Zionism wants a national treasure destroyed.

Batir is special. Its heritage is longstanding. It's been that way for centuries. It's one of Palestine's most beautiful villages.

It's built around natural spring water. It's dotted by wells and reservoirs. Traditional agriculture is its way of life. Villagers want it kept that way.

Spring water irrigates Batir's gardens. They made village produce famous. Preserving it is vital. It's too important to lose.

In 1948, Batir was on the front line of Israel's War of Independence. Green Line separation divides its ancestral lands. Its residents were the only Palestinians allowed to cultivate them inside its post-war border.

For decades it struggled to survive. Israeli land theft and development threaten it.

Israel's Separation Wall is Exhibit A. Constructing it threatens traditional Batir agriculture. Its route isn't yet finalized. If built as planned, Batir's way of life will end.

One farmer spoke for others, saying:

"It is a tragedy for all farmers and all the residents of Batir village. Most of the residents are farmers and depend on these green lands." 

"They depend on farming the Batir eggplant which is famous in the Palestinian lands. Also we have other vegetables such as beans, cauliflower, and pepper."

Israel's Separation Wall "affects us. If only you knew how much it will destroy our lives and land. We do not know how we will live afterwards."

"Our life is attached to this land. It is the source of our honor. We will never give it away no matter what happens."

Israel's Nature and Parks Authority CEO Shaul Goldstein agrees. He opposes Israel's plan.

"Israel has the right to defend itself," he said. "We think we can do it with electronic devices, closed circuit cameras, and radars, not by a physical barrier, not a fence, not a wall, nothing."

"We need it open for the public. We need it open for nature."

Area around Batir provides an ecological corridor. Destroying it by wall or fence construction would be tragic, he added.

He stressed two main points. One is the ecological corridor. It provides animals different climate areas.

Batir landscape is the other. It's too beautiful and historic to destroy. It's unique and picturesque. It's on a hillside south of Jerusalem.

Farmland is arranged by traditional terraces. Natural springs irrigate it.

According to engineer Raed Samara:

"The damage that will happen if the wall is built will never be solved. There will be environmental damage." 

"There will be increase in rats and harmful animals. The animals who are living in this area will not be able to move around, such as gazelles."

Since 2005, villagers waged legal battles. They petitioned Israel's High Court. They did so through through Israeli environmental organizations, Friends of the Earth of Middle East, and Israel's Nature and Parks Authority.

Last October, Israel's High Court ruled. It issued an injunction. It banned Wall construction. Justice Uzi Vogelman gave Israeli authorities 14 days to respond.

Villagers proposed an alternate Wall route. Doing so leaves their land intact. Part of Batir lies inside the Green Line. Israeli construction so far hasn't violated it.

Attorney Kais Nasser represents villagers. "According to (Israel's) plan," he said, (village) lands will remain behind the fence, which will drastically change the status quo in the area and lead to the breaking of an international agreement between the parties."

It existed since 1948/49. Nasser rejects Israeli claims. Saying Wall construction protects Israeli security doesn't wash. It's the land, stupid.

Israel wants it. It wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas. It wants Jewish development only. It wants Palestinians ethnically cleansed. It's longstanding policy.

In 2011, UNESCO awarded Batir $15,000. It did so for "Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes." Its care for ancient terraces and traditional irrigation were highlighted.

Palestinian Authority officials want Batir declared a World Heritage site. Ahead of Israel's High Court injunction, they petitioned UNESCO to do so. They want ancient Batir terraces protected.

"We hope that UNESCO which gave Batir the first award for protecting the environment. We hope this award will help to stop building the wall and will return life to Batir," said Samara.

Last October, UNESCO gave Palestine full member status. It did so despite intense US and Israeli opposition. PA officials submitted an emergency petition. It requested swift resolution. It wants Batir protected. It said in part:

"(T)he nominated property is currently at risk because of the Separation Barrier currently being constructed by the Government of Israel. The Batir Village Council brought this case to the Israeli Supreme Court." 

"The court case aims at preventing the construction of the 'Barrier' in a historically sensitive area such as the 'jenan' or 'gardens' where a millenary irrigation system is still in use to water the vegetable gardens of Batir."

