Sheikh Qaouk to Al-Ahed: That’s What Haj Imad Planned in the Last Moments of Liberation

28/05/2021

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Sheikh Qaouk to Al-Ahed: That’s What Haj Imad Planned in the Last Moments of Liberation

By Maysaa Moukaddem

The phantom of Haj Imad Mughniyeh roaming through the liberated South, the last days of the liberation, the defense capabilities accumulated by the resistance, and the immediate hope for the liberation of Palestine; all of these are the core themes of which the member of Hezbollah’s Central Council, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, has talked about to “Al-Ahed News” on the occasion of the anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day.

“Strengthening the Lebanese protection system is an ongoing day-to-day action, since the resistance doesn’t ease or rest and breaking the deterrence equation has become impossible,” Sheikh Qaouk affirms, stressing that the axis of resistance is integrated and coherent, and is now stronger and tougher than ever before. Gaza’s interference of its resistance and its missiles as a way of defending al-Quds is a historic achievement and a surprise to the ‘Israeli’ enemy and what happened confirms that the liberation of Palestine as a whole and that the end of the occupation is no longer a dream, a motto, or a wish.

Regarding the great jihadi leader Haj Imad Mughniyeh, Sheikh Qaouk reveals that “In preparation for the Victory Festival in Bint Jbeil, Haj Radwan said that the victory is incomplete without the release of prisoners and that he is currently preparing for an abduction that will ensure the liberation of all prisoners and detainees, as victory is only complete with their return.” Indeed, on Wednesday 24/5/2000, he went on a tour across the area overlooking the Shebaa farms for this exact purpose. He planned the operation all by himself and supervised its maneuver.

The full text of the interview with Sheikh Nabil Qaouk reads as follows:

-Twenty-one years have passed after the liberation of southern Lebanon; How far have the resistance’s capabilities to protect and deter the enemy gone?

With every new dawn, the capabilities of the resistance are enhancing in both quantity and quality and the deterrence equation with the enemy becomes stronger. Therefore, it leads to greater protection and preservation of Lebanon’s territory, people and sovereignty. Strengthening Lebanon’s protection system is an ongoing day-to-day action, since the resistance doesn’t ease or rest and breaking the deterrence equation has become impossible. It was the liberation in 2000 that brought the nation into the dawn of victories. It is true that May represents the “Nakba”, however, the resistance strategy made May a symbol of victory from Lebanon to Palestine and throughout the nation.

-How does the unified Axis of Resistance face challenges?

The Axis of Resistance is integrated and coherent. It seeks common goals and is based on a strategy to confront the aggressive ‘Israeli’-American project against Palestine, the region and its peoples. It is the centerpiece of those who have refused to surrender to the enemy, humiliate their peoples and undermine their causes, existence and identity.

This Axis, today, has become stronger, tougher and more coherent than ever.

The unity of this axis is reflected in its positions, its performance and its triumph of its causes and components, thereby it moves like a single unit, so whenever someone is down, the whole group comes to the rescue.

With every victory against the ‘Israeli’ enemy, we recall the spirit of Haj Qassem Soleimani, who has strengthened and developed the resistance’s strategy and besieged the enemy with missiles from everywhere.

-What is the importance of entering the Gaza Strip today along with the popular Intifada in the West Bank and al-Quds and standing by the Maqdessis [people of al-Quds]?

The interference of Gaza’s resistance and missiles as a way of defending al-Quds is a historic achievement and a surprise to the ‘Israeli’ enemy. Gaza’s resistance has dropped all attempts of division and partition that the enemy has worked on ever since the occupation. Today, from Gaza to al-Quds, along with the West Bank to the 48-lands, the Palestinians have said their one unified word, “Palestine will always be united from the river to the sea,” and all attempts to “domestication” and “Israelization” fell after decades of consolidating these attempts. Gaza’s involvement in the confrontation contributed to this historic achievement, which has exposed the enemy’s weakness and its illusion of power, and has enhanced the possibility of the entity’s downfall and the demise of its occupation.

What happened confirms that the liberation of Palestine as a whole and the end of the occupation is no longer a dream, a motto, or a wish. It’s rather a reality that materializes and appears at every resistance day. The strategic victory in the Battle of the “Al-Quds Sword” proves the fact that al-Quds is closer to liberation. The victory in the Battle of the “Al-Quds Sword” renewed the life of the Palestinian cause and tore Trump’s decisions apart.

-How does Hezbollah express its help and support for the Palestinians and the resistance today? At what level do they carry out their coordination and communication?

Hezbollah was and will always be the first supporter of Palestine and will never change. This is our source of pride and dignity and it is fully in line with our vision and strategy. Palestine and its liberation are at the center of our resistance’s project and objectives. The Palestinian resistance has defined the type and form of support that will help it in the battle, in which Hezbollah was proactive in providing assistance determined by the Palestinian resistance. Coordination and communication with the Palestinian resistance is a continuous and lasting process at various levels. The resistance in Lebanon is in one ditch, and with the Palestinian resistance in one confrontation, along with being in one battle against ‘Israel.’

*Haj Imad

– There are details related to the jihadi leader Haj Imad Mughniyeh during the days of liberation: How did he move between villages? Was the idea to capture ‘Israeli’ soldiers at the time a way to get prisoners out of occupation prisons? Why was the decision to quickly destroy all the ‘Israeli’ sites after the enemy was defeated?

Haj Imad used to travel as one of the people returning to their villages. On Monday 22/5/2000 he got in the middle of a crowd of people and took the Majdel Selm-Tallousa road on foot until he reached Hula, a village on the border of Palestine. And there he stood by the fence and, for the first time, inhaled the Palestinian air. It was the most beautiful moment of his life.

Haj Imad Mughniyeh worked to pursue the enemy from village to another on the basis that the withdrawal would be under fire to highlight the enemy’s defeat.

In preparation for the Victory Festival in Bint Jbeil, Haj Radwan said that the victory is incomplete without the release of prisoners and that he is currently preparing for an abduction that will ensure the liberation of all prisoners and detainees, for victory is only complete with their return. And indeed, on Wednesday 24/5/2000, he toured the area overlooking the Shebaa Farms in order to achieve this purpose, planning the operation himself and overseeing its maneuver.

Haj Imad didn’t trust the enemy as the defeat was imposed on it. And Haj Imad feared at the time that the enemy could return quickly to these sites, so he destroyed them to impede any attempt of their return, and in order not to have fortified sites adjacent to the border in the future, which the enemy could benefit from in any future war.

Every night we used to meet Haj Imad and the leaders of the resistance operation, until after midnight, to set the measures that must be taken on the next day. And before entering Ein Ebel, Debl, and Rmaysh, the procedures were strict and the resistance members were told not to enter these three villages armed. Haj Imad used to personally follow up on this report in order to ensure that there was no fear and panic among the inhabitants of these villages; since instilling fear of the resistance among the people is an ‘Israeli’ goal that ‘Israel’ has been pursuing.

He personally drove his car to Ein Ebel, where a number of men from Ain Ebel followed him with their cars. Haj Imad’s companions were worried about these men and intended to talk them, but Haj Imad refused and ordered to leave them so that they can be reassured and return to their families so they can reassure them as well, and that is what happened.

During the exit of Haj Imad from Ain Ebel and at the Bint Jbeil Junction, he saw a car filled with armed men, and feared that they would enter Ain Ebel with their weapons and cause tension in the village. So he stepped out of the car and ordered them to leave. He then asked the military intelligence officers, who were there, to prevent these men from entering the village.

Haj Imad roamed the border inch by inch from Naqoura to Jabal Al-Sheikh, as he checked all points and stepped out of his car in several places; which took a long time. And we had a congregational prayer in the presence of Haj Imad directly at the border strip with occupied Palestine.

– How did the Secretary-General of Hezbollah follow up on the details of the last days?

Moment by moment, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, was following the events and communicating with all factions. And after watching TV, the Secretary-General asked why there were more than one color for Hezbollah’s flag and he requested that all flags should be unified in yellow.

«معركة» عزل السلطة تنطلق: «الممثل الشرعي الوحيد»… مقاومة

رجب المدهون

 السبت 29 أيار 2021

«معركة» عزل السلطة تنطلق: «الممثل الشرعي الوحيد»... مقاومة
أكدت «حماس» جاهزيتها للذهاب إلى أبعد مدى في ترتيب البيت الفلسطيني (أ ف ب )

غزة في إطار سعيها إلى الاستثمار في نتائج معركة «سيف القدس»، والتي يبرز من بين أهمّها تراجع مكانة السلطة الفلسطينية وتهشّم صورتها لدى الجمهور، تعمل فصائل المقاومة على الإفادة من ذلك، في إعادة ترتيب البيت الداخلي على أساس إنهاء برنامج المفاوضات وتصدير برنامج الكفاح المسلّح. وفي هذا الإطار، تُكثّف الفصائل لقاءاتها الهادفة إلى إنهاء تفرّد محمود عباس بالقرار الرسمي الفلسطيني، متجاهلةً دعوة الأخير إلى تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية، على اعتبار أنها لا تُلبّي تطلّعات مَن خَرج منتصراً من معركة طاحنة مع العدو. في هذا الوقت، تتواصل الجهود المصرية لبدء مفاوضات غير مباشرة بين المقاومة والاحتلال، تستهدف تثبيت وقف إطلاق النار، توازياً مع تجدّد تحذيرات الفصائل للعدو من التلاعب بملفّ إعادة الإعمار

بعد أسابيع من الإحباط الذي ساد أوساط الفلسطينيين وفصائلهم، إثر تأجيل رئيس السلطة، محمود عباس، الانتخابات، بذريعة رفض الاحتلال إقامتها في مدينة القدس، تسعى العديد من الفصائل إلى إرساء آليات جديدة لإعادة ترتيب البيت الداخلي، وذلك استثماراً لنتائج معركة «سيف القدس»، التي كان التنسيق الفصائلي فيها في أعلى مستوياته وأفضلها. منذ ما قبل المعركة، بدا واضحاً أن التنسيق بين الفصائل في قطاع غزة كان عالياً جدّاً، في ظلّ عدّة جلسات ولقاءات عقدتها لتباحث قضية القدس، مؤكدة وقوفها خلف التهديد الذي أطلقه رئيس أركان «كتائب القسام»، الجناح العسكري لحركة «حماس»، محمد الضيف، واستعدادها لخوص المعركة موحّدة بكلّ قوة. إلّا أن تجليات التنسيق في ما بين الفصائل خلال المعركة على المستوى السياسي، بجوار توحّدها في خطواتها العسكرية عبر «غرفة عمليات المقاومة المشتركة»، وتحقيقها سويّة انتصاراً في المواجهة، وخفوت موقف السلطة الذي بدا ضعيفاً ودون المستوى، كل ذلك دفع الفصائل جميعها إلى تعزيز خطابها بصوابية برنامج المقاومة الفلسطينية، وانتهاء برنامج المفاوضات، والمطالبة بإعادة ترتيب البيت الفلسطيني في أسرع وقت، ومواجهة تفرّد عباس وجزء من حركة «فتح» بالقرار الفلسطيني.

[اشترك في قناة ‫«الأخبار» على يوتيوب]

وحسبما علمت «الأخبار»، فقد عقدت الفصائل في غزة، قبيل المعركة الأخيرة، اجتماعات مع قيادة «حماس»، لتباحث الأحداث في القدس والخيارات المتاحة أمامها، مؤيّدة الذهاب نحو مواجهة مع الاحتلال في حال استمرّت ممارساته في المدينة المحتلة. وبعد انتهاء المعركة، عقدت لقاءً آخر اتفقت خلاله على ضرورة الضغط على عباس لترتيب البيت الفلسطيني، وإنهاء حالة التفرّد، لتحقيق أكبر مكتسب لمصلحة القضية الفلسطينية بعد الانتصار، ووقف عبث المفاوضات، فيما اقترحت بعض الفصائل، في حال رفض عباس الاتفاق، إعلان فقدانه للشرعية، وأنه مغتصب لقيادة الشعب الفلسطيني، والعمل على تشكيل إطار يجمع جميع فصائل المقاومة، باعتبار المقاومة المُمثّل الوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني في كلّ مكان. وفي الوقت الذي دعا فيه عباس إلى تشكيل حكومة وحدة فلسطينية بعد الحرب، تلتزم بالاتفاقيات مع الاحتلال وبشروط «الرباعية الدولية»، تجاهلت الفصائل هذه الدعوة على اعتبار أنها لا تُلبّي تطلّعات الشعب الفلسطيني الذي يعيش حالة انتصار على العدو.

تجاهلت الفصائل دعوة محمود عباس إلى تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية


في المقابل، أكد رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة «حماس»، إسماعيل هنية، أن حركته جاهزة للذهاب إلى أبعد مدى في ترتيب البيت الفلسطيني، داعياً إلى البدء في إعادة هيكلة «منظّمة التحرير الفلسطينية»، وإدخال الشعب الفلسطيني في الشتات في معادلة المؤسّسة والقرار عبر الانتخابات، وبناء رؤية فلسطينية على قاعدة الشراكة. وشدّد هنية على أن معركة «سيف القدس» أنهت مرحلة وفتحت مرحلة حديدة، لافتاً إلى أن الجماهير وقفت في كلّ مكان خلف المقاومة. واعتبر عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة «الجهاد الإسلامي»، خالد البطش، بدوره، أن «معركة سيف القدس كانت نقطة تحوّل استراتيجي أسّست لانتصار كبير على أساس أن الفلسطيني يمكن أن ينتصر على المحتل، وعليه يجب استعادة الوحدة الوطنية، وتحقيق الشراكة ضرورة مُلحّة لاستثمار نصر معركة سيف القدس». ورأت «الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين»، من جهتها، أن «معركة سيف القدس أعادت التأكيد على وحدة الشعب الفلسطيني، وهو أوّل معطى يجب أن نبني عليه قاعدة وحدتنا الوطنية والاجتماعية المتينة، من بوّابة استعادة مشروعنا الوطني التحرّري، وأداته الوطنية الجامعة؛ منظّمة التحرير الفلسطينية التي يجب تحريرها من قيود نهج التسوية والمفاوضات والاتفاقيات الكارثية مع العدو، والتي طوتها مقاومة شعبنا وانتصاره المؤزّر». ودعت الجبهة، القيادة الفلسطينية الرسمية «المهيمنة»، إلى «عدم تبديد إنجازات ومكتسبات شعبنا، من خلال العودة إلى المفاوضات التي يتزايد الحديث بشأنها، وعدم المساهمة في نقل التناقض إلى الداخل الفلسطيني».

من ملف : فلسطين: معركة عزل السلطة تنطلق

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Sheikh Qassem to Al-Ahed: Berri Taking Steps to Form Government; the Syrian Elections Are a Success Story

28/05/2021

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Sheikh Qassem to Al-Ahed: Berri Taking Steps to Form Government; the Syrian Elections Are a Success Story

By Mayssaa Moukaddem

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is taking steps to form a new government. That’s according to Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem, who said that “hopes for solution” are resting on these steps.

“We need the results to appear directly this week,” Sheikh Qassem said in an exclusive interview with the Al-Ahed News.

“The country carrying on without a government means the continuation of economic and social chaos and a continuous deterioration,” he added. “Forming the government is the natural, necessary, and exclusive approach to the beginning of the solution in Lebanon.”

Sheikh Qassem also responded to the Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, in relation to the Al-Qard Al-Hasan Association. Hezbollah’s  deputy chief explained that “Al-Qard Al-Hassan Association is a charitable social institution that does not deal with banking matters and is not part of the banking system in Lebanon. Therefore, any observation that may be made by any party that considers itself to have the authority can follow it through the normal, legal channels and will find that this institution is a charitable institution, to which the accusation claimed by some does not apply.”

Regarding the elections in Syria, Sheikh Qassem asserted that “the massive turnout is proof of Syria’s recovery, and that the regime has a well-established position. This scene completely contradicts all previous bets on displaced Syrians serving as a tool to vote for someone other than President Assad, and having the president removed in a democratic and constitutional manner.”

Regarding the restoration of the relationship between Hamas and Syria and the role of Hezbollah in this regard, Sheikh Qassem noted that “the relationship was a subject of follow-up in recent months.”

“There has also been progress towards the possibility of restoring relations between them. But the honorable battle of Al-Quds Sword accelerated these steps. God willing, we will soon see a normal return of relations and repair the rifts.”

Sheikh Qassem affirmed that “the work of the resistance against ‘Israel’ does not belong to a sect, but rather belongs to the honorable Islamic, patriotic, national, and humanitarian resistance.”

“Anyone who is trying to drive a wedge between the resistance movements is acting in an absurd manner.”

Below is the full text of the interview:

1- First, all the supporters of the Secretary-General of Hezbollah are asking about the health of His Eminence, especially after his recent speech. Did you have contact with him after the speech? How can you reassure his supporters?

The Secretary-General of Hezbollah, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, is fine, praise be to God Almighty. He was diagnosed with a mild condition in recent days that required him to rest for two to three days. But since his supporters have been waiting for his speech on May 25, failure to appear would have raised unnecessary questions. It was better for him to make an appearance, despite not fully recovering, to be on the side of his supporters who were waiting for his speech at this important and sensitive stage. And the Secretary-General is fine, God willing.

