MintPress News

MintPress News
6 Dec 2023 | 6:10 pm

1. Immortal Technique on Gaza, the Hip-Hop Industry and More

It is now two months since Hamas' surprise attack and Israel's brutal response, and there are few signs that the slaughter will let up any time soon. The violence has captured the world's attention and become the top story across the globe.

Unsurprisingly, then, the entertainment world has taken sides too. In the wake of the October 7 assault, more than 700 celebrities signed an open letter pledging support to the government of Israel. On the other hand, the hip-hop community has displayed solidarity with Gaza, with over 600 artists joining the Musicians for Palestine movement.

Joining MintCast host Alan MacLeod today to talk about Gaza and the music industry is Immortal Technique. Immortal Technique is an independent rapper and activist widely regarded as one of his generation's most respected and gifted artists. He has used his platforms on social media to constantly speak out about the situation and educate his huge audience about colonialism, capitalism and imperialism. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Immortal Technique was keen to see the violence in Gaza as part of a bigger picture. "It is a continuation of the political aspirations of not just the United States, but [also] NATO," he said. Israel has, for many decades, served as the United States' local cop on the beat, an extension of the U.S. empire, hence the unwavering support in Washington D.C.

"There are some beliefs among revolutionaries and the left that need to be challenged," the Peruvian-born MC told MacLeod today. One of them is the anti-Semitic trope that Israel pulls the strings in the U.S. "In reality," he said, "it is the United States of America that is pulling all the strings for Israel. The United States uses the government of Israel to do the types of things that it cannot do."

In 1981, for example, the United States got Israel to destroy an Iraqi nuclear reactor. Israel has also surreptitiously aided the apartheid government of South Africa and supplied weapons to the fascist Chilean dictatorship when it was too politically difficult for the U.S. to do so.

Ultimately, though, Immortal Technique argued that Washington is not making ordinary Israelis safer. "The United States cannot really protect Israel; it can only sell them weapons to brutalize their neighbors," he said.

The pair also discussed the huge pressures on artists in the entertainment industry to toe the line on Israel/Palestine and the penalties that occur if they speak out.

Luckily for Immortal Technique, his unique status as an independent musician with no corporate bosses means he can speak freely. Steering clear of major record labels could be an option worth exploring for many in the business, he told MacLeod, stressing that signing to a major label means signing a lot of your life away. As he explained:

If you take the stairs and you fall down, you only fall down a flight. But if you take the elevator and the cable snaps, you are going to the bottom, motherfucker. You hear me? And that's the difference between independence and being in the mainstream."

The New York-based rapper explained further:

I have my own fan base. If I fall down the stairs, I'm falling, maybe a flight, and I can dust myself off. But if I am on a major label so I could make my career, I would have taken an elevator all the way up, and the moment I didn't say anything, they would have clipped the cord, and I would have fallen all the way back down [to the bottom]."

Don't miss today's unique episode, and remember to subscribe.

"MintPress News" is a fiercely independent media company. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and subscribing to our social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Subscribe to MintCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and SoundCloud.

Also, be sure to check out rapper Lowkey's video interview/podcast series, The Watchdog.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post Immortal Technique on Gaza, the Hip-Hop Industry and More appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
6 Dec 2023 | 4:42 pm

2. Just Like 9/11? Suspicious Israeli Stock Market Activity Hints at Foreknowledge of October 7 Attack

A new academic study has made a shocking and highly controversial finding. Suspicious Israeli stock market activity in the days preceding Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7 indicates that a particular party had foreknowledge of the impending attack and used that information to directly profit from the panic that ensued.

The paper, authored by Robert J. Jackson Jr. of  New York University School of Law and Joshua Mitts of New York University School of Law, concludes that based on a "significant spike" in short selling of listed Israeli companies, persons unknown were aware of the operation was impending, and sought to profit illicitly. Short selling – or shorting – allows traders to bet a stock will perform poorly and reap rewards if they're correct.

Shorting is a relatively rare practice compared to traditional trading and with good reason. Losses can be vast if forecast poor performance doesn't materialize, and many investment advisors warn against engaging in the practice under any circumstances. Strikingly though, the academics found shorting of Israeli companies in days immediately before October 7 "far exceeded short selling that occurred during numerous other periods of crisis, including the recession following the financial crisis, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, and the COVID-19 pandemic."

The pair argue this activity may reflect attempts by Hamas operatives to profit from, if not outright finance, their forthcoming attack, an allegation eagerly taken up by Hebrew newspaper Haaretz. Meanwhile, Israeli finance rag Globes attacked the study, claiming "huge errors" by its authors in overestimating the profits of individuals who shorted Israeli stocks. The pair mistakenly quoted returns in agorot, a denomination of Israeli currency, as shekels – in pennies as dollars in U.S. terms – leading them to inflate investor returns by a magnitude of 100.

Yet, the outlet acknowledged a "consistent rise in short trading balances on [Israeli] shares prior to the outbreak of the war." Moreover, the Israeli government has taken the paper's findings so seriously that an official investigation has been launched to ascertain the truth. As we shall see, there is good reason to believe that if someone sought to enrich themselves due to foreknowledge of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, it is unlikely they were connected to Hamas.

The paper notes numerous historical precedents for such activity, which "occurs in gaps in U.S. and international enforcement of legal prohibitions on informed trading." Research on "profitable trading on the basis of information about coming military conflict" is an underdeveloped academic field. Such lack of oversight and scrutiny around shorting by Western regulators and watchdogs may explain who profited this time and why.


'Suddenly and Significantly'

The academics conclude, "Our evidence is consistent with informed traders anticipating and profiting from the Hamas attack." Concerns about the paper muddling up profit totals aside, this finding is highly persuasive. Multiple datasets reviewed therein amply show an indeed "significant spike" in short selling in the immediate leadup to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood – and a supremely suspicious one at that.

For example, the shorting of dozens of Israeli companies listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange "increased dramatically" before the attack. One firm alone saw 4.43 million new shares shorted from September 14 to October 5. On U.S. exchanges, too, there was a "sharp and unusual increase, just before the attacks" in highly risky short-dated options being placed on Israeli stocks, which expired almost immediately after the attack started.

Israeli stock exchange
A graph showing shorting of the Israeli stock exchange ETF pre-Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, as part of the wider market

Similarly, on October 2, the shorting of the MSCI Israel Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), a passive investment vehicle tracking the performance of the Israeli stock exchange overall, "suddenly, and significantly, spiked." For context, the authors note this was the 30th-highest daily shorting volume ever experienced by the ETF over the 3,570 trading days leading up to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. In other words, it was one of the biggest bets on poor Israeli stock exchange performance since 2009.

This shorting "far exceeded" the shorting of Israeli stocks at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which briefly produced one of the biggest international stock market collapses in history. In March 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2000 points, effectively vaporizing trillions of dollars from the global economy, in "the biggest ever fall in intraday trading" yet recorded. No wonder the authors conclude:

It is extremely unlikely that the volume of short selling on October 2nd occurred by random chance."

Another particularly compelling finding is the identification of "similar patterns" in trading of the Israeli ETF in April 2023 – right when, it has since been reported, Hamas was planning to execute a similar attack. The strike would've followed what transpired in October closely but was canceled after Tel Aviv publicly raised its national alert level due to Israeli intelligence agencies catching wind in advance.

Israeli stock exchange
Shorting activity on the Israeli ETF since October, 2022

The attack was timed to start on the eve of Passover, April 5. Two days earlier, the shorting of the Israeli ETF "peaked…at levels very similar to those observed" on October 2. The recorded volume "was far higher (by an order of magnitude) than other days prior":

This evidence strengthens the interpretation that the trading observed in October and April was related to the Hamas attack, rather than random noise."


'Profit From Tragedy'

Exactly who was behind this activity isn't yet clear from publicly available data. Their identities will nonetheless be known by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The paper's authors suggest these agencies delve deeper to "[understand] why, and how, financial markets may have anticipated" the events of October 7.

So far, there is no sign of an official probe being launched stateside, although there are precedents for such action. As the paper records, following 9/11, the SEC looked intensively into whether particular "market dynamics" before that fateful day "reflected advance knowledge" of the attacks. Three years later, though, the Commission reported it had not been able to "develop any evidence suggesting that anyone who had advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks…sought to profit from that knowledge."

The academics add that since then, three separate academic papers have probed the same issue, pointing to very different conclusions. In 2006, University of Chicago professor Allen Poteshman concluded the activity examined by the SEC was "consistent with informed investors having traded…in advance of the attacks."

In 2011, an international study team identified "abnormal trading" indicative of "insiders anticipating the 9/11 attacks." In 2015, researchers from the University of Zurich confirmed unusual airline, bank, and reinsurer stock trading before 9/11.

