Thursday, July 20, 2017

American Heart Association - July 19, 2017

Gaining a few pounds may increase long-term heart failure risk
House committee sustains heart disease, stroke research and prevention efforts, but leaves key programs on life support, says American Heart Association

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Clock is Ticking | Story Behind Jerusalem Attack | Netanyahu's Efforts to Sabotage Syria Ceasefire | More ..

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The Story behind the Jerusalem Attack: 

How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed the Palestinians into a Corner

Early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. The 39-year-old Jerusalemite was scheduled to hand himself over to serve a term of 4 months in jail for, allegedly, trumped up charges of 'trying to hit an Israeli soldier'.
Misbah is familiar with Israeli prisons, having been held there before on political charges, including an attempt to sneak into and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of a large compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which includes - aside from Al-Aqsa - the famed Dome of the Rock and other Palestinian Muslim sites, revered by Muslims everywhere.
Al-Aqsa is believed to be the second mosque ever to be built, the first being Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Holy Quran mentions it as the place from which Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven, journeying from Mecca to Jerusalem. For Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, the Mosque took on a new meaning following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian city of al-Quds (East Jerusalem) in 1967.
Scenes of Israeli soldiers raising the Israeli flag over Muslim and Christian shrines in the city fifty years ago, is burnt into the collective memory of several generations. Unsurprisingly, therefore, that the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been the focal point of clashes between Palestinian worshipers and the Israeli army.
Daily visitors to the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem include non-Muslims tourists. They are often welcomed by Al-Waqf administration, which is the Islamic religious trust that manages the holy shrines, a practice dating back 500 years. Even after the Israeli occupation of the Arab city, al-Waqf has continued to be the caretaker of the Muslim site, as arranged between the Jordanian government and Israel. Israeli design in the occupied city, however, is far greater than the Mosque itself.
Last April, the Israeli government announced plans to build 15,000 new housing units in Occupied Jerusalem, contrary to international law. The international community recognizes East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city. The United States, too, accepts international consensus on Jerusalem, and attempts by the US Congress to challenge the White House on this understanding have all failed. That is, until Donald Trump came to power.
Prior to his inauguration in January, Trump had promised to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement was welcomed by Israeli rightwing politicians and extremists alike. Many of Israel's supporters in the US saw this as a good sign of the Trump presidency. While the US embassy is yet to officially move to Jerusalem, the new administration is sending a message that it is no longer bound by international law with regard to the Occupied Territories.
Not only is the US abandoning its self-tailored role as a 'peace broker' between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, but it is sending a clear signal to Israel that there can be no pressure on Israel regarding the status of Jerusalem. In response, the United Nations and its various institutions have moved quickly to reassure Palestinians. The UN cultural agency, UNESCO, has been the most active in this regard. Despite US-Israeli pressure, several resolutions have been passed by UNESCO and the UN General Assembly in recent months, which have reaffirmed Palestinian rights in the city.
Israel and the US moved to punish Palestinians for UNESCO's decisions. It began when the Israeli Knesset began pushing laws that make life even more difficult for Palestinian Jerusalemites, including a law that limits the Muslim call for prayer. The law, which passed its second reading last March, was championed by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli police expanded the ever-growing list of Palestinians who are not allowed to reach their houses of worship. The list included Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was repeatedly arrested, beaten and incarcerated by the Israeli police.
The Israeli government then opened up the flood gates of settlement expansion in the occupied city, after being partially limited during the presidency of Barack Obama. In part, that was Netanyahu's response to UN Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.
Concurrently, the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, took on the task of silencing any international criticism of the Israeli occupation, calling international attempts to end the occupation a form of 'bullying.' Assured by the unconditional US support, Netanyahu moved to new extremes. He severed his country's ties with UNESCO and called for the dismantlement of UN headquarters in the occupied Palestinian city.
East Jerusalem was already illegally annexed by Israeli in 1981, but without international acceptance of such a measure, the Israeli move seemed pointless. Now, Israel feels that times are changing, as the Trump administration offers Israel a window of opportunity to normalize its illegal occupation and annexation of the city. In recent months, Palestinians have responded in myriad ways. They have worked with various countries across the globe to challenge the Israeli-US plans. Most Palestinian efforts, although successful to some extent, have failed to sway Israel in any way.
The political upheaval has translated on the ground to more violence, as thousands of Israeli occupation soldiers and police were rushed to the city to restrict Palestinian movement and to block thousands of worshipers from reaching Al-Aqsa. Hundreds were detained in a massive security campaign. In the absence of a strong leadership, Palestinians are growingly increasingly desperate and angry. The Palestinian Authority is largely busy in its own pitiful power struggles and appears to have no time for Palestinians, who are left with little hope for a political horizon and no clear sense of direction. While thousands of Palestinians have resisted through constantly attempting to reach Al-Aqsa or demonstrated in protest, others are "reaching the breaking point".
One is Misbah Abu Sbeih. Once he arrived at the Israeli military police station, Mishbah did not give himself up. Instead, he opened fire, killing an Israeli army office from the 'Yassam' unit and another Israeli. He was killed instantly. Other attacks followed. On Friday, July 14, the holiest day of the week in the Muslim calendar, three Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers and police officers stationed near one of the Haram's gates. They killed two Israeli officers, and were killed by occupation soldiers, soon after.
This is the first time that an attack of this nature has been recorded inside the Al-Aqsa compound. Since 1967, only Israelis have used arms in violent clashes with Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in or around this holy shrine throughout the years. Last June in Jerusalem, speaking to a crowd celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of the city, Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu declared that the al-Aqsa Mosque compound would "forever remain under Israeli sovereignty."
Empowered by the Trump administration and assured by Haley's tactics at the UN, Netanyahu feels that his dream of subduing East Jerusalem is being realized. The price of Netanyahu's dream, however, is likely to be costly. On the day of the attack, several Palestinians were killed in various parts of the West Bank and a 3-year-old child from Gaza died while awaiting a permit to cross from the besieged region to the West Bank for treatment. None of this registered in international media.
The armed Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers, however, made headlines around the world. More violence is likely to follow. Palestinians, who are dying without much media coverage, are desperate and angry as their holy city is crumbling under the heavy boots of soldiers, amid international silence and unconditional US support for the Israeli government.
- Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of His books include "Searching Jenin", "The Second Palestinian Intifada" and his latest "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story". His website is

