Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Israelis guilty of...living and breathing.

Human Rights Watch alleges that Israeli agricultural settlements are exploiting Palestinian ‘child labourers’ – some as young as  11 years of age.

Human Rights Watch does not name one Israeli agricultural settlement guilty of such conduct but instead, seeks to brand the  entire Israeli agricultural settlement enterprise for the alleged wrongdoings of ...well, I am not sure who but I guess the generic 'Israelis' sounds about right according to Human Rights Watch.  

I watched the video produced by Human Rights Watch. Two sixteen year old boys, who chose to drop out of school and work as farm labourers as it is the only available job with their skill set. They think it sucks. I get it.

 I listened to a father justify removing his two sons from school at 14 years of age to take them with him to work on an Israeli agricultural settlement farm. Presumably, the father needed the money the boys could earn to support their family so having a family you cannot support without ruining your children's education sucks. I get that.
I read the report, and no where can I find a single settlement named as a guilty party to the alleged nefarious child labor practices.  Instead, what I did find was this quote:

 All of the children and adults working for the settlement farms whom Human Rights Watch interviewed said they were hired by Palestinian middlemen working for Israeli settlers, were paid in cash, and did not receive pay-slips or have work contracts.

Perhaps in the name of human rights, Human Rights Watch should turn over the names of these Palestinian middlemen who are exploiting children to the Palestinian Authority to deal with.  Or at the very least, name the guilty Israeli parties to face consequences under Israeli law.

But what you do not do, is exactly what Human Rights did; issue a 74 page report based on innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations and not name a single guilty party. All of which leads me to believe Human Rights Watch’s motivation in releasing this report was not justice for exploited Palestinian children but a malicious attempt to destroy the international market for Israeli produce, and that is potentially actionable.

From where I sit, someone needs to hold these NGOs accountable for their actions.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When the chickens come home to roost

For years, I have defended the Americans next door. I have lived among them, went to school among them,  and worked among them.  There is an essential ‘goodness’ about most Americans that I encountered, and it was to honour that belief in their essential goodness and generosity that I defended them as a nation, but now….,In the last few years, I have seen America turn and twist in ways I would have never believed possible. Who they are, I know longer no. I watch their television and listen to their news, and I cannot help but wonder; do they even know themselves?

 The White House has used this current graphic on twitter,yes, twitter, to sell their negotiated Iran deal with the world. It’s another uncalled for malicious dig at Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who has metamorphosed into Obama Administration’s personal Nemesis. More importantly, the demeaning and petulant behavior exhibited by POTUS towards a key regional ally, well, one can be excused for drawing the conclusion that it is better to be an enemy of America rather than a friend.   

Despite, all sound and the fury, issued via the White House concerning the alleged ‘Iranian deal’; it is the Iranians who are pointing thefinger and shouting ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’ at the White House.

When you have the Iranians discussing the 'press release' and the Americans waving the 'intent to finalize a deal'; who do you believe?

While U.S. President Barack Obama is engaged in a "world war" with Congress over the framework nuclear deal with Iran and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a clear stand on the matter, one of the foremost experts on Iran, Col. (ret.) Yigal Carmon, provides a fresh perspective and some new facts, which may send this hot potato rolling in new directions.

"The U.S. and Iran have, in fact, not reached any nuclear agreement," said Carmon, the founder and president of the prestigious Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). "The joint statement in Lausanne, which the Iranians defined as a press release, was nothing but a smokescreen meant to disguise difficult, ongoing disagreements between the parties," Carmon, who served as counterterrorism adviser to prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, and who has been following Arab politics and Middle East media closely for years, asserted. 

Carmon, who along with MEMRI's experts on Iran is currently in the institute's offices in Washington, believes the "fact sheet" released by the White House and the U.S. State Department, detailing the alleged deal with Iran, was "a ploy of incredible deception, meant to prevent Congress from imposing immediate, crippling sanctions on the Iranians."

Go read the rest, it just gets worse. If Israel Hayom is correct in their analysis; what on earth was the White House thinking? And was destroying the last shred of American creditability in the world less important than elevating the status of an empty suit president?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jenny Craig – Hamas needs you.

No one, and I do mean no one,  does ‘refugee’ like the Palestinians. I stand literally in awe….

Dateline:  March 22, 2007 The Electronic Intifada

RAMALLAH, 22 March 2007 (IRIN) - One-third of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are food insecure, according to a report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

About 34 percent of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12 percent are at risk of reaching this state, the organisations found in a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment published this month. Most affected is the Gaza Strip, where 51 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity.

“The poorest families are now living a meagre existence totally reliant on assistance, with no electricity or heating and eating food prepared with water from bad sources,” according to a statement by Arnold Vercken, the WFP country director for the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). But an Israeli spokesperson said Palestinian authorities should take more responsibility.

Dateline: February 20, 2009  -  The Electronic Intifada

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Thousands of food-insecure Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are facing an even worse situation after large numbers of livestock and agricultural land were badly damaged or destroyed during Israel’s military assault, which began on 27 December.

The already fragile food situation in Gaza has been seriously aggravated by the conflict, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Chicken and meat are now very costly or unavailable, while fresh fruit and vegetables will be unavailable by May due to destroyed crops, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Gaza.

An emergency operation was jointly approved by FAO and WFP in January to provide food to 365,000 worst-affected residents in Gaza, including social hardship cases, internally displaced people and farmers to 19 January 2010.

Dateline:  May 30, 2010 IRIN News Org

RAMALLAH, 30 May 2010 (IRIN) - The amount and quality of food available to the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip has been severely restricted by more than 1,000 days of a near-complete blockade, states a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report.

