All posts by Dan Lieberman

It is not the Non-existent Iranian Bomb; it is the Other Existing Bombs

United States (US) demands that Iran promise to halt pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile developments distract from the real intent of the US actions. Knowing that the Islamic Republic is not pursuing nuclear weapons and will react aggressively to sanctions, the US ploy deters other nations from establishing more friendly relations with Iran and from changing their perspectives on the causes of the Middle East crises.

Adherence by all nations to the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had potential to stimulate extensive political, economic, and social engagements of the international community with Iran, Investments leading to long lasting attachments, friendships, and alliances would initiate a revitalized, prosperous, and stronger Iran. A new perspective of Iran could yield a revised perspective of a violent, unstable, and disturbed Middle East. Israel and Saudi Arabia would finally receive attention as participants in bringing chaos to the Arab region. Economies committed to Iran’s progress and allied with its interests could bring pressure on Israel and Saudi Arabia to change their destructive behaviors.

Because the demands on Iran can be approached in a less provocative and insinuating manner, the demands are meant to provoke and insinuate. Assuredly, the US wants Iran to eschew nuclear and ballistic weapons, but the provocative approach indicates other purposes — completely alienate Iran, destroy its military capability, and bring Tehran to collapse and submission. Accomplishing the far-reaching goals will not affect the average American, lessen US defense needs, or diminish the continuous battering of the helpless faces of the Middle East. The strategy mostly pleases Israel and Saudi Arabia, who have engineered it, share major responsibillty for the Middle East turmoil, and are using mighty America to subdue the princpal antagonist to their malicious activities. During the 2016 presidential campaign, contender Donald Trump said, Many nations, including allies, ripped off the US.” President Donald Trump has verified that statement.

Noting the history of US promises to leaders of other nations – give up your aggressive attitudes and you will benefit ─ the US promises make the Ayatollah skeptical. The US reneged on the JPOAC, sent Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to the World Court and eventual death (although his compromises allowed the Dayton Accords that ended the Yugoslavian conflict), directly assisted NATO in the overthrow of subdued Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, pulverized Iraq after sanctions could not drive that nation to total ruin, rejected Iranian pledge of  $560 million worth of assistance to Afghanistan at the Tokyo donors’ conference in January 2002, and, according to the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Dobbins, disregarded Iran’s “decisive role in persuading the Northern Alliance delegation to compromise its demands of wanting 60 percent of the portfolios in an interim government.”

Tehran senses it is in a lose-lose situation.  Regardless of its decisions and directions,the centuries old Persian lands will be pulverized.

If the US honestly wants to have Iran promise never to pursue nuclear and ballistic missile weapons, it would approach the issues with a question, “What will it take for you (Iran) never to pursue these weapons?” Assuredly, the response would include provisions that require the US to no longer assist the despotic Saudi Kingdom in its oppression of minorities and opposition, in its export of terrorists, and in its slaughter of the Houthis, and the response would propose that the US eliminate financial, military and cooperative support to Israel’s theft of Palestinian lands, oppressive conditions imposed on Palestinians, and daily killings of Palestinian people, and combat Israel’s expansionist plans.

The correct question soliciting a formative response and leading to decisive US actions resolves two situations and benefits the US — fear of Iran developing weapons of mass destruction is relieved and the Middle East is pointed in a direction that achieves justice, peace, and stability for its peoples.

Despite the August 2018 report from the U.S. Department of State’s Iran Action group, which “chronicle  iran’s destructive activities,” and consists of everything from most minor to most major, from unsubstantiated to retaliatory, from the present time to before the discovery of dirt, (July 22, 1980 – Bethesda, MD, United States: An Iranian operative assassinated a former Iranian diplomat-in-exile, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a vocal critic of then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.) Iranians will not rebel in sufficient numbers against their own repressive state until they note the end of hypocritical support by western powers of other repressive states. Halting international terrorism, ameliorating the Middle East violence, and preventing any one nation from establishing hegemony in the Arab world starts with President Trump sending Secretary Pompeo to confront Israel and Saudi Arabia, two nations whose records of injustice, aggression, oppression, and violation of human rights exceed that of the oppressive Iran regime.

Otherwise, it will occur on a Sunday morning; always occurs in the early hours on the day of rest. It will come with a roar greater than the sum of all shrieks and screams ever uttered by humankind, rip across fields and cities and burn through the flesh of a part of the world’s population.

The New Politics of Starvation

President Donald Trump’s use of the most vicious aspects of economic warfare prompt another examination of the politics of starvation.

After George W. Bush’s administration, Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump lessened Bush’s aggressive war policies and leaned to economic warfare. Sounds harmless when compared to exploding bombs, but it is not — economic warfare can crush an adversary without firing a shot. Gone to its extreme, economic warfare has the force of a neutron bomb; it disables the nation’s infrastructure and debilitates its population. Isolation from the international financial system, material embargos, and other sanctions reduce living standards and bring populations close to starvation The most serious aspects of economic warfare are major crimes and a form of terrorism.

Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Iraq endured the most punishing sanctions from the United States. Results of sanctions against these countries, models for the effects of sanctions, show that sanctions have rarely accomplished their stated purposes and their intentions may be for other reasons — stalling economic progress, weakening challenges to antagonistic actions, advancing dominance, and promoting regime change.

Iran

Disturbed with the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and infuriated by the hostage taking of 52 of U.S. embassy personnel by extreme Islamic students and militants, President Jimmy Carter froze several billions of dollars in Iranian bank deposits, gold and other properties, and followed with a 1980 embargo on trade with and travel to Iran. These punitive actions accomplished nothing for the United States, strengthened the Ayatollah’s Authority and hardened the student demands for releasing the captured embassy officials.

President Reagan, who partially owed his climb into the executive office to the hostage crisis, showed contempt for Iran’s resolution of the problem. Driven by the unproven assertion that Iran was involved in the 1983 bombing of a marine barracks in Beirut, and favoring Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. president imposed additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic. and, in 1987, banned all imports from Iran.

Duriing the Clinton administration, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) penalized all foreign companies that provided investments over $20 million for the development of petroleum resources.

Iran’s entrance into the atomic age provoked a series of new sanctions. Economic warfare soon reached full scale by subduing Iran’s earnings from its most precious resource and export – oil. The U.S. Congress passed unilateral sanctions that targeted Iran’s energy and banking sectors. Sanctions did not halt Iran’s nuclear activities, or prevent it from signing contracts with foreign firms to develop its energy resources. Exports slowly grew to an estimated $82 billion in 2012, with liberated Iraq and independent China filling the gap as trading partners.

Nevertheless, economic warfare affected Iran’s industries and welfare. In October 2012, Iran’s currency, the rial, fell to a record low against the US dollar, losing about 80 per cent of its value in one year. Lack of spare parts and inability to replace planes affected aviation safety. Real growth rate in GDP, at a steady six per cent a year during the first decade of the twenty first century, fell to two per cent in 2011-2012. One report, citing officials from the U.S. Departments of State and Energy, concluded that gasoline imports in the Shah’s former kingdom declined from 130,000 barrels a day in 2009 to 50,000 barrels a day in 2011. Machinery wears, and the  costs and time for repairs rapidly increased. A nation of educated professionals, who depended upon access to foreign technology and scientific cooperation, had their access to knowledge severely curtailed.

In a October 5, 2012 report to the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summarized effects of sanctions on Iran’s population.

The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine,

The embargoes have also hampered humanitarian operations, as the imposed restrictions on Iran’s banking system have halted the imports of medicines needed for treating diseases like cancer and heart and respiratory conditions.

The Obama administration eventually eased restrictions on the sale of medicines to Iran, and, after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in which Iran halted and downsized its uranium enrichment, the UN lifted sanctions. In a following year, Iran GDP increased 15 percent.

On May 8, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. and U.S. sanctions came into effect again in November 2018. President Trump articulated his plan for renewed sanctions as, “to bring Iran’s oil exports to ‘zero’ and remove a main source of revenue for the regime.” Trump imposed the ultimate harm afforded by economic warfare — starve the people and have them revolt against the regime.

That has not happened nor is predicted to occur. World Bank statistics indicate a severe slowing of the economy and steady rise of inflation.

As shown in the charts, oil production, and GDP growth dropped monotonically and severely. Currency value suffered an initial shock and had some recovery. Inflation was up 40%, especially in food (up 60%) — a suffering economy, a suffering people, and no political gain for the U.S.

Cuba

Immediately after the 1960 Cuban revolution, the United States imposed an embargo against Cuba. Fifty plus years of sanctions have not succeeded in accomplishing the purposes for which the United States proposed the sanctions — compensation to U.S. firms nationalized by Cuba and the overthrow of the Castro regime. The only result of the embargo has been deprivation of the Cuban people.

Although the United Nations General Assembly on November 2, 1995, voted 117 to 3 to recommend an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba, President Clinton, on March 12, 1996, signed into law the misnamed Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. This Act imposed penalties on foreign companies doing business in Cuba, permitted U.S. citizens to sue foreign investors who make use of American-owned property seized by the Cuban government, and denied foreign investors in Cuba’s industry to enter the U.S.

The World Health Organization (WHO) complimented pre-90’s Cuba for its public health system, which had been credited with eliminating hunger and malnutrition and wiping out infectious diseases. A tightened embargo reinforced Cuba’s suffering after Russia withdrew subsidies. and, soon, Cuba of the mid-90’s portrayed another image. The American Association for World Health and the American Public Health Association ascertained that the embargo caused significant deterioration in Cuba’s food production and health care:

  • Cuba was banned from purchasing nearly 1/2 of new drugs on the market.
  • Physicians had access to only 890 medications, down from 1,300 in 1989.
  • Deterioration of water supply increased water borne diseases.
  • Daily caloric intake dropped by 33% between 1989 and 1993.

In 2000, the Clinton administration finally allowed Cuba to have some relief from an aggressive economic warfare. The administration allowed the sale of agriculture and medicine to Cuba for humanitarian purposes. According to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba reached $380 million in 2004. However, after hitting a peak of $710 million in 2008, U.S. food sales to Cuba declined over 50 percent by the year 2011. Reasons for the decline were largely economic – lack of foreign currency and better financial terms being offered by other countries.

