Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (25 November – 1 December 2021)

December 2, 2021

Israeli Human Rights Violations

25 November – 1 December 2021

  • IOF excessive use of force:
  • 11 Palestinians shot and wounded, including 6 children, in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem
  • 7 Palestinian fishermen arrested, 2 fishing boats confiscated, and 5 IOF shooting reported against fishing boats in the Gaza Sea
  • In 156 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 80 civilians arrested, including 12 children
  • Limited IOF incursion into eastern Gaza Strip; 1 Palestinian arrested while traveling via Beit Hanoun Crossing, northern Gaza Strip
  • Demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem: Two houses self-demolished, another demolished by IOF; Israeli decision to demolish a residential building and an appeal of the demolition order of 58 houses denied
  • Israel announces plan to build 2000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem
  • IOF established 44 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 4 Palestinians on said checkpoints

Summary                                                                                        

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse, and attacks on civilians, turning the West Bank into isolated blocks of land. Israeli settlers continued their attacks, including shooting and wounding Palestinian civilians; meanwhile, IOF continued its razing and demolishing of Palestinian properties, mainly in Hebron and Jerusalem.

The Israeli settlement expansion works continued on Palestinian lands and properties. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip enters its 15th year under closure, exacerbating the humanitarian hardships across the territory.

IOF shooting and violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

IOF shot and wounded 11 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, in excessive use of force in the West Bank: 8, including 4 children, were wounded in two separate incidents of IOF attacks on protestors in Qalqilya. Two others were wounded in Nablus, and another in Ramallah.

In the Gaza Strip, PCHR documented 5 IOF shootings at fishing boats in the Gaza Sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 156 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 80 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 children.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF arrested 8 Palestinians, including 7 fishermen who were arrested in two separate incidents after IOF surrounded their fishing boats at sea. The 8th was arrested while travelling via Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip. Additionally, IOF conducted a limited incursion into northern Gaza Strip.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 13 incidents:

  • Occupied East Jerusalem: Israeli decision to demolish a residential building housing 30 Palestinians; a house demolished in Silwan; and two other houses self-demolished in Jabel al-Mukaber. It was also announced that 2000 new settlement units will be built in eastern Jerusalem. Israel rejected an appeal against the demolition of 58 houses out of 84 threatened with demolition in Silwan. A barracks, a warehouse, and concrete room, as well as a company’s wall were demolished in ‘Anata. Other commercial facilities belonging to Jannat Eden Dates Company demolished in Beit Hanina.
  • Tubas: a 1,6000-meter waterline supplying crops was destroyed; 6 tractors were confiscated along with 5 private vehicles, 4 water tanks, and 3 trucks in the Northern Jordan Valleys.
  • Ramallah: an under-construction well demolished in Nilin.
  • Bethlehem: a notice to seize a plot of land in Beit Jala and 2 greenhouses demolished in Nahalin.

Settler-attacks: 

PCHR documented an attempt by a group of settlers to put a large menorah in front Nabil al-Kurd’s house in occupied east Jerusalem.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Israeli occupation authorities continued its collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip as the 15-year Israeli closure imposed on the territory deepened the population’s humanitarian and living crises, as unemployment has skyrocketed at 45%, i.e. 217,000 able workers are unemployed, 63% of whom are youth.

More than half of the Gaza Strip population suffer in poverty, as the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics data shows that 53% of the Gaza Strip population is poor; meanwhile, more than 62.2% is classified as food insecure, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Additionally, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the 2000 Second Intifada -still closed to this date- and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest, especially at al-Karama border crossing, alongside the Palestinian-Jordanian border.

Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity

  • At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF fired rubber and live bullets at dozens of students gathered on Ramallah-Nablus main Street, after they threw stones at IOF, who expelled them from their schools in Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya and As-Sawiya villages, southeast of Nablus, and denied their access to them. As a result, a 15-year-old child was shot with 2 rubber bullets in his head and a 14-year-old child was shot with a rubber bullet in his left eye.
  • At approximately 07:30, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city in central Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands, and no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 15:40, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, north of Borat Abu Samra area, north of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, opened sporadic fire at border area, and no causalities or damage were reported.
  • At approximately 22:45, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia and off al-Sodaniyia shore west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Friday, 26 November 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia and off al-Sodaniyia shore west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire. The shooting recurred from time to time around between 08:30 and 09:30, enticing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Friday, 26 November 2021, , IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased the protestors, who gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 6 protestors, including 2 children, were shot with rubber bullets in their limbs and one of them in his back. .
  • At approximately 13:30, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered near Belal Bin Rabbah Mosque, near the northern entrance to Bethlehem, and threw stones and empty bottles at military watchtower and military vehicles. IOF immediately assaulted the protestors, chased them into Aida Camp entrance, and threw heavy teargas canisters at residential houses. As a result, dozens of protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF suppressed the weekly protest organized against settlement at the main entrance to Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and forcibly dispersed them. According to PCHR’s follow-up, dozens of activists and citizens gathered at the entrance to the neighborhood holding Palestinian flags and banners condemning the occupation and settlement. During which, IOF surrounded the protestors, assaulted them, prevented them from protesting, and confiscated the flags. They also attempted to arrest two activists after checking their IDs, claiming that they approached settlers who were in the neighborhood.
  • At approximately 16:00, a group of Palestinians gathered at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, where IOF established a military watchtower. The Palestinians threw stones at the watchtower and closed the road leading to the camp with burning tires. IOF chased stone-throwers in the camp and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, some of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Clashes continued until 19:00, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 19:15, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah shore, south of the Gaza Strip, chased a Palestinian fishing boat carrying 5 fishermen, including two children, from al-Hesi family. The gunboats fired live bullets at the fishing boat and pumped water at it before surrounding it, arresting the fishermen and confiscating their boat. The fishermen were identified as: Jamal Jehad Rajab al-Hesi (31), Mohammed Nehad Rajab al-Hesi (15), Mohammed Rashad Rajab al-Hesi (29), Ahmed Rashad Rajab al-Hesi (17), and Nour Rajab Rashad al-Hesi (19). Next day, IOF released the fishermen at approximately 12:00, through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boat is still under custody.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, 27 November 2021, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased the protestors, who gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, two children were shot with rubber bullets in their limbs.
  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats surrounded a fishing boat manned by fisherman namely Mohammed ‘Abed al-Razeq Sa’ied Baker (50) and his son Thabit (26). IOF arrested both of them and confiscated their boat. Few hours later, IOF released the fishermen while the boat belonging to Riyad al-Shrafi, is still under custody. Mohammed Baker said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 16:30 on Thursday, 25 November 2021, he went to the sea for fishing along with his son Thabit. After few hours, the boat engine stopped working and we were off al-Sodaniyia shore in northern Gaza Strip. The boat drifted due to the wind towards the north, crossing the allowed area for fishing and sailing within 8 nautical miles off al-Waha shore. Also, communication was lost with them, because the phone network was cut off. He clarified that he and his son spent two days in cold weather, especially at night, and on Saturday evening, the Israeli gunboats surrounded them before arresting them, taking them to Ashdod Seaport and confiscating their boat. They were later released via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing after interrogating them.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city in central Gaza Strip, opened fire at agricultural lands, and no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 16:20, IOF moved into Tira neighborhood in western Ramallah. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinians gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF vehicles. IOF immediately assaulted them and fired rubber bullets and heavy teargas canisters at them. As a result, a 19-year-old male was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot and he is condition was classified as minor. He received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 23:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off Khan Yunis shore, south of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area, opened heavy fire around them and fired flare bombs in the sky, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 29 November 2021, IOF moved into al-Saf Street in central Bethlehem and then surrounded ‘Ali Isma’il al-Batat (23)’s house, in addition to other nearby houses and buildings. After that, IOF raided al-Batat’s house amidst heavy firing of rubber bullets and teargas canisters. As a result, dozens of citizens suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested ‘Ali al-Batat while he was near his house, taking him to an unknown destination.
  • On Monday evening, 29 November 2021, Israeli authorities closed al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City in front of Palestinians and prevented them from entering, under the pretext of allowing settlers to reach the Ibrahimi Mosque and perform prayers on the occasion of the so-called “Feast of Lights – Hanukkah”. At approximately 15:00, a number of activists in the Old City organized a peaceful protest against visiting al-Ibrahimi Mosque by the President of Israel, “Isaac Herzog”. During which, Israeli border guard officers suppressed the protest and arrested the activist Raed Murshed Meswada (30), taking him to a nearby police station.
  • At approximately 15:00 on Monday, 29 November 2021, a group of Palestinians gathered in Bab al-Zawiya area in Hebron where IOF maintain a military checkpoint at the entrance to the closed Shuhadaa St. The protestors threw stones at the military checkpoint. IOF deployed at the checkpoint entrance and indiscriminately fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the protestors. As a result, some of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Also, shop owners were forced to close. The clashes continued until 19:00, and no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of al-Shawka village, east of Rafah, opened fire at agricultural lands, and no casualties were reported.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 25 November 2021:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF arrested Tha’er Adel Shawahena (28), after raiding and searching his house in Silat al-Harithiya village, west of Jenin.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Robin Zayed (18), along with his brother, Ra’ed (17), after raiding and searching their houses in Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF arrested 4 Palestinians after raiding and searching their houses in Surif village, west of Hebron. The arrestees are Mohammed Isma’il Ghuneimat (34), Khaled Ayed Ghuneimat (37), Ali Sameeh Ghuneimat (28), and Mos’ab Mahmoud al-Hour (30).
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF handed Rashad Mohammed Karaja (53) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in Saffa village, north of Ramallah.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested 11 Palestinians, including 2 children, from al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Mohammed Khaled al-Masri (20), Mohammed Awni Attiya (16), Mohammed Shreiteh (25), Mahmoud Sa’di al-Rajabi (25), Mohammed Na’aji (23), Lo’ay Ashraf Mahmoud (23), Mohammed Waleed Mahmoud (21), Ahmed Haitham Mahmoud (20), Mohammed Haitham Mustafa (19), Tayseer Yousef Muhaisen (16), and Islam Yousef Obaid (18).
  • At approximately 02:25, IOF arrested Alaa Azzam al-Tashtoush (21), after raiding and searching his house in Wad al-Tofah area, west of Nablus.
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF arrested Yousef Hamdan Saleh (38), after raiding and searching his house in Asira al-Qibliya village, southeast of Nablus.
  • At approximately 02:55, IOF arrested Hamed Jawad Maslamani (25), after raiding and searching his house in Tubas.
  • At approximately 16:00, Israeli Intelligence Services handed the Jerusalem Governor, Adnan Adel Tawfiq Ghaith (46), a military decision that renews his house arrest for another 4 months, after summonsing him to Moscovia police station, in West Jerusalem.

In a press release, the Jerusalem Governor said that “Israeli Intelligence Services convicted him with several charges against Ghaith, including non-compliance with the military ban decisions issued against him, continuing to contact with Palestinian leaders, and providing funds to Jerusalemites, in addition to threatening Israel’s security, according to their claims.”

The decision issued by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security includes banning the Jerusalem Governor, Adnan Ghaith, from entering the rest of the West Bank cities, and forcing him to cut off all his communication with the Palestinian leaders.

It should be noted that the Israeli authorities arrested Ghaith around 28 times within 3 years “since he became a governor”. Furthermore, he has been denied access into the West Bank since 2018.

  • At approximately 19:00, the Israeli Intelligence Services sent a summons with flowers to Mahdi Omar Badawna (24), from Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, on his wedding day.

Badawna’s brother said that the Israeli Intelligence Services (Shin Bet) sent flowers in at taxi to one of the city’s wedding halls with a summons, ordering him to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement.

  • At approximately 21:00, IOF arrested 3 Palestinians after raiding and searching their houses in Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Malik Fawzi Muheisen (25), Nasri Husain Ghanayim (48), and Ahmed Omar Salah (42).
  • IOF carried out (10) incursions in Beit Ummar, Nuba, Hebron and Bayt Dajan villages, northeast of Nablus; Silwad, Deir Abu Masha’al, Burqa and Deir Jarir villages in Ramallah; Aqbat Jabr and Ein al-Sultan refugee camps in Jericho governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 26 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Abdullah Atta al-Harimi (24), after raiding and searching his house on al-Saf street, in Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Ibrahim Munir ‘Arafa (29), after raiding and searching his house in al-Dheisha refugee camp, southwest of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Nedal Samamera (28), after raiding and searching his house in al-Dhahiriya village, south of Hebron.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF arrested Eisa Fawzi Za’loul (23) and Hasan Ali Hamamera (21), after raiding and searching their houses in Husan village, west of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 17:30, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of Wadi Qana road, between Salfit and Qalqilya, arrested Ahmed Anwar Mansour (24), from Deir Istiya village, north of Salfit.
  • At approximately 18:30, IOF arrested Qusai Mohammed Alian (22) and Majd Hussain Halabiya (23), while passing through al-Za’eem military checkpoint, east of the occupied city.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint established at one of the entrances to occupied Jerusalem, arrested Mohammed Ghassan Shahwan (19), from Hable village, south of Qalqilya, while heading to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Ali al-Ghoul (17), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF arrested Ayoub Samir Zaheda (38), after raiding and searching his house in Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Hatem Faqha (19), from Kafr al-Labad village, east of Tulkarm, while referring to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • IOF carried out (7) incursions in Surif, Tarqumiyah, Arraba, Ya’bad, Silat al-Harithiya, Ti’inik and Zabbuba villages in Jenin governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 27 November 2021:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF arrested Sufian Nedal al-Natshah (19), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Mershed al-Sweity (40), after raiding and searching his house in Bayt Awa village, southwest of Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF arrested Islam Bassam Jawabera (24), after raiding and searching his house in al-’Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron.
  • At approximately 14:00, Ramzi Mahmoud al-Harimi (23) surrendered himself to Etzion police station, south of Bethlehem, after raiding and searching his house on al-Saf street, several days ago.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Oday Rebhi Sonoqrot (30), after raiding and searching his house in Ras al-Amud neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • IOF carried out (11) incursions in Dura, and Yatta in Hebron; Kafir village in Jenin; Sinjil, Abwein, ‘Arura, Jiljilya, Ajjul, Um Safa and Deir al-Sudan villages in Ramallah governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 28 November 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Marwan Adeeb al-Barghouthi (27), after raiding and searching his house in Kobar, north of Ramallah governorate.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Jamal Rami al-Mughrabi (17), after raiding and searching his house in al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Omar Ahmed Mahmoud (18), after raiding and searching his house in Isawiya, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF arrested Maher Mohammed Eisa (32), from al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem, while he was near al-Jab’a village, west of the city.
  • IOF carried out (9) incursions in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah governorate; Idhna and Halhul in Hebron; Jit, Fara’ata and Immatain villages in Qalqilya governorate; Safarin and Anabta villages in Tulkarm. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 29 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF arrested Suliman ‘Arabiya (31), after raiding and searching his house in Abu Dis village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Azzam Husain Radayda (42), after raiding and searching his house in al-Ubeidiya village, east of Bethlehem.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Ahmed Mustafa Melhem (21), after raiding and searching his house in Kafr Ra’i village, southwest of Jenin governorate.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF arrested Omar Mohammed al-’Anati (17) and Mahmoud Mohammed Salama (30), after raiding and searching their houses in Anata village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested the lieutenant in the Palestinian National Security, Monjed Ragheb Salah (32), and Mohammed Murad Daghlas (19), after raiding and searching their houses in Burqa village, northwest of Nablus.
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF arrested Munadel Azzam ‘Azim (38), after raiding and searching his house in Sebastia village, northwest of Nablus.
  • In the morning, IOF stationed at Beit Hanun “Erez” crossing, northwest of Beit Hanun, north of the Gaza Strip, arrested Mahmoud Sami Mahmoud Ahmed (34), a trader and the father of 3 children.

