The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

  ..: Palestine and the California Fires :..
October 29, 2007
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In Europe, the news brought terrible scenes from California last week. Whole neighborhoods were seen burning, highways blocked because of the refugees; I saw how TV journalist commented about his own house burning in the background. The news said that (as of October 24), there were about one million refugees from the burns. At the same time, the European media tells us how good the governor of California has managed this catastrophe, the Austrian wife of a US Navy Captain is shown saying how well everything is organized and that nobody is looting. How is everything well managed if there were 1 Million persons reported as displaced as a result of this catastrophe ? I found this contradiction strange because of what I remember my visit to New York in 1998. In fact, American Blogs are saying something very different about this catastrophe and how it is being managed by the American authorities. How can this catastrophe be well managed if many Californians suspect the involvement of their government in the fires.

A Vietnam Veteran begging in New York, 1998.Back in 1998 I was invited to New York by the UN. I found it strange to see so many homeless, sick people sleeping on the streets. To one of them, an old man who lived near my hotel and who had fought in Vietnam, I brought food every day for the length of my stay in New York. Most of them were veterans of the war in Vietnam. I found it strange that in New York so many people were homeless, because in Palestine we have almost no homeless despite the Israeli occupation. Why should people live on the streets in the most powerful nation of earth ? Why does a country so powerful as the USA fail to build houses which are affordable to the poor ? Why is there no money in the USA for such basic necessities as a home, food, medical attention ? I also found it strange that so many people were offering sex and drugs on the streets of east Manhattan, in the neighborhood of the embassies. Many of the people I saw offering sex and drugs in Manhattan were dressed expensively and driving big black cars. Do they not have decent jobs in the USA so that people are not forced into crime for surviving ? I was not able to hide my criticism and spoke about these issues to different local media, as a result, the colleagues in my group became scared of me, as I had probably offended American authorities with my words.

Should a civilized country not protect its citizens from such things as necessity, natural catastrophes, crime ? Should a civilized country not use the taxes paid by it’s citizens to put in place measures of protections against such catastrophes as these fires, or against hurricane Kathrina two years ago ? Should a country as rich and powerful as the USA not be able to give fast and adequate relief to it’s citizens in situations of need ? Should the government of a country, any country, not protect it’s citizens from natural and man-made terror instead of spreading terror at home and abroad ? Why are so many people in the USA country forced to offer sex and drugs on the street ?

All these and many other things are the duty of a civilized nation, so, why is nothing of this happening in the USA ? With all the power and money of the USA, why was it not possible to prevent or ameliorate a catastrophe which has turned 1 Million people into refugees ? In Palestine even the poorest of the poor, the dispossessed refugees from other parts of Palestine have a place to live, and that after over 60 years of occupation and ethnic cleansing. In the event of fires, we can sometimes even expect some help from the Israeli fire brigades. I did not understand what goes on in the USA, and turned to read what Americans are saying. Perhaps they had at least a part of the explanation for the 1 Million displaced persons of the California fires. Here are two quotes (emphasis mine):

Joseph Cannon writes:

We cannot pay for a proper number of firefighters because our taxpayer dollars are going to Iraq. Our homes have been sacrificed and our wallets robbed to pay for a misadventure perpetrated by a president whom most Californians despise.In fact, nearly 38 million people live in California. The butcher's bill for Iraq comes to $8000 for every man, woman and child in America. (That's a national average; in real life, Californians pay a far larger amount.) Do the math: If each Californian annually devoted one-tenth of that figure to fighting fires and other natural disasters, we would have $30 billion more to spend on our needs.

The Brad Blog writes:

… What the Governor failed to mention is that he vetoed four bills that would have increased staffing and fire resources after the Cedar Fire, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. A fifth bill, signed by Schwarzenegger, requires local governments to first submit safety plans to the California Department of Forestry and will not take effect until 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 20, 2007.

Other unfulfilled recommendations made to Schwarzenegger by his Blue Ribbon Fire Commission include replacement of aging fire helicopters, increasing staffing to assure four person crews on each state fire engine sent to major wildfires, and nighttime air drops. A national contract fleet of heavy air tankers has fallen from 41 to 16 in the last five years, with aging aircraft deemed unsafe and grounded.

The state firefighting fleet has not replaced two air tankers that crashed
, the L.A. Times reported.CNN reports that only 1,500 National Guard have been sent to assist Californians during the current wildfire crisis—less than 1/10 of the state’s 20,000 National Guard members. Clearly having the bulk of our National Guards forces deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan have hindered emergency response here at home.

