“Bahrain Rulers Must Take Lesson from Fates of Saddam, Shah, Other Tyrants”

November 29, 2017

Ayatollah Araki

Secretary General of World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought (WFPIST) Ayatollah Sheikh Mohsen Araki held Bahraini rulers responsible for deterioration in health of prominent cleric, Sheikh Issa Al-Qassem.

“News on deterioration in health of Ayatollah Qassem has worried Muslim nation as well as its leaders,” Ayatollah Araki said Wednesday in a statement.

Ayatollah Araki called for immediate lift of siege imposed by Bahrain regime forces on Ayatollah Qassem’s house in Diraz.

“We hold the government of Bahrain responsibility of any harm inflicted on his eminence (Ayatollah Qassem),” said the Iranian cleric, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts in the Islamic Republic.

“We advise the Bahraini government to meet the demands of its oppressed people and to quit its arbitrary policy aimed against leaders of this firm people.”

Ayatollah Araki concluded his statement as saying: “We remind the Bahraini government that it must take lessons from what happened to tyrants of our era like Saddam Hussein, (Iran’s) Shah and others.”

SourceIranian media

“Ayatollah Qassem in Critical Condition, Stop Collective Punishment against Diraz”

November 30, 2017

Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman, Head of Religious Freedom unit at Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Prominent Bahraini human rights defender, Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman called on Bahraini authorities to lift siege imposed on the house of Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Al-Qassem, stressing that every moment of delay in treating the prominent Shia cleric is dangerous to his health.

In a press conference held in Beirut, Sheikh Salman, who heads the Religious Freedom unit at Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said that people of Diraz have been for months subjected to collective punishment represented by siege imposed on the whole town by Bahraini regime forces.

As he called for lifting the siege on the town of Diraz and on Ayatollah Qassem’s house, Sheikh Salman said the top cleric is in critical condition after being denied a safe healthcare.

He was referring to medical treatment by sides whom the family of Ayatollah Qassem trusts.

Sheikh Salman meanwhile, accused Bahraini authorities of carrying out a deliberate and slow killing of Ayatollah Qassem.

The Bahraini cleric stressed meanwhile, on the influential role played by Ayatollah Qassem in the country’s modern history.

“Ayatollah Qassem is one of the founders of Bahrain’s first constitution,” Sheikh Salman said, noting that the prominent cleric “doesn’t only condemn violence, but rather prohibits it,” referring to pro-democracy protesters’ demands deemed by the regime in Manama as “violent”.

Bahrain has been witnessing since February 2011 peaceful protests demanding a just system representing all Bahrainis be established. The protests have been met by brutal crackdown by Al Khalifa that saw prominent opposition leaders and human rights activists prisoned, deported or held under house arrest.

Source: Al-Manar

HOW WILL HEZBOLLAH FIGHT NEXT WAR WITH ISRAEL

WOULD ANYONE PROFIT FROM A NEW WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

South Front

The world today, is on the brink of seeing a new conflict over Lebanon. While the chances for escalation are high, the essential pre-conditions for a new, large-scale war in the region, are still in the works.

On November 22, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri temporarily suspended his resignation following an alleged request by the country’s president Michel Aoun to reconsider the decision.

Hariri originally announced his resignation in a televised speech from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on November 4. Hariri’s resignation sparked a new round of tensions between Saudi Arabia on one end and Lebanon with Hezbollah on the other.

Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon of “declaring war” on Riyadh by allowing Hezbollah “aggression” against the kingdom. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Tehran of delivering missiles to Yemen’s Houthi forces for use against the kingdom, an act he described as “direct military aggression”.

On November 19, an emergency meeting was held between Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, calling for a united front, to counter Iran and Hezbollah. In a declaration, issued after the meeting, the Arab League accused Hezbollah of “supporting terrorism and extremist groups in Arab countries, with advanced weapons and ballistic missiles.” In turn, the Lebanese authorities and Hezbollah said that Hariri was held captive in Saudi Arabia because he had not returned to Lebanon as he promised. On November 22, Hariri arrived at the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and suspended his resignation. This marked a new phase of the political standoff between the sides.

Hariri is a compromise figure in the Lebanese politics.

His appointment as the Lebanese prime minister was de-facto supported by Saudi Arabia, the United States and some influential groups in Lebanon. This move was aimed to serve the “interethnic dialogue” in Lebanon.

However, the recent developments in the Middle East, including the nearing end of the conflict in Syria and the growing influence and military capabilities of Hezbollah, have changed the political situation in Lebanon. Hezbollah units de-facto fulfil functions of the presidential guard. Lebanese special services and the special services of Hezbollah are deeply integrated. Hezbollah’s victories in Syria and humanitarian activities in Lebanon increased the movement’s popularity among people.

All these have taken place amid the developing crisis in Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a large-scale purge among the top officials, influential businesspersons and princes under the pretext of combating corruption. According to the experts, the move is aimed at consolidating the power of the crown prince and his father, King Salman. In general, the kingdom is seeking to shift its vector of development and to become a more secular state. In 5-10 years, it can even abandon Wahhabism as the official ideology. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is involved in an unsuccessful conflict in Yemen and a diplomatic crisis with Qatar. This situation fuels tensions and a competition for resources among the Saudi clans. As a result, the Saudi regime and the Saudi state in general, are now, in a weak position.

Let’s look at the interests of all parties.

On the one hand, the appearance of a new active foreign enemy could consolidate the Saudi population and its elites. The war with Hezbollah would allow the Kingdom to gain additional preferences from the United States. Furthermore, with Israel entering the conflict, the kingdom would significantly reduce the risks of losses in the direct military confrontation with Lebanon and Hezbollah.

On the other hand, Riyadh has a wide range of foreign and internal problems. Considering the current weakness of Riyadh, any push may lead to a fall of the colossus with feet of clay.

In the case of the conflict in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia will be involved in a military and diplomatic standoff on 3 fronts:

  • North – Hezbollah and Iran;
  • South – Yemen; and
  • East – Qatar.

The conflict will also force a dramatic growth of oil prices. According to various experts, $150 per barrel can be expected by the end of the first month of the conflict, if it is to occur. Some may suppose that this scenario is beneficial for Saudi Arabia or clans that control Saudi Aramco, the largest oil exporter around the world. However, the expected guerrilla war, which will likely erupt in the Shia-populated, oil-rich part of the country, will level out the pros of this scenario. Additionally, there is always a chance, that the main combat actions will be moved to the Saudi territory.

Israel and the West, in general, are not interested in high oil prices. In turn, Russia and Iran, who will not be involved in the initial stages of the conflict, will receive an increase in revenue from this scenario. The problem is that Tehran and Moscow are not interested in this “big new war” as well. Such a conflict in the Middle East will pose a direct threat to their national security

Israel’s attitude is another issue. Tel Aviv believes that the growing influence of Hezbollah and Iran in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Lebanon, is a critical challenge to its national security. The key issue is that Israeli military analysts understand that Hezbollah is now much more powerful than it was in 2006. Now, Hezbollah is a strong, experienced, military organization, tens of thousands troops strong, which has the needed forces and facilities to oppose a possible Israeli ground invasion in Lebanon.

Iran has also strengthened its positions in the region over the last ten years. It has reinforced its air defense with the Russian-made S-300 systems, strengthened its armed forces and got combat experience in Syria and other local conflicts. Tehran also strengthened its ideological positions among the Shia and even Sunni population which lives in the region.

Thus, Israel will decide to participate in a large-scale conflict in Lebanon only in the case of some extraordinary event. It is possible to assume that in the coming months, a large-scale war in Lebanon will not be initiated. Nonetheless, Israel will continue local acts of aggression conducting artillery and air strike on positions and infrastructure of Hezbollah in Syria and maybe in Lebanon. Israeli special forces will conduct operations aimed at eliminating top Hezbollah members and destroying the movement’s infrastructure in Lebanon and Syria. Saudi Arabia will likely support these Israeli actions. It is widely known that Riyadh would rather use a proxy and engage in clandestine warfare.  This means that a peaceful life in the region will not come anytime soon.

In turn, Hezbollah still needs about 1.5 years to further strengthen its positions in Syria and to free additional forces, which could be used in other hot points. The movement will likely put an end to the separation of power in Lebanon. This would mean that Hezbollah and Lebanon would become synonyms. Hezbollah also needs time to expand its network in the Shia-populated part of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, as Hezbollah’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict deepens, the balance of power in the region may begin to shift, creating further setbacks of the Saudi-led coalition.

According to some estimates, Hezbollah will be ready for a new round of the “big game” in the Middle East in the spring of 2019.

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israel’s ethnic cleansing/genocide, one and the same

ETHNIC CLEANSING / GENOCIDE … ONE IN THE SAME

Recently declassified cabinet meeting transcripts show that top Israeli officials discussed ethnic cleansing tactics to deal with Six-Day War fallout.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Declassified Israeli Transcripts Discuss Ethnic Cleansing

eclassified cabinet meeting minutes show that top Israeli cabinet officials contemplated an ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip and Galilee, rewriting history textbooks in favor of a pro-Zionist version of history, and censoring political speech in newspapers to deal with the fallout of the Six-Day War in 1967.

The material posted to the Israeli archives website shows hundreds of pages of previously classified cabinet meeting minutes, including those between August and December of 1967, which followed closely after the Six-Day War in June. From this archive, Israeli officials demonstrated a lack of direction following the war in which the Israeli military conquered and illegally occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula.

Officials initially contemplated the difficulties of administering the illegally occupied lands.

“At some point we will have to decide. There are 600,000 Arabs in these territories now. What will be the status of these 600,000 Arabs?” Prime Minister Levi Eshkol asked.

“I suggest that we don’t come to a vote or a decision today; there’s time to deal with this joy, or better put, there’s time to deal with this trouble,” he said. “But for the record I’m prepared to say this: There’s no reason for the government to determine its position on the future of the West Bank right now. We’ve been through three wars in 20 years; we can go another 20 years without a decision.”

Later documents show that Eshkol felt the pressure of ethnic diversity in the occupied lands which were under the illegal administration of the ethnocentric occupying forces.

“The strip of this country is like a miserable, threatening neck for us, literally stretched out for slaughter,” he said. “I cannot imagine it — how we will organize life in this country when we have 1.4 million Arabs and we are 2.4 million, with 400,000 Arabs already in the country?”

Eshkol and his cabinet later floated a covert ethnic cleansing policy by “working on the establishment of a unit or office that will engage in encouraging Arab emigration.” The prime minister added, “We should deal with this issue quietly, calmly and covertly, and we should work on finding a way from them to emigrate to other countries and not just over the Jordan [River].”

Eventually the cabinet discussed more extreme plans.

“Perhaps if we don’t give them enough water they won’t have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither,” Eshkol said in one meeting. The prime minister also discussed the idea of initiating a war of aggression against Palestinians to force them to leave their ancestral lands.

“Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved. But that’s a type of ‘luxury,’ an unexpected solution.”

Realizing the optics of the illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing, Education Minister Zalman Aranne remarked:

“I do not for one minute accept the idea that the world outside will look at the fact that we’re taking everything for ourselves and will say, ‘Bon Appetit,’” he said. “After all in another year or half a year the world will wake up; there’s a world out there and it will ask questions.”

After 50 years, Israel has instituted a “apartheid regime” in Palestine, according to a landmark United Nations report that has since been retracted following political backlash.

Rima Khalaf, the former UN Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary, affirmed the report’s findings by saying that the report “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people”.

 

SOURCE OF REPORT

FAILED: Foreign Policy as We Know It

FAILED: Foreign Policy as We Know It

The Stop the War Coalition has just published a short summary of what’s wrong with foreign policy, going through a partial list of current wars one by one. Of course this is a British organization with a British perspective, but it’s the closest thing to what a well-funded U.S. anti-war organization might produce, and it ought to be considered by people everywhere, as it impacts us all.

I confess that I have throughout the terror-producing “war on terror” envied and identified with the British peace movement. Here’s a country with a capital of nearly 13 times the population of Washington D.C., big rally and march locations, the rest of the country no farther away than an American will drive for a really good concert, and (not coincidentally, I think) peace as part of the political conversation. Plus, of course, Parliament’s opposition to bombing Syria in 2013 was a huge help in delaying U.S. bombing.

When I see people here in the United States cheerfully campaigning for presidential or Congressional candidates as if they actually like them and share a world view with them, I of course feel left out. I want to disarm and transition away from militarism to peaceful sustainable societies. I want to denounce the wars and the weapons dealing as harmful and endangering and environmentally destructive, rather than defensive or necessary or heroic. I don’t share these views with anyone on CNN or MSNBC.

But when people accuse me of somehow choosing to be a radical as if it were a personality trait rather than a result of how far public policy is from what I consider reasonable or decent, I can prove them all wrong by simply pointing across the pond. Let Jeremy Corbyn run for office in Virginia and I’ll run around knocking on doors and littering yards with signs as much as the next guy — more, I bet.

And while I know we don’t have this kind of time to work with, I think I secretly fantasize, somewhere in the back of my tragedy-saturated skull, that as Britain pushed the world toward ending slavery it could, over the coming century, push the world toward ending war.

Stop the War’s analysis of foreign policy failure points out, in general and case-by-case, how “fighting terrorism” by bombing and invading has had exactly the opposite effect. In various countries where Britain has joined with the United States in wars, just about every type of war has been tried, often more than once, and Trump is in most cases simply escalating the least successful approaches.

In Afghanistan, Chris Nineham predicts that the U.S.-backed government will soon control just Kabul. I predict it will have a hard time even with that, as the population explodes with people fleeing the countryside, as the water is depleted, as the trash and sewage pile up, and as those who can recall anything resembling peace die off.

In Yemen, Daniel Jakopovich makes the same demands of the British government that we make of the U.S., namely stop selling Saudi Arabia weapons, stop participating in the war, and advocate for peace.

In Iraq, Shabbir Lakha recounts the counterproductive creation of groups like ISIS now being compounded by repeating the same murderous approaches to saving places by destroying them. I do wish Lakha hadn’t written that alternatives to war had not been exhausted when the U.S.-and-friends attacked in 2003, because it implies that in some theoretical case such alternatives could be exhausted.

In Syria, the Stop the War authors thread the needle of endless disagreements about this sad and ruined land by opposing overthrow without supporting the Syrian government. Stop the bombing, they say, aid the refugees, cut off support for Saudi Arabia’s crimes, and support a peace process without preconditions. Yes, exactly right. But quite disappointing that Stop the War Coalition calls Russian war making legal, even while opposing it. Legal because invited by the Syrian government? But who gave the Syrian government the right to commit the crime of war? Who gets to declare what’s a real nation and what is not, so that wars fought against non-real nations don’t count as real wars?

Stop the War claims Britain is now the second leading weapons dealer on earth, and that NATO members spend 70% of world spending on militarism, not counting NATO allies like Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. This, too, is a very useful perspective for us to take up in the United States and everywhere. It’s not just that the U.S. dwarfs all other militaries in its pursuit of global domination. It’s also that over three-quarters of militarism on earth is all on one team in desperate search of worthy opponents and customers, which it will manufacture if necessary.