Sami, Mahmoud’s father, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at approximately 07:00, Mahmoud headed to Erez crossing and lost touch with him. At approximately 18:00, Mahmoud’s father received a phone call from Mahmoud Zeidan, Erez crossing’s Director at the Palestinian side, to inform him that the Israeli authorities arrested his son.  He added that on Sunday, 28 November 2021, Mahmoud obtained a trader permit to enter Israel, as his family own al-Bara’ Company for Transportation, General Trade and Custom Clearanse in Beit Lahia Housing Project.

  • At approximately 09:00, IOF arrested Hamza al-Joulani (24), after raiding and searching his house in Bab Huta neighborhood, one of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Nabil Dweik (28), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF arrested Mohammed Zeyad al-Bow (29), after raiding and searching his house in Halhul village, south of Hebron.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Mohammed Atallah Abu Eid (22), after raiding and searching his house in Biddu village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Mahmoud al-Haddad (37), after raiding and searching his house in Hebron.
  • Around the same time, IOF arrested Sabri Mousa Jabrin (36), after raiding and searching his house in Teqoa village, east of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:10, IOF arrested (3) civilians after raiding and searching their houses in Kafr Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah. The arrestees are: Ahmed Ghaleb Zeidan (20), Abdul Rahman Mahmoud Abu ‘Adi (28), and Sameh Abdo ‘Ataya (49).
  • at approximately 02:15, IOF arrested Mo’in Mohammed Zuhour (30), after raiding and searching his house in Bayt Kahil village, north of Hebron.
  • At approximately 02:40, IOF arrested Mohammed Jaber Jadallah (23), after raiding and searching his house in al-Zaitouna area in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem governorate.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF arrested Sabri Mousa Jebril (30), after raiding and searching his house in Teqoa village, east of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 13:30, IOF arrested Baha’ Jamal Tanouh (17), while returning home from school east of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 04:20, IOF arrested (3) Palestinians, including 2 children, after raiding and searching their houses in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. The arrestees are: Abdul Rahman Taleb Hammad (16), Mahmoud Wael Hammad (17), and Mahmoud Maher Hammad (20).
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 50 meters to the south of the border fence, north of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed lands that were previously levelled, amidst sporadic shooting until 16:00. No casualties were reported.

Wednesday, 01 December 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF arrested Mahmoud Jaber Buhais (40), after raiding and searching his house in Yatta, south of Hebron governorate.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF arrested Redwan Abdul Halim Farajallah (38), after raiding and searching his house in Idhna village, west of Hebron.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF arrested Abed Munir Taym (42), from al-Judeira village, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, claiming that he had a knife near an Israeli military checkpoint, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Bassam Khalil Abu Sbeitan (16) and Ayham Naji Abu Jum’a (17), after raiding and searching their houses in al-Tur village, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF arrested Khalil Owda (23), after raiding and searching his house in al-Isawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested Jehad Ibrahim Naser (24), while working in Kafr ‘Aqab, north of the occupied East Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Firas Burqan (16), after raiding and searching his house in Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • IOF carried out an incursion in Jabal al-Tawil neighborhood in al-Bireh, north of Ramallah. No arrests were reported.

Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Land razing, Demolitions, and Notices:

  • On Thursday morning, 25 November 2021, al-Rajabi Family received a decision to demolish its building in ‘Ein al-Lawzeh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Faris al-Rajabi, one of the apartments’ owners in the building that was established in 2002, said that it is a 2-storey building: the first floor houses ‘Ein al-Lawzeh Medical Centre where 26 doctors, nurses and employees work and provide medical services to more than 6000 citizens while the second floor houses 4 residential apartments sheltering 30 individuals, including 12 children. Al-Rajabi said that the Israeli municipality has haunted his family months after finishing the building and imposed on them fines of more than 300,000 shekels.  Al-Rajabi added that the Israeli municipality notified them days ago to evacuate the building and then IOF raided it and handed the family a decision to demolish it and gave them 7 days to pay 50,000 shekels to the Municipality in order to postpone or implement the demolition decision.  Al-Rajabi said that the family lawyer appealed the demolition decision before the District Court, but the latter rejected.  As a result, the family resorted to the Supreme Court.

It should be noted that 6 neighborhoods in Silwan village are threatened with house demolitions under the pretext of unlicensed construction.  Over the past years, the Israeli municipality has handed 6817 judicial and administrative demolition orders only in Silwan.

On Friday, 26 November 2021, the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, declared the Israeli Government’s approval on the establishment of 2000 new settlement units in the French Hill Settlement established on al-Masharef Mount lands, northeast of Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Israeli Mayor posted on social media that a new settlement neighborhood will be built on the French Hill as part of an agreement signed between the Israeli Municipality, Israel Land Authority and the Hebrew University as construction of 2000 new settlement units will be allowed on a plot of land owned by the University in the French Hill with an area of 150 dunums.  The mayor stated that the plan will include establishment of housing units for the Hebrew University students, shops and settlement units for the young families on the two sides of the light rail in the area.

  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV, a bulldozer and maneuver moved into al-Bikai’a plain in Northern Jordan Valleys, east of Tubas. The bulldozer destroyed the water line supplying the crops in the plain and confiscated it before withdrawing from the plain.
  • At approximately 14:00, the Israeli District Court rejected an appeal filed by tens of families from Wadi Yasul neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City against the decision to demolish 58 houses out of 84 under threat of demolition, claiming expansion of a settlement project on the neighborhood lands.

Fakhri Abu Thiab, Member of the Silwan Lands Defense Committee, said that the Israeli District Court in occupied Jerusalem, rejected an appeal filed by tens of families living in Wadi Yasul neighborhood against a decision to demolish 58 houses in the neighborhood and allowed Jerusalem Municipality to implement the demolition decisions whenever it finds it possible.  Abu Thiab added on 14 November, the Israeli Municipal court in Jerusalem issued a decision to demolish 84 houses in Wadi Yasul neighborhood under the pretext of expanding al-Salam Forest on the neighborhood lands.  Immediately the neighborhood lawyer, Ziad Qe’awar, filed an urgent appeal before the District Court, which rejected the appeal filed on behalf of 58 houses while the Kaminitz Law, which was adopted by the Knesset on 25 October 2017 relevant to Amendment 116 to the applicable Planning and Construction Law, will be applicable to the rest of the houses.  This law is known as the most racist and threatens the Palestinian existence and their lands as it increases penalties, rendering them stricter especially construction fines, as well as speeding up their implementation through administrative orders and fines, without bringing the citizen to criminal justice.  Abu Thiab added the demolition of 58 houses will lead to displacement of 620 persons in the neighborhood in favor of the expansion of al-Salam Forest, established on the neighborhood lands, which include trees and simple parks established for years in addition to Israel’s Nature Authority offices daily used in their settlement activities and projects.  This further proves that the Israeli Muncpality’s policy has changed from individual demolition approach to collective demolitions for ethnically cleansing vacant areas of Jerusalem and stripping the city of its identity and people.  It should be noted that Wadi Yasul neighborhood is in southeastern Silwan village, which is the nearest village to the Old City, and of 310 dunums, where 1050 persons live; 60 of them are children.  The demolition threatens residents of 84 houses in the neighborhood as the Israeli municipality handed them over the years demolition decisions under the pretext of unlicensed construction although most of these families have tried for 17 years to obtain an approval from the municipality to allow them to license their construction in the area.

  • At approximately 08:00 on Monday, 29 November 2021, the Israeli municipality demolished the facilities of Ziad Company for Construction Materials in the Industrial area of ‘Anata village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Owner of Ziad Company, ‘Ali Mousa Ziad, said that IOF moved into the industrial area in ‘Anata village and surrounded his company.  They started demolishing a barrack, warehouse, a cement room and a fence that were established in 2018.  Ziad added that he was surprised with the demolition as he did not receive any notice to evacuate the facilities in order to demolish them, noting that there is a case pending at the Israeli courts in this regard.  He also hired an engineer to make a map for the area and handed it to the Civil Administration.  Ziad said that the room and warehouse were 70 sqms and included machines and construction materials, which the Israeli Municipality crews did not allow to evacuate, while the barrack is around one dunum.  Also, IOF demolished a fence surrounding the land.  He added that the demolition inflected a financial loss of 600,000 shekels.   

  • At approximately 09:30, IOF demolished commercial facilities for Janet ‘Aden Dates Company in al-Ashqariya neighborhood in Beit Hanina village, north of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext that the land belongs to the Custodian of Absentee Properties.

Majed ‘Aweidah, the owner of Janet Aden Dates Company, stated that tens of members of Special forces, Border Police Officers and the Israeli Procedures Department’s crews raided the offices and facilities of the company established on his land in al-Ashqariya neighborhood in Beit Hanina, without prior notice.  They started demolishing them without allowing him to evacuate the contents from the offices and stores. ‘Aweidah added that the Israeli vehicles demolished all the facilities built on the 3.5-dunum land that included two 50-sqm offices, a 140-sqm hall and stores of ​​more than 200 sqms in addition to containers full of goods, trucks, electric tools, surveillance cameras, generators and a horse stable. He pointed out that IOF did not level the land and uproot the trees planted there because they told him they intend to return to the land in order to define its borders, as the Israeli authorities claim ownership of the land for the Custodian of Absentee Properties. ‘Aweidah added that the land ownership case is pending in the Israeli courts for many years and is now before the Israeli District Court, which issued a decision to freeze any demolition and eviction procedure. ‘Aweidah ascertained his ownership of the land and that the company was established on it 20 years ago, next to his family house, which was also built in 1977.  The company works in transportation, refrigeration and trade of dried fruits and supports 12 families.

Around the same time, IOF backed by several military vehicles and accompanied with Israeli Civil Administration officers and a bulldozer moved into Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah. They stationed in Bab Shuhab area in southern Ni’lin. The bulldozer levelled Fayiz ‘Ali Khawajah’s water well used for irrigating. It should be noted that Khawajah was delivered a demolition notice on 16 November 2021, under the pretext of being in Area C.

At approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, the Israeli vehicles demolished a wooden house belonging to Mohammed Fayez Zaytoun in Beer Ayoub neighborhood in Silwan in southern occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Samirah Zaytoun, grandmother of the house owner, said that the family was surprised in the morning with large numbers of Israeli forces and municipality crews raiding and surrounding the family houses. They emptied the contents of my grandson, Mohammed’s, house and dismantled its wooden roof as well as cutting its wooden walls with demolition hand tools and electric saws.  Zaytoun added that her grandson built his 60-sqm wooden house above hers and his father’s 5 years ago, noting that he lived with his wife and 4 children before moving to another city to work there while his wife and children moved to his father’s house.

In the afternoon, Amir Rabay’ah self-demolished his house in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Muncpality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Rabay’ah (25) built 3 years ago a small house of a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom near his father’s house to get married in the near future.  Rabay’ah added that the Israeli municipality has haunted him and insisted on the demolition decision, forcing him to self-demolish his house fearing he would pay heavy fines in case the Israeli Muncpality crews demolished it.  Rabay’ah said that he does not think of getting married now because he does not have enough money to have a house especially that the house rents in Jerusalem are very expensive.

In the afternoon, ‘Ali Abu Dweih implemented the Israeli Municipality’s decision and self-demolished his house in Jabel Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.  Abu Dweih said that his 70-square-meter house built of bricks was established ub 2015, housing 4 members. He addes that he received an administrative demolition notice a week ago, and the Israeli authorities threatened him of sending the municipality bulldozers to implement the demolition if he would do it himself within 7 days. As a result, he was forced to self-demolish his house to avoid paying fines for the municipality.

On Wednesday morning, 01 December 2021, Israeli authorities handed a notice to confiscate a plot of land near the western entrance to Beit Jala city, west of Bethlehem, claiming it is for the public interest and aiming at expanding a settlement road.  Director of the Bethlehem office of the Wall and Settlement Committee, Hassan Brijieh, said that IOF distributed a decision to seize a 400-sqaure-meter land in order to expand a settlement road that connects the tunnels road and “Har Homa” settlement established on the lands of Abu Ghuniam Mount, north of Bethlehem.

At approximately 06:00, IOF accompanied with 12 Israeli Civil Administration vehicles, 30 SUVs and 4 mounted-crane trucks moved into Kherbet al-Ras al-Ahmar in the Northern Jordan Valleys, east of Tubas. IOF confiscated 6 tractors, 5 private vehicles, 4 water tanks and 3 trucks to displace the Palestinian farmers and vacate the area from residents. IOF took all the confiscated vehicles via mounted-crane trucks. PCHR keeps the names of those owning the confiscated vehicles.

