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Ed Webb

It's been a year since the earthquake and Syrians feel forgotten once again | Turkey-Sy... - 0 views

  • The earthquake ravaged an already suffering population. Syrians lost family members, homes, livelihoods, the little sense of stability they may have had amid the continuing war. Over the past year, the number of Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance has surged from 15.3 million to 16.7 million, the highest since the start of hostilities about 13 years ago. And yet, the greater need has not been met with adequate funding; to the contrary, contributions have dwindled.
  • A staggering 90 percent of households struggled to cover essential needs, leaving families to make tough decisions for their children.
  • There’s almost no mental health support available for young people, despite almost 70 percent of children struggling with sadness, according to a survey by Save the Children. Around one-third of Syrian households have children showing signs of mental distress, the UN reported.
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  • Over half of healthcare workers, including qualified mental health professionals, have left the country over the past decade.
  • Before the earthquake, the education system in Syria was already struggling. According to the UN, more than 7,000 schools had been damaged or destroyed. Some two million children were not attending school and 1.6 million were at risk of dropping out. The earthquake made the situation even worse, especially in northwest Syria, where 54 percent of schools were affected.
  • The UN humanitarian response plan was only 37.8 percent funded in 2023. Late last year, media reports indicated that the World Food Programme (WFP) will stop much of its main food assistance programme in the country this year due to a lack of funding.
Ed Webb

Iran says US strikes are a 'strategic mistake' - 1 views

  • Iran's foreign ministry said the strikes on Iraq and Syria "will have no result other than intensifying tensions and instability in the region".Earlier, Iraq said the US retaliatory strikes would bring "disastrous consequences" for the region.At least 16 people, including civilians, were killed as a result of the strikes, Iraqi officials said.A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister said the strikes were a "violation" of his country's sovereignty and that they would impact "the security and stability of Iraq and the region". While Syria said the US "occupation" of Syrian territory "cannot continue".
  • There have been no strikes on Iranian soil.
  • Iran has denied any role in the attack on the US base, saying it was "not involved in the decision making of resistance groups".A spokesperson for Iran's foreign ministry said US strikes on Iraq, Syria and Yemen "merely provide for the goals of the Zionist regime", referring to US ally Israel.
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  • Russia has called for an "urgent" meeting of the UN Security Council "over the threat to peace and safety created by US strikes on Syria and Iraq"
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    I thought this article had two very important themes. It is odd how Iraq is ok with Iran violating its sovereignty by fomenting terrorism within Iraq. Iraq, however, is not ok with the U.S. retaliating against these strikes. It was also ironic that Russia called an emergency meeting to discuss the U.S. threat in the region. Russia is likely trying to further assert its power in the region, as well as support Syrian allies. It is also possible that Russia could be moving to push its influence in the UN to distract from failures in Ukraine.
Ed Webb

How war destroyed Gaza's neighbourhoods - visual investigation | Gaza | The Guardian - 0 views

  • Using satellite imagery and open-source evidence, the investigation found damage to more than 250 residential buildings, 17 schools and universities, 16 mosques, three hospitals, three cemeteries and 150 agricultural greenhouses.Entire buildings have been levelled, fields flattened and places of worship wiped off the map in the course of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, launched after the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.The destruction has not only forced 1.9 million people to leave their homes but also made it impossible for many to return. This has led some experts to describe what is happening in Gaza as “domicide”, defined as the widespread, deliberate destruction of the home to make it uninhabitable, preventing the return of displaced people. The concept is not recognised in law.
Ed Webb

India navy rescues two hijacked vessels off Somalia coast in two days - 0 views

  • The waters off the Somali coast were previously a hotbed for piracy, but it had all but stopped after international forces stepped up patrols.India, for example, has helped patrol the area constantly since 2008.However, many of those naval forces have moved up into the Red Sea, AFP news agency reports, where the Houthi rebel group, based in Yemen, have been attacking ships. Experts now fear the gap will be exploited by pirates in the region, the news agency said.
Ed Webb

UNRWA pronounced guilty until proven innocent. Palestinians pay the price. - 0 views