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Netanyahu Determined to Sabotage Syria Ceasefire

Would any reasonable person having regard to the gruesome carnage Syria's six year long civil war has wrought on its people, be opposed to a peaceful resolution?
Or to put it more bluntly: who would be so callous as to argue that the terrible internecine war must continue and justify the suffering of people?
Well, believe it or not, criminal thugs who advocate perpetuating deplorable inhumane policies do exist. One of them who unashamedly made this public plea is none other than Israel's rightwing war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.
While its true that most reasonable people will seek a swift end to the catastrophic consequences of a horrible war and a return to normalcy, Netanyahu falls outside of this category.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Netanyahu made it clear that Israel opposes the ceasefire agreement in Southern Syria that Russia and the United States reached.
He emphasized that in his meeting with Macron, he made it clear to the French president that Israel was totally opposed to the ceasefire plan.
And the reason he advanced to justify his morbid view, is that a ceasefire will enhance Iran's presence in Syria.
Having failed to secure the Obama administration's support for a war on Iran on the pretext that Tehran was building a nuclear bomb, Netanyahu has yet again revived his scare tactics. This time around the alarm he raises is deliberately designed to persuade the West to reject the ceasefire.
His campaign is fueled by claims that Iran is dispatching extensive military forces including the establishment of an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base for Iran's navy.
From Israel's perspective, the real problem is their failure to topple the Assad regime despite arming and funding rebel movements and being directly involved in regular bombing sprees. Its a defeat Israel will strive to reverse at any cost.
Netanyahu's calculation of a Syria stripped of sovereignty and fragmented into pieces, as a necessary condition to weaken its nemesis Hezbollah, has backfired.
The issue of the Golan Heights which has been Occupied by Israel since 1967, has come back to haunt Netanyahu. And the forecast sounds gloomy regarding the Golan. For the ceasefire agreement to be enforced, it seems unlikely that the Trump administration will be inclined to police the Golan. On the other hand, Israel will be reluctant to rely on Russian oversight because it suspects that Iran's access to Golan will not be blocked by Putin.
Israeli voices - whether belonging to Netanyahu or his defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, can be heard screaming in frustration. Though threats to torpedo the ceasefire may be music to Israel's hawks, they may not inspire Trump to rise and dance.
Apart from having to put out fires lit by his wayward tweets, Trump has his hands full. To succumb to Israeli pressure will require nullifying the ceasefire. To do so will place his administration in an awkward adversarial space with Russia, which Trump knows will come at a price.
So where does this leave Netanyahu? Apart from having to lick his lips, he is inclined to do what he's known for: resort to war crimes by sabotaging the ceasefire.
Indeed Lieberman reiterated that Israel is not a party to the ceasefire agreement and vowed that its military retains the right to operate freely. This is code language implying that the rebels who are beneficiaries of Israeli aid, which according to The Wall Street Journal includes the supply of weapons and ammunition, can and will be manipulated to attack Assad's forces.
Israeli logic is that a demolished, depopulated and demilitarized Syria is essential to ensure its northern flank is rid of Hezbollah and Iran. Netanyahu's opposition to the ceasefire is a demand for the humanitarian crisis to escalate. In other words, for Israel to survive as a colonial entity, Syria must remain in a perpetual state of conflict.
- Iqbal Jassat is an acclaimed writer, analyst and commentator and one of the founder members of MRN. His analysis is featured regularly in mainstream and alternate media outlets around the world. He contributed this article to 