At approximately 15:00, IOF military vehicles demolished 2 agricultural rooms in Nahalin village, west of Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Hani Fanoun, Mayor of Nahalin Municipality, said that IOF accompanied with military vehicles moved into al-Nasba area, where they demolished two agricultural rooms built of bricks, noting they were notified to be demolished several months ago. Fanoun clarified that one of the rooms ( 70 sqms) belongs to Majdi Jamil Shakarna while the other room (60 sqms) belongs to ‘Alaa Mohammed Fanoun. He pointed out that IOF recently distributed more than 20 notices to agricultural rooms located between “Neve Daniel” and “Beitar Illit” settlements, west of Bethlehem.

Setters’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their Property:

  • On Tuesday evening, 30 December 2021, a group of settlers attempted to put a large menorah in front on Nabil al-Kurd’s house in Karam al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied east Jerusalem’s Old City, during a provoking gathering organized in the area to celebrate the Jewish festival of lights “ Hanukkah”.

The committee of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood residents said in a statement that the neighborhood residents prevented a group of Israeli settlers from putting a large menorah in front on Nabil al-Kurd’s house while they were performing prayers on the occasion of “Hanukkah”. The committee clarified that many Israeli soldiers provided protection for settlers although the latter attacked Palestinians’ houses. Also, on the same day dawn, a group of settlers vandalized the murals that a number of activists had painted on the walls of Nabil al-Kurd’s house.

Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of 44 temporary checkpoints that restrict the movement of goods and individuals, where IOF searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs, and arrested 4 of them. IOF reinforced its restrictions on civilians’ freedom of movement at its permanent checkpoints in the West Bank and shut some checkpoints for several hours on multiple occasions.

Here follows PCHR documentation of restrictions on the freedom of movement and IOF-established temporary checkpoints across the West Bank this week:

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF tightened its measures at al-Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, obstructing vehicles’ movement.
  • .
  • On Friday, 26 November 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Tuqu and Ash-Shawawra villages.
  • On Saturday, 27 November 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Tuqu and Beit Fajjar villages.
  • On Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Tuqu and Jannatah villages, in ‘Aqabet Hassnah area and near the intersection of al-Nashash area.

Ramallah and Al-Bireh:

  • On Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Nabi Salih village and under the bridge of Ein Yabrud village.
  • On Friday, 26 November 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Saturday, 27 November 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of “Beit El” settlement on the main road leading to Jalazone refugee camo, north of the city.
  • On Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Monday, 29 November 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beitin village, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 01 December 2021, IOF closed with sand berms and cement cubes the entrance to Deir Nidham They also established a checkpoint at the intersection of Ein ad-Duyuk village, north of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and southern entrances to the city, and at the intersection of Ein ad-Duyuk village, north of the city.
  • On Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints on al-Mo’arajat road between Jericho and Ramallah, and at the northern and southern entrances to the city.

Jenin:

  • On Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Ya’bad village, southwest of the city.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 25 November 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Khasa, Beit Ummar and Beit Awwa villages, at the southern entrance to Hebron, and on Beit Einun Road.
  • On Friday, 26 November 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints the entrances to as-Samu, Bani Na’im and Sa’ir villages, and at the northern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Saturday, 27 November 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Ash-Shuyukh village, and at the southern and western entrances to the city.
  • On Sunday, 28 November 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Sa’ir, ad-Dhahiriya and Beit Ummar villages.
  • On Wednesday, 01 December 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Sa’ir, Idhna, and Beit Awwa villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Saturday, 27 November 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to the city and at the entrances to Nabi Ilyas, Izbat al-Tabib, and Azzun villages, east of the city.

Tahnoon Bin Zayed Visits Tehran: Iran Is a Strong Regional Country, Boosting Ties with It UAE’s Priority

December 6, 2021

By Staff

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani received United Arab Emirates’ National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed in which the two men discussed issues of mutual interest.

The trip comes at Shamkhani’s official invitation, in which bin Zayed is to hold talks with high-level Iranian officials.

Reinforcing bilateral ties and reviewing the latest regional developments are on the agenda of Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed trip to Iran.

His visit came as former Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash has stated that the UAE “has taken steps to de-escalate tensions [with Iran] as we have no interest in a confrontation.”

During the meeting, Shamkhani stressed that the sustainable security and stability couldn’t be achieved without cooperation between regional countries.

“The Emirati delegation’s visit opens a new page of bilateral ties and paves the way to boosting and developing bilateral relations on every level,” Shamkhani noted, adding that dialogue and understanding are required to replace military approaches for solving disputes.

The Iranian official added that cooperation between regional countries can provide their peoples with development, and cordial relations, trade, and investment are atop of Iran’s foreign policy.

Tahnoon, for his part, said during the meeting that Iran is a big and strong country in the region and enjoys a unique position and a geopolitical important as it is the point that links the world’s East and West.

He then underscored that developing and boosting ties with Iran is the UAE’s priority, stressing on the necessity to form specialized groups to collect accurate details in different fields of bilateral economic cooperation.

Raisi to UAE Official: Iran Keeps Supporting Security of Gulf States

December 6, 2021


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi assured the United Arab Emirates that the Islamic Republic will keep supporting the security of the Persian Gulf countries.

“The security of regional countries is interconnected, and Iran supports the security of the Persian Gulf littoral states,” Raisi said in a meeting with the United Arab Emirates’ National Security Adviser, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, held in Tehran on Monday.

Iran’s definite policy is to back the Muslim people in the region, he stated, adding, “The Zionists are pursuing their evil objectives in the region, and wherever they can gain a foothold, they turn it into a tool for expansionism and sowing seditions. Therefore, regional countries must be vigilant.”

Pointing to the history of friendly ties between Iran and the UAE, Raisi said, “Good relations with regional countries is a priority in the new (Iranian) administration’s foreign policy. So we welcome the development of ties with the UAE.”

The relations between Tehran and Abu Dhabi must not be influenced by the outsiders, the president stressed, warning, “The policy of the enemies of regional countries is to create fear among the neighbors, but such plot will be thwarted through discernment and mutual understanding.”

For his part, the Emirati official said the UAE and Iran are the sons of a same region with a common fate, which is why the expansion of relations with Iran is on the agenda of his country.

He also touched on the extensive negotiations with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, saying such meetings would be a milestone in the bilateral relations and boost security.

Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan also voiced the UAE’s readiness to promote cooperation with Iran, invited the Iranian president to visit Abu Dhabi, and expressed hope that the presidential visit would open a new chapter in the relations between the two neighbors.

SourceIranian media

Tehran: Step-by-Step Deal, Tentative Plans in Vienna Talks Out of Question

Dec 06, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh ruled out any step-by-step agreement or interim plans in the course of the Vienna negotiations for the revival of the nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

“There is basically no talk of anything as a step-by-step deal or interim plans,” Khatibzadeh said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday, in which he commented about the course of talks in Vienna on the lifting of sanctions and saving the 2015 deal.

“We are negotiating in Vienna on the basis of the draft documents we have put forward on the lifting of the sanctions and how to stop Iran’s remedial measures,” he noted.

The spokesman reiterated that Iran has entered the Vienna negotiations with a serious resolve to strike a good deal, one that would be in the interests of both sides.

Criticizing the US and the European troika for “minimal commitment” to their undertakings, Khatibzadeh said Iran’s proposed texts have been prepared according to the drafts of the six previous rounds.

He then underscored that Iran will accept nothing less than the JCPOA and won’t commit to anything beyond it either.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries held the seventh round of the talks in the Austrian capital last week to discuss ways for the removal of US sanctions and reviving the JCPOA.

Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Hezbollah Official: Only Fools Assume Siege, Sanctions Will Undermine Resistance

Dec 06, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

The head of Hezbollah Executive Council His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Saffiedine said certain parties that believe they can undermine the Resistance by siege and sanctions are “stupid.”

“If some people imagine that that can weaken this resistance by siege, elections or sanctions, then I tell them: You are stupid, and fools,” Sayyed Saffiedine, said during a memorial service in the Lebanese village of Babliyeh on Sunday.

He added that such people don’t read history and don’t know that “the secret of our strength is our faith and trust in God Almighty.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sayyed Saffiedine stressed that those who conspire against the resistance are seeking to normalize ties between Beirut and Tel Aviv, stressing that “This project will not pass and we won’t accept it.”

Back in September 2020, the United Aram Emirates and Bahrain signed normalization deals with the “Israeli” entity. Morocco and Sudan later signed similar agreements with the “Israeli” regime as well. Palestinians have denounced the normalization deals, describing them as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal” to their cause.

Those who conspire against the resistance are “dreaming of normalization and perhaps dreaming of more, and this is their true [face], and they want to tell us that normalization amounts to Arabism and resistance is outside Arabism,” His Eminence said.

The official also stressed that Hezbollah is determined to go on resisting against the enemy.

His Eminence added that “today we live in the bliss of victories and never experience humiliation and weakness, so we are continuing on the path of strong and present resistance to confront the enemy, and we will not retreat, but rather grow stronger.”

Sayyed Saffiedine also said the anti-Hezbollah team in Lebanon, which wants to “pawn” the nation to foreign countries, “can’t be entrusted with anything” and can’t solve the country’s economic problems.

Lebanon has been mired in a deep economic and financial crisis since late 2019. The crisis is the gravest threat to the country’s stability since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

The economic and financial crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.

الفيلم الوثائقي “جمال عبد الناصر- الأسطورة والزعيم

Palestinian Prisoner Released after Months of Hunger Strike

December 6, 2021

By Staff, Agencies

“Israeli” authorities have freed a prominent Palestinian prisoner, two weeks after reaching a release deal that ended his marathon 131-day hunger strike, a prisoner rights group has said.

Kayed Fasfous, 32, had remained in an “Israeli” hospital since ending his strike on November 23.

He was the symbolic figurehead of six hunger strikers protesting the “Israeli” entity’s controversial policy of “administrative detention”, which allows suspects to be held indefinitely without charge.

The entity has said the policy is necessary to keep dangerous suspects locked away without disclosing sensitive information that could expose valuable sources.

Palestinians and rights groups said the practice denies the right of due process, allowing the entity to hold prisoners for months or even years without seeing the evidence against them. The law is rarely applied to “Israelis”.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, a group representing former and current prisoners, confirmed Fasfous had returned home to the occupied West Bank through a military checkpoint near the southern city of al-Khalil on Sunday afternoon.

Later, online footage showed the former prisoner in a wheelchair celebrating his return to his southern hometown of Dura.

Fasfous served five years in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, and lost about 45kg [99 pounds] of weight during his hunger strike, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

The plight of the six hunger strikers ignited solidarity demonstrations across the “Israeli”-occupied West Bank and Gaza in November mounting pressure on the “Israeli” entity to release the detainees.

At least four of the five other hunger strikers have since ended their protests after reaching similar deals with “Israeli” authorities. They are expected to be released in the coming months.

Hunger strikes have been common among Palestinian prisoners and have helped secure numerous concessions from “Israeli” authorities.

The nature of these strikes have varied from individuals protesting detention without charge to groups calling for improved cell conditions. Around 500 of the 4,600 Palestinians detained by the “Israeli” entity are held in “administrative detention” according to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner rights group.

Palestinian Prisoner Kayed Fasfous Released after 131 Days of Hunger Strike (VIDEO)

December 5, 2021

Palestinian prisoner Kayed Fasfous was released from Israeli prisons. (Photo: via WAFA)

Palestinian political prisoner Kayed Fasfous was released on Sunday after he concluded 131 days of hunger strike last month, in protest of his detention without charge or trial, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

On November 23, Fasfous ended his hunger strike after an agreement was reached to end his administrative detention in Israel and release him this month.

Fasfous was freed at an Israeli checkpoint to the south of Hebron (Al-Khalil) in the occupied West Bank and was welcomed by Palestinian political and security officials as well as representatives of factions, according to WAFA.

He has served a total of five years in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, and reportedly lost about 45 kg of weight during his hunger strike.

There are over 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, about 500 of whom are serving administrative detention orders, without charge or trial.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

US bases in Syria, Iraq targeted as anti-US sentiment builds up

December 06 2021

US military vehicles at Al-Tanf base in Syria. (Photo credit: TRT World)

Anti-US sentiment continues to grow in Iraq and Syria with US-trained troops stealing the resources of both countries

ByNews Desk- 

On the morning of 5 December, two US military bases used by the illegal occupation forces in Syria, as well as a US convoy in Iraq were attacked by several blasts, according to Syrian state TV and a local Iraqi Telegram channel, Sabereen News.

Various blasts were heard at Al-Tanf base in Syria, situated near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, according to the Syrian state TV report.

The US has come under attack for the first time by Syria and Iraq on the same day, as anti-US sentiment rises due to their illegal presence in both countries.

The cause of the explosions is yet to be known, but seemingly, no US troops were wounded or killed.

This is not the first time that Al-Tanf base has been attacked.

The US military base in southern Syria was attacked on 20 October by drones and rockets, in a strike described as “complex, coordinated, and deliberate” by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

According to US officials, five drones loaded with explosives attacked Al-Tanf, and they hit both the US side of the base and the side where US-supported militants resided.

Al-Tanf is the base where the US trains its collection of mercenary militias.

On the evening of 4 December, RT Arabic reported that three missiles were also fired at a US military base in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, citing a local source.

The source also said that, as a result of the attack on the US base inside the Conoco gas field, a large number of military helicopters went into action over the area.

Anti-US sentiments continue to build up in Iraq and Syria, as the illegal US-trained troops plunder the resources of both countries.

In Syria’s Hasaka governorate, Syrian citizens, along with the Syrian army, have managed to stop three US convoys attempting to enter the area, forcing them to retreat.

