‘In what’s been described as the largest scandal in modern sports history, nine high-ranking soccer officials, including two current vice presidents of soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, were indicted along with five sports marketing executives on federal corruption charges by the U.S. Justice Department. Among those arrested in connection with the probe is Jack Warner, former vice president of FIFA, who is accused of taking a $10 million bribe to cast his ballot for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup. Despite the arrests, FIFA is holding an election today to pick the next president of the organization. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is seeking re-election for the post he has held since 1998. Many commentators have predicted he will be re-elected, though some nations, including the United States, have vowed to vote against him. We speak to sportswriter Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff, former professional soccer player who represented the U.S. Olympic soccer team.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Sepp Blatter re-elected as Fifa president for fifth term
- The 12 people who ruined world football
- Congolese FIFA official claims Germany also paid for right to host World Cup 2006
- FIFA scandal: Jack Warner pictured dancing after leaving hospital with ‘exhaustion’
- Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner responds to corruption charges
- The shady world of FIFA’s Trinidad Jack
- A timeline of FIFA scandals under Blatter
- Crackdown on FIFA… Can the Banksters be Next? Interview with Mike Papantonio
- Corrupt FIFA Has Clinton Foundation Ties; World Cup Host Qatar Gave Millions
- Sepp Blatter Re-Elected Just In Time for the Women’s World Cup
- Documentaries: FIFA’s Dirty Secrets (2010) and Football’s Shame (2011)
‘Israelis were expecting some big news to come out of the annual FIFA Congress this week. But they probably weren’t expecting this.
[…] The allegations are damning, but frankly, they couldn’t have come at a better time for Israel. Until Wednesday, much of the coverage of the FIFA Congress surrounded whether delegates would vote to suspend Israel from world soccer.
The Palestinian Football Association is introducing the motion to suspend Israel, accusing it of unjustly restricting Palestinian soccer players’ freedom of movement and claiming that Israel’s West Bank settlement teams violate FIFA rules. Israeli officials have called the effort blatantly political and said that the Palestinians’ complaints all concern Israel’s security forces — not Israel’s soccer teams.
For Israel to be suspended, three quarters of delegates would need to approve the motion. If that were a long shot before, it’s even more unlikely now.’
- Palestinians complain to FIFA: Israel delays our soccer players at checkpoints
- The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA
- Palestinian soccer players tell FIFA Israel violates their ‘basic rights’
- Palestinians confident Fifa will ban Israel from world football
- Fifa president Sepp Blatter proposes Israel v Palestine ‘peace match’
‘The Israeli group Breaking the Silence issued a report this morning containing testimony from Israeli soldiers about the savagery and criminality committed by the Israeli military during the attack on Gaza last summer. The Independent has a good article describing the report’s findings: “The Israeli military deliberately pounded civilian areas in the Gaza Strip with incessant fire of inaccurate ordinance” and “was at best indifferent about casualties among the Palestinian population.” At best.
This should surprise nobody who paid any attention to the brutal Israeli destruction of Gaza or, for that matter, countless Israeli attacks before that. The U.N. has said that 7 out of 10 people killed by the Israelis were civilians, “including 1,462 civilians, among them 495 children and 253 women”;video of Israelis killing four Gazan boys as they played on a beach sickened anyone decent.
Nonetheless, reading the accounts from these Israeli soldiers is revolting and important in equal parts. It shines considerable light on the reality of what Israeli loyalists have long hailed as “the most moral army in the world,” one unfairly held to a difference standard that ignores their great “restraint.”’
- ‘Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- The U.N. says 7 in 10 Palestinians killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel disagrees.
- Gaza-Israel conflict: Four boys killed on beach by rocket fire
- When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more
Of the 2,220 Palestinians killed during Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign, at least 1,492 were civilians, including at least 547 children.
A total of 535 of those children were killed as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Moreover, 68 percent of children Israel killed in Gaza were under the age of twelve, according to the report.
An additional 3,374 children were injured, including over 1,000 who have been left with lifelong disabilities, many of which require medical care that is inaccessible in Gaza due to a crushing Israeli siege that has yet to be lifted. Another 373,000 children are suffering from deep trauma and require desperately needed psychosocial support that is severely lacking in the Gaza Strip.
