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Thursday, 28 July 2016

كيري لافروف : حملة النورماندي والدخول إلى برلين



كيري لافروف : حملة النورماندي والدخول إلى برلين

ناصر قنديل– تشبه اللحظة التاريخية للقاء الروسي الأميركي تلك اللحظة التي عاشها المقاومون الفرنسيون للنازية الذين كان أغلبهم ينتمون إلى الحزبين الاشتراكي والشيوعي، عشية إنزال النورماندي على شواطئ فرنسا قبيل النجاح السوفياتي بالدخول إلى برلين، حيث كان بينهم من يقول إنّ الأميركيين الذين يشكلون النسخة الأكثر تطوّراً للرأسمالية، ليسوا جادّين بالتخلص من النازية كنسخة مشوّهة من الرأسمالية، وسيسعون لاستخدامها كأداة لاستنزاف اليسار ومنع تنامي قوته العالمية وسحق حركات التحرّر، بإدارة مزدوجة تسعى لاستخدام القوة السوفياتية ومعها قدرات حركات المقاومة والجيوش الوطنية لمنع تمدّد النازية، والتحوّل إلى قطب فاعل في السياسة الدولية. وفي المقابل سيسعون لاستخدام النازية، عبر إدارة محسوبة للحرب عليها لا تسمح بسقوطها، ولا بتمدّدها، لتكون عنصر التوازن البديل الذي يريح أميركا من الوقوف بوجه الاتحاد السوفياتي وحركات المقاومة والتحرّر.

– كان الرئيسان الفرنسيان السابقان، الراحلان شارل ديغول وفرنسوا ميتران، يتقاسمان قيادة المقاومة الفرنسية، الأول على رأس وحدات من الجيش الفرنسي رفضت التعاون مع الاحتلال النازي، والثاني كقائد للمقاومة الشعبية التي تشكلت من الاشتراكيين والشيوعيين، وكان توافق الرجلين ضمانة لوحدة المقاومة، على منهج الإفادة من الموقفين الأميركي والسوفياتي في قتال النازية، وإبقاء تحرّر فرنسا من جهة واستقلالها من جهة أخرى، الأولويتين اللتين تحدّدان موقف المقاومة، ولذلك وثق ديغول بقدرة المقاومة التي يقودها ميتران وبمصداقية تعاونها مع الدعم السوفياتي، وارتضى أن يكون جسر التواصل بين جناحَي المقاومة والقوات الأميركية التي بدأت تستعدّ لإنزال النورماندي، وكان التشخيص الذي صاغه الرجلان المقاومان يقول إنّ الأميركيين جادّون هذه المرة بالنزول على النورماندي، لسببين وهما الثقة بأنّ النازية قادرة على التمدّد والتوسع ما لم تُسحق، والثاني أنّ الانتصار السوفياتي المتدحرج بالتعاون مع حركات المقاومة الوطنية في أوروبا سيجعل فرصة سقوط النازية، نصراً كاملاً للسوفيات، وبالتالي تمهيداً لتفرّدهم بزعامة عالم ما بعد الحرب.

– كان ديغول المقيم في لندن يزوّد ميتران الموجود على رأس جماعات المقاومة بكلّ ما يرده من معطيات، وكان ميتران فيلسوف المقاومة وكاتبها يصوغ بلغة متوسطة بين اليسار والوطنية الصادقة، ما يجمع تفكيره مع ديغول، الذي أتاح له إنزال النورماندي القدوم كمقاتل محرّر إلى فرنسا، من دون أن يلغي فكره الوطني الاستقلالي، وما تحمله الروايات التاريخية عن تصادم مستمرّ بينه وبين الأميركيين والبريطانيين. وهذا ما ظهر مراراً في الستينيات بإعلانه العزم على الخروج من حلف الأطلسي، وبعد بلوغ القوات السوفياتية والأميركية أبواب برلين، وتحرّر فرنسا من النازية، تشارك ديغول وميتران عشر سنوات من الحكم المشترك لفرنسا، ليتناوبا على حكمها بعد ذلك قرابة الثلاثين عاماً.

