Saturday, December 20, 2014

Israel Bombs Gaza

Israel Bombs Gaza

by Stephen Lendman

Israeli warplanes attacked on December 20. Lawlessly. Committed war crimes. More on this below. 

Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was cold, calculated, long-planned, premeditated Israeli naked aggression. 

Murdering or injuring thousands of Gazans. Around 80% civilians. Willfully targeted. In residential areas. 

Turning large parts of Gaza to rubble. Genocidal high crimes by any standard. War raged from July 8 to August 26. 

Ceasefire terms were agreed on. Hamas scrupulously observes them. Including halting all hostilities. Israel violated them straightaway.

As always, blaming Palestinians for its crimes. On December 20, Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza. Southern areas near Khan Younis.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed the attack. Saying Israeli forces "targeted a Hamas terror infrastructure site."

No casualties were reported, according to Gaza's health ministry. The attack followed a rocket fired from southern Gaza. Causing no injuries or damage.

Hamas claimed no responsibility. Or other resistance groups. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner lied. Wrongfully calling Hamas a "terrorist organization."

Blaming it irresponsibly for "rocket fire." Viewing it "with severity." Suggesting perhaps more Israeli aggression to come. Repeating with disturbing regularity. Never with just cause.

According to Maan News:

"Hamas has almost entirely prevented any other factions from firing rockets since the ceasefire, despite repeated Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians at sea and near the border."

"On Friday alone, Israeli forces shot and injured six Palestinians as they participated in a (peaceful)  protest march near the border."

"Political analyst Hani Basous told Ma'an that the Israeli airstrikes are a mere reaction to the rocket and an attempt to send a warning message to all Palestinians."

"Israel wanted to deliver a message to the Palestinian factions and Hamas that any actions on the border will be confronted with a harsh response."

Aggression is part of Netanyahu's reelection strategy. Citing nonexistent threats. Responding harshly. Showing he's tough.

His extremism wore thin long ago. Why Israelis put up with him, they'll have to explain.

He did more than any previous leader to transform Israel into a pariah state. Lawless. Ruthless. Fascist. Belligerent. Inventing reasons for conflict.

Holding 1.8 million Gazans hostage. In the world's largest open-air prison. Suffocating them. Collectively punishing them.

Attacking cross-border. Bombing them for any reason or none at all. Committing slow-motion genocide.

Israel and America partner in each other's high crimes. Have the world's most deplorable civil and human rights records.

Operate extrajudicially. Wage war on defenseless civilians. Murder them in cold blood. Blame adversaries for their own crimes.

Bear full responsibility for virtually every indignity, degradation and crime. Ones too grave to ignore.

Vicious and then some. Getting away with mass murder. Over and over again. Unaccountably.

Core international laws don't matter. Occupation harshness persists. The late Law Professor Michael Mandel said earlier:

"Israel’s West Bank and Gaza settlements are war crimes in Canada."

"Under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act 2000, c. 24, Israel's settlements in territories taken in the June 1967 war constitute war crimes punishable in Canada."

Section 8, paragraph 2, item viii of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prohibits "(t)he transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory."

"Although Israel denies it, there is no question (it’s) an Occupying Power for the purposes of the Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, and the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act," Mandel explained.

Law Professor Francis Boyle earlier accused Israel of "heinous war crimes inflicted (virtually) every day…against the Palestinian people."

"(W)illful killing" with impunity. Fourth Geneva breaches occur multiple times daily. Against Gazans. Throughout the West Bank. In East Jerusalem.

According to Boyle, including "murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated."

Israel treats Arabs the way Hitler treated Jews. Crimes against humanity “are the historical and legal precursor to the international crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention," said Boyle.

Israel gets away with mass murder and then some. High crimes too grave to ignore.

Human Rights Watch accused Israel of Operation Protective Edge war crimes. So did Amnesty International.

Defined as grave Geneva breaches. Other serious violations of laws and customs. Ones applicable to armed conflict. 

As defined by Rome Statute principles. When committed as part of a plan or policy. Or on a large scale. 

Prohibited acts include murder. Mutilation. Torture and cruel treatment. Hostage taking. Intentionally attacking civilian or non-military related targets.

Including buildings related to commerce, religion, education, art, science,  charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals.

Other prohibited acts include pillage. Rape. Sexual slavery. Forced pregnancy. Other sexual assaults.

Conscripting or enlisting children under age 15 years. Using them as combatants.

A previous article discussed Washington's intention to veto Palestine's statehood bid. Partnering with Israel irresponsibly.