“Sixty-one percent of the Gaza population is food insecure,” said Sarah Leppert, FAO’s communications adviser for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “There is a diverse range of foods available in Gaza; the problem is people do not have the means to purchase the food due to rising poverty and unemployment, now nearly 39 percent.”

Israel's import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the agriculture sector in Gaza, directly contributing to rising food insecurity, said acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), Philippe Lazzarini, in a joint statement with humanitarian aid agencies, and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), representing more than 80 NGOs on 25 May from Gaza.

Dateline: June 17, 2011 The Guardian:

In a rural area of the central Gaza Strip, Eyad Najjar plucks organic carrots from the sandy soil of his tiny farm. Najjar no longer uses fertilisers or pesticides for his plot, which also grows tomatoes, parsley, rocket, lettuce and spinach. Instead, a fishpond on the field's far edge delivers water rich in nutrients via drip irrigation.

Smiling, Najjar squeezes an almost-ripe fruit hanging from the branch of a lemon tree. "The onions and lemons are bigger and better," he says. But Najjar is not part of a hip, green revolution. In Gaza, organic agriculture has grown out of a concern for safe supplies of food. When Hamas took control in 2007, Israel imposed a crippling blockade. Not only were a number of foods blocked from entering, but stocks of pesticides and fertilisers also dried up. Israeli officials have said militants can use agricultural chemicals to make rockets. Food insecurity among Gaza's 1.6 million people rose, and 80% became reliant on food aid, according to the Word Food Programme. Najjar was one of them.

Dateline: June 3, 2014 UNRWA Press Release

Food insecurity in Palestine remains at very high levels, with a third of households – 33 percent or 1.6 million people – food insecure, according to the 2013 annual food security survey, a collaborative effort between the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and United Nations (UN) agencies in the food-security sector.

In Gaza, food-insecurity levels remained at 57 per cent, while in the West Bank, food insecurity remained at 19 per cent – both unchanged from 2012 levels. The high food-insecurity levels in 2012 and 2013 reversed the improvement that took place over the 2009-2011 period, when overall food insecurity in Palestine fell to 27 per cent.

Dateline March 25, 2014 Al-Monitor

Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the increasing demand on dietitians. Ata Qaisi, health care consultant and owner of Gaza City's Diet Center, said obesity can have negative repercussions on a person's life, making him or her more vulnerable to hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Obese women are also more susceptible to pregnancy complications and miscarriages, according to Qaisi.

Qaisi told Al-Monitor that there is a large demand in Gaza for weight-loss programs. “The comfort is in the improvement of the figure and this is what we seek through our programs, which are supposed to be followed through diets and not only by relying on weight loss. When the person finds that the weight has been reduced and the shape has been improved, his or her entire life completely changes. This is how people find comfort in their hearts and minds,” he said.
Qaisi said that many Palestinians have consulted weight-loss centers, either in a bid to treat obesity or just to shed a few pounds ahead of a social event. Only five weight-loss centers can be found in the Gaza Strip, according to Qaisi. Statistics on the number of nutritionists in Gaza are unavailable.
Some people consume herbal supplements or take pills to lose weight in a short period of time, said Qaisi, yet this often results in complications and does not help individuals lose weight. Qaisi estimated that women represent 95% of weight-loss program clients. 

In the Gaza Strip, a high proportion of people suffer from obesity. “Only 18% to 25% of the Strip’s residents have a normal weight," he said. "The rest are suffering from obesity because of the nature of our life pattern, in addition to the unbalanced social lifestyle, bad eating habits, food traditions and dessert consumption.”

He added, “Such a large proportion is the result of common diseases such as diabetes, stress, cancer and rheumatism. If, for example, the proportion of patients with high blood pressure is 30% of the population, know that 97% of them are due to obesity and the rest are due to accidental causes.” 
Suhail al-Qishawi, an endocrinology and diabetes consultant, told Al-Monitor that obesity puts one at risk for Type 2 diabetes, as do other factors such as lack of exercise, age and genetics.
“Obesity is now classified as a disease that results in high blood pressure, because it is often associated with the pancreas producing less insulin due to the fat on the organ. This causes diabetes among obese persons. Patients with Type 2 diabetes in the Gaza Strip represent more than 95% of patients with diabetes in general, which means that around 95% of diabetes patients got it as a result of obesity,” he said.

Despite the deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip, residents’ awareness of the danger of obesity has pushed many to seek out the services of weight-loss centers to help them overcome the disease.

Imagine being the first to bring Jenny Craig to the Gaza Strip...the possibilities are endless.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Progressivism; as a diagnosis

There is no sore loser like a progressive sore loser.  Of course, what would I know? I am a mezuzah kisser. 

Controversy over Amir Hetsroni’s comments has dominated Facebook and other online forums in Israel in recent days, after he made statements online after the election blaming the loss of the Zionist Union on Jews from the Muslim world and Asia. He also argued that if he could go back in time he would impose more stringent limits on immigration to Israel from such countries to prevent future Likud supporters from coming to Israel, adding that voting for the Right “is a sign of mental retardation.”

The controversy reached new height on Sunday however, after Hetsroni, who was dismissed by Ariel University in August 2014 for “inappropriate comments” because of statements he made on Facebook and elsewhere, was kicked off a morning show panel for offensive comments made about Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews. During the argument, a woman on the panel called Hetsroni a fascist, after which he said “all I said was that nothing bad would have happened if your parents had decided to stay in Morocco and rot there.” One of the show’s hosts, Yoav Limor, asked Hetsroni to apologize or leave, at which point he stood up and walked out.

As the controversy stormed on Sunday he vowed to leave Israel in the coming year. (Jpost)

Baruch HaShem to that, but really, since this is the ' Israeli leftwing' is it any wonder why the right took the vote?