Sunday, July 9, 2017

India's shift toward Israel a snub to Plestinians

By Gulamhusein A Abba

How things have changed even in my lifetime! Gone are the days when India was an important part of the Non Aligned Movement. For a time it was even perceived as leaning to the left. Now, under Modi, India has swung to the extreme right.

Nehru’s sympathies lay with the Palestinians and those suffering in Gaza.

In 1956 when the UN Emergency force came to guard the Armistice Demarcation Lines drawn in the battle between Israel and Egypt, it included a detachment of Indian troops which remained there till the 1967 Six Day war between Jordan, Egypt and Syria.

Modi next to Netanyahu doing Namaste
Indian military presence is still there. Recently three Indian warships landed in Haifa, no, not to guard aid ships coming from various parts of the world with supplies for Gaza but to take part in joint exercises with the Israeli navy

Add to this fact that when Modi visited Israel in July for a three day visit, he did not schedule a single meeting with Palestinian leadership. It was all about signing a series of economic agreements and expanding defense ties into a broader trade and technology relationship in areas such as water conservation, space and agriculture. The deals included purchase of $2 billion worth of weapons technology from them.

“We expected him to visit both Israel and Palestine,” Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Tasir Jaradat told Al Jazeera, adding that to “play an important role between the two sides and to be able to spread the message of peace, one should visit both.”

Modi giving a warm hug to Netanyahu
The Palestinians wanted Modi to be more like Gandhi who was strongly against the occupation of Israeli territories by Israel.

Not only Palestinians but some Indians back home were critical. They felt that Prime Minister Modi is developing a closer ideological relationship with his Israeli counterpart.

The far-left Communist Party of India (Marxist) was blunt.

“The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel marks a rupture in the long-held position of India which has viewed Israel as an occupying power of Palestinian territories,” the party said in a statement.

It branded India’s “strategic partnership” with Israel “a virtual abandonment of the Palestinian cause” that was “reinforced by Modi not visiting Ramallah and the Palestinian Authority.

Particularly disturbing were pictures of Modi giving a warm hug to Benjamin Netanyahu and both of them frolicking in the waves on visit to mobile desalination unit

Friday, June 23, 2017

“They speak of pain who have never felt a pinprick”


Those who are rich or comfortably well off have no idea of the difficulties, problems and dangers faced daily by those who struggle to make a living, even though they work two jobs. Those sitting in their comfortable, air-conditioned offices blithely pass bills without being aware of the real, often life-threatening dangers that loom for the less fortunate as a result of these laws.

Lost in their day to day, hour to hour struggles, the toiling masses have no time to articulate their woes. When some do speak out, their voices are not given a forum.

Today I bring to you one such voice, the voice of a brave and selfless soul who has devoted her life to fighting for the just rights of the weak and sidelined. Listen carefully to the voice of Jean Carol.

Jean Carol

Jean Carol:
" ‘Oh, that won't happen’ I was told.

" ‘They won't take away Medicaid’ they said.

" ‘They'll have to have SOMETHING in place for them’ (for Kids like ours. with Insulin Dependent Diabetes).

" ‘You're so Dramatic’.

“Then--they said I hurt their feelings, because I was angry, furious when they wouldn't stand up for our little boy.

“Now here we are. Days away from a vote that could decide whether we survive financially. More than that, if we physically survive. We would both need a second income, just to pay our kids insulin costs.

“And my partner would start having seizures due to lack of sleep from working so many hours, and the stress of worry.

“Me? My premiums will become too expensive to afford. I'll be sick, a lot, especially as I'll be taking another job, and taking care of my family.

“The GOP has been telling us since the ACA first passed what they intended to do if they ever got the power. Now they do. And they are. And those who voted them in, and those who stay silent have only themselves to blame.

“If you have been silent to date, and you don't stand up now, and call your senators, email the GOP, call the WH, how much did you ever really care about us?

“We are in a battle to survive. And right now, it looks like it's a losing battle. Are you an ally to us? And if not, who are you?

“The new health bill specifically targets kids like ours. Insulin is incredibly costly. As are the associated supplies. Medicaid will be capped, at the amount of the average recipient. Diabetics are way above the average recipient. And McConnell says "they can just go to the ER". FFS!!”

Here is the comment I made to her post:

Gulamusein A. Abba: “This is truly heartbreaking. I feel terrible about the situation because I know you, know how much you have given to the community, how you've stood up whenever it was necessary to do so. And just imagine, There will be thousands who will face the same dilemma. This in the richest country in the world!!

“It makes me sick when people say, "what's the problem? They can always go to the ER". They are like those who speak of pain who have never felt a pinprick. “Go to the ER”!!!! They speak who have never had to step in there even once. Listening to your plight, Jean is making me feel guilty about receiving the benefits I do under Medicare. But for Medicare I would be in a worse position than you. My heart goes out to you, my dear, dear Jean. I wish I could help in some way”.


And here is how Jean responded on her timeline: “Oh, Abba, I'll always be happy that you DO have healthcare. Never feel guilty for that”. So selfless. So devoid of hurt feelings. That is Jean.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Scathing attack on Saudi Arabia


By Gulamhusein A. Abba

“Stop pouring petrol on these fires on the other side of the world”
“Violence has a way of coming home”

Senator Scott Ludlam
Scott Ludlam, co deputy leader of the Australian Greens in the Senate, opposing the  Australian government sponsored arms deal to Saudi Arabia , in a strong speech exposed the hypocrisy of Western governments who claim to be upholders of the rule of law, of justice and freedom and human rights.

