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Middle East Press (06 Jun 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Accepting the Apartheid Label Will Normalise Israel, By Mark Levine And Neve Gordon: New Age Islam's Selection, 06 June 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

06 June 2017

Accepting the Apartheid Label Will Normalise Israel

By Mark Levine and Neve Gordon

Keeping the Lights On In Pakistan Will Drive Growth, Save Lives

By Afshin Molavi

There Are Lies, Damned Lies and Qatari Statements

By Faisal J. Abbas

Our Oil… Not Yours!

By Dr. Khaled M Batarfi

The Threat from Qatar

By Hussein Shobokshi

Historical Imperatives Knocking On Israel’s Door

By Fawaz Turki

Britain's Problems Are Far Beyond Terrorism

By Bill Durodie

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Accepting the Apartheid Label Will Normalise Israel

By Mark LeVine and Neve Gordon

5 June 2017

At what point does an occupation transform into something entirely different? Is 50 years enough? Half a century after Israel's 1967 lightning takeover of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, is it still accurate to characterise its control of these territories as a "military occupation", which by definition has always meant a temporary phenomenon?

Occupations are at the core military systems established to regulate the presence and behaviour of a foreign army over a conquered territory and its indigenous population. The underlying assumption informing the law of occupation is that a pronounced de facto and de jure difference exists between the occupying country and the territory it has occupied. 

Yet, over the past 50 years the Green Line separating pre-1967 Israel from the areas it captured has been geographically and politically erased. In addition to connecting the two regions with roads, electricity grids, and a customs union, Israel has moved hundreds of thousands of settlers to East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Currently, two Supreme Court Justices, several Cabinet and Knesset members and numerous other public servants live there.

Far from ameliorating this situation, the Oslo process - which is today almost half as old as the occupation itself - enabled the ongoing de facto erasure of the Green Line. Effectively, then, for well over a generation there has been one state between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea, and the Israeli government is its sovereign.

The UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, almost every country on earth and even Israel's own High Court consider the territories occupied in 1967 to be legally separate from Israel. Decades of reports by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations unequivocally demonstrate Israel's systematic violations of the laws of occupation.

Israel's responses to these accusations have been twofold. First, like other human rights abusers, the government does whatever it can to deny, rebut, or muddy the claims. Second, the Israeli government denies even the applicability of the laws of occupation, arguing that because the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem were not legally part of Egypt or Jordan before the war, they are merely "disputed", meaning Israel has a free hand to expropriate and settle the land while denying Palestinians rights otherwise guaranteed by international law.

From Occupation to Apartheid

Ironically, today the most virulent supporters and harshest critics of Israel's control of the conquered territories believe the debate over whether they are occupied is no longer relevant.

On the one hand, many members of Israel's present ruling coalition would like to end the debate about the legal status of the Palestinian territories by simply annexing much, if not all, of the West Bank (Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967), transforming the de facto annexation into a de jure one while leaving Gaza's fate to the international community.

On the other hand, a growing number of legal scholars believe that after 50 years of unrelenting repression and settlement the occupation itself rather than its specific manifestations has become illegal. While more and more Palestinians and even some Israelis maintain that the correct term to describe the situation is no longer occupation. It is apartheid.

Critics of the use of the apartheid label argue that it is a false analogy, claiming that the historical and political experiences in both countries are too different to justify using such a highly charged and historically specific term vis-a-vis Israel. But the fact that Israel's system of ethnic domination and exclusion is different from South Africa's no more delegitimises its categorisation as an apartheid system than the unique experiences of Italy and France would challenge their similar characterisation as democracies.

Apartheid - not only in its South African experience, but in its clear definition under the 1973 International Covenant on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid - possesses a fundamental characteristic that defines its practice wherever it exists: "two populations, one of them endowed with all the civil rights and the other denied all rights".