As a matter of policy, Israel deliberately and indiscriminately targeted the very spaces where children are supposed to feel most secure. Such acts violate international law and amount to war crimes, according to the report.’
- Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged on Gaza’s Children
- International aid agencies call for sanctions on Israel over Gaza “stalemate”
- Sixty percent of global drone exports come from Israel
- High civilian death toll in Gaza house strikes
- Israeli army uses Gaza children as human shields
- Probe of Gaza op’s ‘Black Friday': Soldiers faced ‘unreasonable’ situation
- Israeli officer admits ordering lethal strike on own soldier during Gaza massacre
Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of 2,314 Palestinians and 17,125 injuries, compared with 39 deaths and 3,964 injuries in 2013, according to the annual report (pdf) by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The conflict in Gaza in July and August was largely responsible for the dramatic increase in fatalities. It claimed the lives of 2,220 Gazans, of whom 1,492 were civilians, 605 militants and 123 unverified.’
- Israel’s election result: Netanyahu wins decisively
- Deep Wounds and Lingering Questions After Israel’s Bitter Race
- Obama snubs Binyamin Netanyahu and criticises Israel PM’s ‘divisive rhetoric’
- Netanyahu’s shock re-election leaves Israel’s pollsters red-faced
- Netanyahu Win Sets Stage for Far-Right Government
- Palestinians Better Off with Netanyahu: Interview with Ali Abunimah
- Netanyahu: No Palestinian State If I’m Reelected
- Netanyahu Vows Tens of Thousands of New Settlement Homes if Reelected
‘The rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza could take more than a century to complete unless an Israeli blockade restricting imports of construction materials into the Gaza Strip is lifted, aid agency Oxfam said on Thursday.
Gaza needs more than 800,000 truckloads of building materials to repair infrastructure damaged in the 2014 war with Israel, yet less than a quarter of one percent of the materials needed have entered Gaza in the last three months, Oxfam said.”
- Gaza donations fall way short of pledges
- Gaza resident: ‘Everyone has forgotten us’
- Banksy video takes aim at Gaza destruction
- The world has broken its promises about rebuilding Gaza – and the children will suffer
- Palestinian political stalemate is stalling Gaza rebuilding, says U.N. envoy
- Israel to use frozen Palestinian tax funds to offset PA electricity debt
- Quartet links rebuilding Gaza with ceding Palestinian rights
‘The Israel Defense Forces broke international law at least in some of the dozens of strikes it made against homes during the fighting in Gaza last summer, according to a report released this week by the human rights group B’Tselem.
[…] More than 70 percent of the people killed in 70 incidents examined by B’Tselem were non-combatants, according to the report, a copy of which was also given to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In these 70 strikes, 606 Palestinians were killed, B’Tselem says, including 93 children under age 5, 129 children ages 5 to 14, and 42 teens, ages 14 to 18. This figure also included 135 women ages 18 to 60, and 37 men over 60 years old.’
‘A hundred years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have a pair of Muslim men enter a cafe or a public transportation vehicle, and then blow themselves up, killing dozens. Or to massacre the staff of a satirical magazine in Paris! Things like that were simply not done.
When you read the memoirs of Edward Said, or talk to old men and women in East Jerusalem, it becomes clear that the great part of Palestinian society used to be absolutely secular and moderate. It cared about life, culture, and even fashion, more than about religious dogmas.
The same could be said about many other Muslim societies, including those of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. Old photos speak for themselves. That is why it is so important to study old images again and again, carefully.
Islam is not only a religion; it is also an enormous culture, one of the greatest on Earth, which has enriched our humanity with some of the paramount scientific and architectural achievements, and with countless discoveries in the field of medicine. Muslims have written stunning poetry, and composed beautiful music. But above all, they developed some of the earliest social structures in the world, including enormous public hospitals and the first universities on earth, like The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.
The idea of ‘social’ was natural to many Muslim politicians, and had the West not brutally interfered, by overthrowing left-wing governments and putting on the throne fascist allies of London, Washington and Paris; almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders.’