Representatives of a dozen leading U.S. business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, signed a letter in December urging Barack Obama to scrap the embargo. The letter pegs the cost to the U.S. economy at $1.2 billion per year. The CPF’s estimates are much higher: up to $4.84 billion annually in lost sales and exports. The Cuban government estimates the loss to Cuba at about $685 million annually. Thus the blockade costs the United States up to $4.155 billion more a year than it costs Cuba.1

After a period of harsh policy toward Cuba under President George W. Bush, President Obama announced in late 2014 that Washington and Havana would begin normalizing relations. To that end, the Obama administration achieved three pillars of normalization: 1) the removal of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which allowed Cuba to access international finance; 2) the reestablishment of diplomatic relations; and 3) relaxed restrictions on travel and trade through executive action. The embargo remained in place.

In 2017, the Trump administration reversed some of the changes made under President Obama, but the vast majority remained U.S. policy. Despite some tighter trade sanctions and limitations on authorized travel, there are still legal pathways for Americans to export and travel to Cuba. On the list of  new sanctions is allowing Americans to sue foreign companies in Cuba that are profiting from or using properties that were seized during the Cuban revolution.

Havana — The Cuban government announced Friday it is launching widespread rationing of chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap and other basic products in the face of a grave economic crisis. Commerce Minister Betsy Díaz Velazquez told the state-run Cuban News Agency that various forms of rationing would be employed in order to deal with shortages of staple foods.

Díaz blamed the hardening of the U.S. trade embargo by the Trump administration. Economists give equal or greater blame to a plunge in aid from Venezuela, where the collapse of the state-run oil company has led to a nearly two-thirds cut in shipments of subsidized fuel that Cuba used for power and to earn hard currency on the open market.2

Another suffering economy, suffering people, and no political gain for the U.S.

North Korea

The proud and impoverished nation of North Korea has been continually subjected to sanctions, threats of economic sanctions, and hastily withdrawn sanctions. The media is peppered with the words: “U.S. Lifts sanctions,” “U.S. recommends sanctions,” “South Korea wary of sanctions.” It’s difficult to know if North Korea is being sanctioned or being forced into being sanctioned. After its 2006 claim of conducting a nuclear test, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic Korea) leaders responded to intended sanctions by labeling them as “a declaration of war.”

The DPRK has,suffered from economic warfare, which includes restrictions on trade and financial transactions. Export of sensitive dual-use items (items that have both military and non-military uses) have, at times, been prohibited.  During March 2012, the politics of starvation entered the situation; angered by an intended North Korea missile test, the U.S. suspended food aid to the “hermit kingdom.”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has suspended planned food aid to North Korea as Pyongyang vows to push ahead with a plan to launch a long-range missile in defiance of international warnings, U.S. military officials said on Wednesday.

Under President Obama, sanctions increased as a policy of “strategic patience;” the US waited for North Korea to change its bad behavior before engaging with the state. As a result, trade between North Korea and China increased and sanctions did not encourage Kim Jong-An to discuss de-nuclearization.

On September 21, 2017, President Donald Trump, as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, allowed severing from its financial system and/or freezing assets of companies, businesses, organizations, and individuals who traded in goods, services, or technology with North Korea.

U.S. negotiations with North Korea have a built-in error; they request de-nuclearization in exchange for improved relations and reduction in sanctions. Not considered is that North Korea’s development of a nuclear arsenal was a response to its regard of U.S. actions in the Korean peninsula as a direct threat to its regime and the developments had no relation to sanctions. Therefore, the DPRK will not trade de-nuclearization for relief of sanctions, and that approach is a non-starter.

Sanctions, intended to collapse the North Korea regime, have not halted its development of nuclear weapons and guided missile delivery systems. They have collapsed the economy and harmed the North Korean people; starvation during droughts have occurred. Although some international assistance has been provided to North Korea, the intensive economic warfare waged against the “hermit kingdom” has exacerbated its problems, without any apparent benefit to its principal antagonist, the United States.

Iraq

If Iraq were Pompeii, then the US would be Mt. Vesuvius.

The sanctions against Iraq began August 6, 1990, four days after Hussein invaded Kuwait, and featured a near-total financial and trade embargo. Resultant suffering has been outlined in a UN Report on the Current Humanitarian Situation in Iraq, submitted to the Security Council, March 1999.  Due to the length of the report, only significant features are mentioned.

Before the Iraq War

  • before 1991 Iraq’s social and economic indicators were generally above the regional and developing country averages.
  • Up to 1990, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) cited Iraq as having one of the highest per capita food availability indicators in the region.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), prior to 1991, health care reached approximately 97% of the urban population and 78% of rural residents. A major reduction of young child mortality took place from 1960 to 1990; with the infant mortality rate at 65 per 1,000 live births in 1989 (1991 Human Development Report average for developing countries was 76 per 1,000 live births). UNICEF indicates that a national welfare system assisted orphans and children with disabilities and supported the poorest families.
  • Before 1991, southern and central Iraq had well developed water and sanitation systems, composed with two hundred water treatment plants (“wtp’s”) for urban areas and 1200 compact wtp’s to serve rural areas, as well as an extensive distribution network. WHO estimates that 90% of the population had access to an abundant quantity of safe drinking water.

From Sanctions After the Gulf War

  • Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that Iraqi GDP may have fallen by nearly 67% in 1991, and the nation had “experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty” and had infant mortality rates that were “among the highest in the world.”
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated the maternal mortality rate increased from 50/100,000 live births in 1989 to 117/100,000 in 1997. The under-five child mortality rate increased from 30.2/1000 live births to 97.2/1000 during the same period. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) calculates that the infant mortality rate rose from 64/1000 births in 1990 to 129/1000 in 1995 (the Human Development Report set the average infant mortality rate for Least Developed Countries at 109/1000). Low birth weight babies (less than 2.5 kg) rose from 4% in 1990 to around a quarter of registered births in 1997, due mainly to maternal malnutrition.
  • Calorie intake fell from a pre-war 3120 to 1093 calories per capita/per day in 1994-95. The prevalence of malnutrition in Iraqi children under five almost doubled from 1991 to 1996 (from 12% to 23%). Acute malnutrition in Center/South rose from 3% to 11% for the same age bracket.
  • The World Food Program (WFP) estimated that access to potable water decreased to 50% of the 1990 level in urban areas and 33% in rural areas.
  • School enrollment for all ages (6-23) declined to 53%. According to a field survey conducted in 1993, as quoted by UNESCO, in Central and Southern governorates, 83% of school buildings needed rehabilitation, with 8613 out of 10,334 schools having suffered serious damages. The same source indicated that some schools with a planned capacity of 700 pupils actually have 4500 enrolled in them. Substantive progress in reducing adult and female illiteracy ceased and regressed to mid-1980 levels. More families are forced to rely on children to secure household incomes. Figures provided by UNESCO indicate that drop-outs in elementary schools increased from 95,692 in 1990 to 131,658 in 1999.

Sanctions, and its toll on the Iraqi people, continued until the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Excerpts from Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions, Joy Gordon. Harvard University Press, 2010, describe the extent of irrational economic warfare conducted by the United states against a defenseless Iraq.

While the United States consistently justified its policies in terms of preventing Iraq from developing weapons or threatening its neighbors, the U.S. policy went well beyond any rational concern with security. There was an elaborate architecture of policies that found a dozen other ways to simply do gratuitous harm that had not the least relation to the threat Iraq might have posed to its neighbors or to anyone else.

For thirteen years the United States unilaterally prevented Iraq from importing nearly everything related to electricity, telecommunications, and transportation, blocked much of what was needed for agriculture and housing construction, and even prohibited some equipment and materials necessary for health care and food preparation.

As the criticism grew, there is no sign that anyone in the U.S. administration, and only a tiny handful within Congress, actually took it to heart– actually questioned the sanity and legality of reducing an entire civilization to a preindustrial state, of bankrupting an entire nation for the purpose of containing one tyrannical man.

On May 12, 1996, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on the CBS program 60 Minutes. Commentator Lesley Stahl asked, “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?” Madeleine Albright replied, “we think the price is worth it.”  Is that an expected response from a normal human being?

The U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq accomplished what sanctions failed to accomplish —  push Iraq to total ruin. A question, “Why war, if had sanctions, or why sanctions if need to go to war?”

Conclusion

As shown, sanctions never accomplished their stated purposes and gravely harmed populations. The economic warfare had equivalents to military war. The country that took the offensive became the aggressor, as in any war, and the destruction to the defending state was equally brutal. In the one-sided engagement, the civilian population of the defending nation suffered greatly and the aggressor country suffered few losses. The economic wars never achieved the results that the offended party desired, and no peace treaties were signed. The struggles remained an open issue.

A limited form of economic warfare may, at times, have a legitimate purpose. A complete economic war, that invades all aspects of a country’s life and continues until it debilitates the population, cannot be accepted. In a military campaign, atrocities and human rights violations are often committed. Although no shots are fired and battlefields are not identifiable, economic warfare cannot camouflage its atrocities and disguise its human rights violations.

  1. Dollars and Sense, 2009, The Costs of the Embargo, by Margot Pepper
  2. From CBS News, May 11, 2019.

Does Capitalism Mean War?

During the Cold war, the major antagonists, United States and Soviet Union, faced one another at European borders. No military confrontations occurred between them. Their cooperation, in a war to end all wars, had a brief interlude, and succeeding years detected huge losses of lives in endless conflicts.

The Cold War atmosphere became a testing ground for two systems. The capitalist system gained economic and political victories, but at what cost? A fundamental question emerged from the rhetoric and saber rattling — which system, capitalist or socialist, was more likely to contain peace, or stated another way, more likely to wage war? Examination of the conflicts occurring during the Cold War provides a clue and answers another lingering question. “Does Capitalism mean war?”

A chart of the history of major wars during the 1946-1991 era tells a story. Years succeeding the collapse of the Soviet Union and its communist system add to the story. A review of economic warfare completes the picture.

The chart describes major and local wars from 1946 to 2019 with the following criteria:

  • Major wars (shown in red) consider engagements by one or more huge armies, a result of significant importance, and/or extensive casualties.
  • Local wars are confined to civil wars/uprisings outside of the nation (shown in green) and military interventions by one nation in another nation (shown in brown).
  • Only offensive wars, in which a NATO nation fought or which a Soviet bloc (Warsaw Pact or China) fought, are considered.
  • )The Middle East wars between Israel and its neighbors, the Iraq war against ISIS, the Syrian War, and the Falkland Island war, where great Britain defended itself against an Argentinian invasion, are not included.
  • Documenting wars fought by the major capitalist nations after the decline of the Soviet Union in 1991 adds information to their roles in hostile actions.
  • China is included in the Socialist Bloc, but, because it operated independently from the Warsaw pact, its wars are independently summarized.

