20 March 2017

Special offer for Lebanon: Time travel with the Israeli military

Middle East Eye

As Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett sees it, another war between Israel and its Lebanese neighbour “will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages”.
This endearing soundbite was reported on 13 March by Haaretz correspondent Amos Harel following a conversation with Bennett. According to the article, the minister invoked Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s remarks regarding Hezbollah’s integral role in Lebanon’s defence apparatus to justify the medieval approach.
To be sure, Hezbollah’s defensive functions proved particularly irritating to the Israelis when, in 2000, the organisation spearheaded the eviction of Israel from Lebanese territory after more than two decades of occupation.
The Middle Ages treatment meanwhile appears to boil down to a total eradication of any distinction between the Lebanese state and Hezbollah and between military and civilian elements in the country.
Bennett rues an alleged Israeli promise to the United States government in 2006 “not to hit Lebanon’s infrastructure” during that summer’s 34-day war - a promise the education minister contends thwarted an Israeli victory. He proposes the following formula for future conflicts:
“The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out.” READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.

18 March 2017

Fear and loathing on the border

Al Jazeera English

As Donald Trump's sordid vision of a "big, beautiful wall" on the United States-Mexico border begins to take shape, The Guardian has revealed that - of the more than 600 companies currently vying to get in on the wall-building action - 10 percent are identified as "Hispanic-American-owned" businesses.
Posing a greater ethical dilemma, perhaps, is the potential opportunity for Mexican cement manufacturing giant Cemex to profit handsomely from manic border fortification efforts. The firm has seen its shares leap in value since Trump's election in November.
Of course, there's little room for ethics when gobs of money are at stake. According to Reuters, an internal US Department of Homeland Security report puts the price-tag of the wall at up to $21.6bn.
Indeed, in a world ever more committed to walls, barriers, and the profitability of exclusion, it seems ethical boundaries are the easiest to knock down. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.

03 March 2017

Israel’s surrogate war in Mexico

Middle East Eye

MERIDA, Mexico - The Israeli “Law of Return” grants any Jewish person of non-subversive inclination the right to immigrate to Israel - thereby magically endowing an untold number of global inhabitants with a so-called “birthright” that is unavailable to Palestinian victims of that protracted exercise in ethnic cleansing and land theft known as Israeli statehood.

As I’ve noted before, the whole “right of return” myth has been exploited to justify diverse initiatives such as the immigration of a flock of Canadian sheep to Israel, while Palestinians physically born in the territory in question are denied even the hope of eventual homecoming.
Yet another unique twist to the concept of return has now arisen in Mexico, where the Mexican government has apparently decided to thwart the Israeli birthright of three infants born to Mexican surrogate mothers labouring on behalf of “three single Israeli fathers,” according to a recent article on the Haaretz website.
Mexican authorities have refused to issue birth certificates for the babies, which means the fathers can’t transport them to Israel as planned. The scenario will likely be replayed for the other eight Israelis reportedly in Mexico awaiting the arrival of their own offspring.
The article goes on to explain that homosexual citizens of Israel are prohibited from contracting the services of surrogates in the Jewish homeland itself and must thus attempt to fulfill any reproductive aims elsewhere. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.