Kingdom of Olives and Ashes: Writers Confront the Occupation - Book Review

Reviewed by Jim Miles (Kingdom of Olives and Ashes - Writers Confront the Occupation. Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, Ed. HarperCollins Publishers, Toronto. 2017.) A collection...
Jul 19 2017 / Read More » /

The Story behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed the Palestinians into a Corner

By Ramzy Baroud Early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station...
Jul 19 2017 / Read More » /

The Breaking of the Middle East - Book Review

Reviewed by Jim Miles (The Six Day War - The Breaking of the Middle East.  Guy Laron.  Yale University Press, New Haven/London, 2017.) Between a...
Jul 17 2017 / Read More » /

Settlement Wine Labeling Fiasco Exposes Duplicity in Canadian Policy

By Hanna Kawas Last week, Canada became a focus for the issue of labelling products from the illegal Israeli settlements. The lightning rod was a complaint...
Jul 17 2017 / Read More » /

Netanyahu Determined to Sabotage Syria Ceasefire

By Iqbal Jassat Would any reasonable person having regard to the gruesome carnage Syria's six year long civil war has wrought on its people, be opposed...
Jul 17 2017 / Read More » /

'Never Met Anyone from Gaza': Encounter with a Stranger

By Rawan Yaghi Let me tell you about my latest encounter with a stranger. A couple of days ago, I was listening to music through...
Jul 16 2017 / Read More » /

Will Canada Have a Pro-Palestinian Major Party Leader

By Yves Engler  Sometimes silence in politics speaks louder than words. Israel lobby groups' response (or lack thereof) to NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton's recent support...
Jul 16 2017 / Read More » /

Gaza and the Failure of the National Project

By Haidar Eid - Gaza In order to understand the draconian measures taken by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority against the Gaza Strip, which has already...
Jul 15 2017 / Read More » /

Israel Shuts down Al Aqsa Mosque after Shooting (VIDEOS)

Israeli police closed and cancelled Friday noon prayers in Al Aqsa mosque and briefly detained Jerusalem's top Muslim cleric after three Palestinians and two Israeli...
Jul 14 2017 / Read More » /

The Long Fight Against TV and Movie 'Bad Arabs'

By James M. Wall Jack G. Shaheen, retired professor of communications at Southern Illinois University, died Sunday, July 9, after a short battle with cancer....
Jul 13 2017 / Read More » /

Why Palestine is Still the Issue (VIDEO)

By John Pilger (This is an abridged version of John Pilger's address to the Palestinian Expo in London on 8 July, 2017. John Pilger's film,...
Jul 13 2017 / Read More » /

Palestinian Family Rejoices for New Baby, a Product of Smuggled Sperm

A Palestinian prisoner became a father of a baby boy yesterday after he smuggled his sperm out of Israel's Gilboa prison last year, the Palestinian...
Jul 13 2017 / Read More » /

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