of human rights abuses should be able to lodge complaints with the State Department for Leahy Law violations.
  • End long-term, massive, taxpayer commitments. Decade-long MOUs on weapons to Israel are antithetical to long-term U.S. interests and make it difficult to ensure weapons are leveraged to achieve these interests. The MOUs also make it harder to ensure that Israel faces consequences for violating U.S. laws. The current MOU lasts through FY2028. Given Israel’s advanced economy and U.S. complicity in Israel’s human rights violations, there is no reason to continue this handout. After the MOU expires, the United States should require Israel to purchase weapons. And selling weapons to Israel should proceed only after vigorous end-use monitoring is put into place to ensure that these weapons are for legitimate self-defense rather than for the perpetuation of Israeli occupation and colonization.

PeacePsychology: Defining VIOLENCE: Difference between Direct, Cultural + Structural Violence! Defund, Disarm, Dismantle Israeli ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS #BDS #FreePALESTINE

The myth of the “cycle of violence”.

Escalating direct violence:

The world only seems to pay attention to Palestine when there is an escalation in direct violence like now, especially if there is a loss of Israeli lives.

Governments, institutions, and politicians view frequent rounds of shootings, bombings, and military raids as “cycles of violence” that “need to end” to “restore peace and calm”.

Describing violence in Palestine as a “cycle” is misleading:

It reinforces the myth that Palestinians and Israelis are equally harmed.

It also assumes that the problem is the direct violence when Israeli soldiers storm refugee camps or when resistance fighters threaten military checkpoints.

This obscures the more critical and dangerous typeStructural violence.

Structural violence is a form of systematic control over people, backed by the threat and use of direct violence. It’s a way of exerting power over and inflicting pain on, one group to the benefit of another.

Direct, physical violence is easy to see and identify. This is why it gets media attention.

Structural violence is harder to see. This is because it consists of a structure embedded in the political, economic, and social organization of a society.

Examples of Israeli structural violence:

(Whether we live in Israel, West Bank, or Gaza, violence is a constant, daily experience for Palestinians).

  • Military checkpoints restricting our movement
  • Apartheid wall
  • Siege on Gaza
  • Home demolitions
  • Land seizures
  • Constant drone surveillance
  • Mass incarceration
  • Blocking refugees from returning
  • Restrictions on marriage and travel

Israel can’t exist without structural violence:

To preserve its Jewish demographic majority, Israel needs the constant threat of violence against refugees who dream to return home.

From 1948 to 1960, Israel killed 3,000 to 5,000 Palestinian refugees who tried to return, sometimes shooting before they even crossed the border.

Without this violence, millions of refugees who Israel exiled would return home, ending the Israeli Jewish demographic majority.

The myth of violence equally hurting Palestinians and Israelis further obfuscates the fact that one side actually tends to benefit from this “cycle” at the expense of the other.
Violence is both a means and a pretext for Israeli land authorities to chip away at Palestinian neighborhoods and villages and expand Jewish settlements.

When Palestinians spotlight Israeli brutality, we are demanding the end of our oppression; When Israelis point to Palestinian violence, it is usually to justify that oppression.

Palestinian resistance is always a reaction:

Historically, natives always resist their colonizers.

All forms of resistance to oppression are understood as a natural reaction to the daily violence committed against Palestinians. It has always been a response to structural violence.

  • When we peacefully protest, we are shot.
  • When we call for boycotts, smear campaigns ruin our lives and sanction us.
  • When we use diplomacy, we are ignored.

Eruptions of direct violence can actually be opportunities for Palestinians to shift power dynamics, mobilize communities and challenge the violent status quo.

When the call to end violence is limited to direct violence, it implies accepting structural violence.

It’s telling the prison warden and prisoner to stop fighting for calm to be restored to the prison.

Peace requires dismantling oppressive structures, like checkpoints and walls. True peace requires decolonizing Palestine.

Remember this next time you hear about “violence in Israel-Palestine”.

My heart goes to my brothers and sisters in Huwwara and Za’atara who were attacked by zionist khanazir, who even took time to pray in front of burning houses. Whether we are in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, or exile, we remain one.

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@StateDeptSpox @ExtSpoxEU @JosepBorrellF




Peace psychology is now global in scope.

It recognizes that violence can be cultural, which occurs when beliefs are used to justify either direct or structural violence. 

Direct violence injures or kills people quickly and dramatically, whereas structural violence is much more widespread and kills far more people by depriving them of satisfaction of their basic needs.

For example, when people starve even though there’s enough food for everyone, the distribution system is creating structural violence.

If a person justifies the deaths of starving people by blaming them for their situation (called blaming the victim), that person is engaging in cultural violence.