A new low point for the USA’s crazy president #Trump

Trump’s Retweets Draw Fire for Hateful Portrayal of Muslims

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump retweeted inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group Wednesday that purported to show violence being committed by Muslims, drawing quick condemnation from civil rights groups as well as a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump retweeted videos from Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right British group whose profile was elevated by Trump’s attention.

May spokesman James Slack said Britain First seeks to divide communities through its use of “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.” He said “it is wrong for the president to have done this.”

But May’s office said an invitation for Trump to pay a state visit to Britain was not being withdrawn, amid calls from opposition politicians for the visit to be canceled.

The group’s tweets read: “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” and “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”

Trump did not offer any explanation for why he retweeted the videos. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later defended his early-morning posts, saying he wants to “promote strong borders and strong national security.”

Asked if the president had a responsibility to verify the content, Sanders said: “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.”

Sanders said that May and other world leaders “know that these are real threats.”

Britain First is a group that opposes multiculturalism and what it calls the “Islamization” of Britain. It has run candidates in local and national elections, with little success, and has campaigned against the construction and expansion of mosques. Fransen picked up nearly 10,000 Twitter followers in the hours following Trump’s retweets.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations strongly condemned Trump’s tweets. Nihad Awad, the group’s executive director, said in a statement that Trump is “clearly telling members of his base that they should hate Islam and Muslims.”

Awad addressed Trump in his own tweet, saying the council has recorded 3,296 anti-Muslim incidents this year and yet “we haven’t heard a peep from you. Some president.”

Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry said in a statement that Trump’s “words and beliefs normalize and lend credence to hate, putting Americans at risk of violence on a daily basis.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, in a tweet, said, “Trump’s prejudice against Muslims reveals itself at every turn_with today’s tweets meant to gin up fear and bias, with statements like ‘Islam hates us,’ and with every version of the Muslim ban.”

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke welcomed the videos, tweeting: “Trump retweets video of crippled white kid in Europe being beaten by migrants, and white people being thrown off a roof and then beaten to death, He’s condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON’T. Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”

One video from 2013 showed a radical Islamist in Egypt throwing a 9-year-old boy off a roof. The video was filmed in Egypt days after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by Egypt’s military. The perpetrators of the roof violence were later sentenced to death for killing the boy and another man.

Another shows a man — said to be a supporter of Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate then known as the Nusra Front — smashing a blue and white statue of the Virgin Mary. The video appeared on the internet in October 2013, in the midst of a civil war in Syria, and was reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.

The third video shows two young men fighting near a river bank. It was originally posted to a Dutch viral video site in May 2017 and picked up by Dutch media the following day. Two 16-year-old boys were arrested, according to De Telegraaf, and police removed the video. The boys’ religion was not included in any of the reports.

Trump’s tweets came two days after he mocked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” during an Oval Office event with Native American veterans, drawing criticism from of Native American war veterans and politicians of both major parties.

It’s not the first time Trump has retweeted inflammatory content or posts from controversial Twitter accounts. He has shared messages from accounts that appeared to have ties to white nationalist groups. He has retweeted a conservative Trump supporter who used social media to draw attention to “pizzagate,” an unfounded conspiracy theory that claims Democrats harbored child sex slaves at a pizza restaurant. He has also retweeted doctored videos, including one that appeared to show him hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump offered anti-Muslim commentary, saying he would “strongly consider” closing mosques and insisting that “Islam hates us.” As president he has sought to ban travel from majority-Muslim countries. He said earlier this year that “we have to stop radical Islamic terrorism.”

After Trump retweeted the videos, Fransen quickly responded on Twitter, saying: “DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

Fransen has been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment through leaflets and videos that were distributed during a criminal trial earlier this year. She has separately been charged with using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior” in a speech she made in Northern Ireland in August. She is currently free on bail.

She was convicted last year of religiously aggravated harassment and fined after hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

Trump’s retweets were condemned by Brendan Cox, whose British lawmaker wife Jo Cox was murdered last year by an attacker with far-right views.

Cox tweeted: “Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself.”

Trump’s tweets were also condemned by TV host Piers Morgan, who tweeted: “Good morning, Mr President @realDonaldTrump – what the hell are you doing retweeting a bunch of unverified videos by Britain First, a bunch of disgustingly racist far-right extremists? Please STOP this madness & undo your retweets.”

Israeli Defense Minister Contradicts Netanyahu: “There Is No Iranian Military Force On Syrian Land”

Israeli Defense Minister Contradicts Netanyahu: “There Is No Iranian Military Force On Syrian Land”
The Israeli-Saudi narrative of “blame Iran first” is crumbling fast

As we’ve long pointed out, anytime that Israel carries out acts of aggression against Syria, it can just blame Iran or Hezbollah and escape international criticism or condemnation. International media and Western governments have already demonstrated a penchant for towing the Israeli line whenever Iran can be conceivably blamed as a culprit – evidence or no evidence – this as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it official Israeli policy to oppose Iranian presence in Syria.

But on Tuesday Israel’s own Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman flatly contradicted the prime minister’s jingoistic alarmism by saying that there are no Iranian military forces in Syria, but instead merely stuck to acknowledging “experts and advisers”. In comments to Israel’s Ynet news, Lieberman admitted, “We must preserve our security interests. It is true that there are a number of Iranian experts and advisers, but there is no Iranian military force on Syrian land.”

The comments came on the same day that the IDF Spokesperson made provocative and controversial statements, announcing that in the next Israel-Hezbollah War, “Nasrallah is a target” for assassination and that Israel is currently conducting psychological and media warfare against Hezbollah.


Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (left) and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. Image source: The Jerusalem Post

But Defense Minister Lieberman’s statement flies in the face of claims made by Netanyahu in his speech before the UN General Assembly this year when he said, “We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria… And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border.”

According to a BBC report dubiously sourced to “a Western intelligence source” from earlier this month, Syria stands accused of hosting a sizable Iranian military base south of Damascus, a story which Israel utilized to ratchet up rhetoric in preparing its case before the international community for further attacks on supposed Iranian targets inside Syria. Israel has long justified its attacks inside Syria by claiming to be acting against Hezbollah and Iranian targets.

But Lieberman’s surprising comments represent a significant potential backing away from what appeared to be Israel’s long running official stance on the issue. According to Tel Aviv based Haaretz newspaper, Lieberman responded as follows when presented with the contradiction:

Netanyahu has said Iran is working to build military bases in Syria, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its leader there, Qassem Soleimani, have been photographed in the war-torn country neighboring Israel to the north. When asked about this discrepancy, Lieberman said that “all the regional forces know we are the strongest power in the area. Israel is a regional power.”

 

“Iran has a strategy to creating proxies everywhere. Obviously, they are not physically in Lebanon, that’s what’s Hezbollah is for. In Yemen, they’re not physically present, they created the Houthi rebels. They have the same plan in Syria: creating different kinds of militias.”

It could be that this new emphasis on acknowledging Iranian “proxies” while stopping short of claiming direct Iranian military presence – a clear lessening of Israel’s intensifying rhetoric of late – is connected to a potential Syria-Israeli back channel deal to demilitarize the Golan region. We reported yesterday that unconfirmed Israeli sources are claiming that Putin is personally mediating demands issued between Assad and Netanyahu after both leaders traveled to meet with Putin within the past months.

The Jerusalem Post published a story early this week based on a well placed Israeli source privy to diplomatic maneuvering between Moscow, Tel Aviv, and Damascus. The report said, “the source, who remains unnamed, said that during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s surprise visit to Russia last week, Assad gave Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad’s regime from power.”

Meanwhile, both Israel and Saudi Arabia have increasingly gone public with their covert relationship based on intelligence sharing against what both sides perceive to be a strong and expansionist Iran.

Earlier this month Israel Defense Force (IDF) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot gave an unprecedented interview to a prominent Saudi newspaper in which he said that, “Israel is ready to share intelligence with Riyadh on their shared arch-foe Iran.” Eizenkot explained further, according to Tel Aviv based i24NEWS, that “Israel and Riyadh – which he noted have never fought one another – are in complete agreement about Iran’s intentions to dominate the Middle East.” 

And like Israel, Saudi Arabia has long scapegoated Iran and the region’s Shia for all of it’s problems, especially as it wages its brutal war on Yemen.

But on Tuesday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hit back. In comments picked up by Reuters, he said that Saudi Arabia presents Iran as an enemy because it wants to cover up its defeats in the region. Rouhani said in the midst of a live interview on state television, “Saudi Arabia was unsuccessful in Qatar, was unsuccessful in Iraq, in Syria and recently in Lebanon. In all of these areas, they were unsuccessful,” and added further, “So they want to cover up their defeats.”

These words of course could just as well be aimed at Israel too. And with today’s surprise admission by Israel’s defense minister – that there is “no Iranian military force on Syrian land” – it could be that Israel’s bluff has finally been called.

israel uses chemical weapons on Palestinian farmers

Three Palestinians Injured After Israeli Planes Sprayed Farmlands With Toxins In Gaza

 30 Nov 6:39 AM

Israeli army planes sprayed, Wednesday, Palestinian farmland in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, with toxins and chemicals, wounding three Palestinians.

 

Medical sources in Gaza said the Palestinians suffered chemical burns, severe shortening of breath, and various types of allergies after being exposed to the Israeli toxins, while working on their lands, near the border area, in the eastern part of the coastal region.

They added that a special committee was formed to take samples if the

toxins which were sprayed by the Israeli planes, to conduct the needed lab analysis.

The incident is part of a series of violations targeting the Palestinians and their lands, especially in areas close to the border fence, in the improvised Gaza Strip.

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory  (23– 28 November 2017)

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 

(23– 28 November 2017)

Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

(23 – 28 November 2017)

 

  • 4 Civilians, including 2 children and international activist, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces conducted 68 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 similar incursions in Jerusalem.
  • 44 civilians, including 12 children and 2 women, were arrested.
  • 12 of them, including 6 children, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.
  • Israeli authorities continue to make a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
  • A house in Beit Hanina was demolished, and another civilian was forced to self-demolish his house in Um Touba village.
  • 8 civilians’ cars were confiscated from Beit Xa village while construction materials and fuels were entered only in coordination with the civil adminsrtation.
  • Israeli forces continue settlement activities in the West Bank
  • A barrack used for ferrous metals was demolished in Hebron.
  • Settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds, east of Yata, south of Hebron.
  • Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea.
  • 3 shooting incidents targeting the Palestinian fishing boats occurred in the Northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.
  • Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th
  • Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.
  • 5 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were arrested at the checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (23 – 28 November 2017).

 

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and an interntional activist in the West Bank while wounded a child in the Gaza Strip.  In the Gaze Strip, They also continued to chase Palestinian fishermen in the Sea.

 

In the West Bank, on 24 November 2017, A German activist was wounded with a bullet to the right side of his back while participating in Ni’lin weekly protest, west of Ramallah.

 

On 26 November 2017, 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded when Israeli forces opened fire at dozens of students in al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, as the latter organized a peaceful protest in commemoration of the killing of child Khalid al-Jawabrah near the bypass road in the civinty of the refugee camp.

 

In the same context, Israeli forces continued to use force against the protests organized by Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders against the annexation wall, confiscation of lands and crimes of settlement expansion.  During the reporting period, dozens of Palestinian civilians, international human rights defenders and Israelis organized protests in Ni’lin and Bil’in villages, west of Ramallah, al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, and Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

In the Gaza Strip, the border areas with Israeli witnessed protests against the ongoing and unjust Israeli closured against the Gaza population.  During those protests, the Israeli forces used forces against the protesters.  as a result, a child was wounded, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

In the Gaza Strip, as part of targeting fishermen in the sea, PCHR monitored the Israeli naval forces’ escalation against fishermen in the Gaza Sea although it was announced that the Gaza fishermen are allowed to sail to 9 nautical miles instead of 6.  This proves that the Israeli forces continue their policy of targeting fishermen in their livelihoods.  During the reporting period, Israeli gunboats chased fishing boats and opened fire at them 3 times; 1 of them in the north-western Beit Lahia and the others in the western Soudaniyah area, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 68 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank while they conducted 5 incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 32 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and 2 women, in the West Bank.  Four of them, including a woman, were arrested when Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds in Kherbet Um Hanitah, east of Yata, and the Israeli forces intervened to protect the settlers.  Meanwhile, 12 civilians, including 6 children, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

 

Measures to Make a Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem

 

As part of the house demolitions, on 23 November 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to the family of ‘Issam al-Rajabi in al-Ashaqriyah neighbourhood in Beit Hanina, north of occupied East Jerusalem, rendering its residents homeless during the cold and rainy weather.  The above-mentioned civilian said that he built his house in 2010 on an area of 140 square meters, and the Israeli Municipality fined him with 20,000 shekels in instalments.  He paid 43 instalments but there are 7 instalments left.  During this year, he added a 30-square-meter structure to the house, but the Municipality notified him that they will demolish it.  On the abovementioned date, the house sheltering a family of 10 members along with the additional structures was demolished.

 

On 25 November 2017, Israeli forces forced Jamal Abu Teir from Um Touba, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, to self-demolish his house, upon a decision by the Israeli Municipality.  Abu Teir said that he self-demolished his house after evacuating it to avoid paying the very high demolition expenses for the municipality.  The house was built on an area of 40 square meters and used to shelter a family of 5 members.

 

As part of the strangulation policy against the residents of Beit Xa village, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli forces confiscated 8 vehicles belonging to civilians from the village.  Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces aimed at confining the besieged village residents and restricting their movement.  They added that the Israeli forces stationed at the sole entrance to the village spare no effort to maltreat the residents, particularly young men, while crossing the checkpoint.  The Israeli forces have recently prevented the entry of construction materials and fuels, particularly cooking gas, into the village except in coordination with the civil administration.

 

Settlement Activities and Settlers’ Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and their property:

 

As part of the demolition of houses and other civil facilities, on 27 November 2017, Israeli forces demolished a barrack built of tin plates in Beit ‘Aynoun area, east of Hebron.  The 120-square-meter barrack belongs to Mohammed Meswadeh (45) under the retext of builing without a license and is used for ferrous metals.

 

As part of the Israeli settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property, on 28 November 2017, Israeli settlers from “Mtsa Ya’ir” and “Yitir” settlements attacked Palestinian farmers and shepherds from Kherbet Um Hanitah adjacent to Mneizel village to the east of Yata, south of Hebron, while the latter were grazing their sheep and ploughing their lands to plant winter crops.  The settlers attacked them with stones, batons and hands and when the farmers and shepherds tried to defend themselves, the Israeli soldiers attacked them without stopping the settlers and moving them away.  The Israeli soldiers then arrested 4 civilians, including a mother of 5 children.

 

Restrictions on movement:

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure of the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.  The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world. This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 2 million people.  The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy.  They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 65%. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 47% and youth constitutes 65% of the unemployed persons.  Moreover, 80% of the Gaza Strip population depends on international aid to secure their minimum daily needs. These rates indicate the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip.

 

In the West Bank, Israeli forces continued to suffocate the Palestinian cities and village by imposing military checkpoints around and/or between them. This created “cantons” isolated from each other that hinders the movement of civilians. Moreover, the Palestinian civilians suffering aggravated because of the annexation wall and checkpoints erected on daily basis to catch Palestinians.