On December 19, General Assembly members overwhelmingly endorsed Palestinian self-determination. Voting 165 to six in favor.

Opposition nations included America. Israel. Canada. Three small Pacific Island states Washington controls.

Nine countries abstained. Including Australia, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Tonga, Vanuatu.

Resolution language demanded Israel cease exploiting, damaging, depleting and endangering Palestinian and Golan resources.

Called for immediate safe removal of all Gazan unexploded ordnance. The measure was the General Assembly's 43rd of its kind. Each year endorsed overwhelmingly.

A second resolution related to Palestinian rights. Supported without voting. Calling for Member States. UN financial institutions.

NGOs. Intergovernmental, regional and interregional organizations. To provide economic and social aid. Through official Palestinian institutions.

To reconstruct Gaza. Promote economic recovery and rebuilding in a timely and sustainable manner.

A third resolution passed overwhelmingly. (170 - 6). Demanding Israel pay $850 million. For "environmental disaster" it caused. 

Incurred during its July 2006 naked aggression on Lebanon. Polluting its entire coastline. Part of Syria's.

Israel responded as expected. An official statement calling the GA resolution "part of many other decisions we are used to from the UN."

It "never bothered to check what the war cost Israel in damages and did not mention that the war broke out in response to the operation by the terror group Hezbollah."

Israel is the region's leading terror state. Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's democratically elected government.

It bears repeating. Washington and Israel partner in each other's crimes. On Friday, Obama signed the "United States-Israel Strategic Partnership of 2014 (S. 2673)."

Congressionally passed unanimously. By voice vote. Not a single profile of courage in either house. 100% in lockstep with US/Israeli lawlessness.

A White House press release called the measure an expression of "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security and its future."

Reflecting "the importance of (Obama's) Administration on strengthening and deepening US-Israel bilateral cooperation and ties."

Reinforcing "critical defense and security programs. (L)ay(ing) the groundwork for increased trae and cooperation across a range of cutting-edge fields."

Including "energy, water, agriculture and technology." Directs "the Secretary of State to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives."

Obama intends implementing the measure's provisions. Consistent with what he calls "longstanding constitutional practice."

A document long ago abandoned. Dead and buried. Along with relevant international and US statute laws.

Washington usurping the right to operate extrajudicially. Taking full advantage. Partnering with Israel. One fascist regime supports another. Waging war on humanity.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Targeting Russia Escalates

Targeting Russia Escalates

by Stephen Lendman

Washington continues waging political and economic war on Russia. Ukraine's junta was installed to serve US interests.

Institutionalize fascist rule in Europe's heartland. Eliminate fundamental freedoms. Threaten regional security.

Serve as a US proxy against Russia. Perhaps instigate hot war. Stop NATO reports continuing Alliance help in its dirty war on Donbas.

Training its military for "Russian aggression." Washington's Ukraine ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt saying:

"As Ukraine continues to defend itself against Russian aggression, the United States will continue to send advisory teams to help improve Ukrainian combat medical care and save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, in addition to the over $118 million in security assistance we have committed."

Pyatt left unsaid Washington and other NATO countries supplying lethal aid. Heavy weapons and munitions.

War on Donbas continues. Dangerously close to Russia's border. Stooge president Petro Poroshenko's days of silence pronouncement was fake. One of his many Big Lies.

On December 18, Voice of Sevastopol reported "Ukrainian (military) violat(ions) in the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR)."

"(H)owitzer artillery was conducted from the village Kondrashovka (Stanitsa-Luganskaya district) on the outskirts of the village Vesyolenkoye."

Mortar fire targeted militia held areas. Ukraine's military continues attacking Donbas despite Poroshenko's "day(s) of silence."

On December 19, Fort Russ reported LPR forces attacked "on many fronts. Fired on positions (include) Veselaya Gora, Prishib, Slavyanoserbsk, Valuysk, Kolesnikovo, Nizhneteploye, Olkhovoe.
Militia forces responded in self-defense. Kiev's dirty war continues. Greater escalation looms. On orders from Washington.

On December 18, Obama signed anti-Russian legislation. The so-called "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (UFSA)" aims to assist "in restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

Deter Russia "from further destabilizing and invading Ukraine and other independent countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia."

Authorizes new sanctions. Targeting Russia's defense and energy sectors. Plus businesses selling products or services to sanctioned Russian companies.

On December 18, Obama said:

"My administration will continue to work closely with allies and partners in Europe and internationally to respond to developments in Ukraine and will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions to respond to Russia's actions."

"At this time, the Administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the Administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted."

Another Big Lie. On December 19, Obama targeted Russia's Republic of Crimea. 