These words come not from the 1973 covenant but from the mouth of Israel's greatest diplomat, Abba Eban, who uttered them less than a week after the conclusion of the Six-Day War in warning his colleagues that such a situation would be very difficult to defend. But they anticipate the Covenant's description of apartheid as "systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime".

New Tools Needed For Securing Palestinian Rights

Understanding Israel as an apartheid system reveals the urgent need for a paradigm shift in how we understand and attempt to transform the political reality in Israel and Palestine. Instead of asking how to end the occupation and create two states, decision-makers need to consider how to democratise the one state reality existing between the River and the Sea. Instead of continuing to use the law of occupation to criticise Israel's policies, new tools need to be developed to secure the Palestinian right to self-determination within a context where territorially grounded statehood is no longer (and likely never was) a possibility.

In this context, far from singling out Israel, the apartheid label would normalise it, allowing the same broad range of strategies that have worked elsewhere to be deployed here, giving Israelis and Palestinians alike new tools to fight for a peaceful, just and democratic future for all the country's inhabitants. After 50 years of violence, oppression and war, both peoples deserve a better future. Admitting the reality of apartheid is the first step in that direction.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/06/accepting-apartheid-label-normalise-israel-170604114500376.html

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Keeping the Lights On In Pakistan Will Drive Growth, Save Lives

By Afshin Molavi

6 June 2017

Last week, Pakistan achieved a quiet milestone, returning to the prestigious MSCI Emerging Markets Index after losing its status in 2008. Joining 23 other countries on the index, from high-growth Asian economies to large Latin American and rising Eastern European ones, Pakistan has now returned to the “premier league” of emerging markets.

Long-term, this will mean a steady flow of global capital entering Pakistan’s equities markets. It will also offer a confidence boost for foreign investors. But Pakistanis can be forgiven if they are hardly in a mood to celebrate, as widespread electricity shortages wrack the country once again.

Peshawar residents face cuts of six to eight hours per day, and violent protests broke out in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the cuts, leaving at least two dead. Even the commercial metropolis of Karachi has not been spared, losing electricity in several parts of the city last week, prompting protests.

Electricity shortages are bad enough under normal circumstances, but during the holy month of Ramadan — when stomachs are growling, and the need for electricity to cook food ahead of the breaking of the fast becomes even more urgent — it becomes a combustible mix.

For Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the electricity shortages present a serious embarrassment for a leader who placed the issue at the centre of his election campaign in 2013. Whether or not Pakistan can keep the lights on could determine his future as prime minister.

Enter China. One of the most impactful elements of the much-vaunted, multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be Beijing’s investments in Pakistan energy projects. Last month, Pakistan inaugurated a Chinese-financed, coal-fired power plant in Punjab, completed after 22 months of work, while announcing the launch of a plant in electricity-starved Baluchistan province.

From wind and solar to coal and hydro, China’s energy projects across Pakistan are dizzying in scope and potentially transformative to the future of the South Asian country of some 200 million people. According to the CPEC website, there are at least 18 active projects in various stages of development.

As with all projects, some will materialize and be delivered on time, others will be delayed or fall off the map, but even if China delivers on half of the proposed projects, Pakistan’s future will be, well, brighter.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the direct causal link between access to energy and economic growth. Economists need not have spent so much time constructing graphs and testing the thesis. It is common sense. Imagine an industrial revolution without regular access to energy?

Pakistan has become something of a darling in the emerging-markets investment community of late. Pakistan’s Global X MSCI exchange traded index was up 18 percent over the past 12 months, though it took a sharp dive after officially entering the MSCI Index last week. It seems traders had been buying the rumor, so to speak, and sold the fact.

Over the past three years, Pakistan has issued a successful Eurobond as well as sukuk bonds, heavily oversubscribed by yield-hungry international investors betting on the Pakistan growth story. The World Bank projects a healthy 5.2 percent growth rate for 2017.