 

 

Details

 

  1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas, and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Qabatiyah village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Saleh Saba’nah (22) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Yamoun village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Ahmed Mahmoud Abu ‘Obaid (24) and Ahmed ‘Ali Khamaisah (22) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Hebron and stationed at the residential neighbourhood, which is adjacent to Hebron University. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mo’men Ayoub al-Qawasmah (24) and ‘Aadel Barakat Gheith (23) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Yusuf Omer Dawoud Salah. They arrested Yusuf’s mother to force him to turn himself in and then withdrew from the village. After 4 hours, the Israeli forces moved again into al-Khader village and arrested Yusuf Salah.

 

  • At approximately 03:40, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and a house belonging to Sa’id ‘Awad Nakhlah (27) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 08:20, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 4 nautical miles and chased them. The shooting recurred at approximately 10:00 on the same day. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported

 

  • At approximately 15:00, Israeli forces accompanied with 2 military vehicles moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron and stationed in Muthalath Safa area, east of the village. The soldiers deployed the area, stopped a number of vehicles and checked ID cards of the passengers. Meanwhile, a number of youngsters gathered in the vicinity of the area and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. The soldiers immediately fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the youngsters and the road. As a result, the traffic was hindered due to the tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli soldiers. Later, the Israeli forces withdrew, and neither arrests nor house raids were reported. However, a number of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: al-Fawar refugee camp, Sa’ir and Shuyoukh al-‘Aroub villages in Hebron; Beit Led village, east of Tulkarm; Kafer Sour village, south of the city; Safarin village, southeast of the city; Qalqiliyah and ‘Azzoun village, east of the city.

 

Friday, 24 November 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces accompanied with 4 military vehicles moved into Beit Ummer village, north of Hebron and stationed in al-Tahta neighborhood. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to 2 brothers; Eyad and Bassam Khalil al-Za’aqiq. The Israeli forces withdrew from the 2 houses and no arrests were reported.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and then handed summonses to Ahmed Tareq al-Remawi (22) and Ibrahim Sadeq al-Remawi (24) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service on Thursday, 30 November 2017, in “Ofer” prison established on Betunia village, west of the city.

 

  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli forces moved into Romanah village, west of Jenin. They patrolled the streets and then arrested Ahmed Walid Ahmed Abu Baker (25) while he was on his way to the grocery shop.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (5) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yatta, Surif, Ethna and Kerbat al-Semiya in Hebron; and Joyous village, northeast of Qalqiliyah.

 

Saturday 25 November 2017:

 

  • At approximately 09:50, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of Beit Lahia village in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (8) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Led village, east of Tulkarm; Hablah village, south of Qalqiliyah; Joyous village, northeast of the city; Bedia village, west of Salfit; Beit Kahel, al-Thaheriyah,  al-Hadab villages,  and Yatta in Hebron.

 

Sunday, 26 November 2017:

 

  • At approximately 01:55, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyah shore, west of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 5 nautical miles and chased them. As a result, the fishermen were forced to flee fearing for their lives, but neither casualties nor material damage was reported.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 3 civilians namely Mohammed (25), his brother Mahmoud Ibrahim Da’dou’ (19), and Mohammed Khader Abu ‘Amous (17).

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (15) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Nablus and Tal village, southwest of the city; ‘Azzoun village, east of Qalqiliyah; Tulkarm, Shuweikah Suburb; ‘Enabta village, and Noor Shams refugee camp , east of the village; Baqa eastern village, north of the city; the villages of Nazlet ‘Essa, Nazlet Abu al-Nar, al-Nazlah al-Sharqiyah, al-Nazlah al-Gharbiyah, and al-Nazlah al-Wusta, northeast of the city; Dura and Hebron.

 

Monday, 27 November 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Jalamah village, northeast of Jenin. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Ahmed Nidal Abu Farhah (22) and Mahmoud Omer Abu Farhah (26) and then arrested them.

 

  • At approximately 02:00, Israeli force moved into Madama village, south of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed ‘Aayed Qet (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into ‘Ourta village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to Abdul Hafith Ramzi ‘Awad (16) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Beit ‘Awa village, southwest of
    Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Nabil Mohammed Masalmah (45) and the arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 02:30, Israeli forces moved into Hebron and stationed in al-Salam neighborhood. They raided and searched a house belonging to Diya’a Salman Sarahnah (23) and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mohammed Yusuf al-Bari (20) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses after which they arrested 4 civilians, including 2 brothers, namely Mohammed (15), Ahmed Mahmoud Saleh Mousa (13), Mohammed Sa’oud Sbaih (15) and Abdul Rahim al-Masri (13).

 

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli forces moved into Karisah village, east of Dura, southwest of Hebron and stationed in Khelat Jobran area. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Rezeq Musalam al-Rjoub (55) and his son Ahmed (26) and then arrested them. The soldiers also confiscated Rezeq’s car.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (7) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Beit Ummer, Taffouh, and al-Majd villages in Hebron; ‘Azzoun, al-Nabi Elias villages and Tulkarm, east of Qalqiliyah.

 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

 

  • At approximately 01:30, Israeli forces moved into Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Anas Wasef al-Zeir (28), who holds a Ph. D, and then arrested him.

 

  • Around the same time, Israeli forces moved into Qarawet Bani Hassan village, northwest of Salfit. They raided and searched a house belonging to Adam Rashad Mar’i (24), who holds a Ph. D, and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 03:00, Israeli forces moved into Barqin village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to Ahmed Abdul Hadi ‘Atiq (33) and then arrested him.

 

  • At approximately 04:00, Israeli forces moved into Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and then handed summonses to Mohammed Akram Taqatqa (23) and Emad Ibrahim Deriyah (25) to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in “Gush Etzion”, south of the city.

 

Note: During the aforementioned day, Israeli forces conducted (3) incursions in the following areas and no arrests were reported: Yatta, al-Burj and Howarah villages, south of Nablus.

 

Demonstrations in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities

 

West Bank:

 

  • Following Friday Prayer on 24 November 2017, dozens of Palestinian civilians, international human rights defenders and Israelis organized protests in Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. As a result, an International protester holding the German passport sustained a metal bullet wound to the right side of his back. He received medical treatment on the spot by the ambulance crews that were in the area.

 

  • Following the same Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinian civilians, international human rights defenders and Israelis organized protests in Bil’in villages, west of Ramallah, al-Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the city, and Kafer Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, in protest against the annexation wall and settlement activities. Israeli forces forcibly dispersed the protests, firing live and metal bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs. They also chased the protesters into the olive fields and between houses. As a result, many of the protesters suffered tear gas inhalation while others sustained bruises due to being beaten up by the Israeli soldiers.

 

  • Following the same Friday prayer, dozens of Palestinians from Kherbet Qalqas, east of Hebron organized a protest at the southern entrance to the village, which has been closed by the Israeli forces for 17 years, restricting the movement of the village residents. Large force of Israeli soldiers arrived at the area. When civilians attempted to move towards the sand barriers which close the road while raising the Palestinian flags and banners, the Israeli soldiers threatened to fire tear gas canisters at them. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities informed the Hebron Municipality their approval to open the road. After opening the road for 14 days, an Israeli force accompanied with a bulldozer arrived at the area and closed the road again.

 

  • At approximately 08:00 on Sunday, 26 November 2017, dozens of Palestinian students organized a protest in al-‘Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, on the second anniversary of murdering Khalid al-Jawabrah near the bypass road in the vicinity of the refugee camp. A number of students gathered near the UNRWA distribution center, while a number of them headed to the street leading the camp where there were several Israeli patrols stationed in the area. The students threw stones at the soldiers, who stepped off their military vehicles. The soldiers then moved towards the camp and sporadically fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the students and houses. As a result, a number of students suffered tear gas inhalation. Later, a number of soldiers topped several house roofs in the neighborhood and sporadically fired lived bullets at the stone-throwers and civilians, who were on the street. As a result, Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Abu Dayyah (22) sustained shrapnel wound to the right thigh and was transferred via a civilian car to a medical complex in Beit Fajjar, which is about 1.5 kilometers away from the abovementioned camp. Ahmed received first aid at one of the private clinics. Following that, Ahmed was transferred via an ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to a hospital in Bethlehem. When the ambulance arrived at “Gush Etzion” intersection, the Israeli soldiers stopped it, arrested Ahmed and took him to “Shaare Zedek” Medical Centre, where he received medical treatment. Ahmed was released at approximately 22:00 in front of the camp. In a separate incident, Israeli forces fired live bullets at a 16-year-old child when he was near a bakery. As a result, the child sustained shrapnel wounds to the lower part of his body and was transferred to Hebron Government Hospital.

 

Gaza Strip:

 

  • At approximately 13:30 on the same Friday, 24 November 2017, dozens of Palestinian youngsters made their way to the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Shuhada’a Cemetery, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, in protest against the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. The youngsters approached the security fence and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers along the border fence. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets, and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 16-year-old child from al-Remal neighborhood was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg. He was transferred by a PRCS ambulance to the Indonesian Hospital. His injury was classified as minor.

 

(PCHR keeps the name of the wounded child)

 

  1. Continued closure of the oPt

 

Israel continued to impose a tight closure on the oPt, imposing severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Gaza Strip

 

Israeli forces continuously tighten the closure of the Gaza Strip and close all commercial crossings, making the Karm Abu Salem crossing the sole commercial crossing of the Gaza Strip, although it is not suitable for commercial purposes in terms of its operational capacity and distance from markets.

Israeli forces have continued to apply the policy, which is aimed to tighten the closure on all commercial crossings, by imposing total control over the flow of imports and exports.

 

Israeli forces have continued to impose a total ban on the delivery of raw materials to the Gaza Strip, except for very limited items and quantities. The limited quantities of raw materials allowed into Gaza do not meet the minimal needs of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

 

Israeli forces also continued to impose an almost total ban on the Gaza Strip exports, including agricultural and industrial products, except for light-weighted products such as flowers, strawberries, and spices. However, they lately allowed the exportation of some vegetables such as cucumber and tomatoes, furniture and fish.

 

Israel has continued to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing for the majority of Palestinian citizens from the Gaza Strip. Israel only allows the movement of a limited number of groups, with many hours of waiting in the majority of cases. Israel has continued to adopt a policy aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian patients allowed to move via the Beit Hanoun crossing to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel or in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also continued applying the policy of making certain civilian traveling via the crossing interviewed by the Israeli intelligence service to be questioned, blackmailed or arrested.

Movement at Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, southeast of Rafah, is designated for the movement of goods

 

 

PCHR apologizes for not publishing the table of the Movement at Karm Abu Salem Crossing and will publish it in the weekly report next week.

 

Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is designated for the movement of individuals, and links the Gaza Strip with the West Bank.

 

Movement at Beit Hanoun (“Erez”) crossing

(22 – 27 November 2017)

 

Category 22 November 23 November 24 November 25 November 26 November  27 November
Patients 49 28 4 53 27
Companions 39 27 3 51 51
Personal needs 49 126 14 35 41
Familiesof prisoners 28
Arabs fromIsrael 14 10 7 10 5
Diplomats 2
International journalists 6 1 2
International workers 46 104 9 11 18
Travelersabroad 4 2
Business people 67 77 4 104 76
Business meetings
Security interviews 9 5 9
VIPs 1 2 1 2
Ambulances to Israel 1 8 1 3 1
Patients’ Companions 1 8 1 1 1

 

Note:

 

On Wednesday, 22 November 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed 3 persons to give testimony before the Israeli courts.

 

On Thursday, 23 November 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed 2 persons, who work at the General Authority of Civil Affairs (GACA) and internationals to renew their permits.

 

On Wednesday, 22 November 2017, the Israeli authorities allowed 5 persons; on Thursday, 23 November 2017, 4 persons; on Sunday, 26 November 2017, 4 persons;  and on Monday, 27 November 2017, one person to return to the West Bank.

Israel has imposed a tightened closure on the West Bank. During the reporting period, Israeli forces imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians:

 

  • Ramallah: Israeli forces established (4) checkpoints all over the city.

On Friday, 24 November 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin, Kherbitha al-Mosbah, and ‘Atara villages.

 

  • Hebron:  Israeli forces established (17) checkpoints all over the city.

On Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoints at eastern entrance to Dura village, at the entrance to Shayyoukh village, at the southern entrance to Halhoul village, and at the entrance to Ethna village.

On Friday, 24 November 2017, 2 similar checkpoints were established at the northern entrance to Yatta village and at the southern entrance to Hebron.

On Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Ethna and Sa’ir villages.

On Sunday, 26 November 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Fawar and al-‘Aroub refugee camps and at the entrance to Bani Na’iem village.

On Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Yatta village and at the entrance to al-‘Aroub refugee camp.

On Tuesday, 28 November 2017, 4 similar checkpoints were established at the entrances to Samou’a and Karmah villages, at the entrance to al-Fawar refugee camp, and at the entrance to ‘Abdo road.

 

  • Qalqiliyia: Israeli forces established (13) checkpoints all over the city.

 

On Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to ‘Azoun , al-Nabi Saleh, and Hiblah villages, south of the city.

On Friday, 24 November 2017, Israeli forces established 4 checkpoint at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia (was established twice); at the entrance to Hiblah village, south of the city; and between ‘Azoun and Kafur al-Thulth villages, east of the city.

At approximately 15:15 on Saturday, 26 November 2017, Israeli forces established 5 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia; at the southern entrance to Hiblah village (was established twice); at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of the city; and at the entrance to Kafur al-Thulth village, east of the city.

At approximately 15:15 on Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces established 5 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyia, at the southern entrance to Hiblah village (was established twice), at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, and at the entrance to Kafur al-Thulth village, east of the city.

At approximately 17:30 on Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azoun village, east of Qalqiliyia.

 

Salfit: Israeli forces established (4) checkpoints all over the city.

On Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the entrance to Dirsitiyia village, northwest of Salfit.

On Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Kaful Hares village, north of Salfit; and at the entrances to Hares and Dersitiyia villages, northwest of the city.

 

Tulkarm:

At approximately 15:30 on Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli forces tightened its measures at ‘Inab checkpoint, east of Tulkarm. They obstructed the civilians’ movement until 17:30. The checkpoint was removed later and no arrests among civilians were reported. At approximately 18:10 on Friday, 24 November 2017, Israeli forces tightened its measures again at the ‘Inab checkpoint.

 

Arrests at Military Checkpoints:

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli forces stationed at a checkpoint established at the entrance to al-Salimah neighborhood in Hebron’s Old City, arrested Moahmed Amar Da’nah (10), from al-Hariqah neighborhood. He was then taken to “Ja’baraj” Police Station under the pretext of throwing stones. Mohamed was later released.

 

  • At approximately 09:20 on Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village’s bridge, north of Ramallah. They stopped Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. In the meantime, they arrested Rami Ahmed ‘Asfour (25), from Ramallah, while crossing the checkpoint, heading to his cousin in Rawabi City.

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces stationed at a military checkpoint, east of al-Ibrahimi Mosque, arrested Mo’tasem Naser Abu Rimilah (16), claiming that he had a knife.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces established a checkpoint at the intersection of Jabi’ village, south of Jenin. They stopped Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. In the meantime, they arrested ‘Atallah Mohamed ‘Attallah Hashash (45), from Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus.