He proposed a unilateral arms embargo on Saudi Arabia and launched a scathing attack on the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen. He said “there is a word for this kind of horrific violence aginst nonmilitary targets and that word is “terrorism”

Referring to the famine being faced by the Yemenis, he said, “This is an engineered famine. It is an engineered epidemic. There is a word for this too. That word is “genocide”.

Quoting diplomatic cables published by the WikiLeaks organization, he said the cables revealed the following: Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Saudi terrorist groups worldwide. He went on to reveal that these were US Department cables

Citing the “eye for an eye” approach followed by Saudi Arabia government, he revealed that in 2003 and Indian guest worker was punished for his role in a brawl in which a Saudi citizen was wounded. He was punished by having his right eye gouged out.

Blogger  Raif Badwi
Scott said, “this is a barbaric place. Do you know who stood up in Saudi Arabia for human rights and democracy, unlike the United States government or indeed our own? A blogger called Raif Badawi. It is just on five years since he was arrested and sentenced to thousands of lashes and 10 years in prison. He is still in prison – a blogger…”

Lashing of Raif Badawi

Salman Rushdie on why we must read Raif Badawi
A terrific speech. It took a lot of courage to make it and I take my hats off to Scott Ludlam.
Please see the video of the full speech by Mr. Scott at

It may come as a surprise that this condemnation of the Sunni government of Saudi Arabia is being praised by me, a Sunni. In fact, it is no surprise. Firstly because a wrong is a wrong and it must be condemned, no matter who the wrong doer is, and he who has the courage to condemn it deserves to be praised. Secondly, the majority of Sunnis, myself included, do not accept that Saudi Arabia represents correctly the concept of Islam held by Sunni Muslims today


PS. Two of the hypocrites:



Monday, June 5, 2017

Who the aggressor, who the victim?

By Gulamhusein A. Abba

When Hearst Media’s News Times published a piece by me in which I detailed how the U.S., in addition to vetoing UN resolutions critical of Israel, protects Israel in the UN in various other ways, including bullying UN Secretary General into abandoning appointment of a Palestinian to an important position in the UN and withdrawing a UN report on apartheid in Israel, a reader responded.

He did not dispute a word of what I had written. Instead he rolled out what appeared to be talking points that are distributed to a network of Israel supporters to be used whenever anything critical of Israel appears in the press,

He pointed out that every U.S. president since Israel’s founding in 1947 has supported Israel, implying that it proves Israel was deserving of US support. He then went on to claim that Israel has been the victim of Palestinians who want to eliminate Israel and that Israel has made several peace proposals but the Palestinians have rejected them.

President Obama declared Israel to be America's "best friend"
 There are some who continue to honor the Goebbelsian belief that repeating a lie often enough will turn it into a truth.

Far be it from me to accuse the reader of lying. I am sure he honestly believes that what he has stated in his letter is true. It is not.

Such falsification of truth needs to be corrected lest others start accepting it. It is in that spirit that this is being written.

Below are the statements made by the reader. My response to them appears in italics below each statement:

Reader: Mr. Abba in his Where I Stand article of May 24 questions U.S. support of Israel, which has been reaffirmed by every U.S. president since Israel’s founding in 1947.
Response:Every US president has affirmed U.S. support for Israel since its founding in 1947 because U.S. politicians rely on the votes of Christian evangelists and Jewish supporters of Israel in U.S and on huge donations that AIPAC is able to funnel into election funds of those who support Israel. It may be noted that every US president has also referred to land East of 1967 borders to be “occupied land” and has also held Israeli colonies built on this land to be illegal

Also, consider this. It would be so very, very difficult to establish a huge military base in the middle of all the Islamic nations. And so "offensive". It would alienate most if not all the Islamic nations. It would not be in U.S. interests to do that. Much easier to help a group of rabid Arab haters, "people without a land" seeking a homeland in "a land without people". That could be promoted as a noble thing to do and also help atone for the sins of our past. Then, once this "homeland" was established, pump millions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition into this new State to help it keep an eye on, and keep in line, the "pesky" Islamic nations in this region so rich in resources we need.  

Reader: Since then, Israel has had to defend itself against invading Arab armies pledging its extermination in 1948, 1967 and 1993.
Response: In 1948 the Arab armies entered Palestine to protect Palestinians from being massacred by Israel. Jewish militias and paramilitary forces, such as Irgun (The Etzel), Haganah (Irgun Beth), Lehi (The Stern Gang) had started the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from areas they wanted to be part of a Jewish state BEFORE the founding of Israel. These massacres, including the Dir Yassein massacre, occurred before a single plane from any Arab country had made its appearance in the area. The Palestinians were helpless. The British, whose duty it was under the British Mandate to protect them did nothing. Instead, when the Palestinians needed them most, they decided to abandon the Mandate and leave the Palestinians to the tender mercies of the Zionists. This gave the Zionists a free hand to carry out the massacres.  