Direct violence is supported by the culturally violent notion of just war theory, which argues that under certain conditions, it is acceptable to kill others (e.g., defense of the homeland, using war as a last resort).

One of the main challenges for peace psychology is to deepen understanding of the structural and cultural roots of violence, a problem that is particularly important when security concerns revolve around the prevention of terrorism.

Daniel J. Christie
Thomas E. Cooper
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica

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Direct, cultural and structural violence

The triangle of violence, defined by the Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, identifies three types of violence and argues that the phenomenon has a similar structure to that of an iceberg, in which there is always a small visible part and a huge hidden part.

Direct violence is the tip of the iceberg and has as its main characteristic the fact that most of its effects are visible, mainly the materials, but not all of them: hate, psychological trauma or the emergence of concepts such as ‘enemy’ are equally serious effects, but they are often not seen as such. Being the most popular and obvious, it is commonly thought that direct is the worst kind of violence, which is not true for precisely this visibility, which makes it easier to identify and therefore to combat. It is important to note that this type of violence is the manifestation of something, not its origin, and is in the beginning where it should be sought causes and act more effectively. Direct violence does not affect many people as cultural and structural violence, which are the hidden part of the iceberg.

Cultural violence is a symbolic violence that is expressed in countless media —religion, ideology, language, art, science, media, education, etc— and serves to legitimize direct and structural violence and to inhibit or suppress the response of the victims. It even offers justifications for humans, unlike other species, to destroy each other and to be rewarded for doing so: it is not strange to accept violence in the name of country or religion. There is a culture of violence in which schools and other instruments of transmission and reproduction of culture show History as a succession of wars; it is usual to suppress conflicts by unquestioned parental authority, or authority of the male over the female; mass media sell armies use as the main way of solving international conflicts, etc. So life goes on in an atmosphere of constant violence, manifested daily in all areas and at all levels.

Structural violence is displayed when, as a result of social stratification processes, there is a damage in the satisfaction of basic human needs: survival, welfare, identity, freedom, etc. It is caused by a set of structures, both physical and organizational, which do not allow the satisfaction of those needs and is the worst of the three violence because it is the origin of all and kills and affects more people. It is also a form of indirect violence and sometimes even unintentional: the actions that cause hunger, for example, are not designed and made ​​directly for that purpose, but they are result from capitalist economic policy and the unfair distribution of wealth. This sometimes causes that the reasons of structural violence are not clearly visible and therefore it is more difficult to deal with it.

According to Galtung, often causes of direct violence are related to structural violence and justified by cultural violence: many situations are the result of an abuse of power which concerns an oppressed group, or a social injustice —insufficient resources sharing, great inequality in personal income, limited access to social services— and receive the backing of speeches justifying them.

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To get closer to the definition of violence, we use the “Violence Triangle” by the popular peace researcher and sociologist Johan Galtung.

The triangle of violence by Johan Galtung

The risk of becoming violent is reduced in childhood and adolescence by, among other things:

  • parental care and positive relationships with parents and other adults
  • stable ties
  • social competence
  • social support and a stable social environment
  • Success and a sense of achievement in school
  • medium to high intelligence
  • a prosocial development and social values
  • Problem-solving skills
  • high expectations of self-efficacy

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#Palestine CounterNarrative, Dezionising the Discourse: ‘Truth, No Matter What!’: Why Watering Down Palestinian Reality is a Crime! #Apartheid #WarCrimes

‘Truth, No Matter What’: Why Watering Down Palestinian Reality is a Crime | Ramzy Baroud | The Palestine Chronicle | 28 Feb 2023

On February 20, the United Nations Security Council approved a statement, described in the media as a ‘watered-down’ version of an earlier draft resolution which would have demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The intrigues that led to the scrapping of what was meant to be a binding resolution will be the subject of a future article. For now, however, I would like to reflect on the fact that the so-called international community’s relationship with the Palestinian struggle has always attempted to ‘water down’ a horrific reality.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations.
(Photo: via United Nations website)

While we often rage against statements made by US politicians who, like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, refuse to even acknowledge that Israel is occupying Palestine in the first place, we tend to forget that many of us are, somehow, involved in the watering down of the Palestinian reality, as well.

While reports by B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, dubbing Israel an ‘apartheid state’, are welcome additions to a growing political discourse making similar claims, one must ask: why did it take decades for these conclusions to be drawn now? And what is the moral and legal justification for ‘watering down’ Israel’s apartheid reality for all of these years, considering that Israel has, from the moment of its inception – and even before – been an apartheid entity?



The ‘watering-down’, however, goes much deeper than this, as if there is a conspiracy not to describe the reality of Palestine and the Palestinian people by its proper names: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, apartheid and more.