By executive order "prohibit(ing) the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea."

(A)uthoriz(ing) the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in Crimea." 

(I)ntend(ing) to provide clarity to US corporations doing business in the region and reaffirm that the United States will not accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea."  

Obama "again call(ed) on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease its support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements."  

"My Administration will continue to work closely with allies and partners in Europe and internationally to respond to events in Ukraine and to support Ukraine"s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well its democratic development and reform efforts."  

"We will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions, in close coordination with our international partners, to respond to Russia's actions."

Fact: Crimeans joined Russia. 

Fact: By near unanimous free, fair and open referendum vote. 

Fact: Correcting a historic mistake. 

Fact: Returning where they belong.

Fact: Russia remains neutral in Ukraine's civil war.

Fact: No evidence suggests otherwise.

Fact: Going all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: Polar opposite Washington.

Fact: Stoking conflict.

Fact: Funding, arming, training and directing its proxy Ukrainian military.

Fact: Russia didn't invade Ukraine.

Fact: Has no involvement in ongoing conflict.

Fact: Isn't providing Donbas self-defense forces with weapons, munitions or other help.

Fact: Other than vitally needed humanitarian aid for Donbas residents. 

Fact: The only nation doing so. 

Fact: Despite Kiev's efforts to block it. 

Fact: So ordinary people will starve.

Fact: Obama calling Ukraine democratic flies in the face of hard facts.

Fact: Ukraine is a fascist dictatorship.

Fact: Illegitimately installed by Washington.

Fact: Serving US interests in Europe's heartland.

Fact: Targeting Russia for regime change.

Fact: Wanting its sovereign independence eliminated.

Fact: By color revolution or war.

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded harshly. Calling actions against Crimea "politicized discrimination" against Russia and its people.

"We would like remind (Western nations) about our lawful right to adequately respond to its so-called restrictive measures against all Russian individuals and legal entities without exception," a Ministry statement said.

Crimea is sovereign Russian territory. Russia's Ministry warned of an adequate response. 

Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Obama's UFSA signing, saying:

"The American side is fully to blame for the consequences. We do not leave hostile actions on the part of Washington without response." 

"We will be making decisions on possible response measures depending on how the United States will use the new law in practice."

"The Russian side is ready for dialogue and cooperation, but only on principles of equality, real account for our interests. Attempts to pressure us are anyway doomed to fail."

On December 19, Sputnik News reported Lavrov telling John Kerry UFSA derails US/Moscow cooperation. "(U)ndermined (it) for a long time."

During his annual marathon Q & A press conference tour de force, Putin said "Russia pays the cost of remaining a nation, a civilization and a state."

Weeks earlier he explained "the tragic consequences of the so-called color revolutions and ordeals survived by the peoples of the states that faced these irresponsible experiments of covert and sometimes even…overt interference into their lives…"

"This is a lesson and warning for us, and we will do everything possible to prevent this from happening in Russia."

Putin knows Washington's dirty game. Considers him public enemy No. 1. Targets Russia for regime change.

Wants its sovereign independence destroyed. A major rival eliminated. Replaced by vassal state subservience.

Its territory balkanized. Resources stolen. People exploited. Serving Western interests exclusively. Under horrific conditions of poverty, deprivation and despair.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to Ukrainian stooge president Poroshenko's hostile statements.

Including ending Ukraine's nonaligned status. Joining NATO. Wanting Russia expelled from Security Council participation. Other "party of war" rhetoric. 

Saying "()t is regretful because such a party exists and exactly from ranks of that ‘party of war’ calls are made to repeat in Ukraine's south-east an operation which was carried out in Serbian Krajina, when the issue was settled by force." 

"All this was not only accepted, our Western partners welcomed this."

In a wide-ranging interview, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned of US-led NATO encroachment on Russia's borders.

Washington "is trying hard to get there…Eisenhower (warned) of the military-industrial complex.," said Gorbachev.

NATO seeks to interfere with everything and everywhere. It wants to expand beyond its designated territory."

"…America cannot live without its military-industrial complex growing, weapons sales increasing and war costs soaring…"

Its "society is sick. It needs help." It threatens world peace.

Gorbachev quoted Jack Kennedy once saying "(i)f you think that future peace should be Pax Americana you’re mistaken. It’s either peace for all people, or no peace."

America declared Cold War victory. Saying "we won. We won the Cold War. We did. Us," according to Gorbachev.

"(T)he world is at our feet. Our policy is right…America want(s) to rule the world."

"The Americans lost their way. Any attempt to create a one-sided, mono-polar world is just complete and utter nonsense."