2- The head of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, Yahya al-Sinwar, stated that “the rockets and planes deployed during the battle were sent in complete coordination between the resistance in Lebanon and Gaza.” What do you have to add regarding details of coordination between the resistance in Lebanon and Gaza?

It has become known that the level of cooperation between the Islamic Republic, Hezbollah, and the resistance in Palestine is high at the level of preparation, capabilities, training, and manufacturing. Therefore, any other details related to the coordination mechanisms remain a security matter, and we cannot disclose their details. However, it is clear that the battle that took place unfolded with close follow-up and permanent cooperation, thank God.

3- How did you read yesterday’s press conference where Al-Sinwar challenged the “Israeli” enemy to assassinate him, and then he publicly walked through the streets of Gaza despite the declared “Israeli” threats?

The “Israelis” usually make many threats in order to leave a psychological effect on their enemies, but it seems that they have not yet understood what the resistance and the resistance fighters are. They are confident in the victory of God Almighty and stand in the front row during confrontations alongside the honorable mujahideen. Hence, the public appearance of Al-Sinwar is a clear challenge to the “Israeli” enemy that their threats could not affect the resistance and its leadership.

4- To what extent can the equation referred to by the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, “Al-Quds versus a regional war,” be enforceable in the foreseeable future?

It is not possible to define anticipated times for wars that “Israel” might initiate or for developments that could lead to a comprehensive regional war. This matter has to do with field data that are not currently available, and the conditions are not favorable to them, but it must remain clear that we, as Hezbollah, are in a state of constant readiness for any calculated or unpredictable development.

5- Did the Al-Quds Sword battle contribute to repairing rifts that appeared between some Palestinian resistance movements and Syria? Does Hezbollah have a role in this?

The relationship between the Hamas movement and Syria has been the subject of follow-up in recent months, and there has also been progress towards the possibility of restoring relations between them. But the honorable battle Al-Quds Sword accelerated these steps. This was highlighted by the announcement of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to receive all the resistance fighters in Damascus, as well as the response of the Hamas leadership about expecting this from Syria, which has always been on the side of the resistance. God willing, we will soon see a normal return of relations and repair the rifts that have risen as a result of developments in Syria in the last stage.

6- What is your response to those who are trying to play on the sectarian chord to divide the resistance factions in the area?

The work of the resistance against “Israel” does not belong to a sect, but rather belongs to the honorable Islamic, patriotic, national, and humanitarian resistance. Therefore, whoever tries to drive a wedge within the relations of the resistance movements is acting in an absurd manner because the level of interaction and integration in the resistance work has been evident at various stages, especially at the last stage, where the level of interaction between the resistance fighters throughout the region is extensive without any sectarian dismissions.

7- After 21 years since the liberation of Lebanon, to what extent can it be said that the resistance is able to deter “Israeli” aggression and attacks?

Talking about Hezbollah’s resistance deterring “Israel” doesn’t need any further verification. “Israel” committed an aggression in 2006 with the expectation that it would crush the resistance in Lebanon, but it failed miserably. For the last 15 years (from 2006 to 2021), “Israel” is still deterred in every sense of the word. This is evidence of the effects that the liberation and the victory in the 2006 aggression left on “Israel”; it does not dare to launch an aggression in any way or form because it is fully aware that the resistance’s response will be very harsh, especially since its capabilities and methods developed extraordinarily in recent years. It is now in a much better position than it was during the liberation or following the 2006 aggression.

8- In the last two years, Lebanon entered an unprecedented phase of economic and monetary deterioration. In your view, does the path of salvation begin from the formation of the government? Do you bet on this matter, especially since there are those who doubt that a government will be born under the current circumstances? Following the disagreement between President Aoun and Hariri, [the government] will not be productive but tensions and mutual obstacles will move to the cabinet table.

There are two options in Lebanon, and there is no third. There is the option of the country carrying on without a government, and this means the continuation of economic and social chaos and a continuous deterioration without reaching any solution. The second option is to form a government so that there is an official body responsible in the country. Even if this government does not achieve everything that the Lebanese people aspire for, at least it introduces the first rescue steps on the path to a solution and begins with efforts to stop the deterioration we are in. Therefore, the formation of the government is the natural, necessary, and exclusive entry point for the beginning of the solution in Lebanon. Then, we must follow up so that the solution is effective. We must also address the gaps that slow the solution down or affect it. There are no other options in Lebanon.

9- After the Secretary-General of Hezbollah confirmed that Speaker Nabih Berri is the only party capable of solving disagreements between President Aoun and Hariri, do you know what he is preparing in this regard?

There are steps that Speaker Berri is now taking, which he hopes will create an opportunity for a solution, and we are helping and cooperating so are other parties. We need the results to appear directly this week.

10- While waiting for the formation of the government, who will the citizens that are looking for fuel, medicine, and basic needs turn to? Does Hezbollah have an alternative plan to protect societal security in Lebanon? Is there anyone who can guarantee that the street will not explode again in light of the continuous deterioration?

Social security is the responsibility of the state and not the responsibility of a particular party. No matter what any party does, it will not be able to achieve social security for the people. It may fill some gaps and address some problems, but there must be a responsible government that the Parliament will hold accountable and follow up with in order to take us to steps for social security and resolve chaos. Any betting outside the framework of forming a government is futile and a waste of time and unrealizable hopes.

11- Does Hezbollah have a project to benefit in a way from the continuous Iranian offers to Lebanon to help in several areas, including electricity, in case Lebanese officials continue to refuse or escape from it?

It is better to wait for the formation of the government, and we will try to help the state cooperate with Iranian, Russian, Chinese, and Western offers, which can speed up dealing with the electricity problem or other problems.

12- In an interview with Al-Hadath channel a few days ago, the Governor of Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, said, “We learned from Washington about Al-Qard Al-Hasan’s connections, and we will investigate this, and the activity of this institution harms the banking system.” What is your response?

Al-Qard Al-Hassan Association is a charitable social institution that does not deal with banking matters and is not part of the banking system in Lebanon. Therefore, any observation that may be made by any party that considers itself to have the authority can follow it through the normal, legal channels and will find that this institution is a charitable institution, to which the accusation claimed by some does not apply.

13- Does Hezbollah support the removal of Riad Salameh from his position?

Any matter related to the governor of the Bank of Lebanon, remaining [in his post] or being ousted, requires a government to make this decision. Discussing this subject is a mere form of entertainment if it is not translated into a discussion within the government, which must take the right position on this issue according to the data presented to it.

14- How is Hezbollah’s relationship with Bkerke today?

The liaison committee between Hezbollah and Bkerke continues its regular and periodic meetings, and there is nothing new in this regard.

15- The Saudi media maintains that Hezbollah is part of the drug trade, and these allegations intensified among Gulf countries preventing Lebanese trucks from passing through their territories. Some Lebanese parties recommended accusing Hezbollah of harming Lebanon’s image and Lebanese production, what is your response?

The link between Hezbollah, drugs, the Gulf states, accusations, and evidence must be dismantled. First, Hezbollah does not trade in drugs and has nothing to do with it, neither from near nor from afar, and it prohibits drug trade and consumption. And the Lebanese security services are fully aware of the extent of Hezbollah’s contribution in providing aid and support when it comes to arresting people or raiding groups in different regions, where we have the ability to help the security services to do so.

As for Western allegations that talk about drug trafficking at the international level, they lack evidence. All the reports they announce say, “This person is close to Hezbollah, “it was leaked to us that Hezbollah may have a relationship,” and “here is an analysis saying that Hezbollah is the one benefiting.” No report dares to accuse Hezbollah directly because it has not been proven to anyone. But they are trying, in a twisted way, to pin it on Hezbollah, and so far, internationally and locally, this matter has not been proven and will not be proven because we are against drugs, drug trade, and anything related to drugs.

Secondly, the drugs seized in pomegranate shipments belongs to one or some drug traffickers, and it has absolutely no connection to Hezbollah. The measures taken by Saudi Arabia, or some Gulf countries are measures related to the shipment of drugs or other shipments. What does this have to do with Hezbollah and the position of the Gulf states with Hezbollah? Linking the matter to Hezbollah is part of the political rivalry and an attempt to tarnish the party’s image. We no longer comment on such accusations because we considered them both frivolous and degrading at the same time and based on unjustified hostility and accusations that do not have the slightest basis. So, if this matter is mentioned repeatedly and Hezbollah did not respond, it is because it has become one of the issues that do not concern us, and the people concerned know very well that we are outside the circle of drugs or the likes.

Does Hezbollah intend to file lawsuits against the media that deliberately insist on placing Hezbollah’s name in this file?

We may need to activate the entire judiciary in Lebanon if we wish to prosecute for every accusation because some throw around accusations a lot without evidence. We do not have the conviction to pursue every matter through the judiciary. We may pursue very specific and very restricted matters if we find that there is a benefit, but this is not our approach.

16- What is your reading of the high turnout in the presidential elections in Syria? And how did you interpret the tension between Lebanese factions over the turnout of the Syrians in Lebanon?

The massive turnout is proof of Syria’s recovery, and that the regime has a well-established position and that people, contrary to what they say about them in the West and some Gulf countries, are supporters of the structure and continuation of the regime. They are opposed to chaos and the fragmentation of Syria. This scene completely contradicts all previous bets on displaced Syrians serving as a tool to vote for someone other than President Assad, and having the president removed in a democratic and constitutional manner.

It became clear to all of them that this bet was unrealistic because even in the centers outside Syria where people have been displaced, the huge turnout was in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I consider this a success and a victory at the same time for Syria’s continuity and stability in the future. Anyone looking for a solution in Syria must deal with the regime and not with America, “Israel,” and those on their side, including Daesh and others who destroyed Syria.

As for those who tried to attack some voters in Lebanon, Hezbollah issued a statement and made it clear that these people attacked others who have the right to express their opinion. Therefore, this attack is unacceptable and rejected, regardless of their arguments. Unfortunately, some feel that the aggressor has a justification because the voter passed in front of him. This justification is illogical and unreasonable. In any case, they have offended themselves with this attack and highlighted the ugly racist image that no one embraces.

‘Israeli’ Expert: Hezbollah Is 10 Times the Threat that Hamas Has Been with up to 200,000 Missiles

28/05/2021

Source

‘Israeli’ Expert: Hezbollah Is 10 Times the Threat that Hamas Has Been with up to 200,000 Missiles

By Staff, CBN News

For eleven days, Hamas tried to paralyze central and southern ‘Israeli’-occupied territories by firing thousands of rockets from Gaza, says Chris Mitchell in CBN News. Now, strategists are looking for other potential threats and an ‘Israeli’ expert points to the north as a much bigger threat.

Prof. Boaz Ganor, the executive director of the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, told CBN News his main concern after the recent ‘Israeli’ war on Gaza.

“I have to admit that as an ‘Israeli,’ this is not the only front that I’m concerned of. I look north and I see Lebanon and I see Hezbollah,” he explained. 

Ganor estimates Hezbollah could have as many as 200,000 missiles – an amount that represents a far greater threat than Hamas.

“If you ask me what concerns with Hezbollah?  Everything that concerns me with the Hamas, but big-time, much more than what we had. So, everything we have seen in the last two weeks, we should multiply that in 10 and that’s going to be the challenge that we would face from Hezbollah.”

After studying the recent war, Ganor believes Hezbollah would try to overwhelm the Zionist entity’s number one ‘defense,’ the Iron Dome. Ganor also points out Hezbollah possesses not just rockets but missiles.

What’s the difference a missile and a rocket? A missile is a guided rocket. You can guide it. You can direct it to the targets, so they have guided missiles with much, much bigger warheads… and they cover all the ‘Israeli’-occupied territory. They can launch rockets from Lebanon and hit Eilat, which is the most southern part of the ‘Israeli’ entity.

Ganor, like most ‘Israelis,’ takes Iran at its word regarding the desire to eradicate the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity.

Ganor adds that Hezbollah represents an unprecedented challenge to ‘Israel’ and that any war against it would dwarf the recent conflict with Hamas.    

“I believe that Hezbollah would cause much more damage and much more casualties in ‘Israel’ in the numbers of hundreds, not thousands, of casualties in ‘Israel.’ In that case, no doubt in my mind, that the ‘Israeli’ government and the ‘Israeli’ military and the ‘Israeli’ public would expect the ‘Israeli’ government to do whatever they can in order to prevent those ‘atrocities’ against ‘Israel’ in a much lesser restrictive manner than ‘Israel’ in Gaza.”

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

 

Eva Bartlett

Celebrations for the Syrian presidential elections in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Syria, May 26, 2021 © Eva Bartlett

26 May, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Although the West has waged 10 years of war on Syria, and there is much destruction, the entire country isn’t in ruins and the pulse of life continues, albeit strangled by brutal Western sanctions.

After Eastern Ghouta’s liberation in 2018, the Western media predictably went silent on the return of internally displaced Syrians and the rebuilding that had occurred. Today, in towns in the region outside the capital Damascus, behind dusty, battered metal shop shutters, I saw glossy new windows and even more rebuilding than I had when I was here in 2018.

In Douma, I saw lovely, smiling children, excited to practise their English with me. Given that they were born during the war and lived under the horrifically savage rule of the rebel groups Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman, and their co-terrorists, their exuberance was remarkable. The traumas they endured they have either deeply buried within or miraculously healed from.

Since both the media and leaders in the West made such a big deal over the Douma chemical hoax, it was particularly rewarding to see life in the streets again.

Lively times in Irbeen and Douma, Eastern Ghouta, today, where Syrians exercised their right to vote in Presidential elections.

Western media mocks the elections.

Syrians voting, sing, dancing, is a massive F.U. to the West’s ambitions of regime change in Syria. pic.twitter.com/nNwIhDzWJ1— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 26, 2021

Syrians in Eastern Ghouta were put through a hell that most of us, living safely far from war, cannot begin to fathom. I had seen their tortured faces shortly after their liberation in 2018. That made seeing them smiling, dancing, and celebrating the presidential elections today incredibly moving. The difference between then and now was like night and day.

Some were surprised when I posted videos on social media of a Syrian singer and orchestra performing at the Damascus Opera House two nights ago. Many assume the country has been completely destroyed, others are just unaware that it has a rich culture that hasn’t died, in spite of a decade-long war waged by the West.

Damascus Opera House now. pic.twitter.com/xMXLpposfl— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 24, 2021

Until the liberation, however, Syrians in Damascus risked being maimed or killed every time they went to work, to school, to the market, or even while they remained at home, when terrorist mortars and missiles rained down from Eastern Ghouta.

Back in 2014, leaving behind the hospitality of the small hotel I was staying in near the gate of Bab Sharqi, the Old City’s East Gate, I drifted over to a cluster of tables across from the beautiful Zaitoun Greek Orthodox cathedral and beside a closed restaurant. But instead of working on my laptop, as I’d intended, I ended up getting into a conversation with the owner of that restaurant, now called the Abu Zolouf bar.

As Abu Shadi and I spoke, terrorist-fired mortars fell in nearby districts. I wrote at the time: “As it happened, I got two of four mortars on audio. The first occurred around 7:05 pm, which Abu Shadi estimated to be 200 metres away. His friend corrected him saying it was only 50 metres away (also about 20 metres from my hotel). Roughly 10 minutes later, the second mortar. There were two other mortars within half an hour. SANA news reported the injury of 17 civilians.”

Our conversation became about the incessant shelling, where the latest mortar had fallen, and his near-death experience with one.

Two times mortars landed outside my restaurant. One would have killed me, but I went inside just before,” he said, pointing to a spot on the ground next to the door. He lamented the loss of business as much as the threat posed by the mortars.

The other night, I visited the restaurant with a friend. Seeing Abu Shadi, we sat down with him and chatted about those days. Now, his restaurant is open and well frequented, guests sitting under light-strung olive trees enjoying the early summer evenings.

very early in the evening; in a few hours, the place will be packed

Also in 2014, one afternoon, wishing to escape the blazing sun, I leaned against the wall encircling the Old City, looking towards Jobar, then occupied by terrorist factions, roughly a kilometer away. As I wrote at the time, while I chatted with a friend, “bullets whizzed past me, half a meter to my right, to my left. Everyone in the vicinity jumped up and ran, most looking panicked. We ran for about 50 meters, to a point which was apparently out of the terrorists’ range. One woman, hyperventilating and unable to stand, took a good 10 minutes to calm down, repeatedly making the sign of the cross as she wheezed. Later, I chatted with a man selling spinach patties, mentioning that I was surprised the bullets had reached the point where I’d been sitting. ‘They reach as far as here,’ he said, from his hole-in-the-wall bakery another 200 metres from where I’d been sitting.

My encounters with mortars and their victims were many over the years, including seeing numerous children maimed and with critical injuries from the terrorists’ shelling, many ancient Damascene houses partially destroyed by it.

Douma, Syria, April 2018 © Eva Bartlett

n 2018, I interviewed the supremely talented violinist and composer, Raad Khalaf, who is also a founder of the all-women Mari Orchestra. Afterwards, we chatted and he mentioned that the shelling had reached the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts where he taught, near the Opera House.

He told me that the year prior, terrorists had attacked the area with some 37 bombs in one day.

The students had to stay inside for eight hours – you couldn’t go outside because we didn’t know when or where the next bomb would fall. One student went outside and was killed. Here we lived five difficult years.

On Monday this week, I went to the Opera House to hear Syrian singer Carmen Tockmaji and the orchestra accompanying her perform. The auditorium was only half-full but lively, everyone evidently enjoying the singer’s talents.