The question of whether foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks motivated insider trading was, at the time, treated with the utmost urgency by Western government officials, regulators, law enforcement, and the media. Open source records showed companies adversely affected by the event were abruptly shorted at record levels in the weeks prior, while investment in stocks that stood to benefit rocketed. On September 10, 2001, the purchase of shares of U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon inexplicably soared sixfold. A week later, their value had almost doubled.

The profits involved both ways were huge. As a contemporary mainstream report notes, five days before 9/11, over 2,000 short bets totaling $180,000 were made against United Airlines – ninety times more in a single day than in the prior three weeks. The company's stock collapsed once the World Trade Center was struck, and the value of that investment skyrocketed to $2.4 million. This was just one example of suspicious activity among many investigated by U.S. authorities.

Elsewhere, probes into the matter were launched in several European countries and seemingly produced quick results. On September 24 that year, Belgium's finance minister said investigations had already led to "strong suspicions that British markets may have been used" for insider trading pre-9/11. The same day, Germany's central bank president forcefully declared, "What we found makes us sure that people connected to the terrorists must have been trying to profit from this tragedy."

Yet, like the SEC's, these investigations ultimately failed to produce results. The 9/11 Commission report summarily dismissed the issue altogether on the perplexing grounds that individuals identified as responsible for the trades "had no conceivable ties to Al Qaeda." A declassified 2003 FBI document assessing suspicious pre-9/11 trades reveals who at least two of these investors were while providing a likely explanation for why authorities did not aggressively pursue the issue.

One of the trades examined by the Bureau was the purchase of 56,000 shares of Stratesec between September 6 and September 10, 2001. The company provided security systems to airports, including New York City's Dulles, from where one of the hijacked planes departed, United Airlines, which suffered two hijackings on 9/11, and the World Trade Center. Its share price almost doubled following the attacks.

The trades traced back to Wirt D. Walker III, a distant relative of the Bush family and business partner of Marvin Bush, then-President George W. Bush's brother. According to the declassified file, the FBI never bothered to interview him about the trades, ostensibly as their background investigation revealed "no ties to terrorism or other negative information."


'Point by Point'

In the wake of Hamas' October 7 incursion into Israel, shock and bewilderment abounded widely. Many reeled at the astonishing "intelligence failure" undoubtedly necessary to allow the attack to slip through the most monstrous and deadly concentration camp walls ever constructed. Multiple Israeli and Western spying veterans with intimate insider knowledge of Tel Aviv's modern surveillance and security systems expressed disbelief that such an attack could've happened in the first place, let alone taken the Israeli government by such apparent surprise.

Even Hamas operatives themselves were reportedly stunned by their success. They had not expected to be able to push so far into Tel Aviv and effectively ran out of plan past a certain point. Palestinians and their supporters have reasonably argued that Israeli Forces are a paper tiger, accustomed since their embarrassing 2006 expulsion from Lebanon to brutal imperialist crackdowns against unarmed civilians and ill-equipped for actual battle against a well-trained insurgent force.

Yet, on an almost daily basis since October 7, report after report has made it abundantly clear that Tel Aviv was given countless warnings and possessed intelligence, meaning its vast security and military apparatus duties could – should – have seen the attack coming. This begs the obvious question of why that didn't happen.

To detail just two recent examples, on November 30, the New York Times revealed how Israeli officials obtained a detailed 40-page battle plan outlining in precise detail, "point by point," Operation Al-Aqsa Flood over a year before it happened. Meanwhile, it now seems that mere hours before Hamas struck, Israeli security forces "had enough warning signs" of what was impending to prepare a response but did nothing and told no one, including attendees of the Nova music festival and its organizers.

The author of this article makes no comment on theories that Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was actively permitted to go ahead by Tel Aviv to secure a pretext for executing the horrific genocide currently unfolding in Gaza. The attack's success may well be attributable to Israel's complacency and a genuine "intelligence failure" of epic proportions.

However, countless indications that so many knew something was brewing for so long – including foreign governments and intelligence agencies – raises the prospect that someone, or some individuals with prior knowledge of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, sought to capitalize accordingly. While Wirt D. Walker III, for example, almost undoubtedly played no personal role in planning or executing 9/11 or allowing it to happen, his privileged position and connections may have granted him access to sensitive information inaccessible to the average person.

Probing such connections and information is not something regulators and law enforcement agencies across the Western world are in the business of doing, about which shadowy actors and agencies are, of course, well aware. Tension, unrest, and cataclysmic events worldwide dependably send shares in major "defense" firms surging and often illuminate the forces responsible. Tracking which stocks are suffering, where and when, and whether anyone has sought to profit as a result may be just as incisive.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist and MintPress News contributor exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. His work has previously appeared in The Cradle, Declassified U.K., and Grayzone. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg.

The post Just Like 9/11? Suspicious Israeli Stock Market Activity Hints at Foreknowledge of October 7 Attack appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
5 Dec 2023 | 3:17 pm

3. History of Gaza: Conquerors, Resurgence and Rebirth

Those unfamiliar with Gaza and its history are likely to always associate Gaza with destruction, rubble and Israeli genocide.

And they can hardly be blamed. On November 3, the UN Development Programme and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) announced that 45 percent of Gaza's housing units had been destroyed or damaged since the beginning of the Latest Israeli aggression on Gaza.

But the history of Gaza is also a history of great civilizations and a history of revival and rebirth.

Shortly before the war, specifically on September 23, archaeologists in Gaza announced that four Roman-era tombs had been unearthed in Gaza City. They include "two lead coffins, one delicately carved with harvest motifs and the other with dolphins gliding through the water," ARTNews reported.

According to Palestinian and French archaeologists, these are Roman-era tombs dating back 2,000 years.

The finding was preceded, two months earlier, in July, by something even more astonishing: a major archaeological discovery of at least 125 tombs, most with skeletons still largely intact, along with two extremely rare lead sarcophaguses.

Archaeologists working on a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery discovered in Gaza last year have found over 125 tombs, the Palestinian Ministry of Antiquities says. Most of them have skeletons still largely intact and to rare lead sarcophaguses.

(Video: via Reuters) pic.twitter.com/qLZDOnz1qu

— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 24, 2023

In case you assume that the great archaeological finds were isolated events, think again.

Indeed, Gaza has existed not only for hundreds of years but even thousands of years before the destruction of the modern Palestinian homeland during the Nakba, the subsequent wars, and all the headline news that associated Gaza with nothing but violence.

I grew up in the Nuseirat refugee camp located in central Gaza. As a child, I knew that something great had taken place in Nuseirat without fully appreciating its grandeur and deep historical roots.

For years, I climbed the Tell el-Ajjul – The Calves Hill – located to the north-east of Nuseirat, tucked between the beach and the Gaza Valley – to look for Sahatit, a term we used in reference to any ancient currency.

We would collect the rusty and often scratched pieces of metal and take them home, knowing little about the value of these peculiar finds. I always gifted my treasures to my Mom, who kept them in a small wooden drawer built within her Singer sewing machine.

I still think about that treasure that must have been tossed away following my mother's untimely death. Only now do I realize that they were Hyksos, Roman and Byzantine currencies.

Once Mom diligently scrubbed the Sahatit with lemon juice and vinegar, the mysterious Latin and other writings and symbols would appear, along with the crowned heads of the great kings of the past. I knew that these old pieces were used by our people who had dwelled upon this land since time immemorial.

The region upon which Nuseirat was built was inhabited by ancient Canaanites, whose presence can be felt through the numerous archeological discoveries throughout historic Palestine.

What made Nuseirat particularly unique was its geographical centrality in the Gaza region, its strategic position by the Gaza coast, and its unique topography. The relatively hilly areas west of Nuseirat and the fact that it encompasses the Gaza Valley have made Nuseirat inhabitable from ancient times to the present.

Evidence of Hyksos, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, and other civilizations that dwelled in that region for thousands of years is a testimony to the area's historical significance.

When the Hyksos ruled over Palestine during the Middle Bronze Age II period (ca. 2000-1500 BC), they built a great civilization that extended from Egypt to Syria.

So powerful was the Hyksos Dynasty that they extended their jurisdiction into Ancient Egypt, remaining there until the Sea Peoples drove them out. Though the Hyksos were eventually defeated, they left behind palaces, temples, defense trenches and various monuments, the largest of which can be found in the central Gaza region, specifically at the starting point of the Gaza Valley.

Like Calves Hill, Tell Umm el-'Amr – or Umm el-'Amr's Hill – was the location of an ancient Christian town, with a large monastery complex containing five churches, homes, baths, geometric mosaics, a large crypt, and more.

The discoveries of Tell Umm el-'Amr were recent. According to the World's Monuments Fund (WMF), this Christian town was abandoned after a major earthquake struck the region sometime in the seventh century. The excavation process began in 1999, and a more serious preservation campaign began in earnest in 2010.