Washington "need(s) an enemy." Its leadership "can't live without it. (They're) enslaved by their old policy."

"That's why America has to be stopped." Diplomatically. In partnership with other nations. Leadership today is only possible this way, Gorbachev stressed.

"Whenever tensions are high, whenever there's instability in a certain country or throughout the region, it's an opportunity for them to intervene."

It's "the American way." This must stop, Gorbachev stressed. Peacefully. War assures no winners.

Washington declared Russia an enemy. European countries were pressured to go along. Against their own self-interest.

No one ever brought Russia to its knees, said Gorbachev. Not Napoleon. Not Hitler. No one. "(N)obody will." Gorbachev hopes Cold War won't turn hot.

Given America's rage for war, preventing it won't be easy. Maybe impossible.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fidel's Legacy

Fidel's Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

At age 88, he's Cuba's elder statesman. A legend in his own time and then some. Defying critics. Outwitting them. Outliving them.

This article a snapshot of some of his achievements. Impressive by any standard. 

On the 50th anniversary of his July 26, 1953 Fort Moncada attack, media scoundrels pronounced his revolution dead. 

Expected collapse. Predicted free market capitalism's return. The bad old days called good. More on Cuba under Castro below.

A previous article discussed America's master plan for world dominance. Key is eliminating all sovereign independent governments.

By political, economic or military means. Installing puppet regimes. Convenient stooges. Subservient to Washington.

Few nations challenge US policies successfully. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz bested 10 US administrations. From Eisenhower through George Bush.

From January 1, 1959. When his guerrilla force ousted US-backed Fulgencio Batista. To his February 2008 retirement announcement as Cuba's president. 

Remaining Communist Party Central Committee First Secretary until April 2011. In the interim, transforming Cuba from a repressive brothel to a populist state. Defying US imperialism successfully.

America ruled Cuba as a virtual colony. From President McKinley's so-called "liberat(ion)" from Spain. To Castro's successful 1959 revolution. A transformational event.

Other than America's Guantanamo footprint. Ceded through Platt Amendment chicanery. Granting Washington "complete jurisdiction and control." At the same time recognizing Cuban sovereignty.

For nearly half a century, Castro's achievements were remarkable. In spite of America's embargo. In place since October 1960.

For all products except food and medicines. In February 1962, extended to include nearly all imports. Currently enforced by six statutes:

(1) The 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act

(2) 1961 Foreign Assistance Act

(3) 1963 Cuba Assets Control Regulations

(4) 1992 Cuban Democracy Act (encouraging pro-opposition groups)

(5) 1996 Helms-Burton Act (hardening earlier legislation)

(6) 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (authorizing sale of humanitarian products)

Despite longstanding embargo, blockade conditions weren't imposed. Except in 1962. Under short-term missile crisis conditions. Preventing missiles from arriving.

Early-on, Castro made a clean break with predatory capitalism. Nationalizing US-controlled industries. Instituted land reform. 

Shuttered Mafia-owned casinos and brothels. Ended longstanding systemic corruption. Built a socialist state. Ended Cuban control by monied interests.

Essential social services remain one of his most important achievements. Article 50 of Cuba's Constitution mandates "the right to health protection and care" for everyone. 

By "providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers.

(F)ree dental care. Promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccination and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease. 

All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations."

Article 51 guarantees free universal education. At all levels. To children, youths and adults. Constitutional language states:

"Everybody has a right to education. This right is guaranteed by the extensive and free system of schools, part-time boarding schools, boarding schools and scholarships in all types and at all levels of education, by the free provision of school materials to every child and young person regardless of the economic situation of the family, and by the provision of courses suited to the student's aptitude, the requirements of society and the needs of economic and social development." 

Castro virtually eliminated illiteracy. Students learn math, reading, the sciences, arts, humanities, social responsibility, civics and participatory citizenship. 

Giving them skills to become more productive citizens. Able to contribute to national development.

Despite embargo conditions, Cubans get nutritious food at affordable prices. Cuba's Law Number 49 mandated government provided social services.

Including special help for Cuba's elderly, disabled, others unable to work and single mothers.

Cuba's Public Health Law mandates protecting the health of all citizens. Including those rehabilitating from physical or mental disabilities.

Its healthcare is among the world's best. Including an extensive system of family doctors. Sophisticated tertiary care facilities.

Emphasis on nutrition and preventive care. Cuba's low infant mortality rate bests America's. Matches its life expectancy.

Has double the number of physicians per 1,000. An overall lower mortality rate. No one lacks care because of affordability. Polar opposite America's "pay or die system," according to Ralph Nader.

