Let Us Now Speak Plainly

Arthur Silber

A Palestinian woman and her child run for cover after an Israeli air-
strike hit the northern Gaza City on Friday.
(M. Longari/AFP/Getty)

The most striking and significant quality of our national conversation "is one of overwhelming, oppressive and suffocating unreality. It is as if everyone knows, but will never acknowledge, that we may speak only in code, and that we may only utilize the safe, empty phrases that we have agreed are 'acceptable' -- phrases and language that are safe precisely because they have been drained of all correspondence to facts. It is as if everyone realizes, but will never state, that we are engaged in an elaborate charade, a pageant of gesture and indication, where substance and specific meaning have been banned. ... [T]he truth is not merely unpleasant, an uninvited guest who makes conversation difficult and awkward. Truth is the enemy; truth is to be destroyed."

Gaza is a concentration camp. It is not like a concentration camp. It is not a metaphorical or figurative concentration camp. It is a concentration camp. Our culture, our political leaders, and the cacophony of voices in the media have all agreed that this truth must never be spoken. If one wanted to be momentarily charitable about people's absolute refusal to recognize the obvious, one might argue that a land area of approximately 140 square miles, containing a population of roughly 1.7 million people, could not possibly be a concentration camp. But size and the number of prisoners are not the distinguishing characteristics of a concentration camp. The most essential characteristic of a concentration camp is what is permitted, and what is not. Only one question matters: Under what conditions are the people within its borders permitted to live?

Israel controls most of Gaza's land borders, just as Israel controls the air space above it and the waters that border Gaza on the west. The sole exception is the small border with Egypt, and Israel subjects that border to attacks whenever it chooses. In essence, nothing is permitted in or out of Gaza without Israel's permission.

Nearly 50 million living in poverty in US

Kate Randall

The ranks of the unemployed in the United States rose last year to 49.7 million, based on a new measure that provides a fuller picture of poverty than that previously reported by U.S. Census Bureau data. The revised poverty rate of 16.1 percent is up more than a percentage point from the 15 percent figure reported by the government in September.

Coming a little more than a week after the 2012 elections, the news that nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty received little attention in the media or from the Obama administration. Neither big-business party has any policies to alleviate growing poverty, which is exacerbated by entrenched unemployment and a sluggish economy.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), devised a year ago, factors in expenses for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, health care and other essentials beyond what the previous official formula took into account. It includes in its income measure such government-provided benefits as Social Security, unemployment benefits and nutrition assistance.

The SPM figures released by the Census Bureau on Thursday show that while some households may have incomes above the poverty line, factors such as medical expenses are pushing increasing numbers into poverty. The new figures also indicate that the tepid job growth in the more than four years since the financial crisis has come mostly in the form of low-wage jobs that in many cases are not able to lift families out of poverty.

Israel’s Real Agenda: Expand And Obtain As Much Palestinian Land As Possible

Philip Giraldi

RE Map: Why does Israel continue to build settlements on the west bank and continue its expansionist policies? The ultimate goal is to capture all of ‘Eretz Israel’. The ‘Promised Land’ extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. It includes parts of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, a bit of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Yasser Arafat always used to keep an Israeli coin in his pocket showing Israel with the ‘Eretz Israel’ borders, to remind people that they shouldn’t be fooled by the Zionists, as they have no defined borders and continue to expand their land.

Most observers have become wearied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s frequently voiced demands that Iran must be attacked because it is a threat to the entire world. The reality is otherwise, that Iran’s theocratic government’s security apparatus oppresses mostly its own people and its military lacks the capabilities that would enable it to threaten either Israel or the United States. Israel’s government knows that perfectly well and has even conceded that Iran currently has no nuclear weapons program, a viewpoint shared by America’s CIA. It also knows that any attempt by its air force and navy to attack Iran would be fraught with peril, quite likely leading to a regional war in which Israel would sustain considerable damage even if it would ultimately prevail due to its superior armaments provided by the United States.

So if Iran is no threat and Israel is incapable of staging a successful attack using its own resources, why is there a constant drumbeat from Netanyahu? One might suggest that Israel has been all along intending to let Washington do the fighting and dying for it by creating a sense of urgency over what Iran’s intentions and capabilities might actually be. Useful idiots in Congress, most recently Senators Kirk and Menendez, continue to push through resolutions demanding more and harsher sanctions against Iran. This demonization effort has been successful in that it has placed the US Congress firmly on the side of wrecking the Iranian economy as a means to eliminate Tehran’s nuclear program while prominent media spokesmen have been voicing much the same sentiment. Mitt Romney also drank the Kool aid, pledging to stop Iranian “capability” to create a nuclear weapon, something that it already has, before demonstrating that he did not even know where Iran was located. Because of the misinformation that circulates freely, opinion polls suggest that most Americans believe that Iran already has a nuclear weapon and constitutes a threat, though few would want a new war in the Middle East to deal with it.

Ahmed Jabari (1960 - 2012)

Stephen Lendman

Photo: Ahmed Jabari, leader of Qassam Brigades in the Gaza Strip, oversees a prisoner exchange with Israel near the Rafah border crossing on October 18, 2011. The landmark swap freed abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after five years in Hamas hands. (Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images/Global Post)

On November 15, thousands in Gaza City residents mourned Jabari's assassination. Israel murdered him the previous day in cold blood.

Score another victory for occupation harshness. Add one to the column of Israeli crimes against humanity. Volumes are needed to list them. Israel lives by the sword of injustice. One day perhaps it will perish for its villainy.

Hamas officials and Qassam Brigades leaders stayed away from Jabari's funeral for their safety. They're marked men. IDF spokesman General Yoav Mordechai said, "Were I a Hamas operative, I would opt to shelter underground." Mourners carried Jabari's body ritualistically. Others fired guns in the air chanting, "You have won." London Telegraph writer Phoebe Greenwood said Gazans called his assassination

"the straw that's broken the camel's back. The people are saying that 'we don't care. We want all our men to fight. We've got nothing to lose now.' "

Gaza is in "emergency mode." People are angry and defiant. The London Independent headlined "Massed Israeli troops poised for invasion of Gaza," saying:

"Military sources told The Independent that a ground invasion was 'a distinct possibility.' The army has deployed extra infantry units near the Gaza border, halted major exercises, cancelled soldiers' leave and mobilized some reserve forces."

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigade, mourns Jabari's death. They called him a martyred liberating struggle "great leader." They promised greater resistance. They called for Palestinian unity and solidarity against a common enemy.

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