Peruse the chart, absorb the immense scale of conflicts, and then read the summary.

Summary

Communist Bloc

(1) The Soviet Union fought wars with Afghanistan and China. In the Afghanistan war, the Soviets intended to maintain a communist and friendly government. The China conflict resolved a long-lingering border dispute.
(2) In major wars, where both the United States and Soviet Union intervened — Korea and Vietnam — the Soviets mainly supplied weapons and aircraft. By not committing ground troops, the Soviet Union tempered its aggressive nature in the conflicts and had few casualties.
(3) Warsaw Pact allies interfered in the uprisings of two countries — Hungry, and Czechoslovakia — both of which were in the Warsaw Pact and the Socialist orbit.
(4) The Soviet Union and Cuba interfered in one civil strife outside of the recognized Warsaw Pact sphere of influence — Angola — and supported one faction in that Civil War

China

(1) China fought several major wars — Tibet, Sino/Vietnam, Sino/Indian, and Sino/Soviet. In the Sino/Vietnam war, China invaded Vietnam in retaliation to Vietnam’s aggression against Cambodia. The two latter conflicts were long-simmering border wars with neighboring nations. In the Tibet invasion and annexation, China claimed a historical attachment of Tibet to China. More likely. China took advantage of a weak Tibet and incorporated it to prevent Tibet from allying with a nation that was antagonistic to China — India or the United States. The wars and annexation did not involve the Soviet bloc.
(2) The Chinese military entered the Korean War after U.S. troops moved close to the Yalu River, which is a natural border with China. China dedicated a massive number of ground troops to the campaign.
(3) China assisted North Vietnam with war materials and construction manpower in the early years of the war, which stopped entirely after the Soviet Union made similar commitments to the North Vietnamese.

Capitalist Bloc

(1) In major hostilities, the United States allies (France and Great Britain) initiated the Suez war against Egypt after Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal (U.S. President Eisenhower resolved the conflict in favor of Egypt), the United States and allies initiated and fought with military might in the 1st Gulf war with Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and the U.S. air force engaged in extensive bombings of the Libyan capital in response to suspected Libyan attacks on U.S. civilians and off-duty troops.
(2) The United States and its allies intervened, with all military might, in the Korean and Vietnam civil wars. In both wars, which had massive casualties, U.S. miliktary dominated the fighting by the coalition forces.
(3) In another major war — between Iraq and Iran — U.S. participation was mainly logistic and patrol of the adjacent seas. Although the U.S. sold arms to Iran, in an arms for hostages deal, assistance to Iraq and hostile actions, such as the downing of an Iranian passenger plane, caused damage and loss of life to the Iranians.
(4) U.S., and/or its western allies interfered in civil strifes and uprisings in Indo-China (France), Kenya (Great Britain), Angola (U.S.), Algeria (France), Nicaragua (U.S.), Salvador (U.S.), Congo (U.S. and Belgium). and Chad (France),
(5) U.S. intervened to replace governments in Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Brazil.
(6) U.S. covertly assisted the Afghan Mujahideen through Pakistan intelligence. Result of Afghan-Russian war — rise of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and installation of Taliban regime.

After the Breakup of the Soviet Union

(1) Citing humanitarian reasons, U.S. and NATO intervened in the Libyan, Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts, providing aerial bombardments that determined the outcomes of these conflicts. At no time was either Yugoslavia or Libya a threat to the U.S. or any NATO nation.
(2) Based on purposefully misdirected intelligence, the U.S. invaded Iraq and replaced the Saddam Hussein regime.
(3) After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States, with NATO assistance, invaded Afghanistan, replaced the Taliban regime and started a protracted civil war.
(4) A U.S. humanitarian mission turned into battles with militias in Somalia.
(5) U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia and logistic assistance have enabled the Saudi Kingdom to pulverize the Yemenite Houthi population.

Economic warfare

Economic warfare must be considered equal to military war. Warfare is visualized in terms of dead soldiers, battlefield blood, eerie noises, and bombed-out structures. Warfare can be silent and still be deadly. The country that takes the offense becomes the aggressor, and the destruction to the defending state is equally brutal. In most cases, the economic war is a one sided battle; the civilian population of the defending nation suffers greatly and the aggressor country suffers few losses.

The communist Soviet Bloc did not engage in any economic warfare.

Since World War II, the United States embargoed and sanctioned more than 35 countries in economic warfares. Start with Iran; then wander around the map to Libya, Nicaragua, Burma, Sudan, Iraq, Cuba, Liberia, North Korea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Yugoslavia and other countries. Economic warfare, of which sanctions are one part, intentionally reduces living standards and promotes starvation. By starving and debilitating a population in order to gain economic or political advantage, economic warfare is a major crime and a form of terrorism.

The most punishing sanctions by the United States, until the 2012 sanctions against Iran, had been against Cuba, North Korea, and Iraq. Iran has replaced Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as the most sanctioned nation on the globe.

Conclusions

The results of the analysis indicate that Socialist nations are not immune to engaging in war. However, the engagements were minimal and not intended to increase their hegemony. In one virulent war, the Soviet Union tried to maintain another nation — Afghanistan — in its orbit, and caused severe consequences to itself. The Soviet Bloc militarily assisted other communist nations in distress — North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba, and Angola — but did not participate with its soldiers in the ground wars. Interferences in uprisings of other nations were localized to nations of the Warsaw Pact — Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Socialist Bloc never intervened beyond its borders to convince newly struggling nations to become socialist or tried to overthrow existing governments.

China acted as an aggressor in several wars, but not as part of adventure by the Socialist Bloc. Operating independently, China seized opportunities to satisfy historical grievances, or, in the case of the Korean War, defend itself against incursion upon its territory. Although reports have China’s leader, Mao Zedong, determined to have a “people’s war” within the pan-Asian Communist movement, no such conflicts ever occurred. China assisted the Vietnamese in the Indo-china war and supplied armaments and manpower for logistical support during the early years of the Vietnam War.

Claiming protection of interest, which were mainly economic and political, the Capitalist western nations went beyond their borders and homeland security interests and, often with apparent ease that eschewed compromise and diplomacy, initiated several violent and catastrophic wars — 1st Gulf, Vietnam, and Suez wars. In the Korean War, the United States and its allies invoked the UN charter. However, the intensity of the war, which went beyond containment, and its inconclusive resolution have clouded U.S. original intentions in fighting the war. Less violent, but more characteristic of capitalist western intentions were the many suppressions of uprisings and interferences in civil wars — Indo-China, Algeria, Kenya, Nicaragua, Angola, Salvador and Chad. Allied to the interferences were several interventions that either intended or succeeded overthrowing existing and legitimate governments and replacing them with leaders favorable to American political and economic interests — Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Brazil.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Capitalist western nations displayed a militant and aggressive attitude that showed the Cold War was often used as an excuse for unrelated hostilities. As summarized previously. (1) U.S. battles with Somali militia, (2) U.S./NATO intervention that provided substantial air force attacks and determined the outcomes of the Libyan, Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts, (3) intention of subduing Osama bin laden and al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attack on American soil turning into a violent civil war that has lasted almost 20 years, (4) U.S. unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq, which caused a huge amount of casualties and destruction, and (5) U.S. support for Saudi Arabia, which has enabled the Saudi Kingdom to pulverize the Yemenite Houthi population, all point to a capitalism that will not exist without waging war. Add to the mix, the economic warfare that has decimated populations and the question “Does Capitalism Mean War?” leans to a positive response.

Not being definite arises from being unsure if it is the capitalist world waging war or only a temporary world power, United States. Well, France has continually interfered in African nations to protect its interests and NATO has subdued nations that contested western hegemony, and brought its forces to the border of an antagonist Russia. We may question if war is endemic to humanity and what would have occurred if the Socialist Bloc had been victorious in the Cold War and subdued the capitalist nations? Would the head honchos of the Socialist system behave aggressively to maintain their version of world order? The analysis, based on interpretation of events, provides a possible answer to the question, “Does capitalism mean war?” Logic reinforces a positive reply and answers the other questions.

The Socialist nations run on scarcity, which prevents them from engaging in damaging economic warfare. Because their production capability is limited by material and human resources, armaments, defense budgets, and foreign wars exhaust their resources and are not compatible with their operation. Honest Socialism, which is the only Socialism – perhaps ideal — is based on respect for sovereignty and fair trade.

Capitalist nations run on surplus, on capital eager to feed machines. If they can obtain the material resources, they can grow their economies and augment the markets to export the surplus. Military defense expenditures create jobs that relieve unemployment, heighten a profitable industry, and supply the muscle that captures resources and markets, and silences those who contest hegemony and protest against a dictated world order. .

Capitalism has benefits of more properly allocating resources and motivating workers, elements that enable it to recover from sputtering recessions, develop more rapidly and to greater limits. Socialism has elements of a more peaceful system that trudges slowly in a progressive direction, hampered by a bureaucratic led work force that is less able to organize itself at optimum efficiency. However, do the advantaged citizens in the Capitalist systems realize that their benefits may result from derogatory effects to others, from physical and economic wars that caused havoc throughout the world?

Should the expression, “Better Dead than Red” be replaced by “Better to Exist than be Capitalist?” or “Don’t Get Your Fill by Having to Kill

Whom Did Tax Reform Benefit?

Characterizations of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have followed agendas – its opponents maintaining it is a bill for the wealthy, and its supporters arguing that the bill fairly satisfies all economic levels.

A previous article, Failure of Trump Tax Cuts, analyzed the effects of the Tax cuts on the economy and showed that tax cuts do not pay for themselves; they do not generate additional revenue that compensate for the loss of government receipts. This article analyzes tax cut effects on individual wage earners. Four scenarios, representative of the tax paying public in years 2017 and 2018, are presented.

  • Single tax payer using standard deduction;
  • Single tax payer using itemized deduction of $16,000;
  • Married taxpayer, two children, filing separately and using standard deduction; and,
  • Married taxpayer, two children, filing separately, and using itemized deduction of $16,000.

Effects on wage earners are not the sole means for evaluating the worth of tax bills; other factors will be considered.

The results for single taxpayers, using the standard deduction, are shown on the left in the following table.

In 2017, this type of taxpayer added a deduction from a $4050 exemption to the standard deduction of $6000. In 2018, the standard deduction was raised to $12,000, but no exemptions were allowed.