  • The US-led response to the allegations bolsters a long-standing Israeli campaign against UNRWA that is as much an integral part of a broader policy to undermine Palestinians’ refugee status as it may be based on legitimate concerns.Israel hopes to undermine Palestinians’ insistence on the right to self-determination and an independent state by depriving many of them of their refugee status that dates to Israel’s creation and the 1948 and 1967 Middle East wars.To be sure, UNWRA defines as refugees not only those Palestinians who fled the wars, but also their descendants, now in their fourth generation. In doing so, the agency has a vested interest in maintaining their status, which is not to diminish Palestinian rights.“Israel has been building a case against UNRWA for a long time… Regardless of the veracity of the charge, the decision to go with this news…seems like an attempt to distract from the ICJ ruling on genocide in Gaza,” said International Crisis Group Israel analyst Mairav Zeinszon.
Ed Webb

Derek Penslar, Harvard Jewish studies professor controversy: This typifies what's broke... - 1 views

  • There is no set of credentials that can prevent a person who is earnestly trying to do work in this space from getting sucked into the politicization and, yes, weaponization of antisemitism
  • when fact and understanding and nuance of the issue are all considered secondary, what gets sacrificed isn’t just an individual’s career or standing or time, but comprehension of the actual issue that is antisemitism.
Ed Webb

Arab Public Opinion about the Israeli War on Gaza - 0 views

  • a sample of 8000 respondents (men and women) from 16 Arab countries
  • 97% of respondents expressing psychological stress (to varying degrees) as a result of the war on Gaza. 84% expressed a sense of great psychological stress.
  • 54% of respondents relied on television, compared to 43% who relied on the internet
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  • While 67% of respondents reported that the military operation carried out by Hamas was a legitimate resistance operation, 19% reported that it was a somewhat flawed but legitimate resistance operation, and 3% said that it was a legitimate resistance operation that involved heinous or criminal acts, while 5% said it was an illegitimate operation
  • 69% of respondents expressed their solidarity with Palestinians and support for Hamas, 23% expressed solidarity with Palestinians despite opposing Hamas, and 1% expressed a lack of solidarity with the Palestinians
  • 92% believe that the Palestinian question concerns all Arabs and not just the Palestinians
  • a near consensus (81%) in their belief that the US government is not serious about working to establish a Palestinian state in the 1967 occupied territories (The West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza)
  • About 77% of respondents named the United States and Israel as the biggest threat to the security and stability of the region
  • 82% of respondents reported that US media coverage of the war was biased towards Israel
  • 94% considered the US position negatively, with 82% considering it very bad. In the same context, 79%, 78%, and 75% of respondents viewed positions of France, the UK, and Germany negatively. Opinion was split over the positions of Iran, Turkey, Russia, and China. While (48%, 47%, 41%, 40%, respectively) considered them positively (37%, 40%, 42%, 38%, respectively)
  • this percentage is the highest recorded since polling began in 2011, rising from 76% at the end of 2022, to 92% this year
  • In Morocco, it rose from 59% in 2022 to 95%, in Egypt from 75% to 94%, in Sudan from 68% to 91%, and in Saudi Arabia from 69% to 95%, a statistically significant increase that represents a fundamental shift in the opinions of the citizens of these countries
  • Arab public opinion is almost unanimous in rejecting recognition of Israel, at a rate of 89%, up from 84% in 2022, compared to only 4% who support its recognition. Of particular note is the increase in the percentage of those who rejected recognition of Israel in Saudi Arabia from 38% in the 2022 poll to 68% in this survey
Ed Webb