Dir Yassein massacre
The ethnic cleansing is acknowledged by Jewish historians like Ilan Pappe and Benny Norris. Look it up yourself. See also Rosemarie M. Esber’s meticulously documented history “Under the Cover of War: The Zionist Expulsion of the Palestinians”. For now listen to the testimony of a Jewish veteran who took part in this ethnic cleaning:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8IjnRsRPCQ

The 1967  war was initiated by Israel. It was launched to acquire territory needed to accomplish Zionist dream of establishing Ertez Israel in the whole of British Mandate Palestine and beyond.
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged in a speech in 1982 that its war on Egypt was a war of “choice”

Menachem Begin
Reader: It is ironic and perhaps not coincidental that on the date of publication Israel was celebrating Jerusalem Day, the 50th anniversary of the unification of the city
Response:The date of publication is not decided by me. It is an editorial decision. What is more,  East Jerusalem is land occupied by Israel through force. It is recognized by the international community as such. Its retention by Israel is in violation of international law. The unification of West and East Jerusalem by Israel is to be condemned, not celebrated.

Reader: Mr. Abba understandably feels for the disaster that befell the Palestinians in 1948, but the consequences of that war were due to their refusal to accept UN partition and to reject the existence of the State of Israel in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews.
Response:The disaster that befell Palestinians in 1948 was not due to the justified refusal by them to accept the UN partition plan but due to the aggressive war of acquisition that Israel waged.
Palestine may have been the “ancient homeland of the Jews”. That is neither here nor there. Palestine has been part of the Ottoman Empire since living memory and it is the homeland of the Palestinians who have lived on it continuously all this time.

Reader: The hatred of Israel still exists and has prevented the Palestinians from saying yes to the various offers for peace over the years.
Response:Israel has made not a single genuine and viable offer of peace over the years. Palestinians on the other hand have studiously and patiently carried on the unending peace negotiations and have agreed to recognize the State of Israel not only in the area earmarked for it  in the UN partition proposal (about 55% of British Mandate Palestine) but in area within the 1967 borders, ie. in about 88% of the British Mandate Palestine. It is Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state in this vastly truncated Palestine and goes on building illegal Israeli colonies in West Bank in direct violation of international law and of the Oslo agreement.
Israel remains committed not to living in peace and friendship with Palestinians but to establishing a Jewish state in the whole of Palestine, including West Bank and East Jerusalem. less areas with predominantly Arab populations, which cluster of Bantustans it will “recognize” as the State of Palestine! 
 
Reader: Mr. Abba, let’s place a note in that Wall!
Response: Mr. Reader, I will gladly accompany you to post a note in the Wall you have in mind if you will accompany me to break down the “separation wall” that Israel has built, most of it on land earmarked in the UN partition plan for an Arab state.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Should the UN succumb to bullying?

By: Gulamhusein A,Abba


United Nations, which in its early days had only 51 member States, now has 193 members, having welcomed South Sudan as its 193rd member in July 2011.

These 193 nations are scattered all over the world. They have different and even opposing interests of their own as also different viewpoints and ideas on various important matters. Criticism, oppositions, rejections, counter proposals, opposing demands and sometimes even harsh language are to be expected.

However, all States accept the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter and, the judgment of the Organization.

In this setting, is it proper for any member State to bully United Nations into doing whatever it wants done? And if any State does so bully, should the UN meekly submit to such bullying and carry out the wishes of the bully?

It is hoped that the answers to both these questions will be a resounding, deafening NO.

And yet one of the member States did not only resort to such bullying but bragged about it!

It happened in the vast hall where AIPAC, an organization committed to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship, held its annual meeting in March

As usual, the hall was jam packed with vociferous supporters. The speakers included a long list of VIPs.

The lady in virgin white
 At one point a lady stepped onto to the stage. She was dressed immaculately in virgin white and walked confidently and with ease in her fashionable high heels. The house broke into loud applause. It was none other than the US Ambassador to the UN, Indian American Nikki Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina who, though she formerly was in support of flying the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds, after the Charleston church shooting led calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from the State Capitol, and ultimately, in July 2015 signed a Bill to authorize removing the Confederate flag from the flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol.

Her entrance was a sight to see. She put her hand to her heart again and again and made a gesture as though she was throwing it to the crowd, indicating her heart was with them!

Nikki Haley preparing to 'blow' her heart to the AIPAC crowd
Perhaps bearing in mind her Indian origin, she felt it necessary to explain her high heels. She said, “I wear heels. It is not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I see something wrong we are going to kick them every single time”

A rather strange way of conducting affairs at UN. More expected in Parliament houses of some countries we need not mention here but not in UN. And certainly not from the ambassador of the US.

So we now know that Nikki Haley is all fired up and ready to use her high heels to go on a kicking rampage in the UN. But what about the bullying part?

According to her she made it clear to the UN that the days of “Israel bashing” are over and that the US is not going to put up with it anymore. When they did not fully understand what she was saying and tried to put a Palestinian in one of the highest positions that had ever been given at the U.N., the US said NO and had him booted out. But, according to Nikki, the UN still did not get it and “tested” the US again.

Here, according to Nikki Haley, is what the UN did. “….a ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don't know who the guy is or what he's about, but he's got serious problems. Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and say, this is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it. The secretary general immediately pulled the report. And then the director has now resigned”

The Palestinian who Nikki Haley claimed credit for blocking is the former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The position he was to be appointed was to the UN mission in Libya. He is known for his moderate pragmatism and is highly regarded in American and also Israeli circles. Haley did not dispute his qualifications. Explaining her blocking of him she said, “That doesn't mean he wasn't a nice man. That doesn't mean he wasn't good to America”.