 

  • At approximately 16:00 on Monday, Israeli forces established a checkpoint on Ramallah-Nablus Road, near al-Laban village, south of Nablus. They stopped Palestinian civilians’ vehicles and checked the passengers’ IDs. In the meantime, they arrested Diyaa Sameeh Mohamed Abu ‘Arab (25), from Balatah refugee camp, east of Nablus.

 

 

Efforts to Create Jewish majority

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

  • Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 00:00 on Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, and indiscriminately fired sound bombs. They then raided and searched houses from which they arrested Khaled Samer Adkidek (10) and Rammah Abed al-Hadi ‘Odah (25).

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Friday, 24 November 2017, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They then raided and searched a house belonging to Qusi Husam Zaytoun (13) and arrested him.

 

  • On Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces arrested Mohamed ‘Adel Soweity (13), from Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. Mohammed surrendered to al-Qashla Police Center after the Israeli forces summoned him in the previous day.

 

  • At approximately 02:000 on Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces moved into Abu Tayieh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They then raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Arafat Abu al-Hamam (45) and arrested him along with his sons Mohamed (19) and Shadi (21). They also arrested ‘Arafat’s brother, ‘Amir (37). ‘Arafat’s wife, Shereen Abu Hamam, said that the Israeli forces raided their house and arrested her husband, two sons, and brother-in-law after severely beating them up. She added that the Israeli forces locked her in the balcony and denied her access to the house. During which, Shereen heard her detained sons shouting in the house. When the Israeli forces withdrew from the house and arrested her husband and sons, Shereen found blood on the wall.

 

  • In the same context, Israeli forces moved into al-A’awar neighborhood in Silwan village. They raided and searched a house belonging to ‘Abed al-Men’im al-A’awar (19) and arrested him after beating him up.

 

  • On Monday, Israeli forces seized 8 Palestinian vehicles from Beit Xa village, west of occupied East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint established at the entrance to the village seized 8 vehicles belonging to the village residents. The eyewitnesses also said that the Israeli forces aim at confining the village residents and obstructing their movement. They also added that the Israeli forces spare no effort to maltreat the Palestinian civilians while crossing the checkpoint, especially young men. Lately, the Israeli forces prevented the entry of construction materials and fuels, especially cooking gas, to the village, except in coordination with the Israeli Civil Administration, but the residents reused so. It should be noted that the Israeli authorities seized most of Beit Xa village lands, which are about 10 thousands dumuns, and around 360 dumuns are left. The Israeli forces also prevent paving the village main street under flimsy pretexts.

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 28 November 2017, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses from which they arrested Sari Sami Abu al-Hawa (14), Na’iem Ibrahim ‘Ashayier (11), and Mahmoud Mohamed al-Hidrah (13).

 

Houses Demolition

 

  • At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 23 November 2017, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house belonging to al-Rajabi family in al-Ashqariyia neighborhood in Beit Huninah, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They expelled the house residents during the cold and rainy weather.

‘Esam al-Rajabi (43), the house owner, said that the Israeli bulldozers, under the Israeli police’s protection, raided his house in al-Ashqariyia neighborhood and demolished it under the pretext of non-licensing.  He also said that the Israeli forces ordered him and his family to get out of the house and did not allow them to vacate the house contents. Al-Rajabi said the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem held a session on 08 November 2017, in order to extend the demolition decision, but the court rejected the lawyer’s demand. Few days later, the lawyer headed to the Jerusalem Municipality Court to obtain an order to stop the demolition, but he did not get any response. ‘Esam also said that a police officer in al-Nabi Ya’qoub Police Station in Beit Haninah contacted him yesterday informing him that the house will be demolished next week. As a result, the lawyer submitted an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court. Al-Rajabi pointed out that the Israeli District Court’s decision, which was issued at the beginning of this month, ordered to demolish a 30-square-meter structure added to the old house. He also said that he was surprised with the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolishing the 140-square-meter house. Although he objected to the demolition of the old house, the Israeli Municipality officers insisted on demolishing the whole house. ‘Esam said that he built the house in 2010, and the Israeli Municipality imposed a construction fine on him of NIS 20,000 in installments. He paid 43 installments while there are still 7 payments left.  He had to add a 30-square-meter structure to his old house 5 years ago for his son Kamel, who wanted to get married. ‘Esam applied for a license few years ago, but the Jerusalem Municipality did not respond. The abovementioned house used to shelter 10 persons and was comprised of 4 rooms, kitchen, bathroom, and 2 other rooms for Kamal.

  • On Saturday, 25 November 2017, Israeli forces ordered Jamal Omar Abu Tair to self-demolish his house in Um Tuba village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of non-licensing. Jamal said that he self-demolished his house after vacating it to avoid paying costly municipality demolition fees. He also said that his 40-square-meter house was comprised of 2 rooms, kitchen, and bathroom, and sheltering 5 persons.
  • Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property
  • Israeli forces’ attacks
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 27 November 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with military vehicles, a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration, and a bulldozer moved into Beit ‘Aynoun area, east of Hebron. They then stationed on the road leading to Biet ‘Aynoun area. The bulldozer demolished a 120-square-meter barrack belonging to Mohamed Suliman Zakaria Moswada (45) and built of tin plates. The barrack was used for ferrous metals and demolished under the pretext of non-licensing.

 

 Israeli settlers’ attacks

 

  • At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 28 November 2017, a group of Israeli settlers from “Mitzpe Yair” and “Yatir” settlements, attacked Palestinian farmers from Kherbit Um Hunitah adjacent to Manizel village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Palestinian farmers were breeding their livestock and ploughing their lands. The Israeli settlers threw stones at the farmers and beat them with batons. When the framers attempted to defend themselves, the Israeli forces attacked them as well without taking the settlers away from the area. After that, a large force of Israeli soldiers arrived at the area and declared it as a closed military zone. They then arrested Hanan Mousa Ali Harizat (37), Karam Mohamed Harizat (20), Saleh Ahmed Mohamed Harizat (21), and Ali Mohamed Harizat (21). Moreover, ‘Emad Irsheed, the Manizel School’s cleaner, and ‘Aziza Salem Harizat (45), were detained, claiming that they took photos without get a permit. The arrested persons were taken to an investigation center in “Karyit ‘Aba’” settlement, east of Hebron. The arrested persons were released few hours later.

 

  • Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC in 2017 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

What is the content of Putin-Trump understanding? America withdraws Saudi Arabia and Israel Russia proceeds with Turkey and Iran ماذا في تفاهم بوتين ترامب؟

What is the content of Putin-Trump understanding? America withdraws Saudi Arabia and Israel Russia proceeds with Turkey and Iran 

نوفمبر 28, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,ماذا في تفاهم بوتين ترامب؟

The understandings between the great powers are not accomplished through long summits between two presidents, because such of these meetings are a sign of the depth of the disputes on one hand, and the will to understand on the other hand. They led to bridges on which the experts, consultants, senior diplomats and military depend, while the understandings are made by those, and when they are accomplished they are only in need of a mutual smile between the two presidents, signs of body language, and exchange of some words of assertion on the determination and credibility in going on in the understandings with consent and acceptance. This is what we saw in the previous long summits between the Presidents of Russia and America, and what we saw in the statement of the Russian-American understanding about Syria.

The understanding on Syria cannot be achieved without a comprehensive understanding on three organically linked files, the first of which is an understanding about Washington’s file of concern which is represented by the missiles of the North Korea and its military nuclear file, its basis is to stick to the understanding on the Iranian nuclear file as a valid example for North Korea rather than the escalation against Iran, which the leader of Korea says that possessing the nuclear missiles is his guarantee not to be exposed to what Iran is exposed to, while the required is the contrary to make the Koreans see that the example of Iran is attractive, because it gets advantages, roles, and smooth relations because it commits to the ceilings of the international understandings, and that the surrounding guarantees of the signed understanding make it stable. The understanding on Syria is related to the understanding on how to reduce the opposition and disobedience from the Saudi and the Israelis parties, the encouragement of the former to engage in a negotiating choice will lead into a political solution in Yemen, and the encouragement of the latter to engage will lead to a negotiating solution with the Palestinians.

The solution in Syria is drawn by the post-ISIS phase which imposed its logic, but the elements of pressure which accompanied it accelerate to ask questions which the former US Ambassador in Syria Robert Ford has given preemptive answers to them, by saying that Washington has to ensure the participation of the Kurds in the Syrian political solution, and to be ready for the US military exit from Syria otherwise to go to comprehensive war, which it is supposed that those who wanted it to wage it under more attractive titles than supporting the Kurds. It is good for Washington to entrust Moscow with the solution in Syria, it is a solution under political ceiling entitled the elections after a new constitution, as stated by the resolution issued by the UN under Russian-American consent.

According to Russia, the Turkish role in the North is important as a guarantee to cooperate in ending Al Nusra front on one hand, and for the Kurdish participation in the political solution under Turkish consent that ensures subsequent Turkish withdrawal from Syria after being reassured for the Turkish national security on the other hand. In contrast the Iranian role in the South is not under Russian bargaining in order to get the satisfaction of the Americans and the Israelis. The Russian President has already told the Head of the occupation government two months ago that Iran is filling a regional vacancy in Syria, so its participation in the political solution will make its presence positive even to its opponents, because it participates in bearing the responsibility of maintaining stability and keenness on balance in dealing with the Syrian components.

Despite the indicators of wars and the signs of escalation, the meanings of Moscow-Washington understanding cannot be ignored, and it cannot be ignored also the Kurdish retreat in Iraq from the secession in a recorded time without an ignition of an American –Israeli- Saudi war  which was the only opportunity for a war, moreover it cannot be ignored the Saudi retreat in Lebanon and the Saudi retreat in the file of besieging Yemen and the need to observe the Israeli alert and the objection of the content of the compromises, in addition to the intention on intervention when the Israeli interest calls, as a repetition of what the Israelis already said with signing the understanding on the Iranian nuclear file.

Many people in Washington say that strengthening the Iranian regional role as a guarantor of stability is more than a message to encourage the North Korea to accept the language of settlements, it is an investment on the relationship with a rising power and the willingness to deal with the retreat of the regional allies who live the phase of end despite the arrogance, denial, and the crazy acts.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

Statement by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America

ماذا في تفاهم بوتين ترامب؟

نوفمبر 14, 2017

ناصر قنديل

ماذا في تفاهم بوتين ترامب؟

– لا تنجز التفاهمات بين الدول الكبرى بقمم طويلة بين الرئيسين، ومثل هذه اللقاءات عند حدوثها تكون علامة على عمق الخلافات من جهة وإرادة التفاهم من جهة أخرى، فتنشئ جسوراً يتابع على أساسها الخبراء والمستشارون وكبار الموظفين الدبلوماسيين والعسكريين أما التفاهمات فيصنعها هؤلاء، وعندما تتمّ وتنجز، لا تستدعي إلا ابتسامة متبادلة بين الرئيسين وإشارات بلغة الجسد، وتبادل بعض الكلمات التأكيدية على العزم والصدقية في السير بالتفاهمات بالرضا والقبول. وهذا ما رأيناه في القمم السابقة الطويلة بين رئيسَيْ أميركا وروسيا، وما رأيناه مع بيان التفاهم الورسي الميركي الأخير والقمة عاأأيناه في بيان التفاهم الروسي الأميركي حول سورية، و«القمة عالماشي وعالواقف وعالجالس»، مع تربيت على الكتف وشدّ بالأيدي وابتسامة ونظرات متبادلة.

– التفاهم حول سورية لا يمكن أن يتحقق من دون تفاهم شامل على ثلاثة ملفات رديفة مرتبطة عضوياً به، أوّلها تفاهم حول الملف المؤرق لواشنطن المتمثل بصواريخ كوريا الشمالية وملفها النووي العسكري، قوامُهُ التمسك بالتفاهم على الملف النووي الإيراني كنموذج صالح للتطبيق مع كوريا الشمالية، بدلاً من التصعيد بوجه إيران الذي يقول لزعيم كوريا إنّ امتلاك الصواريخ النووية هو ضمانته لعدم التعرّض لما تتعرّض له إيران، بينما المطلوب العكس، أن يرى الكوريون أنّ مثال إيران نموذج جاذب بما تناله من ميزات ومن أدوار ومن انفراج في العلاقات، لأنها تلتزم سقوف التفاهمات الدولية، وأنّ الضمانات المحيطة بالتفاهم الذي وقعته تجعله غير قابل للاهتزاز، وفي المقابل يرتبط التفاهم حول سورية بالتفاهم على كيفية تخفيض حركة الاعتراض والمشاغبة من الفريقين السعودي و«الإسرائيلي»، وتشجيع الأول على الانخراط في خيار تفاوضي يؤدّي لحلّ سياسي في اليمن، وتشجيع الثاني على الانخراط بحلّ تفاوضي مع الفلسطينيين.

– إطار الحلّ في سورية ترسمه مرحلة ما بعد داعش، التي فرضت منطقها، وتسارعت عناصر الضغط المصاحبة لها، في أسئلة سبق وقدّم السفير الأميركي السابق في سورية روبرت فورد أجوبة استباقية عليها، بقوله إنّ على واشنطن ضمان مشاركة الأكراد في الحلّ السياسي السوري، والاستعداد للخروج الأميركي العسكري من سورية، وإلا فالذهاب إلى حرب شاملة، كان يفترض بمن يريدها أن يخوضها تحت عناوين جاذبة أكثر من دعم انفصال الأكراد، وخير لواشنطن أن تتعهّد موسكو الحلّ في سورية، وهو حلّ تحت سقف سياسي عنوانه الانتخابات بعد دستور جديد، كما نصّ القرار الصادر عن مجلس الأمن الدولي بتوافق روسي أميركي.

– الدور التركي شمالاً عنصر هامّ من وجهة النظر الروسية كضمان للتعاون في إنهاء جبهة النصرة من جهة، وتلازم الحلّ للمشاركة الكردية في الحلّ السياسي بقبول تركي، يضمن انسحاباً تركيا لاحقاً من سورية وفق معادلة الاطمئنان للأمن القومي التركي، وفي المقابل فالدور الإيراني جنوباً ليس موضع مساومة روسي لإرضاء الأميركيين و«الإسرائيليين». فقد سبق وقال الرئيس الروسي لرئيس حكومة الاحتلال قبل شهرين إنّ إيران تملأ فراغاً إقليمياً في سورية ومشاركتها في الحلّ السياسي يجعل حضورها إيجابياً، حتى بالنسبة لخصومها، لأنه يشاركها بتحمّل مسؤولية حفظ الاستقرار، والحرص على التوازن في التعامل مع المكوّنات السورية.

– رغم كلّ ما يبدو من مؤشرات الحروب، وإشارات التصعيد، لا يمكن تجاهل معاني إعلان موسكو وواشنطن عن تفاهم وصفاه بالتاريخي، ولا تجاهل التراجع الكردي في العراق عن الانفصال بزمن قياسي من دون تحرّك لحرب أميركية و«إسرائيلية» وسعودية كانت وحدها فرصة حرب لها أفق، ولا كذلك تجاهل التراجع السعودي أمام لبنان، والتراجع السعودي في ملف حصار اليمن، والحاجة للنظر نحو حال الاستنفار «الإسرائيلية» والاعتراض على مضمون التسويات، والحديث عن العزم على التدخل حيث تدعو المصلحة «الإسرائيلية» التدخّل، بصفته تكراراً لما سبق وقاله «الإسرائيليون» مع توقيع التفاهم على الملف النووي الإيراني.

