Friday 25th of May 2018

senator brandis of australia solves the israeli-palestinian conflict with the stroke of a pen...

brandis settlementss

The Abbott government has ruled out using the term "occupied" when describing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, prompting suggestions about a shift in Australia's foreign policy.

The government on Thursday delivered a statement to clarify its stand on the controversial question of the legality of settlements after the issued flared up at a Senate hearing the night before.

The attorney general, George Brandis, on behalf of the minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, said it was "unhelpful" to refer to historic events when describing these areas, given the ongoing Middle East peace process.

"The description of East Jerusalem as 'occupied' East Jerusalem is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful," Brandis told a Senate estimates hearing.

"It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language."

Brandis sparked a heated debate the previous evening when he stated that no Australian government of either political persuasion "acknowledges or accepts" the use of the word occupied.

A number of senators disagreed, pointing out that Australia had voted in support of UN resolutions in 2011 and 2012 where such language was used to describe the East Jerusalem settlements.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon, among other senators, suggested that dropping the term occupied would be a "massive shift" in Australia's foreign policy.

Xenophon tried unsuccessfully to determine whether the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had changed its legal advice to the government on settlements.

In line with protocol, the secretary of Dfat, Peter Varghese, did not discuss the department's legal advice before the Senate committee, but did concede the word "occupied" had been used by the government in the past.

Bishop raised eyebrows in January when she questioned which international law had declared Israeli settlements illegal.


unhelpful zealoted bigot in charge of the lexicography...

Julia Gillard narrowly avoided a caucus revolt 18 months ago by proposing Australia abstain in the United Nations resolution to grant the Palestinian Authority observer status in the UN.

Today the Attorney-General George Brandis delivered a statement clarifying the Government's stance on the question of Israeli settlements after independent Senator Nick Xenophon tried, without success, to find out about legal advice to the Government and probing by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon at a Senate hearing last night.

LEE RHIANNON: Why did the Australian Ambassador to Israel attend a meeting in occupied East Jerusalem with the Israeli minister for housing and construction; the same minister who is forecasting a 50 per cent increase in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the next five years?

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well I think I should say, Senator Rhiannon, that the rather tendentious way in which you've put that question and in particular the use of the word "occupied" is not something that the Australian Government of either political persuasion acknowledges or accepts.

LEE RHIANNON: So you don't use the term "Occupied Palestinian Territories", even though it's a United Nations term used widely by a number of international agencies, European members et cetera…

(talking over each other)

GEORGE BRANDIS: Well it's used by a lot of people. It's used by a lot of communists too. Weren't you a member of the Communist Party once?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: After consulting the Foreign Minister overnight, Senator Brandis returned to the hearing this morning to explain the Government's position.

GEORGE BRANDIS: The description of areas which are the subject of negotiations in the course of the peace process, by reference to historical events is unhelpful.

idiotic nazi policy of the australian government...

Australia’s new policy of refusing to describe East Jerusalem as “occupied”, confirmed by a statement made by Attorney-General George Brandis in consultation with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, will not be helpful to Australia’s reputation, the peace process or Israel itself.

The Abbott government’s new position shatters what has been for nearly 50 years a completely bipartisan position. Neither Fraser and Peacock, nor Howard and Downer either adopted or even explored taking a similar stance. And for very good reason.

East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967. No other state – not even the US – describes the situation in any other terms. There are multiple Security Council resolutions rejecting Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The International Court of Justice in 2004 declared not only that the West Bank was occupied but that this was illegal. The court made no distinction between East Jerusalem and other parts of the Palestinian territories.

If East Jerusalem is not to be referred to as “occupied”, why not Nablus or Bethlehem? If  the Australian government can say “occupied East Jerusalem” is fraught with “pejorative implications” what is to stop Ms Bishop applying this to the occupied West Bank as a whole? It is a short step away for the Coalition government to declare that all the West Bank, with its population of more than 2 million Arabs, is no more than a “disputed" territory. 

Read more:

trade will suffer...

The head of Arab Bank Australia has warned trade with the Middle East will suffer after the Federal Government's decision to stop referring to Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem as "occupied territories".

A delegation of Arabic and Islamic countries last week lodged a formal protest to the Foreign Minister over Australia's recent shift to the term "disputed territories".

Arab Bank Australia managing director Joseph Rizk today appeared before a parliamentary committee examining investment in Middle Eastern countries.