In 2018, the restoration of the monastery itself started. The discovery of the St. Hilarion Monastery is one of the most precious archeological finds, not only in Gaza's southern coastal region, but in the entire Middle East in recent years.

There is also the Shobani Graveyard, tucked by the sea and located near the western entrance of Nuseirat, the Tell Abu-Hussein in the north-west part of the camp, also close to the sea, along with other sites, which are of great significance to Nuseirat's past.

A Gaza historian told me that it is almost certain that Tell Abu Hussein was of some connection to Sultan Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi's military campaign in Palestine, which ultimately defeated and expelled the Crusaders from the region in 1187.

The history of my old refugee camp is essentially the history of all of Gaza, a place that played a significant role in shaping ancient and modern history, its geopolitics, and its tragic and triumphant moments.

What is taking place in Gaza now is but an episode, a traumatic and a defining one, but nonetheless, a mere chapter in the history of a people who proved to be as durable and resilient as history itself.

Feature photo | A Palestinian man sweeps dust off parts of a Byzantine-era mosaic floor uncovered by a farmer in Bureij in central Gaza Strip, Sept. 5, 2022. Fatima Shbair | AP

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is 'Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out'. His other books include 'My Father was a Freedom Fighter' and 'The Last Earth'. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post History of Gaza: Conquerors, Resurgence and Rebirth appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
30 Nov 2023 | 6:42 pm

4. Visegrád 24: The Polish Government-Funded Fake News Factory Driving The Online Israel-Palestine News Cycle

Named by Gizmodo as the most influential source of news on Israel/Palestine on Twitter/X, Visegrád 24 has shot to prominence, amassing more than one million followers across social media platforms. Yet it has consistently shared blatantly false information in an attempt to ramp up support for the state of Israel's crimes in Gaza. Worse still, the semi-anonymous account pushing a far-right agenda worldwide is known to be funded by the deeply conservative Polish government.


A Viral Sensation

If you have spent any amount of time on social media following the Israeli attack on Gaza, you are sure to have come across Visegrád 24 and its ultra-viral content. The Polish news aggregator is perhaps an unlikely candidate to become a key player in the information war. But in just a few short weeks, it has gained hundreds of thousands of followers across its platforms, especially Twitter/ and TikTok (currently at 843,000 and 183,000 followers, respectively).

A study published by the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, titled "The New Elites of X," identified Visegrád 24 as the most influential account engaged in Israel/Palestine discourse. One measure of its reach is that, in the first three days following Hamas' surprise attack, the six traditional media outlets with the most followers on Twitter/X (CNN Breaking News, CNN, the New York Times, BBC Breaking News, BBC World News and Reuters) who collectively have nearly 300 million followers, received 112 million views on Israel/Palestine related content. Visegrád 24, by comparison, received 370 million views over the same period. Since then, its influence has only grown.

Its massive reach has led many to equate it with reliability, and the account is regularly cited in establishment media such as Newsweek or Fox News. But this is far from the case. Indeed, its accounts appear to exist to lionize Israel and its supporters, demonize Palestine and its supporters, fearmonger about refugees, and promote ultra-conservative politics in general.


Fake News Factory

Part of what makes Visegrád 24's rise problematic is its propensity to publish blatantly fake news. Earlier this month, for example, it posted footage of Israeli satirist Yoni Sharon playing a character mocking Palestinians, telling its audience he was a real Palestinian.

"A Palestinian man thanks Hamas for making sure that all the Palestinian people who used to commute into Israel to work will now be unemployed. He also thanks Hamas for making sure Palestinian kids will no longer receive surgeries in Israel Great job!" it wrote.

A Palestinian man thanks Hamas for making sure that all the Palestinian people who used to commute into Israel to work will now be unemployed.

He also thanks Hamas for making sure Palestinian kids will no longer receive surgeries in Israel

Great job! pic.twitter.com/NJz05eMW9E

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) November 12, 2023

Perhaps most shamelessly, however, Visegrád 24 has, on multiple occasions, taken footage from Motaz Azaiza, a Palestinian photographer who has worked with MintPress News and twisted the images of Israeli crimes to present the apartheid state in a good light. Azaiza's video showing Israeli forces shooting at a large caravan of fleeing refugees was repackaged with the caption, "Hamas terrorists shooting at a large group of Palestinians trying to flee south along the humanitarian corridors set up by Israel."

Spooky propaganda accounts @TheMossadIL and @visegrad24 lied and claimed a video of Israeli soldiers opening fire on Palestinian civilians fleeing south actually showed Hamas militants shooting at them. But @azaizamotaz9, the journalist who filmed the shooting, called them out.… pic.twitter.com/erygCVcZSf

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) November 19, 2023

Another time, Visegrád 24 reposted an Azaiza video claiming that it showed a merciful Israeli Air Force dropping leaflets urging Gazans that the area was not safe and asking them to move southwards for their own well-being. "Stop the lies," Azaiza replied, "I'm the one who filmed this. The leaflets [were] saying if you have any information about the kidnapped [Israelis], call us."

In addition to this, it has repeated and amplified the beheaded babies hoax, called to defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, described climate activist Greta Thunberg as a "Hamas propagandist," and labeled pro-Palestine demonstrators as "thugs" and "mobs."

It has also not been above sharing racially insensitive content depicting Palestine supporters as clueless liberals who would be executed in a second if they set foot in Gaza or asking highly-charged questions such as "Without Googling, name something that was invented, discovered or created by Muslims over the centuries." The clear implication in the question is that Muslims have never contributed anything to society, which can perhaps explain why Visegrád 24 spends so much of its energy fearmongering about a wave of Muslim immigrants to Europe.

Go educate yourself! pic.twitter.com/oNErqOEPly

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) November 13, 2023


Follow the Money

Visegrád 24 began as a Twitter account in early 2020. But for the longest time, its funding and the identities of its key staff remained shrouded in mystery. The news aggregator does not even have a website; instead, it directs readers to a crowdfunding platform that shows they have received only 723 donations.

For an operation believed to be around 12 people, this is clearly not sufficient to be financially viable. There is another source of confirmed funding, however: the ultra-conservative government of Poland. Last October, the Polish chancellery gave 1.4 million PLN (roughly U.S.$350,000) to Visegrád 24, a decision approved by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. It is not known whether Visegrád 24 has received any subsequent government funding.

Around the same time it was receiving government money, Polish media identified some of the key figures running the operation. One is Adam Starzynski, a Swedish-born Polish journalist who formerly worked at the English-language program Poland Daily, produced by TV Republika. Starzynski has experience in running conservative social media, as he operated the ultra-conservative @BasedPoland Twitter account. @BasedPoland spread nationalistic propaganda and anti-Muslim content, gaining more than 150,000 followers before it was banned.

Starzynski is a key figure in the resurgent Eastern European conservative movement. This "Make Europe Great Again" movement supports far-right populists like Donald Trump, Hungary's Viktor Orbán, and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro.

A second key figure in what Visegrád 24 calls its group of conservative friends is Stefan Tompson, a Polish-South African PR strategist. Tompson grew up in London and cut his teeth working for the "Leave" campaign during the Brexit referendum, a vote marred by widespread fake news and disinformation. He has his own YouTube channel about Polish history and is a contributor to the Polish government-owned TV channel Telewizja Polska. He is reportedly preparing to launch a brand new media company to capitalize on Visegrád 24's success.


Ukraine Brain

Visegrád 24 established its brand and built a following, posting content strongly supportive of the Ukrainian military and their attempts to repel the Russian invasion. Poland and the other Eastern European NATO states have been particularly vocal opponents of Russia. While it now focuses on Israel/Palestine content, it continues to post content calling for greater European involvement in the war. For example, last week, it shared a video of a dying Ukrainian soldier and demanded to know "why the West is holding back crucial weapon systems from Ukraine?" and "Why they aren't allowed to strike Russia?"

19-y-old Ukrainian soldier records a video after his unit is surrounded

He says they won't make it out alive. He was right

Can somebody explain why the West is holding back crucial weapon systems from Ukraine?

Why they aren't allowed to strike Russia? pic.twitter.com/wsZ2So6nVb

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) November 20, 2023

Unfortunately, the news aggregator displayed the same propensity to publish incorrect information on Ukraine as it does with Israel. Among the fake stories it has promoted include:

  • Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio donating $10 million to Ukraine
  • Polish politicians supporting a Polish-Ukrainian union
  • PornHub being blocked in Russia.

In their haste to drum up support for the Ukrainian cause, media in the West often overlooked or whitewashed the fascist or Neo-Nazi elements active within the Ukrainian armed forces. Chief among these is the Azov Battalion, a group whose insignia was directly lifted from the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division, a unit responsible for carrying out some of the worst crimes of Hitler's holocaust. Andriy Biletsky, the Azov Battalion's founder, said in 2010 that he believes Ukraine's mission is to "lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen" – the word Hitler used to describe Jews, Poles, Ukrainians and other peoples he designated for extermination.