I was surprised to learn later that a front-row ticket cost just 2,000 Syrian pounds (80 US cents), a second-class ticket 1,500 (60 US cents), and a third class ticket 1,000 (40 US cents). Nonetheless, despite the low price, Syria’s poorest can’t afford this, largely because of the brutal sanctions on the country that decisively affected the currency, causing hyperinflation – an intended consequence of the cruel and immoral sanctions leveled against the Syrian people.

I wrote last year (and before) about how these sanctions directly affect civilians: “On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to ‘protect’ them, it claims. This, after years of bombing civilians and providing support to anti-government militants, leading to the proliferation of terrorists who kidnap, imprison, torture, maim, and murder the same civilians. Sanctions have impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and the machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.”

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy. A May 3, 2021 opinion piece by Abbey Makoe on the website of the South African Broadcasting Corporation noted: “Electricity rationing in Syria has reached its highest levels due to the government’s inability to secure the fuel needed to generate electricity. This is mainly due to the damaging international economic sanctions led by the Western powers, including the IIT [Investigation and Identification Team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] protagonists France, UK and the US. The value of the Syrian pound has crumbled to almost nothing. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 … is credited with bringing about starvation, darkness, plague, misery, robbery, kidnappings, increased mortality rate and the certain destruction of a nation that was once a beacon of hope across the Middle East.” 

The misery is real, and Syrians are indeed suffering, many unable even to feed their families properly.

Speaking of Opera House performances may seem trite in light of the economic suffering, but the fact that productions such as this do still occur in Syria is another indication that the West’s change-of-government project has failed, despite its 10 years of waging war in Syria.

Seeing this concert just before the presidential elections was moving and poignant. As Carlos Tebecherani Haddad, a Syrian-Brazilian friend I met in 2014 when mortars were raining down around us, wrote: “Celebrating life, victory over foreign aggression, rebuilding, the strength of Syrian roots, presidential elections and the bright future of the Syrian nation.

That indeed is what I’ve seen in Syria, including today in Douma, where Syrians amassed to vote. Yet there is much to be done, particularly when it comes to rebuilding the infrastructure – especially as oh-so-benevolent America and its allies, in sanctioning the Syrian people, are directly preventing this.

So, if you’re still pointing a finger at the president and the army, turn that finger back at your governments, ye in the West. They are the cause of the destruction and death in Syria, and they hinder an otherwise achievable return to peace and normality.

Douma: Three Years On: How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

 

Eva Bartlett

Hassan Diab (left) in a hospital in Douma after being hosed down with water, though allegedly a victim of chemical weapons, Hasan would later testify there was no chemical weapon attack

Fantastic endorsement by the esteemed John Pilger. I’m humbled.


This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.

It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.

The article in question was published at Off Guardian, May 25, 2021

May 20 marked the start of the 2021 Syrian presidential elections. Syrians around the world outside of Syria will cast their votes—if their embassies haven’t been closed, or voting prohibited, in the countries they reside in that is.

As I wrote last week,

Western leaders hypocritically claimed concern for Syrians and wanted to ensure they live democratically – by funding and arming terrorists from around the world to slaughter them and destroy their homes, governmental buildings, and historic and cultural places–but continue to do everything in their power to make it difficult-to-impossible for Syrians to exercise their rights to vote for their president.

In closing Syrian embassies around the world, the regime-change alliance made very clear that they do not want the Syrian people to exercise their democratic right to vote in presidential elections past and future. They know that Syrians would come out in masses to vote for their president.

Otherwise, Syrians will, on May 26, vote in Syria. This is a historic moment: after 10 years of would-be regime change in Syria, ten bloody years of unnecessary war on Syria, Syrians voting, whether for Assad or not, are voting in defiance of the West’s attempts to install a puppet government.

In their attempts to overthrow President Assad, the West and allies have concocted accusation after accusation about alleged atrocities committed by Syria. Among the many fabrications, the more recent and perhaps notable was that of the April 2018, Douma “chemical attack” allegations.

The Douma “Chemical Attack”

Three years ago on April 7, France, the UK and the US (FUKUS) and their allies, along with the entirety of Western corporate media, alleged that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons on civilians in Douma, just northeast of Damascus.

The allegation was that a chemical agent airdropped onto the town had killed dozens of civilians.

As I wrote at the time, the West’s claims to have evidence to back these allegations was a transparent lie: what they had were dubious, unverified, video clips and photos shared on social media, provided by the Western-funded White Helmets and other partial and non-credible sources with affiliations to, and admiration for, Jaysh al-Islam and co-terrorist groups in eastern Ghouta.

One week later, the night before Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors were due to visit Douma (at the request of the Syrian government), FUKUS launched 103 missiles at Syria. Bombing within Damascus itself and putting the lives of Syrian civilians at risk.

They carried out this attack without waiting for any evidence at all, much less a full investigation by the OPCW. Far from a concern for the truth, or wanting to “protect” Syrian lives, FUKUS’ response was clearly about applying both political and military pressure to the government they had been trying to change for almost a decade.

Indeed, the immediate attribution of guilt to the Syrian government, alongside the promptness of the retaliation, suggests at least foreknowledge of the “attack”, if not outright responsibility for it.

Independent Media on the Ground in Syria

In contrast to the propaganda put forth from outside of Syria – by dubious propaganda outlets like Bellingcat, as well as most of Western media – a number of journalists actually went to the area in question and spoke with medical personnel and residents.

These include Russian and Syrian media, followed by foreign journalists including One America News Network, Vanessa Beeley, Robert Fisk, Germany’s ZDF, and myself.

We learned: there was no indication that any of the people brought in to the medical point had been exposed to a chemical agent; they were, instead, treated for normal shelling injuries, as well as for breathing difficulties due to the combination of smoke, dust, and their having taken refuge for extended periods in basements; they were all sent home after treatment, no one died in the makeshift hospital.

We also heard of the horrific suffering of civilians in eastern Ghouta, under the savage rule of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, and the other terrorist factions occupying the region. In fact, most residents I spoke with were more desperate to emphasize how awful life had been under their rule than talk about what they clearly viewed as lies, the chemical allegations.

In one particularly notable early report, RT interviewed the 11-year-old boy, Hassan Diab, starring in the clip that went around the world: a clip showing Diab being hosed down in a chaotic hospital room, allegedly being treated for exposure to a chemical agent.

The boy told RT:

We were outside, and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me. The doctors started filming us here [in the hospital], they were pouring water and taking videos.

The Hague Press Conference

Diab and sixteen others — including a resuscitator, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, an emergency paramedic with the Syrian Red Crescent, a doctor with the emergency department — then spoke at The Hague.

Their testimonies dismantled the claims about a chemical attack in Douma.

But, as I recently wrote, instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered at the “obscene masquerade” regarding the testimonies.

Yes, the same media which uncritically endorsed the Twitter account of a seven-year-old English-illiterate Aleppo girl as gospel in the lead up to the liberation of Aleppo refused to consider the testimonies of seventeen civilians from Douma.

The same media refused the revelations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) whistleblowers who spoke out, damning the final OPCW report for its glaring omissions – omissions that completely changed the narrative around Douma.

In October 2020, the UN Security Council itself refused to allow Jose Bustani, former general director of the OPCW, to speak. I urge people to read Bustani’s words on the cover up of OPCW expert findings around the Douma allegations.

It should be noted that it was largely due to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media that OPCW whistle-blowers spoke out, and thus that the report has been questioned. You can read some of their diligent research here.

As for Jose Bustani, for the sake of brevity, I will include just some of his words below, again encouraging readers to read his words fully.

[S]erious questions are now being raised over whether the independence, impartiality, and professionalism of some of the Organisation’s work is being severely compromised, possibly under pressure from some Member States.

Of particular concern are the circumstances surrounding the OPCW’s investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, on 7 April 2018. These concerns are emanating from the very heart of the Organisation, from the very scientists and engineers involved in the Douma investigation.
[…]
If the OPCW is confident in the robustness of its scientific work on Douma and in the integrity of the investigation, then it has little to fear in hearing out its inspectors.

If, however, the claims of evidence suppression, selective use of data, and exclusion of key investigators, among other allegations, are not unfounded, then it is even more imperative that the issue be dealt with openly and urgently.

For more nuance and details on the OPCW scandal, the suppressing of critical evidence in order to suit the regime changers’ narrative of a chemical attack having occurred in Douma, read Kit Klarenberg’s April 2021 article, in which notes:

The report released to the public was trimmed to just 34 pages, with all ballistic, forensic and witness evidence gathered by the Douma FFM, which completely dispelled the notion of a chemical attack, and pointed directly or indirectly to a staged incident, removed […] the West and allies continue to push the official, and incorrect, OPCW story, now going as far as ensuring Syria no longer has a seat at the OPCW table.

Clearly, no matter how much evidence against, and testimonies that counter, the West’s claims about a chemical attack in Douma, FUKUS is hell-bent on cramming this narrative down our throats. All in the name, of course, of concern for Syrian civilians. The same civilians the West is strangling under increasingly brutal sanctions against the Syrian people.

Testimonies From On the Ground in Douma

While much is being made of the official OPCW report and the ensuing OPCW leaks which contradicted the chemical claims, it is important to also consider the many testimonies of Syrian civilians and medical personnel, not only on the issue of a chemical attack or not, but also on the details of their lives under the savage rule of terrorist groups.

Vanessa Beeley went to Douma in April 2018, going to the makeshift hospital where the dousing scene was filmed. “All said it was not a chemical attack. Civilians in area confirmed this also. Shops hve re-opened, rebuilding has started, nobody presented any symptoms of CW attack,” she tweeted at the time.

Her subsequent article included testimonies of medical personnel and civilians, including Dr Hassan Ouyoun, who noted that he had not issued any death certificates for the April 7 “chemical attack victims,” and raised a number of important points:

I didn’t give any death certificate as a result of a chemical poisoning incident. This is a point against the White Helmets. How was the death “evaluation” carried out? Who did the examination? Who identified the cause of death? How was the burial carried out without a certificate from a doctor?

Valid concerns. And yet, Western media and talking heads instead ran with the dubious footage and narratives supplied by the White Helmets and terrorist-affiliated allies.

I myself went by taxi to Douma in late April, 2018, also going to the by then infamous hospital room in question. I returned to the district in early May to visit neighbouring towns.

As I wrote after my visit, the man I spoke with, Marwan Jaber, said that while hospital staff were treating normal bombing injuries and breathing cases, “strangers” entered screaming about a chemical attack and started hosing people with water.

Patients’ symptoms were “not in line with the symptoms of a chemical attack. There wasn’t pupil constriction or Broncho-constrictions leading to death,” Jaber recalled. “The symptoms we received were all symptoms of choking, patients affected by the smoke and regular war injuries. They came here, we treated them, and dispatched them home,” Jaber said, noting that none, not one, had died.

Nor were any of the hospital staff affected, as one might expect they would be had a chemical agent been used. The staff, as seen in the video produced by the White Helmets, wore no protective clothing, as would have been necessary when dealing with a toxic chemical.

In Marwan Jaber’s opinion, the unfamiliar men who barged into the hospital screaming weren’t trained in medicine. He went so far as to doubt whether they’d finished high school.

Life Under Terrorist Occupation

Before walking around Douma and speaking with residents, I walked down some of the wide and very long, well-reinforced tunnels which Jaysh al-Islam terrorists used to move below ground, including in vehicles, to avoid detection from the Syrian army and allies.

From my article:

As I walked around Douma, I asked residents about life there and especially about whether they believed there was a chemical attack in their town. Some replied they had no idea about an attack. But most replied decisively no, there hadn’t been any.

At a stand selling vegetables and fruits, Tawfeeq Zahran replied that he believed Jaysh al-Islam had spoken of a chemical attack to frighten them, to make them fear the Syrian army and government. Men around him nodded their agreement. They spoke more about their starvation under Jaysh al-Islam and about the public executions by sword that the terror group had routinely carried out.

A group of young men selling baked goods waved me over, handing me one. They also replied that they knew nothing of an attack. They were more concerned about the fact that, under Jaysh al-Islam, they couldn’t get the flour needed for their baked goods, much less food to live. This was a constant among every civilian I met: Their hunger and terror under Jaysh al-Islam’s rule.

Since most people I met in Douma and neighbouring villages wanted to speak about life under terrorist rule, I wrote a follow-up article focusing on that.

The chemical story was to them largely unimportant. But the terror they endured still haunted them, and likely will the rest of their lives.

Mahmoud Al Khaled, who spoke to Vanessa Beeley about the White Helmets’ involvement in organ theft, wasn’t the only Syrian civilian to speak about this. In December 2018, I wrote about a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

That panel, along with the countless testimonies Vanessa Beeley and Maxim Grigoriev respectively collected, are essential listening and reading for those who want to understand the true nature of the White Helmets.

How any sensible person, much less any credible journalist or body, could rely on the White Helmets’ narratives regarding chemical attacks in Syria is truly baffling.

How the West Forgot Kidnapped Civilians and Ignored Executions

“Concern for Syrian civilians” has been the disingenuous rallying cry for all those pushing the Western war on Syria, from politicians to the press. But this “concern” only applies when it suits.

The Western media don’t actually care what civilians witnesses have to say about the so-called “chemical attacks”, the Western media don’t investigate what life is like for Syrian civilians living under terrorist occupation, or having their organs trafficked by Western-backed White Helmets.

And the Western media didn’t write about civilians kidnapped — used as slave labour, tortured, killed, and some freed when eastern Ghouta was liberated — because their scripts didn’t tell them to, or because they didn’t know: they weren’t in Syria, nor following Syrian media carefully.

Vanessa Beeley was, however, in Syria, and at the time tweeted:

Jaish Al Islam lied to secure their evacuation from #Douma. Only two buses have exited with kidnap victims. It is reported that remaining 3-5000 were executed prior to JAI surrender, many years before. All hope destroyed for waiting families. https://t.co/hY1H41xj6L— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 10, 2018

As it turned out, although thousands were expected to be released, Jaysh al-Islam terrorists had apparently executed the vast majority.

Al Masdar reported:

With expectation to free up to 5 thousands captives, it turned out that only 200 of them remained alive throughout years of captivity.

Sources said that Jaysh al-Islam manipulated the Syrian government and Russian mediators by providing fake lists of the captives with the objective to secure a surrender deal whereby it militants can safely leave their bastion to the country’s north.

Thousands of the kidnapped were executed by their captors or died of illness, hunger or fatigue while forced to dig tunnels.

Hundreds of distressed families desperately waited for their kidnapped relatives at al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus as the last 2 buses carrying around 100 captives arrived at the overcrowded facility.

The day of their release, abductees spoke to Syrian media: they were kidnapped by Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra in December 2013 from the industrial area of Adra, north of Damascus. They were kept in cages and humiliated, tortured, forced to dig tunnels, including children. Children and adults were starved, children deprived of education and even of sunlight.

Thousands of kidnapped civilians, brutalized, tormented, starved, and the majority executed or died in inhumane, unlivable, circumstances, and not a peep from Western media. The same media that claimed to have sources all over eastern Ghouta.

A search from the period of March to August 2018 revealed only Syrian, Chinese, Russian, and Iranian news sites reporting on the issue. Deafening silence from Western media. Vanessa Beeley was one of the only Western journalists who cared enough to report on it, although at the time, waiting at the site where the kidnapped civilians would be brought, in order to speak with them and share their horrific experiences.

At the time of the abductees’ release, the Guardian’s Istanbul-based Shaheen devoted a scant few sentences to mentioning the matter, referring to them as “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” with no mention that they were civilians, including women and children, no mention of their numbers, and none of the outrage that would have filled days of Guardian articles were they “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” taken by the Syrian army.

Reuters also made scant mention of the abductees, also merely referring to them as prisoners, with no indication that they were Syrian civilians, including children.

Terrorists’ Chemical Capabilities

Some, while aware that the OPCW lied about Douma, still believe the corrupted body investigated honestly about previous chemical claims.

But there is much to indicate that is not the case, and much to indicate that, in fact, it has been terrorist factions that have many a time used chemicals against civilians and against the Syrian army.

Journalist Sharmine Narwani, in March 2018, exposed the likelihood that a chemical lab which she visited in Eastern Ghouta was used to manufacture chemicals which terrorists used in staged attacks.

This week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated some Eastern Ghouta farmlands between Shifouniyeh and Douma and discovered a well-equipped chemical laboratory run by Saudi-backed Islamist terrorists. Not a single Western reporter showed up to investigate the facility.
[…]
It is now indisputable that Western-backed and Gulf-financed Islamist militants have the capabilities to produce the chemicals of war inside the battlefield – and not in the makeshift way that media suggests. This lab demonstrates that militants can amass foreign-made equipment, create production lines and procure difficult-to-obtain components.

When Vanessa Beeley went to Douma, she visited a chemical lab in an area controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, seeing a gas cylinder which looked similar to the famous Douma “chemical attack” cylinder.

#Douma – 2nd chemical weapon manufacturing site I visited yesterday. This site was in a Jaish Al Islam fortified, secure area where nobody could enter without passing their checkpoints. Similar cylinder to one claimed to have been used in alleged CW attack on 7/4. @21WIRE #Ghouta pic.twitter.com/6566x6St8l— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 24, 2018

Interestingly, a CNN journalist who was with the delegation Beeley was with chose to ignore the scene.