Moreover, consumer companies are harvesting growth by targeting the country’s rising middle class. Former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Ishrat Husain, told me that companies such as Nestle and Proctor & Gamble are seeing impressive 25-percent rates of return. Some investment strategists are even touting a new post-BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) acronym: VARP (Vietnam, Argentina, Romania and Pakistan).

Still, all the international financial world plaudits and emerging-markets interest cannot mask the reality of electricity shortages dragging on the economy and materially impacting people’s lives.

The issue is not merely one of inconvenience or a drag on growth. It is life or death, especially in the high-temperature summer months. Lack of access to refrigeration spoils food and medicines, contributes to the rise of infectious diseases and leads to deaths of the most vulnerable.

China’s $60 billion-plus planned investments in Pakistan have sparked headlines globally and hand-wringing questions in world capitals about Beijing’s “real intentions.” For Pakistan’s future — not to mention Sharif’s future, with an election upcoming in 2018 — keeping the lights on will determine whether the country can meet its rising and substantial potential as a major Asian economy. It will also save lives.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1110696

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There Are Lies, Damned Lies and Qatari Statements

By Faisal J. Abbas

 5 June 2017

The severing of diplomatic ties with Doha by a number of Arab and Muslim countries — most notably fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE — is not something that should be taken lightly; nor should it be assumed that such a tough measure was sudden or came out of the blue.

In fact, anyone who has monitored the recent heated exchange of angry editorials — which has been going on for over two weeks between the Arabic-language media outlets of Qatar and those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE — would have easily predicted that relations were heading rapidly toward this unfortunate point.

However, the only party that seems to have ignored the clear signals of where things were headed was the government of Qatar. This is surreal, given that it has the most to lose.

It is also bizarre that Doha did not genuinely do more to contain the anger of its neighbors when it knows far too well that Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama are fully capable of acting upon it, just like they did back in 2014.

This time however other countries, such as Egypt and the eastern-based government of Libya, are on board in boycotting Doha. What is also different this time around is that Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama are cutting off ties completely with Qatar, as opposed to only recalling their ambassadors as they did three years ago.

Why now?

Of course, the question on the minds of many is: What was the tipping point? Or rather, what caused the anger to suddenly flare up?

If it was indeed the recent comments allegedly made by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then why were Doha’s claims that these statements were fake not taken seriously?

The answer to that question is that the Qatari government has become like the “boy who cried wolf.”

In other words, the overwhelming belief among Saudi, Emirati and many Arab officials is that there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies… and Qatari statements. This is particularly the case given that more often than not, Doha’s actions simply do not match its words.

Take the official denial that Sheikh Tamim praised Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah in those recent statements. Even if we were to believe that Sheikh Tamim never said those things, Doha is still a home for the Hamas leadership. There are still posters in Lebanon hung by Hezbollah that say “Shukran Qatar” (Thank you, Qatar). Even after the controversial alleged statements were made, the Qatari emir reached out publicly to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and said he had instructed his government to enhance bilateral relations more than ever before.

The severing of diplomatic ties with Doha by a number of Arab and Muslim countries — most notably fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE — is not something that should be taken lightly; nor should it be assumed that such a tough measure was sudden or came out of the blue.

In fact, anyone who has monitored the recent heated exchange of angry editorials — which has been going on for over two weeks between the Arabic-language media outlets of Qatar and those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE — would have easily predicted that relations were heading rapidly toward this unfortunate point.

However, the only party that seems to have ignored the clear signals of where things were headed was the government of Qatar. This is surreal, given that it has the most to lose.

It is also bizarre that Doha did not genuinely do more to contain the anger of its neighbours when it knows far too well that Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama are fully capable of acting upon it, just like they did back in 2014.

This time however other countries, such as Egypt and the eastern-based government of Libya, are on board in boycotting Doha. What is also different this time around is that Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama are cutting off ties completely with Qatar, as opposed to only recalling their ambassadors as they did three years ago.

Why now?

Of course, the question on the minds of many is: What was the tipping point? Or rather, what caused the anger to suddenly flare up?