"It's possible to both support Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression and be critical of neo-Nazis elements in Ukraine's army," Visegrád 24 once posted on Twitter. Yet analyzing all Visegrád 24 content containing the word "Azov", it is difficult to find any posts that even take a neutral tone, let alone a critical one.

As such, they often appeared to act like an unofficial press agency for the group. Many posts humanize the soldiers, showing their mothers and wives or presenting them as brave defenders of the motherland. Others are glowing obituaries of heroic Azov fighters who lost their lives.

Heartbreaking messages from the mothers and wives of the 53 Azov soldiers killed in the prison camp at Olenivka. pic.twitter.com/TeZvCVtj8N

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) July 30, 2022

"Every year, the soldiers of the Azov Regiment gather on the shortest night of the year to honor their fallen brothers-in-arms. This year, especially after [the battle of] Azovstal, they had more men to honor than ever. Through new recruits, the group has grown significantly in size since Azovstal," they wrote in December.

While the European far-right is consistently and often virulently anti-Semitic, they regularly display strong support for the State of Israel and its policies, seeing the ethnostate Israel is creating as a blueprint for their own designs. Thus, an unlikely alliance now exists between fascist movements in Europe and the state where the descendants of the people those groups failed to kill just 80 years ago now live.


Information War

"Israel is losing the information war," lamented Visegrád 24's Stefan Tompson on Twitter. "Social media is dominated by pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli, if not overtly pro-Hamas and/or antisemitic content. If things are not turned around, the Hamas lobby will successfully not only appropriate but also redefine the 'Holocaust,'" he added.

Putting aside the dramatic prediction, Tompson is correct that Israel is experiencing difficulty influencing worldwide public opinion. The genocidal destruction has brought millions of people around the world out into the streets to attend marches, lectures, protests and demonstrations. An estimated one million people filled the streets of London on November 11, despite direct instructions from the government not to do so.

In the United States, too, the situation in Gaza has ignited a massive reaction, with hundreds of large demonstrations taking place across virtually every major city. Pro-Israel demonstrations, meanwhile, have been comparatively poorly attended. President Biden's support for Israel is a significant reason for his dwindling polling numbers.

The Biden administration continues to back Israel at the United Nations. But it is increasingly isolated. In October, the U.S. voted against a UN resolution calling for a cessation of the violence, one of only a handful of countries to do so.

Israel's once rock-solid support among Americans is also floundering. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that overall sympathy for Israel has dropped seven points since October to 54% of Americans, with 24% saying they sympathized more with Palestine.

Most concerning for Israel supporters is that they appear to be losing the next generation. The same Quinnipiac poll found a huge generational gap in understanding of the conflict. While older voters stood solidly behind Israel, a majority of Americans aged between 18-34 said their sympathies lay with the Palestinians, while only 29% said they supported Israel.

Much of this chasm can be explained as a result of how the different generations get their news. Older Americans continue to rely on established legacy media, such as cable news and print, which continue to display extraordinary bias in favor of Israel. Younger generations, however, primarily use social media. While hardly free of restrictions, platforms like Twitter or TikTok allow a far more comprehensive range of news and views to circulate, including opinions from ordinary people.

Israel has attempted to game this system, spending heavily on ads targeted at Western audiences. Between October 7 and October 19, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spent more than $7 million on YouTube advertisements, equating to nearly one billion pairs of eyeballs. The top five countries targeted were France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States. The MOFA also ran ad campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, mobile games and apps like language trainer Duolingo.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, pro-Israel trolls attempted to hijack the Community Notes function, attaching argumentative notes and warning labels undermining any post showing Israel in a negative light. And several prominent TikTok creators revealed they were offered large sums of money to record simple videos endorsing Israeli actions.

Despite this, there has been an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy for the people of Palestine. On TikTok, for example, between October 23 and October 30, 87,000 posts were using the #StandWithPalestine hashtag, garnering 285 million views. The equivalent pro-Israel #StandWithIsrael hashtag, meanwhile, generated only 9,000 posts and 64 million views.

In response to the news that their citizens are not receiving the preferred message on Israel/Palestine, U.S. government officials are pushing to simply ban TikTok altogether as a solution to the problem. GOP presidential candidates Chris Christie and Nikki Haley have repeatedly called for the total prohibition of the popular app. Senator Marco Rubio (R—FL) demanded that it was "time for TikTok to go," accusing the company of "downplaying Hamas terrorism."

Democrats have proven that censorship is a bipartisan issue. Senator Chris Murphy (D—NJ), for example, described TikTok as a Chinese-controlled platform that is "turning America against each other" through its promotion of "virulent pro-Hamas and anti-Semitic material."

These calls were echoed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who complained that users were being "brainwashed" by pro-Palestine content. TikTok has defended itself, claiming that its algorithms do not take sides and that young people are simply more sympathetic to Palestine.

Unlike TikTok, there have been no official calls to ban Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media sites, perhaps because they are cooperating with authorities to censor dissenting voices. Twitter recently announced it had deleted more than 325,000 tweets relating to the violence and had removed more than 3,000 accounts, many linked to Hamas. It has not deleted any accounts affiliated with the Israeli government. Instagram locked a number of the most prominent pro-Palestine accounts, including Eye On Palestine (with 9.2 million followers).

Meanwhile, the Israeli Attorney General's Office revealed that approximately 94% of the 9,500 requests it has made to Meta (the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram) to delete content had been granted.

Literally all Arab dishes. "Israeli food" doesn't exist. https://t.co/5P7JgaexOZ

— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) November 23, 2023

Just as important as the troops on the ground is the information war playing out in cyberspace. Israel could not carry out its actions without support from the Western public. On this front, it has found a key ally in Visegrád 24, a news aggregator that has exploded in popularity and influence of late. Unfortunately, the shadowy, Polish government-funded organization not only reports facts from a pro-Israel perspective but also consistently publishes blatantly false or misleading content. This, however, is far from unusual. In war, truth is always the first casualty. Visegrád 24's rapid rise to prominence is a testament to this.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News featuring Visegrád 24 staffers Adam Starzynski and Stephan Tompson

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post Visegrád 24: The Polish Government-Funded Fake News Factory Driving The Online Israel-Palestine News Cycle appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
30 Nov 2023 | 3:03 pm

5. Israel’s Decades Old Plan to Exploit Gaza the Gas Fields of Gaza

To what extent is the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip intertwined with the region's oil and gas resources? Since the year 2000, upon the discovery of gas fields in Gaza, the Israeli government has obstructed the Palestinian people and their representatives from harnessing the advantages of their natural resources. Let's look at the facts.

The awareness and potential of Gaza's gas fields have been prevalent since their initial discovery in 2000. Former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat esteemed them as a divine gift. Nevertheless, Gaza has remained unable to profit from its natural gas fields, notably identified as the Gaza Marine.

In recent years, discussions have persisted among Israeli stakeholders, Egyptian firms, and the Palestinian Authority regarding the utilization of gas resources off the coast of the Gaza Strip and the method of tapping into this substantial wealth. However, somewhat obscured from public knowledge is the reality that during Israel's initiation of conflict with Gaza in 2008, extending into 2009, Israel exploited that period to essentially seize control of the Gaza Marine, preventing its development by the Palestinian people. This occurred despite the fact that it fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as stipulated in the Oslo Accords, thereby securing its status as an exclusive Palestinian economic zone.

In recent historical context, Hezbollah, the armed faction safeguarding Lebanese territory, resorted to threatening war with Israel and targeting its gas fields unless Israel ceded rights to the segments of these fields situated in Lebanese territorial waters to the Lebanese government. Succumbing to Hezbollah's pressure, the Israeli government reluctantly relented and signed an agreement permitting the Lebanese populace to exploit their natural resources peacefully. Notably, throughout this crisis, the rights of Gazans over their gas fields were never disputed.

Following Hezbollah and Lebanon's success in reclaiming sovereignty over their natural resources, Hamas initiated a similar endeavor. It issued a warning to Israel, asserting retaliation if Israel attempted to appropriate Gaza's resources. Subsequently, substantial negotiations between the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Hamas ensued, culminating in Hamas's consent last June to allow the development of the Gaza Marine contingent upon receiving a share of the gas field revenue.

After the October 7 Hamas attack, Israel found itself compelled to close down its primary gas field, the Tamar Field, which constitutes the majority of its gas production. Grappling with the economic ramifications of this closure, Israel opted to issue new licenses to diverse energy companies to fortify its position and reassure oil companies about the economic potential of developing Israeli gas.