I have spent half my life living in, and interacting with, western societies while lobbying for solidarity with Palestinians, and for holding Israel accountable for its ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. Every step of the way, in every society, and on every platform, there has always been pushback, even by Palestine’s own supporters.

Whether motivated by blind ‘love’ for Israel or by guilt over historical crimes against the Jewish people, or over the fear of ‘rocking the boat’, offending the sensibilities of western societies, or outright retaliation by pro-Israeli supporters, the outcome tends to be the same: if not unconditional support for Israel, then, certainly ‘watered-down’ statements on the tragic reality of the Palestinians.

Naturally, a watered-down version of the truth is not the truth at all. Worse, it is unlikely to lead to any resolute moral stances or meaningful political actions. If, indeed, watering down the truth was of any value, Palestine would have been freed a long time ago. Not only is this not the case, but there also remains a true deficit of knowledge regarding the root causes, nature and consequences of the daily Israeli crimes in Palestine.



Admittedly, the quisling Palestinian leadership exemplified in the Palestinian Authority, has played a significant role in watering down our understanding of Israel’s ongoing crimes. In fact, the ‘watered-down’ statement at the UN would not have replaced the binding resolution if it were not for the consent of the PA. However, in many Palestinian spaces in which the PA holds no political sway whatsoever, we continue to seek a watered-down understanding of Palestine.

Almost every day, somewhere in the world, a Palestinian or a pro-Palestinian speaker, author, artist or activist is being disinvited from a conference, a meeting, a workshop or an academic engagement for failing to water down his or her take on Palestine.

While fear of repercussions – the denial of funding, smear campaigns, or loss of position – often serves as the logic behind the constant watering down, sometimes pro-Palestine groups and media organizations walk into the ‘watered-down’ trap of their own accords.

To protect themselves from smear campaigns, government meddling or even legal action, some pro-Palestine organizations often seek affiliation with ‘reputable’ people from mainstream backgrounds, politicians or ex-politicians, well-known figures or celebrities to portray an image of moderation. Yet, knowingly or unwittingly, with time, they begin to moderate their own message so as not to lose the hard-earned support in mainstream society. In doing so, instead of speaking truth to power, these groups begin to develop a political discourse that only guarantees their own survival and nothing more.



In the “Prison Notebooks”, anti-Fascist Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci urged us to create a broad “cultural front” to establish our own version of cultural hegemony. However, Gramsci never advocated the watering down of radical discourse in the first place. He merely wanted to expand the power of the radical discourse to reach a much wider audience, as a starting point for a fundamental shift in society. In the case of Palestine, however, we tend to do the opposite: instead of maintaining the integrity of the truth, we tend to make it less truthful so that it may appear more palatable.

While creative in making their messages more relatable to a wider audience, the Zionists rarely water down their actual language. To the contrary, the Zionist discourse is uncompromising in its violent and racist nature which, ultimately, contributes to the erasure of Palestinians as a people with history, culture, real grievances and rights.

The same is true in the case of the pro-Ukraine and anti-Russian propaganda plaguing western media around the clock. In this case, there is rarely any deviation from the message, regarding who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.

Historically, anti-colonial movements, from Africa to everywhere else, hardly watered down their approach to colonialism, neither in the language nor in the forms of resistance. Palestinians, on the other hand, subsist in this watered-down duplicitous reality simply because the West’s allegiance to Israel makes the truthful depiction of the Palestinian struggle too ‘radical’ to sustain. This approach is not only morally problematic but also ahistorical and impractical.

Ahistorical and impractical because half-truths, or watered-down truths, never lead to justice and never affect a lasting change. Perhaps a starting point of how we escape the ‘watered-down’ trap we find ourselves in, is to reflect on these words by one of the greatest engaged intellectuals in recent history, Malcolm X:

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it.
I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against.
I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Malcolm X

The truth, in its most simple and innate form, is the only objective we should continue to relentlessly pursue until Palestine and her people are finally free.

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Q: What Does the US Get Out of Shielding Israel From Accountability at the UN? A: #Hypocrisy #Hegemony #Exceptionalism #Impunity #RulesBasedOrder instead of #RuleOfLaw!