Aoun’s trip to Qatar cannot change Lebanon’s fortunes; for that, he must look further east

December 05 2021

Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s trip to Qatar for help can only be a placebo for his country’s woes. To jumpstart Lebanon’s recovery, he needs to be prepared to realign with new regional actors.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun heads to Doha to seek urgent help from Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. But Qatar can provide little compared to three other Asian powers.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Giorgio Cafiero

The crisis in Lebanon goes from bad to worse. Rolling blackouts and soaring gas prices are just some of the ordeals people face day to day. They are buying less meat while pleading with family and friends abroad to send them medicine. Much of Lebanon’s middle class has sunk into poverty. The Lebanese Lira has lost nearly all value while health crises continue to plague the country. And as the crisis grows beyond all expectations, so does public anger.

It is within this context that Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun paid a visit to Qatar on 29 November. While in Doha, Aoun met with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss Lebanon’s internal crises, as well as the diplomatic row between Beirut and four of Qatar’s fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members – Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The dispute erupted in October after a Qatari news program aired comments made by Lebanon’s former Information Minister George Kordahi, criticizing the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen.

After weeks of undue pressure from Riyadh, which at times was described as tantamount to a war declaration, Kordahi was ultimately forced to resign on 3 December.

For his part Aoun, one of Hezbollah’s political allies, said he wanted Beirut’s relationship with Riyadh to improve significantly. The president of Lebanon and the emir of Qatar have both said that Arab nations need to stand by Lebanon and “overcome any flaws that might face these relations.”

What can Qatar do for Lebanon?

At this juncture questions remain about how much the Lebanese can count on Qatar for help. Doha will likely provide some form of aid, but this kind of assistance or investments are unlikely to generate much change in the Levantine nation. And while the Qataris may be able to ease some friction between Beirut and its GCC partners, it is far from clear if any Qatari mediation can help loosen the Saudi chokehold on Lebanon.

Ryan Bohl, a West Asia analyst at risk consultancy agency Stratfor/Rane, told The Cradle that Aoun’s trip to Doha could open the doors for Lebanon to receive “some humanitarian aid, especially as Qatar looks to keep its human rights defender reputation ahead of the World Cup in 2022.”

Nonetheless, Bohl also believes that there are significant limits to what Lebanon can expect from Qatar at this point. “Doha knows that Lebanon is a financial black hole, and so boosting Lebanon’s currency reserves or providing any other aid beyond humanitarian support is unlikely.”

What has become readily apparent is that GCC states have given up on Lebanon in many respects. And while Doha remains determined to assert some degree of influence through their unique history of building networks in the country, the Qataris are fully aware that Lebanon has undergone changes that make it less important to Gulf monarchies.

“[Although Doha] might agree to pay salaries of certain state employees, or [members of] the military, or potentially put some money into the central bank like the Qataris have done before, it’s unlikely to be a major investment that’s going to turn things around for Lebanon,” Dr. Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, told The Cradle.

“The Qataris are aware that there are issues of corruption [in Beirut]. You’re unlikely to get very good returns on your investments,” Dr. Krieg pointed out.

As far as the diplomatic crisis goes, Qatari officials are looking to mediate between Beirut and the rest of the GCC states in an attempt to have all sides reach a consensual position to restore working relations.

This is a role Doha has been trying to play since the Saudis took it upon themselves to create a rift between its closest GCC allies and crisis-hit Lebanon.

Dr. Krieg also explained how, despite going on record to condemn the comments made by Lebanon’s former Information Minister, the Qataris also took it upon themselves to resolve the row.

“The Qataris very early on went to the Saudis and other GCC partners saying ‘we’re happy to mediate [and try] to find a solution to this,’” Dr. Krieg explains. “They received tacit approval from the Saudis to do that. So, the foreign minister was supposed to go to Lebanon. In the end he didn’t. But I think with the Lebanese president coming to Doha, this is also part of that [Qatari effort] to find a way to explore opportunities for a mediation process.”

According to West Asian analyst Ryan Bohl, Doha’s attempt to dial down the tensions “would once again serve Qatar’s ambition of being a diplomatic powerhouse and mediator as well as a humanitarian facilitator.”

But mediation by Qatar might prove unmanageable considering the firm stance Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken against Hezbollah, as they consider the resistance group to represent Iran’s influence inside Lebanon. The clear trend among Gulf nations to withdraw resources and energy from Lebanon is not one anyone expects Qatar to reverse.

Saudi influence in Lebanon has been declining for quite some time. Nonetheless, it’s safe to conclude that neither Qatar nor any other GCC member seeks to take over Riyadh’s historic role in Lebanon. “Qatar is neither interested in a proxy struggle with Iran nor … in taking up that role of throwing good money after bad in Beirut,” Bohl says.

Yet Doha is not without experience or networks in Lebanon. Back in the 2000s, the Qataris were involved in the reconstruction of southern Lebanon and took part in mediation efforts between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government.

Today, Doha could build on those networks which position it as a Gulf state with a non-sectarian agenda in the Levantine nation and which has working relations with all major communities in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s bleak situation atop the rift between Beirut and four GCC states offer Doha an opportunity to assert further influence in the country.

Looking east, toward rising economies

Lebanon, in its current form, will likely experience a future where neither western nor GCC states are going to be willing to help with its crises. It might therefore be easy to imagine influential Lebanese figures joining Hassan Nasrallah in the belief that Lebanon must pivot to Chinese and Russian orbits of influence.

Tehran’s influence in Beirut is not a factor that would deter either Beijing or Moscow from assisting Lebanon. This constitutes a major contrast to western powers and most GCC states which consider any influence from Iran in the Mediterranean country a serious issue, a fact made evident by how much Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign harmed the Lebanese economy.

A Lebanon that looks towards the east could therefore complicate its relations with western governments. To be sure, if Lebanon does move closer to China, the country will not only remain a hotspot in the Iranian­–Saudi rivalry, but could also become an arena where the friction between Beijing and western powers plays out in increasingly tense ways.

Over recent years China has deepened its influence in numerous West Asian states, such as the UAE, and even in Israel, by developing their networks and strengthening ties in ways that alarm Washington.

Beijing’s incursion into Lebanon and its image as a possible savior could result in weakening US–Lebanon ties. Washington’s ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea has already warned of consequences if Beirut turns to China for investment relief, saying such a move could come “at the expense of the country’s prosperity, stability or fiscal viability or its long-standing relations with the United States.”

Doubtless, China is likely to find ways to benefit from a deeper partnership with Lebanon, especially in light of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This mega-infrastructure project alone has officials in western governments questioning whether Lebanon can remain what the Foreign Policy columnist Anchal Vohra recently described as “an outpost of Western values and influence in [West Asia].”

Russia is also an essential element of the ‘look east’ approach supported by Hezbollah and others in Lebanon. However, the Russians have far less economic influence in Lebanon compared to the Chinese, which remains the country’s largest trading partner, even prior to the economic crisis.

Yet Moscow remains important to Lebanon in matters of diplomacy, energy, and mainly security, given the Kremlin’s ongoing military presence in neighboring Syria.

Mindful of Washington’s crippling sanctions against the Syrian government and certain actors in Lebanon, Russian companies, many of which are also sanctioned by the US, have much experience operating in the so-called ‘gray sphere.’ This means Russian firms might possess unique advantages that Lebanese businesses and individuals would find appealing, particularly in their ability to circumvent sanctions for trade and transactions involving Syria.

Looking ahead, a Lebanon that moves closer to China and Russia could create a new period of uncertainty for Beirut as it finds new footholds in an increasingly multipolar world.

The risks and rewards of such a pivot to the east are likely to remain the source of debate for many in Lebanon who are looking for help from any country willing to assist it during a crisis that has been described as the worst of the modern era.

Ultimately, while Aoun’s latest trip abroad was to Doha, many Lebanese may be holding on to hope that his next one will be either to Beijing or Moscow.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Lukashenko’s Russian Nuke Proposal Should Prompt NATO To Finally Pay Attention

2 DECEMBER 2021

Lukashenko’s proposal should hopefully prompt NATO to finally pay attention to Russia’s legitimate security concerns. The bloc cannot continue expanding eastward in violation of the oral obligations that it made to Moscow at the end of the Old Cold War not to advance past the then-recently reunified German frontier.

Belarusian President Lukashenko earlier said that he’d allow Russia to place nuclear weapons on his country’s territory if NATO moved their own into Poland or elsewhere near his state’s borders. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov elaborated that this was said in reaction to the West’s “reckless policy” of countenancing the placement of such strategic arms in that part of Europe. This isn’t mere speculation either but was suggested by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in response to the possibility of Germany’s new coalition government requesting that the American ones that it currently hosts be withdrawn. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov added that “our Western colleagues should stop and think of their own actions” after the security scandal that Stoltenberg provoked.

Lukashenko’s proposal should hopefully prompt NATO to finally pay attention to Russia’s legitimate security concerns. The bloc cannot continue expanding eastward in violation of the oral obligations that it made to Moscow at the end of the Old Cold War not to advance past the then-recently reunified German frontier. President Putin, being the constructive and pragmatic leader that he is, suggested that some kind of deal might be brokered with NATO sometime in the future in order to ensure this. His announcement is consistent with the author’s prediction that the upcoming Biden-Putin Summit (which will most likely be a virtual one) will largely focus on Eastern Europe. It would also align with both Great Power’s ongoing efforts to responsibly regulate their rivalry, which began during last summer’s summit.

The greatest challenge in this respect is the subversive role being played by Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. These five countries feel that their interests are being “sacrificed” for the sake of reaching a “new normal” between Russia and the US-led West. As evidence of this, they point to the US’ waiver of most Nord Stream II sanctions earlier in the year and what they claim is the comparatively blind eye that Washington is turning towards what they describe as Moscow’s so-called “hybrid warfare” against them through the ongoing Eastern European Migrant Crisis. It must be remembered, however, that Nord Stream II is a completely apolitical energy project while the second-mentioned issue owes its origins to the US-led West’s wars against majority-Muslim countries and its anti-Belarusian sanctions.

Coupled with Kiev’s false fearmongering about a supposedly inevitable “Russian invasion”, which is being amplified by those anti-Russian elements of the American “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) which also want to sabotage any incipient Russian-US rapprochement, the end effect has been that tensions have unprecedentedly spiked in the region. While it’s extremely unlikely that Russia will initiate any hostilities in Ukraine, it’s much more probable that Kiev might be encouraged by anti-Russian US “deep state” elements and its regional partners to launch an “Operation Storm”-like ethnic cleansing campaign in Donbass in order to prompt a Russian response.

Chaos In Eastern Europe Doesn’t Serve Putin’s Interests Unlike What CNN Claims”, the author noted late last month, yet there’s no denying that there are powerful forces that are manipulating perceptions in order to make it seem otherwise as part of their subversive goal that was just described. These same forces would like nothing more than for the US to transfer its nukes from Germany to Poland in order to indefinitely put an end to Washington’s ongoing negotiations with Moscow aimed at responsibly regulating their rivalry. Should Poland and its regional allies succeed in exacerbating regional tensions to the point of provoking another Russian-US crisis, then the strategic situation will worsen for everyone.

By contrast, if they fail in their respective efforts, then the strategic situation will improve for everyone. This includes those five countries too, which are regrettably too blinded by delusions influenced by their “negative nationalism” vis-à-vis Russia to realize that everyone would be better off if Russia and the US agreed to a “new normal” for responsibly regulating their rivalry. It was against this increasingly tense context that Lukashenko proposed hosting Russian nukes in response to the possibility of Poland first doing the same with the US’. Ryabkov clarified that “We are not going in this direction”, yet Russia nevertheless could in theory should the worst-case scenario transpire. Hopefully NATO will finally pay attention to Russia’s legitimate security concerns after Lukashenko’s remark so that doesn’t happen.

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

هدية مجانية لماكرون وابن سلمان يبتسم

الإثنين 6 كانون الأول 2021

ابراهيم الأمين

سياسة

مشكلة لبنان في إدارة علاقاته الخارجية لم تكن يوماً منفصلة عن مشكلته في إدارة علاقاته الداخلية، خصوصاً أن القوى المحلية تربط، صراحة، علاقاتها ومواقفها بتحالفاتها الخارجية. وهذا ينسحب على السياسيين والاقتصاديين والناشطين والإعلاميين أيضاً. لنأخذ، مثلاً، صاحب إحدى المؤسسات الإعلامية البارزة في لبنان، الذي تربطه صداقة بوزير الإعلام المستقيل جورج قرداحي. إذ إن هذا، عندما طالبه الأخير – من باب الصداقة – ألا يكون شريكاً في سفك دمه، ردّ بأنه يتقاضى راتبه من السعودية وليس من قرداحي نفسه.

الرواية – حتى ولو نفاها الطرفان – تعبّر عن طريقة تعامل اللبنانيين مع أزمات من هذا النوع. هل يمكن، مثلاً، أن نجد إعلامياً أو سياسياً أو ناشطاً أو حزباً أو رجل أعمال يرتبط بعمل أو علاقة دخل مع دول الخليج العربية، يبادر بانتقاد أي خطأ يقع في أي من هذه الدول. هل عثر أحد على ملاحظات نقدية لبرامج التدريس أو التعبئة الدينية أو السياسات الاقتصادية أو الاستهلاكية في هذه الدول، قبل أن نسأل عما إذا كان كل أدعياء الحريات قد علقوا على جريمة قتل وتقطيع الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي؟

الوثائق المسرّبة من عواصم ممالك القهر والموت كافية – ما نشر منها وما لم ينشر – لتشرح لنا طبيعة علاقة طبقة من السياسيين والإعلاميين والاقتصاديين مع هذه الدول وممثليها. ما من دونية يمكن أن تنزل إلى قعر أعمق مما حيث هم اليوم. لا يجرؤ أحد – أي أحد – على انتقاد أو توجيه ملاحظة. هل تتخيّلون، مثلاً، أنه يوم وقعت انفجارات في ميناء دبي في تموز الماضي، لم يجرؤ لبنانيون كثر على التواصل في ما بينهم للسؤال عما يحصل. تماماً كما هي الحال مع عاملين ومقيمين في السعودية ممن يتحدثون، عندما يعودون إلى بلدانهم، عن الحرب على اليمن وآثارها الداخلية، ويهمسون عن تعرّض قصور ملكية في الرياض لإصابات مباشرة بالقصف. أما السؤال حول كيفية تعامل اللبنانيين المقيمين هناك مع الإعلام الوارد من لبنان، فلهذا فصل آخر. إذ إن جلهم عمد إلى كل الخطوات التقنية التي تحول دون العثور في حواسيبهم أو هواتف أولادهم أو حتى في باقة القنوات الخاصة بشاشاتهم الصغيرة، على أي أثر قد يعرّضهم لـ«خطر» الاستماع أو قراءة أو متابعة ما يصدر عن جهات قريبة من محور المقاومة. وبالمناسبة، فإن الضغط في هذا المجال لم يعد يقتصر على العاملين اللبنانيين في السعودية، بل حتى على العاملين مع السعوديين ممن يقيمون في بلدان أخرى. وبلغت الأمور حدّ تجنّب وسائل إعلام لبنانية وعربية، قدر المستطاع، استضافة من يحتمل أن يوجه انتقادات مباشرة أو انتقادات لسياسات السعودية ودول الخليج.