– بعد سنوات شبيهة بسنوات الحرب العالمية الثانية في اللعب الأميركي مع تنظيم «القاعدة»، واستخدامه عن بعد كآلة للاستنزاف وخلق الفوضى، والابتزاز وفرض الشروط، والتهديد بتغيير الخرائط الإقليمية،وبعد سنوات من الرهان على أن تلعب تركيا دوراً شبيهاً بالذي لعبته بريطانيا في الحرب العالمية الثانية، ينجح صمود سورية ومن ورائها روسيا وإيران، بخلق وقائع تشبه ما جرى بعد صمود موسكو وانتصارات جيشها وشعبها في معارك ستالينغراد على النازية، واندفاعها في الهجوم الكبير المتدحرج نحو برلين، بينما النازية تنتقم بإشعال النيران في لندن، كما يشعل الإرهاب عواصم الغرب اليوم، ولكن الرئيس التركيرجب أردوغان ليس ونستون تشرشل، فتصير تركيا عبئاً لا سنداً، وعلى الضفة المقابلة ينجح الرئيس السوري بتجسيد جمع تاريخي بين شخصيتَيْ ديغول وميتران، فيقود مقاومة شعبه وجيشه للنازية الجديدة، التي يمثلها الإرهاب الآتي من حضن تطرف فكر التكفير، وتصير برلين، التي يمثلها اليوم شمال وشرق سورية تحت النار، ويتوافق الحلفاء السوري والروسي والإيراني على أنّ شهر آب هو شهر الكلمة الفصل في الحرب، سواء جاء الأميركي أم لم يأتِ.

– يعتقد الكثيرون أنّ الأميركيين لا زالوا يتلاعبون بالخيارات، ويراهنون على القفز فوق الحبال وإدارة التوازنات فيها. والأمر هنا ليس بالنيات بل بالقدرات، فالذين يظنّون ذلك لا يتميّزون بأنهم الأشدّ شكوكاً بالنيات الأميركية التي لا يختلف إثنان على سوئها، بل الأمر أنّ الشك في النيات يتسبطن أحياناً كثيرة ثقة مبالغاً بها في القدرات، فيمنح الضعيف والمحكوم بالخيارات قدرة المناورة التي لا يملكها، كما كان عليه حال الأميركيين عشية غزو النورماندي. ولذلك يمكن القول إنّ الأميركيين الذين يمثلهم اليوم جون كيري في مفاوضاته مع نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف، صاروا يملكون مع الروس أسراراً لتفاهمات، لا يعرفها حلفاؤهم، ولا يريدون لهم أن يعرفوها، وليس من سرّ يخشاه الأميركيون مثل أنهم سلّموا أخيراً بحتمية التعاون ضمن معادلة يشكل الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بيضة القبان فيها، فالإنزال الأمثل هو في النورماندي الفرنسية، ويجب التعاون مع شارل ديغول، رغم الحقد والكراهية التي يجاهر بها نحوه ونستون تشرشل وفرانكلين روزفلت، بمثل ما تنقل وثائق الخارجية البريطانية عن تفاهم روزفلت وتشرشل على عدم الثقة بديغول، رغم حتمية التعاون معه.

– الأيام والأسابيع المقبلة حاسمة مثلما كانت أيام النزول على النورماندي والدخول إلى برلين، فحرب عالمية ثالثة تقترب من نهاياتها، وترسم توازناتها ومعادلاتها، وتُكتب أسماء قادتها، ومثلما حملت الحرب اسم ديغول رمزاً للنصر، رغم أدوار الجيوش السوفياتية والأميركية، وأدوار قادة مثل فرانكلين روزفلت وجوزف ستالين وونستون تشرشل، دخلت المقاومة الفرنسية ومعها شارل ديغول رغم كراهية روزفلت وتشرشل له وحقدهما عليه، صفحات تاريخ الحرب كعلامة فارقة لصناعة النصر على النازية، سيكتب التاريخ الحديث في سجل الحرب على النازية الجديدة اسم الرئيس السوري، الذي يشبه ما قاله فيه الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما ما قاله فرانكلين روزفلت بشارل ديغول، لا أحبّ هذا الرجل ولا أستطيع تخيّل فرنسا وهو يحكمها.

