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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

News Media Matters

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]

07.16 George Will's startling assessment of Donald Trump

07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

Justice Matters

07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

High Crimes
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Israeli Settlement Expansions Continue

COMMENTARY:

Israeli Settlement Expansions Continue

by Stephen Lendman
Friday, 12 March 2010

Israel is criminally liable for repeatedly violating fundamental international laws it's sworn to uphold but has yet to be held accountable. For certain, however, what can't go on forever, won't, but it's up to grassroots pressure to assure it.

Currently, around 500,000 Jews reside illegally in over 120 West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements as well as dozens of outposts. Their numbers grow daily despite occasional pledges to curtail or slow them, the latest last November when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 10 month freeze, calling it a move to "help launch meaningful negotiations to reach a historic peace agreement that would finally end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians."

Never mind Israel's history of past peace process futility because all previous efforts were more pretense than real, or as some Palestinians say - How can they negotiate in good faith without a willing partner? They've never had one and don't in Netanyahu, an extremist hard-right zealot.

The same holds for a settlement freeze, just rhetoric with no substance, especially given Israel's plan to make all Jerusalem a Jewish city, according to Netanyahu. During a May 22, 2009 Jerusalem Day ceremony (commemorating the city's 1967 reunification), he declared:

"United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided."

For East Jerusalem Palestinians, it means removing them one settlement expansion and home demolition at a time.

So much for the peace process and freeze, evidenced by a February 26 Haaretz report saying Israel "plans to build another 600 homes in East Jerusalem" on Occupied Palestinian land.

Then on March 10, Israel's Interior Ministry approved 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, "an ultra-Orthodox East Jerusalem neighborhood" during vice president Joe Biden's visit to restart no-peace peace talks, the same as past stillborn efforts.

A Haaretz March 11 report goes further, saying planning officials confirm that:

"Some 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line are in various stages of planning and approval." Plans for 20,000 apartments "are in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder have yet to be submitted to the planning committees."

According to Ir Amin, activists for a stable and equitable Jerusalem, construction this vast "will move Israel beyond the point of no return" and render conflict resolution impossible.

This highlights Netanyahu's earlier disingenuous announcement that:

"a policy of restraint regarding settlements (will) include a suspension of new permits and new construction in Judea and Samaria for a period of ten months (as well as) a promise to enable normal life to continue for three hundred thousand Israeli citizens, our brothers and sisters, who live in Judea and Samaria (what Jews call the West Bank)."

Yet unlimited East Jerusalem expansions continue where 200,000 Jews already live on expropriated Palestinian land. In addition, thousands of West Bank housing units and other construction continue or are planned as Netanyahu explained last November saying:

"When the suspension ends (or sooner), my government will revert to the policies of previous governments in relation to construction," meaning expropriating Palestinian land is policy, and no plans will change it.

He then added:

  • housing already underway will continue;
  • "we will continue to build synagogues, schools, kindergartens and public buildings essential for normal (settlement) life; (and)
  • We do not put any restrictions on building in our sovereign capital," referring to East and West Jerusalem, even though East is Occupied Territory.

On February 17, Haaretz' chief political columnist Akiva Eldar reacted, saying "you'd have to be blind, an idiot, or a member of the Yesha Council of settlements to use the term 'freeze' to describe the real estate situation in Judea and Samaria." Among other projects, a new Ariel industrial zone continues, Eldar adding with tongue in cheek:

"It seems that the freeze (in) new industrial zones in national priority zones....in the heart of the West Bank is not at the top of the (government's) list of priorities."

National Priority Areas (NPAs)

On December 13, 2009, the Netanyahu government approved Decision No. 1060, titled, "Defining Towns and Areas with National Priority," classifying Israeli and West Bank areas as NPAs. In Israel, 40% of their residents are Arab Israelis, sure to lose out because officials may decide where and in what amounts funding will be directed. As a result, Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, contested the move before Israel's High Court of Justice (HCJ). More on that below.

Israel's Earlier NPA Definition

On February 15, 1998, the earlier Netanyahu government approved Decision No. 3292, classifying 553 "A" and "B" towns and villages as NPAs, only four being Arab ones, a decision Adalah also challenged for the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and the Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education for discriminating against non-Jews.

On February 27, 2006, the HCJ agreed, saying this law can't give the government or its officials sweeping authority to distribute benefits and budget allocations as it wishes. It allowed one year for implementation.

It's still waiting, and in June 2009, the Knesset passed the NPA Law as a provision of the Economic Arrangements Law, contradicting the HCJ's High Follow-Up ruling.

Its language is vague. It doesn't define an NPA or list qualifying towns and villages, what funding they'll get, or over what period of time. It also lets officials distribute benefits as they wish, based on whatever criteria they decide. It thus defies the HCJ by granting the government broad discretionary powers, and it extends past government decisions until January 13, 2012, six years after the Court's ruling.