Just prior to #Douma alleged attacks, I visited terrorist bomb factories with @CNN Frederick Pleitgen #Ghouta. We saw evidence of armed groups using chemical weapons, when Pleitgen reported Douma, he said nothing, blocked me on Twitter when challenged.— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 21, 2021

Presumably, it didn’t fit in with his scripted narrative on Douma.

When she interviewed civilians in Hamouri, eastern Ghouta, a month before the chemical allegations, Beeley learned that terrorist factions and their White Helmet accomplices had intended to stage an attack then, but it was derailed by Syrian civilians who came out demonstrating with Syrian flags.

On the 6th of March, in Hamouriya, we decided to protest against Failaq Al Rahman and we raised the Syrian flag. We marched against the terrorist occupation. They (Failaq Al Rahman) and the White Helmets were preparing a chemical attack which they intended to blame on the Syrian Arab Army as they closed in on the militants. They were furious with us for our march and for raising the Syrian flag, because it ruined their plans.

Very hard to present a “chemical attack” with scenes of cheering, flag-waving, Syrian civilians…

Fast forward to Saraqib, Idlib, February 2020, not long after it was liberated, where Beeley saw a former al-Nusra training centre containing another chemical lab.

#Idlib #Saraqeb – former Nusra Front military training center, suspected used by #WhiteHelmets also. Contains chemical lab where I saw boxes of ball bearings, nitric acid & other chem ingredients – alongside number of small rockets that could be packed wth materials. Report soon. pic.twitter.com/9WD7SLtCKM— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) February 24, 2020

Meanwhile, there are numerous instances of terrorist factions using chemicals against Syrian civilians.

Narwani’s Ghouta article also noted:

In Syria, the trouble began in December 2012 when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (a former IS ally), took over the country’s only chlorine manufacturing plant, a joint business venture with the Saudis located east of Aleppo. Damascus issued an immediate warning to the UN: “Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.”

Three months later, in what is viewed as the first real CW incident of the Syrian conflict, 26 people – the majority of them (16) Syrian soldiers – were killed in the village of Khan Assal in Aleppo in a reported chlorine attack. The next day, the Syrian government requested that the UN investigate the attack.

A few days later, there was another alleged chemical incident in Adra, northeast of Damascus, followed by a reported attack in Saraqeb, and then in Ghouta in August – the CW incident that almost triggered US military strikes. A Jordanian reporter on the ground in Ghouta interviewed witnesses who said the Saudis had provided militants with chemical weapons and that some had been detonated by accident.

Saudi-backed Jaysh al-Islam, publicly admitted in 2016 to using toxic agents in mortar attacks against Kurds in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood. “During the clashes one of the Jaysh al-Islam brigades used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations,” the group said in a statement about the chemical attack, in which it claimed the perpetrator would be held accountable.

In November 2016, I spoke with the former director of al-Kindi hospital who told me of 65 casualties of what he and other doctors believed to be some sort of chemical attack, committed by terrorist factions.

In December 2018, Vanessa Beeley spoke with residents of the Khalidiyyah district of Aleppo where a week prior terrorists had committed a chemical attack, as well as in two other districts of the city.

In her upload of the residents’ testimonies, Beeley noted:

Nusra Front (rebranded as HTS) embedded in the Layramoun industrial area were responsible for the shelling of these districts with a total of 5 or 6 modified munitions containing toxic substances believed to be related to Amonium Nitrate (usually used as a chemical fertilizer).

Within hours of the attack, more than 150 civilians, including many children were treated for the effects of the toxic gas in the Aleppo hospitals – according to Dr Zaher Batal, head of the Aleppo Medical Association. Symptoms were streaming eyes, respiratory difficulty and tightness of the chest.

In March 2019, Vanessa Beeley wrote of a suspected chemical attack northwest of Al Suqaylabiyah, writing:

I was in Al Suqaylabiyah when this attack took place and I was able to visit the local hospital that received the 34 victims which included three children, one severely affected with respiratory problems. Victims complained of breathing difficulties, skin blisters, eye sensitivity, nausea and shock syndrome after the attack. One victim, Nawfal Tawbar, described the 1m high dense white smoke that enveloped the area after the mortars had exploded.

Clearly, there are numerous incidents of terrorist groups both having the capability to commit chemical attacks and their having actually done so.

Previous “Chemical Attack” Allegations

Douma was not first “chemical attack” the West accused the Syrian government of carrying out. Over the years there have been many others, all of which were marked by the same inconsistencies of narrative and evidence of foreknowledge that mark the “official story” on Douma.

At Khan Sheikhoun for example, as I wrote in my 2018 Douma article:

It is worth recalling that their report in the previous year, on the allegations of a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, contained “irregularities,” to put it mildly. The most glaring irregularity (mentioned in the annex section of their report) was the admission of 57 “victims” to hospital before any alleged attack even could have occurred. Another unexplained irregularity was sarin showing up in urine but not in blood tests from the same sample.

And at Ghouta, from the same article:

In 2013, the West and its media had accused the Syria government of a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta…These accusations were shot down by reports from investigative journalists, particularly Seymour Hersh, who concluded that terrorists possessed sarin and the workshops to manufacture rockets. Indeed, I saw one of these mortar and rocket workshops when in Saqba, eastern Ghouta. Massive amounts of missiles of varying sizes lay, as-yet unused, inside the workshop.

According to Mint Press News, Saudi Arabia also gave chemical weapons to terrorists in Ghouta for the 2013 attack. The Mint Press article cited anti-government fighters who said they’d been given chemical weapons which they didn’t know how to use, naming Saudi Prince Bandar as the source. So, in early May, I went to Kafr Batna where, in August 2013, hundreds of people had allegedly been treated at the Tuberculosis Hospital.

Mohammed al-Aghawani, administrator of the Tuberculosis Hospital which treated hundreds of alleged “chemical victims”, told me:

There was no chemical attack. I wasn’t at the hospital that night, but my staff told me what happened. Around 2am, there was suddenly noise, shouting, cars arriving at the hospital, bringing civilians. Some people, armed men, said there was a chemical attack. Some of them had foreign accents. They took people’s clothes off and started pouring water on them. They kept bringing people in till around 7am. Around 1,000 people, mostly children, alive, from nearby villages like Ein Terma, Hezze, Zamalka. Many people later said their children never came back.

Vanessa Beeley interviewed Ahmed Toumeh, a 42 year old from Hamouriya, about an alleged “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013:

Since the “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013 that supposedly killed 1300, people were fooled into not seeing it was an act between Nusra Front and their civil defence. When the chemicals were used, they had hospitals ready always two days before – they had information in advance of the supposed attacks. How could they know unless they were involved?

At that time (2013) there had been an earlier chemical attack by terrorist groups against the Syrian Army in Khan Al Asal. The Syrian government had invited UN investigators to Damascus. The same night the UN inspectors arrived, they (Nusra Front and White Helmets) prepared for the ‘chemical attack’ in Zamalka.

Everything was prepared. The video was filmed and produced, the water sprayers had been prepared two days in advance.

Many people were fooled by this act and from then on the White Helmets added to the image. They would film themselves rescuing children who were not hurt and they would take a wounded person and film him to change public opinion, to criminalise the Syrian government, portray the Army as destructive.

Shooting The Messengers

Those offering on-the-ground, substantive accounts countering the mainstream claims on Douma have been smeared and disregarded as Syrian or Russian propagandists. Ironically, most of those doing the smears have never set foot in Syria, much less Douma.

When Pearson Sharp, Vanessa Beeley, and myself shared our findings from Douma, we were predictably lambasted by Western corporate media like the BBC. And when others questioned the murky narrative, they too were smeared. As Vanessa Beeley wrote:

Academics, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, came under concerted attack as did other members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media when they analysed the events and questioned the veracity of it being a chemical attack. In the UK, the Times published no less than four articles labeling myself and the “rogue” academics as “Assad’s useful idiots,” timed to perfection on the day that the UK, US and France launched their unlawful bombing campaign against Syria. A bombing campaign that was fully enabled by the ignominious rush to judgement by corporate media in the West.

The Atlantic Council is a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things.

They produced a whitewash article to discredit independent reporting on Syria, in which they dedicated a considerable segment to attacking both Vanessa Beeley and myself:

Many of the attacks on the White Helmets were both voiced and amplified by a group of pro-Assad bloggers, of whom the most prominent were British citizen Vanessa Beeley and Canadian citizen Eva Bartlett. These, in turn, were supported online by a group of Twitter users who have repeatedly targeted critics of the Assad regime. Neither Bartlett nor Beeley can be viewed as a credible or impartial commentator.”

A perhaps unintended result of their linking to articles we’ve written around Douma, and the White Helmets, is that open-minded readers might become informed instead of blindly believed the Atlantic Council’s nonsense.

There were more smears, but as usual they copy-pasted from prior ones, and don’t actually delve into the content of what we presented, which is testimonies of civilians — named civilians, even – in contrast to the “unnamed sources” or “media activists” Western corporate media so fondly make up.

An aspect of such character assassinations is implying that the reporting we do is effortless and we are essentially toured around by the Syrian government.

What the average reader may not realize is that even for ourselves, people known in Syria by now, there are the same bureaucratic procedures that all journalists must follow.

Further, unlike corporate journalists who have obscene funding and teams of people to help with research, translations, subtitling and even the logistics of planning a trip to Syria (visas, flights, travel from Lebanon, accommodation), we do everything on our own, with help from Syrian friends (accurate translations) and at our own expense.

Former producer Patrick Corbett elaborated on this to me a few years ago, saying:

If you’re working for a network like NBC, CBC, what people don’t realize is that behind the scenes you’ve got so much backup in every way. First of all, before you go out, you’ve got a team of researchers preparing things for you. You’ve got people who have contacts everywhere.

When you go to a place like Syria you have a fixer; a fixer is a local person who has contacts, can take you places..things like that. You go with things like a satellite phone, so you’re always in touch with your home base. If you have any problems, they’ll get people to you….

They’ve got somebody who will work with you doing your voice-over. When somebody stands in front of the camera, that’s not what’s coming out of their head, its what’s coming out of the corporate entity that is that news producing organization. They get paid six figure incomes to do what they do.

BBC Producer Admits (then Retracts) the Truth

While the BBC is guilty of some of the worst war propaganda against Syria in this 10 year war against the Syrian people, it is worth mentioning that one of the BBC’s producers vocally expressed his skepticism over the “evidence” provided after the alleged events of April 7, 2018.

As Vanessa Beeley noted in 2019:

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an “esteemed colleague” of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent.

Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that “after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

…Almost immediately after the alleged incident in Douma, he tweeted out his frustration that “activists and rebels” had used “corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.”

The emotive wording of Dalati’s tweet, he was “sick and tired” of such manipulation of events, suggested that this was not the first time children had been used as props in a macabre war theatre designed to elicit public sympathy for escalated military intervention in Syria disguised as a necessary “humanitarian” crackdown on “Assad’s gassing of his own people.”

Dalati had been referring to the arranging of two children’s corpses into a “last hug” still life composition, a photo that went viral, rocketed into the social media sphere by activists who had collaborated with the brutal Jaish al-Islam regime while it tortured and abused the Syrian civilians under its control.

Yesterday, I posted the following:

No baby. Baby.
Ask yourselves why a baby has been added to the scene.
What else has been manipulated?
Everything?
#Douma https://t.co/VCVrKI3KA2

Seems like many others also find this questionable. pic.twitter.com/PRRE3hNfws— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) April 12, 2018

Whatever the reason for Dalati’s exasperation, the tweet was deleted before a watered down version appeared. Dalati claimed that a “breach of editorial policy” and lack of context was behind this alteration. Apparently BBC employees are not allowed to be “sick and tired” of the exploitation of children to promote a war that will inevitably kill more children. Simultaneously, Dalati’s account was protected, making tweets visible only to approved followers.

Critical Issues Beyond Douma and the OPCW

While the issue of the OPCW coverup and distortion of facts on the ground is important, there are many other issues sidelined by media, including well-intended media.

There’s the fact that countless hospitals have been attacked — severely damaged or destroyed — by terrorists, to the silence of Western media and politicians. This in turn means Syrians in areas where hospitals have been damaged or destroyed are denied medical care.

The suffering of civilians under terrorist rule is one. Thankfully, as most of Syria has been liberated from terrorist rule, there are now fewer civilians subject to their barbarism.

What has not been eradicated and has only gotten worse and worse are the criminal, brutal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

An article from the South African Broadcasting Corporation noted:

Electricity rationing in Syria has reached its highest levels due to the government’s inability to secure the fuel needed to generate electricity. This is mainly due to the damaging international economic sanctions led by the Western powers including the IIT protagonists France, UK and the US.

[…]The value of the Syrian pound has crumbled to almost nothing. Today it is about 3,660 pounds to one US dollar. An average wage is less than 2 US dollars a day.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019…is credited with bringing about starvation, darkness, plague, misery, robbery, kidnappings, increased mortality rate and the certain destruction of a nation that was once a beacon of hope across the Middle East.

International aid no longer reaches Syria compared to pre-Caesar Act. Many agencies are scared of falling foul of the harsh Act, which in short makes life a living hell for millions of ordinary Syrians.

In his overview of the Douma chemical lies, Kevork Almassian, of Syriana Analysis, also spoke of the harsh realities Syrians endure now, thanks to the war and the brutal western sanctions against Syrians:

Just imagine that for a second, that you have to wait for two to three to four hours to buy one package of bread that can suffice you maybe for two days for you and your family. Just imagine that you have to wait 20 to 48 hours on a gas station to fill a little bit fuel for your car. It’s unimaginable, you cannot imagine that because you’re not living that, but it is happening now in 21st century.

It is high time to put the Douma hoax to rest. It’s also beyond time to acknowledge the huge sacrifices of the Syrian army (and allies) in fighting terrorism and restoring peace to Syria.

Meanwhile, while cynical Western war propagandists mock the Syrian presidential elections, Syrians in Syria and around the world hold massive demonstrations in support of their president, as they did in 2014.

Talking Syria’s Presidential Elections, With Laith Marouf & Myself (in Damascus)

 

Eva Bartlett

Brief conversation I had last night with geopolitical analyst Laith Marouf about yesterday’s Syrian presidential elections. I visited eastern Ghouta towns yesterday and saw jubilation among Syrians on the streets, including in Douma, singing and dancing.

No matter what the lame corporate media is saying about the elections, Syrians wanted them and are still celebrating today. Hell, in 2014, a week after the elections, I saw a party raging in Homs, what the pro-“revolution” crowd used to call the “capitol of the revolution”.

Laith:

“Syrians in the US went to the embassy at the UN and voted. That was a direct challenged to American hegemony, since the Americans closed the Syrian embassy in DC. But there is still a Syrian embassy at the UN, and that they can’t touch, the Americans. So many people showed up at the UN headquarters, waiving flags, and so on. The other two countries that host the majority of Syrian refugees or immigrant populations, Germany and Turkey, again the blocked the Syrian votes from happening.

At the same time, countries that were responsible for the war in Syria, like the UAE, opened the embassy, allowed Syrians to vote.

Last week in Lebanon, tens of thousands of Syrian residents of Lebanon went to Syrian embassy in Beirut. The fact on the ground is that Syrian people are out in the millions voting in these elections.”

ليس مجرد انتخاب رئاسيّ… هذا تحوّل تاريخيّ Not just a presidential election…this is a historic shift

26/05/2021

Photo of ملايين السوريين من حلب إلى دمشق والساحل يفوّضون الأسد قيادة الإعمار بعد التحرير/ الأسد من الغوطة: الاستحقاق تتويج للتحرير… وشعبان: تطوّرات إيجابيّة قريبة مع الرياض / نصرالله يرسم معادلة الردع التاريخيّة: المساس بالقدس يعادل حرباً إقليميّة تُنهي الكيان/

ليس مجرد انتخاب رئاسيّ… هذا تحوّل تاريخيّ

ناصر قنديل

يتعامل بعض المتابعين السياسيين والدبلوماسيين والإعلاميين في الغرب وبعض البلاد العربية مع الانتخابات الرئاسيّة السوريّة بصفتها عمليّة انتخابية، تتم عملية تقييمها بهذه الصفة الحصرية، فيتجاهلون أن هذه الانتخابات هي ثمرة لمسار عبرته سورية خلال السنوات الفاصلة عن الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأخير قبل سبعة أعوام، سواء على مستوى إسقاط داعش واستعادة أغلبية الأراضي السورية من أيدي الجماعات الإرهابية، أو لجهة المراجعة التي أجراها الكثير من السوريين لمصير بلدهم الذي سلّموه لدول أجنبية وحركات إرهابية وهم يعتقدون أنهم يخدمون مساراً إصلاحياً ضمن موجة الربيع العربي، ليحسموا خيارهم بأولوية الحفاظ على وحدة الوطن وهياكل الدولة ومؤسساتها، والسعي من قلب هذه المعادلة لخوض النضال السلمي لإصلاح وتطوير ما يحتاج للإصلاح والتطوير، وهو كثير، وقد اكشتف أغلب السوريين الذين خاضوا غمار الرهان على المعارضة أن ثوابت سورية الوطنية ورمزية الرئيس بشار الأسد والجيش السوري تشكل جزءاً عضوياً من مسار الوحدة والسيادة والدولة.

