“They cannot make peace with thirsty people.” — Fadel Kaawash of the Palestinian Water Authority, as quoted in Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water.
From the Madison Rafah Journal in 2007:
Israeli Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor denied that the Israeli water company Mekorot, which supplies water to the PWA, was either cutting off or decreasing water supply to the Palestinians.Schor told the Middle East Times, “Israel is actually supplying the PWA with more water than was agreed to in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement signed in Washington in 1995 and how the PWA chooses to distribute the water is up to them.”
At present the Palestinians get approximately 40 million cubic meters from Israel and the same amount annually from wells and springs in the West Bank, according to Kaawash.
“The consumption rate in the West Bank is less than 50 liters per capita per day in 90 percent of communities connected to networks,” said Kaawash. “The situation in Gaza is even more dire.”
According to the World Health Organization the minimum requirement for domestic consumption is 100 liters per capita per day.
Kaawash said the daily consumption of Israelis is between 300-400 liters, a figure backed by Israeli geography professor, Moshe Inbal. The average in London and other Western capitals is about 200 liters.
“The Palestinians are obviously not getting their fair share,” said Rima Abu Middan, the Natural Capital team leader from the U.N. Development Program in Jerusalem. “The amount being supplied is inadequate and the Israelis should be obliged to supply more.”
Approximately 85 percent of the West Bank’s water resources are appropriated by the Israelis, the Palestinians get the remaining 15 percent and much of this they have to purchase from Mekorot.
Under international law and according to various U.N. Security Council resolutions the West Bank and its resources belong to the Palestinians so they should not have to be either sharing the water with or purchasing it from Israel.
This is not a story for mainstream media consumption in the United States. Water and other fundamental issues which naturally precede the ideal of “peace” have been removed from the context of the discussion. Americans, largely the direct descendants or “racial benefactors” of a people who seized land by force are only going to have so much sympathy for a defenseless group of people in some far away desert. Frankly, were it not for wide-spread anti-Semitism, American Jews and Israelis would curry much more favor by acting as an aggrieved party of settler colonial whites. It worked for the South Africans and the Rhodesians. As it stands, the American public is only periodically sympathetic to Israelis or Palestinians. In a nation that vacillates between fascination with Charlie Sheen and the latest comic book character turned feature film star, chronic political fatigue best defines our “posture” on the Middle East.
Americans want the problem to just go away. It won’t go away. The root of the problem isn’t merely about the “ethnicity” of the participants. Underneath all of this tension is a willingness of one of these parties to strip the other side of the barest of necessities, water, and lie about it — with a straight face. Good luck at that bargaining table.
“I am offended. I am outraged. This is just outrageous and offensive. Well, I never.”
It’s the oldest trick in the book and it is best used when the outraged person has insufficient funds to pay a bar tab or a militaristic nation state has insufficient moral credit to defend ruthless murder. In both cases, the best dupe of all is that room full of partially inebriated patrons who weren’t actually watching you spill your own drink in your lap or looking at you put that fly in your beer. Free drinks on the house. “Sanction-free murders of Palestinians on the house! No charge Bibi. Fire away!!”
Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas made news recently for opting to resign over facing the wrath. While I do derive some pleasure from seeing the white supremacists over at Hearst Publications gave to the outcry of a deficit moral spender, I can’t help laughing out loud at the feigned offense of people who believe in the legitimacy of the gun-toting Israelis. And to think, all this drama on the anniversary of the day US foreign policy swallowed Israel’s testicular fortitude hook, line and sinker (as in the USS Liberty — sinking to the bottom of the sea.) Political bondage is a bitch. And now, the press wants America to think Helen Thomas is an anti-Semitic bitch.
What’s really wrong with going home to Poland and Germany — if that’s where you’re from? For the handful of folks who might have a plausible case for claiming an indigenous root, passes might be in order. However, for the rest of these European transplants, the jig should be up. It’s time to go home and shoot innocent Polish and German children for a few decades.
Helen knows the way home.
According to Haeretz, at least one international leader believes this to be the case. Read on:
“Why do we have to hold President Bashir or the Sudanese government responsible when the Darfur problem was caused by outside parties, and Tel Aviv [Israel], for example, is behind the Darfur crisis?”
Gaddafi suggested without presenting any evidence that the Israeli military was among those stoking the conflict:
“It is not a secret. We have found evidence proving clearly that foreign forces are behind the Darfur problem and are fanning its fire,” Gaddafi said, according to the Libyan state news agency Jana.
This wouldn’t be the first time something of this nature was staged by the Israelis (either alone or in coordination with an ally).
At first glance, the contrast in green and white could be replicated in black, brown and red on maps of South Africa, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. The representations here are dramatic – if not unique. I wonder how public debate on this topic – and many others would change if people, especially youth, were familiar with these images, and the number behind the images.
“This land was your land. This land is my land.”
Press Release from TransAfrica Forum.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joia Jefferson Nuri
Office 202.223.1960 ext 131; Cell 240.603.7905
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
“President Bush’s call to create an Africa Command is a dangerous step towards the further militarization of the continent. This is a tangible step towards hazardously and formally extending his ‘war on terror’ to the continent of Africa.”
—Nicole Lee, Executive Director, TransAfrica Forum
TransAfrica Forum, the nation’s oldest African-American organization which focuses on US foreign policy in Africa, denounces President George W. Bush’s decision to create an Africa Command (Africom) on the continent by September 2008.
The US government perceives the continent of Africa as increasingly important for defense and military interests. By 2008, the Bush budget calls for a new Africa Command to be developed to oversee “security and defense support to non-military missions and, if directed, military operations on the African continent.”