He says Australia's recent move is still being absorbed in the Middle East, but urgently needs to be clarified.

"It's quite obvious that the Middle East is not going to boycott Australia, well that's my view, but over time it will affect trade ... if the policy isn't clarified and the commentary that's recently been made isn't elaborated on," Mr Rizk said.

would not know a cow of a policy if he fell on it...

Rural Liberals are seething over Attorney-General George Brandis's remarks about East Jerusalem, accusing him of "intellectual arrogance".

In a Senate hearing earlier this month Senator Brandis declared the Government would no longer refer to East Jerusalem as "occupied".

Arab countries viewed the change in language as a policy shift, and the Palestinian delegation to Australia said it risked trade sanctions.

This has upset some of Senator Brandis's Liberal colleagues, with one MP saying it could have created a debacle of similar proportions to Labor's 2011 decision to ban live cattle exports to Indonesia.

The MP accused Senator Brandis of "intellectual arrogance", saying he does not spend enough time with normal people and instead operates in a Senate vacuum.

"George Brandis couldn't sell lollies to children," he said.

Another said: "Poor old George wouldn't know a live animal if he fell on it."

The ABC understands the issue was raised with Defence Minister David Johnston by a number of delegates at the West Australian Liberal Party's State Council meeting in Manjimup, south of Perth, on Saturday.

So far, farming and pastoral groups have said little publicly about the issue. The ABC has been told they are disappointed by the remarks but do not want to inflame the issue by saying too much...

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more neo-fascist laws to make sure we don't ask questions ...

In their wake the security agencies have, bit by bit, been given impressive counter terrorism powers, including: detention and questioning, even for people who are not suspected of anything; confiscation of passports; extended time frames for search warrants; removal and detention of material gathered during a search; preventative detention; control orders; bans on extolling terrorism; the proscription of certain organisations; amended sedition laws; tracking and preventing the financing terrorism; and special laws for the conduct of terror trials involving, including the restricted red use of intelligence.

Asio is a hugely well funded and hungry beast. It will always want more in its mission to save our lives. Collection of metadata and nabbing jihadists are today's mission. Tomorrow it will be the retention of broader classifications of data; wider definitions of terrorism and who is a terrorist; more powers relating to association and communications; more access into the functions of daily life; special security classifications; and emergency powers.

There's not much that Irving won't be able to nip in the bud. Who knows. One day we might feel as safe as North Koreans. 

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deep concerns from the neo-shits (er... fascists)...


While the Palestinian Holocaust continues, with the death toll in Gaza reaching 1,360 – mostly women and children – Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains silent, writes Lyn Bender.

ISRAEL’S OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE began on the 8th of July. There have been several brief humanitarian ceasefires; but the bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues with extreme vengeance.

In the current bombardment and military ground incursion, at time of writing, over1,360 Palestinians have died and over 6,000 have been injured so far.

On 17 July, Russian separatists in the Ukraine shot down Malaysian airliner MH17. It was mistakenly identified as a Ukrainian cargo plane as it flew over a war zone. The death toll was 298.

Both these events are immensely sad. However, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, seems able to pay attention to only one of these tragedies. In stark contrast to the attention he has paid to the MH17 tragedy, Tony Abbott ignores the suffering in Gaza.

Considering the incessant, breathless statementsinterviews and regular updates and calls for accountability being offered in the wake of the MH17 airline loss, the contrasting lack of empathy and concern for the dead and injured in Gaza, is breathtaking.

Until the recent announcement by Julie Bishop of  $5 million in humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, the Abbott Government has shown no concern for the plight of Palestinians.

Fairfax reports that 27 Greens and ALP parliamentarians have condemned

'... the ongoing Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza.'

Julie Bishop has at last issued a limp statement on behalf of the Government, expressing

"...deep concern about the violence in Gaza."



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conditional state...

Tony Abbott has called for a ceasefire in Gaza “immediately, by both sides” but says Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders.

With Israel facing strong condemnation overnight over accusations that it bombed a UN shelter, killing 15 sleeping women and children, the Australian prime minister was asked on Melbourne radio 3AW whether it was time for Israel to back off.

Abbott said there needed to be a ceasefire “because plainly, too many people are dying”.

He said the conflict was “just wrong” and the world needed to work towards achieving a durable two-state solution “where the Palestinians do accept Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders”.