‘Throughout the past several months, Jerusalem has been a scene of clashes and violent attacks. Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just steps away from Jerusalem’s Old City, has been at the heart of the unrest, and is becoming one of the most contentious neighborhoods in the most contested city in the world. As settlement expansion into East Jerusalem continues, Israeli authorities have ramped up their practice of demolishing homes built without proper permits — permits which are near impossible for Palestinians to acquire. In addition to the demolitions due to lack of permits, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in early November the reinstatement of the policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes, which Palestinians claim is a form of collective punishment. VICE News traveled to Silwan and met with Palestinians and Israelis living in this contested neighborhood at a time when Jerusalem is more divided than ever.’ (VICE News)
‘The US State Department said on Friday that the Palestinian application to join the International Criminal Court will have “implications” for US aid to the Palestinian Authority.
“It should come as no surprise that there will be implications for this step, but we continue to review,” the official told Reuters.
“US assistance to the Palestinian Authority has played a valuable role in promoting stability and prosperity not just for the Palestinians, but also for Israel as well,” the official added.
Washington sends about $400 million in economic support aid to the Palestinians every year. Under US law, that aid would be cut off if the Palestinians used membership in the International Criminal Court to make claims against Israel.’
‘“There was a clear message from international community to the Palestinians: Do not try to use tricks to replace negotiations,” a top Foreign Ministry official told Ynet, but the American effort to torpedo the Palestinian’s UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel end its ‘occupation’ of the West Bank proved once again the importance of maintaining good relations with Washington.
Furthermore, the abstention by African nations also demonstrated the importance of the visits made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to the African continent. However, the change of power set to take place in the Security Council on Thursday will change the balance of power against Israel.
The rejection of the Palestinian resolution by the UN Security Council on Tuesday night was a reminder of the great extent to which Israel-US relations serve as a critical factor in Israeli national security. It only strengthens the need for Israel to maintain good relations with Washington in general and more specifically with the White House, and prevent disagreements such as the one that occurred between Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Israeli diplomats say that the US played a crucial role in the effort to block the Palestinian resolution which sought to set a time table for Israel’s disengagement from territories for a future Palestinian state without direct negotiations.’
- Abbas mulls another UN Security Council bid for Palestinian state
- France to Israel: We backed Palestinians in Security Council to prevent ICC bid
- US and Israeli intervention led UN to reject Palestinian resolution
- Palestinians plan next steps after failed UN bid
- UK declares it cannot support Palestinian UN bid
- Palestinian statehood bid fails at UN Security Council as US, Australia vote against
‘Palestine is not an environment story’: How Nafeez Ahmed was censored from The Guardian for writing about Israel’s war for Gaza’s gas
Editor’s Note: Nafeez Ahmed recently launched a crowdfunding drive in order to support his great journalism and with the hopeful aim of creating his own investigative journalism collective. Please support him in any way you can. You can find links to more of his work here.
‘After writing for The Guardian for over a year, my contract was unilaterally terminated because I wrote a piece on Gaza that was beyond the pale. In doing so, The Guardian breached the very editorial freedom the paper was obligated to protect under my contract. I’m speaking out because I believe it is in the public interest to know how a Pulitizer Prize-winning newspaper which styles itself as the world’s leading liberal voice, casually engaged in an act of censorship to shut down coverage of issues that undermined Israel’s publicised rationale for going to war.
I joined the Guardian as an environment blogger in April 2013. Prior to this, I had been an author, academic and freelance journalist for over a decade, writing for The Independent, Independent on Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, among others.
On 9th July 2014, I posted an article via my Earth Insight blog at The Guardian’s environment website, exposing the role of Palestinian resources, specifically Gaza’s off-shore natural gas reserves, in partly motivating Israel’s invasion of Gaza aka ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ Among the sources I referred to was a policy paper written by incumbent Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon one year before Operation Cast Lead, underscoring that the Palestinians could never be allowed to develop their own energy resources as any revenues would go to supporting Palestinian terrorism.’
- Israel’s bridge to the Arab world: Palestinian natural gas?
- IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis
- Gaza: Israel’s $4 billion gas grab
- Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s stolen gas
- Read more of Nafeez Ahmed’s work…
- Jonathan Cook: The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian
- Jonathan Cook: Language that disappears the Palestinians
- A profile of Jonathan Cook
- But Where Are the Angels Now?
- Disenchantment: The “Guardian” and Israel: The “Guardian” and Israel (Book)
‘As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse Sunday, Palestinians knocked a hole through an altogether different wall this weekend.