Then why did she block him? “What it means is, until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the U.N. responds the way they're supposed to, there are no freebees for the Palestinian Authority anymore”. Obviously she wants the UN to behave as the US wants it to. And what freebees was she referring to? Palestinians have received none.

Salam Fayyad the man Nikki Haley claims to have blocked
Her blocking of Salam Fayyad met with criticism even from her peers. Former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro said “Stunningly dumb”. And former UN ambassador Susan Rice wrote “Fayyad is first rate. The UN would be lucky to have him in Libya or anywhere else.”

And the “guy” whom she said she did not know who he was is none other than world renowned Richard Falk. He is the former United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur in the Occupied Territories and knows more about what is happening on the ground in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza and Israel than Nikki Haley will ever come to know. He is also a member of the TRANSCEND Network, Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global and International Studies, an international relations scholar, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus at Princeton University. He is author or editor of some 60 books and hundreds of articles on international human rights law, Middle East politics, environmental justice, and other fields concerning human rights and international relations.

Nikki Haley may have thought she was being cute by referring to him as some “guy” whom she did not know. But she only displayed her abysmal ignorance.

Richard Falk
The report she blocked was commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA). Its purpose was to examine the argument for regarding Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ with respect to the whole of the Palestinian people. Titled ‘Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid’, it was coauthored by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley and ran into 74 pages, crammed with well researched facts and views. It was further edited by Mr. Damien Simonis of ESCWA, Conference Services Section.

The pressure put on the UN by Nikki Haley on behalf of the U.S. had three disastrous consequences.

First, most regrettably, it made the Secretary General cave in to the demands made on him by the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and formally request ESCWA to withdraw the Falk-Tilley report.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres 
 Second, it led to the resignation of ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf. The formal request by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that ESCWA withdraw the publication of the scholarly report that found Israel guilty of apartheid put her in a dilemma. She could not possibly withdraw, in good conscience, the said report.

AESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf.
At the same time, she was acutely aware that, working in the UN Secretariat, she was subject to his authority. So she adopted the only solution that was available. She resigned even though her term was to expire in just two weeks more. She wrote in her letter of resignation: “my resignation is therefore not intended for political pressure. It is simply because I feel it my duty towards the people we serve, towards the UN and towards myself, not to withdraw an honest testimony about an ongoing crime that is at the root of so much human suffering. Therefore, I hereby submit to you my resignation from the United Nations”.

Third, it ultimately led to the withdrawal of this important report.

A triple win for Haley. UN members are, according to her, now afraid to talk to her about Resolution 2334, Salaam Fayyad’s appointment has been blocked and the Falk-Tilley report has been taken off the website of the UN.

The speech was a great success for Nikki Haley. The audience brought down the rafters with their applause again and again. Her speech was studiously crafted to elicit just that effect. To win the hearts of the AIPAC crowd, get name recognition with them, get their approval and support, all with an eye for her future career

It was good for the AIPAC crowd. It was good for Nikki Haley. But the question is, is it good for truth and justice and fight against oppression? Is it good for the long suffering Palestinians or for USA or for Israel itself?

In an earlier part of her speech, Nikki Haley said, “….leading isn't saying and doing things when it's comfortable. Leading is saying and doing things when it's not comfortable”

She needs to remind herself again and again of that and act according to it.

I am sure her Sikh parents would be prouder of her if she did that than even if she one day became the President of USA.


God save America.

Related videos:
Powerful resignation letter by UN’s Rima Khalaf about removal of UN apartheid report

Open Letter to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Our Report on Apartheid in Israel

UN Sponsored Report on Israel’s Responsibility for Apartheid in relation to the Palestinian People 03.9.17

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement

Over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israel on hunger strike

The following is culled from various news reports.
Over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails began a hunger strike on Monday, April 17. Israel responded by placing the movement's leader Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement and said it will not negotiate with the prisoners.

  
At present there are 6.500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel in 24 Israeli prisons/detention centers. Of these 56 are female, 300 under the age of 18, 500 serving life sentences, 3 member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, 28 journalists, hundreds of sick prisoners, 29 prisoners from before the signing of the Oslo Interim Accords, 500 prisons under Administrative  Detention (without trial or charge)

There have been 1,000,000 cases of Palestinians in Israel jails since 1948 and 200 deaths of Palestinian prisoners while in detention by the Israeli occupation army. Some of these were extra judicially exterminated while others died as a result of deliberate medical negligence or torture.

The demands of the Open Hunger Strike for Freedom and Dignity include an end to Torture, Unfair Trials, Medical Negligence, Degrading Treatment, Solitary Confinement, Arbitrary Administrative Detention, The Arrest and Detention of Children, Denial of other Human Rights including the Right to Education.

Israel has responded by placing the movement's leader Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement! It has also vowed not to negotiate with the prisoners.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times on April 16, one day prior to the start of the hunger strike. Barghouti explained why he organized the strike: “Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.”

He also stated that Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israel "have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence." (NYT full op-ed on https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/opinion/palestinian-hunger-strike-prisoners-call-for-justice.html


Israel calls them security prisoners — held for offenses ranging from stone throwing and membership in outlawed groups to carrying out attacks that killed or wounded Israelis. Several hundred are being detained without charges.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he had read the Sunday article in the Times that "presents arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a 'parliamentarian and leader'." He said that calling Barghouti a political leader was akin to calling Syrian President Bashar Assad a doctor.