– كثيرون في واشنطن يقولون اليوم إنّ تعزيز الدور الإيراني الإقليمي كضامن للاستقرار، هو أكثر من مجرد رسالة تشجيع لكوريا الشمالية لقبول لغة التسويات، بل هو استثمار على العلاقة بقوة صاعدة والاستعداد للتعامل مع تراجع الحلفاء التقليديين الذين يعيشون زمن الأفول رغم المكابرة والإنكار وما فيهما من حفلات جنون.

November 11, 2017

President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Danang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful US-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between US and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months. The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both US and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.

The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Assad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254. The two Presidents affirmed that these steps must include full implementation of UNSCR 2254, including constitutional reform and free and fair elections under UN supervision, held to the highest international standards of transparency, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success.

Finally President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

The two Presidents discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months.

Vietnam, Danang, November 10, 2017

source: http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5252

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Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 29.11.2017 | OPINION

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

In May this year the Carnegie Endowment for Peace assessed that “The security environment in Afghanistan is still precarious… the government remains heavily dependent on foreign aid… the combination of a weakening Afghan regime and an unchecked Taliban resurgence could lead to the catastrophic collapse of the Afghan government and state…”

It is essential that a policy be constructed in order to move the country towards security, peace and prosperity, and this, so far, has involved an increase in US combat troops and expansion of the aerial bombing campaign.

According to the US Air Force, 3,554 bombs and rockets were directed at targets in the first ten months of 2017, including 653 in October, the greatest number since November 2010. Some of the most recent strikes were on 10 supposed drug-production facilities in Helmand Province, and the complexity and expense of the operation were considerable.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told the media

that the attacks were “a demonstration of our new authorities… And specifically, in striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances.”

According to Nicholson there are 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, so there is some way to go before the drug evil is eradicated at the factory stage, and if the effort to destroy them is confined to air power, the cash cost is going to be prodigious.

The bombing included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates, and B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar. F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul, and the operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuelers, surveillance aircraft and command and control aircraft.

General Nicholson explained that the Raptor aircraft was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimum amount of collateral damage.”

It has been calculated that the Raptor “costs $68,362 an hour to fly” and thus the expense of its excursion, including tankers, “could have approached $400,000” exclusive of bombs. The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 show that 246 of these bombs cost 219.1 million dollars. This means that the US taxpayer pays $890,000 for each one, which makes the cost of the Raptor strike a remarkably expensive operation. Then General Nicholson said that one of his B-52s dropped “six 500-pound, low-collateral-damage, precision-guided munitions” in order “to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum, and we did.”

While it is laudable that General Nicholson wants to minimise collateral damage by using 500 pound bombs, he appeared to veer off course slightly and showed a video of “another B-52 strike on another Taliban narcotics production facility. Now, this particular facility was the largest one we struck last night [November 19], with over 50 barrels of opium cooking at the time of the strike… So this was a B-52 strike, several 2,000-pound bombs, and it completely obliterated the facility.” Presumably the 2000 pound bombs were also precision-guided, in order to avoid collateral damage in accomplishment of complete obliteration.

The general noted that in Afghanistan “We’ve dropped more munitions this year than in any year since 2012. These new authorities give me the ability to go after the enemy in ways that I couldn’t before” and he intends to expand the bombing campaign next year.

The “new authorities” are the orders of President Trump to increase the intensity of the war because “I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” and General Nicholson is pleased that “we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” although he did say “we are not going after the farmers that are growing the poppy.”

Of course the US air force should not target Afghan farmers — but bombing opium factories will not result in financial ruin of the Taliban. The heroin industry is extremely lucrative, and in Afghanistan the beneficiaries include very many more people other than Taliban adherents. It is, after all, the eighth most corrupt country in the world.

After the Helmand blitz, Reuters reported a poppy farmer, Mohammad Nabi, as saying that “The Taliban will not be affected by this as much as ordinary people. Farmers are not growing poppies for fun. If factories are closed and businesses are gone, then how will they provide food for their families?” Has General Nicholson got an answer to that?

The Voice of America reported in May 2017 that “Since 2002, the US has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day” while “only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year.” The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its Afghanistan Opium Survey on November 15, and observed that “many elements continue to influence farmers’ decisions regarding opium poppy cultivation. Rule of law-related challenges, such as political instability, lack of government control and security, as well as corruption, have been found to be main drivers of illicit cultivation.”

What a shambles. And Washington’s solution is to bomb it.

Nicholson said that farmers “are largely compelled to grow the poppy and this is kind of a tragic part of the story.” Of course the farmers are “compelled to grow” a crop for sale. And it’s more than “kind of tragic.” It’s a catastrophe, because Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium.

The farmers would stop producing poppy if there were markets for other crops whose cultivation would provide them a decent living. As long ago as 2004 the US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, Robert Charles, told Congress that “To destroy Afghanistan’s opium economy, alternatives to the pernicious cycle of opium credit, cultivation and harvest must be available to rural communities.” So billions of dollars were poured into anti-narcotics campaigns and the result is that after twelve years “the level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high.”

In March 2012 Donald Trump tweeted that “Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.” Little has changed, except that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are controlled or contested by the Taliban, and General Nicholson acknowledges that “we are still in a stalemate.” But Trump has been persuaded to declare that the US will “fight to win”. So the campaign of airstrikes will continue, and Afghanistan will be bombed towards peace and prosperity.

Mandla Mandela: israel Imposing ‘Worst Version of Apartheid’

Mandla Mandela: Israel Imposing ‘Worst Version of Apartheid’

The grandson of South Africa’s revolutionary leader likened Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands to apartheid.

Mandla Mandela, the grandson of South Africa’s first president and independence leader, Nelson Mandela, accused Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” during a historic visit to Palestine.

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Mandela, who is a strong advocate for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, held a joint press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister (PM) Rami Hamdallah and said: “The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely.”

“Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid,” Mandela continued, echoing a (now retracted) assessment published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia which concluded that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

Hamdallah told the South African MP about the “violations against the Palestinians, including settlement expansion and displacement projects that constitute a major obstacle to realizing the dream of establishing a Palestinian state.”

Prime Minister Hamdallah invoked the legacy of Nelson Mandela in a meeting that took place with the revolutionary leader’s grandson in Ramallah.

The prime minister also stressed the importance of relations between Palestine and South Africa, two nations born of struggle against racism and ethnocentrism. He also praised South Africa for supporting the Palestinian people before the international community and in the United Nations General Assembly.

“What we have experienced in South Africa is a fraction of what the Palestinians are experiencing,” Mandela remarked during an interview with Royal News English, on Sunday. “We were oppressed in order to serve the white minority. The Palestinians are being eliminated off their land and brought out of their territories, and this is a total human-rights violations. I think it is a total disgrace that the world is able to sit back while such atrocities are being carried out by apartheid Israel.”

Mandela is also set to meet with other Palestinian officials, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. During his trip, the MP will also visit Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum in Ramallah. An official statement by Mandela did not indicate whether the MP would meet with Israeli officials, though the Israeli Foreign Ministry indicated that they had not been briefed on the MP’s visit.

Perhaps the greatest symbol of solidarity between South Africa and Palestine is a six-meter tall statue of Nelson Mandela erected near Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum, both of whom were the first presidents of their respective countries.

Israel and apartheid South Africa had close ties, before the African nation’s liberation from repression imposed by the white minority. South Africa was among only 33 nations that voted in favor of the 1947 UN Partition Plan of Palestine and recommended the creation of a Jewish ethnostate.

While apartheid South Africa and Israel had a near-falling-out when Israel tried to extend a hand to sub-Saharan African nations, this hand was quickly rejected when it became apparent to postcolonial African nations that Israeli was a colonizer state. A catalyst for this was the Six-Day War and subsequent military occupation of the Sinai Peninsula and West Bank.

In response to increasing isolation felt by both colonizer states, the mouthpiece of the South African Nationalist Party, Die Burger, remarked: “Israel and South Africa are engaged in a struggle for existence… The anti-Western powers have driven Israel and South Africa into a community of interests which had better be utilized than denied.”

It was after this point that both South Africa and Israel deepened their financial and strategic ties. Israel became the main arms supplier to the South African Defence Force as well as its main military ally. It is also widely believed by many that South Africa and Israel collaborated to develop nuclear weapons.

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In response to this historical collaboration by their respective oppressors, relations between the current South African state and Palestine have deep ties. Nelson Mandela, the first president of South Africa, and Yasser Arafat, the first president of the Palestinian National Authority, had close relations and shared similar views.

South Africa opened diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine in 1995, which was not long after the Republic of South Africa was created from the abolition of apartheid in 1994.

Nelson Mandela once famously remarked:

“We know all too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Echoing the remarks of his grandfather, Mandla Mandela said, during the July speech:

“We demand that Israel complies with International law and demand the return of six million Palestinian refugees driven from the land of their birth. We demand that all occupied land be returned, and we condemn the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.”

He continued in his address: “Today, we stand to salute the brave and fearless Palestinian people who are facing the brutal might of the Israeli Army to defend al-Aksa with their bare hands. We demand that all occupied land be returned. Madiba reminded us that our freedom is incomplete until Palestine is free.”

#Brexit Underscores Case for a United Ireland

Brexit Underscores Case for a United Ireland

Brexit Underscores Case for a United Ireland

Call it poetic justice, or plain old natural justice. For centuries, Ireland has always been on the receiving end of Britain’s collateral damage from its imperial intrigues. Now, however, Ireland could have the last laugh as Britain wades further into a quagmire of trouble over the Brexit debacle to leave the European Union.

Irish sentiments on both sides of the border within that small island country are clamoring for special status which would de facto create an island-of-Ireland unity. A country which would in effect be independent from British rule and moving closer towards the long-held aspiration of Irish nationalists and republicans for a united Ireland, distinct from the rest of Britain.

As Britain stumbles towards its eventual departure from the EU scheduled for March 2019, the historic break raises special problems for Ireland. Northern Ireland, which is under British jurisdiction, will be obliged to follow the Brexit path of quitting the EU, while the Republic of Ireland will of course remain an EU member. That potentially creates the unique scenario of an EU border being imposed on the island, separating the Northern and Southern territories.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of indicators showing that most people on the island of Ireland, North and South, want the continuation of a “soft border” arrangement which has existed since the signing of a landmark peace deal in 1998 to end decades of conflict. This makes sense from an economic and cultural point of view since the ease of transport and travel is a vital daily convenience. This has become ever-more the case in recent years to the point where there are no visible signs of two different jurisdictions. For example, a motorway now links the northern city of Belfast to Dublin and Cork, in the far south, in a seamless corridor. Elsewhere in rural areas, people criss-cross easily like birds on the wing as if there is no border. In effect, Ireland has become closer to being one country, as would seem to be the natural order of things on an island with centuries of a distinct and common Celtic culture.

However, if the British government’s negotiations with the EU continue on their present rocky path, there are real fears that a so-called “hard Brexit” will bring about a return of the hard border in Ireland which existed before and during the recent conflict up until 1998, when the Good Friday Peace Accord was signed.

Hardline Brexiteers within Theresa May’s Conservative government cabinet are pushing for an abrupt break with the European Union. Ministers like Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, want to quit the EU altogether and pursue a vision of Britain as a global trading buccaneer nation.

Other British ministers, and many British citizens, as well the opposition Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn, and business leaders, would prefer a “soft Brexit” where Britain still remains part of the European single market and customs union. It would have to pay a fee for such membership and accept Brussels’ rules on EU citizens’ rights in an arrangement similar to that existing for Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

A “soft Brexit” would leave the situation in Ireland much as it is today, where movement of goods and people is seamless without regulatory controls.

The trouble is that achieving a soft Brexit is far from certain. There are numerous signs that the EU and its chief negotiator on the matter Michel Barnier are becoming increasingly exasperated with London over its bumbling and incoherent stance.

British premier Theresa May faces a tough summit next month at the European Council in Brussels, at which the other 27 member states are to decide whether negotiations can proceed to substantive talks on the final trade deal with the EU.

May’s government is expected to show progress in commitment on three issues: a divorce bill with the EU; the guarantee of EU citizens’ rights in a post-Brexit Britain; and guarantees to uphold the soft border situation in Ireland.

The London government has so far dithered on all three issues. On the divorce bill, Theresa May last week, after months of wrangling, finally doubled the British offer of paying Brussels £40 billion (€45 billion). This is still way short of what the EU is demanding at around €60 billion. But the financial outlay has infuriated the hardline Brexiteers in her cabinet like Johnson who at one time arrogantly said the EU can “go whistle” – meaning, accept no payment at all.

On the Irish question, the British government has also shown an arrogant complacency. Last weekend, international trade minister Liam Fox asserted that London would give no commitment to the nature of the border in Ireland until a final deal with the EU was signed.

“We cannot come to a final answer on the Irish question until we get an idea of the end state [with the EU],” Fox told British media.

The London government is being supported by a small hardline pro-British Unionist party within Northern Ireland, the rather misnamed Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It says that Northern Ireland must go the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom in its Brexit arrangement. That is, if the Brexit is a hard one resulting in strict external borders, then Northern Ireland should erect a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, according to the pro-British DUP.

But such an outcome is infuriating majority public opinion in both North and South Ireland. It should be noted that when Britain held its Brexit referendum in June 2016, the electorate in Northern Ireland voted clearly in favor of remaining with the European Union. Given the rupture to social and economic relations that the return of a hard border would create in Ireland, it is a safe assumption that a strong majority of people across the entire island would be firmly opposed to such an arrangement.

There is a deep resonance here with how the British political establishment in London has always ignored and indeed violated democratic mandates on the island of Ireland.

In a general election back in 1918, when the entire country was at that time under British colonial rule, the vast majority of the electorate – over 70 per cent – voted for the pro-independence Sinn Fein party. The response to that democratic Irish mandate by London was to artificially partition the country in order to create a British-run Northern state where formerly minority Unionist parties would thereby become the majority, thus providing London with a “mandate” to retain its jurisdictional presence in Ireland.

Likewise today, the British government is ignoring the majority wish across the whole of Ireland for the de facto non-existing border to be maintained. London seems though to be using the eventual border status within Ireland like a bargaining chip in its negotiations with the EU.

However, such British attitude is likely to rile the rest of Europe. The EU has so far shown solidarity with Ireland and the maintenance of the invisible border that has existed for the past two decades. No doubt the EU is mindful that the resurrection of a hard border could reignite conflict in Ireland. Irish republicans agreed to the peace deal in 1998 largely because it held out the promise of a gradual, eventual reunification of Ireland. The British government is now threatening to undermine that peace deal.

Brussels also backs a soft border in Ireland because it does not want to cause harmful economic repercussions for the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU. For London to harm a EU member in this way is seen as unacceptable by Brussels.

Here’s where the history of British meddling in Ireland and the denial of natural democratic rights of the Irish nation comes back to haunt.

The government of the Irish Republic, in Dublin, is stepping up a tougher line on the Brexit negotiations. The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar says that his country will veto any moves towards a final trade deal between the EU and Britain at next month’s summit in Brussels – unless London gives a written guarantee that it will make a special case for Ireland by maintaining a soft border regardless of the Brexit outcome.