"The Israeli Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in the near future, which justifies the submission of this dossier to be processed on an emergency basis, in order to protect an area of 'Outstanding Universal Value' and prevent its irreversible destruction."

"Since 1967, intensive Israeli activities of settlement expansion are threatening the property and its surrounding villages."

"The increasing construction of housing units, infrastructures, roads and other various kinds of services for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers, has resulted in the progressive enclavisation of both the territorial area and the inhabitants of the nominated property, severely threatening the integrity of its landscape and the sustainability of its ecological and environmental equilibrium."

If Israel's Wall is built as planned, it'll separate villagers from 740 acres of their land. Doing so will violate 1948/49 armistice agreements. Subsequent oral ones will end.

Traditional agriculture won't survive. Batir's entire terrace system may collapse. "It's like a net," said one farmer. "You can't cut it down in the middle without it being destroyed."

Perhaps Israel has that in mind. It wouldn't be the first time. Targeting Palestine's way of life is longstanding.

Batir is one of its last untouched areas. Villagers prioritize preserving it. Wall construction destroyed adjacent Walaja village.

Good Water Neighbors at Friends of the Earth Middle East's Michal Sagiv said:

"On the Israeli side, (Walaja) terraces ceased to be used for agriculture and are remnants. Here it's still a living system." Batir villages want it kept that way.

On February 17, Haaretz headlined "Palestinians reject Israel's compromise for West Bank fence: Stop rail traffic instead of building on our land."

In response to villagers' High Court petition, Israeli officials "suggested building a fence, rather than a wall"."

They lied. They said doing so would minimize environmental damage. They stressed non-existent security concerns.

Palestinians reject them for good reason. They understand Israel's real aims. Land theft is prioritized. So is settlement construction and other Jewish development.

Doing so requires displacing Palestinians. It's been ongoing for decades. It shows no signs of stopping.

In rejecting Israel's "compromise," villagers "quoted landscape conservation experts who said that a fence would cause as much damage as a wall - both through direct damage to the terraces on which it would be built and by interrupting the contiguity of cultivated land."

They said construction will impede villagers' access to their land. Israel plans it. Concerns raised are subterfuge for its real aims.

The struggle to preserve Batir continues. Hope springs eternal. Israel plans returning 1,200 dunums of Jordan Valley land.

According to its Lands Administration (ILA), its Kibbutz Merav mistakenly got it. It's inside the Green Line.

ILA officials admitted a 30-year old error. Doing so was perhaps a one-off. What Israel steals it keeps. Rare exceptions prove the rule.

In January 2012, Israel told kibbutz officials what happened. The land's not theirs was explained. It's still being cultivated.

It's private Palestinian land. It's legal owners were excluded for decades. They still are despite ILA's ruling.

Making it was historic. It remains to be seen what follows. Anything positive perhaps bodes well for Batir. The struggle to preserve it continues.

Source: claritypress-by Stephen Lendman

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Shame the US Congress is afraid of the Zionist Lobby

 

 

 

Americans have been shamed many times by their elected representatives who cravenly bow to vested interests and betray the American people. But no previous disgraceful behavior can match the public shame brought to Americans by the behavior of the Senate Republicans in the confirmation hearing of Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Forty Senate Republicans made it clear that not only do they refuse to put their service to America ahead of their service to Israel, but also that they will not even put their service to America on a par with their service to Israel. To every American's shame, the Republicans demonstrated for all the world to see that they are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Israel Lobby. (The Israel Lobby is not their only master. They are also owned by other powerful interest groups, such as Wall Street and the Military/Security Complex.)

The most embarrassing behavior of all came from the craven Lindsay Graham, who, while in the act of demonstrating his complete subservience by crawling on his belly before the Israel Lobby, dared Hagel to name one single person in the US Congress who is afraid of the Israel Lobby.

If I had been Hagel, I would have written off the nomination and answered: "You, Senator Graham, and your 40 craven colleagues."

Indeed, Hagel could have answered: The entire US Congress, including Rand Paul who pretends to be different but isn't.

The real question is: Who in the Congress is not afraid of the Israel Lobby?