The single taxpayer in 2018, using the standard deduction, had a $1950 advantage in taxable income compared to the single 2017 taxpayer. Because the tax rates were also lowered in 2018, a single taxpayer of equivalent gross income gained another advantage and paid less tax than in 2017.

Which earning group did the reduced taxes most benefit?

By absolute figures, the higher the earnings, the greater is the benefit. However, a more accepted manner for examining the figures is by proportion. By these criteria, the lower waged earners received the greatest benefit — 21% for low wage earner, 18% for high wage earner, and 9.3% for ultra-high wage earners.

The results for single taxpayers, using itemized deduction of $16,000 deduction, are shown on the right of the table.

In this case, the 2017 wage earner had an advantage. In addition to the $16,000 itemized deduction, the 2017 wage earner received a single exemption of $4050 applied to the deductions. The lower tax rates in 2018 offset this advantage, but insufficiently; none of the single taxpayers received much benefit, and the lowest wage earners actually paid slightly more taxes.

The results for the married taxpayer, using standard deduction, are shown on the left in the next table.

In 2017, this type of taxpayer was able, from four $4050 exemptions, to add a deduction of $16,200 to the standard deduction of $6000. In 2018, no exemptions were allowed, even for married families. Offsetting this disadvantage were the child and spouse credits. In 2017, each dependent child, created a $1000 tax credit, directly off the bottom line of the tax statement. In 2018, each dependent child created a $2000 tax credit and a $500 tax credit was allowed for the spouse. In 2018, the child tax credits are refundable (not the spouse credit), which means a negative tax, up to $1400, is refundable.

The higher tax credits in 2018 enabled all of these types of married taxpayers ($4500 tax credits) to reduce their taxes in 2018. Note that the difference in taxes between the 2018 single taxpayer using the standard deduction and the married taxpayer using the standard deduction is exactly $45000. In this scenario, the absolute tax gain was almost equal between all wage earners, except the ultra-high wage earners. Proportionately, the lower wage earners received the most benefits.

The results for married taxpayers, using an itemized deduction of $16,000, are shown on the right of the table. In this case, by itemizing deductions, just as for the single taxpayers, the 2018 married taxpayers lost the $6000 advantage they had compared to the 2017 taxpayers. The combination of loss of this advantage, together with the difference in tax credits and tax tables for the two tax years, made erratic differences between taxpayers from the two years. Generally, the absolute advantage for the 2018 taxpayer was small, even going negative for middle-income wage earners.

For this scenario, only the ultra-high wage earners managed to maintain a distinct advantage in the 2018 tax year. The low wage earners had a decent advantage, but the $1400 limitation in the tax credits limited the advantage.

Other Considerations

The analysis uncovers the inutility of the standard tax deduction, which only moves the income down the tax schedule. As an example, a single wage earner of $40,000 in 2018 who uses the $12,000 standard deduction pays the same tax as a wage earner of $38,000 in the same tax schedule that has no standard deduction. For those who itemize deductions, subtracting $12,000 from their deduction steers taxpayers to itemize deductions only when they have more than $12,000 in deductions. Similar reasoning applies to the exemption; it also only shifts the tax table by the exemption, which every single taxpayer has, by the exemption amount. Having a standard deduction and an exemption make it seem that the Internal Revenue Department is being considerate of taxpayers, but all these considerations do is raise the level at which it is beneficial to itemize deductions. Is it not simpler and preferable to have neither a standard deduction nor exemptions and modify the tax table to more equitably distribute taxes?

Married taxpayers with children, who also have no exemptions in 2018, have a $500 tax credit for the spouse and a $2000 tax credit for each child. Regardless of the taxable income, all taxpayers receive the same credit. Is this fair or logical? Should the lower income groups, in which the care of a dependent child is a greater percentage of available income and, therefore, a greater financial burden, receive more benefit? Tax credits are a correct approach, but shouldn’t they be inversely proportional to the income? As an example, a wage earner with dependent children, could receive a tax credit by the formula

N X K/I = TC

where N= number of dependents, K = Tax Credit for one dependent, I = income, and TC = Total tax credits.

As an example, if N=2, K= 80 (expressed in 000), and I = 40 (expressed in 000), then
TC = 4 or $4000.
If I = $100,000, then TC = $1600.

Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act managed to save all 2018 wage earners something in their taxes, the savings beg another question, “Were the benefits sufficient to warrant the Tax act?” Entering into the discussion is that the reduced taxes increased the federal deficit. Regarding the entire situation from a total perspective, we have the increased deficit essentially financing the tax cuts. Wage earners received a temporary loan from the government, which should be repaid one day by increased taxes. Should be, but not definitely – the deficit monotonically increases with no regard of ever reducing it.

The tax cuts could have been used to re-distribute the wealth – heavy tax cuts for low wage earners and no tax cuts for ultra-high wage earners. Why give those earning $200,000 another $5000 and low wage earners only another $1500? Shouldn’t it be the other way? Better yet, why not make tax cuts, budget neutral, and have low wage earners receive sizeable tax cuts and ultra-high wage earners pay more taxes to compensate for the revenue lost to the government planners..

Going further, why has the administration bothered to spend huge dollars for preparing, legislating, and managing new income tax policies that gave $6000 to people who already had after tax income of $160,000, and served to increase the federal deficit and support their largesse? Why did it not keep the same tax legislation and use the costs incurred for the new tax legislation together with the monetary benefits that occurred with the new legislation and use the total revenue to assist the least advantaged citizens of the American economy?

Conclusions

(1) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act mainly favored those using the standard deduction.

(2) From a proportional saving perspective, lower wage earners gained mostly from the Act

(3) The fact that the Act was not budget neutral, and increased the deficit, its effectiveness is definitely judgmental.

(4) A more meaningful and fair Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gives more decisive benefits to all low wage earners and serves to redistribute the wealth.

(5) Reappraisal of the income tax should have included a reappraisal of the worth of the standard deduction.

(6) The tax credits gave equal weight to all income levels, which does not seem fair or logical.

(7) The most debatable feature of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that it assumes that the function of income taxes is to regulate consumer purchasing power rather than provide adequate revenue for government programs.

Americans for Tax Reform and Grover Norquist take note: There is no evidence that income tax cuts pay for themselves or stimulate the economy. Until poverty is eliminated, tax cuts are meaningless if they only give more funds to those who already have adequate means to live.

Failure of Trump Tax Cuts

For President Donald J. Trump, there is only one goal in life – making money. Lowering taxes gives corporations and individuals more money; therefore, lower taxes must be beneficial. The constant self-serving references to his management of the economy are meaningless – examining President Trump’s essential thrusts for invigorating an already invigorated economy reveals contradictions in his Taxation Policies.

Reducing Income Taxes

President Trump signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law on December 22, 2017. His belief that reducing income tax rates automatically advances the economy is a shibboleth; a simple analysis exposes the fallacy.

Some economists find subjective reasons for why lower income tax rates benefit the economy. Objectively, income tax rates only determine the transfer of money between government and taxpayers. Neither direction, up or down, adds or subtracts money to the economic system nor allows more or less available spending to the economy; purchasing power stays the same, which means the total purchases of goods and services remain the same. One exception – unlike the consumer who cannot accumulate vast funds for sizable investments, the government can temporarily postpone consumer spending, aggregate billions of dollars, and channel these funds into huge projects that add to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

As one example, the government uses an accumulation of taxes to initiate construction projects. The suppliers to the projects hire workers, and the total wages paid the workers almost matches the taxes raised for the effort. Spending by the new wage earners ripples through the economy, and, in its final appearance, almost matches the reduced consumer spending of the taxed individuals. Consumer spending stays about the same, but money circulates through other channels. Employment, production (new constructions), and GDP increase — give one advantage to tax increases.

Individual workers and taxpayers benefit from tax cuts; however, stimulating the entire economy by income tax breaks is a psychological phenomenon. The exaggerations, promises, and optimism generated by tax breaks fashion a more optimistic public that incorrectly assumes they stimulate additional spending to already combined consumer and government spending. Creeping into the debate are other false assumptions — those who have excess funds will purchase domestic goods, invest, and stimulate growth. Not considered is that individuals might purchase imports, invest in speculative ventures that only churn money, and decrease available purchasing power in the domestic economy. The latter seems to have been one result from the tax cuts.

New York Times, March 6, 2018, “In Blow to Trump, America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion”.

Money from the tax cuts helped Americans buy more imported goods than ever in 2018. In addition, to finance the tax cuts, the government needed to borrow more dollars, some of which came from foreign investors.

If those who protest vociferously against the ever increasing government debt and its burden to future generations want to ameliorate their children’s problems, why don’t they pay their fair share of taxes now, which will lower the government debt and prevent higher taxes for their descendants in the future?

Overhauling Corporate Taxes

Granted that overhauling an antiquated corporate tax structure could be advantageous to the economy. However, is it necessary for an economy that, despite supposed elevated corporate taxes, achieved great success, which included low unemployment and high corporate profits? Why fix something that was not broken and had no indication of being disrupted? If lowering corporation tax rates promoted more exports and investment, then its value is apparent. Has that happened? Analysis, statistics, and several charts answer the question.

Corporations already paid less than 21% in taxes.

In 2012, among large corporations that met that $10 million in assets threshold, 42.3% paid no federal income taxes after tax credits. Among profitable large companies, 19.5% paid no federal income taxes. The average effective tax rate among the profitable large corporations was 16.1%, under federal tax treatment. Compared to the pretax net income these corporations showed in their annual reports the rate was 14%.

One prominent feature of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which should be factored into the assessment of the overhaul of the corporate tax structure, is the change from a global to a territorial tax system. Instead of corporations paying the difference between the U.S. tax rate and taxes already paid to the country where income was earned, each subsidiary now pays only taxes to the country in which it earns the income. Under new tax code Section 965, U.S. multinationals are required to pay a one-time “transition tax” on income accumulated overseas since 1986. The law treats the income as repatriated and imposes a 15.5 percent tax on cash or cash equivalents, and an 8 percent tax on illiquid assets, such as factories and equipment.

The amount of offshore cash corporations are bringing back to the U.S. dropped sharply for a second straight quarter, falling short of the trillions of dollars President Donald Trump had promised would result from his tax overhaul.

Companies repatriated $92.7 billion in the July-September period, the lowest amount this year and down almost 50 percent from the previous quarter, according to data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department. U.S. corporations repatriated $294.9 billion in the first three months of 2018 and $183.7 billion in the second quarter.

