Why should Lebanon boycott HP, Caterpillar and Re/Max.

How do you combat Israeli Apartheid peacefully ? How can you help Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine grasp a bit of hope for their future ? Boycott. Divest. Sanction. BDS.

I won’t speak about Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pepsi, this rock band that will probably go to Israel. I will speak about brands that directly helps the illegal occupation of the West Bank.

It is important that citizens of conscience, before boycotting a product or a brand they have a doubt about, search for themselves the true reason and repercussion of buying this product. And I don’t mean follow untrusted or doubtful links on the internet. There are NGO’s who could advice you whether you should boycott a product and reveal its true and direct repercussion on the lives of millions of Palestinians.
The Most prominent of them is of course is the BDS movement. There is also whoprofits.org

Who Profits from the Occupation is a research center dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies in the continued Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land.

It is important to not just follow rumours or conspiracy theories before boycotting something. If something caught our attention, we should research it, and in the era of fast information, research was never easier to do.

The Lebanese government tries its best to ban products that are Israeli or related to Zionism. But these products that seem acceptable should also catch their attention and the attention of every conscious Lebanese.

HP.

HP helps directly with the racist Israeli Apartheid.

Through its subsidiary EDS Israel, HP is the prime contractor of the Basel System, an automated biometric access control system installed and maintained by HP in checkpoints throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

HP additionally helps manufacture ID cards with the Israel government that enforces the separation. HP also provides services and technologies to the Israeli Army.
I believe that the common buyer and consumer could totally boycott HP, their computers and printers are totally replaceable.

Caterpillar.

Caterpillar is the world largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment.

Here’s an excerpt from whoprofits.org

The company’s machines were used for the demolition of Palestinian houses in the occupied Palestinian territories, the construction of settlements, the Separation Wall and settlement infrastructure on Palestinian land, for creating roadblocks, dispersing demonstrations and as weapons.

An extensive report on their involvement with Israeli racist and unjust system is available here.

A 50-ton Caterpillar D9T bulldozer, the type that crushed Rachel Corrie. This and similar Caterpillar models, sold to the Israeli government and used to demolish Palestinian homes, are the target of increasing protests.

If you happen to be in the construction business, boycott Caterpillar and try to disseminate this information.
The Lebanese exclusive provider of Caterpillar products is the Jallad Group. Jallad Group should immediatly stop their business with Caterpillar or the Lebanese government should put pressure on them. How do we Lebanese, victims of Israel harsh wars and massacres, can accept this ?

Re/Max Lebanon.

Re/Max is a Colorado-based real estate firm. It is present in Lebanon and in Israel. In Israel, it has been reported by the Electronic Intifada that it only sells home to Jews in East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

Active in the Israeli market since 1995, RE/MAX sells and rents houses and apartments in colonies reserved exclusively for Jews in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Much of that work is coordinated in an office that the Israeli subsidiary of RE/MAX runs in Maale Adumim, a major settlement in the West Bank.

I don’t know how Re/Max got past this in Lebanon, but the  revelations are still new. If you plan to buy,sell, or rent a home, use another real estate firm.

I am happy the Lebanese government bans products that come from Israel. But it has to act more vigilantly as firms like HP Caterpillar and Re/Max get easily past their guard.

Al Akhbar responds to the Israel “Defence” Force spokesman on Twitter.

The political leaning of al-Akhbar is well-known in Lebanon, its “leftist” or pro-Resistance stance is not really hidden from the masses.

It has tweeted earlier this evening (12/24/14) a link to an article published today entitled : Israel kills Palestinian in yet another ceasefire violation.

To sum the article up, al-Akhbar expresses concern about the incessant ceasefire violation of Israel that is happening almost daily in Gaza. The ceasefire was to be respected after a violent war that killed more than 2160 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel has lost 66 soldiers and 6 civilians (one thai).

Peter Lerner, “IDF” spokesman responded to the tweet.

Al-Akbhar could not stay silent and answerer to the Spokesman with this tweet.

It is important to understand why Al Akhbar indirectly blamed Peter Lerner of Propaganda.

I believe it blamed him for the Hasbara, the strategy Israel uses to embellish its image in the media and in public relations. It is a pitiful euphemism of propaganda.

The Hasbara is taught to Israeli defenders. The Israel project, a US based group that lobbies for Israel, teach Hasbara makers to defend Israel, notably the sensible subject of settlements.