If it was indeed the recent comments allegedly made by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then why were Doha’s claims that these statements were fake not taken seriously?

The answer to that question is that the Qatari government has become like the “boy who cried wolf.”

In other words, the overwhelming belief among Saudi, Emirati and many Arab officials is that there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies… and Qatari statements. This is particularly the case given that more often than not, Doha’s actions simply do not match its words.

Take the official denial that Sheikh Tamim praised Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah in those recent statements. Even if we were to believe that Sheikh Tamim never said those things, Doha is still a home for the Hamas leadership. There are still posters in Lebanon hung by Hezbollah that say “Shukran Qatar” (Thank you, Qatar). Even after the controversial alleged statements were made, the Qatari emir reached out publicly to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and said he had instructed his government to enhance bilateral relations more than ever before.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1110616

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Our Oil… Not Yours!

By Dr. Khaled M Batarfi

June 6, 2017

“The Gulf oil is not just yours… it is Allah’s gift to all Arabs and Muslims. Therefore, such a waste of resources bothers us, and we have the right to hold you accountable,” argued an Arab friend. “It is high time we exercised guardianship over the Gulf states. From now on, all financial decisions must go through a board of directors and a general assembly, representing all Arab and Muslim nations,” he announced. Others agreed.

They contended that the Gulf recent military and economic deals with the United States were draining Arab and Muslim resources and showed how weak, incompetent and wasteful we were!

I told them: Less than a century ago, when your countries were ages ahead of us, our camel convoys would wait outside the walls of your bristling cities, selling fat, milk and cattle. Then, you looked down on us, and never thought of sharing your fortunes with your Arab and Muslim brethren. But when Allah gave us our own fortune, oil, you suddenly remembered the mutual bond of religion and blood, and granted yourselves sharing rights!

However, we did not treat you as you treated us. Instead, we have shared our treasures, opened our gates, supported your governments and armies, and invested in your economies. And still, despite the arrogant, ungrateful and treacherous attitude of some of your elites, we still do. Because, this is our holy duty and that is the right thing to do. You are closer to us than others. You deserve better place and space than any. But it is unacceptable when some of you forget that this is our money, and demand shares, interfere in the way we manage our economies, and claim custody.

Remember that our resources are smaller than yours, but we have managed them well and invested in what benefits us — and you. We have developed our countries, taught our children, strengthened our armies and solidified our security, without forgetting our duty toward fellow Arabs and Muslims, and less privileged nations. On the other hand, your governments have stolen your wealth, and wasted the rest on destructive policies, oppressive police, and defeated armies. Little was left for development, and that is what put you behind the rest of us.

Your capital and best minds have migrated to better and safer environments for study, work and investment, including ours. They were escaping corrupted militant police states, with nothing to offer but slogans, propaganda and conflicts.

You have to answer to your historical and strategic wrongs, bothers and sisters. You have to confront yourselves with the realities of a bitter history. The mistakes of your leaders and your submission to dictators are what led you to this end, not the Gulf! The failure of your development projects and corruption are what changed your fortunes from prosperity to poverty, not the Gulf! Your wars and evil alliances are your doing, not the Gulf states!

Who brought wealthy, sophisticated and powerful Egypt that loaned Great Britain and the United States in the 1940s to its current humble state? Who made the land of the two great rivers, Iraq, that once ruled half the world, (with caliphs and kings from our deserts, by the way!), into such poor, broken, Persian occupied land? Who handed the keys of Umayyad Capital, Damascus, to Tehran, Moscow and even southern Beirut? Who destroyed a great nation and sent two thirds of its population to refugee camps? Who sold happy Yemen to poverty, illness, ignorance — and Iran? Who turned the rich and beautiful North Africa to an exporter of boat refugees and oppressed minorities in Europe? The Gulf states never had a hand in all the above. In fact, if it wasn’t for their support, the situation would have been much worse.