This provision of the “Tax Act” may be the only tax reform that stimulated the economy.

Assessing benefits of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” examines its effects on:

Corporate Profits

Observe corporation after tax profits (lower figure) during the last several years — companies had high profits, and sufficient funds for investment must have been available.

Compare after tax to before tax profits (upper figure with slightly different scale) and note the low tax rate on the profit. As examples,

Profits in 2014 reached $2320 billion and after tax profits were $1920 billion.

Tax Rate = $400b/$2320b = 17.2 percent.

Profits in 2015 were $2000 billion and after tax profits were $1640 billion.

Tax Rate = $360b/$2000b = 18.0 percent.

Profits at end of 2018 (after Tax Act) were $2220 billion and after tax profits were $1980 billion.

Tax Rate = $250b/$2230b = 10.8 percent.

Calculations verify that Tax Rates for most corporations were much below the previous 35% rate and, presently, are only about 6-7 percent below that of the previous average rate.

Another supposition is that, with increased after tax profits, corporations can improve competition from foreign sources by trading the profits for lower prices. How much can prices be lowered? Calculations, shown in the following table, demonstrate what products will cost for two different profit margins with reduction of the corporate tax from 35 percent to 20 percent, and if the corporation forfeited all of the profit increase by reducing its prices.

Price That Maintains After Tax Profit

Is the cutting of prices by 2.0% – 4.0% sufficient to make products more competitive? Unlikely! Advantage from the more realistic 6 percent tax cut makes it more unlikely.

How additional profits were used


Stock buybacks, increased dividends, and net domestic investment provide the answers.

Stock buybacks increased by $330 billion; dividends increased slightly.

Net Domestic Investment increased by $200 billion.

As shown before, the repatriated profits, less the 15.5% tax rate, amounted to about $424 billion in year 2108. The sum of additional usage of profits amounted to $530 billion in year 2018. Obviously, the repatriated profits played the major role in additional usage of profits, and tax cuts had little effect on profit usage.

Using repatriated profits to enrich stockholders might have merits – stockholders deserve benefits from their corporations and this benefit has an added significance. Unlike normal stock market trades, where money is exchanged and no new money enters the system, these stock buybacks took external funds and injected them into the domestic system, which increased the available money supply and purchasing power.

Trade Balance

It is difficult to assign a relation between tax cuts and Trade in Goods and Services. President Trump’s tariff policies add confusion to determining the causes for the trade deficit and how it was affected by tax cuts. Clearly, despite President Trump’s stress on improving it, the tax cuts did not reverse the trend, and the trade deficit increased by a large margin ($69b) in year 2018.

Foreign Competition

Exports, which had already been increasing, additionally increased, and imports, especially of goods, increased much more. Bottom line is that the corporate tax cuts cannot be shown to have improved competition with foreign sources.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The GDP grew at a more rapid rate during year 2018, up about $1160b compared to growth of $852b in year 2017, or an additional $300b in the rate of growth. The kicker is that Federal Government Spending (shown above), which added $110B to the GDP, coupled with the $200b increase in net domestic investment (cited previously) accounted for that added growth. The additional trade deficit of $69b (cited previously) subtracted from the GDP growth, but can be accounted for by a partial spending stimulus from the $330b stock buybacks due to the profit repatriation (cited previously). Sufficient evidence exists that other mechanisms than the tax cuts were responsible for the added growth to the GDP.

Government Deficit

According to Department of the Treasury reports, corporate tax receipts fell by 28 percent – from $223 billion in 2017 to $162 billion during the first nine months of fiscal year 2018. For that reason, as the following chart shows, the Federal Government deficit, which has increased in all of years of Trump’s presidency, increased by $114 billion. If $75b taxes had not been collected on the $500b of repatriated profits, the deficit would have increased by $189b. Because the defict increased, it can be argued that the deficit increase, caused by the tax cuts, stimulated the economy.

Conclusions

Evidently, corporations flush with repatriated profits, used these retained earnings for about $330 billion in stock buybacks and about $200 billion for additional investment. The repatriated profits also increased the money supply and GDP.

This indicates the tax cut are responsible for (1) increased after tax profits for already highly profitable corporations, (2) increased trade deficit, (3) about $80 billion loss (annualized) in government revenue, and (4) increased federal deficit to $114b. One more result – lowering of competition — corporations with large profits can use the funds to buy out and provide stiffer competition to corporations that have miniscule profits or losses.

President Trump’s corporate and income tax cuts enriched corporations, satisfied those already employed and flush with money, and did little to stimulate the national economy.

Note: Deciphering a multitude of economic statistics and using them to evaluate the effectiveness of tax cuts is a complicated task. It is believed that the statistics have been correctly applied and the results are credible. If not, rebuttals to lapses in argument and incorrect formulations, as well as advice to obtaining more precise numbers, are welcome

Necessity to Expose Israel’s Self-indictments in Gaza Protests

In May 2018 Gaza demonstrations, by its arrogant and aggressive stance toward legitimate demands of a people it has oppressed for decades, Israel indicted itself several times, validated Palestinian actions, and exposed its tyrannical manner. Translating Israel’s self-indictments to actions by the world community is an obligatory challenge for those who comprehend Israel’s oppressive policies.

One self-indictment

Israel’s effort to divert attention from its oppression by posing the protests as Hamas instigated and orchestrated. Kudos to an authority that coalesces a subjugated people and enables vocalization of legitimate demands to their oppressor. The Israeli government showed that Hamas is a well-organized authority, which has support of the Palestinian people, and by not engaging with this recognized authority, Israel deliberately closes all avenues to a peaceful resolution of the crises it has caused.

Regardless of who organized the demonstrations, the Gazans had legitimate demands to which any democratic government would respond with “we hear your words, and will make amends.” Israel replied with bullets, killing and wounding harmless demonstrators, causing more grief, and instilling more fear. Dubiously claiming that most of the casualties were Hamas militants is another self-indictment. Does Israel have the right to maim anyone it does not like?

History explains the demands of the Gazan Palestinians

Coastal territory awarded to the Palestinians in the United Nations Partition Plan extended to Ashdod, 38 kilometers above Gaza. Contrary to Israel’s claim of being attacked in the 1948 war, the Egyptian army tried to protect the Palestinian state and refrained from entering into territory awarded to the Jewish state. Egypt’s army stopped at Ashdod, crossed the Negev, proceeded to defend Beer Sheeva, which had also been awarded to a Palestinian state, and continued through Palestinian territory to safeguard Hebron. The Egyptian army did not try to occupy territory awarded to Ben Gurion’s government. Regard Al-Majdal, one of many towns in Palestinian territory, captured by Israel.

In August 1950, Israel expelled and trucked Al-Majdal’s 1000-2000 inhabitants to Gaza. According to Eyal Kafkafi (1998): “Segregation or integration of the Israeli Arabs – two concepts in Mapai.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 30: 347-367, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan promoted the expulsion, while Pinhas Lavon, secretary-general of the Histadrut, “wished to turn the town into a productive example of equal opportunity for the Arabs.” The Egyptian-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission ruling that the Arabs transferred from Al-Majdal should be returned to Israel was never fulfilled. Why?

The nightmares for the residents from the ethnically cleansed Palestinian Al-Majdahl, Beit Daras, Falujah, Isdud, Qastina, Hamameh, and other villages did not end with their arduous trips to Gaza; ethnic cleansing was an initial step before wholesale theft of property and valuables. Two hundred thousand Palestinians were pushed into Gaza to live in tents, sleep on ground, and exist from aid by Quaker organizations and wages from subservient labor. Internment in refugee camps, brutal occupation, military raids, destruction of facilities, destruction of crops and arable lands, prevention of fishing rights, denial of livelihood, and denial of access to the outside world continue to punish the Gazans without an end.

After the Oslo accords, Israel constructed a 60-kilometer fence around the Gaza Strip. Later, Israel destroyed Gaza’s only airport. After removing illegal Israeli settlers from Gaza, who were mainly there to give Israel an excuse for its military presence, infiltration by Israeli forces into Gaza continued. Several wars caused thousands of Palestinian casualties and immense infrastructure destruction. The lives of the surviving displaced and their descendants evolved from being wards of the United Nations to virtual imprisonment in an overly crowded environment.

Another self-indictment

Because Israel has no defined borders, and the land from which most Gazans originated was awarded to the Palestinian state in the 1947 Partition Plan that Israel accepted, the Palestinians would not be entering Israeli territory but their own legal lands.

Israel’s Supreme Court reinforces this proposition, and provides another self-indictment

Under Israeli law, Jews who can prove their families lived in East Jerusalem prior to 1948 can claim ownership rights to property.

One, of many examples ─ in 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Jewish person as owner of a house occupied by the Palestinian Shamasneh family for 50 years.

Tens of thousands of Gazans, who have legal deeds, did not flee but were forcibly removed from their homes. Under the deceptive Israel law that has denied Palestinians legal grievances, those who stole the homes are allowed tenant status, but do not the Palestinians still own the properties? When the court self-indicts itself, what is left for justice?

The casualties in Gaza 2018, reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 118 dead and 13,190 wounded as of May 25, 2018, should be remembered as heroes who protested against oppression, and for human rights, human dignity, and social justice. It will be tragic, as has happened too many times, if their struggle will become a footnote to history. Exposing the self-indictments of Israel shreds the fabric that cloaks oppressive Israel from an unknowing world.

Countering Israel’s Public Relations Deception

Military strength is one pillar of Israel’s strategy to incorporate all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and possibly beyond, into its territorial borders. Other pillars are a strong economy to finance the adventure and a worldwide deception plan that confuses those who aid Israel and, if they had all the facts, may object to Israel’s illegal tactics.  Because Israel devotes excessive resources in a worldwide plan of public relations and deception, its government must sense an importance to that battleground.

The economy is robust but vulnerable, depending upon satisfying imports, armaments exports, tourism, US military assistance, limited contributions from the Jewish community, and providing a social net to marginal communities. Not widely publicized is that, at 18.7%, Israel, other than Mexico, has the highest poverty rate of all nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and is number 46 in CATO Institute’s Human Freedom Index, just below Hungary and just above Albania. Israel is akin to an industry, whose growth once impeded will reverse its trend and rapidly fall, as the social unbalances contend with shrinking resources. Knowledge of the battlefields and recommendations for combating the plan of worldwide deception is essential to a strategy that leads to Israel’s economic and social decline and forces it to re-evaluate policies.