كان الاستحقاق الرئاسي عام 2014 بداية هذا التحوّل، وقد كانت المحطة الانتخابية التي شهدتها السفارة السورية في لبنان تعبيراً انفجارياً عن هذا التحوّل أذهل العالم كله، وخلال هذه السنوات السبع كبرت كرة الثلج وتوسّعت وتعاظمت، حتى صارت الانتخابات الرئاسية الحالية أكبر من انتخابات، ترجمة لإرادة الشعب السوري بالدفاع عن حقه بوطن ودولة، واختياره لقائد مسيرة الحفاظ على الوطن وبناء الدولة، على قاعدة حقيقة أن بلادنا لا تزال في مرحلة تحرر ومواجهة مع مشاريع استهداف، تحتاج الى قادة تاريخيين كبار، أكثر مما تحتاج للعبة تداول السلطة التي يمارسها الغرب بترف تغيير الوجوه، لحساب تأبيد سلطة الدولة العميقة التي تدير وترسم السياسات وتلعب عبر الميديا والمال واللوبيات لعبة ترف تداول السلطة.

العملية الانتخابية في سورية تعبير عن هذا التعاظم في الاستيقاظ السوري على نعمة العودة الى وطن ودولة وتفويض قائد ينتخبه السوريون لما فعله وليس لما وعد بفعله، كما يفترض أن تتم الانتخابات، وهذا الاستيقاظ السوريّ يرافقه استيقاظ دوليّ وعربيّ ليس ناتجاً عن محبة سورية، ولا عن الرغبة بتعافيها بقدر ما هو ناتج عن التسليم بأن كلفة بقاء سورية نهباً للفوضى وخطر الإرهاب صارت على الجميع أكبر من عائدات الرهان على السيطرة عليها وتقاسمها، وأن الرئيس بشار الأسد قد انتصر بسورية ولسورية وبجيشها ومعه، وأن ما سيفعل لإنكار هذا النصر سيكلف مزيداً من الوقت والجهود والأموال بلا أمل بتغيير الواقع، بينما يتيح الرئيس الأسد بعقلانيته وحكمته الفرصة ليتراجع الجميع نحو منطقة وسطية لا تهدر ماء وجه الذين تورّطوا، وتفتح لهم الباب الخلفيّ للتراجع والتموضع بهدوء.

هذه ليست مجرد انتخابات، إنها عودة سورية القوية والمقتدرة الى لعب دورها بصفتها دولة السوريين التي ترعاهم وتحميهم وتوفر لهم أمناً افتقدوه كثيراً، ورعاية حرموا منها طويلاً، لكنها أيضاً سورية دولة العرب المقاومة لمشاريع الهيمنة والتفتيت والتطبيع، الملتزمة بفلسطين ومقاومتها وحقوقها، وسورية دولة المشرق التي تتوسّط كياناته التي تختنق داخل حدودها وتحتاج لتكامل مقدراتها لتنهض باقتصاداتها، وتوفر لشعوبها ظروفاً أفضل للتنمية والأمن، وهي سورية الدولة الإقليمية المحورية التي تشكل بيضة القبان في حفظ الاستقرار في منطقة تتعرّض للاهتزاز، وكانت حتى الأمس مهدّدة بمخاطر الفوضى والإرهاب.

هذا أكثر من انتخاب رئاسيّ بكثير، فهو التحوّل التاريخيّ الذي يعبر عن انتقال الشرق من مرحلة الى مرحلة، مرحلة عنوانها الضياع والتفكك والحروب الأهلية والفتن الطائفية والمذهبية، الى مرحلة نهوض الدولة الوطنية وتكامل نماذجها في الإقليم الأشد خطراً في الانزلاق الى الفوضى، وهو الإقليم الذي تتوسطه سورية ويضم لبنان والعراق والأردن، وبعد الذي جرى في فلسطين، فإن صعود سورية مجدداً يتزامن مع تراجع مكانة ومهابة وسطوة كيان الاحتلال، بما يردّ الاعتبار لفرص الاستقرار بنظام إقليمي تكون سورية ركيزته، ولا يكون كيان الاحتلال جزءاً منه، بعدما كان أحد أهداف الحرب على سورية تمهيد الطريق لنظام إقليميّ يتزعمه كيان الاحتلال.


Translated by Sister Zara Al

Not just a presidential election…this is a historic shift

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Nasser Kandil

Some political, diplomatic and media followers in the West and some Arab countries perceive the Syrian presidential election as part of the electoral process, assessing it exclusively in this capacity, while ignoring that this election is set in the context of Syria taking a defined path in the years since the last presidential election seven years ago. Both in terms of overthrowing ISIS and restoring the majority of Syrian territory from the hands of terrorist groups. And also in terms of the review of the circumstance caused by many Syrians who risked the fate of their country by handing it over to foreign powers and movements. Terrorists believe that they are walking the path of reform as part of the rise of the Arab Spring to exercise their right of choice to preserve the unity of the nation and the structure of the state and its institutions by seeking to equate their fight with the peaceful struggle intended to reform and develop what needs reform and development. While most Syrians who have fought the opposition have complained that the national constants of Syria and the symbolism encompassed by President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army forms the organic core of the struggle for unity of nation and the sovereignty of state.

The presidential entitlement in 2014 was the beginning of this transformation, and the electoral station witnessed by the Syrian Embassy in Lebanon was an explosive expression of this transformation that stunned the whole world. And, during these seven years the snowball grew and expanded, until the current presidential election emerged as an event bigger than just an election, as a manifestation of the will of the Syrian people to defend their right to a homeland, state, and leader. Based on the fact that our country is still in the phase of attaining liberation and confronting the forces targeting it, Syria needs great historical leaders who have the power and the will to annihilate the authority of the USA deep state which manages and formulates policies and plays through media, with money and lobbying in order to win the game of power trade. What Syria does not need is this game of power trading practiced by the West which involves comfortable changing of faces.

The electoral process in Syria is an expression of the rising sense of awakening among Syrians who realize the blessing of returning to a homeland and a state, and the opportunity to support the mandate of a leader elected by them for what he did and not for what he promised to do. As the elections are due to take place, this Syrian awakening accompanied by an international and Arab awakening is not the result of love for Syria, nor the desire to recover, as much as it is the result of the recognition of the fact that the cost Syria must pay for its survival is chaos caused by the threat of terrorism which is greater for everyone than the proceeds of betting on controlling and sharing it. And that President Bashar al-Assad has won in Syria, and Syrians and the army are with him, and that what he will do if denied this victory will cost more time, effort and money without the hope to change the reality. While President Assad’s rationality and wisdom gives the opportunity to everyone involved to retreat towards a middle ground for face saving, and position themselves quietly into a retreat via the opening of the back door.

This is not just an election. It is the return of a strong and capable Syria able to play its role as the State takes care of its people, protects them, provides them with security that they have missed so much, and the care that they have long been deprived of. This election is also about Syria, the Arab state, that resists hegemonic undertakings and endeavors geared towards fragmentation, a state committed to normalization, committed to Palestine and its resistance and rights. Syria is the State of the Orient, which is able to mediate with entities suffocating within its borders, so as to integrate its capabilities to boost its economy, and provide its people with better conditions for development and security. It is the central regional state that constitutes the egg of the domes as far as maintaining stability in a shaken region, albeit until yesterday it was threatened by the dangers of chaos caused by terrorism.

This is much more than a presidential election, it is the historic event that reflects the transition of the East from one stage to another. From the stage of loss and disintegration, civil wars and sectarian strife to the stage of the rise of the national state and the integration of its models, in a region that is susceptible to the most dangerous slide into chaos, a region mediated by Syria which includes Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. After what happened in Palestine, the rise of Syria again coincides with the decline in the status, prestige and power of the occupation entity, as it takes into account the opportunities for stability in a regional system with Syria as its pillar, and the occupation entity having no part of it. After all one of the objectives of the war on Syria was to pave the way for a regional regime led by the occupation entity.

Imagine what Gaza could become if the siege were lifted…

May 26, 2021 – 23:34

By Martin Love

Words are not sufficient to describe the horrors of what “Israel” (and the U.S. as an enabler) have done in the last two months around al-Aqsa, Sheikh Jarrah and across Palestine, and then Gaza for almost two weeks.

The price paid for the shift in worldwide perceptions about what the “Israel” actually is (a rabid Apartheid state!) has been horrendous for Gaza and across Palestine. Gazans celebrated a possible pyrrhic victory of sorts because not only were the Zionists forced to call a ceasefire but there have been profound changes in public perceptions even in the U.S. about how insidious and out of control Zionism has become and long been.

But it has not solved the problem because as soon as a ceasefire went into effect Netanyahu had managed to stay in power with the cancellation of a possible new government, avoided the resumption of his trial on corruption charges and worse has continued doing the very things that prompted a rain of bottle rockets over “Israel” with a resumption of military and police raids on al-Aqsa, hundreds of arrests including murders and further efforts to ethnically cleanse Sheikh Jarrah of Palestinians with other Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem lined up for the same treatment eventually. And Biden and Blinken did almost nothing about the carnage: they let it continue for a while until the demanded ceasefire went into effect.

For now, despite alleged promises by the U.S. to help rebuild the bombed infrastructure damaged in Gaza, Secretary of State Tony Blinken is headed to Israel and other countries for what? In the West Bank he is going to consult Mahmoud Abbas for one thing (who if not an outright quisling hardly gives Palestinians effective leadership and is the wrong person to talk to about anything). Blinken ought to be trying to go to Gaza, too.

As for Hamas in Gaza now, they literally cannot respond to the same Israeli moves that caused this most recent war on Gaza because they are probably running low on those home-made rockets even if the organization has managed to garner some modest praise and support across the world. Moreover, the Zionist defense establishment and Netanyahu has proclaimed that it will hit Gaza even harder if Hamas does anything now. Also, in Israel, the government has done nothing to reign in the right-wing mobs of “settlers” who now are openly calling for the razing of the lovely al-Aqsa shrine, Islam’s third holiest site. If al-Aqsa ever did fall, one would probably be looking at complete war in West Asia. All those “settlers”, including many Americans, would flee, cowards that they are looking for freebies in the West Bank with U.S. support.

If there has been any kind of “victory” for Palestinians, it resides solely for now in the awakening of public perceptions about Zionist Apartheid everywhere which may, in time, have an impact. The BDS campaign is bound to expand mightily and the ICC is definitely going to charge “Israel” and its craven leaders with numerous war and others crimes. But the court in The Hague has been way too slow mounting its prosecutions.

But there is another aspect of this crazed situation.

The two million Palestinians in Gaza have long ached for relief from the siege (and their martyrs abound, including almost 70 children slaughtered by IDF bombs this month). Real relief, however, is not likely to arrive anytime soon even if there are repairs to the damage done, but if it ever arrived, consider or imagine what Gaza might become if the siege were lifted.

This is something that the Zionists fear and despise and actually, prospectively, are extremely jealous of ever seeing. Gaza, if it could revive its port and repair its airport and other assets, could become a prosperous relative heaven for Gazans and for curious tourists from all over the world wanting to understand better Palestine and its people and history while enjoying Arab hospitality which the Gazans could deliver like few others. It’s not hard to imagine even Americans wanting a taste of the Middle East and especially a look at a (then former) victim of Zionist aggression (that stood tall despite the Israelis). If travelers had to choose between visiting a discredited Apartheid regime and an inexpensive beachfront Gaza, even if only for purely educational purposes, Gaza would be the place to go.

But the Zionists above all want to crush the Palestinians if not eliminate them altogether and give them no quarter for what could be a magnificent revival given their own creativity and industrious ways that have existed for generations.

The sole hope for now that has any chance for success is a burgeoning condemnation worldwide of Apartheid and its aggressions. One day, perhaps, even candidates aspiring to become a part of the U.S. Congress will be judged in part on their postures towards Zionism.

It’s Time to End the ‘Special Relationship’ With ‘Israel’ – FP

28/05/2021

Source

It’s Time to End the ‘Special Relationship’ With ‘Israel’ - FP

By Staff, Agencies

In an opinion piece published by the Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt said the United States should no longer give ‘Israel’ unconditional economic, military, and diplomatic support due to the “zero” benefits of such policy and its rising costs.

“Instead of a special relationship, the United States and ‘Israel’ need a normal one,” Walt wrote in the publication.

Consistent with Zionism’s core objectives, it said, ‘Israel’ privileged Jews over others by conscious design, expanded illegal settlements, denied Palestinians legitimate political rights, treated them as second-class citizens, and used its superior military power to kill and terrorize residents of the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, and Lebanon with near impunity.

“Given all this, it is not surprising Human Rights Watch [HRW] and the human rights organization B’Tselem have recently issued well-documented and convincing reports describing these various policies as a system of apartheid,” it said.

In the aftermath of the latest ‘Israeli’ aggression on Gaza, which began on May 10 and lasted 11 days, the Zionist entity has been increasingly described as an “apartheid” regime, including by HRW, B’Tselem, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] movement, and last but not least, by the French government.

However, the United States has continued to back the Zionist regime’s so-called “right to self-defense” which amounted to heavy bombardment of civilians in Gaza, killing at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and displacing over 72,000 people in the besieged enclave.

According to FP, in the past, it was “possible to argue ‘Israel’ was a valuable strategic asset for the United States, though its value was often overstated,” but that argument holds no water any more.

“During the Cold War, for example, backing ‘Israel’ was an effective way to check Soviet influence in the Middle East because ‘Israel’s’ military was a far superior fighting force than the armed forces of Soviet clients like Egypt or Syria. ‘Israel’ also provided useful intelligence on occasion,” according to the author.

“The Cold War has been over for 30 years, however, and unconditional support for Israel today creates more problems for Washington than it solves. ‘Israel’ could do nothing to help the United States in its two wars against Iraq; indeed, the United States had to send Patriot missiles to ‘Israel’ during the first Persian Gulf War to protect it from Iraqi Scud attacks,” he added.

According to the publication, the real costs of the special relationship between the US and ‘Israel’ are political, saying that as demonstrated this month, unconditional support for ‘Israel’ makes it much harder for the United States to claim the moral high ground on the world stage.

FP also made a reference to the United States’ unilateral vetoing of UN Security Council ceasefire resolutions as well as its authorization of sending ‘Israel’ an additional $735 million worth of weapons, saying Washington’s claim to moral superiority stands exposed as “hollow” and “hypocritical.”

“With a normal relationship, the United States would back ‘Israel’ when it did things that are consistent with the United States’ interests and values and distance itself when ‘Israel’ acted otherwise,” FP added.

Good News and Bad News: Biden Punts on Russia and Takes Some Heat on Afghanistan

See the source image
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 27, 2021

The Establishment Foreign Policy has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until a political reliable government is established there.

Possibly the best news to come out of the past week has been the announcement of a possibly Egyptian mediated cease fire between Israel and Gaza late last Thursday. The fighting killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, versus twelve Israelis including two children and also did major damage to schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure in Gaza. It is being widely presumed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the plug on the “Guardians of the Walls” offensive because of concerns that Israeli Army brutality was inflicting serious damage on the hitherto favorable perception of the Jewish state in the United States. As U.S. support of Israeli initiatives for both the money and political cover that Washington provides is essential to the Netanyahu long term plan to annex nearly all of the West Bank, it would have seemed prudent to take one’s foot off the pedal until the expected next round of fighting.

Though it has not been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that President Joe Biden might have offered a considerable sweetener to Netanyahu to nudge the Israeli leader towards the cease fire. It appears to have come in the form of an offer to help pay for and assist the reconstruction of Gaza with one apparent condition, that Hamas effectively completely disarm by getting rid of all its missiles. Presumably U.S. or United Nations inspectors would make sure the job were done right, would share what they learn about Gaza’s tunnel system with Israeli intelligence, and the IDF in turn would find it much easier going the next time it chooses to attack. As usual, the American taxpayer would be victimized to undo the damage in paying for a significant part of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction tab.

But in terms of benefiting actual American interests, there has also been the Biden Administration decision to lift the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump on the contractors who have been working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. The Trump Administration, driven by its gaggle of neocon advisers, had declared that the pipeline was a “national security threat” and initiated sanctions on all parties involved, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while also appointing a special envoy to put pressure on the German government to renege on the deal. The pipeline was and is good business for Moscow and also for Berlin since the Russian gas is cheaper than other available supplies. It will cost $11 billion to complete, is over 95% finished and will reportedly create at least 10,000 jobs.

It initially looked as if Biden would continue the Trump policy. As recently as mid-March Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it was a bad deal because “this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.” He said he would do “whatever he can to stop [its] completion” and also warned that companies working on the pipeline must cease work immediately or face more “harsh” U.S. sanctions. Most of the companies were and are Western European and nominally NATO allies of the U.S. and Nord Stream 2 and while it appeared likely that the project would be completed for good economic reasons, the German government was reportedly undecided, afraid to confront Biden.

Washington was angered, at least in part, because it wanted to sell more expensive American gas to the Germans. Biden surprisingly has decided to abandon the bad Trump policy, which, inter alia also has given fuel to European anti-U.S. sentiment while serving unnecessarily to increase tension with Russia. The move was welcomed both in Germany and in Russia. The German Foreign Minister noted that it was a sign that Washington is now willing to work with its “partners.” It is an all too rare “win” for American foreign policy.