"These are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting exactly what the international law requires," he told Israel's Army Radio. "My policy is that you can't negotiate with prisoners such as these... There is no reason to give them additional conditions in addition to what they already receive."

As for Barghouti being put in solitary confinement, Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said Barghouti was transferred to another prison in northern Israel and was placed in solitary confinement.

"It doesn't have to do with publishing the article (in the New York Times) but rather that he is instigating mutiny and leading the hunger strike and that is a severe violation of the rules of the prison," he said.

Who is Marwan Barghouti?
He has spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, and has been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. According to him he was only 15 when I was first imprisoned and barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced him to spread his legs while he stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting his genitals. He passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on his forehead. The interrogator mocked him afterward, saying that he would never procreate because people like him give birth only to terrorists and murderers.


A few years later, he was again in an Israeli prison, leading a hunger strike, when his first son was born. Instead of the sweets  usually distributed to celebrate such news, he handed out salt to the other prisoners. When his was barely 18, he in turn was arrested and spent four years in Israeli prisons.

The eldest of his four children is now a man of 31. And today Marwan is still pursuing the struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world.

Barghouti is serving consecutive life sentences on five murder convictions imposed by Israeli courts. He was jailed by Israel in 2002. In 2004, he was convicted by a Tel Aviv district court of murder in three attacks that left five dead. He was also convicted of being a member of a terrorist group.

He is seen by some as a potential peacemaker because of grassroots appeal among Palestinians and his support for negotiations with Israel.

Barghouti, who learned Hebrew and absorbed Israeli history during earlier jail terms, was once touted by former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer as a potential peace partner with enough popularity to win support for a deal.

He has long been viewed as a future president of a Palestinian state.

A March poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that Barghouti would win a plurality of 40% in a three-way race among Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. If he were to run head to head against Haniyeh, he would win by a 23 percentage-point margin.

At the main Israeli checkpoint on the road from Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital, to Jerusalem, Palestinian motorists drive by a giant mural on Israel’s West Bank separation wall. It depicts Barghouti, with fists handcuffed, opposite an image of Yasser Arafat.

In effect, it equates Barghouti with the founding father of the Palestine Liberation Organization
.
Israel’s record on human rights

UN report:
A new United Nations report has concluded that Israel has established an “apartheid regime” and recommended that national governments support BDS activities to challenge Israel’s illegal system of oppression of the Palestinians. The report was co-authored by Richard Falk, an international law expert and former U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“Israel’s ruthless policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is unlawful and cruel and the consequences for the imprisoned person and their loved ones, who are often deprived from seeing them for months, and at times for years on end, can be devastating,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.



“Instead of unlawfully transferring prisoners outside the occupied territories, Israel must ensure all Palestinians arrested there are held in prisons and detention centres in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Until then, the Israeli authorities must stop imposing excessive restrictions on visitation rights as a means of punishing prisoners and their families, and ensure that conditions fully meet international standards.”

Under international humanitarian law, detainees from occupied territories must be detained in the occupied territory, not in the territory of the occupying power. They must also be allowed to receive visitors, especially near relatives, at regular intervals and as frequently as possible. However Israel flouts this international law. All but one of its 17 detention facilities are located inside Israel.

US 1914 annual US State Department report
The 1914 annual US State Department report on human rights violations worldwide contained harsh criticisms for Israel’s alleged institutional discrimination against Palestinians, especially in regard to its treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

In the report titled “Country Reports on the Human Rights Practices for 2014: Israel and the Occupied Territories,” Israel is accused of “excessive use of force against civilians, including killings; abuse of Palestinian detainees, particularly during arrest and interrogation.”

Details of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians included “austere and overcrowded detention facilities; improper use of security detention procedures; demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property; limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and association; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’ internal and external freedom of movement.”

The report said that Israeli authorities routinely coerced confessions from Palestinian minors suspected of stone-throwing, by using physical violence, long-term handcuffing, threats, intimidation, and solitary confinement. In some cases, the report said, Israeli tactics used against minors amounted to torture.

Citing testimonies provided by NGOs, the report said that in 2014, Israel held 156 minors in prisons as security prisoners or detainees.Seventeen of the detained minors were between the ages of 12 and 15.

Israeli Human Rights groups report
According to a 54 page report from Israeli human rights groups. HaMoked and B'Tselem, released in February 2016, blows to the head and sleeping in insect-infested beds are among numerous examples of "degrading" and "inhuman" treatment of Palestinian detainees by Israeli interrogators.

The report further claimed that the treatment of detainees is at times "tantamount to torture". It documents physical abuse by Israeli interrogators both in the field and at the Shikma detention facility in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

"One Palestinian] was beaten until he passed out. Another detainee related that police officers photographed themselves next to him as he lay handcuffed on the ground after being beaten for about half an hour," the report stated, noting that abusive conditions had been "used systematically against Palestinians interrogated at Shikma".

The findings were based on the testimonies of 116 Palestinians interviewed between August 2013 and March 2014, along with dozens of affidavits and medical records.

The cell was full of cockroaches [and] very dirty. The blankets stank. After about 10 days, I had a rash all over my body. Ibrahim Sabah, 19
Researchers found that interrogations by the Israel Security Agency are a lengthy component of Palestinian prison stays, and can last up to three months.