What Does the U.S. Get Out of Shielding Israel From Accountability at the U.N.? | Democracy In Exile | Michael Lynk [former United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory] | 24 Feb 2023 | DAWN

IN HIS eloquent 2012 memoir, Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, wrote that the failure of the U.N. to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East was a deep internal wound as old as the organization itself. In his words, it has been “a painful and festering sore consequently felt in almost every intergovernmental organ and Secretariat body.” The ramifications of this paralysis, he observed, are global: “No other issue carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge affecting people far from the zone of conflict.” And, with more than a trace of despair, Annan pointed to the protective role of the United States in shielding Israel from accountability at the U.N. Security Council as a leading source of this failure:

“Even when the Council took positions, it did not establish mechanisms to enforce its will. The United States wielded its veto to protect the Israelis even from reasonable international scrutiny and pressure, paralyzing the Council on one of the world’s central conflicts.” – KOFI ANNAN

More than a decade later, the source for Annan’s consternation continues to play out. On Feb. 20, the Security Council unanimously adopted a non-binding and meek presidential statement, expressing “deep concern and dismay” with the announcement by the new Israeli government earlier this month that it intended to legitimize nine settlement outposts and approve more than 10,000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank. The statement was adopted after the U.S. threatened to veto a much stronger—and legally binding—resolution proposed by the United Arab Emirates, one of 10 rotating members of the Security Council. The UAE resolution would have condemned the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation under international law,” echoing earlier resolutions adopted by the Security Council. According to sources close to the Security Council proceedings, the resolution proposed by the UAE had the endorsement of 12 of the 15 council members, with the United Kingdom and Albania on the fence and only the U.S. prepared to vote against it. 

In contrast to the shelved resolution—and many prior council resolutions—the mostly symbolic presidential statement made no mention of the illegality of the Israeli settlements, or to the Security Council’s long-standing principle regarding the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, or to Israel’s ongoing annexation of Palestinian territory. Likewise, language from the UAE resolution that Israel must cease all settlement activities was absent from the statement. The longest paragraph in the statement focused on Palestinian terrorism but made no corresponding critique about the rising levels of violence committed by the Israeli military against Palestinians in recent years. In the first two months of 2023 alone, at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military or police, or by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. During the same period, 10 Israelis and a Ukrainian have been killed by Palestinians.

“For the past two decades, U.S. administrations have regularly endorsed the two-state solution, while also insisting there must be no consequences for Israeli actions that have made that objective impossible.” – MICHAEL LYNK

Various news reports indicated that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had negotiated a background understanding to secure the withdrawal of the UAE draft resolution and the substitution of the much tamer presidential statement. The Israeli government will reportedly be permitted to move forward with many of its currently proposed new housing units and the legitimization of most of the designated settlement outposts, but would pause for a minimum of three months before proceeding with this settlement expansion. Although these settlement outposts are illegal even under Israeli law, they have flourished because the Israeli government has flouted its own laws. Once established, the Israeli military has defended these outposts, and the Israeli government has provided them with roads, utilities and other services. Apparently, Israel has also agreed to reduce the number of Palestinian home demolitions, evictions and military raids during this pause period.

The U.S. is reported to have committed to the Palestinian Authority that it will approach Israel about re-opening its consulate in East Jerusalem that was closed by the Trump administration. Media speculation also suggested that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would be invited to the White House, while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu might have to wait a while longer for his invitation.

If this background understanding was meant to bring calm before the upcoming holidays of Ramadan, Passover and Easter, subsequent events have proven otherwise. On Feb. 22, the Israeli military killed 11 Palestinians and wounded more than 100 others in the Old City of Nablus during a daytime raid. Israel’s settlement planning council at the same time approved more than 7,000 housing units, which already exceeds the total—4,427 units—approved in all of 2022.

Instead of condemning these moves, Israel’s centrist opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid criticized Netanyahu for agreeing to the purported settlement pause. Ha’aretz quoted Lapid as saying that he “was surprised that the government agreed to the freeze. We never agreed to this, despite repeated requests from the Americans.” On the other hand, Netanyahu’s far-right allies in the new government, particularly Itamar Ben Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich, were relatively quiet about the pause, indicating that they understood the prevailing American-Israeli quid pro quo on the settlements.

The Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Feb. 3, 2023. (Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

The absence of any reference to the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Security Council’s presidential statement reflects the U.S. diplomatic muscle in striving for the lowest common denominator. On Feb. 13, the day after Israel made its settlements announcement, both the European Union and a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued critical statements, expressly affirming that the Israeli settlements violate international law. The march backwards began the next day. The U.S. joined a statement with the U.K., France, Germany and Italy, which said that they were “deeply troubled” by Israel’s settlement announcement, but made no reference to the settlements’ illegality. By Feb. 16, the U.S. had turned its attention to derailing the UAE resolution; a State Department briefing stated that it would be “unhelpful” to achieving an elusive two-state solution. The diplomatic effort to shelve the UAE resolution reflects the prevailing official American position that the Israeli occupation of Palestine should not be adjudicated at the United Nations—where there is strong opposition to the occupation, primarily from counties in the Global South—and that the only path to a durable peace is for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate directly with each other, without the guarantees of international law and regardless of the overwhelming military, economic, political and diplomatic advantages possessed by Israel, to say nothing of the bleak track record of the moribund “peace process” since Oslo.