The hatchet job on Hagel is driven by fear of the Israel Lobby.

Perhaps the worst affront Israel's American representatives ever inflicted on the US military was the coverup of the Israeli air and torpedo boat attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. The Israeli attack failed to sink the Liberty but killed and wounded most of the crew. The survivors were ordered to silence, and it was 12 years before one of them spoke up and revealed what had happened (James Ennes, Assault On The Liberty). Not even Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could get Washington to own up to the facts.

The facts are now well known, but as far as Washington is concerned they are dead letter facts. The entire event has been moved to some parallel universe.

Why are the Senate Republicans out to destroy Hagel for Israel?

The answer is, first, back when Hagel was a US Senator he refused to be intimidated by the Israel Lobby and declared, "I am a US Senator, not an Israeli Senator." In other words, Hagel did the impermissible. He said he represented US interests, not Israel's interests. Hagel's position implies that the interests of the two countries are not identical, which is a heresy.

The second part of the answer is that Hagel doesn't think that it is a good idea for the US to start a war with Iran or for the US to permit Israel to do so.

But a US war with Iran is what the Israeli government and its neoconservative agents have been trying to impose on the Obama regime. Israel wants to get rid of Iran, because Iran supports Hizbollah in Southern Lebanon, thus preventing Israel from annexing that territory and its water resources, and because Iran supports Hamas, the only Palestinian organization that tries to oppose Israel's total theft of Palestine, although Iran has never supplied Hamas with effective weapons.

The two organizations that oppose Israel's territorial expansion, Hizbollah and Hamas, represent large numbers of Arab peoples. Nevertheless, both are declared, on Israel's orders, to be "terrorist organizations" by the servile US Department of State, which in all reality should be called the Israeli Department of State, as it never puts US interests before Israel's.

In other words, Hagel did not grovel. He did not say how much he loved Israel and how it would be his great honor to sacrifice all other interests to Israel's, how he has waited his entire life for the chance to serve Israel as the US Secretary of Defense.

Hagel is not an opponent of Israel. He merely said, "First, I am an American." His lack of craven subservience is unacceptable to the Israel Lobby, which has branded him an "anti-semite."

Lindsay Graham, in contrast, has what it takes to be Israel's perfect choice for US Secretary of Defense.

Graham will go out of his way to please the Israel Lobby. He will pull out all stops and behave with maximum servility to a foreign power in his effort to embarrass the President of the United States and his nominee, a war veteran and former US Senator who simply thinks that the US Congress and the executive branch should put American interests first.

Senate Majority Leader Reid has used Senate rules to keep Hagel's nomination alive.

If Lindsay Graham succeeds in doing the Israel Lobby's dirty work, he will have handed a defeat of the US President to the Israeli Prime Minister, who has demeaned the President of the United States for not doing Israel's bidding and attacking Iran.

Americans are a colonized people. Their government represents the colonizing powers: Wall Street, the Israel Lobby, the Military/Security Complex, Agribusiness, Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Mining, and Timber interests.

Two elected representatives who tried to represent the American people--Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich--found representative government to be an inhospitable place for those few who attempt to represent the interests of the American people.

Like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Gerald Celente, I stand with our Founding Fathers who opposed America's entanglement in foreign wars. In an effort to prevent entanglements, the Founding Fathers gave the power to declare war to Congress. Over the years Congress has gradually ceded this power to the President to the extent that it no longer exists as a power of Congress. The President can start a war anywhere at any time simply by declaring that the war is not a war but a "time-limited, scope-limited, kinetic military action." Or he can use some other nonsensical collection of words.

In the first few years of the 21st century, the executive branch has invaded two countries, violated the sovereignty of five others with military operations, and has established military bases in Africa in order to counteract China's economic penetration of the continent and to secure the resources for US and European corporations, thus enlarging the prospects for future wars. If the Republicans succeed in blocking Hagel's confirmation, the prospect of war with Iran will be boosted.

By abdicating its war power, Congress lost its control of the purse. As the executive branch withholds more and more information from Congressional oversight committees, Congress is becoming increasingly powerless. As Washington's war debts mount, Washington's attack on the social safety net will become more intense. Governmental institutions that provide services to Americans will wither as more tax revenues are directed to the coffers of special interests and foreign entanglements.

