At Sunday’s opening of the 2017 AIPAC conference in Washington DC, hundreds of protesters formed a human chain blocking access to the event, chanting phrases to bring attention to illegal seizures of Palestinian land by Israel, and what is increasingly referred to as a state of apartheid in the country.
Held by the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States, the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference is a prime driver for furthering the policies of Jerusalem and the Israeli state within the workings of the American government.
Scuffles broke out between protesters and those supporting the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to speak at the event via satellite link later this week.
This year's conference was opened by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and will be followed up with remarks from US Vice President Mike Pence, as well as a speech by the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
The complete Judea and Samaria (West Bank) Jewish Population Stats report was released on Sunday with data updated to January 1, 2017. The report is available to the public in English via the mailing list at the http://WestBankJewishPopulationStats.comwebsite. The Associated Press picked up the newly-released report as well.
The West Bank Jewish Population Stats report is compiled each year by former Member of Knesset Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz based on precise data from the population registry in Israel’s Ministry of the Interior. As of January 1, 2017, according to the report, 420,899 Jews live in West Bank towns, not including the some 300,000 Jewish residents of the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which are technically part of the West Bank as well.
With the report’s release, Former Knesset Member Katz said, “The number of Jews living today in Judea and Samaria speaks volumes. The facts on the ground in this region are irreversible and render the concept of a two-state solution obsolete.
And such was the case with renowned Israeli author A. B. Yehoshua who led the struggle for a two-state solution for decades. In a December 2016 meeting, President of the State of Israel Ruby Rivlin presented the 2016 West Bank Jewish Population Stats Report, compiled by Former Knesset Member Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, to Mr. Yehoshua. After studying the report, A. B. Yehoshua told Kol Yisrael radio on Dec. 7th, 2016 [ https://youtu.be/An9Fu2iB514 ]:
“This solution [two-state] is no longer possible. I believed in this solution for 50 years, I fought for it, and was an activist for it. When I, as an intellectual, must face reality and not delude myself, I must ask if this solution is truly possible… After we internalize that it is impossible to deport 450,000 settlers from Area C, it won’t happen [under any circumstances]. Can we divide Jerusalem? …It’s time to start thinking of alternative solutions.”
The report tracks the Jewish population growth over the last year and over the last 5 years and includes a future projection based on the current growth rates.
Baruch Gordon, a researcher on the report and founder of IsraelNationalNews.com, said on Sunday:
“For years, policy makers both in Israel and the West had no clue to the size of the West Bank Jewish population. The numbers were suppressed; the media silent. This report introduced the real figures into the discourse. Its impact cannot be overestimated.”
The report is now available to the public via the mailing list at http://WestBankJewishPopulationStats.com
We listen to the "news" (a word of increasingly unclear meaning), most of which deals with riots and robberies, murder and mayhem, barbarism, and skullduggery at even the highest levels of government. Change -- technological, social, and financial -- is happening at lightning speed, but we have to be careful how we talk about it because the word-police are listening, and our most valuable words have been drained of their semantic weight and locked away in a closet. Of what use is "hate," or "woman," or "Nazi"?
We’re beginning to realize that our most important institutions -- our schools and our churches -- are closing minds rather than opening them, that our medical system is itself on life support, that our children have nothing to rely on other than the government that has done this to them, or the drugs being smuggled across our unattended borders. Our culture is disintegrating before our eyes.
China, North Korea, and Russia (Can I talk about that country without risking being wiretapped?) to say nothing of the entire Muslim world are all gearing up for a major fight and we’re not ready. Muslim "refugees" (another word that’s taken a beating) have successfully invaded much of Europe and half of this country wants them to do the same here. Is it not the epitome of chaos to desire that one’s own country be invaded?
Pyongyang said it may attack US and South Korean troops participating in an annual joint military exercise, which North Korea believes could be a cover for military aggression against it.
“They should be mindful that the [North Korean Army] will deal deadly blows without prior warning any time as long as the... troops of the US and South Korean puppet forces involved in the ‘special operation’ and ‘preemptive attack’ targeting the DPRK remain deployed in and around South Korea,” North Korean news agency KCNA said on Sunday, citing a statement from the General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA).
“The KPA will not remain a passive onlooker to hordes of robbers trying to hurt our people with daggers,” it added.
The statement claimed that the presence of American commando troops, which can be used to target North Korean leadership and key infrastructure, would justify such an attack.
The US and South Korea are currently holding a series of joint military exercises called Foal Eagle and Key Resolve.
This week, the Americans participated in a drill for a potential raid against Pyongyang’s stockpile of chemical weapons, US Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement on Sunday, as cited by South Korean media.
The exercise conducted as part of the annual war games at a shooting range in Paju, Gyeonggi Province involved CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters dropping a team of commando troops at a simulated North Korean chemical weapons plant.