The Gaza-ification of the West Bank | The New Yorker - 0 views

  • the West Bank, where millions of Palestinians currently live, has also seen increased violence, with more than a hundred Palestinians killed in raids conducted by Israel’s military and clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli settlers—often with the support of the Army—have also kicked scores of Palestinian families off their land
  • The Israeli goal of cleansing as much of Area C as possible from Palestinian communities is not a new goal. Area C is just over sixty per cent of the West Bank—basically, all of the West Bank outside of the major Palestinian population centers and towns. All of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are in Area C. The major Palestinian population centers are like holes in Swiss cheese, where the cheese itself is Area C, engulfing everything: the Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills, part of the northern West Bank.
  • The Israeli state, through its settlers, is trying to take advantage of the fact that all eyes are on Gaza and is intensifying dramatically the pressure on Palestinian communities. I would assume from the Israeli perspective this has been a success. Thirteen Palestinian communities have basically fled in horror in the three weeks since October 7th.
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  • all of these various mechanisms that the state has been using, are backed by Israeli courts, and backed by the Israeli legal system. This is not some random phenomena that is happening uniquely to a single unlucky community far from the eyes of the state. On the contrary, this is part of an ongoing Israeli state project of trying to push, to cleanse, as many Palestinians out of Area C, using all available state mechanisms in order to accomplish this goal
  • What has escalated in recent weeks is that you have repeated reports of masked men showing up in the middle of the night. Armed, masked men.
  • if anyone is now shocked that Israeli soldiers are involved in this. You should have been shocked five years ago. You should have been shocked twenty years ago. Because the involvement of soldiers has been also documented for years, not only with testimonies but also with video footage.
  • Palestinians, if they try to act in self-defense, will almost always have that used as an excuse to frame them as terrorists and to use lethal force against them. It cannot be overstated how exposed the lives of Palestinians are in the West Bank under these conditions
  • When these official mechanisms fail and Palestinian communities show perseverance to stay on the land, then what you have is that other mechanism, the one that tends to make more headlines. You might catch sight of a violent settler torching a Palestinian’s field or using weapons provided to the settlers by the Army.
  • Who’s the state in the West Bank? It’s the Israeli state. So land that’s announced as state land is public land, and then cannot be used for the benefit of the Palestinian population. It’s used by the state for the purpose it wants to advance, which is Jewish settlement, right? And the regime issues building permits for Jewish settlements and issues demolition orders for Palestinian communities.
  • The uprooting of Palestinian communities all over the West Bank is not a project of the settlers, the bad ones, the good ones, or the other ones. It is a state project.
  • What we’ve been seeing since October 7th, after all these years of suffering and orchestrated bureaucratic violence, are direct threats and direct actions against these communities. It happens very quickly, but it does create international friction, and that is the balance that Israel has been playing with, trying to accomplish as much displacement of Palestinians as possible while paying the minimal international price.
  • This is an Israeli project that has been unfolding under left, right, and center governments. Each and every one of them have been doing exactly this since 1967. Let’s not be ahistorical.
  • There is almost zero media coverage in Hebrew in Israel about this. One of the only news outlet that professionally addresses this is Haaretz. Almost no one else discusses it.
  • Even right-wing governments, when they feel international pushback, would take a step back for a month or two until attention moves somewhere else.
  • This is how Israel accomplished getting more than two hundred and fifty settlements and more than seven hundred and fifty thousand settlers into the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • How come so many settlers thought that they could be involved in that and get away with it? That there would be no consequences? They have been enjoying this kind of impunity for decades. Not just in recent months but also under previous governments that were more internationally digestible.
  • Palestinians will be told openly by Israeli officials, by settlers, that their future is in Area A, not in Area C. Area A is twenty per cent of the West Bank—the large Palestinian population centers.
  • you can think about this process as the Gaza-ification of the West Bank. One step at a time, Israel is pushing Palestinians in that direction. There will be a number of Palestinian Bantustans, Gaza-style, all over the West Bank. And each one of these Palestinian enclaves is already surrounded and gradually will be more surrounded by this mix of measures, whether it be Israeli infrastructure such as roads or military bases or walls or fences or settlements and so on. And if one visits any one of the large Palestinian cities like Hebron, Jenin, or Ramallah, you will see this process gradually unfolding
Ed Webb

(Re)introducing Conscription in the Gulf: From Soft Power to Nation-Building - Arab Ref... - 0 views