الانقسام اللبناني لا يقتصر على الهوية الوطنية والسياسات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية بل حول مفهوم الكرامة أيضاً


عملياً، نحن في مواجهة آلة من الشر تقودها السعودية بمشاركة الغرب. وعندما يتجاوز رئيس فرنسا كل أطروحاته حول الحريات وحقوق الإنسان، ولا يخشى أن يصافح قاتلاً كمحمد بن سلمان، فهو يفعل ذلك لأنه يعرف أنه لا يوجد في فرنسا نفسها من يحاسبه، ولأنه يريد تحصيل ما أمكن من عقود توفر أموالاً لشركات بلاده، مع إدراكه بأن الرياض بقيادة ابن سلمان تتجه إلى تولي الإدارة المباشرة لعشرات الشركات التي كانت تتخذ من دبي أو الدوحة أو الكويت أو حتى المنامة مقراً لإداراتها الإقليمية، وبدأت إبلاغ شركات عالمية كبرى بأن عليها نقل مكاتبها الإقليمية إلى جدة أو إلى نيوم (بعد اكتمالها) تحت طائلة عدم التعاون معها (وزيارة السعودية من بوابة جدة تبدو تعايشاً سعودياً مع الوجهة الجديدة لابن سلمان بنقل كل شيء إلى جدة وإلى الساحل القريب من البحر الأحمر، ونيته جعل جدة العاصمة السياسية والتجارية والدينية ومنطلق الأنشطة السياحية والإعلامية). ولا يأخذ ابن سلمان بالاعتبار، في ذلك، غضب شيوخ أبو ظبي ودبي الذين باتوا يستشعرون هذه الخطوات التي ستدفع بعشرات الشركات للانتقال إلى السعودية، وبينها ما يشغّل عشرات الآلاف في الإمارات، كما هي الحال بالنسبة لوسائل إعلامية كبيرة تخشى على نفسها إن جرى إلزامها الانتقال إلى السعودية، وفي مقدمها شبكة «mbc».

عملياً، يتصرّف ماكرون في السعودية كأنه نعمة طعمة! الأخير مقاول مستعد لمراضاة آخر مولود في عائلة آل سعود إذا كان في ذلك ما يحفظ له عقود عمله في السعودية. وهذا الأخير، شأنه شأن غيره من رجال الأعمال في لبنان ومصر وسوريا والأردن، مستعد لممارسة كل أنواع الضغط في بلده لتحسين صورة السعودية. هذا، بالضبط، ما فعله ويفعله ماكرون الذي يسعى إلى تحقيق جملة من المكاسب في هذه المرحلة، لكنه لا يريد صرفها إلا في الانتخابات الرئاسية الفرنسية المقبلة. في هذه النقطة بالتحديد، نجح ماكرون في جرّ طبقة سياسية لبنانية بأكملها نحو مربعه، لخدمته في تنظيم علاقة خاصة مع الرياض لا نتائج لبنانية لها سوى أن «مملكة الخير» قد تفكّر في «العفو» عن لبنان، إذا ما استكمل خطوة استقالة قرداحي بخطوات عملية أخرى.

لكن ما هي هذه الخطوات؟

ظاهرياً، يحق لنجيب ميقاتي الزهو بأنه حقّق انتصاراً إعلامياً كبيراً في نجاحه بدفع قرداحي إلى الاستقالة، وهو يعتبر أنه انتصر على جمع كبير من القوى في لبنان، من حزب الله وميشال عون إلى سليمان فرنجية وآخرين، كما نجح في التنمّر على حلفائه – خصومه من نادي رؤساء الحكومات بأنه أقدر على الوصول إلى ابن سلمان منهم، بالتالي لا يحتاجهم لتحقيق ذلك، ومن دون أن يقدم تنازلات من كيسه. وفوق ذلك، انتزع التغطية التي تتيح له الاستمرار في الحكومة وطي صفحة «البحث» في استقالته أو استقالتها. لكن ميقاتي يعرف أن ما حصل في الرياض لا يعدو كونه كلاماً بكلام، لأن تحقيق ما تطلبه السعودية يتطلّب حرباً أهلية في لبنان. فالدب الداشر يريد من اللبنانيين جميعاً، ومن الفرنسيين أيضاً، الدخول في معركة مع حزب الله كرمى لعيونه، وإلا سيظل غاضباً… والويل لكم من غضبه. كل ذلك في مقابل «تنازله» بقبوله الاتصال بميقاتي، في حضور ماكرون وبإصرار منه، أو الطلب إلى وزير خارجيته فيصل بن فرحان تسهيل «زيارة عمرة» لرئيس الحكومة وترتيب لقاء معه، من دون ضمانة مسبقة بأن يستقبله ابن سلمان نفسه.

لكن، ما الذي حصّله لبنان من هذا كله؟

أمر واحد، وهو تأكيد أن الانقسام ليس فقط حول السياسات الخارجية والاقتصادية والمالية والإدارية والانتخابية، بل هو انقسام حول مفهوم الكرامة الوطنية، خصوصاً عندما لا يرف جفن جيش كبير من التافهين، سياسيين واقتصاديين ورجال أعمال وإعلاميين، إزاء ما حصل، بل يواصلون إعطاء الدروس في كيفية بناء العلاقات مع الدول… وإذا كانوا بهذه الوضاعة أمام ابن سلمان، فكيف ستكون صورتهم أمام ماكرون، وهم الذين يعانون دونية مستمرة تجاه الرجل الأبيض…

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GEOFOR interviews The Saker: Will Kiev decide on an open armed conflict?

December 05, 2021

Note: in late November I was interviewed by the Russian website Geofor.  Here is the English language translation of this interview.

GEOFOR: Mr. Raevsky, no sooner have the American warships left the Black Sea than the British went in there. Apparently, “unscheduled exercises” of NATO ships and Ukrainian watercraft are about to commence, again. Again, near the maritime borders of the Russian Federation. Moreover, a couple of American military boats were delivered to Odessa (although, politely speaking, not quite new). As a military analyst with experience in intelligence, how do you assess the degree of threats from this incessant demonstration of force in terms of the possibility of provoking a military conflict with far-reaching consequences?

Andrei Raevsky: From a military point of view, I assess the degree of direct threat from these forces as zero. Firstly, any ship that enters the waters of the Black Sea can be instantly destroyed by a number of Russian coastal defense systems and/or the Russian Aerospace Forces. So, the degree of threat from them is zero. Secondly, they are equipped with  rather outdated Tomahawk missiles. They have a relatively low flight speed, and they do not pose a great threat to Russian air defense systems.

On the other hand, there is an indirect threat from these NATO ships. And very serious. They are nudging Ukrainians in the same way as in 2008 they nudged Saakashvili in Georgia. They give Kiev a mistaken feeling being under an umbrella, under the protection of the US Navy or, say, NATO bomber planes, which is a complete deception and delusion, but this is the real danger.

GEOFOR: Does Russia have the ability to protect itself if it comes to launching Tomahawks? And how is this perceived in Pentagon and NATO headquarters? In the same context: what, in your opinion, is behind the decision of the Russian president to reject the Ministry of Defense’s offer to hold its unscheduled exercises on the Black Sea simultaneously with the United States and NATO? How will it be perceived in the Washington military-political establishment – as confidence in the capabilities of the Russian military to respond adequately to provocative actions or, as a desire not to take a potentially dangerous situation to the extreme?

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, of course, Russia can defend itself. As I just said, these are relatively slow and outdated cruise missiles, which do not pose a great danger to the multi-layered integrated air defense of the Crimea and the South of Russia and the entire Southern Military District of the Russian Federation. You can remember what the US missile strike on Syria was like, where most of them [Tomahawks] were shot down not by the Russian contingent in Syria – this is very important to emphasize – but by the Syrians with their relatively simpler air defense system.

Thus. I don’t think that all these Tomahawks threaten Russia very much.

I will also add that if the United States and NATO wanted to hit Russia with Tomahawks, it would be better for them to get out of the Black Sea and go to the Mediterranean Sea and move away to the maximum distance – just so as not to be instantly sunk.

Putin’s decision not to conduct simultaneous maneuvers in the Black Sea, in my opinion, is absolutely reasonable.

In Washington, this is likely to make an impression, in a certain sense, of a staged scene: Shoigu says: “I am ready”,  and Putin takes such a peacemaking, pacifying step. This is what in the West is called “Good cop – bad cop.” In fact, they are, of course, united in terms of developing principles and strategies for protecting Russia from possible aggression.

GEOFOR: And now a little more about Ukraine and the situation around it. Russian analysts find many analogies in the situation in Ukraine now and the one that was in Georgia on the eve of August 2008. How would you characterize the factors (internal and external) that could lead to Kiev deciding on an open armed conflict? And what will this lead Ukraine and Europe as a whole to? Who, in the end, may be the beneficiary?

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, the situation is very similar to that. And I would even say that the situation Zelensky is in, is worse than the one Saakashvili was in.

I’m afraid that his rating is such that he really has nothing to lose. The question of whether Kiev will decide on an open armed conflict implies that Kiev has an opportunity to solve something. I doubt it very much. Without getting the “go-ahead” from the “Washington Regional Party Committee” Kiev will not move. Thus, if Kiev moves, it will be, at least, in the presence of a “tacit” – not even consent – order, when the West gives the command “Attack!”. Few people in the West care that Kiev will then “get its ass kicked.”

But the most important thing in this context is to remember that the goal is not to “liberate ORDLO from Muscovites” (Note: “ORLDO” is the current official Ukie legal term for the LDNR) or “restore democracy and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and so on. The goal is to force Russia to openly invade Ukraine and start a war: so that it cannot be denied, in order to totally sink energy projects between Russia and the EU and make the EU completely dependent, first of all, on American shale gas and other energy carriers. And to achieve these goals, Ukraine does not need any victory at all – it’s enough to just say: “Here, these evil Putin’s “green men” have seized even more territory! Oh, how bad they are!”

We can say that from a military point of view, Russia will win very quickly. But from a political point of view, it will be a victory for the United States.

GEOFOR: Do you consider it possible that, with NATO’s symbolic support in the Black Sea, as well as the presence of various American, British and other instructors on land, Kiev will decide on a military provocation not in the Donbas, but in the Black Sea? After all, it is known that everyone is waiting for the Ukrainian military offensive in the east of the country, and why, for example, Zelensky not follow the path of his predecessor Poroshenko, who sent boats to break through the Kerch Strait, and, creating a conflict situation, disrupted the already agreed meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin? Moreover, the second meeting of the Russian and American presidents this year is now being prepared…

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, such a provocation in the Black Sea is very likely. It is enough to recall their provocation when Ukrainian boats tried to pass into the Kerch Strait. And it was without any presence of Americans. Of course, this is possible. I think this is not only possible, but it will definitely happen.

And if there really are plans to arrange a meeting between Biden and Putin, then Ukrainians have very little time left. In December, Americans convene their “Democracy Forum”, then there are holidays…

If there is this meeting – and we don’t know if there will be one – there could be a lot of things that could undermine it. For supporters of the war – both in the United States and in Ukraine – this is a very important moment that cannot be missed.

GEOFOR: And in conclusion. If it is likely that the ongoing Russian-American consultations (the arrival of the Deputy Secretary of State and the director of the CIA in Moscow, for example) and the dialogue between the two leaders, which, hopefully, will take place, will lead to at least some stabilization, both around the Ukrainian problem and in bilateral relations. What problems in this regard could you highlight?

Andrei Raevsky: These consultations are very important, and this is a very desirable development of the situation because American officials of this level have not come to Moscow twice to present some kind of ultimatum.

To present an ultimatum, you can simply use a consul.

To do this, there is absolutely no need to send the highest representatives of the American authorities to Moscow.

The conversations that took place – whatever they were – were to the point. And they were serious. As long as both sides are talking, at least they are not shooting. And this is very desirable.

And we can only hope that such consultations will continue in the future.

Of course, the Americans are the most dangerous enemy for Russia. This needs to be understood.

This is not a get-together with a “vodka-herring” menu to just shoot the breeze. Neither is this a friendly meeting.

But this is a direct dialogue of those who can really make decisions in a difficult situation and influence the situation.

And in this regard, it is very important.

Therefore, there is no need to fall into the mistake that Americans very often fall into when they say: “We don’t talk to such and such.” We don’t talk to terrorists, we don’t talk to states and “regimes” that we don’t recognize. This is a very big mistake.

You need to talk to everyone, often including the fiercest enemies.

source: https://geofor.ru/4710-andrej-raevskij-reshitsya-li-kiev-na-otkrytyj-vooruzhennyj-konflikt.html

Sitrep: Here Comes China – Taking the lead – a dialogue on democracy in China

December 05, 2021

By Amarynth for the Saker Blog including a number of data points from Godfree Roberts

Did you know that a huge International Forum on Democracy is ongoing in China right now?  This is before the supposed Summit on Democracy which is an attempt to divide the world into Democracies and Autocracies, according to the wishes of the rules-based international order.

As we have seen so often from China, they acted with incredible speed and presented their own high-quality International Forum.  They also published a Chinese White Paper on Democracy and it outlines how their Whole Process People’s Democracy functions for their people:  http://en.people.cn/n3/2021/1204/c312369-9928374.html

These are the first presentations followed by a panel discussion:

In addition, China released a full report on the state of US democracy:  http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/05/c_1310352578.htm

China has learned over the past three years how to defend itself against accusations coming from the combined Western influence sphere.  Although we know that the media in general still balances toward the combined Western Sphere, there is now a serious contender in the room with the ability, incredible speed of implementation, track record, education, and creative expressive talent to gain media supremacy in getting their message to the world.