Now for the bad news. President Joe Biden has recently received an unexpected gift in the form of a letter signed by 126 retired admirals and generals stating that he is not qualified to hold office because of his health and because the 2020 election process was flawed. It also raises a number of specific foreign and national security policy issues, including the threat from China, the border crisis and increased censorship. One might expect that the letter originated in a circle of disgruntled Trump supporters and could therefore be ignored, but many of signatories are not known to be Republican Party supporters. Given that, the agenda just might be more complicated and its timing suggests that it might be linked to the United States proceeding with its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What might be referred to as the Establishment Foreign Policy as opposed to what sometimes goes on in the State Department and White House has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable and political reliable government in Kabul is completed. And to be sure there are many dissidents in Congress who see leaving Kabul as yet another avoidable defeat for the United States. Given all of that, several previous attempts by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. troops were successfully undermined by critics and eventually abandoned. Biden, however, appears to be sticking to his pledge to depart fully by September 11th and many tons of military equipment are currently being removed from the country.

This has produced multiple attacks on the intention to leave Afghanistan effectively in the hands of the Taliban. A humanitarian pitch has included stories on how women will suffer, being deprived of schooling and opportunity if and when the Taliban return to power. That claim is unfortunately true but the continued presence of a couple of thousand American soldiers at bases in a country as large and infrastructure deficient as Afghanistan will not reverse attitudes that are as much cultural and religious as political.

And the pressure on Biden to reverse the decision is growing. On May 25th, for example, the Center on National Security at Fordham Law in New York hosted a discussion panel looking into “Departure from Afghanistan: Envisioning a Responsible Withdrawal.” The panel’s conclusions were to say the least mixed and have already been used by critics of the Biden decision.

Pressure is also coming from Congress, even from lawmakers who would normally support the White House. “This has some eerie resemblances” [to Vietnam], Representative Gerald E. Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, said pointedly at a “heated” hearing last week at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He recalled the unexpectedly rapid collapse of security in Saigon in 1975 as U.S. forces evacuated the last of the personnel from the American embassy, lifting employees from the roof of the building with helicopters. He added that “It seems the American game is to cut its losses and leave and hope for the best — not our problem. The problem is because of this engagement, just like Vietnam, we’re leaving behind hundreds of thousands of Afghans who relied on us, trusted us, for security.”

And if more resistance to the plan were needed, it came last week from George W. Bush, best noted for his disastrous invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush had no end game to extricate the U.S. from either intervention and the results of the improvised policies that have continued now for nearly twenty years are clearly evident. Bush said in a Fox News interview “I’ve always warned that no U.S. presence in Afghanistan will create a vacuum, and into that vacuum is likely to come people who treat women as second class citizens… One of the great successes of the liberation of Afghanistan and the removal of al-Qaeda’s safe haven was that women and girls began to flourish in the country… We all benefit when women and girls are empowered to realize their full potential and become contributing members of society. And Laura and I will always stand behind them… I’m also deeply concerned about the sacrifices of our soldiers, and our intelligence community, will be forgotten…”

Bush also said that Iran is very dangerous for “world peace” because it is targeting Israel, revealing yet again that he, like the Bourbon kings of France, has not learned anything since leaving office. In any event, the comments by Bush, the pushback in Congress, the holding of academic conferences on leaving Afghanistan as well as the letter from retired senior military officers just might be part of the same plan to force Biden into extending the timetable or even revoking the orders for U.S. departure from Kabul. And it just might succeed. That would be very bad news indeed.

Also by this author

إسرائيل تُعدّل أولوياتها: لا لتحوّل غزة إلى لاعب إقليمي

يحيى دبوق

 الجمعة 28 أيار 2021

إسرائيل تُعدّل أولوياتها: لا لتحوّل غزة إلى لاعب إقليمي
تسعى إسرائيل إلى منع ربط سلاح غزة وإرادة تفعيله بقضايا القدس والحرم القدسي (أ ف ب )

في وقت يتواصل فيه الشدّ والجذب في الماراتون التفاوضي الدائر بين العواصم المعنيّة بالملفّ الفلسطيني، يعكف كلّ من العدو الإسرائيلي والمقاومة الفلسطينية على تقييم نتائج «معركة القدس» والبناء عليها، على اختلاف المحقَّق بين الطرفين، من هزيمة للأوّل ونصر للثاني. من جهة إسرائيل، ثمّة قناعة بضرورة تعديل جدول الأولويات الذي كانت غزّة دائماً في أسفله، بعدما لمس الاحتلال نيّة لدى المقاومة والمحور الداعم لها في التأسيس على ما أفرزته المعركة من أجل تعظيم حالة الربط بين ساحات المحور وجبهاته. على خطّ موازِ، تتعمّق الانقسامات داخل محور التطبيع بقديمه وجديده، وآخر مظاهرها حرد الإمارات من تطنيش مصر لها في الملفّ الفلسطيني، الذي تجد أبو ظبي أن كلّ ما حاولت زرعه فيه عن طريق «اتفاق أبراهام» يضيع هباءً منثوراً

لعلّ واحدة من أهمّ نتائج معركة «سيف القدس»، بين العدو الإسرائيلي وفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية، أنها رفعت مستوى تهديد غزة في سلّم التهديدات التي تواجه الأمن الإسرائيلي، بما لم يَعُد معه دقيقاً توصيف القطاع بالتوصيف التقليدي: الأقلّ تهديداً والأكثر قابلية للانفجار. ومن شأن تغيير التوصيف، تبعاً لمحدّدات الواقع ونتائج المواجهة، أن يفرض على إسرائيل مواجهة واقعٍ من نوع آخر مع غزة، التي لم يَعُد تهديدها متعلّقاً بها فحسب، بل بات ممتدّاً ومتّصلاً بخارجها، بما يتعدّى مناطق فلسطين وقضاياها على اختلاف تقسيماتها ومسمّياتها. المعنى العملي لذلك، من ناحية إسرائيل وأمنها واستراتيجياتها في مواجهة التهديدات، أن احتواء تهديد غزة عبر فرض أو قبول الهدوء معها، وإن في ظلّ خطورة تفجير دائمة (مقدور عليها)، مع رفع مستوى الردع إلى حدود تمنع القطاع من المبادرة العسكرية، لم يَعُد استراتيجية ناجعة ومقبولة، بل أضحى مرفوضاً، علماً بأن سبب الاحتواء، في أساسه، مرتبط بساحات التهديد الأخرى، التي لا مجال للمقارنة بينها وبين غزة.

حتى الأمس، كانت غزة، بالمعنى المشار إليه، «مقدوراً عليها». كان يمكن ربط هدوئها بحوافز تمنع تفعيل تهديدها، بعدما اعتقدت إسرائيل طويلاً أنها نجحت في ريط التهديد الغزّي بتنازلات متبادلة: تهدئة مقابل تليين جزئي للحصار وتقديمات اقتصادية ومالية، جنّدت لها دولاً عربية ترى في امتثالها للإرادة الإسرائيلية موضع رضى السيد الأميركي. لكن اليوم تغيّرت المعادلة؛ بات سلاح غزة وإمكان تفعيله متّصلَين بالقدس وقضاياها. وهي معادلة لم تترسّخ بعد، ولأنها لم تترسّخ، ستستهلك من إسرائيل جزءاً كبيراً من انشغالها الأمني والعسكري والسياسي، للحؤول دونها. كذلك، مطلب إرجاع غزة إلى حدودها، يتعلّق من ناحية إسرائيل باتجاهَين رئيسيَن اثنين: منع تفعيل سلاح غزة ربطاً بغيرها هو هدف في ذاته، إن لم يتحقّق سيؤثّر سلباً على مجمل التموضع الإسرائيلي في داخل فلسطين المحتلة، ويُعقّد من استراتيجيات الكيان المُفعَّلة ضدّ الفلسطينيين والقضية الفلسطينية، التي تراءى له، وإن بشكل مغلوط، أنها في المرحلة الأخيرة من إسقاطها.

من بين الأهداف الإسرائيلية إعادة الاعتبار إلى معادلة الحصار مقابل الغذاء، كما كانت عليه الأمور قبل المواجهة


أمّا الاتجاه الثاني فيرتبط بتهديدات الساحات الأخرى. والمقصود هنا تحديداً الجبهة الشمالية بمركّباتها المتعدّدة، واتّساعها الجغرافي الممتدّ، وإمكاناتها التي تتطلّب من إسرائيل تركيزاً لا تُشوّش عليه الساحة الجنوبية، أي قطاع غزة، بل أيّ قسم من أقسام فلسطين التاريخية. على أن غزة تتّجه اليوم لتكون جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من الساحة الشمالية، بما ينفي عنها وصف الساحة المعزولة التي ينحصر تهديدها في نطاقها. وفي هذا الإطار، يُعدّ حديث مسؤول حركة «حماس» في القطاع، يحيى السنوار، عن التنسيق على أعلى المستويات مع «حزب الله» خلال المواجهة، كما الحديث الذي سبقه، وهو الأهمّ من ناحية إسرائيل، لأمين عام حزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، عن الجاهزية للتدخّل إن لزم الأمر لمساعدة الساحة الفلسطينية، مصدر قلق لتل أبيب ومُتّخذي القرارات فيها.

بناءً على ما تقدّم، ستكون إسرائيل، ومعها حليفها الأميركي، والجهات الإقليمية التي تدور في فلكهما، معنيِّين بتحقيق جملة أهداف، على رأسها ما يلي:

– إرجاع غزة إلى حدودها، ومنع ربط سلاحها وإرادة تفعيله بقضايا القدس والحرم القدسي، فضلاً عن أقسام فلسطين الأخرى.
– منع الربط بين قواعد الاشتباك التي تحكم صراع غزة وإسرائيل، وبين أيّ ساحة أو جبهة في الشمال، بما يشمل ردع غزة عن التدخّل، أو الاستعداد للتدخّل، إلى جانب الساحة الشمالية، ربطاً بتموضع القطاع الذي بات إقليمياً، وأيضاً ردع الساحة الشمالية نفسها عن مساندة غزة، إن تطلّب الأمر ذلك.

– إعادة الاعتبار إلى معادلة الحصار مقابل الغذاء، كما كانت عليه الأمور قبل المواجهة، وإغراء القطاع بعطاءات مالية، سيجد العدو دائماً أطرافاً إقليميين يسارعون إلى تلبيتها، ومن جملة ذلك إعادة الإعمار.

– إعادة الاعتبار إلى السلطة الفلسطينية، وإن كانت إسرائيل نفسها، ومَن معها، تسبّبوا في إضعاف مكانتها ودورها لدى الجمهور الفلسطيني. وفي هذا الإطار، تأتي العطاءات المالية الممنوحة للسلطة، وإعادة فتح القنصلية الأميركية في القدس المحتلة كمُمثّلية أميركية لدى الجانب الفلسطيني، وكذلك المبادرات واللقاءات والاتصالات من جانب دول «الاعتدال العربي» بعد قطيعة مع رام الله، فيما لا يُستبعد إحياء شكل من أشكال التفاوض مع العدو، أملاً في إعادة السلطة إلى مكان متقدّم نوعاً ما على جدول اهتمام الفلسطينيين. لكن الواقع أن السلطة اليوم باتت تُعدّ لدى الفلسطينيين «شاهد ما شفش حاجة»، في مرحلة هي الأكثر حساسية وتأثيراً على فلسطين والقضية الفلسطينية والقدس، وهو ما يُصعّب مهمّة العدو.

تلك هي الأهداف الإسرائيلية في المرحلة التالية إذاً، لكن الفرق بين تشخيص المصالح التي يُفترض العمل عليها وبين النتائج التي يمكن تحقيقها بالفعل، فرق كبير، وهو ما قد ينطبق على حالة تل أبيب. مع ذلك، لن يدفع الفشل إسرائيل إلى الانكفاء والتسليم بالواقع الجديد، بل هي ستلجأ إلى خيارات أخرى وبديلة، وربّما أيضاً مع استعداد لتحمّل أثمانها إن ارتفعت نسبياً. على أن الإصرار الإسرائيلي، والدافعية المرتفعة لدى العدو، تقابلهما إرادة صلبة لدى الجانب الفلسطيني الغزّي أيضاً. فالمارد الذي خرج من القمقم لن يكون معنيّاً بالعودة إليه، كما تَصعُب على غيره، مهما بلغت مستويات دافعيّته، إعادته إليه. وللصراع، الذي ثبت أنه لا يخمد، جولات آتية.

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The Third Intifada. Israel’s Crimes. Palestine’s Wrath. Ray of Hope?

Conversations with Richard Falk, Richard Silverstein and Laith Marouf

By Michael WelchRichard FalkRichard Silverstein, and Laith Marouf

Global Research, May 22, 2021

“What they need to do is they need to occupy the bases of the Canadian Armed Forces! They need to occupy the military hardware factories! They need to occupy their courts and stop the shipping of these weapons to apartheid Israel! Anything less than that will not actually cleanse them from the blood on their hands as Canadians!” 

– Laith Marouf, from this week’s interview

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

As of 2:00 am on May 21 by the Israel-Palestine hour this morning, or 7:00pm EDT on Thursday, the two sides of the disputing rivals had ceased hostilities – at least for the time being.[1]

As of 2:00 am on May 21 by the Israel-Palestine hour this morning, or 7:00pm EDT on Thursday, the two sides of the disputing rivals had ceased hostilities – at least for the time being.[1]

By the standard account, the bitter eruption rose up on May 6 when Palestinians rose up in protest to a Supreme Court of Israel ruling on the matter of evicting six Palestinian families from their housing units in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. This was followed the next day by Israeli police storming the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and firing stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas at the worshippers in attendance.

Then on May 10, Hamas, the militant force governing over Gaza, wanted Israeli security forces removed from Sheikh Jarrah and the Temple Mount complex, location of the holiest site in Judaism which also housed Al-Aqsa Mosque. When Israel refused they fired rockets on targets in Israel. What followed was a campaign of airstrikes by Israel.

What followed was the most destructive period of violence in years.. [2]

The following clip recorded by Middle East Eye is just a sample of what the last two weeks were like:

“I don’t know what to do.”

A 10-year-old Palestinian girl breaks down while talking to MEE after Israeli air strikes destroyed her neighbour’s house, killing 8 children and 2 women#Gaza #Palestine #Israel pic.twitter.com/jnZx8wruaX

— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 17, 2021

Israel-Palestine: The Humanitarian Consequences of an Occupation

Regrettably, violence in the region tends to spring up from time to time. And absent being held to account for past crimes by the UN, Washington, or really anyone, Israel will most likely continue on setting up more shelters on occupied land, and besieging the beleaguered Gaza, and ignoring the human rights of their Palestinian neighbours frankly at levels well beyond the harsh treatment of Blacks in modern day America.

But something is a little different this time. Despite Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ technology taking out as many as 90 percent of rockets, some projectiles, cruise missiles no less, are punching through and hitting Israel stronger than ever. The Palestinians in Israel are themselves taking action in the streets, in businesses, and synagogues. And even in the United States, while the President continues to disappoint with his tepid remarks about the right of Israel to defend itself, sharp and popular critics in Congress such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are speaking out loudly against continuing to arm Israel despite its ongoing abuses against Palestinians.

Do these and other unique scenarios marking this 11 day period of terror mean things will be different now or in the long term? This is the question running through this Global Research News Hour and its sixty minute broadcast.

On the show in our first half hour, Richard Falk, professor emeritus of law at Princeton university talks to listeners highlighting some of the less talked about elements of the past month, including how it was incited by right wing settlers and during the Islamic holy period known as Ramadan. He also discussed attacks on media and the prospects for victory for Palestinians in the long term.

Following that, we hear from Richard Silverstein, a progressive blogger focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He will dwell on the growth in Hamas’ arsenal, the growth of Palestinian solidarity in Israel, and the potential ability of the International Criminal Court to wound Israel’s prospects.

Finally, Palestine activist and commentator Laith Marouf joins us again to dwell on the motives of the new Palestinian resistance, the prospects for the conflict to intensify, and the goals of Canadians wishing to show their solidarity with the damaged but determined victims of 73 years of Israeli confrontation.

Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years and holds the title of professor emeritus. In 2008 he was also appointed by the UN to serve a six-year term as the Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. He contributes regularly to Global Research.

Richard Silverstein is a political writer and commentator. Since 2003 he has authored the progressive Jewish blog Tikun Olam, which focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. He contributes regularly to Middle East Eye, and has contributed in the past to Truthout, Alternet, Haaretz, Mint Press News, Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, Comment Is Free and Al Jazeera English.

Laith Marouf is a long time multimedia consultant and producer and currently serves as Senior Consultant at the Community Media Advocacy Centre (www.cmacentre.org) and the coordinator of ICTV, in Canada (www.tele1.ca). Laith derives much of his understanding of Middle Eastern Affairs from his ancestral background of being both of Palestinian and of Syrian extraction. He is currently based in Beirut.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 317)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM out of the University of Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

Other stations airing the show:

CIXX 106.9 FM, broadcasting from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. It airs Sundays at 6am.

WZBC 90.3 FM in Newton Massachusetts is Boston College Radio and broadcasts to the greater Boston area. The Global Research News Hour airs during Truth and Justice Radio which starts Sunday at 6am.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 7pm.

CJMP 90.1 FM, Powell River Community Radio, airs the Global Research News Hour every Saturday at 8am. 

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 9am pacific time. 