Most Palestinians interviewed for the report said they were arrested overnight, blindfolded and handcuffed during transit. Thirty percent reported beatings before arriving at a detention facility. Once transferred to holding facilities, the report found "detainees were punched, kicked or beaten with rifle butts or clubs".

One-third of the Palestinians interviewed said they were imprisoned outdoors. "At night, four soldiers came and made us go out into the yard. It was cold and raining, and they made us take all our clothes off, strip completely naked," said Imad Abu Khalaf, 21.

Others were held indoors in solitary confinement between interrogation rounds. "The cell was full of cockroaches [and] very dirty," said Ibrahim Sabah, 19. "The blankets stank. After about 10 days, I had a rash all over my body. I scratched myself so much that I bled."

B'Tselem and HaMoked said there has been a lack of accountability for the mistreatment of detainees. Of more than 3,000 complaints filed with army prosecutors from September 2000 to the start of 2010, only 15 resulted in indictments for physical abuse, and of around 950 complaints made directly against Israel's interrogation agency from 2001 to 2015, all cases were closed without any formal investigation.

In September 2015, HaMoked filed a petition with Israel's high court to review the conditions in Shikma.


Note: After creating a Jewish state on land primarily inhabited by Muslims and Christians in 1948, Israeli forces have continued to occupy what little land Palestinians have left for the last 50 years. Palestinians are subjected to a different set of military laws than Jewish settlers are. There are over 6,500 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. There are no Israelis in Palestinian jails. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Anglo Indians (Paert 1)

 Anglo Indians (those with mixed Indian and British ancestry) are a distinct and unique community.They have British blood as well as Indian blood in them. The British were the rulers in India. Indians wanted to push the British out of India. The Anglo Indians had to decide on which side they were going to be.

Though the British never put Anglo Indians on par with themselves, they did put them a notch above the native Indians. And the British, always aware that the Indians resented them, trusted the Anglos more than the native Indians. All high posts in sensitive services were given to the Anglos. They dominated posts in the railways and police. The Anglos, as a community, naturally chose to align themselves with those in power. In most homes of Anglo Indians one saw framed pictures of the King, and later the Queen. No pictures of Gandhi or Nehru. And their attire, cuisine and life style were more British than Indian. Shirts and pants and suits, complete with ties and even bowties for men. Dainty dresses and frocks for the ladies. They read English novels, saw English movies, danced English dances to English music.

There were around 800,000 Anglo-Indians by 1947. They were certainly in a precarious situation. During the independence movement, many of them identified (or were assumed to identify) with British rule, and, therefore, incurred the distrust and hostility of Indian nationalists. They felt a loyalty to a British "home" that most had never seen and where they would gain little social acceptance. They felt insecure in an India that put a premium on participation in the independence movement as a prerequisite for important government positions. Many Anglo-Indians left the country in 1947, hoping to make a new life in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Australia or Canada.

This series is intended to throw light on the lives of Anglo Indians, their thoughts, their struggles, in India prior to and after independence, as also in the countries to which they migrated from India after independence. 

In this first instalment an Anglo Indian speaks of her life in India prior India’s independence, her life in England after she migrated there and her life in India when she returned there after India’s independence

Anglo Indians of Bombay.
By Katherine Hebb


We are all from the forties and fifties. We were the lucky ones. After independence we were moving fast. We had all the latest films and records from America. Remember how we used to go into the cubicles in the record shops in Byculla. All got married young and planned to go abroad. The Indians were glad to get rid of us so they could put all the Indians In the jobs. It was not hard to get passports if you were an Angelo Indian. England had their doors open. They had lost a lot of their men in the war.

We all worked very hard and took advantage of the free education at that time and all our kids are doing fine. We were lucky. These days everyone has to pay for university. Anyway, India is now for the Indians. When i went back to stay in Goa I felt like a stranger in a country I was born in. What had happened was that Indians had children and they grew up not knowing people like us that had grown up in India. Luckily I spoke Hindi fluently so was accepted. I grew up in the jungles so mixed with the Indians. A white Anglo with an Indian brain.

You know what the Anglos were like. They never mixed too much with the locals not because of color but they were brought up with different views. Not now though. Things have changed again. The western ways have taken over. I guess that's how it goes.

Not all Anglo's were in the railways but we were all the same. We all went to the same clubs and gymkhana. We had the best bands and we ate the same food and all we did was talk about food. Socializing is what we enjoyed. Everyone knew everyone. Anglo Indian's still have reunions all over the world. We are very proud to have our British roots. It’s a shame the British don't know much about us

I was so hurt when we came to England in the sixties. We were called ‘coloreds’. I won't get into that. it's much better now. We've all integrated. Most of our kids went to university and are doing well. Lots of the Anglos have gone to Australia, America and Canada. Some couldn't hack the weather in England. Ah well, that's all I can say.Just my version.


Friday, April 7, 2017

When will US REALLY care?