Maintains the developing world's most extensive infant immunization coverage. Emphasizes chemical-free, non-GMO, organically grown fresh produce.

Delivers top quality healthcare at minimum cost. Compared to America's exorbitant system. Double the cost of other developed countries.

Leaving millions uninsured. Despite claims otherwise. Millions more underinsured. One major illness for many away from bankruptcy.

Impossible in Cuba. With top quality universal care for all. No one denied what's needed.

Key are hundreds of community-based polyclinics. Serving tens of thousands of Cubans. Organizational hubs. For neighborhood-based family doctor/nurse offices.

Accredited research and teaching centers. For medical, nursing, and allied health sciences students. 

Backbone of Cuba's health system. Shaming America's for millions of its most disadvantaged.

Most Cuban doctors practice general medicine. Mandated for most medical graduates. Later able to specialize.

Polyclinic care largely replicates what's available in hospitals.

Services include x-rays, ultrasound, optometry, ophthalmology, endoscopy, thrombolysis, emergency services, traumatology, clinical lab services, family planning, emergency dentistry, pre and postnatal child care, immunization, diabetic and elderly care, as well as rehab.

Other specialties include dermatology, psychiatry, psychology, cardiology, family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology, mouth disease, acupuncture, message therapy, electromagnetic therapy, mud therapy, reflex therapy, heat therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and more. 

Quality care is stressed at all times. So is patient satisfaction. Cuba considers healthcare a human right. 

America provides it on the ability to pay. Commodified for profit. Insurers, drug giants, and large hospital chains make policy.

Cuba has state responsibility for healthcare. Assuring availability for all. Regardless of financial well-being. How all systems should be run.

Its physicians complete a nine-year program. Including five years of basic education. One-year hospital internship.

Three rural practice years. Family medicine stressed. So is preventive care. Doctors wanting to specialize must complete three more years of training.

Abide by Cuba's model health code in treating patients. Exclude private practice. Follow government policies.

Emphasize prevention and human welfare. Work for national wellness.

Profit is America's only goal. Other objectives are secondary. Cuba spends a minute fraction per capita annually. Compared to what healthcare costs in America.

It sends thousands of doctors to dozens of countries needing them. Offers free medical education to thousands of students.

From scores of countries. In return for providing their people Cuban-style care. Largely in under-served communities.

Its model shames America's. It works because it's fair. A testimony to Fidel's legacy. 

Along with high-quality free education. Other vital social services. Ones Americans can't even imagine.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

US to Veto Palestinian Statehood Bid

US to Veto Palestinian Statehood Bid

by Stephen Lendman

Even a tepid one. Falling far short of what Palestinians deserve. it's official. What Israel wants it gets. 

Asked about PLO Security Council draft text language, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said "(i)t is not something we would support."

"We wouldn't support any action that would prejudge the outcome of the negotiations and that would set a specific deadline for the withdrawal of forces."

An imminent vote is unlikely, she added. Palestinians want one before Christmas.

Netanyahu's bluster wore thin long ago. Categorically rejecting Palestinian statehood. Now or ever. 

Intends permanent occupation. Yesterday accused Abbas of "threaten(ing) us with unilateral steps."

"He does not understand that they will result in a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria, just as occurred in Gaza," said Netanyahu.

"We won’t let that happen. We will never agree to unilateral diktats." Except numerous Israeli ones. With full US support.

Israel will "always safeguard our security. This is our lesson both from the days of the Maccabees and in our day," said Netanyahu.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Palestine's initiative a "gimmick." Strategic Affairs minister Yuval Steinity called it "an act of war."

Threatened to dismantle PA puppet governance in response. Joint PLO/Jordanian text language calls for resuming peace talks,

With a 12-month deadline. Ending Israel's occupation by December 2017. 

Palestinian statehood within June 1967 borders. With "mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps."

Accepting a "third party presence" in the West Bank. Following "full an phased withdrawal" of Israeli forces.

"(O)ver an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe." Ending no later than December 2017.

"We will continue with consultations in the UN to gather support for this project," said Abbas.