  • In the Middle East, the US invasion of Iraq, the Arab Spring of 2011, and the subsequent foreign interventions in Yemen, Syria, and Libya, brought military preparedness and competence to the surface again. This led to a return of compulsory military service not only in countries that are at war and/or under the threat of military intervention but also in other countries. This was the case of certain Gulf countries including Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which historically seldom resorted to conscription.
  • Qatar introduced conscription in 2013, followed by the UAE in 2014. Kuwait, on the other hand, reintroduced it in 2014, having practiced conscription between 1961 and 2001. Until recently, these countries’ militaries were formed by a national officer corps, foreign - mostly Western- expert non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and foreign contract soldiers coming from different countries (Jordan, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Oman)
  • In 2018, not long after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a blockade on Qatar, the Qatari government amended the National Service Law, introducing national service for women and extending its duration for men. While the national service remains voluntary for women over the age of 18, men are now expected to serve a year instead of three or four months. The new law gives eligible men only 60 days after they come of age to apply to the military and stipulates harsher punishment (up to three years in jail plus a fine) for those who fail to do so.
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  • Since the beginning of the 2020s, several articles5Jean-Loup Samaan, “The Rise of the Emirati Defense Industry,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 14 May 2019 https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/79121;  Elenora Ardemagni, “The UAE’s Military Training-Focused Foreign Policy,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 22 October 2020, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/83033; Melissa Dalton and Hijab Shah, “Evolving UAE Military and Foreign Security Cooperation: Path Toward Military Professionalism,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 12 January 2021,  https://carnegie-mec.org/2021/01/12/evolving-uae-military-and-foreign-security-cooperation-path-toward-military-professionalism-pub-83549; Elenora Ardemagni, “ Building New Gulf States Through Conscription,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 25 April 2018, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/76178; Elenora Ardemagni, “Gulf Monarchies’ Militarized Nationalism,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 28 February 2019,https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/78472; Zoltan Barany, “Big News! Conscription in the Gulf,” Middle East Institute, 25 January 2017, https://www.mei.edu/publications/big-news-conscription-gulf; Dr. Eman Ahmed Abdel Halim, “Implementation of Military Conscription in the Gulf,” Future for Advanced Research Studies, 12 December 2016, https://futureuae.com/m/Mainpage/Item/2250/pressing-threats-implementation-of-military-conscription-in-the-gulf were written on the economic, social, and geopolitical reasons behind Gulf countries’ shift in military recruitment strategy. The security problems originating from Iran and Yemen, the willingness to exercise soft power in the region along with the volatile energy sector, and the ruptures within the rentier state model are put forward as the main justifications behind the Gulf countries’ developing defense industries and growing their armies. In this context, compulsory military service does play an important role, be it to increase the size of the army, cause deterrence in the region or create new job opportunities and a qualified workforce out of young citizens.
  • can also create intangible moral advantages, and thus have significant effects on these countries’ civil-military relations. The biggest reason for this is the symbiotic relationship that has formed over time between compulsory military service and national sentiment.  In this sense, introducing conscription shows an effort to turn these societies into nations where individuals would be bound to one another by national sentiment and not the rentier state model they have so far known.
  • To raise obedient and productive citizens who wore the same uniform, spoke the same language, and sang the same anthems, education became an important tool in the nation-building process.11Ayşe Gül Altınay and Tanıl Bora, “Ordu, Militarizm ve Milliyetçilik,” Iletişim Yayınları, (2002): 140. In Prussia, this “new form of nationalist socialization” was provided through military establishments with the hope that, after their discharge from military service, men would remain loyal to the state and transfer their sentiment and what they “learned” to the rest of the population.12
  • mandatory military service in these countries should not be seen as a way to efficiently raise strong and competent armies. First, like their Gulf neighbors, neither Qatar, Kuwait, nor the UAE is populated enough to sustain a competent standing army. Most of their populations are made of ex-pats who are not subject to conscription laws. Second, their current system of outsourcing military needs has proven to be efficient in the long run, with all three countries continuing to invest in contracting foreign soldiers to efficiently populate their armies. Therefore, the new conscription laws should be seen as a symbolic move to strengthen nationalistic bonds and ambitions.
  • paradoxically, the exact nationalistic sentiment and loyalty that the Gulf countries try to channel among their citizens can backfire if the people (including the conscripts) were to ever resent the rulers and their policies. This is rather contrary to the long-established coup-proofing strategies25After gaining their independence, most countries in the region (or rather individual leaders) have engaged in various coup-proofing measures to keep their militaries in check. There were different types of coup-measuring strategies. For example, until 2011, Hosni Mubarak, a military man himself, tried to keep the Egyptian military at bay by giving officers and the military institution economic benefits and providing an unfair competition. In Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali took a different approach and choose to ouster the military as an institution completely and empowered the police force. In Sudan and Libya, former presidents Bashar and Gaddafi took a more social approach and tried to counterbalance different groups of society, especially the tribal establishments, as a buffer against the military. In the Gulf, the ruling monarchs resorted to using foreign soldiers to keep the military away from social and political affairs as much as possible. that Arab countries followed over the years. However, given the low numbers of citizens that will be drafted each year, the risk of such revolts taking place remains low.
  • In Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar, there are legal sanctions in place against anyone who fails to enlist when they become eligible and conscientious objection is not recognized. This could cause or further the feeling of oppression and resentment and trigger protests and turmoil in these countries. However, at this stage, this risk is low but still a possibility as seen in Thailand, Israel, and Armenia
Ed Webb

See where water is scarcest in the world - and why we need to conserve - Washington Post - 1 views