Notes:

  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/57200843
  2. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-idUSKCN2D12SV

‘Israel’ Advised to Learn From Gaza Failure, Prepare For Hezbollah

27/05/2021

Source

‘Israel’ Advised to Learn From Gaza Failure, Prepare For Hezbollah

By Staff, Breaking Defense

In wake of the embarrassing ‘Israeli’ defeat, former Commander of US Marine Corps Forces Command LtGen Richard Natonski, USMC and Jonathan Ruhe coauthored a piece for Breaking Defense entitled “Learn From Gaza, Prepare For Hezbollah”:

With a ceasefire announced in Gaza, it’s crucial to apply the lessons-learned to a likely future conflict with Hezbollah, and likely Iran, in Lebanon and beyond, the authors said.

Earlier, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America [JINSA] has laid out in a comprehensive report that this looming war will be unprecedentedly destructive. Hezbollah’s arsenals are an order of magnitude more potent than anything in Gaza, including at least 130,000 rockets and missiles that will overpower ‘Israel’s’ world-class multi-layered air system network.

Since July 2006 ‘Israeli’ war on Lebanon, Hezbollah rebuilt its arsenal, possessing now more firepower than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, and more rockets and missiles than all European NATO members combined. As is the case resistance groups in Gaza, the vast majority of these are unguided short-range rockets, though Hezbollah likely has several times more of these than the estimated 30,000 short-range rockets and mortars in Gaza at the start of the last round of conflict.

Hezbollah also has thousands of more powerful unguided medium- and long-range rockets, many of them ranging all of the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories, compared to several hundred at most in Gaza that can reach central ‘Israel,’ including Tel Aviv, and only parts of the north. These longer ranges allow Hezbollah to disperse its arsenal throughout Lebanon, including Beirut and Beqaa Valley, covering much greater area than Gaza, according to the article.

And unlike anything in the arsenals of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah wields dozens or hundreds of precision missiles, the authors went on to say. “Because Iron Dome focuses on projectiles threatening built-up areas, ‘Israel’s’ challenges will grow proportionally with the precision munition stocks of Iran and Hezbollah.”

This encircling “ring of fire” from Lebanon and elsewhere could overwhelm the Zionist entity’s multi-layered air systems with barrages larger than anything yet seen. To be sure, Iron Dome held its own in recent Gaza conflicts. It did so even as the rate of incoming fire increased from 200 rockets daily in 2014 to as many as 400-500 per day in 2021, including 130-rocket barrages, and even as fully half of the recent rocket launches threatened populated areas [up from 20 percent in 2014].

But Hezbollah will launch as many as 3,000 rockets, missiles and drones daily at the outset of the next war – nearly as many as in the entire 2006 and 2014 wars – and at a sustained rate of around 1,000 per day, threatening to oversaturate not just Iron Dome but the Zionist entity’s other air systems as well, according to the article.

“Hezbollah gained valuable battlefield experience since its last war with ‘Israel.’ It learned brutal combined-arms warfare in Syria, including in dense urban cauldrons like Aleppo, and now boasts advanced UAV, air defense, anti-tank, subterranean and other capabilities.”

Unlike Gaza resistance groups, whose threats of cross-border incursions were minimal in the last conflict, Hezbollah will deploy these assets not just defensively throughout Lebanon, but also offensively in concerted ground invasions against northern ‘Israel,’ they added.

The ensuing conflict will greatly strain the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces and the Zionist population. The Zionist military will have to prioritize countering launchers, suggesting more than 1,000 airstrikes daily in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and perhaps farther afield, compared to roughly 200 daily in the latest bout of fighting.

The Zionist entity’s critical infrastructure and cities will depend on passive ‘defense’ measures and luck. Thousands of rockets and missiles will target industrial, electricity, water and transportation chokepoints, and the densely-populated occupied coastal heartland. The result could be mass casualties, enormous physical destruction and severe disruptions to basic services.

The damage to ‘Israel’ likely will be unprecedented.

Meanwhile, the authors advise the United States and ‘Israel’ that they must ensure sufficient co-production of Iron Dome systems and interceptors to mitigate Hezbollah’s sheer mass of unguided and short-range rockets and artillery, as well as “David’s Sling” and Arrow air defense systems to counter Hezbollah’s longer-range and precision arsenals, including drones and ballistic and cruise missiles.

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

Peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for Global Peace.

May 28, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Without going into history, how the Jewish State of Israel was created in the middle of the Arab World (Muslim World), let’s focus on the current issues and find a solution. As long as it was recognized by the United Nations in 1948, we have to accept this reality; either one likes it or not. The irony is that, since 1948, Israel kept on expanding and pushing Arabs out of their homes and lands and forcing them to leave their land and property, either to immigrate to other countries or live a miserable life in refugee camps.

After Eleven days of recent aggression, it is encouraging that the ceasefire has been implemented. There were multiple reasons for the truce, but the most important was public opinion, which was condemning Israel worldwide. Almost all big cities all over the World have witnessed mass protests, demonstrations, and agitations. It seems the whole World was standing in solidarity with Palestinians. Although few Governments, like the UK, US, and France, were supporting Israeli acts of brutalities, but the public in their own countries was against Israeli aggressions. Some of the biased Western Media was supporting Israel and fabricating lame excuses and irrational justification for Israeli aggressions. But Social Media has played a positive role and rectified public opinion globally. Of Course Russian, and Chinese pressure was also irresistible on the State of Israel to stop air raids. On the ground, within Israel, a civil war erupted among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Moreover, the Israeli defense system was not so much practical and could not save its territories from rocket attacks. There are reports that the Israeli defense system has shot down its own drones and fighter jets too. Also, there are reports that Israeli security forces killed one suspect within Israel, which was identified as American Jew later on.

Since 1848, Isreal was building its defense and spending lavishly. American economic assistance and Military aid were generous. Even during the recent 11 days conflict, the US was supplying the latest and advanced weapons to Israel, which is an open breach of the UN charter and all norms of the civilized World. Even the US was behind to postpone three times the UNSC statement to stop killings of innocent Palestinians.

Israeli defense capabilities are unmatched in the whole region. With Nuclear weapons, hi-tech, advanced systems, missiles, and the latest war techniques, Israel maintains hegemony. There is no comparison between the whole Arab World’s defense capabilities with Israel alone. Nothing to talk about Palestine or Gazza only, which is a fraction of Israel and that is too dependent on Israel for day-to-day life even.

Looking at the Israeli atrocities and brutalities against the Arab World since 1948, one can reach the conclusion that The Jewish State of Israel is Zionist, aggressive, and illegitimate. Based on its military might, it keeps on expanding and becoming bigger and stronger day by day.

This phenomenon is not new; history tells us there were Germany and Japan, two aggressive countries, and were held responsible for World Wars. But soon, they were brought to justice and held responsible for war crimes. They were made to pay war compensation, and their Military might was scattered and capped to revive in the future. Under the treaty, both Germany and Japan were prevented from rebuilding their Military power again. Both countries are still paying for war crimes, compensation as well as could not reconstruct their military might again.

Once it is established that Israel is an aggressive state and held responsible for killings of Muslims in millions, making them homeless in millions, and refused to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. It is time for International Community to take action.

The international community must do more to safeguard the lives and fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer under illegitimate foreign occupation. It should also not condone the violations of international law that underpin global and regional security.

For long-lasting and durable Peace in the region, it is imperative that the Palestinian people are granted their inalienable right to self-determination according to respective UN consensus. It is believed that a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State, with the pre-1948 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only just, comprehensive and ever-lasting solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions. All Arab lands occupied in 1967 and 1973 should be returned back to Arabs.

International Community should mobilize all possible humanitarian assistance for the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories. In addition to the UNRWA emergency appeal, the UN Secretary-General should launch a comprehensive humanitarian aid plan to deliver succor and sustenance to the Palestinians. There is a dire need to provide medical teams, medicines, and other supplies, food, and other necessities to Gaza and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories immediately. Egypt’s immediate supply of humanitarian assistance to Gazza is highly appreciated. Israel must open all the access and entry points to Gaza to ensure the timely and urgent delivery of international aid and end the siege of Palestine immediately.

The UN General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians and should deploy an international peace force, as was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference held on 18 May 2018.

If the Security Council cannot approve immediately to send the safeguarding force, a “coalition of the willing” can be shaped to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the delivery of humanitarian help to the Palestinians.

The UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer safety to Israel’s Arab (Muslims and Christians both) citizens living within Israel who are being lynched and murdered by fascist Israeli gangs at the present time.

The UN General Assembly should condemn: Israel’s forcible and illegal eviction of Palestinians, including in Al-Jarrah district of Jerusalem and constantly construction of Jewish new settlements; the onslaught against Palestinian worshipers in Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa mosque, the first Qibla of Islam, during the month of Ramadan; and Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate aerial and land wild-bombardment of Gaza.

Israel’s crimes against humanity should not spurt accountability. There should be no exemption for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights Conventions. The Human Rights Council, the ICC, the ICJ, and other avenues should be actuated to ensure Israeli accountability for its war crimes.

International Community should enhance concrete efforts to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to dismantle the illegal settlements and the apartheid-like regime Israel has enforced in the occupied territories. The General Assembly should secure unconditional implementation of resolution 242 of November 1967 in which the Security Council declared the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and demanded that Israel withdraw its armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war. It is, therefore, commanding to initiate bold steps to secure the implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the establishment of a viable, independent, and contiguous original Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. President of Palestine (Fateh Group) Mehmood Abbas’s call for an International Conference to secure a peaceful settlement must be appreciated.

The Palestine catastrophe is at the heart of the chaos and conflicts in the Middle East. It is also the principal root cause of the humiliation and irritation in the Muslim and Arab world – anger which breeds extremism and often spawns acts of violence. A just solution for Palestine is imperative for the preservation of regional and global peace and security. It is to be understood well that Peace and stability in the Arab-Isreal are vital for international Peace, stability, and prosperity. Our next generations deserve a peaceful and happy life; we must understand that the Peace in Middle-east is an energy-rich region and can play a vital role in the global economy and prosperity. Peace in the Middle-east is a prerequisite for international Peace

It is only through determined and significant action that this Assembly can reinstate the credibility of the United Nations and demonstrate its effective role in stabilizing world peace and global order based on equity and justice.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

President Bashar Al Assad Won Re-election with 95.1% of the Total Votes

ARABI SOURI 

Syrian President Bashar Assad and First Lady Asmaa Assad

President Bashar Assad won the presidential election race with a whopping 95.1% of the total voters, contender Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai came second with 3.3%, and Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah came 3rd with 1.5%.

The Speaker of the Syrian Parliament announced the results which he received in turn from the Constitutional Court shortly before midnight, Damascus local time, in a televised broadcast, and he detailed:

The total number of eligible voters in the country and in the diaspora reached 18,107,109 voters.

The total number of voters who cast their votes: 14,239,140 voters, an overwhelming outcome of 78.64%.

The total number of votes incumbent President Bashar Assad received: 13,540,860, that’s 95.1%.

Total number Mr. Mahmoud Ahmad Mar’ai received: 470,276 votes, that’s 3.3%.

Total number Mr. Abdullah Salloum Abdullah received: 213,968 votes, that’s 1.5%.

There were massive rallies all over the country flooding the streets of every city in support of President Assad starting from the 16th of the month when the campaign started, the Syrians packed all the cities waiting for the results while in joy as they consider this the main milestone in their victory over the US-waged war of terror and war of attrition over a whole decade.

President Assad’s reelection was anticipated, the Syrian people are people of pride and they honor their heroes who fight for them and despise those who have betrayed them. A high outcome of the voters for the elections was also expected but not at the levels we’ve followed in all the cities across the country, save the Al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib which is run by the Turkey-sponsored Nusra Front (aka Al Qaeda Levant) and parts of northeastern Syria under the control of the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists.

The enemies of Syria in the USA, EU, Gulfies, Israel, Al Qaeda and the Kurdish SDF terrorists have declared their intentions not to recognize the Syrian Presidential election citing different reasons and that was before the elections took place, their recognition is not required by the Syrian constitution.

One of the main masterminds behind the terrorist war against Syria wrote in an article after watching the Syrians yesterday interacting with the election all over the country, President Assad and the first lady voting in Duma, which followed the Syrians abroad flocking in large numbers to the Syrian diplomatic and consular missions abroad showing their support to President Assad, the former US ambassador to Syria and head of terrorist groups Robert S. Ford wrote: ‘The US policy in Syria failed.’ Let’s hope the White House junta of Joe Biden will realize the lesson and fix its policies, the sooner the better for them.

President Bashar Assad is now the Syrian president for the coming 7 years, the US officials and their Western European stooges, the Gulfies, and other enemies of humanity can howl to the moon now, they can also start with their u-turn from their evil and criminal policies that led to hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed, maimed, displaced, and impoverished. The NATO and stooges officials can also start rebuilding proper bridges back to Syria and come humble filled with the humiliation of the defeated in one of the worst global wars of terror waged by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries against a single small country.

Congratulations to the victors of the war, the Syrian people now under the leadership of Bashar Assad will write a better chapter of history, a brighter one, and a chapter full of pride and honor.

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Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (20 – 26 May 2021)

 May 27, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (20 – 26 May 2021)

20 – 26 May 2021

  • Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip Ceased:

21 Palestinians killed, including a woman and 2 children

87 Palestinians wounded, including 17 women and 38 children.

9 houses and civilian facilities directly bombed

IOF partially re-opens Beit Hanoun and Karm Abu Salem crossings only for the humanitarian cases and humanitarian aid.

IOF’s gunboats open fire in 3 separate shooting incidents at the fishing boats off the central Gaza Strip shore

  West Bank:

2 Palestinians killed, including a child, and a third one succumbed to his wounds

47 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman, wounded

In 198 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 167 civilians arrested, including 11 children and a young girl.

In settlers’ attacks in Hebron and Salfit: cave burnt and farmers, their lands and houses assaulted

IOF established 58 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 10 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary                                                                                        

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt.) In the last day of its wide-scale military operation on the Gaza Strip, IOF continued their airstrikes in one of the worst aggressions and manifestations of organized state terror. More Palestinians have fallen victims (dead and wounded.)  Despite a ceasefire was reached on Friday dawn, IOF continued to close the Beit Hanoun “Erez” and Karm Abu Salem Crossings and only partially reopened for conditional and exceptional cases. Moreover, IOF continued its crimes in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, including incursions, raids, and arrests, all over the cities and villages.  Israeli settlers also continued their crimes against the Palestinian civilians and their properties. This week, the settlers committed further murders and crimes of excessive use of force; during which, civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and injuries were reported due to settlers’ beating and abuses.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

In the Gaza Strip, before the ceasefire was reached on Friday 21 May 2021, IOF’s bombardment in the last day of its aggression killed 4 Palestinians, including a woman, and 16 bodies were retrieved from under the rubble, including 2 children.  Moreover, 78 others were wounded, including 17 women and 38 children, while 9 houses and several facilities were targeted.  Two days after the ceasefire, a Palestinian succumbed to his serious wounds in Khan Younis.  Thus, the death toll of the aggression has risen to 253, including 66 children and 39 women, while the number of injuries has amounted to 1461, including 286 women and 433 children.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF killed 2 Palestinians, including a child, while Montaser Jawabrah succumbed to his wounds he sustained on 18 May 2021 in Jenin. IOF shooting also wounded 47 others, including 3 children and a woman.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 198 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 167 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children and a young girl.

Settler-attacks: 

Hebron: a cave was burnt in eastern Yatta; civilians’ houses were attacked with stones in al-Hussein Valley area; and olive seedlings were damaged and uprooted in Ar-Rihya village.

East Jerusalem: Raid of al-Aqsa Mosque yards

Salfit: farmers and their vehicles were assaulted amid settlers’ shooting and firing of sound bombs and teargas canisters at them.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

Al  though a ceasefire was reached on Friday, 21 May 2021, the Israeli authorities continued to close Kerm Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossings and the sea, banning entry of goods, food supplies or fuel, tightening the closure that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006.

On Tuesday, 25 May 2021, IOF reopened the Kerm Abu Salem Crossing only for the entry of humanitarian supplies and Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing only for the travel of patients and internationals.  They reopened the Gaza Sea for fishermen up to 6 nautical miles out of the 15 miles that were allowed before the latest aggression.  This came to perpetuate Israel’s collective punishment policy against the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, the Israeli authorities continued to divide it into small isolated cantons while many roads are still completely closed.  In addition to the permanent checkpoints, IOF establish temporary checkpoints that hinder civilians’ movement and arrest many of them.

Shooting, Suppression of Protests and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity

Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip:

On the 11th day of IOF’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes while the gunboats and artillery continued to shell heavily, targeting more houses and civilian facilities.  The bombardment continued until a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, entered into force at 02:00 on Friday, 21 May 2021.

The bombardment on the last day of aggression killed 4 Palestinians, including a woman, and 16 bodies were retrieved, including 2 children.  Moreover, 78 others were wounded, including 17 women and 38 children, while 9 houses and several facilities were targeted.  Two days after the ceasefire, a Palestinian succumbed to his serious wounds in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Northern Gaza Strip:

Airstrikes resulted in the murder of 3 Palestinians and the injury of 59 others, including 26 children and 14 women. Also, 2 houses were completely destroyed, while other houses, shops, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) headquarter, and infrastructure sustained partial damage.