If London refuses to comply with the Irish demand, then it faces a even more tortuous process in negotiating Brexit and on less favorable terms. That will, in turn, pile on even more problems for Britain’s ailing economy which is already floundering over Brexit anxieties.

In many ways therefore, the fate of post-Brexit Britain is now in the hands of the Irish. After centuries of being collateral damage for British political rulers, that makes for a certain poetic justice.

But, more importantly, what the whole debacle demonstrates more than ever is that Irish independence and territorial unity is an ineluctable case of natural justice. It is only British intransigence and intrigue that has impeded the natural democratic rights of Ireland and the Irish people. That kind of baleful British interference in Irish national interests is no longer acceptable, no longer tolerable.

No longer an imperial power, in fact a shambolic decrepit Little England, the case for a united independent Ireland is again clearer than ever

There Is No Doubt Nusra And White Helmets Are The Same Organization

I Visited East Aleppo – There Is No Doubt Nusra And White Helmets Are The Same Organization

By Brandon Turbeville

It is well known to anyone who spends even the smallest amount of time researching the Syrian conflict that the United States and Britain have been providing support to not only the White Helmets but also to terrorist groups such as al-Nusra, ISIS, and al-Qaeda among others. Indeed, ample evidence shows that the White Helmets are nothing more than a support group for al-Nusra, essentially acting as a propaganda wing of the organization. In other words, it is evident enough to anyone who examines the situation closely that the White Helmets and Nusra are the same organization.

The journalist who has contributed the most to exposing the White Helmets fraud, Vanessa Beeley, has traveled to Syria on numerous occasions, bringing back video and photo evidence clearly demonstrating the link between these two groups.

I also traveled to Syria in October, 2017 and was able to get a look at the East Aleppo al-Nusra Front compound for myself. Although Beeley’s images and video are damning, there is nothing like being in the compound yourself to really get a grasp for just how interconnected these two groups are with one another. As I stood in the courtyard of the East Aleppo al-Nusra Front headquarters (formerly a school compound occupied by terrorists in hopes of using the facility as cover and great PR if ever it was to be bombed), I was struck by just how obvious it was that the White Helmets and al-Nusra were the same organization.

Despite the facility being widely recognized as the al-Nusra headquarters, once can easily see the White Helmets logo which is prominently painted along the longest side of the building adjacent to the al-Nusra building. The two buildings are so close that two children – one standing in the White Helmets courtyard and one standing in the Nusra courtyard – could play catch without trouble

To be clear, the same compound that al-Nusra Front occupied and maintained as their own headquarters was also serving as the headquarters of the White Helmets. This presents another ready made propaganda gift since, when eliminating the terrorists from the compound, the Syrian army could be accused of bombing not only a school but selfless humanitarian rescuers.

In this compound, I found plentiful leftover medical supplies provided by Western countries, particularly England, Japan, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the European Union.

Even within the White Helmets facility, terrorist flags and graffiti were all over the building, some left haphazardly on the ground during battle, some still tacked up on the wall.

Vanessa Beeley recorded a panorama video of the compound which can be viewed here which clearly shows the proximity of the two buildings to one another.

Anyone who sets foot in this compound will have absolutely no doubt left in their mind that the White Helmets and al-Nusra are the same organization. There will also be no doubt that the Western corporate media has done nothing but lie and deceive their audiences as to the nature of the White Helmets and the entirety of the so-called “rebels” in Syria.

Brandon Turbeville writes for Activist Post – article archive here – He is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

USA Fighting israel’s Wars

Fighting Israel`s Wars

How the United States military has become Zionized
Austere Challenge 2012

There has been a report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into foreign lobbying in Washington while another story relates how his team is investigating the alleged contact of a Donald Trump associate with a Hungarian. Both are part of the ongoing investigation into Russiagate. Unless I am wrong, which happens occasionally, Hungary is a member of the European Union and also of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It has relatively free elections and its government changes as a result.

No one but the Mueller commission has considered contact with a Hungarian citizen to be a potential threat to American democracy. But then again, no one has really made the case in any kind of credible fashion that meeting with a Russian is either ipso facto criminal or treasonous, or that Moscow’s media does anything beyond what other state-owned broadcasters tend to do, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the mainstream press or from watching MSNBC and CNN.

An independent observer might well note that there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy in all of this. Case in point, the latest globalist-interventionist-neocon think tank the Alliance to Secure Democracy is currently being funded by a bundle of foreign governments, presumably doing so without any interference from Mueller or from those who run the Foreign Agents Registration desk at the Department of the Treasury.

And one other thing you can bet on is that Mueller will not be looking at the country that actually does interfere in American politics most, which is our best friend in the whole world and greatest ally Israel, the beneficiary of roughly one billion dollars-worth of lobbying carried out by hundreds of full time staff on its behalf.

Punish Israel for corrupting our politicians and media? On the contrary, now that we are officially into the holiday season, a whole bunch of goodies designed to make Benjamin Netanyahu’s eyes sparkle are pending. The highest priority item is the Trump Administration’s cooperation with the Israeli government in a frantic effort to bury a United Nations report that includes a database of all the companies that operate in Israel’s illegal settlements. Also regarding the U.N., Congress is considering a bill that would block U.S. aid to any country that opposes “the position of the United States.” Lest there be any confusion, Ambassador Nikki Haley has made it clear the American “position” would pretty much consist of never criticizing or voting against Israel.

Congress is meanwhile also making a list and checking it twice, looking into the vexing issue of how to make any and all criticism of Israel equate to anti-Semitism as a step forward to turning such activity into a hate crime with actual criminal penalties. The House Judiciary Committee has been holding meetings to try to decide how exactly one might do that without completely jettisoning the First Amendment, which once upon a time was intended to guarantee free speech. On November 8th, nine experts, seven of whom were Jewish, were summoned to address the issue of “codify[ing] a definition of anti-Semitism that incorporates a controversial component addressing attacks on Israel…[as] a necessary means of stemming anti-Semitism on campuses.”

The proposed amendment to the Civil Rights Act would use language being considered for the still pending Anti-Semitism Awareness Act to considerably expand the currently accepted government acceptance of anti-Semitism as “demonization” of Israel and/or its policies. A broader definition would have real world consequences as it would potentially block federal funding for colleges and universities where students are allowed to organize events critical of Israel. Fortunately, the hearing did not produce the result desired by Israel. To their credit, four of the witnesses, all Jewish, opposed expanding the definition of anti-Semitism and even some congressmen uncharacteristically indicated that to do so might be a bridge to far.

Indeed, one might argue that there is a tendency in Washington to see the world and even domestic policies through Israel’s eyes. One might even suggest that the United States government is being progressively Zionized because of the free hand that Israel and its supporters have, which gives them the ability to seek benefits for Israel that they would be unlikely to pursue for the United States. To cite only one example, an Israel Victory Caucus was launched in the House of Representatives in April advocating Israeli defeat of all its neighbors. The keynote speaker at the event, noted Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, explained “Victory means imposing your will on your enemy so he no longer wants to continue to fight,” before demanding “What I want the U.S. government to do is say, ‘Israel, do what you need to do to win your war.’”

Israel has been uniquely successful at imposing its will over Congress and the White House. Every freshman class in Congress, plus spouses, is automatically whisked off for a deluxe all expenses paid propaganda trip to Israel, which is funded by an affiliate of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). That is supplemented frequently throughout the year through taxpayer funded CODELS by established politicians to find out the “facts” on what is going on in the Middle East. During congressional recesses Congressmen are sometimes more likely to be found visiting Israel than dealing with problems in their own districts and they routinely return spouting whatever line is being promoted by the Israeli government.

There is also the training of American police in “Israeli methods,” which is funded both by government and foundations set up for that purpose. Less well known is the inroads Israel has made with the American military establishment. Shoshana Bryen, former executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and currently affiliated with the Jewish Policy Center, who has been involved in hosting the indoctrination of U.S. national security personnel, recently described it this way: “I have taken more than 400 American security professionals – primarily retired American Admirals and Generals – to Israel in more than 30 trips. And at the other end of their careers, I have sent more than 500 cadets and midshipmen of our service academies to Israel before they received their commissions. And I can say that they all understood the fundamental and profound principles that guide both the United States and Israel. They don’t always agree with Israel’s politics – or Israel’s defense choices – or any other single aspect of Israeli political, military and social life, but I never found one that didn’t believe in the relationship between Jews and the land of Israel. The United States military, then, is a Zionist institution.”

Last Monday, Colonel Pat Lang, former special ops officer and head of the Defense Humint Service, considered Bryen’s assertion, writing “It’s an open question but I think the answer is probably yes. The U.S. military now seems to be totally focused on Israeli policy goals in Iran, Syria and Iraq… Israel wants Iran neutered and eliminated as a power rival in the Middle East. The putative Iranian nuclear weapons program is just one target of Israeli policy toward Iran. To reach the goal of Morgenthau-style comfort with regard to Iran, Israel wants to destroy Syria and Hizbullah as allies of Iran… The process of conditioning American officers to make them Zionists has been ongoing for a long time. when I came in the Army in 1962, there was little interest in Israel in the officer corps… [The] 1967 war was a watershed. Israel’s total victory had been unexpected by most. Americans are mentally driven by aggressive sports analogies and Israel was a winner. That made a big difference in spite of the repeated day long attacks by the Israeli air force and navy against U.S.S. Liberty, an American SIGINT collector positioned off the Egyptian coast. LBJ suppressed an armed reaction by a U.S. carrier battle group in the area and a subsequent naval investigation. His policy then became one of relatively complete support of Israel. The indoctrination and conditioning program described by Shoshana Bryen began in earnest after that and has carried through to the present under the umbrella of AIPAC and its galaxy of linked organizations especially JINSA. This program has been wildly, incredibly successful. As a result, there is an unthinking willingness among senior, and not so senior American officers to support Israeli policy in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and now Saudi Arabia. The handful of M[iddle] E[ast] trained and educated U.S. officers are ignored, treated as technical experts or shoved out the door when they speak up.”

How deeply Israelophilia has been drilled into the American corporate psyche is best illustrated by a recent article that appeared on the National Interest website. The article was written by retired Israeli Colonel Shimon Arad, who apparently has contributed to the site previously, and its thrust is that the United States should only sell military hardware to the Middle East when Israel is satisfied that the sales will not undercut its self-defined military edge. In other words, U.S. defense industries and national security arrangements should be subordinated to Israeli interests and even subject to veto by the Netanyahu government.

Arad’s condescending piece, sub-titled “Israel’s Greatest Fear: An Arms Race Sparked by the F-35,” should be read fully to demonstrate just how arrogant the Israelis have become in dealing with their American puppet. Arad argues that no advanced fighters comparable to what Israel receives for free from the U.S. taxpayer should be sold to any Arab country, no matter how friendly or strategically valuable. Previous pledges that the new F-35 would not be sold to Arabs “played a significant role in [Israel]’s acquiescence to the sale of…advanced…fighters to the Gulf states…” “Acquiescence” is the key word, implying that Israel should by rights have the option to stop such sales by putting pressure on Congress. Arad then goes on to describe how sales to the United Arab Emirates would be a “dangerous precedent,” but he is clearly talking only about Israeli interests as the United States is in no way threatened by such a move. He concludes that “Israel must express its strenuous objection to the release of the F-35 to any and all Gulf and Arab countries.”

In an earlier article, Arad complained about Arab states being sold sophisticated air defenses, presumably because that would make it more difficult for Israel to bomb them. Why an American publication should provide a pulpit to an Israeli who is promoting a narrowly construed Israeli interest that differs significantly from the actual interests of the United States is not completely clear. The site’s readers apparently agreed with that observation in that most of the comments were highly critical both of Arad and of Israel. Someone should remind the colonel that America’s three major military concentrations in the Middle East – five bases in Kuwait, Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar, and the Fifth-Fleet home base and Naval Central Command in Bahrain – are all in Arab countries that have accommodated Washington in ways that Israel never has. To place them on a list of countries that are somehow always suspect just because Israel perceives nearly all Muslims as enemies, is not in America’s own interest, but this has been the unfortunate pattern in the lopsided relationship prevailing between Washington and Tel Aviv.

The infiltration by little Israel of key sectors of the bureaucracy of a seemingly oblivious giant United States is extraordinary by any measure, but it has been brought about by a highly focused and well-funded powerful domestic lobby that has remarkable access both to the political class and to the media. As Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once put it, “No American president can stand up to Israel.” He should have added Congress and even the Pentagon to his indictment but what he said is, unfortunately, truer now than it was when he made the comment back in 1997.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East

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The Raqqa Exodus: The US Coalition’s “Secret Deal” to Allow ISIS-Daesh Terrorists to Escape…

Global Research, November 27, 2017

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis confirmed in May Washington’s resolve to annihilate the ISIS-Daesh terrorists:

“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so… (emphasis added, quoted in the BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret)

That was the “political narrative” of the Pentagon. The unspoken truth is that Uncle Sam had come to the rescue of the Islamic State. That decision was in all likelihood taken and carried on the orders of the Pentagon rather than the US State Department.

Confirmed by a BBC report entitled “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret, the US-led coalition facilitated the exodus of ISIS terrorists and their family members  out of their stronghold in Raqqa, Northern Syria.

Screen Shot of BBC Report

While the BBC report focussed on the details of the smuggling operation, it nonetheless acknowledges the existence of a “Secret Deal” involving the US and its indefectible British ally to let the terrorists escape from Raqqa.

Screenshot BBC Report

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?

Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal. …

This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of [the] so-called Islamic State.

(Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati, Raqqa’s Dirty SecretBBC, November 2017, emphasis added)

US-led coalition warplanes had been monitoring the evacuation of the ISIS terrorists, but visibly the convoys of buses and trucks were not the object of coalition bombings.

“The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air. [but no actual aerial bombardment of the convoys took place] …

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal….” (Ibid)

If they had wanted to undermine the ISIS convoy of buses and trucks, this would have been a simple operation for the US Air Force. On the other hand, they could have chosen to block rather than destroy the convoys of trucks and buses (to minimize the loss of life) and detain and incarcerate the foreign fighters.

US officials casually claimed they did not take part in the negotiations and were therefore unable to prevent the exodus of the terrorists:

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, … (Ibid)

What is revealing is that most of the ISIS fighters were foreign from a large number of countries pointing to a carefully organized recruitment and training program:

“… There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”

“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.” …

He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.

In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.

“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says. (Ibid)

Screenshot of BBC article

The BBC report suggests a carefully formulated plan to ensure the safe evacuation of the terrorists. The official explanation was that the deal has been brokered by the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US-led coalition “let it happen”, they did not intervene militarily to prevent the exodus and smuggling of the foreign fighters out of Raqqa.

This should come as no surprise. From the very outset in 2014, ISIS-Daesh was supported by the US-led coalition, with the active support of Saudi Arabia. The US and its allies are the State sponsors of the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh).

Weapons, training, logistics: the ISIS is a US intelligence construct. The ISIS-Daesh terrorists are the foot-soldiers of US-NATO.