Oh, the poor ‘partners’ …

Australia

The ‘partners’ are being led by their noses.  The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the US and its allies are the “biggest beneficiaries” of Australia’s trade row with China. Washington is in bed with Canberra, at the same time, it points the finger at Beijing and in the background, it picks up Australia’s lost Chinese trade.  So, simply stated, all the trade that Australia lost in their trade row with China, from coal to iron ore to meat, the US quietly picked up.

Taiwan

From Taiwan, I hear a similar activity is taking place but this is not yet confirmed by the needed 3 sources.  The idea of keeping the issues with Taiwan hot, is that the Taiwanese semiconductor foundry company (TSMC), the biggest employer in Taiwan with a raft of supporting industries around it, is being moved lock, stock, barrel, and existence to new facilities in Arizona.  We will wait for more confirmation, but this is a very dangerous move to make, as TSMC is not only the biggest semiconductor company in the world, the industry itself depends on a highly educated and trained workforce.  The Taiwanese workforce will lose its lunch.


All the latest from Godfree Roberts’ newsletter, Here Comes China:

BeiDou conducted the first inter-satellite and ground station communication using using lasers instead of radio signals, transmitting data a million times faster than radio and increasing satnav accuracy 4000%. Read full article →

A high-speed railway linking China to landlocked Laos opened Friday. The 660-mile, 160 km/h line runs through mountains and ravines from Kunming to Vientiane. Read full article →

Premier Li Keqiang says the establishment of a centre in Hong Kong to handle Asia – Africa trade and investment disputes will strengthen the city’s role as an arbitration hub and “provide more convenient and efficient dispute resolution services” for parties in both regions. [It also bypasses the WTO–Ed.] Read full article  →

China’s service trade rose 13% YoY to $659 billion in the first ten months of the year. Service exports rose 29% YoY, and service imports rose 1%. In October alone, the country’s service trade hit 414 billion yuan, up 24% YoY. Read full article  →

China now leads the world in trade of both goods and services and its trading partners now cover 230 countries and regions. China contributed 35% of the growth in global imports in the past five years. Read full article  →

Meeting its carbon goals could save China trillions: China could dodge $134 trillion in climate-related losses by meeting carbon neutrality targe. China is predicted to see an 81% reduction in its accumulative climate-related losses by 2100 if it achieves its carbon neutrality target, according to a new study from think tanks in Beijing and London. Read full article →

And extreme ethics violation in my view:  In 2018, Dr. He Jiankui shocked the world by announcing that he had used the CRISPR genome-editing technique to alter embryos that were implanted and led to the birth of two children. Today, the children are healthy toddlers and Western researchers want to get their hands on their DNA.  Read full article →

China has doubled installed renewable energy capacity since 2015, to one billion kW, or 43% of total installation: Wind power generation increased 30% year-on-year (299 million kWs), solar power generation grew 24% (282 million kWs), and hydropower remains at 385 million kWs; Cost inflation delays solar energy expansion. Read full article →

New groundwater regulations tackle overuse and contamination of 16 billion m³/year of water. Fines could reach  $783,000 daily. Right now 44% of groundwater monitoring stations record Grade V, the lowest water quality. Read full article →

China is scouring the countryside to find native seed, animal and fish genetic resources in a national germplasm census to protect “family property” and gain self-reliance in crop and animal breeding. “Excellent” plant and animal resources will be protected on company-run farms if they are in danger of extinction or turned over to Chinese breeding companies to exploit their commercial potential to propel Chinese seed companies as global competitors. Read full article →

Guinea-Bissau and Eritrea join the Belt And Road Initiative. Guinea-Bissau covers 36,125 square kilometres, with a population of 1,874,303, and like China’s Macau, was once part of the Portuguese Empire. Eritrea also signed an MoU with China to join the BRI and is expected to cement China’s presence in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, with interests ranging from a military base to protect shipping, in addition to infrastructure projects in ports and railways. China has been investing in the country for some time. Read full article →

To conclude, China developed its policies to deal with its national issues. But in so doing it has created both practical and theoretical achievements which are the world’s most advanced. China has never asked other countries to learn from its example, but neither can if forbid them to do so. Given the gigantic scale of China’s achievements anyone with sense in the world will study these intently. The “Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century” is therefore not only key for China, it is a document of crucial importance for the entire world. Learning from China.

The US Should Concede to Its Diminishing Role in the Region As Iran Will Not Accept Compromise

Nov 5, 2021

By Mohammad Youssef

Beirut – The world scene seems very confusing, a lot of tension and strain stretching and extending across the continents, nonetheless, there are doorways that can lead to temporary solutions or compromises in the worst case scenario.

  • The escalating tension between Russia and the western world over Ukraine, and the western military measures there
  • The western-eastern tension between China and the western world over Taiwan
  • The continuous strain in world politics over the Iranian nuclear file, and Vienna negotiations taking place without any hope looming about a longstanding agreement that could be finalized.

This file is preoccupying the world because of its repercussions and ramifications that could translate all over.

Washington has dragged itself and the whole Western governments into a tough place when it unilaterally and without any reasonable justification withdrew from the agreement with Tehran.

Iran proved credibility and has delivered over the agreement with all its articles and subdivisions.

Contrary to this, the US did not respect its commitments nor delivered its share of conditions in the agreement.

It is Tehran’s right to ask for more guarantees from the world society involved in the negotiations to make sure Washington would not dare to breach its commitments again.

One of the issues at stake during the current negotiations is that Tehran wants a direct and complete lift of American and Western sanctions, meanwhile Washington continues the procrastination policy.

Washington, furthermore, is attempting to add new files to the negotiating table, especially those in link to Tehran’s role in the region, more particularly, those in relation with advancing its rockets arsenal and supporting the resistance movements.

Iran continued to insist in limiting the negotiations to the same issues discussed before without adding any extra point.

What are the anticipated results for the ongoing Vienna negotiations?

It seems clearly that the Americans are not in anyway in a position to hand the Iranians guarantees that former US president Donald Trump’s scenario of pulling out of any reached  agreement would not be repeated again. So, the most probable outcome is to reach a temporary agreement that would generally ease the tensions in the region, especially in Iraq and allow for mutual intersection points that would secure a level of stability over different issues.

For its part, Tehran that has never aimed  anytime to have a nuclear weapon, has given and is ready to give necessary assurances to this effect, but will never accept to compromise its full sovereign position vis-a-vis other issues that boils down to its basic interests and principles.

Washington, who day and night preaches about real politics and pragmatism, should accept its dwindling position and diminishing role in the region and the world. 

This entails a different approach that renders the US accept to abandon its arrogant policy, and strike a settlement that would necessarily recognize the vital interests and role of Iran in its surrounding region. This is the most likely scenario; otherwise, we would be entering another vicious cycle of escalation!

What Do The Results Of The Parliamentary Elections In Iraq Testify To?

5 DECEMBER 2021

By Denis Korkodinov

Source

Given this political alignment in Iraq, a faint outline of an inclusive government could emerge in the near future. This scenario is possible if the Shiite political groups agree on the representation of all groups of political influence.

The parliamentary elections held in Iraq on October 10, 2021 led to significant transformations in the political reality of the country, based on the content of the electoral reforms, thanks to which these elections took place. The defeated Shiite political alliances expressed strong opposition to the vote, which escalated tensions between them and the Iraqi government. This circumstance became the main reason for criticizing the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa al-Kazimi, who nevertheless continues to fight for influence on the political situation in the hope of strengthening his status as a “triumphant”.

It is worth noting that the postponement of the Iraqi parliamentary elections to October 10, 2021 was the result of a popular uprising that began in October 2019 and led to the overthrow of the head of the national government, Adel Abdul Mahdi. In this regard, the formation of a new representative body of state power has become the main priority of the new head of the transitional cabinet of ministers, Mustafa al-Kazimi. For this reason alone, a series of political reforms began in Iraq aimed at preparing an appropriate platform for holding a popular vote. In particular, a new procedure for the nomination of candidates was introduced with the participation of several electoral districts. In addition, independent candidates, as well as political parties formed after October 2019, received the right to run. However, the most important innovation was that the current head of the transitional government refused to participate in the parliamentary elections due to the agreements reached with Shiite political groups.

As a result of the reforms carried out, the results of the elections were quite unexpected, especially with regard to the distribution of deputy mandates among political parties. The most notable changes occurred in the bloc of Muqtada al-Sadr, which won 73 seats in parliament, while the opposition al-Fateh alliance won only 17 seats. Representation of the faction headed by the former head of the Iraqi government Haider al-Abadi and the leader of the Al-Hakmiya movement Ammar al-Hakim has significantly decreased. In addition, the loss of electoral confidence led to a reduction in the positions of the National Treaty alliance under the auspices of the head of the People’s Mobilization Directorate Faleh al-Fayyad, as well as the leaders of the Shiite groups Bahi al-Araji, Abdul-Hussein Abtan and Adnan al-Zarfi.

The Sunni political camp has also undergone significant changes. In particular, the alliance, led by Speaker of Parliament Muhammad al-Hablusi, won 37 seats. At the same time, other representatives of the Sunnis, such as Sheikh Khamis al-Khanjar, Osama al-Nujaifi, Salim al-Jiburi, Salman al-Jumaili, Qasem al-Fahdawi, Dafer al-Ani, Muhammad al-Karbuli, Ahmed al-Masari and Rashid al-Azzawi, contrary to their own expectations, received minimal support in the elections.

The reason for such a sharp decline in the role of the Sunni camp is that its representatives reacted rather poorly to popular appeals and almost completely distanced themselves from the electoral struggle, which was especially noticeable in the province of Baghdad, where Shiite leaders were able to conduct a fairly professional election campaign, thus eclipsing, their competitors.

Thus, the active position of Muqtada al-Sadr regarding the defragmentation of constituencies in proportion to the content of his social domination, served as the reason for the strengthening of the influence of his movement in the Iraqi parliament. Nevertheless, the controversial role that the militia began to play in Baghdad led to the fact that the Al-Fateh alliance, consisting mainly of leaders of armed groups who act from positions of military resistance to any attempts to pressure the Iraqi electorate, received relatively small number of votes.

It is also worth noting that the victory of the Shiites in Iraq was dictated by their promises not to create a foundation for general enmity in the country. Moreover, they came up with an initiative for a relative normalization of relations with the West and the United States, in particular. This would make it possible to focus the main attention of the Iraqi leadership on solving their own national problems, without being distracted by the sorting out of relations with Washington. This “conciliatory” position of most of Iraq’s Shiite leaders has become the main motive for the Iraqi electorate, which is simply tired of endless wars and internal conflicts that devastate the country’s resources.

Given this political alignment in Iraq, a faint outline of an inclusive government could emerge in the near future. This scenario is possible if the Shiite political groups agree on the representation of all groups of political influence. However, such a scenario is unlikely, but it is by no means excluded, given that Muqtada al-Sadr is currently showing a willingness to engage in dialogue with competitors, although this dialogue is unlikely to take place if the leader of the Saurun movement feels a chance to take the post of prime minister. Therefore, most likely, the main struggle will unfold between Mustafa al-Kazimi and Muqtad al-Sadr, who is now only trying to win over the largest number of former rivals in order to organize a new attempt at a popular uprising with their help.

Anticipating such a likely outcome of the political struggle, the current head of Iraq’s transitional government will try to significantly strengthen his power by putting military pressure on competitors. Moreover, the recent attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister provided him with a unique opportunity, under the pretext of an “anti-terrorist operation”, to liquidate or substantially squeeze out most of the centers of political opposition, including the movement of Muqtada al-Sadr. In any case, the leader of the “Saurun” movement is very risky, fighting the head of the Iraqi government. Thus, Washington is unlikely to allow the overthrow of the loyal Mustafa al-Kazimi. As a result, any attempt by a Shiite theologian to question the activities of the head of the Iraqi government or organize new acts of sabotage against him may provoke a new round of social violence in Iraq.

Andrei Martyanov on the possibility of war

December 04, 2021

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Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war

December 04, 2021

So it is confirmed.  Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will have what is announced as a “long” direct conversation (not face to face, but by a secure video link) this coming Tuesday.  Considering the extreme tensions taking place between the US/NATO/EU and Russia, this event will be, by definition, a watershed moment, irrespective of its outcome.  The two basic options are a) some kind of deal with be made b) nothing will come out of this meeting.

Personally, I am “cautiously pessimistic”, and I will explain why next.

Let’s look at what the two sides have been doing in preparation for this meeting:

The Empire has basically ratcheted up the tensions as high as possible, both by an avalanche of bellicose statements and by engaging in “petty harassment” exercises near the Russian border.  The main (and sole) advantage of this pre-negotiations strategy is that it costs very little money while having a major PR effect.  The two main disadvantages of this pre-negotiations strategy are that 1) they tend to paint you into a corner from which any concession, no matter how reasonable, can be turned into an “abject surrender to Putin” by your political enemies and 2) that the Russians know that all this sabre-rattling is only hot air and, if anything, a sign of weakness.

Russia has made some comparatively “stronger” verbal protests and mentioned “red lines” which the Empire which the latter has completely ignored.  However, Russia has also made some actual military moves which have truly frightened the Empire, including the sudden flushing out into the Pacific or all the strategic submarines of the Pacific Fleet.

Here is the problem as I see it: “Biden” has allowed all sorts of russophobic nutcases to paint the Biden Administration into the exact same corner where the same russophobic nutcases stuck Trump: a place where no meaningful negotiations (i.e. negotiations which imply the willingness to make mutual concessions) are possible.  All that Kabuki theater about “talking to Russia from a position of strength/force” kind of implies that the Russians will get scared and cave in to the Empire.  The problem is that in the real world (as opposed the political Hollywood of the western propaganda machine), it is Russia which is in a very strong position while the US/NATO/EU are all in a position of extreme vulnerability.  In other words, it is extremely unlikely that the Russians will make major concessions on anything (if only because Russia’s “great retreat” of endless concession to win time for preparations has now left Russia pretty much with her own back also against the wall).  Of course, Russia does not want/need a war anywhere, so she is probably willing to make relatively minor concessions, but only political ones.  In military terms, Russia is now “ready to go” and she will not stand down unless the Empire gives legally binding and verifiable concessions to guarantee Russia’s security on her western border (Putin has specifically said so).