So here’s the five-step approach to talking about civilian casualties in Gaza:

  1. Empathy: “All human life is precious. We understand that the loss of one innocent Palestinian life is every bit as tragic as the loss of an Israeli life.”
  2. Admission: “We admit that Israel isn’t always successful at preventing civilian casualties…”
  3. Effort: “We remain committed to doing everything in our power to preventing civilian casualties.”
  4. Examples: “Let me tell you how our armed forces are trained, tasked, and operate to ensure that Palestinian civilians remain safe.”
  5. Turn tables: “It is a tragedy that Iran-backed Hamas shoots rockets at our civilians while hiding in their own … This causes tragic deaths on both sides.”

Al Akhbar has every right to call Peter Lerner, “IDF” spokesperson, a propagandist.

Continue reading Al Akhbar responds to the Israel “Defence” Force spokesman on Twitter.

Israel won’t pay the $856 Million in compensation to Lebanon.

Israel fought a war against Lebanon in 2006, killing more than 1000 people, 30% children under 13. It also bombed the Jiye electric power plant, (which is basically collective punishment), this bombing led to a disastrous oil slick.

The UN general assembly just voted a resolution, (170 votes on 179) asking Israel to pay $856 million in compensation.

On the paper, it is great, but Israel won’t act. Paying the sum would seem as a loss to them, especially against Hezbollah.
UN resolutions are already not being applied, Israel violates Lebanese airspace almost daily. (Resolution 1701).

Israel won’t pay because their goal were the destruction of the Jiye Electric power plant, and even if they had not foreseen the oil slick, they were probably content with it.

Oil from the bombed power plant of Jieh (south Lebanon) contaminating the beaches of Beirut – August 2006 – ZeNahla.

Israel won’t pay a single dollar because to them, it is an act of being forcefully bowed. Justice isn’t really their platter.

Hamas off the EU terror list ; Cuba and USA Bff’s

EU removed Hamas from its “terror list” because it causes the EU “procedural” problems, it comes after a vote to recognize the Palestinian state and the two-state solution. It is in fact technical and have no real consequences yet.

The court added in a statement that Wednesday’s decision to remove Hamas from the EU’s blacklist was based on procedural errors and did “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group”.

Now of course, Bibi Netanyahu was very pissed off, how could the EU do that ? Are they antisemitic or something ? He was not satisfied because this move may actually help develop peace ! Not that I support the two-state solution.

The two-state solution omits completely the Palestinian refugees that fled their homes during the Nakba, a lot of these homes are in present-day Israel. And Israel keeps colonizing the West Bank by a rate never achieved before, in fact, Netanyahu has confiscated more land than previous prime ministers.
Hamas applauded the removal. Who likes to be called a terrorist ? Israel doesn’t when it bombs civilian homes…but hey !

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On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, USA and Cuba have had a historic rapprochement.

The two neighbor states have tensions since 1960 after Castro revolution and the fall of Batista.

Cuba have been under a heavy embargo since 50 years. It’s no surprise that Obama called the “isolation” a failure. Because it is. US will soon have an embassy built in Cuba, but it seems that Cuba didn’t decide yet to do the same ; I couldn’t find it in all these reports. Weird.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets Cuban President Raul Castro before giving his speech at the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank soccer stadium, in Johannesburg Tuesday. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

A lot of US residents are applauding the reconciliation that were marked with prisoners exchange. Some cite the economic benefits, others a new “Spring Break Destination”. Guevara must be turning in his grave.

The involvement of the Pope Francis surprised me, the latter facilitated the tense relations, sending letters to USA and Cuba Leaders. Oh and Happy birthday Pope Francis.

What Assad Supporters need to know.

It is always useful to take a step back, look at some (not so old) history and place yourself within the given new context.

Pro-Assad people will never hesitate to blame pro-opposition in Syria to support IS, Al Qaeda and sometimes as far as Zionism. They will point out how evil powers of the world are all plotting to make the Assad regime fall, including Turkey. In fact, the latter is allowing Jihadis to pass by its porous frontiers and getting directly to the front.

But what about the role of Syria in the Iraqi turmoil ? Let’s quote some parts of an article in the Guardian.

Like the Americans, General Kamal was convinced that Syria was destabilizing Iraq, an assessment based on the interrogations of jihadists who had been captured by his troops. Throughout 2009, in a series of interviews, Kamal laid out his evidence, using maps that plotted the routes used by jihadists to cross the border into western Iraq, and confessions that linked their journeys to specific mid-ranking officers in Syrian military intelligence.

General Kamal was the director of intelligence of Iraq’s Interior ministry.

As Isis activity ebbed in Iraq, he had become increasingly obsessed with two meetings that had taken place in Syria early in 2009, which brought together Iraqi jihadists, Syrian officials and Ba’athists from both countries. […]

The attendees included senior Iraqi Ba’athists who had taken refuge in Damascus since their patron Saddam was ousted, Syrian military intelligence officers, and senior figures in what was then known as al-Qaida in Iraq. The Syrians had developed links to the jihadists since the earliest days of the anti-US insurgency and had used them to unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq.