I told my Arab intellectual friends: “We help and assist as much as we can. We consult and advise if we were asked. But we are not prepared to carry the responsibility of your sins, or allow any interference in our affairs. Always remember, that hospitable Arabs extend their generosity in one hand. On the other they hold their swords. Those who respect us enjoy our hospitality. Those who violated our rights receive the sword. The choice is theirs.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/our-oil-not-yours/

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The Threat from Qatar

By Hussein Shobokshi

5 June 2017

I was not surprised at the controversial statements made by Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and his support for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ever since the Emir’s coup against his father and taking over the power, Qatar has pursued hostile policies, specifically to target countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco.

Qatar launched its hostile political stance through its dubious media platform Al-Jazeera, from where it broadcasts the elements of hostility and extremism. It also aired views of leaders from terrorist organizations and their terrorist operations in the neighbouring countries of Qatar.

Through its media platform, it promoted dangerous views on the suicide bombing, the price of which is being paid by the whole world today and that has killed thousands of innocent people. It also divided the ranks of Palestinians by throwing its weight behind the extremist policies and directions.

Qatar created differences on “border” issues between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in heavy casualties and it did not do it secretly. It publicly supported the “opponents” of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and did the same with Morocco, Jordan and the UAE. In addition, it encouraged the Houthis to strengthen their ties with Iran and still continues to do so. It also opened the Qatari market for Iranian investments.

‘New Borders’

After investigation by the Saudi security agencies, it was revealed that Qatar was involved in the distribution of maps to the Yemeni tribes showing new borders of Yemen, which “includes” Asir and Taif.

Qatar continued with its hostile policies against Saudi Arabia until the events in Egypt where people’s power rejected the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was, again, supported by Qatar.

After the Brotherhood government was dislodged, Qatar hardened its position against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and accused Saudi Arabia of supporting a coup, which sounds funny, as the Qatari regime itself came to power with a coup! When questioned why Qatar adopts an anti-Egyptian policy, its reply is that it favours democracy. Well, this logic could be acceptable if it came from the British Labour Party or from a Swedish party, but not from Qatar!

I can recall my first meeting with the former Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim when I met him at a roundtable at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. We were together with the head of the Polish Central Bank and a member of the Russian Communist Party. I asked him why Qatar is pursuing its controversial policies and reversing the path.

He said, “I personally admire French politics. It is a part of Western politics, but it is also pushing it to new areas of total disobedience.” He continued, “We are not the size of Saudi Arabia or Egypt. We want to be different and we have our own personality. Therefore, we are open to Israel, Iran, America and the Muslim Brotherhood and are open to all the free voices of the world.”

Larger Than the Size

I was not convinced by his words. I remembered history is a school where we learn from entities that are drawn to play roles that are larger than their size.

Lebanon in the seventies supported all opposition voices for reforms in the Arab world until it plunged into a civil war and it is paying for it until today. Kuwait fell victim to the votes of the leftists as it tried to play a bigger role in the region. Saddam Hussein paid for his own treachery. Very soon Qatar will be the next victim, if it doesn’t learn from history’s tough lessons.

The issue of Qatar’s policy must be seen with logic and reason as former emir’s coup against his father was based on treason and not on consensus which has created an unrest in the Arab world. Qataris themselves are ashamed of their country’s positions.

I remember at a dinner interview in Jeddah that was attended by one of the current Qatari banks’ head who presided over during the reign of the former Emir. He said, “We believe that Egypt and other countries in the region deserve better governance.” Hello, who are you?”

Source:english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/06/05/The-threat-from-Qatar.html

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Historical Imperatives Knocking on Israel’s Door

By Fawaz Turki

5 June 2017

How does one commemorate the semi-centennial of a political cataclysm? What does one feel when one ponders the fact that four out of every 5 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were born, grew up under, and knew nothing in their political culture other than, military occupation by a foreign ruler who controls every facet of their daily life?

