Palestine, USA and settlements

It is quite understandable that any US administration and President support Israel. The strong and powerful Jewish society in the US is demanding it.

But now, even the President, his Secretary of State and Jews both in the US and Israel are protesting against the heavy hands of Mr. Netanyahu and his hawks.  But, what do they DO about it?

The planned meeting between Israel and the Palestinians is meaningless as long as Israel keep building an additional 934 apartments on Palestinian land. That decision was made one week before the talks were scheduled. Israel is clearly showing their arrogance to everybody, even the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Israel is keeping Palestine in a choking grip. They control everything: Infrastructure, money, trade, water, electricity, food…… And when the Palestinians in desperation try to fight the Israelis, the retaliation is so heavy that most of the world is stunned and shocked over the brutality.

Examples are the 22 day military operation starting on December 27, 2008, where at least 700 Palestinians lost their lives. Some claim it was closer to 1,500. Then, in November 2012, just before the election in Israel, they launch a devastating attack on Gaza. At least 172 Palestinians were killed, and three Israelis. The official reason was that some Palestinian fanatics, out of control, had shot some missiles into Israel, but the Israeli response was so harsh that it shocked the world. Obviously, Netanyahu wanted to make a statement to the Israeli people, the American President and the world: We will continue to keep Palestine in our hard grip.

President Obama repeatedly said Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza.  After his re-election, it was expected that he would sharpen his condemnation of civilian casualties. I have heard nothing like that. He just mumbled something about civilian casualties in a meeting with Netanyahu and Egypt’s president Mursi.

The main problem is that the Israeli government totally disregards any kind of critique or condemnation from anybody. Based on two issues; the Holocaust and the right to defend themselves, they do what they want. End of story.
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices. Israel has broken more UN resolutions that any other in UN history, at least 102. And, this country also has the benefit that their biggest ally, the USA, will veto any serious resolution against them preventing any action from being carried out. The Security Council’s resolution no. 446 clearly states that: “… the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

So, again, Israel does what they want. My question to the US government is: Why don’t you DO something about it? You have, since 1948, poured billions of dollars into Israel, especially to IDF, the Israel Defense Force, which is basically used to kill, maim and torment innocent Palestinian civilians.

President Obama cannot be re-elected, so why does not the US administration use this opportunity to stop the settlements, which is so devastating to the Palestinian people?

AFRICA’S CURSE

I have lived three years in Africa (South Africa, Namibia and Ghana) and ten years in the US.

So, I have some comments to the situation in Africa

First of all the obvious: Africa is a continent, like the US in many ways, but so much bigger, in area, population and of course the hundreds of different cultures. I will therefore refrain from making any kind of generalization. It is just not possible, like it is impossible in America.

But I have made some observations that I will share with you.

First, like many “churches” around the globe, the “pure “life of man and woman in marriage”, and no gays, no “fooling” around”, no exploitation of young people and children is so hypocritical that I don’t have the words to describe it.

YES, of course there are many missionaries doing good work, but they also “educate” new and local pastors. Some of them do good work too, of course, but I have seen them arrive (one “church” was our neighbour) in their expensive cars with Italian suits and gold jewelry and of course, have their pick of young beautiful women. (Gay or not is very tribal with many variations).

This “church” is constructing an enormous building near by…. Where does the money come from??? Missionaries, well some, but basically those people are sucking the little money they have from the poorest people on this planet, so that hey will be blessed in heaven… Which heaven and where does it come from?? US! That is us, the Western World

So, what right have we to invade Africa with our money, our products and our beliefs? Exploitation,. power struggle, and, of course, money…. I could of course write a book about this, but that is of course impossible.

Africa is probably the continent with the largest volume of Natural Resources. So why are most African “States” or “Nations” (there is a big difference) so poor??

Because we have and still do, exploit Africa. At the same time we think that we are saving their souls by smashing the so called Christian fate down their throat.

Why? Two examples: In Ghana, they produce a tremendous amount of tomatoes. Buy a can of tomato paste and it is imported from Holland!

Buy a bottle of water in most of Africa. Many brands, but it you look closely, you will see that is is marked, “Coca Cola”……………..

So the combination of Governments power and intervention, Multinational Companies and Church together have kept and keep an iron hand on AFRICA. The church cannot run away from their part of that.

Cluster bombs

In 2008 a Convention was signed to abandon the use of cluster ammunition. 107 countries signed. Three important countries did not. China, Russia and USA and of course Israel. China and Russia was to be expected, and especially Israel who actively use this horrible ammunition. But the US? With their high moral standards, the protector of Human Rights worldwide,”the Greatest Democracy in the World” according to themselves. Why have they not signed this treaty? Even a number of US Military “have long argued they are outmoded and immoral because of the dangers posed to civilians from bombs that do not explode and litter the ground like land mines.”………The last meeting was in Oslo in September 2012…..

What is the use of this weapon?

How many children are killed and maimed every year because of this horrible weapon?

Nearly all victims — 94% — are civilians, and 40% are children,” said Elizabeth MacNairn, executive director of Handicap International U.S. “The report counts between 20,000 and 54,000 cluster munition victims, who will need life-long assistance, and access to a range of health care and support to be fully included in society. Their families and communities also need help.”

So WHY???

Palestinian children in Israeli jails

I have earlier written about the choking hold Israel is having on the Palestinians. Israel’s state terrorism against the Palestinians has now reached a level that is so appalling that even their most “loyal” supporter, the US, is trying to constrain Israels’ military aggression, the settlements of Israelis on Palestinian land and their destruction of Palestinian economy.