Since 1973, the United States has cast 81 vetoes at the U.N. Security Council, far more than any other permanent member; Russia and the former Soviet Union is in second place with 38 vetoes during that time period. More than half of these American vetoes, 42, have been used to skuttle resolutions critical of Israel: 32 vetoes dealt with the Israeli occupation of Palestine, while the other 10 defeated resolutions critical of Israel’s invasions and occupation of Lebanon. In each case, the U.S. was the only permanent member of the Security Council casting a veto. No other permanent member of the Security Council has ever vetoed a resolution critical of Israel or the Israeli occupation of Palestine over the past 50 years. In his 2020 memoir, Barack Obama lamented the discomforting position that the U.S. regularly found itself in during his presidency when defending Israel at the United Nations and other international forums:

“… just about every country in the world considered Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territories to be a violation of international law. As a result, our diplomats found themselves in the awkward position of having to defend Israel for actions that we ourselves opposed.”

To be sure, the U.S. has still regularly enabled the Security Council to adopt resolutions critical of Israel—77 in total since 1967. These resolutions have condemned the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights; emphasized the legal principle that the acquisition of territory by force or war is inadmissible; and stated that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which protects the civilian population in occupied territory, applies in full to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. In 1980, the Security Council, with the Carter administration abstaining, adopted Resolution 476, which “reaffirms the overriding necessity for ending the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967” and “strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the occupying power, to comply with relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.” One might ask, if the Security Council and even the U.S. deemed the Israeli occupation to have already been “prolonged” and requiring a swift conclusion by 1980, after only 13 years, how should it be labeled in 2023, after almost 56 years?

However, while the U.S. permitted these resolutions critical of Israel to be passed by the Security Council, it has also used its threat of a veto to thwart the ability of the council to enforce any of these resolutions. As Ban Ki-moon, Annan’s successor, wrote in 2021 after his own retirement as secretary general, “political cover provided by successive U.S. governments to Israel is partly to blame for this lack of accountability.” Indeed, the unwillingness of the U.S. to allow the Security Council to even censure Israel has only grown in recent years. Since February 2009, it has allowed the council to adopt only one resolution critical of Israel, which was passed in the final weeks of the Obama administration, with the U.S. abstaining. For the past two decades, American administrations have regularly endorsed the two-state solution, while also insisting there must be no consequences for Israeli actions that have made that objective impossible. The disturbing reality in the occupied Palestinian territory is contrary to everything the U.S. proclaims to stand for, yet its indispensable role in shielding Israel from any accountability at the U.N. says that America’s interests lie elsewhere.

“The disturbing reality in the occupied Palestinian territory is contrary to everything the U.S. proclaims to stand for, yet its indispensable role in shielding Israel from any accountability at the U.N. says that America’s interests lie elsewhere.” – MICHAEL LYNK

The sharpest edge of American protection for Israel at the Security Council has come in the form of resolutions condemning Israeli settlements. The settlements are the engine of the Israeli occupation, the “facts on the ground” for Israel’s looming quest to annex the West Bank, and the source of many of the human rights violations against the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The illegality of the Israeli settlements is also one of the most settled issues in modern international law, having been affirmed by the International Court of Justice, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva ConventionAmnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among many others. In December 2016, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, with the Obama administration’s abstention, which stated that the settlements are “a flagrant violation under international law,” and demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities.” The resolution also requested the U.N. secretary general report to the Security Council every three months on its implementation.   

The 24 quarterly reports delivered to the Security Council since then, by either Guterres or the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, have all stated that Israel has taken no steps to comply with its obligations under Resolution 2334. When it was adopted a little over six years ago, there were approximately 400,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and another 215,000 in East Jerusalem. Today, there are 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and around 235,000 in East Jerusalem.

If Israel, as an acquisitive occupying power, understands that no consequences will flow from its mushrooming facts on the ground, then there should be no expectations that any of the stated objectives of the milquetoast presidential statement of Feb. 20—the Security Council’s “unwavering commitment to the vision of the two-State solution where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace”—will ever be achieved. As Shibley Telhami wrote in 2021 about the sui generis relationship between the U.S. and Israel, “If an American president cannot leverage this extraordinary and unprecedented support to advance core American values, what hope is there for succeeding anywhere else?”


Michael Lynk is the former United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, from 2016 to 2022. He taught in the Faculty of Law at Western University in Ontario from 1999 to 2022. He is, most recently, the co-author of “Protecting Human Rights in Occupied Palestine: Working Through the United Nations,” with Richard Falk and John Dugard.

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#PALESTINE #UAE #UNSC: Israel-first US Buys Off Quisling Abbas To Avert UN Anti-Settlement Resolution!