  • An analysis of newly released data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that by 2050 an additional billion people will be living in arid areas and regions with high water stress, where at least 40 percent of the renewable water supply is consumed each year. Two-fifths of the world’s population — 3.3 billion people in total — currently live in such areas.
  • the Middle East and North Africa regions have the highest level of water stress in the world. Climate change is shifting traditional precipitation patterns, making the regions drier and reducing their already scarce water supplies. Population growth and industrial use of water are expected to increase demand.
  • The WRI analysis accounts for surface water, but not groundwater stores that are tapped when lakes, rivers and reservoirs run dry. This means the new estimates may underestimate risk. Many rural areas use groundwater for drinking water and farmers worldwide rely on it for irrigation. But groundwater often replenishes much more slowly than surface water.
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  • Only half of 1 percent of the world’s water supply is fresh water in liquid form. The rest is saltwater or frozen into glaciers.
  • its biggest use, globally, is for food production
  • “It’s much more useful and easier to live with if the water all comes regularly and without these extremes. But more and more, that’s not the case.”
  • If surface water is in short supply, people often turn to groundwater, which can be rapidly depleted. In India, nearly 60 percent of the population makes a living from farming. For decades, the government supported farmers by subsidizing the cost of diesel to run water pumps and tractors and by purchasing wheat and rice at an artificially high price. Water demand to irrigate rice and wheat fields is contributing to groundwater depletion in the northern region of Punjab.
  • “More people demand more water, but also each person demands more water as they get wealthier,” Iceland said. “So as you get wealthier, you move from a more grain and vegetable-oriented diet to a more meat-oriented diet.”
  • Growing and feeding a cow to create one pound of beef requires as much as 1,800 gallons of water, by some estimates. Calorie-for-calorie, that’s almost eight times as much water as vegetables and 20 times as much water as cereals like wheat and corn.
  • Water-intensive crops like sugar cane and cotton could also drive demand in sub-Saharan Africa, where water use is expected to double over the next 20 years. Many areas still lack infrastructure to reliably deliver water for irrigation. As those pipelines are built, more farmers will have access to water, which will further strain surface water supplies. Inefficient water use and unsustainable management could lower gross domestic product in the region by 6 percent, according to WRI.
  • One Saudi company is growing alfalfa in the Arizona desert, pulling from the area’s groundwater supplies. That alfalfa is then shipped overseas to feed cattle in Saudi Arabia, where industrial-scale farming of forage crops has been banned to conserve the nation’s water.
  • Water is also integral to mining lithium and other minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy infrastructure. These critical minerals are often found in arid places like Chile, which is already water-stressed and is projected to use 20 percent more water by 2050, according to WRI.
  • Since farming accounts for the most water use globally, experts say that micro-sprinklers and drip irrigation instead of flood irrigation are an important solution.
  • reducing meat and dairy consumption can decrease individual water footprints. Reducing food waste could also help reduce water use. In the United States, more than a third of food ends up in the landfill. The biggest single contributor to food waste is throwing away food at home.
Ed Webb