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Syrian Army Continues Operations, Establishes Control over Aleppo and Bani Zaid – Syrian War Report – July 27, 2016: Al Nusra Rebranding

ALEPPO– The Syrian Arab Army, backed by supporting forces managed to retake Bani Zaid neighborhood and started to dismantled the explosives and landmines placed in the area’s streets and squares, a military source announced Thursday.
The source told the state news agency  SANA that the army established control over Efrin bus station, youth housing units and all the building blocks and factories in al-Liramoun in the northern outskirts of Aleppo.
The military operations command in Aleppo, in coordination with Aleppo Governor and Police Command, will adopt the necessary procedures to restore the factories which the army has retaken from the terrorists in al-Liramoun area to their owners.
The source stressed that the army units continued pursuing the terrorists who fled from the neighborhood, asserting that scores of terrorists turned themselves in and gave up their weapons to the authorities in order to have their legal situation settled.
Aleppo Governor: Three corridors opened for citizens to leave eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city
Aleppo Governor Mohammad Marwan Olabi said on Thursday that three corridors were opened for the civilians who desire to leave the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city.
Al-Olabi added that all preparations and arrangements to settle them in makeshift centers equipped with all medical and relief services were adopted.
The hero Syrian army also continued its successful operations in several Syrian provinces.
In Homs, the army air force destroyed ISIS fortified positions and vehicles in Burj Qaei, al-Talila reserve and east of al-Mahata al-Thalitha in the countryside of Homs.
In Hama, the army units, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, clashed during the past hours fiercely with Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists who attacked, from many directions, al-Zara power plant in Hama southern countryside.
The clashes ended up with foiling the attack after killing 30 terrorists, injuring scores others and destroying a command center, two vehicles equipped with machinegun and a mortar launcher.
In Deir Ezzor, the Syrian army air force destroyed ISIS positions and vehicles north of al-Mrai’eyeh, al-Howeiqa, Baqjaji and north of al-Jafra in Deir Ezzor.

Syrian Army Continues Operations, Establishes Control over Aleppo

In latest developments, the Syrian army units, backed by the supporting units, re-established full control over Bani Zaid neighborhood, adding that the army engineering units dismantled the explosives and mines from its streets and squares, a military source announced Thursday.
Syrian Army Continues Operations, Establishes Control over Aleppo
The source added that the army established control over Efrin bus station, youth housing and all the building blocks and factories in al-Liramoun in the northern outskirts of Aleppo.
In coordination with Aleppo Governor and Police Command, the military operations command in Aleppo will adopt the necessary procedures to deliver the factories which the army has controlled in al-Liramoun area to their owners.
The source stressed that the army units continued pursuing the terrorists who fled from the neighborhood, asserting that scores of terrorists turned themselves in and gave up their weapons to the authorities in order to have their situation settled.
Meanwhile, corridors for civilians and militants ready to lay down arms will be created to exit the city, which was Syria’s largest before the war.
The fourth corridor for the passage of fighters in Aleppo is being set up only because the US has not provided Russia with data on the al-Nusra Front terrorist group, which has recently been attempting to merge with other armed opposition groups in Syria.
In a related context, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said an amnesty is virtually in effect in Syria as this has been an option available for terrorists to benefit from since day one of the terrorist war against the country.
Whether he intends to issue a general amnesty if he wins the current war, al-Assad said: “It is not about my victory…The most important thing is the victory of the Syrian people because it is a war waged against them.”
Meanwhile, many gunmen have benefitted from several amnesty decrees issued by al-Assad since the start of the terrorist war against Syria.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
28-07-2016 | 12:46
Syrian War Report – July 27, 2016: Al Nusra Rebranding

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Cooperation with Russia in Syria would not be based on trust: U.S. general: Too true it won’t, the Russians ain’t that stupid

Any military or intelligence cooperation between the United States and Russia to strike targets in Syria would include measures to ensure U.S. operational security and would not be based on trust, a top U.S. military official said on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that he would meet his Russian counterpart in the coming days to discuss an American proposal for closer military cooperation and intelligence sharing on Syria.
The proposal, which Kerry hopes to conclude within weeks, envisions ways in which Washington and Moscow would share intelligence to coordinate air strikes against the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and prohibit the Syrian air force from attacking moderate rebel groups.
The proposal has met with deep skepticism by top American military and intelligence officials.
“We’re not entering into a transaction that is founded on trust,” Marine General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said at a news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“There will be specific procedures and processes in any transaction we might have with the Russians that will account for protecting our operational security.”
The negotiations Kerry is having with the Russians, Carter said, are based on “mutual interest to the extent and when and as we are able to identify that with the Russians.”
Many U.S. officials are concerned that sharing intelligence with Russia could risk revealing U.S. intelligence sources, methods and capabilities

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Syria’s Assad Offers Amnesty to Militants Who Surrender