The tenuous connection between the US government and the interests of citizens is on its way to being severed entirely.

Source:paulcraigroberts.org

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Saudi Arabia, main supporter of terrorism

Member of the Iraqi National Alliance says international counter-terrorism conference in Saudi Arabia is an irony, since this country is the main supporter of terrorism.

Jum’ah al-Atwani told Al Alam news network that Saudi Arabian authorities decision to hold the conference is blatant attempt, since all, including Global Arrogance know that Saudi Arabia is one of the countries which provides the most ideological, political and financial support for terrorism.

“Saudi hosts the counter-terrorism conference when Iraq is the main victim to Saudi-supported terrorist groups, and as Iraqi officials said, only in January 26, 250 Saudi-backed terrorists had been arrested in Iraq. They had been sent to carry out military terrorist acts in Karbala, Najaf, and Divaniya,” he said.

“According to Commander of Iraqi forces, Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the head of Saudi Intelligence had provided $ 250m for terrorist acts in Iraq,” he asserted.

Atwani also added Al Saud regime, governed by Wahhabist ideology, could not fight the terrorism, terrorism, based on Saudi-backed wanton killing of individuals heedless of their affiliations.

He also pointed to Saudi support of terrorism. “Arms imported by Saudi Arabia are delivered to terrorists by the regime,” he added.

International Conference on counter-terrorism is being held with participation of UN, Saudi Arabia, and 49 countries since Saturday, February 16th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Source:Al-Alamnews

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The crisis in Syria is dragging Turkey in direct way

Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian crisis will backfire by putting Ankara at the risk of a new series of violent confrontations with its minority Kurdish population, a political analysts tells Press TV.

Since Ankara opened the lid to the conflict in Syria, the crisis has been “dragging [Turkey] in, in a very direct way,” William Jones from the Executive Intelligence Review weekly newsmagazine told Press TV in an interview.

He described the prospect of new clashes with Kurds as “a definite threat to Turkey,” which Ankara can only contain through “the use of police and military force.”

Jones warned that to the extent Turkey is engaging in military activities along the border with Syria, “Kurds would get a certain part of reaction and whole economic development in Turkey which has been pretty extraordinary during the last few years is being threatened.”

On Friday, the Syrian government sent a letter to the UN, blasting Turkey’s “destructive” role in the conflict that has ravaged the country for the past 23 months.

In the letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry accused Ankara of publicly supporting and financing terrorists fighting against the Syrian government and allowing its soil to be used for training and housing anti-Damascus terrorist groups.

In October 2012, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) voiced solidarity with Syrian Kurds, vowing violent reprisal if Turkish military forces target the Kurdish community in the Arab country.

In mid-January, clashes broke out between Syrian Kurds and the foreign-backed militants near the Turkey-Syria border. The militants have launched similar attacks on the border areas, targeting Syria’s Kurdish population.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. Clashes between Turkish forces and PKK members have claimed around 45,000 lives since starting in 1984.

Source: presstv

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Hypocrisy: US Arms Al Qaeda in Syria, Mass-Slaughters Civilians in Afghanistan

AFP has reported that a recent NATO airstrike in Afghanistan has killed over 10 civilians in an all-too-familiar headline glossed over by the Western media in an exercise of both depravity and hypocrisy.

RT’s article, “NATO airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children – officials,” notes in particular that up to 11,864 civilians were killed in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2011, and that civilian deaths before 2007 were not even tracked by the UN.

Such facts reveal alarming hypocrisy as the UN keeps almost daily, inflated tallies of civilian deaths elsewhere, in particular, in nations like Libya and Syria where Western interests have been heavily involved in regime change and in dire need of manipulating public perception worldwide.

The United Nations had in fact pieced together a dubious report crafted from “witness accounts” compiled not in Syria, or even beyond its borders in a refugee camp, but instead, in Geneva by “witnesses” supplied by the so-called Syrian “opposition.”