Since 2000, Israel has obstructed the Palestinian people from benefiting from their gas fields, which, by international law and the agreements endorsed by Israel, rightfully belong to the Palestinian population. Presently, the sole impediment for Israel is Hamas. Eliminating Hamas would ostensibly enable Israel to exert unchallenged control over Gaza's gas resources.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and hosts the show 'Palestine Files'. Director of 'Steal of the Century: Trump's Palestine-Israel Catastrophe'. Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47

The post Israel's Decades Old Plan to Exploit Gaza the Gas Fields of Gaza appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
29 Nov 2023 | 10:23 pm

6. Hamas Uses Human Shields? The Evidence

Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. You've heard the claim echoed ad nauseam in Western corporate media. Yet numerous reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other human rights groups have found the allegations, which are brought to bear by Israeli officials nearly every time Gaza hits the news, to not only be untrue, they've discovered that Israel itself has consistently engaged in wanton use of Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields.

In 2014, Amnesty International said of allegations that Hamas was using human shields:

Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to "shield" specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks. In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate. However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as "human shields" for fighters, munitions, or military equipment. Under international humanitarian law even if "human shields" are being used Israel's obligations to protect these civilians would still apply."

The International Red Cross defines "human shielding," the term used in international humanitarian law to describe the practice, as "the act of placing a civilian in front of a military objective to deter attacks due to their civilian status."

Despite their accusation against Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces themselves regularly used Palestinian civilians as human shields under an Israeli military doctrine called the "neighbor procedure" until it was outlawed by the Knesset in 2005. This left Israeli military officials incensed. Former Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz even appeared in court to argue for the ban's repeal.

Lots of documented evidence that Israeli soldiers, use Palestinian children as human shields https://t.co/XyqwRsg0oc pic.twitter.com/Kker5hRZRy

— Anonymous Palestine (@PalAnonymous) August 17, 2014

B'Tselem, a prominent Israeli human rights organization operating in the occupied territories, reports that since Israel's 1967 occupation, Israeli security forces have reportedly exploited Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as human shields. The rights group found that:

Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli security forces have repeatedly used Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip as human shields, ordering them to perform military tasks that risked their lives. As part of this policy, soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to remove suspicious objects from roads, to tell people to come out of their homes so the military can arrest them, to stand in front of soldiers while the latter shoot from behind them, and more. The Palestinian civilians were chosen at random for these tasks, and could not refuse the demand placed on them by armed soldiers."

Israel is often touted as the only democracy in the Middle East; its robust legal system is praised as a panacea to the dictatorial regimes and monarchies of neighboring Arab states. One could infer, therefore, that since it was outlawed by the Israeli Knesset in 2005, the Israeli Defense Forces have halted the barbaric practice, and any soldiers caught resorting to it would be swiftly brought to justice per Israel's own legislation.

Yet 'Breaking the Silence,' a group of former Israeli soldiers and conscientious objectors who speak out about human rights abuses by the Israeli military, say the practice continued unabated well after it was outlawed in 2005. Dozens of highly publicized cases, both inside and outside of Israel, corroborate their claims.

On May 13, 2022, 16-year-old Ahed was left traumatized after being used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers. Defense for Children International reported that:

Israeli soldiers forced Ahed Mohammad Rida Mereb, 16, to stand in front of an Israeli military vehicle on May 13 around 8 a.m. in the Al Hadaf neighborhood of Jenin as Palestinian gunmen shot heavily toward the Israeli forces' position… Israeli forces ordered Ahed to stand outside the military vehicle for around two hours while they sat inside."

Just one week later, Israeli forces were photographed forcing a Palestinian man into acting as a human shield during a raid into the occupied West Bank after Palestinian resistance fighters began firing on invading Israeli troops.

Despite its ban under Israeli law, justice has eluded Palestinian victims of the practice. In fact, the last time an Israeli soldier was punished for using a Palestinian as a human shield was in 2010 for an act committed during the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza.

B'Tselem summed up the charges against the two offending soldiers as follows:

The two soldiers in question had ordered a nine-year-old boy, at gunpoint, to open a bag they suspected was booby-trapped. Despite the gravity of their conduct – putting a young child at risk – the two were given a three-month conditional sentence and demoted from staff sergeant to private, some two years after the incident took place. None of their commanding officers were tried."

There is little evidence to suggest that Israel has plans to ditch the practice either. There have been multiple cases documenting Israeli troops using human shields since the events of October 7, 2023.

A video posted to X by renowned Palestinian human rights activist Isso Amro on November 10 shows an Israeli soldier ducking behind a bound and blindfolded Palestinian man during an IDF raid in the Al Fawar Refugee camp in Hebron.

Watch how Israeli soldiers used a Palestinian detainee as a Human Shield in Al Fawar Refugee camp in Hebron . pic.twitter.com/pV9HcPXZi4

— Issa Amro عيسى عمرو (@Issaamro) November 10, 2023

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and hosts the show 'Palestine Files'. Director of 'Steal of the Century: Trump's Palestine-Israel Catastrophe'. Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47

The post Hamas Uses Human Shields? The Evidence appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
29 Nov 2023 | 10:22 pm

7. Ben Gurion Canal: US Supports Israel’s Gaza War Over A Trade Route

The U.S. and Israel have been planning the construction of brand-new trade routes, which are only possible through normalization agreements signed between Tel Aviv and the Arab World.

So, what is the Ben Gurion Canal, India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, and why is this so important to Washington's considerations when backing the current Israeli onslaught on Gaza? Could the reason the U.S. is supporting Israel's war against Gaza, full force, be because of a trade route?

Lately, there has been some talk of what is known as the 'Ben Gurion Canal' Project, which would essentially be an alternative trade route created through Israel-Palestine, which would be inorganically carved out of the earth to replace Egypt's Suez Canal, which of course is crucial to international shipping at this point, and would bring in significant revenue for the Israelis.

In fact, after Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized ties in 2020, there was a lot of talk about bringing this project to the forefront of the economic cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Then, in 2021, there was even more chatter about this as the United Arab Emirates and Israel wanted to reap the benefits of providing an alternative trade route to the Suez Canal.

Yet there were many issues at hand, including the environmental costs. And, of course, the fact that Saudi Arabia had not normalized ties with the Israelis and to make such a project work without any problems, mainly due to the waterways that ships would have to pass through to enter the canal, Saudi Arabia was going to have to normalize ties.

The Ben Gurion Canal project is not a new idea. According to leaked documents, in 1963, the U.S. proposed using some 520 nuclear bombs to make it a reality. The proposed trade route would run from the port city of Eilat and head north. The canal that would have to be dug would have been even longer than the Suez Canal. The U.S. and Israel didn't go through with the project for several reasons.

However, something that was being actively discussed before the October 7 Hamas attack was the possibility of creating a land route that would run through Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories through the Port of Haifa into Europe. Called the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, the route would have revolutionized trade and was a major item on the agenda of the G20 summit in September. The U.S. was determined to make the plan a reality to shape what Benjamin Netanyahu called at the United Nations General Assembly, recently the New Middle East, and was integral to the U.S. plan to combat China and its Belt and Road Initiative.

The trade route all went up in flames with the Hamas-led attack on October 7, undermining international confidence in Israeli security. To make their project work, the U.S. and Israel would have to crush Hamas and crush Gaza and any Palestinian resistance that ever again challenged the objectives of the United States in the Middle East.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and hosts the show 'Palestine Files'. Director of 'Steal of the Century: Trump's Palestine-Israel Catastrophe.' Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47

The post Ben Gurion Canal: US Supports Israel's Gaza War Over A Trade Route appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
27 Nov 2023 | 2:46 pm

8. Gaza’s Call to the World: Unveiling the Silent Message of the Red Triangle

Did you know an international conference was held in France on November 9 under the title 'International Humanitarian Conference for Gaza's Civilian Population'?

According to the French foreign ministry website, the conference "involved states, main donors, international organizations and NGOs active in Gaza" to promote "compliance with international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and humanitarian staff, and the strengthening of humanitarian access."

If you did not know, we do not blame you. The conference, after all, was meant to distract from the Israeli genocide in Gaza by giving the impression that Western governments still have the political power to control or, at least, influence the future of Gaza.

As French President Emmanuel Macron was preaching about international and humanitarian laws, we were busy looking elsewhere.

Backed by unhinged US administration and corporate media since October 7, Israel has also wanted us to look their way.

To ensure our gaze remained fixated on Tel Aviv's political priorities, they fabricated an unprecedented amount of lies; those lies, with time, proved to be part of a centralized Israeli propaganda campaign aimed at lessening the impact of Israel's military defeat on the collective Israeli psyche.

Additionally, Israel's hasbara masters wanted to keep feeding already biased Western media with all the needed negative content to wage a defamation war against Palestinians, Gaza and its Resistance.