Abu Ahmed, a “senior official” within IS adds.

“The mujahideen all came through Syria,” he said. “I worked with many of them. Those in Bucca had flown to Damascus. A very small number had made it from Turkey, or Iran. But most came to Iraq with the help of the Syrians.”

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Stringer/Reuters

To sum it up, the Syrian regime of Al-Assad helped Jihadis install chaos in Iraq. Those Jihadis then used the chaos in Syria and grew much bigger than they intended to.

Before blaming Turkey and their evil plans, (and you have every right to do so), take a second and think about the Syrian contribution to terrorism in the region. Blame both.

Continue reading What Assad Supporters need to know.

A Palestinian minister has been killed.

I know nothing about Ziad Abu Ein, the minister that got killed by the Israeli “Army” during a clash, but I know one thing for sure, his death will be at best condemned by leaders of the west, and probably won’t even make waves in the western world.

In the status quo of Palestine, the late minister won’t get justice, like his Palestinian fellows. He was minister of Prisoners, what kind of country get a minister for prisoners ? A country under apartheid of course.

What a day to celebrate the Human Rights.

Now let’s imagine if he was an Israeli minister, imagine the reactions of the leaders of the Western World, the reaction of the bloodthirsty Netanyahu that would probably launch a new war in Gaza or the West Bank. The massacre “Protective Edge” was after all started after three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed. Israel unexpectedly blamed Hamas without any proof and stopped the atrocity after killing 500 children, lives worthless to Israel.

The expected reaction of the Western World will show how much Palestinian blood is worthless, and how much overvalued is Israeli blood.

Update : Pictures on the Internet are showing an Israeli soldier choking Ziad Abu Ein, it may be the cause of his death, the autopsy is being conducted.

http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2014_50/802026/141210-ziad-abu-ein-1120a_7420324464b9a6bed29c82518b2fd97a.nbcnews-ux-640-440.jpg

And as Expected, no real reaction from the Western World, just cowardly silence.

Ali Bazzal’s Execution and his family response. [Opinion]

A Lebanese policemen has been executed by Jabhat el Nusra. May Ali Bazzal rest in peace.

One could understand the anger and the frustration of the families, their impatience with the government that is slowly, barely acting. But a family can’t use force and violence and act as it will go unpunished.

Rana Fliti and Ali Bazzal and their daughter Maram (Photo courtesy of Rana Fliti) –

A family can’t demand the execution of other people because their sons has been executed, as much as they are frustrated. A family can’t decide on its own to block international aid to refugees. This is not the answer for your child vile execution.

A family can’t decide to kidnap others people. Yes, the families are on the good side of the fight, but how do you expect the terrorists to respond if not by executing more Lebanese soldiers and policemen. You don’t respond to execution with executions.

Yes, the state is useless here, and I stand with every civil, peaceful act they used, road-blocking, pressure on the government, etc. They have every right to do so, but they have absolutely no right to act as vengeful blood-thirsty citizens.

We stand by the side of the families that have their sons and brothers kidnapped. Just don’t make things worse by escalating the tension already untenable for all the country.

Let the army do its job.

Lebanon still corrupted.

Transparency International is an NGO that fights the corruption worldwide, and they even have here, in Lebanon, a “chapter” related to them.

Lebanon is the 136th most corrupted country in a list that contains 175, it has a score of 27 i.e, the lower the score the more corrupt. This score is actually worsening ; in 2012 the score was of 30 and for 2013 the score was 28.

And some wonder why we don’t trust our government.

I don’t know who is bringing who. What I know is that the corruption is born within the state and develop outside. If a government act responsibly and punish those corrupted politicians, the country will follow.

We can fight for a better score.

1) Don’t bribe. This rule is simple. And even if “it’s the way of things” in Lebanon, if you want it to stop, you have to begin by yourself.

2) Report it, you could do it here or here.(international website)

Let’s hope Lebanon’s score will get better with time.

Budget in Iraq soon, none for Lebanon.

I don’t really like to compare different governments, but it could be interesting to see how Iraq, a country deeply in war against ISIS, bombarded by foreign powers, works more than the Lebanese government or state when the security of this country is relatively much calmer.

Lebanon hasn’t ratified and voted a budget since years, thus we don’t know how the Lebanese government spends their money. We don’t know the prioritizing of the government. Education ? Interior ? Military ?

Essentially, we also don’t know where our tax money is being spent. Worse, those taxes collected and spent is constitutionally illegal. We may have the right to stop paying taxes.