Today, June 5, marks the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, for Arabs an inter-state conflict between three of their countries and the settler entity in Palestine called Israel. Revisionist historians, including Israel’s own valiant New Historians, have long since recast the traditional narrative of that war, namely that it was not a David and Goliath confrontation – a weak Israel threatened with another holocaust , forced into a pre-emptive attack against its enemies.

As Gal Beckerman, reviewing Guy Laron’s book, The Six Day War: The Breaking Point, wrote in the Book Review section of the New York Times last Sunday, it was the total opposite. “In Israel, since the birth of the state, the military embraced an ‘offensive doctrine’ that looked for opportunities to alter Israel’s borders, giving it more strategic depth than the thin lines it achieved at the armistice of the 1948 war,” said Beckerman.

“David Ben- Gurion had described those borders as ‘unbearable.’ And although in public he presented Israel as a ‘small state under siege by powerful neighbours,’ Laron writes, behind closed doors , Ben-Gurion saw the Middle East as an open vista, beckoning Israel to use its military superiority to expand its borders.”

Continuation of the Nakbi

For those other Arabs we know as Palestinians, however, however, the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War is a mere continuation of the Nakbi, that calamitous event exactly seven decades earlier that resulted in the dismemberment of Palestine, and the land alienation, exile and pauperization of its people.

And that is what is triggered in the collective consciousness of Palestinian Arabs as the Arab world, and along with it the rest of the world, commemorates the semi-centennial of the Six Day War. For them it is a time when one continues to uncompromisingly assert one’s national identity, to pay tribute to one’s history, remind one’s self that a people do not die whose name is spoken, that they do not die if they continue to inhabit – and in turn be inhabited by – the heart of the country they left behind.

Meanwhile, in a move emblematic of the archetypal essence of Palestine’s culture, they pass the keys to their homes in Haifa and Jaffa, Lydda and Ramleh, Acre and Galilee, to their children.

Sadly, the outlook for the near future is bleak. Yet the outlook for the far future, as historical imperatives begin to implacably impress their domain in Palestine, is bright indeed.

What the Palestinians face today, exactly 50 years after the fact, is a seemingly endless occupation of their home and homeland and a relentless colonization as the same game is still ongoing since the last fifty years, an Israeli game whose only rule is this: do little and play for time, presenting the Palestinian cause as a non-issue, and putting Palestinians in a perpetual limbo and a future Palestinian state in certain doubt – leaving violence the only card these tormented folks could play. And, yes, violence must stop before peace talks are held. Right? Right. And so the nightmare goes.

Spineless

No one with clout has ever confronted Israel over this. The only country that could’ve made a difference was the US, but the White House has shown itself, all the way from William Rogers in 1969 to John Kerry in 2014, to be spineless in this regard. In like manner, politicians in Congress, knowing that the domestic cost of standing up to Israel is too high, have shown themselves to be equally spineless.

What seems to be passing largely unnoticed, however, is the fact – a fact that has become increasingly obvious to the outside world – that by playing the game of zealous colonizer and brute occupier, Israel has projected itself as a racist state defined by a system of apartheid. And history attests to the fact that institutionalized racial discrimination and apartheid are implosive forces that carry within them the seed of their own destruction.

Because of all that, because of its colonially doctrinaire rigidity, and because of its unrestrained hubris, Israel will in time find itself facing a day of reckoning, when the imperatives of history will begin to assert themselves. Sure, you can sign a pact with the Devil, who will give you all the aid you need in your colonial enterprise, but then you will encounter that Devil again, lurking around the corner, asking for his fee to be paid.

As Ehud Olmert, then Israel’s Prime Minister, declared in 2007: “If the two-state solution collapses and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished. In short, Israel must put up or be shuttered. It has, in effect, opted for the latter. Pity the brute.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/06/05/Historical-imperatives-knocking-on-Israel-s-door.html

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Britain's Problems Are Far Beyond Terrorism

By Bill Durodie

June 5, 2017

The country needs to address concerns of factions that remain disconnected from the political process.