Worse yet, that UN report was co-authored by Karen Koning AbuZayd, a director of the US Washington-based corporate think-tank, Middle East Policy Council. Its board of directors includes Exxon men, CIA agents, representatives of the Saudi Binladin Group (Osama Bin Laden’s family business), former ambassadors to Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, US military and government representatives, and even the president of the US-Qatar Business Council, which includes amongst its membership, Al Jazeera, Chevron, Exxon, munitions manufacturer Raytheon (who supplied the opening salvos during NATO’s operations against Libya), and Boeing.

In other words, the very underwriters of the armed militancy that is consuming Syria are sitting along side the head of the UN commission producing reports portraying the Syrian government as guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The hypocrisy does not end there. The pretense the US and NATO have used for over a decade to occupy, subjugate and slaughter the people of Afghanistan – in a conflict increasingly creeping over both Afghanistan’s borders with Pakistan and Iran – is supposedly to fight “terrorism.”

Western interests have been allowed to fight this “war on terrorism” with impunity, and even without UN monitoring for years, while Syria was immediately condemned for fighting against Al Qaeda terrorists overtly flooding into their nation with NATO assistance.

The US in particular oversaw the rise of the Al Qaeda terror-emirate Benghazi, even having a US ambassador slain there by the very terrorists it had armed, funded, trained, provided air support for, and thrust into power.

These same terrorists have been documented extensively as spearheading the invasion of northern Syria via NATO-member Turkey, with NATO cash and weapons in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The glaring hypocrisy of so-called “international law” and “international institutions” is on full display. Nations like Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, and many others should give serious thought to peeling away from the United Nations, the compromised International Criminal Court, and other corrupt, Western-serving institutions that will, and in many cases already are, being turned against them, their interests, and national sovereignty.

For the people of the world, we must realize that these institutions were created for and by big-business special interests, and the legitimacy they are portrayed as having is a mere illusion created by the corporate media. We must begin identifying these special interests, boycotting and replacing them permanently at a local level.

If it is peace we want, it is clear that the UN, NATO, and all institutions in between, sow only death and destruction amidst a myriad of hypocrisy, double standards, and immeasurable corruption, and we must move into the future without them.

By Tony Cartalucci –infowars

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UK warns of Western jihadists from Syria

AAP-ISLAMIC extremists from Western countries who have gone to fight in Syria could carry out terrorist attacks when they return home, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.

Hague said war-torn Syria had become the "No.1 destination" for jihadists from around the world.

"They may not pose a threat to us when they first go to Syria, but if they survive, some may return ideologically hardened and with experience of weapons and explosives," he said.

"The longer the conflict continues, the greater this danger will become," he said in a wide-ranging speech on Thursday setting out Britain's plans to tackle terrorism without compromising human rights.

British trainee doctor Shajul Islam and another man, Jubayer Chowdhury, are due to go on trial in Britain in June charged with the kidnapping of two Western journalists who were held by Islamic extremists in Syria.

British photographer John Cantlie has said he and Dutch journalist Jeroen Oerlemans were held for a week last July by some 30 Islamic militants from countries that include Britain, Pakistan and Chechnya.

Hague warned that a prolonged war in Syria - which has suffered 22 months of unrest, claiming some 70,000 lives - would also increase the risk of chemical or biological weapons being used by terrorists.

He called on Russia and China - who have previously blocked action against Syria at the United Nations Security Council - to work with other countries to negotiate a new Syrian government formed from the opposition and elements of the regime.

In terms of wider British foreign policy, Hague said Britain would build "justice and human rights partnerships" to help share intelligence with countries with suspect rights records without this leading to suspects being tortured.

"A large part of our effort to counter terrorism is now overseas where terrorists train and plan for attacks against the UK or our interests abroad," he said. "We cannot do this without working with other countries."

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The worst of "dark, dictatorial regimes"

Israel is a rogue terror state. It's a serial abuser. It spurns rule of law principles. It mocks democratic values.

It tolerates no criticism. It targets anyone challenging its authority. It does so against anyone considered threatening. Disappearing prisoners is one of many Israeli high crimes. They're longstanding, shocking, and monstrous.