Abbott said the Australian government supported Palestinian statehood but that support had to go “hand in hand” with the recognition of Israel’s right to secure its borders. Australia, he said, supported Israel’s right to exist and its “right to self-defence”.

In regard to what Brandis has done (see top article) and this "apparent" pike with a twist from our General Turd, we can only hope that he is genuine, but fear not... It seems to be the usual hot and cold shower presented by neo-fascists when they have to give a bit of ballast... and appear "balanced"... Don't give him an inch.

solar power for some...


Solar power is great, unless you are a Bedouin in the West Bank

Israel encourages using solar panels for electricity, but West Bank Bedouin who try to join the bandwagon are deemed to be building illegal structures.

By Zafrir Rinat Jan. 7, 2016 | 3:46 PM 1

Environmental defense organizations have invested enormous resources in recent years to promote solar power usage in Israel. They would do well to make a small effort to help the West Bank Bedouin community, which wanted to exploit this type of energy but have been blocked by the Civil Administration, which has deemed their efforts illegal.

The residents of the village of Khan al-Ahmar, adjacent to Kfar Adumim, petitioned the High Court of Justice a few weeks ago to oblige the state to explain why it does not rescind the order it made to confiscate 20 solar panels that were donated to them. About 200 people live in the village, according to the petition. The Civil Administration rejects their right to live at the location and has issued dozens of demolition orders against structures in the village. Still, the state six months ago informed the High Court during a hearing on the village's fate that it did not intend to carry out the demolition orders at that stage.

In practice, the state's announcement meant that the dozens of family would be residing in Khan al-Ahmar without being connected to the water or electricity infrastructures. The homes of the village are located nearby high power lines that bring electricity to the adjacent Jewish settlements.
Last year, 25 solar panels were donated to the families. Unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev make widespread use of similar panels. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies demonstrated their importance with its project for off-grid communities.

The panels in Khan al-Ahmar were installed at the beginning of last year, providing electricity for light, refrigerators, computers used for school studies, washing machines and fans. According to the petition, the Civil Administration's inspection unit confiscated the panels a number of weeks after they were installed. The state has yet to respond to the petition, but in response to a Haaretz inquiry made a few months ago, the Civil Administration commented: "The solar panels were put in Khan al-Ahmar illegally and without coordination with the Civil Administration, and were thus confiscated. Some of the panels were returned, in light of resident appeals, according to regulation."

Shlomo Lecker, the attorney who submitted the petition on behalf of the residents, remarked in the petition that 20 of the 25 panels were returned, but the inspectors returned and confiscated most of them. The remaining ones were covered and are not being used out of fear they will be confiscated as soon as they are installed. Without the panels, village residents are forced to use generators that consume diesel fuel.

These structures generate noise and pollution, and the cost of maintaining them is very high for the residents. 
The Civil Administration noted in the original order that it was taking the panels because of suspicions of illegal construction. Lecker asserts in the petition that the confiscation was illegal because installing the panels did not require any building activity. The panels were laid on the ground and not supported by any part of a building. He asserts that no building permit was needed for this action, so there was no justification for confiscating the panels. The petitioners argue the Civil Administration's real goal is to be cruel to the residents and to wear them out until they leave their place of residence.
Meanwhile, the Civil Administration and other state organs are helping the settlements financially and otherwise to make widespread use of solar energy. The issue is particularly prominent in the Jordan Valley, where there is a significant rise in the use of solar panels. In practice, a situation has been created by which the settlements, which are illegal in the eyes of the international community, enjoy support in every regard concerning the establishment of energy devices, and in contrast the Bedouin community, which is prevented from legalizing their residences, are forced to give up on electricity from a clean, cheaper source on the basis that they are engaging in illegal activity.

Regretfully, environmental activists in Israel, who are making great efforts to make it easier for homeowners to put solar panels on their homes, are not showing interest in the small struggle of Khan al-Ahmar. Perhaps the time has come for them to promote a declaration regarding the right of every person to use solar energy, as long as he does not break the law or prevent someone else from enjoying the exact same rights.

For the average Israeli, using solar energy is another way to save on the electricity bill and a way to feel he is contributing to the environment.

The case is even more so for someone living off the electricity grid.

Gus: I cannot provide the link to this story as my old computer is unstable with some websites. I took my 30 year experience with computers to solve this and access this genuine article but the link is not showing. You may have better luck. Anyway see toon at top...