Local Editor
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday offered an amnesty to militants if they surrender, the official SANA news agency reported.
“Everyone carrying arms… and sought by justice… is excluded from full punishment if they hand themselves in and lay down their weapons,” SANA said, quoting a presidential decree on the three-month amnesty offer.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
The reprieve also includes any militant who frees a hostage, according to the decree text.
The offer comes as the Syrian army and its allies launch a wide-scale operation to liberate the city of Aleppo from the Takfiri terrorists.
Also on Thursday, Russia said it had launched a large-scale operation with the Syrian government to open humanitarian corridors for civilians and militants fleeing the northern city.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian news agencies that three humanitarian corridors were being opened “to aid civilians held hostage by terrorists and for militantss wishing to lay down their arms” and one more corridor to the north of the city for rebels to flee with their weapons.
Syria’s UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said this week he hopes peace talks aimed at ending more than five years of brutal conflict could resume at the end of August.
Source: AFP
28-07-2016 – 13:04 Last updated 28-07-2016 – 13:04

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The Half-day Summit and its Pre-determined Decisions

A few Arab leaders, along with a number of ministers who will represent the many (leaders) who will be absent, will meet in “the tent” of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, on the boundary between “Arabs” and “Africans” on the Atlantic Ocean, for the 27th Arab summit. The summit will not take as much time as it took their royal planes to arrive to that forgotten Arab country, in light of its poverty, military rule, and the (presence) of Arab ‘nahda’ parties (Nasserists, Baathists, Communists…) as permanent opposition.
Arab flags
Surely some of those that will attend from the countries of the east (Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms, in the absence of Umayyad Syria) will scramble to emphasise (to the people of Mauritania) the blood ties that gathered them together in this forgotten Arab state in the heart of the desert of poverty. (People) who see themselves as coming from Bani Hassan, and the tribes of Maktal which moved to (Mauritania) with the Helalis and Bani Salim during the days of the Fatimid caliphate…
In contrast, some Arab officials will recall that Mauritania is a country of military coups, making up most of its independence history (since late 1960), a fact which is recognised by its “big neighbour” Morocco…yet it did not enter the Arab League until 1973, and then the military coups followed one after the other following the overthrow of its first president, Mokhtar Ould Daddah, who renewed his mandate four times from his position as the leader of the “People’s Party”.
And because Arabs may have become “two groups” or various countries of common identity, basically, and with contrasting policies causing a war between them, practically, they would not care much about (its) internal situations during its own history which has witnessed several military coups, through which the current president has reached power.
In any case, few Arab kings, princes, and presidents will participate in this summit, from which Morocco had “escaped” and offered as a royal gift to this poor country, that was forced to set up a big tent for the “Arab leaders” to meet in. These Arab leaders have refused to lodge in it, so their aircraft engines will remain operating until the completion of the recitation of the final statement. And this will be in any case a repetition of previous summits, Arabic and Islamic, with the addition of golden sentences condemning “Hizbullah” as a terrorist organization (or at least, its military organization, as if there were a difference between civilians and the mujahidin in it).
It does not require a lot of explanation and justification to “convince” the leader of Mauritania, the poor and forgotten country at the end of Arab lands, to join the sectarian camp.The majority of the royals will be present, and the republican minority will never use its veto power. Perhaps the positions of Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Tunisia stood out in their objections.
There is no room now to recall history, and to shed the light on the fact that the Mauritanians (who were some Arabs) may have contributed to the liberation of Andalusia, and their country’s name includes the word “Mort”, that took the meaning in western culture – particularly French – of “enemy” due to their role inAndalusia.
In any case, Arab republics will have a faint attendance at this summit. Kings and princes will occupy its forefront. This summit will take place in the absolute poorest Arab country, in which “Israel” was able to bury some of its atomic waste in its vast desert in 1996.
It goes without saying that the new summit does not belong to the history of the Arab conquests, but perhaps an extension of the decline of active Arab presence, and the lack of attempts to re-unify Arab ranks in the face of threats to Arabs in their existence as a nation…in addition to the absence of Syria by (royal) order, and the absence of Libya, which has more than one government. Iraq will attend, (a country) busy with its fateful and grave problems which threaten to do away with its state, nationalism, and identity. The Prime Minister of Lebanon will attend, (a country) that has no president. Some (Lebanese) ministers (directly concerned with the summit) have apologised and will not attend, without giving any convincing reasons.
Egypt will continue to fail in restoring its leadership role, which was (part of the role it played included directing the annual Arab summit towards being mainly about confronting the “Israeli” project) related to bringing together (the summit’s) states due to never-ending differences between their leaders.
It is the half-day summit, in a state lost between a limitless desert and the Atlantic Ocean which links continents together, but which is too narrow to accommodate Arab-Arab differences, and differences between Arab countries whose destinies are almost all threatened.
But it might inspire Mauritanians, most of which are poets, to write a new stanza about the Arab summits of concessions at the expense of Palestine, (summits) which remain too weak to put an end to their differences, which are tied to various reasons and excuses…rather, it may exacerbate the danger to all of their fates.
Source: As-Safir, Translated and Edited by website team
27-07-2016 | 11:26