Palestinian activists affiliated with local popular resistance committees broke through the West Bank separation barrier Saturday, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
“No matter how high walls are built, they will fall,” the popular committees said in a statement cited by Ma’an. “Just as the Berlin Wall fell, the wall in Palestine will fall, along with the occupation.”‘
‘The problem of special interests or lobbies was one of the foremost concerns of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In their day they were called factions. James Madison, who is considered the architect of the U.S. Constitution, devoted the entire tenth Federalist Paper (1787) to the problem. He defined a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority … actuated by some common … interest, adverse to … the aggregate interests of the community,” and believed that within the context of liberal republicanism, they could never be eliminated. However, he did feel they could be controlled. To this end he sought to create representative bodies with high numbers of delegates and a wide diversity of interests in the hope that they would counterbalance each other.
When George Washington delivered his famous Farewell Address in 1796, he too noted the problem. Washington warned of “combinations and associations” which attempt to “direct, control, counteract and awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities” and thereby substitute their own desires for the “delegated will of the nation.” As Washington’s continued concern implied, James Madison’s approach to controlling special interests or factions never proved adequate.’
‘Israeli officials were unsuccessful in their attempts to condition the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, badly damaged during the summer Israeli invasion, on a full disarmament of Hamas and other factions within the strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly demanded the precondition, but it was ultimately sidelined, as the donor nations pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction, solely on the condition that the ceasefire with Israel hold.’
- Norwegian FM: ‘Only half of donated funds to go toward Gaza reconstruction’
- Lieberman: US will not make demands of Israel on Gaza reconstruction
- Israeli minister: World may be wasting its money on Gaza
- Despite pledged $2.7B, challenges ahead for Gaza
- Qatar To Provide $1 Bln For Gaza Reconstruction
- Kerry pledges more U.S. aid to rebuild Gaza
- Palestinian PM: Rebuilding Gaza top priority
- Palestinian official: Israel to allow import of building material to Gaza next week
- Palestinian unity gov’t seeks to signal that aid won’t go to Hamas
- US: Israel must play role in rebuilding Gaza
- In Gaza’s Rubble, Shelters Symbolize the Challenge Ahead
‘The British parliament voted Monday in favor of a non-binding motion to recognize the state of Palestine, in a majority vote of 274-12.
The vote, which followed a debate that lasted nearly five hours, has no practical significance since it does not oblige the British government to change its current policy of recognizing Palestine only after a peace deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. The vote passed thanks to the Labour Party’s mobilization, as well as the Conservative Party’s virtual absence from the vote.
Outside the Palace of Westminster over the course of the debate, a small group of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators held a banner saying “Time to start giving back what we had no right to take” – a reference to the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which the British government committed itself to establishing a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine. Inside, many of the speakers in the debate, in which over 50 members of parliament asked to participate, mentioned the Balfour Declaration as well, and with it what they saw as Britain’s special responsibility to solving the Israel-Palestine conflict.’
- MPs’ vote on Palestine state recognition is part of growing international trend
- Israel decries UK vote on Palestinian state; PLO rejoices
- Labour split on vote over Palestine state
- George Galloway to Abstain as it ‘Accepts Recognition of Israel’
- Swedish PM’s recognition of Palestine violates law, says legislator
- Christian clerics to Europe: Recognize Palestinian statehood
- EU set to reassess ties if Israel doesn’t move on peace
- UK-Israel trade hits record high despite Gaza carnage
- Sweden: Israel is not being singled out
- Israel to Summon Swedish Envoy Over Palestine Recognition
‘In Moscow this summer, while reporting a story for Wired magazine, I had the rare opportunity to hang out for three days with Edward J. Snowden. It gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding of who he is and why, as a National Security Agency contractor, he took the momentous step of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.
Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.’
- Veterans of Elite Israeli Unit Refuse Reserve Duty, Citing Treatment of Palestinians
- Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories
- NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel
- Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’
‘”There is a taboo,” said the visionary Edward Said, “on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel. Only when this truth is out can any of us be free.”
For many people, the truth is out now. At last, they know. Those once intimidated into silence can’t look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop, phone, is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the United States, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.