By Gulamhusein A.Abba

The day after the sarin/chlorine gas attack in Syria, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley stood up from her seat in the UN and said, “…….Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures….”. She went on to describe in detail what the world had woken up to that morning. To emphasize her point, she held up pictures of children in the throes of death. She rightly condemned the gas attack and demanded not just words but actin by the UN. She emphasized that if the UN failed to take “collective action” this time, “…there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action”, hinting that the Trump administration would act unilaterally if the UN did not act.By Gulamhusein A.Abba


The day after the sarin/chlorine gas attack in Syria, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley stood up from her seat in the UN and said, “…….Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures….”. She went on to describe in detail what the world had woken up to that morning. To emphasize her point, she held up pictures of children in the throes of death. She rightly condemned the gas attack and demanded not just words but actin by the UN. She emphasized that if the UN failed to take “collective action” this time, “…there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action”, hinting that the Trump administration would act unilaterally if the UN did not act.

All this is very commendable and brave. The only trouble is that she has blamed Russia and the Assad government for the attack. Both, Russia and the Syrian government have denied responsibility for the attack. Russia claims that the atrocity in Idlib was the result of a regime airstrike on a rebel chemical munitions depot and the gas that killed the children was what had escaped from the rebel chemical munitions depot.

One may be excused for hesitating to accept the US accusations against the Assad regime. US and its western allies have been eager to topple any regime in the Middle East that shows any independence. They have been gunning for the Assad regime for years.

What is the truth? It is difficult to say for sure at this early stage, especially one day after the attack. If the Assad regime or Russia is responsible, clearly strong action aginst the guilty party is called for. There can be no question about that.

As I read Nikki Haley’s remarks, another picture flashed through my mind.

On January 15, Israel dropped at least three white phosphorus shells on the main UNRWA compound in the Rimal neighborhood of central Gaza City, wounding three and starting fires that gutted four buildings and destroyed more than US$3.7 million worth of medical supplies.  According to UNRWA officials, they had been speaking with IDF officers throughout the morning as the shells landed progressively closer to the compound, asking them to halt fire.  About 700 civilians were sheltering in the UN compound at the time.


 On January 17 Israel dropped at least three white phosphorous shells on a well-marked UN facility
– a school in Beit Lahiya sheltering roughly 1,600 displaced persons. One discharged shell landed in a classroom, killing two brothers who were sleeping and severely injuring their mother and a cousin.  The attack wounded another 12 people and set a classroom on fire.  As with all of its facilities in Gaza, the UN had provided the IDF with the GPS coordinates of the school prior to military operations.


These two days are not the only ones on which Israel used white phosphorous, nor are the two sites mentioned the only ones on which they were used. Israel used white phosphorous extensively.

The use of white phosphorous in war in populated areas is as illegal as is use of chemical weapons and deaths caused by it are even more ghastly than those caused by sarin/chlorine gas.

Apart from using white phosphorous aginst innocent Palestinians, Israel has killed thousands of them and committed ghastly crimes again and again.

The world has woken on many mornings to these crimes. On any one of those mornings the US ambassador to the UN could have stood up and spoken about them in the UN using the very same words that Haley used.

“This Security Council thinks of itself as a defender of peace, security, and human rights,"  "When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action." These atrocities were raised in the UN, and the UN did fail to act collectively against them. But the US ambassador, far from condemning them and demanding action, vetoed UN resolutions condemning Israeli actions and calling for action.

Speaking of the attack in Syria Haley said, “We cannot close our eyes to those pictures. We cannot close our minds of the responsibility to act” But when it came to pictures of atrocities committed by Israel, the US ambassador to the UN DID close his/her eyes and he/she DID close his/her minds of the responsibility to act.

Haley criticized Russia for standing in the way of accountability by Asad when the Security Council attempted to hold it accountable. But the US ambassador to the UN had no compunction about standing in the way when the UN Council attempted to hold Israel accountable for its crimes. The US “defied the conscience of the world” to use Haley’s words.

Haley said “…if Russia had been fulfilling its responsibility, there would not even be any chemical weapons left for the Syrian regime to use” And if the US had been fulfilling its responsibility, the atrocities by Israel would have stopped long back.

Haley said, “We know that if nothing is done, these attacks will continue. Assad has no incentive to stop using chemical weapons as long as Russia continues to protect his regime from consequences”.
It can well be said that if nothing is done by the UN, Israeli violations will continue. Israel has no incentive to stop its violations as long as US continues to protect its regime from consequences.

Haley said “We regularly repeat tired talking points in support of a peace process that is regularly undermined by the Assad regime”. That is exactly what the US does in the UN when it comes to discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is regularly undermined by Israel.

Haley said “There is an obvious truth here that must be spoken. The truth is that Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace” Another truth is equally obvious. Israel has no interest in arriving at a peaceful and fair solution with the Palestinians.

Haley said “The illegitimate Syrian government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities .. Assad has made it clear that he doesn’t want to take part in a meaningful political process. Iran has reinforced Assad’s military, and Russia has shielded Assad from UN sanctions”

Can it not be sad that the Israeli government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities …. Netanyahu has made it clear that he doesn’t want to take part in a meaningful political process. The US has reinforced Israel’s military and has shielded Israel from UN sanctions

Once again, to quote Haley, “If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to have, we need to see them use it. We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts. How many more children have to die before Russia cares?... The United States sees yesterday’s attack as a disgrace at the highest level, an assurance that humanity means nothing to the Syrian government.”
Rephrase “If the US has the influence in Israel that it claims to have, we need to see it use it. We need to see it put an end to these horrific acts. How many more Palestinian children have to die before US cares?”
I can go on and on. But you get my point. I will end by just one more trans positioning. Haley said, “….there are times when we are compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action”.
Peace and justice loving people all over the world ache to hear those words from a US ambassador in the UN with reference to Israel’s brutal, illegal and long running occupation of Palestinian lands.