The complicated legacy of Qatar's World Cup - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • perhaps the biggest test case for what happens when a Middle Eastern nation intent on using oil money to enhance its influence through sports emerges on the global stage.
  • Can sports help bring societal progress to a region that has long resisted change? Or are those countries rewarded with reputational prestige despite human rights abuses that they have little intention to address?
  • “FIFA has a human rights policy that guarantees press freedom, women’s rights and nondiscrimination,” said Minky Worden, the director of global initiatives for Human Rights Watch. “What the Qatar World Cup showed is that, if you have enough money, you can absolutely ignore those requirements.”
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  • Owing to its small population of roughly 300,000 citizens, Qatar relies heavily on migrant workers. When it won the World Cup bid, it employed a labor system called kafala. Under kafala, migrant workers, mostly seeking to leave impoverished conditions elsewhere, have to pay exorbitant recruitment fees and cannot change jobs without the consent of their employer. The system led to rampant abuses that included wage theft and unsafe working conditions, ultimately resulting in the deaths of thousands of workers. Qatar also bans homosexuality, which it defends on religious grounds.
  • In 2016, Qatar said it would abide by the United Nations’ human rights code. In 2019, Qatar announced it would abolish kafala. In 2021, Qatar instituted a minimum wage. The Supreme Committee, Qatar’s World Cup host organization, created a workers’ welfare program for those who built World Cup infrastructure. By the sound of the first whistle last November, the country’s labor market was “radically transformed,” a FIFA spokesman said.“Would any of that have happened if they hadn’t hosted the World Cup?” said Mary Harvey, chief executive at the Centre for Sport and Human Rights. “Would kafala still be in place in Qatar if they hadn’t hosted the World Cup? That may not be the question people want to ask, but it’s important. … You don’t just flip the switch with a law change and expect an implementation is going to take hold. It’s going to take a generation probably to get this put in. But it’s still big change, and it’s change that is needed.”
  • Max Tuñón, head of the International Labor Organization’s Qatar office, said he has seen major improvements in working conditions for foreign laborers over the past five years.
  • We work all over the world, and we rarely see change happening at this pace
  • Rothna Begum, a Human Rights Watch researcher, has worked extensively in Qatar and visited with workers. (Unlike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s government allows human rights groups to work in the country.) Begum said it is “not the case” that Qatar dismantled kafala in practice.“They didn’t do it properly, anyway,” Begum said. “They didn’t take away all the elements. They reformed aspects of the kafala system, but they didn’t dismantle the kafala system. The bits that they did reform, they are implementing in such a way that kafala still exists in practice.”
  • While workers can apply to change jobs, Begum said, she has found they must first give notice to their employer. If the employer does not sign a resignation notice, the worker cannot get permission from the government — “employer permission through the back door,”
  • “Qatari authorities — not just Qatari authorities but FIFA — sought to weaponize a narrative of Qatar being an underdog, that they were under attack in this double-standard way that no one else has been under attack before, and it’s because they are a Middle Eastern country,” Begum said. “Rather than dealing with the fact that they just did not come through with reforms and did not protect migrant workers who really contribute to the success of the World Cup and made sure they got their wages and compensated them for it, they instead used this narrative and weaponized it. We’re seeing the Saudis and UAE are moving in that direction.”
  • Qatar’s reforms also did not address the biggest cost of the World Cup: the migrant workers who died — in the thousands according to human rights groups, a number disputed by the Qatari government — while building stadiums and other infrastructure FIFA required after working in extreme heat on strict schedules. Human Rights Watch challenged whether Qatar could move forward with meaningful reform without compensating the families of the workers who died.
  • FIFA instituted its human rights policy in 2017 in response to criticism about Qatar. That policy may receive a more stringent test in coming years. Saudi Arabia, whose government has jailed and executed dissidents, submitted a bid to host the 2034 World Cup and is the favorite to host the tournament. Unlike Qatar, Saudi Arabia has not met with human rights groups.
Ed Webb

In Jenin, Israel is unveiling the next phase of apartheid - 0 views

  • June 30, 2023
  • aerial assaults reveal a dangerous phase in the evolution of Israel’s occupation. The air strikes are reportedly the first in the West Bank in two decades, awakening the nightmares of many Palestinians who ran for cover or suffered wounds from helicopter attacks during the Second Intifada. In that time, though, aerial warfare became the modus operandi in the Gaza Strip, accelerated by Israel’s withdrawal of its settlements in 2005 and the total blockade of the territory following Hamas’ takeover.
  • reconfiguration of military rule has intentionally produced a physical and psychological separation between the West Bank and Gaza, abetted by the fratricidal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. As that distance normalized, the two territories became regarded as disconnected and incomparable. Even well-meaning advocates — in their heavy focus on settlements and annexation — often fell into the trap of forgetting Gaza outside the scope of wartime, deeming it an anomaly in the context of the “one-state reality.” But as many activists, scholars, and experts have warned, the structures used to confine and suppress Gaza are not a deviation from Israel’s methodology, but a natural continuation of it. And that was made clear over the skies of Jenin last week.
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  • Like Gaza, Jenin has long been a center of Palestinian social life and political resistance — and as such, a target of vicious repression
  • The bombardment of a populated urban area, together with the city’s collective punishment, is further justified by the demonization of Jenin as a “cesspool of terrorism” requiring constant intervention — in essence, the same doctrine of “mowing the lawn” that is applied in the blockaded strip a few kilometers away.
  • Gaza is hardly an exception to the rule of Israeli apartheid. Rather, it is the ultimate bantustan — the model for controlling and weakening a native population in a besieged space, using modern weapons and technology, with local rulers to handle their basic needs, at minimal cost to the settler society surrounding them
  • If the expulsion of Palestinians won’t be possible, Gazafication will be their future.
  • The army may feign distress over settlers committing “nationalist terrorism,” but it openly commands its soldiers to do the same, so long as it is done in uniform
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