The US-led bombings of Iraq and Syria–under the guise of a phony “war on terrorism”– were not directed at ISIS-Daesh. The terrorists were protected by the US led Coalition. The unspoken objective was to kill civilians and destroy the civilian infrastructure of both Syria and Iraq.

Déjà Vu:  

Exodus of ISIS from Raqqa, Syria (2017) vs. Exodus of Al Qaeda “Enemy Combatants” out of  Kundus, Afghanistan (2001)

Is there a pattern in the evacuation of U.S. sponsored terrorists?

Flashback to another US led war. Afghanistan 2001. The objective for the U.S. is ultimately to protect their “intelligence assets”.

The October 2017 ‘Raqqa exodus” bears a canny resemblance to the November 2001 “Getaway” out of Kunduz, ordered by Donald Rumsfeld. In both cases the objective was for the Pentagon and the CIA to organize the escape (and relocation) of US sponsored foreign jihahist fighters.

In late November 2001, according to Seymour M. Hersh, the Northern Alliance supported by US bombing raids took control of the hill town of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan:

‘[Eight thousand or more men] had been trapped inside the city in the last days of the siege, roughly half of whom were Pakistanis.  Afghans, Uzbeks, Chechens, and various Arab mercenaries accounted for the rest.” (Seymour M. Hersh, The Getaway, The New Yorker, 28 January 2002.

Also among these fighters were several senior Pakistani military and intelligence officers, who had been sent to the war theater by the Pakistani military. The presence of high-ranking Pakistani military and intelligence advisers in the ranks of Taliban/ Al Qaeda forces was known and approved by Washington.

President Bush had intimated: “We’re smoking them out. They’re running, and now we’re going to bring them to justice.” (see CNN, November 26, 2001). They were never smoked out. They were airlifted to safety.

On the orders of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the exodus (airlifting) of Al Qaeda fighters had been facilitated by US forces in liaison with the Pakistan military:

“The Administration ordered the US Central Command to set up a special air corridor to help insure the safety of the Pakistani rescue flights from Kunduz to the northwest corner of Pakistan”

… According to a former high-level American defense official, the airlift was approved because of representations by the Pakistanis that “there were guys- intelligence agents and underground guys-who needed to get out.” (Seymour Hersh, op cit)

In other words, the official story was: it was not our decision:  “we were tricked into it” by the Pakistani ISI.

Out of some 8000 or more men, 3300 surrendered to the Northern Alliance, leaving between 4000 and 5000 men “unaccounted for”. According to Hersh’s investigation, based on Indian intelligence sources, at least 4000 men including two Pakistani Army generals were evacuated. (Ibid)

The same sense of denial prevailed. US officials admitted, however, that

“what was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control, and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.”  (quoted in Hersh op cit)

“Unintended evacuation” of Al Qaeda fighters?

 “Terrorists”  and “Intelligence Assets” 

Compare Seymour Hersh’s account in the “Getaway” out of Kunduz pertaining to the US sponsored evacuation of  hard core Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to the “Escape” of ISIS-Daesh fighters out of the besieged city of Raqqa in Northern Syria.

The foreign and Pakistani Al Qaeda fighters were flown to North Pakistan, to the areas which were subsequently the object of US drone attacks. Many of these fighters were also incorporated into the two main Kashmiri terrorist rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”).

What is the next destination of the foreign fighters who have been evacuated out of Raqqa, with the support of the US Military?

To read the complete BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret,by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati click here 

Who has advised Saudi Arabia to avoid the war with Hezbollah? مَن نصح السعودية بتفادي الحرب مع حزب الله؟

Who has advised Saudi Arabia to avoid the war with Hezbollah?

نوفمبر 28, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,مَن نصح السعودية بتفادي الحرب مع حزب الله؟

David Ignatius who is the Washington Post’s most prominent writer in the region affairs and one of the figures of culture in the US political thought, who is familiar with his deep analysis, verification of information, judiciousness, and the reservation in publishing, away from press excitement considered that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is trying to lessen the consequences after the latest developments in the issue of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri. He indicated that what has happened in the file of the resignation of the Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri from Riyadh seemed convincing for each of Washington and Riyadh that it is better for their interests to keep the stability in Lebanon, although this requires some cooperation with Hezbollah as reported by a Saudi official that Saudi Arabia intends to cooperate with America in order to support the Lebanese institutions such as the army, in order to reduce gradually the power of Hezbollah and Iran  in Lebanon. He concluded that Mohammed Bin Salman seems aware that fighting Hezbollah is a long-term battle not a short one.

On the other hand, the Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Emile Hokayem wrote an editorial in the New York Times that the Saudi endeavors to confront Iran were not productive, Iran will remain a step forward, he added that the Saudi intervention in Yemen was costly and it did not resolve the battle. He warned that the war on Yemen may lead to scenario which Riyadh has already wanted to prevent its occurrence, which is the turning of Ansar Allah into an example that is similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon. He pointed out that Riyadh chose the wrong arenas to confront Iran, and when Riyadh obliged Al-Hariri to resign, that was in favor of Iran and Hezbollah. Furthermore he indicated that the Saudis have supported Al-Sisi, and have presented to him billion of dollars, but Al-Sisi has renewed the relations with Al-Assad and refused the Saudi pressures to escalate against Iran.

At a parallel level, the conservative US magazine; the National Interest has addressed the US President Donald Trump to stop getting involved at an inappropriate time and inappropriate confrontation with Iran, it added that Saudi Arabia’s plan was to make America fall in the trap of the permanent confrontation with Tehran. It talked about an alliance between Israel and Al Saud and their opposition of the nuclear agreement with Iran and their endeavors to escalate the tension in the region. It stressed that the motives of Saudi Arabia were not sectarian; however the goal of Riyadh was to push Washington to the Middle East in order to re-spread its military hegemony and to re-impose a regional equation in favor of Israel and Riyadh. It asserted that the achievement of this goal does not require a war on Lebanon only, but a state of continuous conflict between Washington and Iran. It added that what is strange is the dealing of Trump with such of this plan which he said that it clearly contradicts the US national interest. Therefore, the irrational behavior of the Saudi Crown Prince must not affect the US President.

These conclusions, articles, and many studies which have the same goal have been circulated at a symposium held in Washington; it included military experts and former generals to imagine the scenario of a war launched by Saudi Arabia as the “Operation of Decisive Storm” against Hezbollah with the participation of Israel or without it. The first bomb exploded by one of the officers and which got the attention of the attendance is when he said that the missile which fell on Riyadh from Yemen, and got the ignition of Saudi Arabia against Hezbollah, accusing it of its transferring to Yemen and launching it by one of its teams was from the type of Burkan 2-H which its range is 1500 km. This means, if we took the Saudi narration seriously of the role of Hezbollah in providing the missile and transferring it, then Hezbollah would have much better than it in quality and quantity of what was sent to the Yemenis, and that it has more skillful flingers in Lebanon from those whom it sent to Yemen. Do you know that the distance between Beirut and Riyadh is 1470 km, and therefore Riyadh will be in the range of Hezbollah’s missiles  from Lebanon if Saudi Arabia launched an air war against it or what it so-called the operation of Decisive Storm2. The war of Saudi Arabia on Yemen which failed was its most brutal and the longest war from the one which it can launch against Hezbollah, including a siege that it cannot impose it on Lebanon, a siege that tens of Saudi planes and battleships may burn, this war would be a maneuver in which Israel will discover some of Hezbollah’s surprises if it remained outside of this war. As a conclusion, Saudi Arabia after two years and a half of its war on Yemen has failed in preventing the fall of such a missile on Riyadh, so what will happen to Saudi Arabia if it will do so with Lebanon?

There were participations that review the scenarios of the falling missiles on Saudi strategic facilities and the start of the migration of the princes and the rich people from Saudi Arabia in addition to the state of panic, and the dangers of the disintegration of its military establishment. While some people said that what is the interest of Israel to get involved in paying the bill of the Saudi foolishness in a war where Israel will be under the mercy of Hezbollah’s missiles. Others added who can ensure that Syria which experienced the worst by Saudi Arabia not to participate in this confrontation and what about Iran. Is America’s interest to turn Saudi Arabia into an arena for the missiles which may affect American military and economic facilities, where Washington will be in front of a war which it does not want?

This debate may explain the circumstances which allowed the French President to propose his initiative of compromise, to avoid the scandal on one hand, and to retreat from the choice of so-called committing suicide on the other hand, as long as the first shot has not fired. Many people in Washington are asking why did Saudi Arabia choose the worst timing to confront Hezbollah and to be closer to Israel, while the interests say that Saudi Arabia must not grant Hezbollah or the Syrian President the opportunity to make it pay the cost of its involvement in the destruction of Syria, while others say; maybe Israel’s interest is by not exaggerating in showing the rapprochement with Saudi Arabia if the recklessness remains driving it, because Israel may find itself in the heart of a war which it knows that it does not want it.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

مَن نصح السعودية بتفادي الحرب مع حزب الله؟

نوفمبر 18, 2017

ناصر قنديل

مَن نصح السعودية بتفادي الحرب مع حزب الله؟

– اعتبر الكاتب ديفيد أغناسيوس، أبرز كتاب الواشنطن بوست في شؤون المنطقة، وأحد رموز الثقافة في الفكر السياسي الأميركي المشهود له بالعمق في التحليل والتحقق من المعلومات والاتزان والتحفظ في النشر بعيداً عن الإثارة الصحافية، أن ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان يحاول الحدّ من الأضرار بعد التطوّرات الأخيرة في قضية رئيس الحكومة اللبنانية سعد الحريري، وأشار الى أنّ ما حصل في ملف استقالة رئيس الوزراء سعد الحريري من الرياض يبدو أنه أقنع كلاً من واشنطن والرياض أنه من الأفضل لمصالحهما الاستقرار في لبنان بدلاً من عدمه، وذلك على الرغم من أن ذلك يتطلّب بعض التعاون مع حزب الله، كما نقل عن مسؤول سعودي بأن السعودية تنوي التعاون مع أميركا من اجل دعم المؤسسات اللبنانية مثل الجيش، من أجل تقليص قوة حزب الله وإيران في لبنان بشكل تدريجي وعليه قال إن محمد بن سلمان يبدو أنه أدرك بأن محاربة حزب الله هي معركة طويلة الأمد وليست قصيرة الأمد.

– بالمقابل كتب رئيس قسم الدراسات في المركز الدولي للدراسات الاستراتيجية إميل حكيم افتتاحية النيويورك تايمز. قال الكاتب إن المساعي السعودية لمواجهة إيران لم تكن منتجة وإن إيران تبقى متقدمة خطوة الى الامام. واضاف بان التدخل السعودي في اليمن كان مكلفاً ولم يحسم المعركة، كما نبّه الى ان الحرب على اليمن قد تؤدي الى السيناريو الذي أرادت الرياض منع حصوله، وهو تحويل أنصار الله الى نموذج شبيه لحزب الله في لبنان. وأشار الى أن الرياض تختار الساحات الخاطئة لمواجهة إيران وأن قيام الرياض بإجبار الحريري على الاستقالة جاء لمصلحة إيران وحزب الله. وأشار الى ان السعوديين دعموا السيسي وقدموا له مليارات الدولارات، إلا أن السيسي ورغم ذلك يعيد فتح العلاقات مع الأسد ويرفض الضغوط السعودية لجهة التصعيد ضد إيران.

– على مستوى موازٍ توجّهت المجلة الأميركية المحافظة ناشونال أنترست إلى الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب لوقف الانزلاق نحو مواجهة في غير مكانها، وفي التوقيت الخاطئ مع إيران، مضيفة أن خطة السعودية هي ايقاع أميركا بفخ المواجهة الدائمة مع طهران وتحدثت عن تحالف بين «اسرائيل» وآل سعود ومعارضتهما للاتفاق النووي مع إيران ومساعيهما لتصعيد التوتر في المنطقة. وشدّدت على أن دوافع السعودية ليست طائفية، بل إن هدف الرياض هو جر واشنطن الى الشرق الأوسط كي تعيد هيمنتها العسكرية وتعيد فرض معادلة إقليمية تكون لمصلحة «إسرائيل» والرياض. وشدّدت على أن تحقيق هذه الغاية لا يتطلب فقط حرباً في لبنان بل حالة نزاع مستمرة بين واشنطن وإيران، وأضافت بأن الغريب هو ان يتعاون ترامب مع مثل هذه الخطة التي قال إنها تناقض بشكل واضح المصلحة القومية الأميركية، وبأن التصرف غير العقلاني الذي يأتي بالتالي من ولي العهد السعودي لا يجوز أن ينجح بجرّ الرئيس الأميركي.

– هذه الاستنتاجات والمقالات وكثير من الدراسات التي تصبّ في الاتجاه ذاته فجّرتها ندوة عقدت في واشنطن وضمّت خبراء عسكريين وجنرالات سابقين لتخيّل سيناريو حرب تشنها السعودية كعاصفة حزم ضد حزب الله بمشاركة «إسرائيل» أو بدونها، وكانت أول قنبلة فجّرها أحد الضباط في الندوة خطفت أسماع الحضور وعقولهم، هي قوله، إن الصاروخ الذي سقط على الرياض من اليمن وقامت قيامة السعودية بعده ضد حزب الله، واتهمت حزب الله بنقله لليمن وإطلاقه بطاقم من عناصره، بات معلوماً أنه من طراز بركان 2، ومداه 1500 كلم. وهذا يعني

أنه إذا أخذنا الرواية السعودية بجدّية عن دور حزب الله في تأمين الصاروخ ونقله، أن لدى حزب الله منه وأفضل منه الكثير، أو أكثر كماً ونوعاً مما أرسل لليمنيين، ولديه رماة أشدّ مهارة في لبنان من الذين أوفدهم لليمن، فهل تعلمون أن المسافة بين بيروت والرياض هي 1470 كلم. وبالتالي ستكون الرياض في مرمى حزب الله من لبنان إذا شنّت السعودية حرباً جوية عليه أو ما تسمّيها بعاصفة الحزم 2. وإذا كانت حرب السعودية قد فشلت في اليمن، وهي حربّها الأشد قسوة والأطول مدة من التي تستطيع شنها على حزب الله، ومن ضمنها حصار لن تستطيع فرض مثله على لبنان، حصار قد تحترق خلاله العشرات من الطائرات والبوارج السعودية ويكون مناورة تكتشف فيها «إسرائيل» بعضاً من مفاجآت حزب الله، إذا بقيت خارج هذه الحرب. وفي الحصيلة لقد فشلت السعودية بعد حرب سنتين ونصف على اليمن في منع سقوط هذا الصاروخ على الرياض، فماذا سيحدث للسعودية إذا فعلت مثلها مع لبنان؟

– تتالت بعد هذه المداخلة مداخلات تستعرض سيناريوات تساقط الصواريخ على المنشآت السعودية الاستراتيجية، وبدء هجرة الأمراء والأثرياء عن السعودية وحالة الهلع التي ستصيبها، ومخاطر تفكّك مؤسستها العسكرية، بينما قال بعضهم وما مصلحة «إسرائيل» بالتورط في دفع فاتورة الغباء السعودي بحرب تكون «إسرائيل» فيها تحت رحمة صواريخ حزب الله؟ وأضاف آخرون، ومن يضمن عدم دخول سورية التي ذاقت الأمرّين من السعودية على هذه المواجهة؟ وماذا عن إيران؟ وهل من مصلحة أميركا أن تتحوّل السعودية حقل رماية للصواريخ التي قد تطال منشآت عسكرية واقتصادية اميركية تضع واشنطن أمام خيار حرب لا تريدها؟

– ربما يفسّر هذا النقاش بعضاً من المناخات التي سمحت للرئيس الفرنسي بعرض مبادرته للتسوية، ستراً للفضيحة من جهة، وتراجعاً عن خيار وصف بالانتحار من جهة أخرى، طالما لم تُطلق الطلقة الأولى بعد، وكثيرون في واشنطن يتساءلون، لماذا تختار السعودية أسوأ توقيت لمواجهة حزب الله والتقرّب من «إسرائيل»، بينما لغة المصالح تقول إن لا تمنح السعودية لحزب الله وللرئيس السوري فرصة تحرّش بهما لجعلها تدفع ثمن تورّطها في خراب سورية، فيما يقول آخرون، ربما من مصلحة «إسرائيل» عدم المبالغة في تظهير التقارب مع السعودية، إذا بقي التهور يقودها، فقد تجد «إسرائيل» نفسها في قلب حرب تعرف أنها لا تريدها.