What these Americans write is worrying, but so are the questions which the behavior of the American authorities raises:

  • Why did the Governor of California veto 4 bills which would have increased staffing and resources to fight such fires at a comparatively small price ?
  • Why are fire engines, helicopters, airplanes and other equipment not being replaced when this is what Americans want and need ?
  • Why was a comparatively cheap program engaging prisoners to cut firebreaks into the bush suspended ?
  • Why is the money which should be used to fund the prevention and amelioration of natural catastrophes being used to fund several wars which most Americans don’t want ?
  • Why is the National Guard, a military formation which is manned by Americans who have volunteered because they want to help in exactly such situations as the current fires in California, fighting unwanted wars elsewhere ?
  • If the way how things are being done is against the will of most Americans, why are things being done that way and who causes things to be done in that way ?
  • If the catastrophe management was good, why have 1 Million Americans been displaced from their homes according to the American media ?
  • Where does all the money go ?

... and for what is it being used instead of putting out fires in California ? Questions and questions and questions . . . but, has anybody looked for answers ?

Role model for American politicians ? Professor Arnon Soffer from Bar-Ilan University pleads for genocide: '... we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.'

The fast answer is that “the wars” or the “global war on terror” consume all these resources. But the “global war on terror” has been exposed by many commentators and analysts as a giant scam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly soon also in Iran, are all strongly against the best interest of most Americans. If this is so, then why are these wars being fought ? Why does the “global war on terror”, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan . . . exist ? Who benefits ? Whose interests are so important that funding the prevention of fires and other natural catastrophes, protecting Americans from need, from terror, natural and man-made disasters etc. becomes secondary and optional ?

Some prominent Americans – and Californians - provide an answer to all these questions, in their own words:

  • Condoleezza Rice: “We need to place our Israeli obligations at the top of our national priority list.”
  • Hillary Clinton: “There is no question mark next to me. There’s an exclamation point. I am an emphatic, unwavering supporter of Israel’s safety and security.”
  • Dianne Feinstein: “I am very proud to be here today to join with you as we stand in support and solidarity with the state of Israel.”
  • Nancy Pelosi: “America's commitment to the safety and security of the state of Israel is unwavering. America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship.”
  • Tom Lantos: “… we will not stay in Iraq one day longer than absolutely necessary because we do come as liberators, who would like to see the slow, painful, tedious process of democratization begin among the Arab countries of the Middle East. Without that there will be no peace for Israel or in the region.”
  • Henry Waxman: “We must stand in solidarity with the Israeli people and support Israel's right as a sovereign nation to defend its vital interests.” (Note: Rep. Henry Waxman has a daughter who “made aliya”, the term used by American Jews for making profits from the genocide against Palestinians).

When I read about these attitudes of these and other American politicians, I had to wonder why I had never seen some of them in Hebron vandalizing and stealing property, throwing stones, spitting at people in the streets. Are these truly elected American politicians, or are they some of the illegal Hebron colonists ? How is their mindset different from the mindset of the typical jewish squatter in Hebron ?

So, who REALLY supports Israel, and what do they do ?

The Governor of California with two of the strongest and richest supporters of Israel, Warren Buffet and Jacob Rothschild (Pic Credit ?)

When one questions the activities of these American politicians and looks at who in the USA really “supports” Israel and Israeli interests, the group of true supporters of Israel becomes noticeably small - because supporting Israel is in no way an "American" project. And this small group of supporters of Israel and Israeli interests in the USA overlaps noticeably with those who support and promote the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, "against terror" etc. . . . When one further looks at who are the most rabid and murderous rightists in Israel, the so-called “settlers” and the Likud Block, then the conclusion is that at the center of all this activity there is exactly one group of people. In Israel they call themselves “settlers”, Likud, Kahane Chai, Kach, Yesha Council, Committee for the Security of the Roads, Jewish Underground, Shelhevet Brigades, Women in Green, Avigdor Lieberman, Beth Din . . . and in the USA they call themselves by names like Neo-Conservatives, Neo-Liberals, AIPAC, WJC, AJC, ZOA, ADL, AEI, Hudson Institute, MEMRI, SPLC, Joe Lieberman (cousin of his Israeli namesake) . . . according to the reports of Americans who have interested themselves with this phenomenon.

When one looks at the people inside these institutions it is always persons from the same group, alternatively appearing in different places and institutions. In Israel it is the same clique of “former” terrorists and extremists, in the USA it is always people who belong to this extended clique who enter and exit government functions according to convenience. Both the Israeli and USA cliques are united by purpose (“Israel First”) and covered by various ideologies witness to their irresponsibility and ineptitude. Their activities can be described best if ones imagines a giant hose which on the one side sucks in tremendous amounts of (American) resources, and on the other side showers out these resources in form of money, weapons, political support, wars of choice, etc. which can be used at will by Israel and those who support Israel. They have firmly planted the fallacies that “Israel is Americas best friend” and “American and Israeli interests are identical” in the political discourse of the USA.