Those favoring Israel have extensive resources and organizations to sustain their efforts. Those favoring the Palestinians have limited resources, and, except for the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) effort have not been sufficiently organized to combat Israel’s deceptions. Yet, countering Israel’s deceptions may be the most vital part of a Palestinian strategic plan  unmasking the clever disguise Israel’s supporters have devised to delude the world from recognizing its true self. Bringing Israel to international scorn can cause its economic and social decline. The plan deserves exceptional attention.

Special relationship

Commentators go to great length to explain the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States, treating it as a unique affair, in which both benefit. This slogan is a hoax, which originated during World War II as a description of the relationship between embattled Great Britain and a still neutral United States. Somehow and somewhere, a clever someone adapted the World War II slogan, applied it to Israel, and managed to insert it in the everyday lexicon. Israel’s protectors use the deceptive expression “special relationship,” to deceive the nature of Israel in most West European capitals. Examples:

The Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for the Palestinian Territory 2012-2015, based on the policy directives as set out by the Netherlands government here:

The Netherlands maintain excellent relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a constructive partnership though our development cooperation programme, while the special relationship with Israel allows for political openings.

Press TV, Jan 30, 2014

The minister met with Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon in Berlin on Thursday. Ya’alon is on a two-day visit to Germany. “This is the first foreign guest I have the pleasure of welcoming here in my function as defense minister. It shows the special relationship between Germany and Israel,” the German defense minister stated.

Visegrad abroad, by Irena Kalhousová, 13. 4. 2012, Czech policy towards Israel. No Hypocritical Pacifism.

Some members of the EU were against the deepening of relations with Israel without the progress in the Peace Process. The Czech plan did not materialize, yet, the “special relationship” between the Czech Republic and the Jewish state remains strong.

Placing the words “special relationship” in government conversations, speeches, reports, articles, and documents so they become part of the everyday vocabulary of Europeans is a significant thrust of Israel’s public relations effort. The words seem harmless but they have a psychological impact. Parental relationship with children is special; parents warn but forgive children for their misdeeds, after all, they are special, which describes western nation relations with Israel. Constant warnings to Israel for its oppressive actions followed by a tacit forgiveness allow Israel to continue its despotic behavior.

The term “special relationship” is childish and manipulative. When the term is used, constant exposure of its nature will force people to re-evaluate their commitment to Israel. “Special relationship” should be replaced by “duplicitous relationship,” a term that more accurately describes any relationship with Israel.

Infiltration

Almost an estimated one million Israelis have left their nation, and live and work overseas. Most are immigrants who seek a different life. Among the immigrants is a cadre of weaponless soldiers, who behave benign, but within their ranks are propagandists, who seek to align foreign institutions in accord with Israel’s interests.

Because the Israeli propagandists work under the radar, the media does not capture their activities. Rather than pass on not entirely proven information and reassert some of the many known Israeli subversive operations, I prefer to describe my own experiences and those I definitely authenticate. These describe an Israeli propaganda machine that invades U.S. industry, public schools, universities, and institutions.

I have witnessed immigrants inviting fellow workers to their homes and lecturing them on why they should support Israel. I know of them going to synagogues and urging the Rabbis to place the Israeli flag next to the American flag. Contracts are given to Israeli organizations and company secrets are easily funneled to Israeli organizations.

In public schools, efforts are made to gain support for Israel by emphasis on the World War II Holocaust (nothing on the Nakba), and with events organized to attack Israel’s adversaries. I know of librarians gathering students in the library to choose general biographies to read, seven out of ten which are of personalities from the World War II Holocaust. One librarian showed her ignorance of the topic by referring to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg as a Nazi officer who helped the Jews. The World War II Holocaust has a vital place in history but treating it as a purposeful commodity demeans the lost lives.

The Free Darfur movement, accused of being allied with Israeli interests due to Israel’s enmity toward Sudan, organized public school demonstrations against Sudan for purported genocide. Local synagogues advertised the action. No demonstrations during the genocide in Rwanda, or the present one in Southern Sudan, or how about Palestine?

Everyday U.S. citizens act as research centers for Israel, accumulating social, political, and economic statistics on American industrial and commercial life and send it to Israel  unregistered foreign agents whose activities are illegal.

Some students and visiting professors from Israel arrive with more concerns than learning. I have seen them at university conferences countering Palestinian expressions of grievances with statements such as, “The West Bank roads that Israel is building are meant to serve Palestinians one day,” and then congregate after the meeting to discuss what they can do to counter the remarks made at the meeting. A visiting professor to St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, who was prevented from using his grant to teach Holocaust studies, sued the university for anti-Semitism and won his case. St. Cloud now has a Jewish Studies and Resources Center but no courses, only a document center.

Georgetown has a Center for Jewish Civilization (what is Jewish civilization?) that has one core course: INAF-199Introduction to Jewish Civilization. This course provides a foundation for the study of Jewish civilization and is required of all certificate and minor candidates, preferably upon entering the program.

However, the Center for Jewish Civilization has periodic meetings, open to the public whose topics have nothing to do with any Jewish civilization and have much to do with Israel. Some examples:

September 13, 2016
“Regional Cooperation and Cyber Security: Discussion with Israeli MK, Erel Margalit”

September 8, 2016
“The Netanyahu Premiership: A Retrospective”

November 30, 2017
“Holy Land, Holy See: The Hal Israel Endowed Lecture”

The Honorable Zion Evrony to the Vatican and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of America discussed his experiences as Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican and Israel’s relationship with the Vatican.

November 2, 2017
“Values and Interests: The United States, Israel, and the Arab World”

October 19, 2017
“The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973”

Most other talks are on the World War II Holocaust and anti-Semitism. No talks on Maimonides and other Jewish philosophers. No talks on past Jewish life in Spain, Tunisia, Iraq, and Europe.

Political, “think tank,” peace, and cultural organizations in Washington, D.C. are unusually populated with Israelis and Israel supporters. One route that I have noticed is where a person obtains credentials from an Israeli institute, is awarded a grant to visit the United states by a sketchy organization, eventually receives an invitation (by a friend) to lecture at a university and becomes recognized as an expert on the Middle East. This leads to a recommendation for a fellowship at a Middle East “think tank,” more recognition, and soon we have an artificially prepared “Middle East expert” who ingratiates with peace groups and tries to steer everyone, including those at the institutions and universities, to lessen aggressive attitudes toward Israel. Nothing too extreme, only a neutralization of activity.

During 2010, the FBI uncovered 10 unregistered Russian agents living in the U.S. as ordinary citizens, engaged in harmless activities, such as meeting people in high places in order to influence their attitudes and reporting American views on foreign and domestic affairs to Moscow. Multiply the number of discovered Russian agents by tens of thousands and you will have the number of Israeli expatriates in the U.S., many of whom take the opportunity to do the same for Israel, become U.S. citizens, and vote for Israel friendly candidates.

It all seems harmless and operates smoothly. However, considering the number of Israelis who have migrated to the U.S. and other western nations in the last decades the amount can form a massive propaganda organization that steers westerners to favor Israel. Estimates by the Israeli government ministries and the Los Angeles-based Israeli American Council, which represents Israelis across the United States and promotes their interests, have between 500,000 and 800,000 Israelis living in the U.S., about 150,000 live in the New York area, 120,000 in Los Angeles, and 80,000 in Miami.

What are the more important voting areas in the United States? New York, California and Florida are significant. Enough dual citizen and American-Israelis can shape the ballot in those regions, and may have in the disputed 2000 presidential election.

This immigration needs intensive investigation and a full report. Americans deserve protection from foreign influence. Anyone representing the interests of a foreign nation should be registered as a foreign agent. Those placing the interests of a foreign nation before their own should be exposed.

Israel‘s Global Influencers

Extend the most deceptive propaganda mechanism in history from AIPAC, ADL, CAMERA, and a multitude of acronym named Israel support organizations in the United States to the international scene.

A more complete description of this mechanism can be found here, where a report titled: The Israel lobby and the European Union, “researched and written by Public Interest Investigations and Spinwatch, and published by EuroPal Forum, seeks to explore a number of Israel lobby groups in the European Union, the power they wield and the dubious sources that fund them, while also uncovering the secretive transatlantic networks behind them. Perhaps the timeliest chapters in this report are the ones that deal with the issue of criminalising resistance and silencing dissent.”

A few examples will be mentioned.

In France, Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) gathers an assortment of groups dedicated to Israel. On example of their thrust and how they operate.

French Jewish group CRIF fined for defaming pro-Palestinian charity, April 8, 2014.

(JTA) – France’s largest Jewish organization defamed a pro-Palestinian charity by accusing it of financing Hamas, a French court ruled. The ruling against the CRIF umbrella group handed down by the Nancy Court of Cassation last month was first reported Sunday by the news site al-kanz.org. CRIF staff were ordered to pay the equivalent of $4,140 to the Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians, or CBSP – a group that CRIF researcher Marc Knobel in 2010 wrote “collects funds for Hamas.”

Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar (why him?) leads The Friends of Israel Initiative (FII), which defines its thrust as “countering the growing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders.”

A July 2014 working paper, Understanding the Issue of Israeli Settlements and Borders claims that:

…settlements have become an exaggerated issue in the diplomatic discourse over Israel. Settlement activity, like the construction of homes and schools, does not constitute a violation of Israel’s signed agreements with the Palestinians. The assertion that settlement activity is a violation of international law is not universally accepted, though it is frequently stated in UN debates and in the declarations of the European Union.

A July 2017 event featured this statement:

As goes Israel – so goes the United States of America and so goes Western civilization. And so many of our adversaries and enemies know that. That’s what we’re facing all across the Middle East and, truthfully, all across the world.

United Kingdom has almost as many pro-Israel organizations as there are Israelis. Three of them are:

Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), a parliamentary group affiliated with the Labor Party, which promotes support for a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel.

We run and promote campaigns to help create a lasting peace in the Middle East with Israel safe, secure and recognised within its borders; living alongside a democratic, independent Palestinian state.

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), a parliamentary group affiliated with the Conservative Party and dedicated to strengthening business, cultural and political ties between the United Kingdom and Israel.  CFI has given £377,994 to the Conservative party since 2004, mostly in the form of fully-funded trips to Israel for MPs, according to the Electoral Commission website. Directors of CFI have also given money directly to the Tory party.

Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) seeks to present Israel’s case to journalists.

Our Strategic Assessments provide expert analysis of the ever changing challenges to Israeli security. From sub-state actors and foreign states to domestic concerns, the strategic threats to Israel and the Middle East are explored in depth.

Russia, yes Russia, has formation of a new lobby.

Jerusalem Post, Pro-Israel caucus forming in Russian parliament, By GIL HOFFMAN, 05/25/2013

A select group of Russian parliament members will soon be urging their colleagues to say “da” to Israel after a delegation of Israelis took steps to initiate the formation of a pro-Israel caucus in the Duma in meetings last week in Moscow.

Digest all of this. Why the existence of this plethora of helpful groups for one small country that has a strong military and is economically well off? Do any equivalent assemblies of forces that promote a specific nation exist in the world?

The global influencers might cite glorious Israel as the principal motive for their operation, but it looks more like following the MONEY. They perform dutiful services and are rewarded — by salaries, campaign contributions, or by meeting the right people. Between the years 2010 to 2013, FII Inc. raised $5,778,135.

These pro-Israel groups, who proudly announce their agendas, should be exposed and criticized for their subterfuge, deceit, and aid and comfort to an Israel that seizes lands from others, oppresses a population, and commits crimes with the excuse of “security” need. How to combat them is not a simple matter; each incident is unique and requires a unique response. One problem is that they force responses to become as low as their efforts ─ charge them and they’ll discharge with the use of the anti-Semite epithet which leads to countercharges of racist, fascist and who knows what. It takes cool heads and careful consideration to respond wisely.

The trick is to expose them only to their audiences and not publicize their efforts to the public, a complex and doable effort  gather the probable names of their targets and target the information. This is not always contradictory information but real information — facts and logic that present an honest portrayal of events. In some cases, campaign contributions or grants may be the answer — fund raising and a huge war chest will be needed. For those who cherish social justice and preservation of the human race, support for a worthwhile cause is a pleasure.

Conclusion

Repetitions of the biblical David and Goliath story, the novel and film Exodus, and the moribund Kibbutz make it difficult to ascertain if Israel is a country or a public relations stunt. The many organizations that perpetuate the myths and influence parliamentary bodies to favor only Israel have no equivalents in the international scene. Evidently, they have a positive affect for Israel; why else would anyone be supporting Israel’s oppression and diabolical nature — the daily killings of Palestinians, land seizures, heartless evictions — and why would these organizations continue to operate and prosper? Number one on the agenda of those who recognize and oppose Israel’s nefarious activities is combating the deception, infiltration, and global army of pro-Israel groups.

Publicity is successful by shouting loud and often. It is more successful by shouting louder and more often. A slow shift to active support of the Palestinian cause by those who recognize they have multitudes who will protest with them, after being discouraged by deliberate attacks on them by pro-Israel deceitful practices, and an awakening from those who realize it is not moral (how about Christian) to be pro-oppression, will start a trend that soon cascades past an inflection point. Reaching the inflection point takes courage, money, and energy. Once reached, the billions of world’s people who are cognizant of the dangers Israel is to the world community, will place into motion the mechanisms for correcting Israel’s deceptive and harmful practices.

Legislators will find themselves opposed and begin to reverse themselves. Tourists will watch where their money goes and avoid Israel. BDS will advance and have an effect on Israel’s economy and its citizens. Israelis will begin to see themselves in a proper perspective and demand change. When no longer living in a society that lives and prospers by taking from others, Israelis will seek more favorable places.

Sell before the crash.

International Bodies Fail to Understand the Middle East Crisis

One sentence summarizes the Zionist expansion from an incursion to ultimate takeover of Palestinian lands – the Zionists act aggressively and the world bodies re-react passively. Institutions that defend the world community and protect regional interests have failed to understand the Middle East crisis, failed to recognize the dangers posed by the Zionist expansion, and have subverted their constituencies. These failures prevent formulation of an acceptable plan and a concentrated effort to resolve the perilous situation. Those who argue that the Middle East crisis is beyond comprehension and resolution are deceiving the world; proper thought leads to basic actions that can turn an impending catastrophe into a manageable situation.

International Bodies fail to recognize motives

Ardent discussions and symbolic votes that demonstrate support for international law and the justified Palestinian cause are meritorious. However, Israel uses the symbolic methods to show their ineffectiveness and contemptuously challenges them by doing the opposite of what they intend to accomplish. Although United States President Donald Trump declared his nation’s recognition of Jerusalem (not West) as Israel’s capital and intention to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the United Nations, European Union, and Arab League failed to digest the serious consequences of the intended move and responded with rhetoric rather than with a defined action plan that could definitely counter the egregious act. The U.S. president fulfilled a campaign pledge to his Religious Right constituency, which is determined to help move the huge granite stones that rest comfortably on the top of Midbar Sinai Street, in Givat Havatzim, Jerusalem’s northernmost district, to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. Cut to specification, the imposing stones represent one of several preparations by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement to erect a Third Temple on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. Receiving approval that Jerusalem is its capital gives Israel an introduction to declare that to administer its capital it must have total legal control over all municipalities, including all neighborhoods of the Old City, which includes the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

International bodies fail to recognize why twisting reality poses risks

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complemented President Trump’s ego-tripping prevarications, his attitude of attacking all those who contradict him, and his doing it in a manner that is associated with mania. In a remark to official institutions that “Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3000 years and the present state of Israel for 70 years,” PM Netanyahu portrayed similar characteristics to those of President Trump.

Were Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Caliphates, Crusaders, Mamluks, and Ottomans aware of this “capital” during their combined rule of Jerusalem, which lasted almost three thousand years? More baffling is that the Prime Minister of a nation that calls itself the “Jewish State,” does not know that Jerusalem lay in an area called Judah and not Israel. Should not Netanyahu forfeit leadership for his inept statement?

Combine the psychological difficulties of the President of the United States with those of the leader of a nation that is closely allied with the United States and we have nations that have been culpable in immense crimes and killings in the last decades working together and determining the destiny for many of us.

International Bodies fail to recognize the ominous trajectories

The Zionist proposal at the 1919 Paris peace Conference defined intentions. Although, the proposal mentioned that “Palestine is not large enough to contain more than a proportion of the Jews of the world” and “The greater part of the fourteen millions or more scattered throughout all countries must remain in their present localities,” it has become obvious that the Zionists did not intend to follow their statements. Compound that deception with their description of the “General lines for the boundaries of Palestine,” shown as dotted lines on the map. Note their Greater Israel extends close to Beirut in Lebanon, Damascus in Syria, and Amman in Jordan. The boundary captures all the aquifers and facilitates use of the Hedjaz railway.

Continue to the 1948 war, when, contrary to the over-expressed statement that the Egyptians, together with other Arab armies, intended to “throw the Israelis into the sea,” the Arab forces did not have the military strength to accomplish the task. Egyptian troop movements indicate a defense of the new Palestinian state rather than intent to occupy the new Israeli state. The reality is that the Israelis figuratively threw the Palestinians “into the sea,” or at least into refugee camps, by being complicit in the leaving and expulsion of 750,000 of the 900,000 Palestinians who inhabited the British Mandate, and by barring them a return to the lands and homes their families had possessed for centuries. Already, in 1948, it had become obvious that the Zionists intended to achieve their objectives, and that two states were not included in their agenda.

It is no coincidence that Israel invaded and occupied the Sinai in 1956 before French and British coordinated attacks against Nasser’s Egypt. Rarely mentioned is a controversial meeting, known as the Protocol of Sèvres,1956, and reported in Anatomy of a War Plot1, which describes Israel Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s proposed plan to Great Britain and France, and executes the Zionist proposals. Although the meeting records are not available in French and British government archives, the meeting occurrence and parts of Ben Gurion’s plan are confirmed in Shimon Peres: the Biography by Michael Bar-Zohar.

The session started at 4 p.m. on Monday, 22 October, in the conservatory of the villa and it was intended to enable the leaders of the two countries to get to know each other and to have a preliminary discussion. Ben-Gurion opened the discussion by listing his military, political and moral considerations against ‘the English plan’. His main objection was that Israel would be branded as the aggressor while Britain and France would pose as peace-makers but he was also exceedingly apprehensive about exposing Israeli cities to attack by the Egyptian Air Force. Instead he presented a comprehensive plan, which he himself called ‘fantastic’, for the reorganization of the Middle East. Jordan, he observed, was not viable as an independent state and should therefore be divided. Iraq would get the East Bank in return for a promise to settle the Palestinian refugees there and to make peace with Israel while the West Bank would be attached to Israel as a semi-autonomous region. Lebanon suffered from having a large Muslim population which was concentrated in the south. The problem could be solved by Israel’s expansion up to the Litani River, thereby helping to turn Lebanon into a more compact Christian state. The Suez Canal area should be given an international status while the Straits of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba should come under Israeli control to ensure freedom of navigation. A prior condition for realizing this plan was the elimination of Nasser and the replacement of his regime with a pro-Western government which would also be prepared to make peace with Israel.

At the start of the 1967 war, Israel claimed that Arab armies had prepared an attack, which forced the nation to initiate the offensive. After the war, Moishe Dayan has been quoted as saying, “at least 80 percent of two decades of border clashes were initiated by Israel. We would send a tractor to plow some (disputed) area…and we knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was.” Other disguised offensive actions.

As early as 1964, Israel diverted the headwaiters of the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to Israel’s South. Syria responded by building its own diversions in the Golan. The Israel forces attacked these facilities on several occasions.

On April 26, 1967, two months before the start of the 6-day war, Israeli jets shot down 6 Syrian planes over Syrian territory in the Golan Heights. Later that day Israeli jets flew over Damascus.

Israel bombed all Egyptian airfields and destroyed the Egyptian air force before any declaration of war.

Although Israel accused Egypt of preparing for an immediate attack, no Egyptian soldier set foot on Israeli territory.

Israel captured and occupied the entire Sinai.

Israel continued attacks in the Golan after a preliminary truce had been declared and did not stop the attacks until the entire Golan had been captured.

As in previous engagements, Israel fought a defensive war in an offensive manner and seized large amounts of territory. The war created another flood of Palestinian refugees, a total of 300,000 fled the West Bank and Gaza, of which 180,000 were first time refugees; the others were from previous actions. One clue to the reason for the war – Illegal settlements under direction of the Labor government quickly followed the occupation of the West Bank.