Prisoner X reveals more about Israel's dark side. Australian Broadcasting Corporation  broke the story. Correspondent Trevor Bormann covered it.

In early 2010, an unidentified man was incarcerated in Israel's "most secure prison cell."

"The guards taking him there had no idea who he was or what he'd done. What they did know was that the cell had been purpose designed and built for one previous occupant -- the assassin of former PM Yitzhak Rabin," Yigal Amir.

An unidentified prison service officer said:

The individual "is simply a person without a name and without an identity who is placed in complete and absolute isolation from the outside world."

"We don't know if he gets visits, or if anyone even knows he's even in jail. There is confidentiality surrounding the detainee in every respect."

Information leaked. Media reports followed. Australian-Israeli Mossad agent Ben Zygier was Prisoner X. He was Victoria Jewish Community Council executive director Geoffrey Zygier's son.

His Australian passport identified him as Ben Allen. What did Australia's government know about him and when?

Why was it silent about his secret indictment, trial and imprisonment? Why did it do nothing to help? Why did it suppress information about his death? Why did it do nothing to save him?

According to its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bob Carr, Israeli authorities informed its ambassador about an Australian national in their custody."

Allegedly he didn't tell Canberra. Saying so doesn't wash. He's obligated to keep his government fully informed.

"(Israeli) coverage was shut down by one of the most comprehensive suppression orders conceivable."

"One more blip of information" emerged. "Prisoner X - held in a video-monitored, regularly checked, suicide proof cell - had killed himself."

It begs the question. Did he or didn't he? Israel is security-obsessed. Mossad buries its secrets. Dead men tell no tales. Zygier was a Mossad agent.

Did he kill himself or was he murdered? Perhaps we'll never know. Targeted killing is longstanding Mossad policy.

Zygier was held in Israel's Ayalon maximum security prison. Bormann said it conceals many secrets.

"In early-to-mid 2010, an inmate in his early thirties arrived here under great secrecy and security."

Guards were given strict orders. Don't ask questions. They called him Prisoner X. Other prisoners knew nothing about him. Disappearing him was a state secret.

Zygier became a nonperson. He had no name or identity. He was completely isolated from the outside world.

In December 2010, Australia's Jewish media said he died in Israel. He'd be buried in Melbourne's Jewish cemetery. Cause of death wasn't explained. Little more was said.

Australia's ABC television changed things. It revealed some of what Israel wanted kept secret. Prisoner X was 34-year old Ben Zygier. He was imprisoned for allegedly endangering Israeli security. How isn't known.

Did he blow his cover? Was he selling state secrets? Did he expose or endanger other agents? Did he commit other treasonous acts? Whatever it was, Israel wanted suppressed. Perhaps new information will explain.

Some reports suggest he was acting on behalf of Australian intelligence. Perhaps he planned supplying its Security Intelligence Organization or media sources information on Mossad activities in Australia. Whether true or not may surface later.

On February 14, YNet News headlined "Israel acknowledges 'Prisoner X' existence," saying:

After two years of coverup, the gag order on Zygier was "partially lifted."

Israel's Justice Ministry left him unnamed. For the first time, it said "a man held in maximum security prison died while in Israel's custody, and that the death was ruled a suicide."

"For security reasons, the prisoner was held under a pseudonym."

"The prisoner in question was found dead in his cell two years ago."

In accordance with Israel's Inquest of Death Law, an inquiry into his death was ordered. A writ followed. It ordered information about him "held behind closed doors. The order still stands."

"National security prevents the release of any other details in this case."

"These aspects of national security have been reviewed by the Central District Court, which decided to impose a comprehensive gag order on the case."

"The order was given at the request of the defense establishment, and was approved by the Justice Ministry."

All possible measures were taken to keep information about him suppressed. Official records were sealed.

On March 4, 2010, Zygier was secretly indicted. Israel's Central District Court ruled his case "highly classified (top) secret."

Hearings were held behind closed doors. Minutes on proceedings "were immediately deposited in the court's vault."

Everything about his case remains classified. Nothing was revealed publicly. It's not known if the court ruled on his case or closed it on a technicality.

Zygier's defense attorneys and family members had to sign confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements. Doing so prevents them from confirming or denying anything.