All this is very commendable and brave. The only trouble is that she has blamed Russia and the Assad government for the attack. Both, Russia and the Syrian government have denied responsibility for the attack. Russia claims that the atrocity in Idlib was the result of a regime airstrike on a rebel chemical munitions depot and the gas that killed the children was what had escaped from the rebel chemical munitions depot.

One may be excused for hesitating to accept the US accusations against the Assad regime. US and its western allies have been eager to topple any regime in the Middle East that shows any independence. They have been gunning for the Assad regime for years.

What is the truth? It is difficult to say for sure at this early stage, especially one day after the attack. If the Assad regime or Russia is responsible, clearly strong action aginst the guilty party is called for. There can be no question about that.

As I read Nikki Haley’s remarks, another picture flashed through my mind.

On January 15, Israel dropped at least three white phosphorus shells on the main UNRWA compound in the Rimal neighborhood of central Gaza City, wounding three and starting fires that gutted four buildings and destroyed more than US$3.7 million worth of medical supplies.  According to UNRWA officials, they had been speaking with IDF officers throughout the morning as the shells landed progressively closer to the compound, asking them to halt fire.  About 700 civilians were sheltering in the UN compound at the time.

On January 17 Israel dropped at least three white phosphorous shells on a well-marked UN facility
– a school in Beit Lahiya sheltering roughly 1,600 displaced persons. One discharged shell landed in a classroom, killing two brothers who were sleeping and severely injuring their mother and a cousin.  The attack wounded another 12 people and set a classroom on fire.  As with all of its facilities in Gaza, the UN had provided the IDF with the GPS coordinates of the school prior to military operations.

These two days are not the only ones on which Israel used white phosphorous, nor are the two sites mentioned the only ones on which they were used. Israel used white phosphorous extensively.

The use of white phosphorous in war in populated areas is as illegal as is use of chemical weapons and deaths caused by it are even more ghastly than those caused by sarin/chlorine gas.

Apart from using white phosphorous aginst innocent Palestinians, Israel has killed thousands of them and committed ghastly crimes again and again.

The world has woken on many mornings to these crimes. On any one of those mornings the US ambassador to the UN could have stood up and spoken about them in the UN using the very same words that Haley used.

“This Security Council thinks of itself as a defender of peace, security, and human rights,"  "When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action." These atrocities were raised in the UN, and the UN did fail to act collectively against them. But the US ambassador, far from condemning them and demanding action, vetoed UN resolutions condemning Israeli actions and calling for action.

Speaking of the attack in Syria Haley said, “We cannot close our eyes to those pictures. We cannot close our minds of the responsibility to act” But when it came to pictures of atrocities committed by Israel, the US ambassador to the UN DID close his/her eyes and he/she DID close his/her minds of the responsibility to act.

Haley criticized Russia for standing in the way of accountability by Asad when the Security Council attempted to hold it accountable. But the US ambassador to the UN had no compunction about standing in the way when the UN Council attempted to hold Israel accountable for its crimes. The US “defied the conscience of the world” to use Haley’s words.

Haley said “…if Russia had been fulfilling its responsibility, there would not even be any chemical weapons left for the Syrian regime to use” And if the US had been fulfilling its responsibility, the atrocities by Israel would have stopped long back.

Haley said, “We know that if nothing is done, these attacks will continue. Assad has no incentive to stop using chemical weapons as long as Russia continues to protect his regime from consequences”.
It can well be said that if nothing is done by the UN, Israeli violations will continue. Israel has no incentive to stop its violations as long as US continues to protect its regime from consequences.

Haley said “We regularly repeat tired talking points in support of a peace process that is regularly undermined by the Assad regime”. That is exactly what the US does in the UN when it comes to discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is regularly undermined by Israel.

Haley said “There is an obvious truth here that must be spoken. The truth is that Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace” Another truth is equally obvious. Israel has no interest in arriving at a peaceful and fair solution with the Palestinians.

Haley said “The illegitimate Syrian government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities .. Assad has made it clear that he doesn’t want to take part in a meaningful political process. Iran has reinforced Assad’s military, and Russia has shielded Assad from UN sanctions”

Can it not be sad that the Israeli government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities …. Netanyahu has made it clear that he doesn’t want to take part in a meaningful political process. The US has reinforced Israel’s military and has shielded Israel from UN sanctions

Once again, to quote Haley, “If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to have, we need to see them use it. We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts. How many more children have to die before Russia cares?... The United States sees yesterday’s attack as a disgrace at the highest level, an assurance that humanity means nothing to the Syrian government.”
Rephrase “If the US has the influence in Israel that it claims to have, we need to see it use it. We need to see it put an end to these horrific acts. How many more Palestinian children have to die before US cares?”

I can go on and on. But you get my point. I will end by just one more trans positioning. Haley said, “….there are times when we are compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action”.


Peace and justice loving people all over the world ache to hear those words from a US ambassador in the UN with reference to Israel’s brutal, illegal and long running occupation of Palestinian lands.


Here are some pictures one hopes Haley or somefuture US ambassador to the UN might show to the Council some day