While the Bush administration claims this development will build partnerships with African governments that will lead to “greater peace and security to the people of Africa” nothing could be further from the truth. This newest incursion follows a pattern of extraction of minerals and aiding factions in some of Africa’s most bloody conflicts: thus further destabilizing the continent. This operation will strengthen the US military’s presence in the Gulf of Guinea, to aid oil extraction processes and will work to further militarize the Horn of Africa in support of the administration’s “war on terror”. US troops are already on the Horn of Africa carrying out operations within Somalia and on its border with Kenya.
“This is a very serious moment. This new Bush plan is an expansion of a policy that has brought destruction and terror to the peoples of the Middle East. Any plans to set up a command in Africa should be met with harsh criticism and decisive action by people of good will. This is nothing short of a sovereignty and resource grab,” says Nicole Lee, TransAfrica’s Executive Director. “There are many opportunities for the administration to provide support and cooperation to the peoples of Africa. Trade rules that are fair and just, development assistance and respect for sovereignty are important benchmarks for a good relationship. Expanding the US military onto the continent is neither wise nor productive.”
Nicole Lee is available for interviews. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Joia Jefferson Nuri, office 202.223.1960 ext 131; cell 240.603.7905; firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in 2007 by TransAfrica Forum, 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC, 20006. 202.223.1960 (ph); 202.223.1966 (fax); email@example.com; www.transafricaforum.org. February 2007 by TransAfrica Forum. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007
Don’t be surprised if dead Kurds are used as a pretext for war in about 8 months. I figure, right about the time that the stock market begins it annual October slide, the national media will uncover a story of atrocities against Kurds – which they will have been investigating for “6-8 months.”Full transcript of the interview is on Democracy Now! website
to celebrate what is sure to be a short-lived cease fire…
“These doomsday warriors look no more like soldiers than the soldiers of the Second World War looked like conquistadors. The more expert they become, the more they look like lab assistants at a small college.” – Alistair Cooke.
I was doing some reading this afternoon and decided to search online for human rights violations in Cuba. There was so much information online, it was difficult to find a starting point. It occurred to me to check out Freedom House. I suppose I am that moth who flew too close to the propaganda flames. “Singed a bit, were you?!?” (Cary Elwes to Robin Wright, after crossing the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride). Freedom House is often quoted as a source of non-partisan information about the status of political, media and other freedoms in states across the world.
The website offers this historical perspective: “Freedom House is a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world. Founded over 60 years ago by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and other Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy, Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and the far right.”
The website offers detailed reports on every nation and even a series of annual Freedom Maps. Of particular interest to me, however, was the manner in which this non-partisan group dealt with nations like the US, Cuba, Israel and South Africa over time. Lucky for me, Freedom House also has an Excel Spreadsheet with the various freedom ratings for every country since 1972. It seems, “For 1972, South Africa was rated as “White” (2,3 Free) and “Black” (5,6 Not Free).”
Two things here. The racist audacity of printing two ratings for a single country is astounding – even for white folks with presidential connections. I believe Snoop Dogg and the Eastsidaz refer to this as Balls of Steel (audio file – Amazon sample). For Freedom House, there appeared to be two legitimate South Africas. Second: oddly enough, the United States with its COINTELPRO activities, hard core residential and labor discrimination, redlining, property tax biases in public education and disparate incarceration rates received a single rating atop the scales as the most free regime in the world.
In 2005, Israel and the Israel Occupied Territories received separate ratings. Not much has changed at Freedom House in 30 years. Oh, and by the way, Cuba – the regime that sent troops into Angola and beat back the South African army in defense of freedom for black folk received the lowest grades possible – a “7.” At no time since 1972 did South Africa ever receive such a grade. Cuba is certainly not a nation which tolerates dissent; nonetheless, given the volume and scale of US efforts to overthrow Castro and restore the nation to the machinations of a new Batista, this repression has a context. How many dalliances with big business and the mafia can a poor island withstand? As it stands, the greatest criticisms of Cuba today have as much to do with the US constant efforts to usurp the existing regime (and its embargo) as anything else. Political repression and poverty are likely outcomes of resisting Goliath without a slingshot.
Freedom House provides an outstanding platform for moderates and others to engage in propaganda while purporting neutrality. Sometimes, getting clear about someone’s real agenda only requires a little glimpse into their history. Thirty years ago, Freedom House saw fit to affirm the freedom of whites in South Africa and endorse the essence of apartheid by issuing separate ratings for this nation. Today, it does the same thing in Israel. Not much has changed.
I remember when Libya’s President Maomar Khaddafi offered to seed the Nation of Islam with about $1 billion. The plan was thwarted by the State Department and groups like the ADL. However, the State Department believes in the right of nation states to fund and send weapons to groups within other sovereign nations. Sometimes, it is obvious that the only thing that matters is who has the mic, and not what they say.
I suppose the State Department isn’t all bad. Check this out regarding societal attitudes in Jamaica:
“The country has a well-established tradition of religious tolerance and diversity. Relations among the various religious communities are generally amicable. However, members of the Rastafarian community reported isolated incidents of discrimination against them in schools and the workplace.
On March 23, 2002, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the U.S.-based Nation of Islam, attended a service in the country’s only Jewish synagogue, Shaare Shalom, in Kingston. It was the first time the 90-year-old house of worship had hosted a Muslim leader. He met with leaders of the local Jewish community in an attempt to repair strained relations. Farrakhan presented the synagogue president with a Koran. On May 3, 2002, synagogue leaders paid a return visit, attending prayer services with the local Nation of Islam representative at the Muhammad Mosque Jamaica in Kingston.”
I wonder what a righteous man would do with $1 billion. I don’t mean to suggest that President Khaddafi, Minister Farrakhan or Abe Foxman are righteous, or otherwise. Still, I wonder.