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Diaspora Jews have had enough of Israel and Zio-Barbarism

November 27, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Reported by Gilad Atzmon

Attila Somfalvi, a leading Israeli journalist reports on Ynet that American Jews are showing signs of Zio-fatigue. Some prominent leaders of the Jewish American community have openly admitted that in recent years there has been a radical shift in attitudes about Israel. Many Diaspora Jews prefer to stay away from Israel and its Zionist leagues.

According to Somfalvi, many youths active in various Jewish organisations see Israel as “a burden.” “Israel is not part of our day to day existence,” said students at NYU as well as young members of Gather DC, an organization comprising about six thousand Jews who live in the American capital.

“We don’t really understand how Israel is connected to our Jewish identity; Israel is a tough subject so we gave up on it.”

The Israeli paper admits,

“Yes, in 2017 the state of Israel has become a sort of burden to American Jews. Many don’t feel any connection to it; some believe that Israel makes them look bad vis-à-vis its policies in the territories.“

“The relationship between Israeli and American Jews is at a breaking point and the results can be seen on the ground: fewer donations, less support for Israel among Jewish students on college campuses, fewer visits to Israel and less desire to identify as Zionists.”

However, as often occurs in the Israeli press, in the Hebrew version of the same article, Somfalvi presents the real juicy bits.

“Israel has united the Jews in the past,” said a senior member of one of the largest Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in the United States, however nowadays “The discourse on Israel is divisive.” Talks about Israel are intense. “Even in synagogues, rabbis are forced to stop discussions about Israel because they become too vocal and divisive (left vs.right)”

AIPAC  tries to convey optimism – but it also admits to difficulties. “The number of Jews involved in one activity or another is low,” said a senior member of the organization. “We have not found creative ways to make people come and be active, Israelis need to know that their decisions have implications on the Jewish community in the United States. In any case, we will continue to work for Israel, but there are new challenges every day.

The message for the Palestinian solidarity enthusiasts is devastatingly simple. You may want to skip the next AIPAC gathering. The Jews are far more effective in destroying themselves than you will ever be.

But it isn’t just Jews that have drifted from AIPAC. Apparently the American political establishment is not as obedient as it used to be. “10 years ago, people within the Democratic Party were following AIPAC’s instructions. Not anymore, the liberals in this party are much tougher and more influential, and it is more difficult to gather support for Israel.”

According to Ynet,  “young American Jews find it hard to accept the crude vulgarism that has become  symptomatic of Israeli politics.” The Jews, especially young ones, find it difficult to declare that they are supporters of Israel. Such a declaration has a price…They would choose to join human rights organizations that are willing to accept them only if they openly do not identify as Zionists.”

“Joining a movement that supports Black rights while supporting Israel and the occupation does not go together,” explained a senior member of a Jewish organization.

Since his arrival in New York, Consul Danny Dayan has been warning the Prime Minister of the grave crisis facing the Jewish people. “We have to decide whether we are the Jewish state or the state of the (Jewish) Israelis,” he says. “If we are the state of the Israelis alone, it is wonderful, but it has meaning and price … I think that we should be the state of the Jews, but now we do not stand the test of ‘the Jewish state.”

It is no secret that Zionist organisations in America and Britain are in a state of panic. Their actions have been increasingly crude, vulgar and violent. It is not surprising that as a result, educated and respected American and British Jews prefer to stay away from ADL, AIPAC and other Jewish pro war institutions.  Jews are clearly drifting away. They are disgusted by the manufactured ‘antisemitsm’ campaign. They are repulsed by the constant smear campaigns against the Labour Party, Corbyn, academics, artists and thinkers.

Here in the UK intelligent Jews can easily read the map. The more Zionists harass Corbyn and the Labour Party, the more popular Labour and Corbyyn become. The more Theresa Je Suis Juif  May dines with the UK Chief Rabbi, the more doubts loom over her political future.

The more Jewish organisations exercise their political power, the less the Jews want to be associated with jewish politics and that power…

If they want to burn it, you want to read it

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk). 

Alan Dershowitz Pens Tirade Against U.S. Congresswoman Over Child Protection Bill

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian children Act.”

By Richard Edmondson

Alan Dershowitz, former Harvard law professor and pro-Israel to the core, apparently thinks Rep. Betty McCollum has committed a cardinal sin–introducing a bill that calls for monitoring of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners.

The bill, entitled “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian children Act,” or H.R. 4391, would require the U.S. State Department begin certification–on  an annual basis–that US funding to Israel is not going “to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment” of Palestinian children.

The bill was introduced by McCollum on November 14. Dershowitz’s hit piece, published on November 23 at the Gatestone Institute, appeared under the headline “How Ten Dem (Dumb) Members of Congress Encourage the Use of Child Terrorists.”

The former trial lawyer and now CNN regular asserts that McCollum’s bill has been co-sponsored “by nine other ‘progressive’ members of Congress,” though in reality the bill has now picked up a total of 12 co-sponsors.

Dershowitz doesn’t exactly accuse its backers of being anti-Semites–although he comes close.

He asserts that McCollum’s “hypocrisy” is “palpable,” and he accuses her and the co-sponsors of giving “terrorist leaders” (the term is used a total of 7 times) an incentive, in effect, to use children to attack Jews. The bill, he insists, “would further incentivize terrorist leaders to keep using children in pursuit of their key objective: wiping Israel off the map,” and he goes on to contend that:

“…rather than condemning the abhorrent and unlawful use of children as pawns in this deadly process, this group chose to single out only the nation-state of the Jewish people for punishment, as it tries to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate terror attacks. People of good faith on both sides of the aisle should call out this double standard for what it really is: an attack on Jewish victims of teenage terrorism and their state. For shame on this group of biased anti-Israel “progressive” Democrats…

The article seems to be a heavy-handed attempt at intimidating other members of Congress from supporting the legislation.

The Harvard legal scholar also informs his readers about the modus operandi of “Palestinian terrorist leaders,” asserting that it is “well established” that “recruiting and using young Palestinians to wage terror on Israeli civilians” is a part of this “modus operandi.”

He further asserts that these “terrorist leaders” (it’s not clear if he means Hamas or if he counts Mahmoud Abbas as a “terrorist leader” as well) “have been stirring up young people to wage war against the Jews and their nation state.” If this is the case, it would seem Israel makes their jobs easy for them. After all, how much external “stirring up” does it require when school kids see their classmates mass arrested, handcuffed, locked in cages, and blindfolded by squadrons of Israeli soldiers?

Heavily armed Israeli Occupiers kidnapping 18 Palestinian children. They were taken into one room and blindfolded, questioned with the blindfold on, and some were subjected to beatings and threats. while beating them.

Suppose the federal government had sent troops to arrest your students at Harvard in this manner, Mr. Dershowitz? How much “stirring up” do you think it would have taken to get the rest of the campus angry about it?

Rep. McCollum’s bill cites a UNICEF report released in 2013 which found that “ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the [Israeli] military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.”

Dershowitz, however, identifies what he believes is a major shortcoming in the bill, namely that it “fails to acknowledge that some of the most barbaric terrorist attacks against Jewish Israelis have been committed by Palestinian teens who have been recruited by terrorist leaders.” Actually, however, this is a bit disingenuous. While it doesn’t use the same inflammatory rhetoric seemingly favored by our Doctor of Jurisprudence (who, really, is “stirring up” whom, Mr. Dershowitz?), the bill does enumerate the problem of children being recruited by armed groups, this in section 2, paragraph 4:

Approximately 2,700,000 Palestinians live in the West Bank, of which around 47 percent are children under the age of 18, who live under military occupation, the constant fear of arrest, detention, and violence by the Israeli military, and the threat of recruitment by armed groups.

Of course, if Mr. Dershowitz insists on bringing up the subject of “barbaric terrorist attacks,” we should not omit to mention Israel’s periodic attacks upon Gaza. Take a good look at the girl in the photo below–she was killed in the Gaza attack of 2008-09 known as “Operation Cast Lead.”

Yes, she definitely looks like she’s had some lead cast at her, Mr. Dershowitz.

Or let’s look at this boy who fell victim to Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” attack of 2014 when he and some friends were playing football on a Gaza beach:

Or these kids who died in the same 2014 conflict:

By the way, Israel investigated itself on the Gaza beach bombing and found that it had acted “legally.”

Barbarism. It is defined as: “1. absence of culture and civilization; 2. extreme cruelty or brutality.”

The attacks on Gaza would seem to meet that definition. This is not to say there haven’t been cruel and brutal attacks on Israelis. In his article, Dershowitz cites two examples:

Consider the terrorists attack that took place over this past summer in Halamish (an hour outside Jerusalem) where a Palestinian in his late teens — from a nearby PA-controlled village — chose a Jewish house at random;, and fatally stabbed three members of a family as they ate Shabbat dinner. The Palestinian “child” murderer also wounded several other family members, while one mother hid her young children in an upstairs room until the terrorist left. This scene of carnage is reminiscent of a similar attack that occurred only six years earlier when two Palestinian teens armed with knives broke into the Fogel family home in Itamar as they slept on Friday night; the teens butchered the mother, father and three of their children — including a three-month-old baby as she slept in her crib.

What he doesn’t mention is that both Halamish and Itamar, where the two attacks occurred, are Israeli settlements in the West Bank and are therefore illegal under international law. This does not excuse the murder of civilians. But it does supply us with some additional context in which to evaluate Mr. Dershowitz and his disingenuous opposition to H.R. 4391.

Moreover, Halamish is designated as a “community settlement,” that is to say it was formed out of a legal construct in Israel whereby residents are organized into a cooperative that “can veto a sale of a house or a business to an undesirable buyer.” Most community settlements in Israel are entirely Jewish, according to Wikipedia: “Some community settlements openly require applicants to be Jews (e.g., by declaring themselves a religious community), while other community settlements find more indirect ways to reject non-Jewish candidates, us usually claiming ‘lack of social compatibility.’ Another problem for non-Jews is that the Jewish National Fund, the owner of the land in many community settlements, views itself as a Jewish organization whose mission is to spread the Jewishpopulation, and therefore refuses to lease to non-Jews.”

Perhaps here we get down to the core of the problem–the illegal settlements and the apartheid, or separation, policies. In his article, Dershowitz tries to apply Israeli standards to America by asking the “what if” question. He writes:

So I ask: what do these members of Congress think Israel should do? If children as young as 13 or 14 were roaming the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston stabbing elderly women as they shopped at the supermarket or waited at a bus stop, would they protest the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators?

But he is comparing apples to oranges. Discrimination is against the law in the US. There are no neighborhoods or communities–in Boston, New York, Los Angeles or elsewhere in America–where people can be prohibited from purchasing homes or taking up residence on the basis of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

Another thing to consider is that discriminatory policies are applied in Israel not only with regard to home sales but also in the issuance of building permits. Back in August, I put up a post about Israel’s destruction of a Palestinian kindergarten as well as its seizure of mobile classrooms that were to have served as an elementary school. The official reason given in both cases was the lack of a permit. The seizure of the mobile classrooms took place on Tuesday, August 22–one day before the new school year was set to begin. A photo was published at the time of children who showed up on the first day of school only to find their classrooms missing:

Children arrive on the first day of school only to discover that their classrooms have been taken.

It seems rather mean-spirited to come and steal the classrooms one day before school is about to start. By the way, the kindergarten is in the village of Jabal al-Baba, east of Jerusalem; the elementary school in Jubbet al-Dib, near Bethlehem. Both villages are in the West Bank–both under military occupation.Occupation tends, by its very nature, to involve “extreme cruelty or brutality.” Destroying schools would seem to denote as well a certain “absence of culture and civilization.”

In order to maintain its occupation Israel apparently also employs torture–apparently even upon children. This we find in the text of McCollum’s bill, from section 2, paragraph 11:

In 2013, the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories (“Annual Report”) published by the Department of State noted that Israeli security services continued to abuse, and in some cases torture, minors, frequently arrested on suspicion of stone-throwing, in order to coerce confessions. The torture tactics used included threats, intimidation, long-term handcuffing, beatings, and solitary confinement.”

Additionally, paragraph 12 notes that the same report discusses “signed confessions by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew, a language most could not read,” while paragraph 13 cites a later “Annual Report”–issued in 2016–and which noted a “significant increase in dententions of minors” that year. An additional quote from the 2016 report reads: “Israeli authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew.”

The full text of H.R. 4391 is available here in PDF. You can also go here to access a list of its co-sponsors.

Given that it maintains all of these settlements, and given that they are built illegally on Palestinian land, one must ask the question: how does Israel go on credibly maintaining to the world that it is truly interested in seeking peace with the Palestinians? Perhaps part of the answer is that it gets lots of help from people like Dershowitz.

In essence painting McCollum as a terrorist sympathizer as well as an anti-Semite, Dershowitz accuses the Minnesota Democrat of refusing to “condemn the Palestinian leadership for perpetrating acts of child abuse by recruiting children to commit terror attacks on Jewish women and children.” And he adds that the co-sponsors of her bill “give a bad name to the Democratic Party, to the Progressive Caucus and to Congress.”

Broad brush strokes. Inflammatory rhetoric. Both seem to work like charms in curtailing criticism of Israel. Of course a standard argument we hear from Israelis is that the settlements don’t pose an obstacle to peace, but this is a load of hasbara hooey.

Maybe it all comes down to history and who is on the right or the wrong side of it. As someone once said, the path to peace is by learning to love your enemies. The same person also said that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword. It’s a lesson all of humanity needs to learn, and if Israel were led by truly enlightened people it would teach that lesson to humanity by setting aside its sword and making peace.

In either event, the bottom line is that if Israel wants to be a state for all its people it will build Palestinian schools. If it wants to go on being a state that gives political preference to one group of people only–the definition of apartheid–it will continue to tear them down.

What the rest of us can do in the meantime is provide our support for those truly seeking to advance the cause of peace. McCollum is such a person. She is, in other words, a peacemaker.

Peacemakers are said to be blessed, Mr. Dershhowitz. It’s a pity you chose to attack this one.

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