The PLO/Jordanian draft Security Council text (dated December 17, 2014) is as follows:

"Reaffirming its previous resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967); 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1544 (2004), 1850 (2008), 1860 (2009) and the Madrid Principles,

Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,

Reaffirming the right of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and recalling its resolutions 446 (1979), 452 (1979) and 465 (1980), determining, inter alia, that the policies and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,
Affirming the imperative of resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees on the basis of international law and relevant resolutions, including resolution 194 (III), as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative,

Underlining that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, and calling for a sustainable solution to the situation in the Gaza Strip, including the sustained and regular opening of its border crossings for normal flow of persons and goods, in accordance with international humanitarian law,

Welcoming the important progress in Palestinian state-building efforts recognised by the World Bank and the IMF in 2012 and reiterating its call to all States and international organizations to contribute to the Palestinian institution building programme in preparation for independence,

Reaffirming that a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-State solution, building on previous agreements and obligations and stressing that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement that ends the occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues as previously defined by the parties, and fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both parties,

Condemning all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism, and reminding all States of their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001),

Recalling the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection in situations of armed conflict,

Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

Noting with appreciation the efforts of the United States in 2013/14 to facilitate and advance negotiations between the parties aimed at achieving a final peace settlement,

Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a long-term solution to the conflict,

1. Affirms the urgent need to attain, no later than 12 months after the adoption of this resolution, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967 and fulfills the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security within mutually and internationally recognized borders;

2. Decides that the negotiated solution will be based on the following parameters:

  • borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps;

  • security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine, including through a full and phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe, not to exceed the end of 2017, and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine through effective border security and by preventing the resurgence of terrorism and effectively addressing security threats, including emerging and vital threats in the region.

  • a just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee question on the basis of Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 194 (III);

  • Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two States which fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both parties and protects freedom of worship;

  • an agreed settlement of other outstanding issues, including water;

3. Recognizes that the final status agreement shall put an end to the occupation and an end to all claims and lead to immediate mutual recognition;

4. Affirms that the definition of a plan and schedule for implementing the security arrangements shall be placed at the center of the negotiations within the framework established by this resolution;

5. Looks forward to welcoming Palestine as a full Member State of the United Nations within the timeframe defined in the present resolution;

6. Urges both parties to engage seriously in the work of building trust and to act together in the pursuit of peace by negotiating in good faith and refraining from all acts of incitement and provocative acts or statements, and also calls upon all States and international organizations to support the parties in confidence-building measures and to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations;

7. Calls upon all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;

8. Encourages concurrent efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region, which would unlock the full potential of neighborly relations in the Middle East and reaffirms in this regard the importance of the full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative;

9. Calls for a renewed negotiation framework that ensures the close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders to help the parties reach an agreement within the established timeframe and implement all aspects of the final status, including through the provision of political support as well as tangible support for post-conflict and peace-building arrangements, and welcomes the proposition to hold an international conference that would launch the negotiations;

10. Calls upon both parties to abstain from any unilateral and illegal actions, including settlement activities, that could undermine the viability of a two-State solution on the basis of the parameters defined in this resolution;

11. Calls for immediate efforts to redress the unsustainable situation in the Gaza Strip, including through the provision of expanded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other United Nations agencies and through serious efforts to address the underlying issues of the crisis, including consolidation of the ceasefire between the parties;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution every three months;

13. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

According to an unnamed Western diplomat: "There is not the basis for consensus on the (above) text as drafted, and that is why we need to do some work."

In other words, whatever Israel agrees to is fine. Not otherwise. Its regime has final say. Expressed through assured US vetoes.

Longstanding policy hasn't changed. Two-state solution notions don't wash. Israel controls over 60% of West Bank land. Its most valued parts. Most of East Jerusalem.

Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History Joseph Massad says "no Palestinian state (exists) to recognize…"

"(W)ithin 1967 or any other borders. (T)hese political moves are engineered to undo the death of the two-state solution, the illusion of which had guaranteed Israel’s survival as a Jewish racist state for decades." 

"These parliamentary resolutions in fact aim to impose a de facto arrangement that prevents Israel's collapse and replacement with a state that grants equal rights to all its citizens and is not based on colonial and racial privileges."

Dead-on-arrival peace talks "worked very well for the last two decades with hardly a peep from the Palestinian Authority."

An Israeli creation. Stooge governance. Designed to serve its interests. At the expense of peace, equity and justice. 

Self-determination. What matters most to millions of Palestinians is strictly verboten.

Extremist Netanyahu policies threaten Israel's survival as a racist Jewish state, says Massad.

It's why "European parliaments are rushing to rescue Israel's liberals by guaranteeing for them (its) survival in its racist form through recognizing a nonexistent Palestinian state 'within the 1967 borders.' "

Two states once were possible. No longer. Except in rump form for Palestine too inconsequential to matter. A state in name only. With worthless scrubland for territory.

Assuring Israel's survival as a racist Jewish state. Justifying its worst policies. High crimes. Polar opposite justice. Denying it.