US Buys Off Abbas To Avert UN Anti-Settlement Resolution – OpEd | Richard Silverstein | Eurasia Review | Tikun Olam | 21 Feb 2023

The Palestinian Authority has had relative success in bringing its campaign for national rights to the United Nations.  There it has gained “non-member state status” in the General Assembly.  Last month the UAE, which is representing the Arab states on the Security Council, announced it would bring a UNSC resolution condemning Israeli settlements. This was in response to the Israeli announcement of a massive new round of 9,000 settlement housing units, which was itself retaliation for Palestinian terror attacks.

The resolution was due to come up for a vote tomorrow.  But in a last-minute flurry of international diplomacy, the US has averted having to veto the resolution.  Don’t ask why a US government, which ostensibly opposes Israeli settlements, would veto a statement opposing those same settlements.  It is mind-numbing to even contemplate the logic at work here.

It’s ironic that this intense round of negotiating among Israel, the US, and PA is more diplomatic activity than the Biden administration has exerted on this subject during his entire presidency.

Details are emerging about the content of the “deal” worked out by Secretary of State Tony Blinken.  They are less than stellar. In fact, they’re pathetic.  Among the provisions:

Israel agreed to temporarily suspendunilateral actions in the West Bank, including new announcements on settlement building for several months, according to Israeli officials.

Israel also agreed to suspend the demolitions of Palestinian homes and Palestinian evictions for a few months. It agreed to decrease the number of Israeli military raids in Palestinian cities, the officials said.

According to a source briefed on the understandings, Israel agreed to several economic steps that will increase Palestinian tax revenues by more than $60 million a year.

Israel has already announced those 9,000 new housing units.  So this unprecedented expansion of settlements won’t be affected. As an Israeli official said: we don’t plan to announce any new settlements beyond these.  So this is not a concession.

Everything Israel agreed to has an extremely limited time frame.  “A few months” means practically nothing. Further, we’ve seen past Israeli behavior that completely ignores such agreements when it suits its purpose. In fact, no sooner was the pact announced than the IDF announced it would violate it: it will destroy the home of a Palestinian who killed two Israelis in a bus stop attack.  By the way, destroying the homes of innocent civilians is a violation of international law.

Finally, it agreed to “decrease” the nightly assaults on Palestinian towns. What does that term even mean? Nothing.  As for the increased tax revenues, Israel has stolen hundreds of millions in tax revenues on goods imported for the West Bank via Israeli ports.  By international law, these are taxes collected on behalf of the PA by Israel. They are not Israel’s to withhold. But it does so anyway in order to punish the Palestinians for anything or everything.  This is, in short, plain theft.

The Palestinian Authority has agreed to implement a US-devised security plan which is supposed to restore its control over the most restive West Bank towns, Nablus and Jenin.  Many of the Palestinian acts of resistance against Israel originate there.  Over the past months, the Palestinian security presence has disappeared, and Palestinian militants like the Lion’s Den have replaced them.  This is an ostensible plan to restore a security presence which benefits no one but Israel. It wants Abbas to rein in terrorist attacks, while offering him nothing in return.  The Israeli way of doing business with its “lessers.”

The US has made promises as well, many of them as empty as the Israeli undertakings. The Biden administration will:

Invite Abbas for a White House visit (nice photo op in the Rose Garden).  It will say “pretty please” to the Israelis, asking for permission to re-open the US consulate in East Jerusalem.  This was the US diplomatic presence in Palestine, which Donald Trump unceremoniously shut down.  Since then, Biden has inexplicably continued the Trump policy of excluding any US presence in Palestine, while building a new US embassy in Jerusalem. Thus rewarding Israel for its theft of Palestinian land and flouting of international laws.

The Israelis, of course, will say No to the consulate, as they have in the past.  Then Biden can tell Abbas: I tried. Without really trying.  If the US really wanted a consulate it could have one. It could simply tell Netanyahu that it plans to reopen it.  Israel gave its approval to the consulate before it was first opened. We should not have to beg to reopen what never should have been closed in the first place.  If we simply told Netanyahu that we’re doing it, he would be presented with a fait accompli.  And if he didn’t like it, I’m sure there are a few painful surprises it could spring on him.

As a substitute for the withdrawn Security Council resolution, Biden will offer a presidential statement denouncing settlements. Many past presidents have done so, though none in the past nine years.  US statements opposing this Israeli policy have as much impact as a snowflake dropping to the ground.  Words without deeds in the Middle East mean absolutely nothing.  In this case words are meant to substitute for actions. But they can’t and, in fact, they insult the intelligence of everyone for whom they’re intended.