Frankly, none of that is very complex: de-escalation and mutual confidence building measures have been developed by all sides for many decades now and there is no need to reinvent the wheel here.  How to do that is easy and straightforward.  But politically, I don’t know how “Biden” would respond to the MAGA nutcases in Congress who will accuse him of weakness, or even treason, if he does anything but continue to escalate towards an inevitable war: escalations can only be stopped by two means: negotiations or war.  If the former is made impossible, the latter becomes inevitable.

Worse, there are pretty good signs that “Biden” is not fully controlling the Executive branch and that there are characters at the CIA, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom (lead by the totally rabid US Neocons) which actually want a war involving Russia and who believe that such a war would not imply a very high probability of going nuclear.  Blinken, for example, strikes me as a kind of person which would make a great tailor or maybe an insurance salesman, but as a diplomat he is clearly clueless and “loser” written all over his face (ditto for that imbecile Stoltenberg or most EU politicians).  Worst of all, these losers believe in their own superiority and think that they can talk to Putin like, say, Commodore Matthew Perry “talked” to the Japanese or how Reagan showed Grenada “who is boss”.

Finally, the upcoming planned “show of unity and force” (aka Summit for Democracy) will be seen by the Kremlin as a desperate attempt at hide the Empire’s real weakness (death, really) and to make it look as if the West still had the means to rule the planet.  In reality, just Russia and China together are already much more powerful than all the colonies which Uncle Shmuel as summoned to this Summit, even if it is only two against 109 countries on the US side and that is the reality which this summit is designed to conceal from the public eye.

So no hope at all?

Well, not much.  But, in theory, here is what could happen.

The US could agree to give Russia legal binding and verifiable security guarantees on her east, including a pull-back of Ukie forces in exchange for which, Russia could pull back some of her own forces.  Deconfliction measures in the air and the seas could be agreed upon.  Observer missions could be agreed upon and then deployed by both sides to verify the implementation of any agreements.  On the political level, the US could order a dramatic reduction of western military involvement in the Ukraine in exchange for a Russian re-affirmation of the recognition of the Ukraine in her current borders, that is without Crimea and but the Donbass (in other words, the Kremlin would promise not to recognize the LDNR republics sovereign states).  In theory, an international peacekeeping force could be set up in the “grey zone” between the LDNR and the Ukraine (that would require the Ukies to pull out from their current, and totally illegal, occupation of some locations in that zone). The nationality of these peacekeepers would have to be agreed by both sides.

[Sidebar: about the LDNR – please keep in mind that even if de jure the Kremlin does not recognize these republics, it has already basically done so de facto (especially with the latest change to the Russian laws on the economy).  Also, remember that Taiwan is a country that is largely unrecognized, but which is clearly independent, at least for the time being.  Finally, keeping the LDNR inside the Ukraine creates an anti-Ukraine which prevents the Nazi-run Ukraine from fully becoming an anti-Russia.  So no, flag-wavers notwithstanding, agreeing not to recognize the LDNR would not be a “betrayal”, but only a card which must be played later in the game.]

Furthermore, Russia and the USA should establish a standing bilateral (yes, I agree with Nuland on the EU!) discussions mechanism to replace the useless and basically dead NATO-Russia Council.  Other areas of discussion could include such self-evident issues as space, terrorism, immigration, energy, cybersecurity, the Arctic etc. and a full restoration of civilized diplomatic relations (which were totally sabotaged by both the Obama and Trump Administration).  A deal could also be made about mutual non-interference or, at least, improve the current deconfliction between the USA and Russia in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.  And, of course, Russia could agree to a long term gas contract through the Ukraine in exchange for a full US acceptance of NS2.

Does that sound a little pollyannish to you?

It sure sounds pollyannish to me!

But I am not quite willing to declare it as absolutely impossible.  Instead, I would simply say that such an outcome is unlikely but still possible.

The alternative is war with, at the low end, could be limited to some silly Ukie provocation (of the kind they have been regularly pulling off, and failing, for many years now) or, at the high end, to quickly escalate a full-scale (inter)continental war, probably one involving nukes.

Hope dies last, right?

The one thing which makes it possible for me to believe that a war can still be avoided is that besides the real hardcore nutcases, there are still some sober-minded officials in the USA (maybe Gen. Milley?) who understand not only that war is an unspeakable horror, but who ALSO understand that a US attack on Russia will result in a Russian counter-attack on the US itself.  Specifically, it is now an official Russian position that if weapon X is fired at Russia or Russian forces, Russia will not only destroy that weapon and the system which delivered, but will also strike at the command headquarters from which the order to strike Russia was given, and that could be Kiev, Warsaw, Brussels or even Washington DC.  I am quite sure that General Gerasimov explained that to General Milley in exquisite detail and I strongly suspect that Milley got the message.  Let’s just hope that Milley can prevail over Lloyd Austin (who is clearly an incompetent imbecile used by the “war party” only as a disposable figurehead).

If not, then God help us all, because then war is inevitable.

I consider the current situation as the most dangerous the world has ever faced, this is even worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis or the US attacks against Iran (the murder of General Soleimani) or Syria.  By nature, nurture, experience, and training I am an unrepentant pessimist.  But, in this case, I still want to force myself into a stance of “cautious pessimism” meaning that, yes, the situation is terrible and seems unfixable, but I choose to believe that there still are enough sane people in the US to avoid the worst.

Still, I am acutely aware that the UK+3B+PU gang want war at all and any cost and that they are now setting the agenda in both the EU and NATO.  The only actor which still could order them to stand down and shut the hell up would be the USA, but only one ruled by an Administration in real and actual command, not the senile aquarium fish collectively known as “Biden” which is in power (at least officially) right now.

We can also count on the MAGA-crazies to oppose any and all deals with Russia, no matter how urgently needed and self-evidently logical.  The GOP has now become the united party for war doing exactly what the Dems did during the Trump years.  In a way, the US political scene reminds me of the Soviet Union during and after Brezhnev – a political system which simply cannot produce a real leader, so all you see is terminal mediocrities trying as best they can to hide their own mediocrity and total lack of vision.  A Ronald Reagan or a George H. W. Bush would have what it takes to talk to the Russians and get some results.  Alas, none of the presidents since have had enough brains or spine to do anything constructive at all: all they did was to preside over first the destruction of the Empire followed by the destruction of the USA (at least as we knew it before Jan 6th).

The fact that our best (or, should I say, only) hope lies with Biden and “Biden” is a sad and very frightening reality.  All we can do now is wait for Tuesday and pray that both Biden and “Biden” muster enough courage and (real) patriotism to bring the world back from the brink.  It ain’t much, but that’s all we got.

So, what do you think will happen next?

Andrei

Now or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

1 DECEMBER, 2021

By Alastair Crooke

A new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect.

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’.

Of course, the Pharma-Establishment know that the vaccines are no panacea. There are ‘higher interests’ at play here. It is driven rather by fear that the window for implementing its series of ‘transitions’ in the U.S. and Europe is closing. Biden still struggles to move his ‘Go-Big’ social spending plan and green agenda transition through Congress by the midterm election in a year’s time. And the inflation spike may well sink Biden’s Build Back Better agenda (BBB) altogether.

Time is short. The midterm elections are but 12 months away, after which the legislative window shuts. The Green ‘transition’ is stuck too (by concerns that moving too fast to renewables is putting power grids at risk and elevating heating costs unduly), and the Pharma establishment will be aware that a new B.1.1.529 variant has made a big jump in evolution with 32 mutations to its spike protein. This makes it “clearly very different” from previous variants, which may drive further waves of infection evading ‘vaccine defences’.

Translation: a new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect. And what of inflation then, we might ask.

It’s a race for the U.S. and Europe, where the pandemic is back in full force across Europe, to push through their re-set agendas, before variants seize up matters with hospitals crowded with the vaccinated and non-vaccinated; with riots in the streets, and mask mandates at Christmas markets (that’s if they open at all). A big reversal was foreshadowed by this week’s news: vaccine mandates and lockdowns, even in highly vaccinated areas, are returning. And people don’t like it.

The window for the Re-Set may be fast closing. One observer, noting all the frenetic Élite activity, has asked ‘have we finally reached peak Davos?’. Is the turn to authoritarianism in Europe a sign of desperation as fears grow that the various ‘transitions’ planned under the ‘re-set’ umbrella (financial, climate, vaccine and managerial expert technocracy) may never be implemented?

Cut short rather, as spending plans are hobbled by accelerating inflation; as the climate transition fails to find traction amongst poorer states (and at home, too); as technocracy is increasingly discredited by adverse pandemic outcomes; and Modern Monetary Theory hits a wall, because – well, inflation again.

Are you paying attention yet? The great ‘transition’ is conceived as a hugely expensive shift towards renewables, and to a new digitalised, roboticised corporatism. It requires Big (inflationary) funding to be voted through, and a huge parallel (inflationary) expenditure on social support to be approved by Congress as well. The social provision is required to mollify all those who subsequently will find themselves without jobs, because of the climate ‘transition’ and the shift to a digitalised corporate sphere. But – unexpectedly for some ‘experts’ – inflation has struck – the highest statistics in 30 years.

There are powerful oligarchic interests behind the Re-Set. They do not want to see it go down, nor see the West eclipsed by its ‘competitors’. So it seems that rather than back off, they will go full throttle and try to impose compliance on their electorates: tolerate no dissidence.

A 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless” by then dissident and future Czech President Vaclav Havel begins mockingly that, “A SPECTRE is haunting Eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called ‘dissent’”. “This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting.” Well, today, as Michael Every of Rabobank notes, “the West has polarisation, mass protests, riots, talk of obligatory vaccinations in Europe, and Yanis Varoufakis arguing capitalism is already dead; and that a techno-feudalism looms”. Now, prompting even greater urgency, are the looming U.S. midterms. Trump’s return (even if confined just to Congress), would cut the legs from under BBB, and ice-up Brussels too.

It was however, precisely this tech revolution, to which Varoufakis calls attention, that both re-defined the Democrat constituency, and turned tech oligarchs into billionaires. Through algorithmically creating a magnetism of like-minded content, cascaded out to its customers, it has both smothered intellectual curiosity, and created the ‘un-informed party’, which is the today’s Managerial Class – the party of the credentialed meritocracy; the party, above all, smugly seeing themselves as the coming era’s ‘winners’ – unwilling to risk a look behind the curtain; to put their ‘safe space’ to the test.

Perversely, this cadre of professionally-corralled academics, analysts, and central bankers, all insist that they completely believe in their memes: That their techno-approach is both effective, and of benefit to humanity – oblivious to the dissenting views, swirling around them, down in the interstices of the internet.

The main function then of such memes today, whether issued by the Pharma Vaccine ‘Command’; the MMT ‘transition’ Command; the energy ‘transition’ Command; or the global managerial technocracy ‘transition’, is to draw a ‘Maginot line’ – a defensive ideological boundary, a “Great Narrative” as it were – between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes, and with that of any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. That is to say, it is about compliance.

It was well understood that all these transitions would overturn long-standing human ways of life, that are ancient and deeply rooted and trigger dissidence – which is why new forms of social ‘discipline’ would be required. (Incidentally, the EU leadership already refer to their their official mandates as ‘Commands’). Such disciplines are now being trialled in Europe – with the vaccine mandates (even though scientists are telling them that vaccines cannot be the silver bullet for which they yearn). As one high ‘lodge’ member, favouring a form of global governance notes, to make people accept such reforms, you must frighten them.

Yes, the collective of ‘transitions’ must have their ‘Big, overarching Narrative’ – however hollow, it rings (i.e. the struggle to defend democracy against authoritarianism). But it is the nature of today’s cultural-meme war that ultimately its content becomes little more than a rhetorical shell, lacking all sincerity at its core.

It serves principally, as decoration to a ‘higher order’ project: The preservation of global ‘rules of the road’, framed to reflect U.S. and allied interests, as the base from which the clutch of ‘transitions’ can be raised up into a globally managed order which preserves the Élite’s influence and command of major assets.

This politics of crafted, credentialised meme-politics is here to stay, and now is ‘everywhere’. It has long crossed the partisan divide. The wider point here – is that the mechanics of meme-mobilisation is being projected, not just in the western ‘home’ (at a micro-level), but abroad, into American ‘foreign policy’ too (i.e. at the macro-level).

And, just as in the domestic arena, where the notion of politics by suasion is lost (with vaccine mandates enforced by water-cannon, and riot police), so too, the notion of foreign policy managed through argument, or diplomacy, has been lost too.

Western foreign policy becomes less about geo-strategy, but rather is primordially focussed on the three ‘big iconic issues’ – China, Russia and Iran – that can be given an emotional ‘charge’ in order to profitably mobilise certain identified ‘constituencies’ in the U.S. domestic cultural war. All the various U.S. political strands play this game.

The aim is to ‘nudge’ domestic American psyches (and those of their allies) into mobilisation on some issue (such as more protectionism for business against Chinese competition), or alternatively, imagined darkly, in order to de-legitimise an opposition, or to justify failures. These mobilisations are geared to gaining relative domestic partisan advantage, rather than having strategic purpose.

When this credentialled meme-war took hold in the U.S., millions of people were already living a reality in which facts no longer mattered at all; where things that never happened officially, happened. And other things that obviously happened never happened: not officially, that is. Or, were “far-right extremist conspiracy theories,” “fake news,” or “disinformation,” or whatever, despite the fact that people knew that they weren’t.

Russia and China therefore face a reality in which European and U.S. élites are heading in the opposite direction to epistemological purity and well-founded argument. That is to suggest, the new ‘normal’ is about generating a lot of contradictory realities, not just contradictory ideologies, but actual mutually-exclusive ‘realities’, which could not possibly simultaneously exist … and which are intended to bemuse adversaries – and nudge them off-balance.