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Palestinian Teen Arrested for Posting on Facebook





manasra
The photo above is of Qamar Manasra, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who lives in Reineh, a small village in the northern part of Israel. On July 19, Qamar’s home was invaded by Israeli forces who arrested her on charges of “incitement” for her posts on Facebook.
The Israelis were apparently quite violent–toward Qamar as well as other members of her family. An article about her has been posted here, although you won’t be able to read it unless you read Arabic. But you will be able to see additional pictures, including a photo of her with her arm around her elderly grandfather as well as a separate photo of what apparently is her father.




View image on Twitter


View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Palestinian Qamar Manasra, 16, still in custody; her home raided Tuesday night, family all assaulted for a FB post
Apparently the home was pretty thoroughly ransacked. Qamar is also mentioned in a report here, which is in English, and if you go there you can read about her as well as a number of other Palestinian women and girls imprisoned by Israel. Interestingly, Qamar’s village, Reineh, is also the home village of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who was arrested last October and charged with–yes, you guessed it–“incitement.”
According to the article,
Tatour has been supported by hundreds of writers around the world,including Pulitzer Prize winners and other world-renowned novelists, poets, and artists. She was imprisoned for three months and has since been held in house arrest for nine months; part of the original conditions of her house arrest included exile from her village of Reineh. Instead, her brother was forced to rent a separate apartment in Tel Aviv and her brother and sister-and-law forced to lose work in order to “guard” her 24/7. Finally, the prosecution dropped its objection to Tatour serving out her house arrest in Reineh last week; today, 25 July, her return to Reineh – still under house arrest – is expected to be approved, following significant international rpessure on the case.
Another woman mentioned in the story is Abla al-Adam, 45, who was arrested December 20, 2015 after being shot in the head by what apparently was a rubber-coated steel bullet. The bullet put her right eye out, and according to the report she now suffers from medical neglect in Israeli custody. She reportedly cannot move her head without severe pain, but is given only sedatives and painkillers rather than any serious medical treatment for the root causes of her pain.
She was hospitalized but moved before the completion of her treatment to HaSharon prison. Much of her care comes from her fellow women prisoners rather than from any kind of medical personnel. She was accused of having a knife at a checkpoint in al-Khalil. Al-Adam has nine children; only her minor children have been allowed to visit her, not those over the age of 18, due to “security” denials.
Earlier this month, Mondoweiss conducted an interview with poet Tatour in Occupied Palestine, where she is still undergoing house arrest.
“Never in my life did I believe that a poem that I wrote could lead to this,” Tatour said. “Up until this moment, I still haven’t absorbed it.”
According to the author of the article, a frayed picture of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish hangs in the poet’s bedroom…and she also has a pet cat.
 photo tatour_zpsv4jox4ta.jpg
So what exactly led to the arrest of this dangerous woman?
During the upsurge of violence between Palestinians and Israelis last fall, Tatour posted a poem called “Resist my people, Resist them,”which would become the centerpiece of the multi-pronged case against her. Accompanied by dramatic music and familiar footage of Israeli house raids and Palestinian youth clashing with IDF soldiers, the defiant, confrontational poem calls for a sustained resistance against occupation. The clip had only 113 views at the time of her arrest.
The specific subject and inspiration of this poem was the murder of three Palestinian civilians in the past two years: Ali Dawabsheh, the 18-month-old infant who was burned to death by right-wing settlers in July 2015; Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the teen who was kidnapped and burned to death in July 2014, and Hadil Hashlamoun, the unarmed 18-year-old student who was gunned down at a checkpoint in September 2015. “I was in so much pain,” Dareen says. “It hit me hard. I wrote the poem about them. Hadeel Hashlamoun—they killed her at checkpoint because she refused to remove her hijab…The poem is for them.”
Israel, it is said, is now the 8th most powerful nation in the world. What does it say when a country this powerful should feel this threatened and terrified by poets and teenage girls posting on Facebook?
(Hat tip Rico Hands)