All this intense diplomatic activity does nothing to change the dynamic in Israel-Palestine.  It is an attempt to dampen the potential for hostility and violence leading up to the holy month of Ramadan.  This is the period when Israel tends to provoke Palestinian Muslims by imposing restrictions on pilgrimages to Haram al-Sharif; and when they in turn engage in acts of resistance to this religious incitement.

Given the violence of the past few months, officials feared such a Ramadan outbreak could turn into full-scale civil conflict.  This agreement (if you can call it that), is intended to avert the worst of that.  But it is a feeble effort.  The equivalent of the Dutch boy putting his finger in the dike.  No matter how many Dutch boys and how many fingers attempt to hold back the flood, they will eventually all fail.

The image of US diplomats scurrying from Ramallah to Jerusalem, while officials cajoled the UAE to withdraw its UN resolution, paints a pathetic picture. And all in order to avoid vetoing a resolution simply because Israel expects it to.  This turns the entire US foreign policy establishment into a vassal of the Israeli state.

This article was published by Tikun Olam

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Culture: Proof Of Existence: Pictorial History: What makes the #Palestine state so great? #BDS

What makes the Palestine state great? | Halyna Romanivna Didycka | Levantine History | 3 Nov 2022

The greatness of Palestine is the enduring power of the people. As many writers who have visited and studied the region have noted, the natives are the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the land, who have retained their character throughout the many invasions.

Claude R. Conder, who spent years studying Palestine, writes in his Tent Work in Palestine: A Record of Discovery and Adventure, 1878:

p. 235: “But the general result seems to point to an almost unmixed Aramean stock as that from which the peasants of Palestine have most probably sprung…It appears in short that in the Fellahin, as descendants of the old inhabitants of Palestine, we find a people whose habits and ·customs are well worthy of study.”

19th c. relatives of Mary of Nazareth: Women of Nazareth 14 (Baking bread on a saj, 1890s). Photo from Palestineremembered.com:

NAZARETH – Late 19th, early 20th c. 56 – circa 1900 – Palestinian carpenters in Nazareth (Per Reem Ackall):

NABLUS & NAZARETH – Late 19th, early 20th c. 120 – A timeless, rural summer idyll in the hills of Palestine (Northern Palestine) (Per Reem Ackall):

RAMALLAH – Harvesting the barley (Then wheat) in the fields surrounding Ramallah, 1914 – ( Per Reem Ackall ):

Palestinian wedding ceremonies have always been extravagant, particularly in rural Palestine where they were immersed with many rich traditions. The image below shows a special wedding tradition, the zafat -al-arous, or the bringing of the bride ceremony. Many village customs involve the bride riding a horse with a sword in hand accompanied by all the members of her family. The family would walk alongside the bride and the women would sing the Zaghrouta or ululation, until they reached the groom’s home, where the festivities would commence. (Library of Congress):

In the early 20th century, the Bethlehem malak (which means “royal” in Arabic) became known as the “queen of dresses” and a sought after wedding outfit throughout Palestine. The malak’s popularity fuelled the growth of a textile industry in Bethlehem and many villages adapted it to fit their own style and customs. In this photo, a Bethlehemite woman wears traditional clothes adorned with a headdress customary of her town – a fez-like hat appended with coins from the woman’s dowry and a white shawl covering her head. (Library of Congress):

Bethlehem Natives in 1919 on their way to Jerusalem by Munir Alawi:

Bowersock, Glen W. “Palestine: ancient history and modern politics.” Journal of Palestine Studies 14.4, 1985: 49-57.

Hjelm, Ingrid, et al., eds. A New Critical Approach to the History of Palestine: Palestine History and Heritage Project 1. Routledge, 2019.

Masalha, Nur. Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History. Zed Books Ltd., 2018.

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ALSO SEE:

In pictures: Life in Palestine from 1890 to 1937 | Salam Awad | MIDDLEEAST EYE | 20 May 2021

Home to unique ethnic groups and rich cultures, preserving Palestinian history has become an act of resistance against colonial erasure

A distinct feature of Palestinian culture is the esteemed tatreez, or Palestinian embroidery. A centuries-old folk art, Palestinian embroidery is a key symbol of identity and culture. Palestinian women begin learning embroidery at a very young age and stitch various patterns, colours, and designs on their thobes (gowns), as well as their headdresses. Each region throughout Palestine specialises in a distinct form of embroidery, fabric, and headdress. In this way, each woman became a walking embodiment of her land. This photograph features the traditional embroidery designs of al-Bireh/Ramallah on a bride’s clothing. (Image: National Geographic Magazine/John Whiting)