Pyongyang considers joint war games staged by its southern neighbor and its American allies, which often involve scenarios of fighting against North Korean troops, provocative and threatening. It says its opponents are rehearsing for war and regularly threatens them with retaliation.
It also cites the presence of tens of thousands of enemy troops in the region to justify its development of nuclear weapons and rocket technologies.
The situation in the region remains tense amid the North Korean military build-up, South Korea’s regular drills, and heated rhetoric from both sides.
What's North Korea's goal?
The tyrannical Kim dynasty has been pursuing nuclear weapons since the end of the Korean War. The current leader's father, Kim Jong Il, made the nuclear program the centerpiece of his regime's identity, to rally the starving, isolated country around a nationalistic goal and to extort aid from worried Western nations. Over the past two decades, the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations all brokered pacts requiring Pyongyang to give up various nuclear programs in return for aid or sanctions relief. But North Korea cheated on every deal. First, it violated the 1994 agreement freezing its development of nuclear reactors. In 2003, Pyongyang announced it had nuclear weapons; after the resulting "six-party talks" — among the U.S., Russia, Japan, China, and North and South Korea — North Korea agreed to shut down its program in return for aid. But it reneged once again. When Kim Jong Un came to power after his father's death in 2011, the pace of tests and bomb building accelerated dramatically. The Trump administration last week ruled out another round of talks. "The policy of strategic patience has ended," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. "It is clear that a different approach is required."
Over the past 16 months, his regime has tested two nuclear bombs and more than 30 missiles. It claims the most recent bomb tests involved hydrogen devices, which are much more powerful than simple fission weapons. It's not clear that this claim is true, but the explosions were nearly twice as strong as the one that destroyed Hiroshima. Experts now estimate that North Korea has built up to 20 nuclear bombs.
Would it launch a preemptive strike?
Only if Kim feels certain that North Korea is about to be attacked the way Iraq was in 2003. But Kim's primary goal is regime survival, not suicide, and he knows any nuclear attack would result in his annihilation. So the real value of his nuclear program is as a form of blackmail, to prevent an attack on Pyongyang. Right now, North Korea has neither a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) nor a nuclear device small enough to mount on one. But it appears to be working strenuously to achieve both. "North Korea is on the verge of a strategic breakout," says Robert Litwak of the Wilson Center, "that would enable its leadership to strike the United States with a nuclear-armed ICBM." Many analysts believe North Korea is up to its old tricks: acting belligerently to pressure us into negotiations. "What North Korea wants," says Philip Coyle of the Center for Arms Control, "is for us to stop threatening them and to talk with them."
Can Kim's weapons be destroyed?
The U.S. and South Korea frequently war-game a strike on North Korea, and Tillerson said last week that if Kim keeps ratcheting up his threats, "military action" would be an option. But the risks are high. North Korea's full military capabilities can't simply be bombed away. Western intelligence doesn't know where most of the regime's weapons systems are concealed, and some are hidden underground or inside mountains. But even if a preemptive strike somehow took out all the nukes, it could not immediately destroy the thousands of artillery units. North Korea could still retaliate by firing tons of shells and chemical weapons into the center of Seoul, killing hundreds of thousands of people. "There is no South Korean leader," says South Korean analyst Suh Choo-suk, "who thinks the first strike by the U.S. is okay."
Kim's murderous paranoia
Kim Jong Un has proved to be as much a threat to members of his own regime as he is to neighboring countries. In five years in power, he's ordered the execution of more than 100 top politicians and military officers, including his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek. Jang was executed by Kim's preferred method: A powerful anti-aircraft gun blasted his body into bits, and then flamethrowers incinerated the scattered remains. Paranoid and unpredictable, Kim is quick to turn on people in his inner circle. He has already replaced his defense minister five times, after having several of them killed. Last month at a Malaysian airport, his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated in a chemical attack that undoubtedly was ordered by Kim. North Korea's highest-ranking defector, Thae Yong Ho, warns that Kim feels his grip on power is slipping, and he is more dangerous for that reason. "Kim Jong Un's capability to wreak harm, not only to America, but also to South Korea and the world, should not be underestimated," Thae said.
Craig said the only winner is the defense industry. “Well, it’s good business,” she said. “In the first year of the war [in Yemen], the U.S. sold $20 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia has been buying more and more weapons as a result of this war, and the same goes for the British government as well,” she said. “Really it all boils down to financial gain and that’s the greatest win really for the U.S., but it’s an extremely costly one obviously for the civilian population of Yemen.”
But no, I’m sure the real root of the issue is videos on Youtube that encourage terrorism. It has nothing to do with the defense industry profiting off of war, destroying entire regions to make a buck, jamming propaganda down the throats of westerners to garner support for war and destruction that are like games to the governments involved.