The attack on Gaza was an attack on all of us. The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day.’
‘Gideon Levy is preaching in the wilderness. Week after week, the columnist for Haaretz newspaper tells his compatriots what they do not want to hear: that the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank are immoral and counter-productive; that the continued seizure of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements is a “criminal enterprise” intended to foil any chance for peace.
[…] Levy is grateful to Amos Schocken, the third-generation owner of Haaretz, for standing by him. Some 2,000 readers cancelled subscriptions because of his July 14th column criticising Israeli air force pilots who bombed Gaza… During the war, Levy was threatened, heckled and spat upon. Haaretz hired bodyguards to protect him. Yariv Levin, the leader of the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu coalition in the Knesset, said he should be tried for treason, which carries the death penalty in time of war.’
‘Teachers in Jerusalem say they are concerned about facing more racism than ever before in the capital’s schools, especially following Operation Protective Edge. As the school year opens, the Education Ministry has published lesson plans on racism to be taught during the first two weeks, but many teachers say that is not enough.’
- Activists wage vigilante efforts against racism in Jerusalem
- Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar
- Jews and Arabs in Israel more estranged after war
- Israeli Teens Gripped by Virulent Racism
- Israel ‘coercing Eritreans and Sudanese to leave’
- Education Ministry plans teaching children to be ‘Jewish fighters’
- Likud MK caught on tape calling Jerusalem police chief ‘a coward’ for handling of Arab riots
- Bill seeks to give Israeli Arabs official national minority status
- ‘Arabic out': Right-wing MKs aim to make Hebrew Israel’s only official language
- Joan Rivers: ‘Low IQ’ Palestinians ‘Deserve to Be Dead’
- Israel’s New Generation of Racists
‘Netanyahu’s war-turned-genocide in Gaza has backfired badly – his strategy has helped resurrect Hamas, the very movement he tried desperately to crush
Aside from being a major military setback, Israel’s war on Gaza has also disoriented the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like never before. Since the announcement of a ceasefire on 26 August, his statements appear erratic and particularly uncertain, an expected outcome of the Gaza war.’
‘As the world gears up to finance Gaza’s $6bn reconstruction after Operation Protective Edge, an EU source has revealed that Israel will earn billions of euros by making sure that all the steel, concrete and other materials and other aid are sourced in Israel and benefit Israeli companies.
At least 65,000 people in the Gaza Strip are homeless after the recent seven-week conflict. Infrastructure ranging from water desalination centres to power plants lies in ruins.
No formal Israeli ban prevents the import of reconstruction materials that were not made in Israel, but EU sources speaking on condition of anonymity say that in practice, Israeli security demands present them with a fait accompli.’
- Gaza: Life amid the rubble in Shejaiya (includes aerial footage)
- Palestinian migrants fleeing Gaza Strip drown in Mediterranean Sea
- Post-war counselling awaits Gaza children going back to school
- Israel denies Palestine education minister entry into Gaza
- Lost Homes and Dreams at Tower Israel Leveled
- Gazans move into mobile homes donated by UAE
- Venezuela sends more aid planes to Gaza
- World Bank: Israel curbing growth of Palestinian business
- Senior EU officials warn Gaza despondency could lead to more violence
- Rebuilding Gaza will take 20 years, group says
- Destroying Gaza’s Water System
- Palestinian donors wary of funding Hamas-run Gaza
- Palestinians put Gaza reconstruction cost at $7.8 billion
- Wounded Gazans struggle to find treatment after war
- Top Army Official: Israel underestimated Gaza militants
- Netanyahu threatens reoccupation of Gaza Strip
- UN: Over 50,000 people remain in shelters in Gaza
- Palestinian leader says Hamas caused prolonged war
- Qatar says ready to rebuild war-battered Gaza
- Journalist Mohammed Omer on Ceasefire Deal and Rebuilding
- Gaza war: It’s about keeping the Palestinians under control
‘As the Israeli offensive in Gaza resumes, we look at the impact the military campaign has had on the children of Gaza. More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July. That is more than the combined number of child fatalities in the two previous conflicts in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a life-long disability. The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. And, based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children’s right to an education has also been severely compromised with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. We speak to Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF’s Gaza field office. “There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” Ironside says. “The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children.”’ (Democracy Now!)