This is a highly risky game, for it forces a resistance stance on those targeted states – whether they seek it, or not. It underlines that politics is no more about considered strategy: It is about being willing for the U.S. to lose strategically (even militarily), in order to win politically. Which is to say gaining an ephemeral win of having prompted an favourable unconscious psychic response amongst American voters.

Russia, China, Iran are but ‘images’ prized mainly for their potential for being loaded with ‘nudge’ emotional-charge in this western cultural war, (of which these states are no part). The result is that these states become antagonists to the American presumption to define a global ‘rules of the road’ to which all must adhere.

These countries understand exactly the point of these value and rights-loaded ‘rules’. It is to force compliance on these states to acquiesce to the ‘transitions, or, to suffer isolation, boycott and sanction – in a similar way to the choices being forced on those in the West not wishing to vaccinate (i.e. no jab; no job).

This approach reflects an attempt by Team Biden to have it ‘both ways’ with these three ‘Iconic States’: To welcome compliance on ‘transition issues’, but to be adversarial over any dissidence to mounting a rules framework that can raise the ‘transitions’ from the national, to the supra-national plane.

But do the U.S. practitioners of meme-politics, absorb and comprehend that the stance by Russia-China – in riposte – is not some same-ilk counter-mobilisation done to ‘make a point’? That their vision does stand at variance with ‘the rules’? Do they see that their ‘red lines’ may indeed be ‘red lines’ literally? Is the West now so meme-addicted, it cannot any longer recognise real national interests?

This is key: When the West speaks, it is forever looking over its shoulder, at the domestic, and wider psychic impact when it is ‘making a point’ (such as practicing attacks by nuclear-capable bombers as close to Russia’s borders as they dare). And that when Russia and China say, ‘This is our Red Line’, it is no meme – they really mean it.

The Solomon Islands’ Unrest Is Part Of The Hybrid War On China

3 DECEMBER 2021

By Andrew Koybko

Source

What this Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands has thus far shown is that small nations which switch their recognition from Taipei to Beijing will be punished through the external exacerbation of their preexisting identity tensions for regime change ends.

The Solomon Islands was recently destabilized by large-scale riots that prompted the government to request a military intervention from its historical Australian allies and nearby Fiji. The unrest was driven by people from the country’s most populous island, Malaita, who traveled to the capital on Guadalcanal to protest against the government’s recognition of Beijing as the legitimate government of China in late 2019. That move prompted the province to flirt with separatist aspirations a year later, which were also promoted during last week’s riots.

The author asked at the time, “Is The Quad Plotting To Provoke A Proxy War With China In The Solomon Islands?” The basis for this prediction was that Malaita is openly loyal to Taipei while Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, nowadays supports Beijing. The issue of Taiwan’s status is an extremely symbolic and highly strategic one for both China and its Quad rivals. For that reason, the author predicted that tensions would eventually boil over in order to destabilize this new Chinese-friendly government.

Prime Minister Sogavare claimed that the recent riots were incited from abroad and aimed to carry out a regime change against him while the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed confidence that they’ll fail to disrupt bilateral ties. These official statements lend credence to the author’s prediction last year about a brewing plot to punish the Solomon Islands for recognizing Beijing in a way that relies heavily upon the Malaita factor to disguise the true motivation behind the expected unconventional acts of aggression. It can therefore be concluded that the latest events perfectly fit into the predicted model.

The requested Australian military intervention added a curious twist to this Hybrid War since that country is fiercely against China nowadays yet just dispatched troops to prop up this nearby Chinese-friendly government despite the criticism that this provoked from Malaita’s leader. Canberra helped Honiara in order to advance several objectives: preempt a possible Chinese intervention in that country’s support; flex its regional leadership; and possibly set the basis for a Quad-led “peacekeeping” mission in the future, one which might ultimately lead to an independence referendum for Malaita.

Evidently, Australia doesn’t feel comfortable “surrendering” its historical influence in the Solomon Islands, especially not after literally being requested by its government to once again militarily intervene there. This shows that Canberra plans to compete with Beijing for influence, which it might begin doing in increasingly creative ways. It remains unclear whether it had a role in provoking the latest riots, but one can likely exclude that scenario since the Solomon Islands wouldn’t have realistically asked it to dispatch troops to quell the riots if it had any credible suspicion that it did.

That, however, doesn’t mean that the other Quad countries’ potential involvement can be dismissed. The US might have worked together with Taiwanese intelligence in order to engineer last week’s regime change scenario. Australia’s requested intervention could thus lead to the Quad playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” whereby Canberra fulfills the former role while Washington fulfills the latter. That would give the alliance maximum strategic flexibility in shaping events. Australia might even soon be expected to offer reconstruction aid to the Solomon Islands to pair with the US’ existing aid to Malaita.

What this Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands has thus far shown is that small nations which switch their recognition from Taipei to Beijing will be punished through the external exacerbation of their preexisting identity tensions for regime change ends. Even if these kinetic provocations fail to overthrow those new Chinese-friendly governments, they’ll still serve as politically convenient pretexts for the US and its allies to exert influence over them, even if initially in the form of support in quelling the same disturbances that the Quad was responsible for provoking. All of this could complicate Chinese diplomacy.

UNGA’s Latest Resolution Illustrates the International Community’s Complicity With Israel’s Colonial Expansion

December 2, 2021

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger. Her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America.

By Ramona Wadi

Source

Israel’s impunity has been crafted by the UN, in a parallel manner to how the UN facilitated Palestine’s territorial loss, Ramona Wadi writes.

Yet another non-binding UN General Assembly has passed, granting Palestinians permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, even as Israel has absolute dominion over their territory. The draft resolution, titled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources,” is a perfect example of how the UN glosses over Israel’s colonial violence by refusing to take action, preferring to enact non-binding resolutions which do nothing to protect the Palestinian people’s political rights and their territory.

The resolution demands Israel ceases its exploitation and theft of Palestinian land, while noting all other Israeli violations on Palestinian territory, such as the Apartheid Wall, settlement expansion, destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, as well as the impact of Israel weapons in Gaza. With the passing of such a detailed resolution, it would stand to reason that the UN takes measures against Israel’s colonial violence, rather than call upon Israel to halt its damage. The latter is a futile request, and the UN knows Israel will not abide by the non-binding resolution, in which case it is pertinent to ask why the international institution keeps score of each violation only to mete out some symbolic recognition of Palestinian rights which has so far failed to translate into political value for the Palestinian people.

Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour described the resolution as confirming the international community supporting full rights for Palestinians. Similarly the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki declared that the resolution affirmed Palestinian people’s rights over their territory and called upon the UN to implement international resolutions. Which is where Palestine, as usual, will hit a dead end. The UN’s complicity in Israel’s colonial expansion is the primary reason why non-binding resolutions have taken the place of political resolution for Palestinians.

Does the UN need reminding of how it failed Palestinians since the passing of the 1947 Partition Plan? Or of how its defence of Israel’s security narrative directly ties in to the Palestinian people’s experience of loss, to the point that non-binding resolutions are necessary to remind the world that Palestinians have political rights? Only the periodic reminders mean nothing if the UN refuses to face Israel’s war crimes and international law violations.

Unfortunately, the PA has long supported this disastrous status quo, in which the gap between non-binding resolutions and Israel’s expansion is becoming irreconcilable.

EU diplomats recently visited occupied East Jerusalem, in a visit organised by the Israeli non-governmental organization Ir Amin. The NGO explained the consequences of Israel’s settlement expansion, including forced displacement and the rupture between Palestinian villages and Jerusalem, which is Israel’s next aim.

Yet, at an international level, Israel’s violations are considered separately, with barely ever a connection between one violation and its precedents. If the UN was truly against human rights violations, it would put its research to good use, as well as consistently draw attention to the fact that the earlier colonization process is ongoing.

The PA is also guilty of the same process, preferring to focus on each violation separately rather than take into account how Israel’s actions are collectively contributing to Palestine’s territorial loss.

While shedding light on the cumulative effect of Israel’s violations, the recent UNGA non-binding draft resolution holds no sway over international chastisement of Israel, let alone enforcing punitive measures. Israel’s impunity has been crafted by the UN, in a parallel manner to how the UN facilitated Palestine’s territorial loss. The resolution is no cause to celebrate; rather it is an affirmation of how the international community’s complicity resulted in these belated affirmations that do nothing to reinstate the Palestinian people’s political rights.

With Symbolic Hebron Chanukah Visit, Israeli President Greenlights Al-Aqsa Destruction

December 03rd, 2021

By Miko Peled

Source

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque should be seen as nothing less than an invitation by the Zionist establishment to the Zionist radical elements to go ahead and burn the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

HEBRON, PALESTINE – “Should the Al-Aqsa Mosque be destroyed, the match will be lit by a fanatic settler, but it is decades of Zionist indoctrination and Israeli policies that will be responsible for the destruction.” I wrote these words in a piece in this publication in August of 2021. In December of this year the Israeli establishment has taken a huge step in this direction: the president of Israel, Yitzhak (Isaac) Herzog, decided to light the first candle of Chanukah at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil – Hebron.

This visit represents a “go ahead” by the so-called moderate Israeli establishment to the fanatic religious-Zionists to continue their unchecked, unhinged violent attacks against Palestinians in general and their pursuit of the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular.

The Ibrahimi Mosque

It is said that the Jerusalem geographer Muqqadasi, writing in 985 CE, described the town of Hebron as follows:

In Hebron is a public guest house continuously open, with a cook, a baker and servants in regular attendance. These offer a dish of lentils and olive oil to every poor person who arrives, and it is set before the rich, too, should they wish to partake. Most men express the opinion this is a continuation of the guest house of Abraham […] At present time I do not know in all the realm of al-Islam any house of hospitality and charity more excellent than this one.”

A UNESCO report declared the city of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque that lies within it as Palestine Heritage sites. The report states, “The main monument of the town is the centrally sited Al Haram Al-Ibrahimi Mosque/The Tomb of the Patriarchs.” The mosque sits on what is believed to be the burial site of the biblical patriarch Abraham, his wife Sara, their son Isaac and his son Jacob, as well as Rebecca and Leah. This belief is based on a story from the Book of Genesis 23:1–20 that tells about the patriarch Abraham purchasing a cave in order to bury his wife.

An endangered shrine

Another UNESCO report regarding the city of Al-Khalil, now known as Hebron, states that it and the mosque are “endangered sites.”

According to the report, “The nominated property is considered […] of Outstanding Universal Value as a cultural property” for the following reasons:

The Al-Khalil/Hebron old town “is an outstanding, exceptionally complete and well preserved example of unique urban and architectural characteristics inspired by the human values of Hebron/Al-Khalil community” and “[r]eflects continuous fabric which dates back to the Mamluk and Ottoman Periods.” The report goes on to state that the old town “[w]as shaped by the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque/The Tomb of Patriarchs, an outstanding example of building that illustrates significant stages in human history,” which “[b]enefited from its location on the main commercial routes in the region.”

Israeli police occupy Shuhada before the arrival of Herzog to the Ibrahimi mosque in occupied Hebron, November 28, 2021. Photo | Activestills

Writing about Israel’s continuous threats to the sites, UNESCO reports:

What is clear is that threats and violations are systematic and long-standing. They have a significant impact on the lives of ordinary citizens, resulting in the gradual depopulation of the old town […] and also interfere with the conservation of cultural heritage assets.

The site of the mosque and the Old City of Hebron are under threat because of Israeli attempts to de-Arabize the old city, build Jewish-only settlements, rename the streets, and cover up the rich history of the city and the mosque, a history that spans thousands of years.

Isaac Herzog

Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, is described in a piece in The Guardian as a “softly spoken veteran of centre-left.” When Herzog was an attorney, he represented large corporations like Coca-Cola Israel. A prominent Palestinian who knows Herzog and dealt with him when Herzog was a lawyer once said to me, “I don’t know what he was thinking, what would make him do such a thing.”

This “thing” that this Palestinian was referring to was the dangerous accommodation of the militant right-wing Religious-Zionists and legitimization of their desecration of an ancient and revered Muslim site – the Ibrahimi Mosque — with Herzog’s visits to the site.

However, as we look at the history of the State of Israel, we see that the so-called moderate Zionist establishment has always accommodated the radical right and legitimized the achievements the Zionist state has enjoyed through the brutality and violence perpetrated by Zionist fanatics.

From the earliest days of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, the radical violent elements pushed forward while the so-called moderates, while initially distancing themselves from the actions of “extremists,” gradually legitimized their actions.

This was true in the pre-1948 actions of Zionist terror squads that included the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem; the assassination of the United Nations mediator, the Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadot; and the brutal massacre of the people of Deir Yasin on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

In fact, the war of 1967 also was a push by Zionist radicals – who by that time were generals in army uniform and had a well-equipped and well-trained army at their disposal – to do what was left undone in 1948. While the more “moderate” Israeli politicians were hesitant, the generals demanded to start a war and take parts of Palestine that were left outside the state of Israel.

Post-1967

In post-1967 Israel, the face of the fundamentalist radical Zionists had slightly changed but the tactics remained the same. The 1967 occupation gave rise to a new form of radical Zionism called Religious Zionism. These were Zionists who had been indoctrinated in the hate-filled, violence-infused yeshiva, Yeshivat Mercaz Harav. Named “The Mother of Zionistic Yeshivot,” it was the very first Zionist yeshiva and the ‘flagship’ for the National Religious movement.

Originally the Labour-Left establishment, to which President Isaac Herzog belonged, had looked down on and even distanced itself from the National Religious movement. However, as early as 1968, when that movement initiated Jewish-only settlements in the heart of the West Bank, the army and the Labor-Left establishment supported them wholeheartedly. Today, Religious Zionists are credited with establishing a Jewish-Zionist presence throughout the entire West Bank.

What used to be the Zionist Labor-Left establishment is all but gone, and only a few relics like Herzog remain. Today the Israeli establishment consists of two factions of ultra-right fanatic blocks, fighting each other for power. Politically they are identical and their hate-filled anti-Palestinian rhetoric is equally appalling.

Hertzog’s visit to the Ibrahimi Mosque should be seen as nothing less than an invitation by the Zionist establishment to the Zionist radical elements to go ahead and burn the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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