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Jewish Mentality: Meet the israel army’s misogynist chief rabbi, Eyal Karim

Eyal Karim (Handout/Reuters)

The rabbi newly appointed to the Israeli army’s top religious post has made a long list of racist and misogynist edicts over the years, including one permitting Jewish soldiers to rape non-Jewish women during wartime.
The elevation of Colonel Eyal Karim to the rank of brigadier general and the position of chief rabbi was thrown into question after his past controversial statements were reported by Israeli media. After holding a private meeting with Karim, however, Israel’s chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot publicly proclaimed that he would support the appointment.
Once he is military chief rabbi, Karim will be responsible for making decisions with regards to religious matters in the armed forces. Karim currently serves as the second-highest ranking religious official in the Israeli army. His nomination to the top post has received the support of the State of Israel’s two chief rabbis and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Comments Karim made in 2003 when he was a civilian resurfaced after his appointment. In a column called “Ask the Rabbi” at Kipa.co.il, a popular Hebrew-language website catering to religious Jews, Karim responded to a number of anonymous letters inquiring about specificities of Jewish religious law, including a question about rape in times of war.
“Is it allowed nowadays for an IDF [Israeli army] soldier, for example, to rape girls during battle, or is such a thing forbidden?” Karim was asked. He answered: “Even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime … the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge.”
Karim’s comments first attracted notice in 2012, when dissident Israeli journalist Yossi Gurvitz first published them in English at +972 Magazine. Gurvitz says that when he asked the military to comment on Karim’s statements, he was rebuked by an army spokesperson and told that his query “disrespects the IDF, the State of Israel and the Jewish religion.”

Public retraction

The day after Gurvitz’ article appeared on +972, Karim published a letter at Kipa, reported by Gurvitz, attempting to walk back his 2003 religious ruling sanctioning rape: “It is clear that in our times … this ruling is certainly not to be acted on.”
The military seemed to be satisfied with Karim’s disavowal of his previous edict; he continued to serve as the army’s second-highest religious official for the next four years. But the announcement that he was to be promoted to army chief rabbi elicited another round of outrage, as well as a more thorough examination of his previously published opinions.
In his Kipa column, Karim has promoted burning Christian bibles, killing wounded “terrorists” and torturing captives, stating: “Terrorists should not be treated as human beings, because they are animals.”
In one of his responses, Karim called for the transformation of the state into a Jewish monarchy and a genocide against the people of “Amalek.” The Amalek people mentioned in the Torah are not known to have any modern-day descendants, but some rabbis attribute their bloodline to Israel’s current enemies, dooming them to a divinely commanded death sentence.
Karim also ruled that the court testimony of females cannot be relied upon, because of their supposedly “sentimental” nature. He also ruled that Jewish men in the Israeli army may not serve under the command of a woman, as this would require them to gaze upon her.
Karim’s tenure as the second-highest-ranking religious official in the military did not pass without controversy.
In 2013, he produced a booklet for Israeli soldiers which effectively asserts that Jewish supremacy was divinely ordained and that this would always overrule the laws of democracy. The booklet states: “The concept that non-Jews have equal rights with Jews in Israel goes against the opinion of the Torah, and the state’s representatives have no authority to act against the Torah’s will.” The army later apologized for the book’s contents.
When Karim’s impending appointment was made public this month and the rabbi began to draw renewed criticism for his past comments, his detractors were again accused of “anti-Semitism” — and even of fabricating a “blood libel” — in an op-ed by columnist Dror Eydar in Israel Hayom, the highest-circulation newspaper in the country.