Not only did Israeli hasbara backfire, but it also showed how low Israel is willing to sink to distract from its genocide in Gaza. By feeding into an existing racist narrative in mainstream media about the supposed savagery and the barbarity of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, Israel wanted to pose as the protector of Western civilization and democracy.

This false construct, with time, began falling apart and again, we looked elsewhere in our search for answers. We looked at Gaza itself, at the atrocities committed by Israel at every hospital, school and neighborhood.

We looked at the lifeless bodies of hundreds, in fact thousands, of Palestinian children, women and civilians, strewn in every street corner, under rubble, even on their hospital beds.

We looked at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, Al-Fakhoura School and Nuseirat Refugee camp, Al-Fallujah, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis and every inch of Gaza that has been bombed, at times repeatedly, since October 7.

The Palestinians themselves were pointing us to where we should be looking – in fact, to where we should have always been looking.

Relentlessly and with unweakened resolve, ordinary people, often weeping, would point at mass graves, at their dead children in their arms, at mutilated bodies of children in hospital morgues, in parking lots, in the streets. They would say, "Look," "Look what Israel is doing to us," "Look what the Nazis have done to our children", and so on.

The word 'look' here is critical. When they say 'look,' they mean look, understand, help, do something, anything.

But Palestinian Resistance on the ground, the only actual defenders of those civilians, however uncomfortable this realization makes some of us feel, was also telling us to look, and we did.

In this case, they did not announce 'Look' or 'Shufu' out loud. Instead, they used a small, red triangle, the symbolism of which is likely to influence a generation of Palestinians and millions of youth around the world.

Israel's biggest fear pic.twitter.com/Nafk0d5M7h

— ONE (@One_Dawah) November 8, 2023

This small, red triangle started as a functional tool in well-produced videos released by the Al-Qassam Brigades, urging us to focus on a specific point in the videos documenting their daily operations against invading Israeli forces.

A small, red triangle would finally appear within this obvious context amid massive ruins, half-standing buildings, dust and smoke. To understand the function of this triangle, we need to understand the story behind it, thus explaining, without a single word, why Palestinians resist.

Red triangles
Red triangles frame a map of Palestine on the front page of a special edition of the Iranian newspaper, Vatan Today

The equation then becomes simple to understand: Israeli destruction, red triangle, explosion – followed by triumphant shouts of 'God is great,' 'Palestine will be free,' and 'The invaders will be defeated.'

With time, the functionality of the red triangle was transformed into even more significant meaning and more profound symbolism.

As millions of people continued to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza, many carried banners and flags of the Red Triangle. For them, this symbol represented more than Palestinian Resistance in Gaza and the need for action everywhere else.

Some suggested that the symbolism of the red triangle was inspired by the red triangle of the Palestinian flag, thus arguing that that specific symbol was chosen to purposely delineate a more significant national symbol.

You may have seen this red triangle facing downwards on your feed recently, posted by pro-Palestinian accounts. What does it mean?

The red triangle first appeared in the videos published by the Al-Qassam Brigades to identify enemy targets. The videos, edited with flashy graphics… pic.twitter.com/OderWLuIMk

— red. (@redstreamnet) November 15, 2023

In truth, the origins of the small, red triangle do not matter. Maybe it was intended to represent something, or it was simply a technical choice made by a young Palestinian tech-savvy fighter to let us know where we needed to look.

What truly matters, however, are the deeper meanings of all of this.

For years – in fact, decades – Palestinians have been urging us to look at their lives under Israeli occupation and apartheid, at the destruction of their homes and orchards, confiscated or stolen by the Israeli military and illegal Jewish settlers, at the fate of their prisoners, thousands of them, languishing in Israeli prisons, simply for resisting the Israeli military occupation; at the Israeli siege on Gaza, and that perpetual episode of suffering and pain, which deprived over two million people of their most basic rights; and at so much more.

Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, many of us did not look.

Thanks to the courage of the Palestinians themselves and to the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza, we are finally looking, and we are looking precisely where Palestinians want us to look.

US President Joe Biden could now say whatever he wants in defense of Israel; Macron could hold ten more conferences and pretend to speak on behalf of the international community regarding the Gaza holocaust; and Israel could fabricate a million more lies. But we refuse to look at any of them. We refuse to engage with any of them. Their words, actions or inaction are no longer a priority for us.

Only the Palestinian political discourse matters. Only Palestinian freedom is a priority. Only the Palestinian Resistance can push back the Israeli invaders. In short, the priorities of the oppressed, not the oppressor, should matter to all of us.

Indeed, it is time for the Palestinian voice to reclaim its centrality in the story of oppression and Resistance. So, from now on, please look, listen and act in whichever capacity possible. And if you ever struggle to decipher the difference between Palestinian priorities and all others, look for that small, red triangle. It will guide you.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is 'Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.' His other books include 'My Father Was a Freedom Fighter' and 'The Last Earth'. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post Gaza's Call to the World: Unveiling the Silent Message of the Red Triangle appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
22 Nov 2023 | 10:28 pm

9. These Are Western Countries Aiding Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Now into its second month, Israel's war on Gaza has left the strip's northern section in shambles and killed over 14,000 Palestinians, with the majority being women and children. While Israel is launching the attacks on Gaza, several Western powers are also involved in the assault behind the scenes. MintPress News takes a deep dive into the countries sustaining Israel's war.


Who is sending Israel weapons?

Since Israel's war on Gaza began in October, several rights groups have initiated legal proceedings regarding arms exports to Israel.

On Nov. 6, Palestinian human rights organizations, Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights launched legal action in the Federal Court of Australia to access all arms export permits that have been granted to Israel since Oct.7.

We know that hundreds of permits have been issued in recent years, but the Australian government keeps the basic details secret: what items are being exported, who is making them, what are they used for?," Rawan Arraf, executive director of the Australian Centre for International Justice, whose organization is supporting the Palestinian groups' application, said in a press release.

Australia's arms exports are shrouded in secrecy and have come under additional scrutiny after a Senate hearing in October found that 52 defense permits were granted to the Israeli government in 2023, with more than 350 being granted since 2017.

On Nov. 13, Palestinians sued United States President Joe Biden for failing to prevent genocide in Gaza and to stop the administration's military and diplomatic support. Three days later the plaintiffs filed an urgent motion to immediately halt U.S. support for Israel.

"Palestinian children in Gaza are undoubtedly targets as repeated Israeli military offensives destroy their homes, schools, and neighborhoods, as Israeli forces use U.S.-made and funded weapons to kill them and their families with impunity," Khaled Quzmar, general director at Defense for Children International – Palestine, and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a press release.

Bloomberg revealed a U.S. Defense Department document entitled "Israel Senior Leader" requests, dating to late October, listing the weapons Israel is seeking for its ongoing war on Gaza. According to Bloomberg, the weapons arsenal is already being shipped. The arms are listed below:

  •  2,000 Hellfire missiles for Apache attack helicopters manufactured by U.S. weapons firm Lockheed Martin
  • 30mm chain gun ammunition for Apache attack helicopters manufactured by U.S. arms corporation General Dynamics
  • 57,000 155mm shells for artillery guns
  • 400 120mm mortars
  • PVS-14 night vision monoculars from U.S. manufacturer Night Vision Devices
  • M141 shoulder-fired bunker-busters
  • 75 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, manufactured by U.S. firm Oshkosh Defense
  • More than 300 Tamir interceptors for Israel's Iron Dome system, and made by U.S. arms manufacturer Raytheon

As previously reported by MintPress News, photos have shown that U.S.-manufactured weapons containing white phosphorus are being used in Israel's assault on Gaza. These artillery shells were made by Pine Bluff Arsenal, an army facility based in Arkansas known for supplying white phosphorus ammunition. The U.S. army did not respond to requests verifying if Pine Bluff Arsenal artillery is being used in Gaza.

The U.S. has already sent over several arms shipments since the beginning of the war in October, as shown on the Israeli Ministry of Defense's social media platforms.

המטוס ה-45 ברכבת האווירית של מערכת הביטחון נחת הבוקר בישראל. כ-1,000 טונות של חימושים ואמצעי לחימה הובאו עד כה לתמיכה בפעילות צה"ל.

הבוקר נחת בנמל התעופה רמון שליד אילת מטוס מטען ועליו משלוח צבאי נוסף, הכולל אמבולנסים צבאיים, ציוד רפואי..
להמשך קריאה: https://t.co/IYPTj2lkyZ pic.twitter.com/bbB7HNUpfS

— משרד הביטחון (@MoDIsrael) October 20, 2023

On Telegram and LinkedIn, the Defense Ministry mentioned how its Mission to the U.S. based in New York City helped procure the arms and equipment.

Open-source data has also indicated Western military aircraft and warships in the Eastern Mediterranean region over the last month.

.@TheCVN69 & the #IKESCSG transited the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 28.