PLO/Jordanian text language falls way short and then some. Loopholes give Israel enough wiggle room to drive tanks through. Guns blazing.

Calling Israel a "democratic state" is nonsense. It never was from inception. For sure not now. With ruthless fascists in power. Racists. Operating with impunity.

"Calling for a sustainable solution to the situation in the Gaza Strip" ignores years of illegal blockade.

Collective punishment. Wars at Israel's discretion. Repeated cross-border land and air incursions. For contrived reasons. With no accountability whatever.

Claiming America "facilitate(s) and advance(s) negotiations between the parties aimed at achieving a final peace settlement" is nonsense. 

Both countries partner in each other's crimes. Peace is strictly verboten. Conflict without end persists. 

Western leaders able to intervene responsibly support Israel's worst crimes. Ones they commit as NATO members. Genocidal ones.

Policies mattering most belie deceptive rhetoric. Occasional initiatives accomplish nothing. 

Long-suffering Palestinians remain on their own. Alone. Isolated. Unaided. Brutalized by their own PA government. Disgracefully serving as Israel's enforcer.

Palestinian statehood within June 1957 borders based on "mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps" assures continued injustice.

Israel able to keep all valued parts of Palestine it controls. Security through third-party presence assures continued occupation.

Israeli state terrorism alone exists. So-called security threats are ones it invents.

Two nations sharing Jerusalem as their capital assures virtual total Israeli control. So does settlement of other outstanding issues.

Looking forward to Palestine as a full UN member ignores its longstanding statehood. Declaration of independence. Since November 1988.

Its support from over two-thirds of world nations. Its legal ability to have now what it hopes for years ahead. A continuing unfulfilled dream. Ongoing for decades. With no resolution in sight.

Urging both parties build trust toward peace through good faith negotiations proposes what never was. Never will be. Not with Israel involved. Or America. Partners in crime.

Resolution text language calls for lots of things. With no authorized enforcement mechanism. Accountability for violators.

It bears repeating. Giving Israel enough wiggle room to drive tanks though. Guns blazing. With impunity. Like many times before.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Longstanding US Cuba Policy: Regime Change

Longstanding US Cuba Policy: Regime Change

by Stephen Lendman

Obama is right. Sanctions don't work. Not against Cuba. Russia. Iran or other countries. Provided they stay firm. 

Defending their sovereign rights. Cuba did admirably. For over half a century. Against US imperialism. 

Its leadership a testimony to successful sovereign resilience. Prevailing against long odds.

Longstanding US Cuban policy failed. Washington's objective remains unchanged. Regime change! Installing pro-Western stooge governance. Returning Cuba to its bad old days.

Castro gained power on January 1, 1959. Transforming a repressive brothel into a populist state. Ousting Washington's man in Havana. Fulgencio Batista. A despot by any standard.

Franklin Roosevelt once called former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza "a son of a bitch. (B)ut he's our son of a bitch," he explained.

America supports many like him. Batista's fascist regime earlier. Current repressive Central America/Caribbean governments. In Honduras. Guatemala. Haiti.

Saudi Arabia. Other Gulf states. Ukraine in central Europe. Fascists running Israel. Numerous other repressive regimes.

Obama's new Cuba gambit reflects imperial policy by other means. Hold the cheers. More on this below.

Until illness in 2006 forced him to step down, Fidel was the world's longest serving political leader. Now aged 88, its preeminent elder statesman.

Still expressing important views. "Reflections of Fidel." In September saying "just ideas or disaster will triumph."

"Global society has known no peace in recent years." Because of US/European policies. Threatening world peace. With "weapons which could mean the end of human existence."

He called Western regimes "unscrupulous actors." Especially America. "(I)nterven(ing) militarily in Cuba…" Earlier owning most of the country. Raping it for profit. 

Preventing Cubans from "produc(ing) enough grain to feed the population…Cynicism is something which has become symbolic of imperial policy."

Rapaciousness defines it. "(O)ur interests," said Obama. Castro knows them well. Duplicity writ large. Plotting control over Cuba again. 

Intending to colonize it for profit. Plunder its resources. Including offshore oil. Exploit its people. Obama is a serial liar.

Claiming US policy is "rooted in the best of intentions…" Brazen dishonesty. Willful deception. Longstanding US policies speak for themselves.

Serving monied interests exclusively. At the expense of beneficial social change. Mindless of democratic rights. Rule of law principles. 

Including prohibitions against interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. Sovereign independence is inviolable. 

Not according to Washington rules. Imposing them lawlessly. With full scoundrel media support. The New York Times outrageously calls Cuba "a repressive police state." 