Despite strong Knesset opposition, the law passed. According to attorney Ben Yitzhak, counsel to the Knesset's Finance Committee:

"The legislative proposal, as presently submitted here, does not include any mechanism of oversight or control by the Knesset....The fundamental rule, which the Supreme Court has also reiterated, is that legislation must anchor the general policy and the guiding criteria in the foundation of the action and legislative objective. (In) this sense, (it) constitutes a deviation from these models."

Other MKs called it in contempt of the HCJ ruling. It's supposed to have the final say, but not in Israel. Its governments have a history of ignoring or contravening Court rulings, doing as they please, with no recriminations from its highest judicial body that walks loudly but carries a small stick, and at times none at all.

Based on the new NPA law, the government classified NPAs by four criteria:

  • periphery areas and socio-economic classifications;
  • the security threat level;
  • their distance from an international border; and
  • whether a community was established in the past five years.

Ones being funding weren't specified, only regions, and officials got sweeping allocation authority for the following purposes:

  • elementary, secondary and higher education;
  • housing and urban development;
  • employment;
  • engineering infrastructure; and
  • culture and sport.

In addition, NPA designation may exclude towns and villages in them and permits broad distribution discretion. So much that even government officials expressed concern, saying: "such considerations and awarding of benefits could result in a differentiation between towns or villages in the same district, or a differentiation within a town or village."

The decision further says that, because of budget constraints, funds will be allocated to at most 25% of the state's population within NPAs. It also lets officials distribute some benefits to one town but not another, based on their say alone, adding to the discriminatory bias that will totally exclude Arab areas and favor higher socio-economic Jewish ones over others.

As in America, the rich take care of their own, letting others take the hindmost, even though doing so contradicts the NPA's purpose - to help poorer areas, including Arab ones, not self-sufficient well-off communities.

The NPA law also includes West Bank settlements under the "level of security threat" criterion - no matter that it's illegal under international law, Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating:

"The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

Since 1967, Israel did it half a million times and counting.

In addition, NPA settlements will be funded for whatever purposes official decide. Yet they're defined at the district and regional level. In other words, for funding purposes, a distinction is made between a designated area and individual towns and villages in it.

Adalah will contest the law, believing the government failed to implement the HCJ's ruling in the High Follow-Up Committee Case. The 2009 NPA Law contravenes it by its vague language and sweeping classification discretion. Officials may decide what areas qualify, amounts they'll get, for what purposes, and for how long.

The law also permits the previous government's January 2012 extension that the HCJ ruled discriminatory against Arab areas and promotes aggressive settlement development and expansion. It's arbitrary and illegal, harms Israeli Arabs and West Bank Palestinians, and four years after the Court's ruling, it's still impossible to compile a list of qualifying NPAs because of the law's vagueness.

Israeli National Heritage Sites

All countries have them, including Israel. For example, in 2001, the ancient Masada fortress was designated, and in 2003 Tel Aviv's White City, a collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus or international style buildings built since the 1930s by German Jewish architects, emigrating to escape the Nazis.

Establishing them in Israel is one thing, in Occupied Palestine another, and that's the problem.

Yet on February 23, Netanyahu added Hebron's Cave of the Patriachs and Bethlehem's Rachel's Tomb, saying the right-wing religious Shas party persuaded him, no matter they're in Occupied Palestine, not Israel, and thus illegal under international law.

MKs reacted to the decision. The left of center Meretz party chairman Haim Oron said: "This is an attempt to blur the lines between the State of Israel and the Occupied Territories. Just a little pressure from the right and Netanyahu" caves. "This decision casts the prime minister's....declaration (for) two states for two peoples in a ridiculous light."

For MK Talab al-Sana of United Arab List-Ta'al: "The government's decision attests to its cynical criteria that would include places holy to Muslims and Christians," besides being a thinly veiled way to expropriate more Palestinian land in defiance of international law.

Israeli extremist elements praised the decision as did Knesset hard-liners.

A Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) press release condemned it, saying it "was taken on the eve of the 16th anniversary of the mass killing of 29 Palestinian worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque by an Israeli settler, Baroch Goldstein, on 25 February 1994."

It also violated international law, including:

  • the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict defining it as "movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people;"
  • its Article 2 calling for "the protection of cultural property (to include) the safeguarding of and respect for such property;" and
  • Article 9 of its Second Protocol prohibiting "any illicit export, other removal or transfer of ownership of cultural property."
  • Fourth Geneva calls "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly," a grave Convention breach.

The 1999 review of the 1954 Hague Convention and Second Protocol updates "military necessity" to include the "proportionality" prohibition against disproportionate, indiscriminate force likely to cause damage to or loss of lives and objects.

And the 2004 Cairo Declaration on the Protection of Cultural Property affirmed the 1954 Hague Convention principle that "damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all humankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world."

Israel is criminally liable for repeatedly violating fundamental international laws it's sworn to uphold but has yet to be held accountable. For certain, however, what can't go on forever, won't, but it's up to grassroots pressure to assure it.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on March 12, 2010.
 

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