As a part of the @USNavy's globally-deployed forces, IKECSG will join the @Warship_78 CSG in support of the defense of Israel and to deter aggression throughout the region. pic.twitter.com/DVAuqhfBu4

— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (@USNavyEurope) October 30, 2023

U.S. warships — the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the Gerald R. Ford carrier strike groups — sailed to the Mediterranean in October to support Israel's military. The Eisenhower carrier is last known to be in the Red Sea while the U.K.'s navy's Argus ship is docked in Cyprus.

#ICYMI #MightyIKE has passed through the Suez Canal and has entered the Red Sea, November 4th. IKE and @csg_two are deployed to the @US5thFleet / @CENTCOM area of operations to support maritime security and stability in the Middle East region.#GreaterEachDay pic.twitter.com/4pX3vu6Xzd

— USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (IKE) (@TheCVN69) November 5, 2023

At least six German Air Force planes have arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport in the last week along with two planes from the British Air Force and aircraft from the Polish Air Force and  U.S. Navy.

In the last month, military aircraft from France and Australia have also all traveled to Tel Aviv. Australia's Defense Department acknowledged its in deployed aircraft to the region in press releases.

A press release from Oct. 27 stated:

The deployment of Australian aircraft and supporting Defence personnel is a precautionary measure to support whole-of-Australian Government contingency planning and delivery of support to Australian citizens and approved foreign nationals, in the region, if required.

The Czech Air Force landed at the Israeli Hatzerim Air Base on Oct. 22. Military aircraft from the U.S. and Italy landed at Israeli Netavim Air Base in the last month. And a U.S. Air Force plane arrived to the Israeli Tel Nof Air Base on Nov. 16.

Several British Air Force planes have traveled to Tel Aviv from the U.K.'s Akrotiri military base in Cyprus in the last week. A plane belonging to arms manufacturer BAE Systems also arrived to the airbase recently.

The aforementioned militaries did not respond to MintPress News' requests for comment on why their aircraft landed in the region and what kind of cargo or personnel it was transporting. Only Australia's Defense Department responded, referring MintPress News to its previous press releases on the matter.

New from @CAATuk: "Israel is using UK arms exports in a genocide against the Palestinian people. The UK government is complicit in these crimes not just by supplying these weapons for decades, but by repeatedly inciting Israel to commit war crimes against Palestinian civilians". pic.twitter.com/zbO7WE2NVp

— Declassified UK (@declassifiedUK) November 14, 2023

While it remains unclear the exact kind and amount of equipment Western governments are sending to Israel during this time, activist groups have deemed these states complicit in Israel's ongoing war against Gaza.

"Since 2018, Britain has approved arms exports to Israel worth at least £147 million (or roughly $183 million)," the U.K.-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said in a statement to MintPress News. "Because of the nature of Britain's arms export licensing, the true value is likely to be substantially higher. This includes exports for military aircrafts, helicopters and drones. It also includes components for armored vehicles and bombs."

"The British government is therefore providing material support for Israel's relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip," PSC said.

According to U.K.-based Campaign Against Arms Trade, British companies provide 15% of the materials for the F35 stealth combat aircraft, which Israel is currently using to bomb Gaza. Suppliers for the F35 stealth fighter jets also include: U.S., Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Netherlands, and France.

Also sections on Spain, Belgium, and South Africa! Plus a spreadsheet of the international supply chain for the US F-35 stealth fighter, one of the aircraft Israel is using to bomb Gaza. https://t.co/qgPMhSIksT

— CAAT (@CAATuk) November 8, 2023

Lockheed Martin's MLRS M270 rocket launcher, which was used inside Gaza for the first time since 2006, was built in Europe by an international consortium of companies from France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute provided data on arms sales from Europe to Israel between 2013 to 2022 to EuroNews, showing Italy and Germany had supplied Israel's military with weapons now being used on the ground in Gaza. It also said Germany had sent more than 1,000 tank engines to Israel. As of Nov. 2, Germany's government has exported $323 million in arms to Israel — nearly 10 times more than it sent to Israel last year.

During a NATO meeting in Brussels in October, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed that Israel was also requesting munitions for its navy.

"We will discuss with the Israelis how exactly that will now proceed," Pistorius said, suggesting the weapons pipeline to Israel may increase.


Who is sending troops?

Media reports have suggested that foreign soldiers are assisting in Israel's current war operations.

Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, revealed that a Spanish mercenary is assisting Israeli forces in Gaza. Pedro Diaz Flores has been pictured there with the Israeli occupation forces. He previously fought in Ukraine, having become involved in the war through the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade.

Through his involvement with the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade, Pedro was absorbed in to the Charlie One Unit of Ukrainian Military Intelligence. pic.twitter.com/Ah9SwghOoT

— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) November 5, 2023

"So I came for economy, for money. They pay very well, they offer good equipment and the work is calm. It is 3,900 euros [$4,187] per week, complementary missions aside," Flores told El Mundo.

In October, British newspaper Socialist Worker — along with other publications — received an "advisory notice from the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee to not publish information related to British special forces operating in the Middle East.

"Reports have started to appear in some publications claiming that UK Special Forces have deployed to sensitive areas of the Middle East and then linking that deployment to hostage rescue/evacuation operations," the D-notice said.

The Socialist Worker noted how the Daily Mail reported that the U.K.'s Special Air Service is on "standby in Cyprus" to rescue British hostages held captive in Gaza.

Additionally, Palestinians in Gaza have disclosed they've encountered soldiers with American flags on their uniforms. In the below video clip from Quds News Network, a Palestinian man tells an Al Jazeera reporter that his brother spoke in English to a male soldier donning an American flag on his uniform while trying to flee the strip. These claims remain unsubstantiated and it's possible that soldiers with dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship are wearing an American flag patch without the Israeli military's permission.

This is just one of a growing number of accounts and reports that US troops are directly participating in the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

Last week, Bloomberg reported discussions of "a multinational force that may involve American troops." pic.twitter.com/ruAUTYShlY

— Andre Damon (WSWS.org) (@Andre__Damon) November 12, 2023

Forward Observations, a volunteer group founded by former U.S. infantry soldier Derrick Bales, who fought in Afghanistan, has posted footage from Gaza and southern Israel on social media.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Forward Observations Group (@forwardobservations2.0)

In one Instagram post, Forward Observations is seen in Be'eri, a community attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, being guided by members of the Israeli military's Lotar unit which responded to the violence.

According to Foreign Policy, Forward Observations began as a lifestyle brand selling tactical gear. Then, the group traveled to Ukraine, where it started sourcing medical supplies, gear, and money for Ukrainian soldiers. Bales has been criticized for associating with Vadim Lapaev, a member of the far-right Azov Battalion. He apologized for his connections to Lapaev but said the brigade isn't as radical as alleged.

Forward Observations did not respond to MintPress News' inquiries to verify if its personnel are indeed in Israel and what it's doing there.

U.S. Department of Defense official (DoD), Christopher P. Maier, told The New York Times this month that U.S. special operations forces are stationed in Israel and "actively helping the Israelis" with various efforts including to "identify hostages, including American hostages."

While Maier declined to tell the Times how many Special Forces are currently in Israel, former Pentagon adviser, Douglas MacGregor, said in a television news interview that 2,000 Marines and 2,000 Special Forces have been deployed to the region. MacGregor also mentioned how U.S. Special Forces embedded with Israeli Special Forces entered the Gaza Strip in October to carry out reconnaissance but were then ambushed and suffered grave casualties.

On the television program Palestine Declassified, British sociologist David Miller told host Chris Williamson, a former U.K. parliament member, that this operation is "an indication that the American soldiers are directly involved in confronting the resistance."

And a White House photo shared on Instagram and then subsequently deleted shows President Joe Biden meeting with members of the Delta Force during his Oct. 18 visit to Israel. A senior Arab source familiar with the Palestinian groups in Gaza told Middle East Eye — before Israel's ground invasion — that Palestinians expected Israel to flood Hamas tunnels with a kind of nerve gas or chemical weapon under the supervision of U.S. Delta Force commandos. Israel has begun its ground campaign into Gaza, but there have been no reports of nerve agents being used as of yet.

Despite these reports, the Pentagon told MintPress News "the U.S. has no boots on the ground in Israel."

So as Western populations continue to flood the streets for Palestine, their governments appear to be supporting the aggressor.

Feature photo | Palestinians search for survivors of the Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Nov. 22, 2023. Hatem Ali | AP

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

The post These Are Western Countries Aiding Israel's Genocide in Gaza appeared first on MintPress News.

MintPress News
21 Nov 2023 | 3:48 pm

10. Chris Hedges: Israel’s War on Hospitals

Washington DC — (Scheerpost) — Israel is not attacking hospitals in Gaza because they are "Hamas command centers." Israel is systematically and deliberately destroying Gaza's medical infrastructure as part of a scorched earth campaign to make Gaza uninhabitable and escalate a humanitarian crisis. It intends to force 2.3 million Palestinians over the border into Egypt, where they will never return.