Ignoring decades of ruthless US anti-Castro policy. Hailing a "historic move." "Transformational." 

Claiming Washington is right in demanding "greater personal freedoms and democratic change." 

Instead of exposing it as the world's most egregious civil and human rights abuser. None match America's abusive record. Longstanding. Horrific by any standard.

The Times was right calling US Cuban policy "one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy." Mindless of Obama's intent.

Opening Cuba to America's monied interests spells trouble. Like it always does. US policies aren't benign.

Cuba already infested with US anti-government operatives. USAID. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

International Republican Institute (IRI). Freedom House. Center for a Free Cuba. Institute for Democracy in Cuba. Cuba Dissidence Task Group.

Various other groups and initiatives. Raul Castro warned earlier about "attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism."

Saying he "reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people."

"We propose to the Government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter."

"We don’t demand that the US change its political or social system and we don't accept negotiations over ours."

It bears repeating. Longstanding US policy call for regime change. Obama's pronouncement shows tactics alone changing.

By establishing diplomatic relations. Opening a Havana embassy. Regime change headquarters. Infested with CIA operatives for sure. Plotting destabilization tactics.

Obama loosening embargo conditions. As much as possible by executive order. Without congressional approval. Unlikely with Republicans in charge next year.

Or Democrats like current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D. NJ). Blasting Obama. 

Turning truth on its head saying his "actions have vindicate the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. (S)et(ting) an extremely dangerous precedent."

"(I)nvit(ing) dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today's actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms."

The New York Times cited unnamed administration officials. Saying Treasury will issue easing Cuban trade regulations. On US agricultural exports. Banking relations.

Commerce Department will permit exports of construction materials. Telecommunications equipment. Scientific, athletic and cultural products. Various other goods.

Efforts will move quickly to replace old rules with new ones. Facilitating travel. Financial dealings. Exports. According to US officials.

"The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department will scrap a measure that requires people who are already eligible for travel to Cuba to receive special permission from the government for trips such as those involving family visits, professional, religious or cultural programs and humanitarian projects," said The Times.

"New rules will also make it easier to get there, by allowing the direct purchase of airline tickets to Cuba rather than requiring travelers to go through a travel agent and charter a flight."

Treasury is increasing how much money Americans may send Cubans. Fourfold. From $500 to $2,000.

The State Department may end Cuba's unjust state sponsor of terrorism designation. Longstanding US Cuban policy reflects it writ large. Don't expect The Times to explain.

According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson:

"We would anticipate that we will have an embassy before" nominating an ambassador.

"That process is relatively straightforward, frankly, from a legal perspective. We can do that via an exchange of letters or of notes. It doesn't require a formal sort of legal treaty or agreement."

White House officials said they spent months determining how far to go unilaterally. Without violating the letter of embargo conditions. Or "eviscerat(ing)" them.

Washington's Havana Interests Section will serve as its embassy. A future nest of destabilizing spies.

Political analyst Andrew Korybko asked if Raul Castro "reverse(d) the entire Cuban revolution." Did he make "a fatal mistake?"

By getting in bed with the devil. It remains to be seen how much. Will color revolution follow? At age 88, Fidel's time is passing. Whether soon or later who knows.

Korybko believes he's closer to death than Havana admits. An era will pass with his loss. Inevitable sooner or later. Key is what follows. 

Raul is 83. Reportedly in good health. Last year saying he'll step down in 2018. "This is my last term," he said. Shortly after National Assembly members reelected him for another five years.

At the same time naming Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez First Vice President. Next in line to Raul. 

Cuba's current government appears its last under Fidel and Raul. Possible succession figures include Diaz-Canel. Four other vice presidents. 

Including Jose Machado Ventura. Aged 82. Ceding his first vice presidential position to Diaz-Canel.

Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdes. Aged 80. Comptroller General Gladys Bejerano. Aged 66. Both vice presidents.

Others include First Secretary of the Communist Party Mercedes Lopexz Acea. Aged 48. Labor federation head Salvador Valdes Mesa. Aged 64.

In 2013, 68-year-old former vice president Estaban Lazo was named National Assembly president. Replacing longtime leader Ricardo Alarcon.

Earlier he commented on who would succeed Fidel, saying:

"All those who have been trying to fool the world and put out the idea that something terrible would happen in Cuba, that people would take to the streets, that there would be great instability, the door slammed on them and they must have very swollen hands now."

Cuban policy going forward remains to be seen. New leaders will replace old ones. Hopefully revolutionary spirit won't change. 

Remaining vibrant. Resilient. Redoubtable. Too precious to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.