Information released excluded what's most important to know. Details didn't compromise state security.

Israel's top civil and human rights lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, last saw him alive. "They asked me to see him, and a day after that he was gone," he said.

"When I saw him, I saw no signs that he was going to kill himself. He sounded rational, and he asked pertinent legal questions that I can't expand on."

In 2011, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned to have Israel's gag order lifted. Israel's Central District denied it. A Supreme Court appeal followed.

Classified information was revealed in court. Justices advised ACRI to strike its appeal. It did so to avoid a detrimental legal ruling.

ACRI's chief legal counsel, Dan Yakir, said he first learned about an inquest into Zygier's death in court. Few details were revealed.

"As for the question of negligence," he asked, "how can it be that prisoner held in (Israel's) most secure (prison) committed suicide?"

Saying so doesn't pass the smell test. He was closely monitored 24-hours a day. He was never out of sight.

Haaretz provided extensive coverage. News of Zygier's death shocked his parents, it said. On February 13, the Australian Age newspaper said he "was under investigation by Australian intelligence months before" Israel arrested him.

Allegedly it was for "fraudulent use of his Australian passport for espionage purposes."

Israel's gag order imposed censorship. Doing so was a "pathetic attempt to turn back the clock" to pre-Internet days.

Prisoner X reflects a classic case of "Israeli failure." It shows "Israel's most sensitive government agencies are not functioning."

If information now known is right, Israel's Prison Service, Justice Ministry, attorney general, courts, Mossad, prime minister, and perhaps others share blame.

More may revealed after Israel partially lifted its gag order. Australia's ABC said Zygier emigrated to Israel in the late 1990s. He took the Hebrew name Ben Alon. He performed IDF service. He worked for Mossad before he died.

He was recruited in 2000. He served for a decade. He "undert(ook) assignments in enemy states using his Australian passport."

He was "one of three Jewish Australians who were working for a (European-based) front company set up by Mossad." It recruited agents and sold electronics to Iran.

He married an Israeli woman. He had two children. Before he died, he was negotiating a plea bargain. He expressed concern about spending years in prison. He denied charges against him.

"Israel can't just 'disappear' people," said Haaretz . "Forced disappearance," reflects the worst of "dark, dictatorial regimes." Israel replicates the worst of them. .claritypress

"Since the '50s, several Israelis suspected of espionage and other security breaches have been caught and locked up for many years, after being convicted in secret trials, attended by a handful of people who were in on the affair." 

"Most of these prisoners were intelligence and security people who had strayed, and exposing their acts would have put their operators in an embarrassing light."

Zygier's the latest. Israeli authorities justify forced disappearances "as a ploy." Haaretz they do so "to mislead the enemy and protect security secrets and the lives of active agents."

Mordechai Vanunu spent 18 years in prison. Israel incarcerated him for exposing its nuclear weapons program. At least 11 were in solitary confinement.

He endured cruel and barbaric treatment. He's still denied all rights. He's trapped and can't leave Israel. He's no traitor or spy. He broke no laws. He did the right thing. He wanted the world to know what was happening.

Protecting national security is one thing. Doing so doesn't justify lawlessness. Everyone's entitled to habeas rights and due process. Totalitarian methods deny them. Israel's dark side reflects them.

A Final Comment

On February 13, ACRI petitioned Israel's Attorney General Shai Nitzan. It requested more information on Zygier's death.

Chief legal counsel Dan Yakir said there's " considerable public interest in information about the investigation into the cause of death of the prisoner, and in answers to the following questions: 

Was this indeed a suicide? Was there negligence in the supervision of the detainee? Has any official body taken responsibility? What steps have been taken to prevent the recurrence of similar events in the future?"

He raised questions about Israel's gag order. Partial lifting falls short. He expressed concern about "a man held in detention under heavy secrecy, and nothing was published about the reason for his arrest or the circumstances surrounding his death."

Everyone has a right to know. Vital questions need answering. Accountability is fundamental. Transparency isn't Israel's long suit. Nor is respecting the law's letter and spirit. Rogue terror states operate that way.

by Stephen Lendman-claritypress

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