Palestinian wedding ceremonies have always been extravagant, particularly in rural Palestine where they were immersed with many rich traditions. The banner image at the top of this article shows a special wedding tradition, the zafat -al-arous, or the bringing of the bride ceremony. Many village customs involve the bride riding a horse with a sword in hand accompanied by all the members of her family. The family would walk alongside the bride and the women would sing the Zaghrouta or ululation, until they reached the groom’s home, where the festivities would commence. (Library of Congress)

In the early 20th century, the Bethlehem malak (which means “royal” in Arabic) became known as the “queen of dresses” and a sought after wedding outfit throughout Palestine. The malak’s popularity fuelled the growth of a textile industry in Bethlehem and many villages adapted it to fit their own style and customs. In this photo, a Bethlehemite woman wears traditional clothes adorned with a headdress customary of her town – a fez-like hat appended with coins from the woman’s dowry and a white shawl covering her head. (Library of Congress)

Palestine is considered to be the native home of the olive tree, and for centuries olives have been a centrepiece of Palestinian culture and traditions. In this photo, taken some time between 1890 and 1914, Palestinian women are seen using an ancient column as a roller to produce olive oil, by crushing the olives. Olive harvesting season typically commences in October or November. Once the olives are picked, they are put to use in a variety of ways by Palestinian farmers. The olive tree, like the jaffa orange, is a symbol of Palestinian national identity and emblematic of the connection Palestinians hold to their land. (National Geographic Magazine)

Rural Palestinian communities had many customary practices for their newborn babies. One of the most important, was massaging olive oil onto the skin of the baby for 40 days after its birth. The olive oil was intended to soften and strengthen the baby’s skin. Additionally, mothers would often line their baby’s waterline with Arabic kohl. This practice was intended to safeguard the eyes against bacteria, as well as to promote strong vision. Mothers would often tightly swaddle their newborn babies with rope-like cloths weaved around the blanket swaddle, mirroring the practices of many other cultures. Many of these ancestral practices are still in use today. (National Geographic Magazine)

Olive oil is also used in soap production. Soap produced in the city of Nablus is made of Palestinian olive oil, water, and a sodium compound. Although Nablus mass produced the soap for international export, the olive oil soap was developed by the Palestinian fellah (rural) women for household use. However, it gained traction through trade and became a distinct product of the industrial city of Nablus from the 14th century onwards. In the early 1900s there were around 30 factories throughout Nablus producing the soap. One of the oldest surviving soap factories today is the Tuqan Soap Factory, which retails the famous muftahein (two-keys) Nabulsi soap. (Library of Congress)

Fellah women were the backbone of Palestinian society, contributing widely to land cultivation and the Palestinian economy, and serving as pillars in the development of Palestinian culture and national identity. As seen through this photograph taken some time between 1889 and 1914, the rural women of Palestine would often travel long distances to sell their farming goods and handcrafts in marketplaces throughout Palestine. Palestinian women were heavily involved in protests against British colonisation and played active roles in politics following the Buraq Uprising of 1929 and during the Arab Revolt of 1933. (National Geographic Magazine)

Basket weaving is a ritual heritage in Palestine, still practised today by many farming communities in the occupied West Bank. Women forage materials from their surroundings, such as wheat and twigs from olive, almond and terabinth trees to create baskets, trays, and containers. Once weaved, they are placed under the hot sun to dry. The photo above depicts a Palestinian girl hand-weaving baskets between 1910 and 1914. (National Geographic Magazine)

Jaffa, or Yafa as it is called by the Palestinians, is an ancient port city that has long been the gateway of the Mediterranean. Before the Nakba, Jaffa was the largest city in Palestine and was the centre of Palestinian culture and commercial activity. Jaffa is referred to by Palestinians as the “Bride of the Sea” given its distinct beauty as a coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea. (Library of Congress)

Cultivated by Palestinian farmers in Jaffa during the 20th century, the Jaffa orange named after the port city, and also known as the Shamouti orange, is a defining symbol of Palestinian national identity. Its distinct deep orange colour and sweet taste made it suitable for export and highly prized throughout the world. Jaffa oranges once served as a key export commodity for the Palestinian economy. (Library of Congress)

Religious festivals have been freely celebrated in Palestine for centuries. Here a Christmas procession in Bethlehem is taking place near the Church of Nativity in the year 1920. The Church of Nativity is a World Heritage Site and the first to be listed under “Palestine” by Unesco. (Library of Congress)

The Nabi Musa festival is another religious celebration. It was one of the largest Islamic celebrations in the region, inaugurated after Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem. It was considered to be one of the most important religious events in Palestine. Attended annually by Muslims throughout the world, pilgrims would travel from Jerusalem to what was believed to be the Tomb of Moses a few kilometres south of Jericho. The ceremony would last for one week, during which a series of celebrations through song, dance, and games would commence. (Library of Congress)

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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