Israel has destroyed and nearly emptied the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia is next. Israel is deploying tanks and armored personnel carriers around the hospital and has fired rounds into the building, killing twelve people.

The playbook is familiar. Flyers are dropped by Israel over a hospital, telling people to leave because the hospital is a base for "Hamas terrorist activities." Tanks and artillery shells rip away parts of the hospital walls. Israeli missiles blow up ambulances. Power and water are cut. Medical supplies are blocked. There are no painkillers, antibiotics or oxygen. The most vulnerable, premature babies in incubators and the gravely ill die. Israeli soldiers raid the hospital and force everyone out at gunpoint.

This is what happened at Al Shifa Hospital. This is what happened at Al Rantisi Children's Hospital. This is what happened at Gaza's main psychiatric hospital. This is what happened at Nasser Hospital. This is what happened at the other hospitals that Israel has destroyed. And this is what will happen at the few hospitals that remain.

Israel has shut down 21 of Gaza's 35 hospitals, including Gaza's only cancer hospital. The hospitals still operating have severe shortages of basic medicine and supplies. One by one, the hospitals are being picked off. Soon, there will be no health facilities left. This is by design.

Tens of thousands of terrified Palestinians, forced to evacuate by Israel, their homes blasted into rubble, seek refuge from the relentless bombing by camping out in and around Gaza's hospitals. They hope Israel will not target the medical centers. If Israel abided by the Geneva Conventions, they would be correct. But Israel is not carrying out a war. It is carrying out a genocide. And in a genocide, a population, and all that sustains a population, is obliterated.

Israeli airstrike on the Indonesian Hospital
Civilian casualties from an Israeli airstrike on the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, November 21, 2023

In an ominous sign that Israel will turn on the Palestinians in the West Bank once it is done flattening Gaza, armored vehicles have surrounded at least four West Bank hospitals. Israeli soldiers have raided the Ibn Sina Hospital along with the East Jerusalem Hospital.

Israel's settler colonial state was founded on lies. It is sustained by lies. And now, when it is grimly determined to carry out the worst slaughter and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba, or "catastrophe," that saw 750,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed and some 50 massacres by Jewish militias, it spits out one grotesque absurdity after another. It speaks of Palestinians as a dehumanized mass. There are no mothers, fathers, children, teachers, doctors, lawyers, cooks, poets, taxi drivers or shopkeepers. Palestinians, in the Israeli lexicon, are a single contagion that must be eradicated.

Watch this video of Israeli school children singing, "We Will Annihilate Everyone" in Gaza.

Hitler Youth used to sing songs like this about Jews.

Those who embark upon projects of mass killing lie to avoid demoralizing their own populations, lull the victims into believing they will not all be exterminated and stop outside forces from intervening. The Nazis claimed that Jews packed on trains and sent to extermination camps were on work details and had good medical care and adequate food. As for the infirm and elderly, they were cared for in rest centers. The Nazis even created a mock camp for the "resettlement" of Jews "to the East," – Theresienstadt – where international bodies such as the Red Cross could see how humanely the Jews were treated, even as millions were being exterminated.

At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million Armenians were massacred or died of exposure, disease and starvation during the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire from the spring of 1915 to the autumn of 1916. The Armenian genocide was as public as the genocide in Gaza. European and U.S. consular missions provided detailed accounts of the campaign to cleanse modern-day Türkiye of Armenians.

The Ottoman government, in an attempt to hide the genocide, banned foreigners from taking photographs of Armenian refugees or the corpses that lined the roads. Israel, too, has blocked the foreign press from Gaza, carrying out only a handful of brief and carefully staged visits arranged by the Israeli military. Israel periodically cuts off internet and phone services. Israel has killed at least 43 Palestinian journalists and media workers since the Hamas incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, many undoubtedly targeted by Israeli forces.

Armenians, like Palestinians, were forced from their homes, gunned down and denied food and water. Armenian deportees were sent on death marches to the Syrian Desert, where tens of thousands were shot or died from starvation, cholera, malaria, dysentery and influenza. Israel is forcing 1.1 million Palestinians into the southern tip of Gaza and bombing them as they flee. These refugees, like the Armenians, lack food, water, fuel and sanitation. They, too, will soon succumb to epidemics of infectious diseases.

Talat Pasha, the de facto leader of the Ottoman Empire, told the United States ambassador, Henry Morgenthau Sr., in words that replicate Israel's stance, on Aug. 2, 1915, "that our Armenian policy is absolutely fixed and that nothing can change it. We will not have the Armenians anywhere in Anatolia. They can live in the desert but nowhere else."

The longer the genocide continues, the more absurd the lies become.

There are big Israeli lies. The obliteration of Gaza and wanton killing of thousands of Palestinians, Israel insists, is a targeted effort to get rid of Hamas rather than a campaign to reduce Gaza to a pile of rubble, carry out mass murder and ethnically cleanse Palestinians.

There are small Israeli lies. Forty beheaded babies. Al Shifa Hospital is a "Hamas command center." A calendar in Arabic on the wall of a hospital, according to IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, is "a guardian [guard] list, where every terrorist writes his name and every terrorist has his own shift guarding the people that were here." An Israeli actor dressed up as a nurse and speaking heavily accented Arabic claims to be a Palestinian doctor and to have seen Hamas use civilians as human shields. She says members of Hamas "attacked Al Shifa Hospital" and stole "the fuel and medicine." Palestinian militants, rather than Israeli tanks, Israel says, are responsible for shelling Al Shifa Hospital. Israel struck a car full of "terrorists" in southern Lebanon, "terrorists" who turned out to be three girls, their mother and grandmother. The explosion at the Al Ahli Hospital was the result of an errant rocket fired by the Palestinians, a claim questioned by The New York Times when it discredited the video based on analysis of its time stamp. Israel said it "responded to the request of the director of Shifa Hospital to allow Gazan citizens who were sheltering in the hospital and who wish to evacuate from Shifa Hospital towards the humanitarian crossing in the Gaza Strip via a secure axis," a statement Mohammed Zaqout, director general of hospitals in Gaza, said was "false," adding "we were forced to leave by gunpoint." Israeli Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, in a video pilloried by the BBC, shows viewers a meager stash of automatic weapons in a promotional video that magically increases once foreign reporters arrive for a guided tour. The IDF later deleted it.

The lies will be written into the Israeli school books. The lies will be repeated by Israeli politicians, historians and journalists. The lies will be told on Israeli television, films, and books. Israelis are eternal victims. Palestinians are absolute evil. There was no genocide. Türkiye, a century later, still denies what happened to the Armenians.

ndonesian Hospital in northern Gaza
A Palestinian doctor carries a child as he flees the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, November 21, 2023. Photo | Quds News Network

In wartime, people believe what they want to believe. The lies fill a hunger within the Israeli public that sees the conflict as a binary struggle between "the children of light and the children of darkness." The lies are a defense against accountability, for if Israel refuses to acknowledge reality, it is not forced to respond to reality. The lies create cognitive dissonance, where fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes truth. The lies make any discussion of genocide or reconciliation impossible.

Israel, with the backing of the Biden administration, will continue to snuff out all systems that sustain life in Gaza. Hospitals. Schools. Power plants. Water treatment facilities. Factories. Farms. Apartment blocks. Houses. Then Israel will pretend, like the killers in past genocides, that it never happened.

The lies used by Israel to absolve itself of responsibility will eat away at Israeli society. They will corrode its moral, religious, civic, intellectual and political life. The lies will elevate war criminals to heroic status and demonize those with a conscience. Israel's genocide, as with the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia, will be mythologized, an epic battle against the forces of evil and barbarity, just as we mythologized the genocide of Native Americans and turned our settlers and murderous cavalry units into heroes. The killers in the Indonesian war against communism are cheered at rallies as saviors. They are interviewed about the "heroic" battles they fought nearly six decades ago. Israel will do the same. It will deform itself. It will celebrate its crimes. It will turn evil into good. It will exist within a self-constructed myth. The truth, as in all despotisms, will be banished. Israel, a monster to the Palestinians, will be a monster to itself.

Feature photo | Eve of Destruction – by Mr. Fish

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.

The post Chris Hedges: Israel's War on Hospitals appeared first on MintPress News.

Text to Speech by: ResponsiveVoice-NonCommercial licensed under 95x15
website no use cookies, no spying, no tracking
to use the website, we check:
country: US · city: North · ip:
device: computer · browser: CCBot 2 · platform:
counter: 1 · online:
created and powered by:
RobiYogi.com - Professional Responsive Websites
 please wait loading data...