Threats of rape as instrument of oppression

Karim’s defenders insist that his comments on rape were misunderstood and that he couldn’t possibly have permitted sexual assaults against Palestinian women. But threats of rape have been wielded by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians.
In June 2014, Bar-Ilan University professor Mordechai Kedar publicly suggested that Israeli forces dissuade Palestinians from taking up arms by threatening the rape of their female relatives. The military seems to have quickly adopted Kedar’s doctrine; Palestinians taken captive that same summer during Isreal’s assault on Gaza say they were threatened with the rape of their wives.
Earlier this year, a lawyer representing Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq said that while Israel detained al-Qiq for months without charge, his captors threatened to rape him, his wife and their children unless he confessed to crimes. Al-Qiq was only releasedafter refusing food for 94 days.
Actual sexual assaults of Palestinian men, women and children by Israeli soldiers are not unheard of. During the early years of the state, soldier sex attacks on Palestinians were common enough that they were a source of consternation for Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. At a government meeting in 1951, speaking about army attacks on Palestinians, he declared, “I know some of the crimes, and I must say the situation is frightening in two areas: acts of murder and acts of rape.”
In recent years, Amira Hass, correspondent for the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, and the Israeli investigative journalist who goes by the pseudonym Eishton have reported on incidents in which Israeli soldiers allegedly raped and sexually assaulted Palestinian females. And testimonies obtained by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel show that Palestinian men and boys held in Israeli custody have also been subjected to sexual threats and sexual abuse.

Sexual violence common

Recent high-profile cases reveal the pervasiveness of rape culture in Israel.
In April, an Israeli investigative news program revealed that the late Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze’evi was a serial rapist and sexual predator during his decorated army service, in which he reached the rank of general.
Last week, a currently serving brigadier general who had been slated for promotion was indicted for rape and sexual assault against multiple female soldiers. The following day, his former commander told Israeli army radio that the accused rapist is a “hero” and cited the Torah in defense of his alleged actions.
Admittedly, the Israeli army is taking steps to stem the rate of sex assaults, or at least those occurring within its ranks. Until just four months ago, victims of sex attacks in the army would have to shell out for their own legal costs, while alleged attackers would have all their legal fees paid for. Under a new policy, the army will pay the legal fees ofboth accused and accuser.
In February, the army chief’s advisor on women’s affairs sent a letter to all Israeli soldiers calling upon them to stop printing out regalia that includes images and messages that objectify women and make light of rape.
The army also makes mandatory for all incoming draftees an instructional workshop on the topic of sexual assault. However, after ultra-Orthodox soldiers angrily objected to the sexual content of the workshop, the army buckled and granted exemptions to religious troops.
Meanwhile, Israel’s police force in recent years has seen a massive epidemic of sex crime allegations against top cops. In May, the Times of Israel reported:
“The past few years have seen a string of sexual misconduct cases involving top police officers, many of whom were forced to retire due to the allegations against them. In all, about half of the Israel Police’s major generals — the highest rank below that of the police commissioner — have been accused of such abuse, and many of them have stepped down.”
In 2013, after Nisso Shaham, the Jerusalem chief of police, was indicted for sexual harassment against several women, mainly subordinates, he protested that it was unfair to try him for these crimes. He argued that his behaviors were “in keeping with the conventional norms accepted by the police” and that they were “routine and common”.
Instead of combatting sexism in the police force, the top brass seems to be trying to sweep the problem of misogyny under the rug.
Roni Alsheikh, national police commissioner and former deputy head of Israel’s domestic spy agency the Shin Bet, recently reinstated a top police commander accused of sexual harassment and planned to promote another commander found guilty of harassment (that officer declined the appointment after Alsheikh’s announcement provoked outcry). Alsheikh also announced — on International Women’s Day, no less — that the force would no longer investigate allegations of sex crimes, unless accusers were willing to reveal their identities.

Rape culture

Rape culture is perpetuated by the country’s political class. Dozens of demonstrators recently gathered in Tel Aviv to protest plans to grant early release to Moshe Katsav, the former Israeli president currently serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of two counts of rape and other offenses. Katsav has often smeared his victims in the press, and has yet to either admit his guilt or express remorse for his actions.
The case of another politician from Kiryat Malachi, Katsav’s hometown, provides sobering evidence of the nearly free pass that rapists are often accorded in Israeli society. After mayor Motti Malka was charged with multiple rapes, along with his son, his deputy mayor and four other men, he reached a plea deal with police that saw him serve no jail time at all.
In the end, Malka was not even forced to pay a monetary fine because the Kiryat Malachi city council had previously purchased a policy for “sexual harassment insurance.” Just weeks later, the council invited Malka to attend the city’s official celebration of International Women’s Day.
The army is hardly the only sector of Israeli society from which sexual assaults emanate. But rape culture in the military is especially disconcerting, as its soldiers have access to deadly weapons and the license to use them. And now its chief rabbi is a man who once gave Jewish soldiers sanction to rape Palestinian women until he was shamed into retracting it.

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