Several wars later, Israel occupies and has virtual control of much of British Mandate Palestine, including Jerusalem. Gaza remains a Palestinian territory but under constant surveillance, restriction in actions and movement, and subjected to intermittent attacks by Israel. Most of Israel’s adversaries have been subdued by war, internal strife, or agreements. Despite the violence, and after all the mayhem, Israel is not a defined state — no fully defined borders, no constitution, no Israeli nationality (based on ethnicity), sketchy laws, an unrecognized capital city (except for U.S.), failure to respect UN resolutions, severe human rights violations, chaotic political system, biased immigration policy, committing a great number of extra-judicial killings that violate sovereignty of other nations, and a large number of citizens living outside the country — and evidently, Israeli officials prefer the nation to remain that way.

The Zionists have temporarily compromised their original territorial demands but still remain in the position of wherever they go they will encounter a potential enemy, even at the Jordan River. Looking back in history at similar situations, more pronounced than Israel’s situation but still comparable, we find the following:

The United States could not expand without encountering antagonistic Native American tribes, Mexican landholders and Canadian nationalists. The former was virtually eliminated and the others subdued until the only contestants were the two oceans. No problem.

France, under Napoleon, met enemies at every doorstep until it ran out of soldiers and ammunition in Russia. Major problem.

Nazi Germany succeeded in vanquishing possible enemies in Germany’s northern and southern frontiers, succeeded in pushing France into the Atlantic Ocean, but still faced another enemy on the eastern front. As Napoleon, Hitler lost that war.

Similar to Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany, Israel has and will always face enemies, and the last to stand — Iran, Shia militias in a revitalized Iraq, Turkey, and Hezbollah — seem willing to fight aggressively, unlike those who previously contested Israel. These foes might be temporarily contained, but Israel cannot subdue them forever. Imagine all of these nations, together with the militias that emerged during the latest Iraq and Syrian conflicts, confronting Israel. Will the major powers enter the conflict in a manner that occurred in World War I? When faced with defeat, will Israel exercise the Sampson option? Assuredly, without any doubt, it will, and a nuclear holocaust will destroy the Middle East.

Unrestrained warfare is one of the ominous trajectories that International Bodies fail to recognize. There are others.

With continued seizure of Palestinian lands, expanded settlement activity, and purposed denial of the Palestinians to agriculture, water rights, fishing rights, livelihood, and employment, Israel’s actions forecast the destruction of the Palestinian people. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and planned interference debilitates Palestinian communication, transportation, assembly and governance. Its willingness to intensify Palestinian pain and suffering, especially in Gaza, provides only one direction – more of the same – more generations who are denied basic rights, more generations who are subjected to subsistence living, and more generations who endure intense suffering. Israel has shown no sympathy with the Palestinian plight, and the international community has done nothing to reverse the negative trend. The severe Israeli repression assures that the Palestinians lack what they most need – ontological security – a stable mental state derived from a sense of continuity in regard to the events in one’s life. Because the absence of ontological security accelerates deterioration of the Palestinian community, the trajectory points to Israel propelling the destruction of Palestinian life to an eventual outcome, a genocide that few will notice; it is not a genocide until the vicious act is completed.

The ISIS Caliphate has been defeated and reduced, but what is not reduced are two causes of international terrorism — support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and Israel’s conflict with the Muslim world in Jerusalem. Osama bin-Laden clarified those positions in an interview with CBS reporter Joel Arak, October 30, 2004, who related that bin-Laden said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital. “While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women.” Actions that provoke extremists increase their motives for international terrorism, and more terrorism follows. Until these situations are satisfactorily resolved, one driver of international terrorism will remain and create innocent victims for decades.

The trajectories to war, community destruction, terrorism, and devastation are clearly marked. Nevertheless, the world and regional institutions that have the power to prevent the gloom and doom react with a combination of confusion and complacency, which hastens the ultimate to occur. Time has become essential; ponderous steps by the world community to redo fall behind Israel’s rapid measures of doing. Much can be done but not without consideration to the mechanisms that prevent complete understanding of the crisis, which is sadly lacking, and how these mechanisms thwart capable minds from engineering capable solutions. Israel’s deceptive practices that confuse the issues, dupe the public, and muzzle attempts to resolve the Middle East crisis are the principal ingredients that give it clout and voice much above its fighting weight. Never in history have so many been fooled by an extensive, calculated, and ingenious plan to subvert minds and rearrange positions. Exposing the deceptions, delivering the antidotes to render them harmless, and stifling them are the first and necessary steps before turning an impending catastrophe into a manageable situation.

  1. Avi Shlaim International Affairs, 73:3 (1997), pp.509-530.

Palestine Museum of Natural History

In most museums, the name identifies the thrust. The recently opened Palestine Museum of Natural History, located within the Bethlehem university campus in Palestine, is more than its collections and its name; it is testimony to the spirit, vision, and courage of the Palestinian people, to their need for ontological security, a sense of order and continuity in their experiences, and hopes for their future. Their museum clarifies decades of struggle – it demonstrates who cherishes the land, who deserves the land, who owns the land.

The Zionists entered the Levant with the spurious and historically contradictory notion they were heirs to a land and heritage left by ancient ancestors. Posing as redeemers of the vanquished, they became destroyers of the survivors. Debased are the memories of the Naturfian culture (10,500–8500 BC), which established the first sedentary settlements, of their offshoots that pioneered the first permanent settlement on the site of Jericho developed near the Ein es-Sultan spring between 9,500 and 9000 B.C.; of  the Canaanites, most responsible for origins of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, which led to development of the Greek, Roman and Latin languages, and of the Phoenicians who sailed the Mediterranean Sea and helped populate what eventually became Greece, Rome and Carthage.  By wanton destruction of almost 500 Palestinian villages, and creation of hilltop communities that duplicate, in appearance, similar communities in Arizona and California, the Zionists transported modern foreign life to ancient soil and destroyed the footprints of past life. The accompanying figure is one of many examples of the deliberate destruction of an ancient landscape and its unnecessary transformation to an artificial suburban settlement.

Originally a forest in the West bank (upper part), the Israel government followed Ariel Sharon’s dictate to seize the hills, designated this forest as parkland, later chartered it as residential (lower part), and then permitted settlers to build a settlement. By defiling the earth of their unproven ancestors, by destroying an estimated million of olive and fruit trees, which includes hundreds of year old and precious olive trees, and by changing the character of an ancient land, the Zionists demonstrated lack of sincerity in their mission and lack of attachment to that land. Rather than exalting and maintaining the lands of the Bible, the Zionists inflicted environmental terrorism on a land where man first tamed nature.

Urban settlements, military encampments, and networks of roads have threatened the survival of wildlife – mountain goats, bats, hyrax, jackals, and endangered plant life. The Gazelle (Al-Ghazzal): The Palestinian Biological Bulletin  summarizes the threats to mammals in Palestine.

Critically Endangered:

*Mediterranean Monk Seal

Endangered:

Arabian Oryx
Buxton’s Jird (Endemic to Palestine.)
Mt. Hermon Field Mouse (Endemic to Golan Heights.)
Nubian Ibex

Vulnerable:

Allenby’s Gerbil (Endemic to Palestine.)
Asiatic Wild Ass (Re-introduced populations.)
Barbary Sheep
Dorcas Gazelle
Dugong
Eurasian Otter
Geoffroy’s Bat
Lesser Horseshoe
Long-fingered Bat
Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat
Mehely’s Horseshoe Bat

An article, Plant Biodiversity in the Palestinian Territory by Mrs. Roubina Basous Ghattas, “This Week in Palestine”, February 2008 describes the decline of plant species.

… plant genetic resources of PT (Palestine Territories) have been declining constantly over the years  Habitat destruction comes from a broad range of sources that include unplanned urban expansion; overgrazing; over-exploitation; deforestation and unplanned forestry activities; desertification and drought; invasive alien species; and pollution and contaminants, in addition to the political status, which includes the division of Palestinian accessible areas, land confiscation, and fragmentation of habitats mainly as a result of the Segregation Wall. These factors all serve to affect genetic exchange and, as a result, will weaken species composition in the future, thus precipitating the loss of this valuable heritage.

Of the surveyed 2,076 plant species that grow in the West Bank and Gaza, 636 are listed as endangered, of which 90 species are very rare. In addition, such pressure on the integrity of ecosystems and stability of natural resources increases the risk of losing the livelihood as well as the historical, cultural, environmental, and economic value of Palestinian biodiversity, despite the fact that these costs are difficult to quantify, or may indeed be immeasurable and irreplaceable.

Israel boasts of greatly increasing the forests and trees in the area but neglects to relate that the Jewish National Fund planted many trees in order to cover destroyed Palestinian villages, cemeteries, and culture. The Palestinians have shown strong attachment to their ancient lands, deep love for each leaf, each tree, each fruit, and each blossom. They have proven they deserve and must continue to own their land.

The efforts of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity Research and its Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH) reflect the conclusion of Plant Biodiversity in the Palestinian Territory, by Mrs. Roubina Basous Ghattas, “This Week in Palestine”, February 2008:

… continued pressures on the Palestinian indigenous plants will inevitably impair the rights of future generations if sustainable utilization measures are not implemented. As a long-term research endeavour, it is necessary to increase Palestinian knowledge concerning how human and natural systems interact; whereas in the short run, approaches for monitoring and forecasting human impacts on Palestinian ecosystems must be developed. Criteria and indicators for social, economic, and biological components of plant ecosystems are the core of current sustainability initiatives.

The museum’s charter states it “will work to research, educate about, and conserve our natural world, culture, and heritage and use knowledge to promote responsible human interactions with our environment,” Currently housing over 6000 specimens of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, thousands of photographs and other documentary material relating to fauna, flora, and humans in Palestine, a library (both physical and a much larger digital library) of thousands of books and papers relating to their work, the Palestine Museum of Natural History gives testimony to the Palestinian’s present attachment to the land and the vision they have for its future. View its inauguration here.

Just a baby, having been born in April 2007 after 3 years of gestation, the museum, similar to all museums, needs resources to continue its efforts and expand them. Contributions to enable these resources are not just for a museum, but for preservation of plant and animal life in Palestine and for giving life, cultural expression, and identity to the Palestinian community; an important endeavor for those who recognize the oppression and social injustice inflicted upon the Palestinians. Donations can be made here.

Please make sure the donation is designated for the Palestine Museum of Natural History.

Note: The Palestine Museum of Natural History should not be confused with the proposed DC based Museum of the Palestinian People.