While all this is going on, there is something very sinister happening that does not make the big headlines: The way the Israeli army (IDF) is treating Palestinian children. Besides being vicious and cruel, it also violates International law., more precisely “Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”,” the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

An Israeli military prosecutor told the team of lawyers, “Every Palestinian child is a potential terrorist.” This stance, Davies says, leads to a spiral of injustice, which only Israel as the occupying power in the West Bank can reverse.

So, what exactly are the IDF doing to these children?

Common complaints and areas of concern – January 2008 January 2012

Number of Cases Percentage of Children
Hand ties 296 95%
Blindfolds 281 90%
Physical violence 234 75%
Detention inside Israel in violation of Article 76 196 63%
Arrested between midnight and 5:00 am 188 60%
Confession during interrogation 180 58%
Threats 178 57%
Verbal abuse and/or humiliation 169 54%
Strip searched 102 33%
Transferred on floor of vehicle 98 32%
Signed/shown documents written in Hebrew 91 29%
Solitary confinement 38 12%

Hard facts     Behind these numbers are the suffering of children, their traumas, angst and horrors of being treated like terrorists. Most of these children threw rocks at Israeli armed vehicles and tanks, not doing any damage. But again: the Israeli retaliation is grossly out of proportion. The IDF arrests, blindfold, beat and place these kids in solitary confinement (which by International law is torture) for weeks and months and then brought into the court room shackled and chained, like armed convicts. If over 14 years of age, they can be sentences to 20 years in jail

Again. They are CHILDREN! How can we sit still and do NOTHING? This must be a dilemma especially for the US, who are so quick to accuse for example China of abusing Human Rights, while at the same time supporting Israel, who so blatantly break all International Laws.

America and pollution

I recently read a blog post about global warming by Archie Richards. This is my response to his ridicule of everybody who is worried about the way we destroy this planet.

The Vikings never grew grapes in Greenland or in Newfoundland. The temperature in the year 1000 was just slightly higher than 50 years ago. The ice in the Arctic is receding in a much higher speed then expected, which leaves the polar bears in that area in a dire situation. The ice on Greenland is also receding at a very dangerous speed. The ozone layer is getting thinner and even has holes in it, especially where I live. I could go on, but there is no doubt that man made pollution is the cause if these changes. —-

The worst polluters are the US and China, but despite this, they refuse to sign any international agreement to reduce the pollution. Many Americans argue that the effects of the pollution are NOT man made, but a “natural” part of a cycle. This has been disproved again and again, but America and China are continuing to spew out all the destructive gases that are so dangerous to all of us.

Why F-35?

Why should Norway buy the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II? — We have enough money, but three factors speak against this deal. We do not know when the planes can be delivered, they still have technical issues to solve and, of all things, nobody has any idea about what the cost will be.

In addition we have the fact that in this country we cannot just buy a plane. It has to be custom made for our topography and weather. The F-16s we have are nowhere near what, for example, the US version of them is.

Then there are the promises of all the contracts the Norwegian industry will get. Yes, we are supposed to manufacture the missiles for the F-35 (Norwegian Naval Strike Missile), but it will only create around 400 jobs.

I am old enough to remember when we bought the F-16s. Same story – the promised contracts for the Norwegian high tech industry never materialized.

So, why are we so naive and loyal to the US? Yes, we are one of America’s oldest and most loyal allies, but this transaction seems quite unwise. The number of unknown variables is just too many.

I do not have the answer. I do not understand my own Government. There has of course been a heated debate in Norway about this issue, and this year the government is supposed to make the final decision. For an extensive overview of events: Norway and the F-35

There are several alternatives that are fully developed and operational, and they are much more inexpensive both to buy, but not the least, to operate. Two that I can mention are the Eurofighter and the Jas Gripen.

Several of the original group of countries that helped with the funding of this project (Britain, Australia, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands), have sent strong signals that they may cancel or at least reduce the order. An example is Japan (Japan cancelling order?) and Canada, US and Australia (Cancelling order?)

I could go on and write about the F-22 and it’s demise and the Russians developing their Sukhoi PAK FA and the Chinese with their Chengdu J-20 or Snow Owl Jet.

But that is not my point. I am just wondering why so many countries are willing to spend so much money on this very shaky project called F-35.

The American Economy in a Global Perspective

Economy is a complicated issue; a mixture of hard facts, politics, fluctuations, trade agreements and psychology.

The world economy is today in a state of nervous insecurity and there is a tendency to blame the other players in the market. Like when the US is demanding (!) that Europe “straighten up their act and solve the financial crisis, because it effects the US economy”. The latest is that US companies are complaining about business is slow because of less demand from Europe. —- Well, that goes for everybody, not only the US.

To write about these issues in a simple way is almost impossible, but let us have a look at the situation:

  • Lack of, or declining, demand for goods and services worldwide.
  • A distinct nervousness among investors, that is lack of risk capital.
  • High rate of unemployment
  • Crisis in the Banks, again, worldwide

Well, let us have a look at what happened.

Two obvious events happened.

The EU grew too fast and some of the new member states could not and can not uphold the economic standard necessary to be a sustainable member of the EU.

President Bush launched the war on Iraq. There is a lot to say about that, but a major problem was that the US could not afford it. They had a double budget deficit to struggle with: The budget deficit and the trade deficit with other countries. That is a dangerous situation, not only for the US, but for the world, because the US economy is the most substantial economy in the world. The bank scandals, the unemployment and the recession as such was and is a major problem for the US.

So, now the US and Europe are in a dire economic situation. —- So why this bickering about who’s fault it is? Why not work together? The US and Europe together is a powerful economic force, so why not utilize that?