Enough is enough" announced British Prime Minister Theresa May outside Downing Street in the aftermath of the third terror attack in the UK in as many months.

Well, I agree. Enough is enough. So maybe we could start by bypassing the call for peaceful vigils - beloved by those who are keener for us to turn the other cheek than to have the "difficult and embarrassing conversations" she now calls for? This is not to dismiss the hurt of those directly affected, but rather to bypass the encouragement of ersatz emotions by those who might prefer us to remain passive and disengaged.

Rather than being "united ... in horror and mourning", as the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, consoled in her virtue-signalling statement after these attacks, maybe it is time we focused on becoming united in purpose ­- a purpose that ought not just reflect the "determination" to defeat terrorism as she narrowly defined it? A purpose that might offer something beyond terrorism for us all to focus on and present something more visionary to engage with - including for the nihilistic few to whom we have evidently failed to impart any sense of belief and belonging?

Sixteen years on from 9/11, might it not be time to move beyond the same old calls for more security that emanate from the usual suspects in self-interested quarters at such times? More recently, this has been augmented by demands, including by the prime minister herself, that the internet and social media platforms be censored and policed, too. But the fact is that if you or I were to trawl through as many extremist websites as we could find, we still would not turn into the morally bankrupt murderers that are committing these atrocities. This should give the lie to naive models of media influence impacting on hapless minds.

Likewise, to suggest that British foreign policy is somehow responsible for all that we see, or that supposedly understandable grievances emanate from the experience of racism and exclusion at home, is also to miss what matters most.

Britain has both overtly and covertly interfered in the affairs of others overseas for as long as I can remember, and well before that - usually much more forcefully and murderously than in the ways it does at present. That there is space for some kind of response to this does not dictate the nihilistic form that this now takes. That is what is new today and which most needs answering by those fond of such simplistic platitudes. To think in these terms holds us all back, including those elsewhere who are genuinely interested in liberation.

Maybe it is time for some to note, too, that British society is not the racist catastrophe that is presumed of at such times. The new chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, appears to believe that we are all just one terror incident away when she announced that: "The last thing we need is people taking out their frustrations on people in other communities." Where is her evidence for that? Not just self-reported slights at presumed offence and injustices, but serious incidents ­- incidents serious enough to warrant prosecution and conviction for an act of physical violence?

When I was young, I remember friends at school advising that they were going to beat up members of minority groups on a Friday night and inquiring whether others might care to join them. We don't live in that world anymore and a good thing, too. Good riddance to racism and homophobia. But at the same time, the race relations industry and others appear to have gone into overdrive turning every verbal mishap into a recordable offence. Can we talk about this too now?

What we do have is a problem that stretches far beyond terrorism and that will require a national conversation going much further than that envisaged by those proposing this today - a conversation that addresses the disconnection of the many from the political process, as well as the often self-indulgent engagement of the few within it. A conversation that challenges the moral capitulation of the old right as much as the political correctness of the old left.

One that asks why it is that, in an age when - despite there never before having been so many young people having so much focus placed on their emotions within their education - there are still a small, but growing, number of these who appear unable to handle setbacks and disappointment such that, at the margins, a handful think little of acting in this way.

We live in a time when many are told that they may cause offence if they express what they genuinely believe. When rather than engaging in robust debate, we are encouraged not to interrogate the beliefs and behaviours of others - and government legislates accordingly in the name of preventing terrorism. It is a world that the authorities - from all sides - that are calling for change today have helped to create. And this, just a few days away from a general election that ought to have encouraged just such debates to the surface. "Enough is enough"? Too right.

Source: khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/britains-problems-are--far-beyond-terrorism

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/accepting-the-apartheid-label-will-normalise-israel,-by-mark-levine-and-neve-gordon--new-age-islam-s-selection,-06-june-2017/d/111423




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