The results of the activities of the “Israel First” clique are in plain sight on both sides of the suction hose:
A house burning in California (Pic Credit: NY Times)

In the USA, according to the reports I read, natural and man-made catastrophes turn into disasters for the whole country because prevention and containment measures remain unfunded so that this money can be shoveled into the suction hose; the political discourse in the whole country of USA is contained and terrorized by the fear of offending the “Americas best friends”; public servants and politicians must accept bribes (called “campaign contributions”) by organizations of arguable legality and which are reported to have been caught spying on American state secrets repeatedly, or risk losing their position, their careers, or their lives; millions of Americans live on the streets in part because the money which could be used to provide them adequate and affordable housing is shoveled into the suction hose and used to fund enterprises which are against American interests; Israeli spies, traitors and criminals of all types are deported to Israel instead of applying to them the usually harsh sentences for such activities, even when such persons are caught repeatedly; hundreds, perhaps thousands of “charities” collect money to “support Israel” despite the fact that this money directly funds terrorists activities and genocide carried out by American citizens in Palestine, and that such activities, and funding such activities, are criminal offenses under American laws; on top of the reported US$ (approximate) which are given by the US Government to Israel directly as grants and credit every year, any person who donates to Israeli causes in the USA can deduct such donations from their taxes – for example, donations for the Israeli Army are tax-deductible.

Can Americans make tax-deductible donations to, for example, "charities" of the armed forces of Iceland ?
Construction of a secret American Military Base in Israel (Pic Credit: Barry Chamish) In Palestine, the same resources which are sucked out of the USA are used by Israel and its supporters to finance terrorism and terrorists, apartheid, murder, grand theft, genocide, a client regime of torturers and criminals, a gulag where tens of thousands of Palestinians are interned and routinely tortured; an apartheid wall of incredible proportions. Israeli politics are determined by what they can extract from the USA: Sharon reportedly told Peres during a Knesset session in 2001 “… don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America."; American politicians routinely travel to Israel to make a show of their submission to the will of this country; when I lived in Tel-Aviv in 2002, the giant airplanes of the American military were passing overhead day and night. Some years later, I found out that the Americans had been building a secret military base east of Tel-Aviv; American foreign policy at the highest levels was and is controlled and decided by some illegal colonists in the West Bank.

ORA IV at the Marina of Herzliya - it belongs to the WEST 108TH STREET REALTY CORP from 10025 NY (Pic Credit: vilbox)

Of course, as the American Bloggers quoted above say, the money is going to Iraq, but the war in Iraq is not fought because America is in danger, but because it is in the interest of Israel. You may revisit the words of Rep. Tom Lantos quoted above, and also the words of other politicians. The same is true for Afghanistan, and the same is true for the massive "support" for Israel everywhere in US politics. After reading everything that is reported by the media, the correct answer to all the questions above, is that the fires of California became a disaster because the money went to further Israeli interests, the "butchers bill for Iraq" is in reality the "bill for Israel": while Israel and those who support whatever Israel wants literally swim in money, California has no fire engines, no firefighters, no programs to pay prisoners 70 cents a day to cut bushes, no airplanes put out the fires . . .
Making Aliyah in in Palestine between Beit Ummar and Halhoul. The young jewish man about to steal the property of the Salibi family is probably an American citizen.Both California and Palestine are burning: while both fires are different, their cause is one and the same. In the USA, American needs are neglected because Israel comes first. In Palestine, Palestinians are subject to a genocide financed with the resources extracted from Americans, also because Israel comes first. And, because in 60 or more years of continued occupation and ethnic cleansing those who lead Israel have shown nothing but incompetence and criminal inclinations, now it has been determined that USA must fight against Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria . . . in order to make "peace for Israel" in the unforgettable words of Rep. Tom Lantos.

True friendship for US$ and counting

Sharon with Rep. Harman

(Plus US$ 464.000.000.000 for Iraq) Can Americans who lost their loved ones, their homes or their business in the fires of California expect some kind of help to get on their feet again ? According to the words of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi quoted above, yes. The same is true if one takes in account the positions of the Israeli Government and of many influential organizations in the USA, which all have often stated emphatically the American and Israeli interests are one and the same. And, the magnanimity of the Israeli Government is known when it comes to its most needy citizens: when Sharon evicted the colonists from Gaza in preparation for the current genocidal measures, each evicted family reportedly was gives US$ 500.000,- cash, no questions asked, so that they could start somewhere else. These Israeli colonists had been living on property stolen from Palestinians with help of murder and terrorism, and the money was very likely paid from American taxes.

I am confident that Californians who need help to get on their feet can expect to get their US$ 500.000,- from Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike. After all, in the words of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi "America and Israel share an unbreakable bond: in peace and war; and in prosperity and in hardship" - and Israel has received US$ 108 BN to date as a proof of Americas friendship. Is it not time that they extend their helping hand to their American friends in need ?

If you want to take recourse to Israels unwavering friendship towards America, there are many possibilities. Israel has some consulates in California, and most of the organizations which promote the friendship between Israel and the USA also have branches there. You can find their contact information on the Internet. Pass their phone numbers to others who might be in need of help, and don't forget to quote Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Lantos when you call.

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