  • At approximately 02:35, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles on the main street connecting Block (7) with Block (9) in front of Safi Shops for Construction Materials in Jabalia refugee camp.  As a result, 7 Palestinians were wounded, including 3 women and 1 child while many facilities, houses and infrastructure sustained damage.
  • At approximately 04: Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the end of al-Saftawi Street, western Jabalia, causing damage to the infrastructure of the street, including electricity, communication and water networks. Moreover, many nearby houses and shops sustained damage in the area, but no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 12:00, Israeli warplanes targeted a group of civilians in Beit Lahia, killing Hesham Shaher Mohammed al-Shurafa (26) and wounding another Palestinians (moderate wounds).
  • At approximately 12:30, Israeli warplanes launched two missiles at al-Areiny family home in Tal al-Za’tar, completely destroying the two-floor house.
  • At approximately 15:55, Israeli warplanes launched one missile at WAEL Hassan Salim Rajab’s house in Beit Lahia, completely destroying the two-story house.
  • At approximately 16:40, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a white Skoda Citgo car while driving down a sub-street of al-Saftawy neighborhood, western Jabalia. The airstrike killed Maisra Abdul-Shakour Mosbah al-Ar’eer (22) and Omar Ahmed Mohammed Jendya (24) and destroyed the car.
  • At approximately 17:00, an artillery munition on Ali Khalil Ali Abu-Jarad’s (69) house in Izbat Beit Hanoun, wounding 6 Palestinians, including the houseowner who was classified in critical state.
  • On Thursday morning and evening, Israeli gunboats and artillery fired several shells at eastern and northern areas in northern Gaza Strip. As a result, many houses sustained partial damage.

Gaza City:

Two houses were completely destroyed due to the Israeli bombing. Also, 2 other houses, 3 factories and many shops sustained severe damage. Moreover, medical crews found the dead body of a girl under the rubble of her family home, while the death of another child was announced after finding his body under the rubble of his family house.

  • At approximately 06:00, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at the fifth floor in a residential building in Gaza City, wounding 5 children.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF warplanes launched three missiles at Abdul-qader Abdul-Aziz al-Kojok (76) in Sheikh ‘Ejleen, completely destroying the 4-floor apartment building (600 sqm). The building had 8 apartments and housed 4 families, including 20 children and 4 women.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF warplanes launched two missiles at the northern side of the first floor of al-Raed (1) apartment building at the center of Gaza city, completely destroying the apartment and 4 commercial shops. Also, neighboring houses sustained significant damage.
  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli warplanes bombed and completely destroyed Kuhail building in eastern Gaza city. The 4-floor building had 4 commercial stores that were destroyed: al-Badrasawi for Children Clothing; Kuhail Home Appliances; Badri men’s clothing and Jenina Children Clothing.
  • At approximately 16:45, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at Nael Zeyad al-Abed Abu-Ouda in Shati refugee camp, causing significant damages to the 4-floor 270sqm building. The building had 3 apartments and was home to 3 families, including 15 children and 9 women.
  • On Friday, medical crews found the body of 3-year old Meriam Mohammed Ouda al-Telbany under the rubles of her family home, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes on 11 May 2021. The Forensic Medicine Department stated that the child’s body had decomposed.
  • Also, it was found that 10-year old Yehya Mohammed Sobhi al-Hadidi was killed with his family during the IOF airstrike on Abu-Hatab family home in Shati refugee camp on 15 May 2021. The child was buried with his mother and his three siblings but his name was not documented at al-Shifa Medical Complex.
  • During PCHR team’s field visit to Palestine Industrial Estates Development & Management Co. Ltd. (PIEDCO) in eastern Gaza, the team documented that 3 other factories -than previously recorded- were destroyed in the area. As such, the total number of factories attacked by IOF artillery reached 12. At the moment this press release was published, fire is raging in the area as IOF hindered the access of the Civil Defense crews.

  Central Gaza Strip:

  • Israeli warplane launched 4 missiles at a house belonging to Darwish ‘Abdul Karim ‘Ammar in al-Bureij refugee camp, causing damage to the house.  The house shelters 7 families of 36 members, including 17 children and 7 women.
  • At approximately 12:30, for several hours, IOF intensified the artillery shelling in eastern Central Gaza governorate. Shells fell on several houses (Halawa, Abu-Ayyad, and Hamdan family homes) in eastern Buraij, causing partial damages.

 Khan Yunis:

Airstrikes resulted in the murder of a woman and the injury of 14 Palestinians, including 3 women and 7 children. As 3 houses and gas filling station sustained severe damage.

  • At approximately 00:10, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a house belonging to Mohammed and Mo’nes Muhareb, east of Ma’an area.  As a result, the huge missile fell on the house and did not explode, only penetrating the house of their neighbor, Ramzi Abu Hadayed.  As a result, a person and his 3 kids were wounded while the 2 houses sustained wide destruction.  In the morning, the Explosive Engineers arrived and took the missile out of the house.
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  • At approximately 05:10, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a house belonging to Mohammed Khaled al-Khawaldah.  As a result, the 120-sqm house in al-Satar al-Gharbi neighborhood sustained wide destruction while a nearby house belonging to Na’elah Rabi’a al-Khuzondar sustained severe damage, killing Huda Salah Rabi’a al-Khozondar (36) and wounding her husband and her 2 and a half year-old baby girl, Malak.  Also, 7 others were wounded in al-Khawaldah’s house and a nearby house, including 2 women and 2 children; one of the persons wounded had his leg amputated.
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  • At approximately 06:30, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at Mohammed Ahmed al-Ghemari’s house in Khan Yunis, and compeletely destroyed it. Before destroying al-Ghemari’s tin-plate house, an Israeli drone fired a missile at the house (200sqms), which sheltered 4 families of 20 members, including 10 children and 5 women. The airstrikes caused severe damage to nearby houses. It should be noted that the Israeli Intelligence Services called one of the residents orderding him to vacate the area.
  • At approximately 11:30, an artillery munition targeted a gas filling station in al-Satar al-Gharbi area, setting it on fire. The fire was put out after a laborious effort by the Civil Defense Crews as IOF continued to bomb the area.
  • At approximately 15:30, IOF drone launched a missile on Mousa Sobhi al-Hindey’s house in Khan Younis. The drone-strike was followed by two missiles by a military aircraft, one detonated and caused extensive damage to the 3-floor house and nearby houses; the other did not detonate. The bombing was preceded by a call from the IOF to one of the residents that ordered them to evacuate the 200sqm house that sheltered a family of 7.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF fired several artillery munitions that hit and destroyed Ghassan Barham Salem al-Jarf’s house, a greenhouse, and Khaled Fayez Ali Arafat’s water well in ‘Abasan al Jadida.
  • At approximately 19:05, Israeli warplanes launched a missile on an agricultural land in al-Satar al-Gharbi area wounding a Palestinian woman.
  • On Friday, 21 May 2021, the bodies of 15 Palestinian members of armed-groups arrived to Naser Hospital after their bodies were retrieved from two locations that were bombed by IOF in the past few days, while the bodies of 4 other Palestinian members of armed-groups are still under the rubble. On Monday, 24 May 2021, the bodies of those members were retrieved.
  • At approximately 15:00 on Monday, 24 May 2021, medical sources declared the death of Osama Ashraf Mohammed Abu Ridah (22), from Khuzaʽa village in eastern Khan Yunis, succumbing to serious wounds he sustained on Tuesday, 18 May 2021, after a drone fired a missile near his house. Osama sustained shrapnel wounds in his head and received treatment at Naser Medical Complex until his death was declared.

 Rafah:

Airstrikes launched on Thursday destroyed a house completely and caused severe damage to a pharmacy, a main electrical line, many houses and infrastructure.

  • At approximately 03:30, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a truck belonging to ‘Emad Mes’ed Salim Sha’ath in al-Naser village and completely destroyed it.
  • At approximately 12:20, IOF artillery fired munitions on eastern Rafah, destroyed a main electrical line and setting agricultural lands on fire.
  • At approximately 14:00, Israeli warplanes launched three missiles on Hussein Amir Hussein al-Mughair’s house in al-Shaboura refugee camp, completely destroying the 3-floor house. Four Palestinians sustained wounds in the attack, including a child and a journalist. The house was home to four families (21 persons), and was targeted with two drone-launched missiles two days ago.

Other Israeli Attacks on Gaza Strip:

  • At approximately 18:20 on Saturday, 22 May 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Deir al-Balah city in central Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within less than 3 nautical miles, opened fire at them and pumped wastewater at them; no casualties were reported. The IOF shooting at the fishing boats recurred in the next two days.

Murder and Shooting Incidents in the West Bank, Including occupied East Jerusalem

  • At approximately 06:30 on Thursday, 20 May 2021, IOF moved into Jab’ village, south of Jenin. Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF’s vehicles. IOF immediately fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 3 of them, including a 15-year-old child, were shot with live bullets. Also, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot. The wounded protestors were taken to Dr. Khalil Suliman Governmental Hospital in Jenin for treatment. Also, IOF arrested Jehad Khaled Mohammed Fashafsha (23) and withdraw later.
  • At approximately 10:00, medical sources at al-Razi Hospital in Jenin announced the death of Montaser Mahmoud Zidan Jawabrah (28), from Um Dar village, southwest of the city, succumbing to wounds he sustained on 18 May 2021, during clashes erupted in Tura village, southwest of Jenin. It should be noted that Jawabrah was injured in his head and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until his death was declared.
  • At approximately 10:15, IOF moved into Araqah village, west of Jenin. In the meantime, a group of Palestinians gathered and threw stones at IOF’s vehicles. IOF immediately fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the protestors. As a result, a 15-year-old child was shot with a live bullet in his right thigh and taken to Dr. Khalil Suliman Governmental Hospital for treatment. Also, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • On Thursday, 20 May 2021, hundreds of Bethlehem residents organized a peaceful protest in front of a metal-detector gate placed at the annexation wall established on the northern side of Bethlehem, calling for ending the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans. During which, IOF patrols came from one of the wall gates and fired live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the protestors. After that, separate clashes erupted near the military checkpoint (300) and continued for several hours. As a result, 7 protestors were shot with Two-Two and rubber bullets, while other protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation. In the same context, clashes broke out at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar and al-Khader villages, south of the city. During which, IOF fired a barrage of rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the protestors. As a result, dozens of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 16:00, a large number of Israeli soldiers moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah, and established a military checkpoint at the village’s entrance. They checked Palestinians’ IDs, causing a traffic jam while a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IOF and their vehicles. IOF immediately suppressed the protestors and fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, many of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation. IOF also closed the village’s entrance with cement cubes and sand berms, and it is so far closed, forcing the villagers take bypass and dirt roads to reach their workplaces outside the village.
  • Following the Friday prayer, 21 May 2021, several peaceful protests took off in various neighborhoods in the West Bank in in solidarity with Gaza and Jerusalem. The protestors chanted slogans and raised Palestinian flags. IOF suppressed the protest and separate clashes broke out. As a result, many protestors were shot with live and rubber bullets while others suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The Following are the most prominent protests:
  • A protest took off from Bita village municipality towards Subeih Mount, where a settlement outpost is established in the southeastern side of Nablus. IOF suppressed the protestors, wounding a 35-year-old male with a live bullet in his right leg and a 24-year-old male with a rubber bullet in his head. Both of them were taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment.
  • A protest took off from Beit Dajan village council towards lands under the threat of confiscation, northeast of Nablus. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to the IOF’s suppression.
  • A protest took off near Huwara checkpoint, east of Nablus. IOF suppressed the protestors. As a result, a 20-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his left foot and a 22-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his right leg. Both of them were taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment.
  • A protest took off in front of Tubas village municipality towards Tayasser military checkpoint, east of the city. As a result, many protestors suffocated due to the IOF’s suppression.
  • Kafr Qaddum weekly protest, which was organized near the northern entrance to the village, east of Qalqilya. As a result, 4 protestors were injured.
  • A peaceful protest took off from the Dome of the Rock yard in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF suppressed the protestors, wounding 23 of them and arresting 17 others. IOF also assaulted, beat and pushed press crews. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) stated that they treated 21 persons during clashes erupted in the al-Aqsa Mosque; 2 of them were hit with sound bombs in Bab al-‘Amoud and Bab al-Sahera. Lawyer Feras al-Jebrainy said that many Palestinians were arrested from al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards and at its gates. The arrestees were identified as Fares ‘Odallah, Harbi al-Razim, Samer al-Bakri, Mohanad al-Bakri, ‘Abdullah al-Bakri, Mohammed al-Salaimay, Ahmed Borqan, Malek Abu Hadwan, Ihab Najajrah, Mousa Jabour, Yousef Taha, Majd Abu Hadwan, ‘Izz Abu Kaf, Nour Abu Kaf, ‘Alaa Abu Kaf, ‘Ali Abu Sarhan, and Mohammed Faroukh.
  • A peaceful protest took off from ‘Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, towards Rachel’s Tomb, north of Bethlehem. Two protestors were shot with Two-Two bullets, while others suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • At approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF suppressed a peaceful protest organized by Sheikh Jarrah residents in north of occupied East Jerusalem, calling for lifting the closure imposed on the neighborhood for 14 days and ending settlers’ attacks on the residents. Mona al-Kurd, spokesperson of Sheikh Jarrah residents and one of the neighborhood’s residents whose houses are under the threat of forced displacement as well as the organizer of the Save Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood campaign, called on social media for a peaceful protest at the entrance to the neighborhood. At approximately 17:00, dozens of Palestinians headed to the neighborhood, andchanted slogans condemning the closure of the neighborhood and IOF violations against its residents. During which, IOF assaulted the protestors, forcibly dispersed them and fired sound bombs at them. As a result, Lina Mi’ari was hit with a sound bomb in her head and taken to the hospital for treatment.
  • At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 23 May 2021, IOF stationed near the annexation wall established in Far’un village, east of Tulkarm, fired live and rubber bullets and teargas canisters at Palestinian workers, who attempted to enter Israel for work. As a result, a 29-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his left leg.
  • At approximately 13:30 on Monday, 24 May 2021, IOF opened fire at Zuhdi Mohanad Zuhdi al-Taweel (17), claiming that he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack near the railway station at the central intersection in French Hill area adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. As a result, al-Taweel was shot with several live bullets and left bleeding to death in the scene.

According to PCHR’s investigations and eyewitnesses’ testimonies, IOF stationed at the central intersection, adjacent to the National Headquarters of the Israeli Police, which is also close to the Israeli Border Guard Headquarter in the French Hill area adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, opened fire at Zuhdi al-Taweel, who was carrying his school bag, under the pretext that he stabbed two Israelis, including a soldier, in the railway station. Al-Taweel fell on the ground and was critically injured; however, IOF continued shooting at him. They handcuffed him, tore his clothes, searched him and his school bag, took his fingerprints, and left him bleeding to death.

Spokesperson of the Israeli police said in a statement that: at approximately 13:30, a young man arrived at the railway station and stabbed with a knife he had 2 persons, so police officers immediately opened fire at him and neutralized him.” It should be noted that al-Taweel was a high school student from Kafr ‘Aqab neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem.

  • At approximately 15:00 on Monday, 24 May 2021, IOF moved into Al-Janiya village, west of Ramallah, and stationed at the eastern entrance. IOF closed the village’s entrance with cement cubes, under the pretext that the village entrance is close to “Talmon” settlement, which is established on part of the village’s lands. Meanwhile, the settlement guard opened fire at Nadeem Samer ‘Abed al-Majeed Mazloum (15), wounding him with a live bullet in his left shoulder. Nadeem was injured when he was between the residential houses watching what was going on. He was then taken to Palestine Medical Complex for treatment. Clashes then broke out in the area, but no casualties were reported.
  • On Tuesday dawn, 25 May 2021, in a new crime of extra-judicial execution committed by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), a special Israeli force directly opened fire directly at a Palestinian male while he was in his car in Um al-Sharayet neighborhood in Ramallah, killing him immediately. The Israeli force looked at his face after killing him and withdrew later. According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 04:30 on Tuesday, 25 May 2021, a special Israeli force sneaked into Um al-Sharayet neighborhood from the southern side of al-Bireh city, north of Ramallah, via a Caddy civilian car and parked on a street in the neighborhood. At approximately 04:38, the special Israeli force approached a MG car with a yellow registration plate that was parked on the street, a Palestinian man was inside. Afterwards, three unmasked members of the special force in black clothing stepped out of their vehicle and fired several live bullets at the car, which was parked in the area; the bullets smashed its rear window and damaged its front door. The Palestinian man attempted to open the car door to step out, but he fell on the ground. The members of the special force surrounded him, looked at his face and then fled.  Afterwards, a number of Palestinians gathered and took the wounded man to the Palestine Medical Complex, where medicall sources announced his death. The victim was Ahmed Jamil al-Fahd (26), from Am’ari camp near Um al-Sharayet neighborhood, who was shot with 4 live bullets in his left shoulder, chest and lower limbs, which killed him immediately.
  • At approximately 10:30 on Wednesday, 25 May 2021, IOF suppressed a peaceful protest organized by the residents of Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and other Palestinians who stand in solidarity with them in front of the Israeli District Court on Salah al-Deen Street in central Jerusalem. The protest was organized against the Israeli orders issued to evacuate the houses of Baten al-Hawa residents and seize them in favor of settlement associations. It should be noted that the Israeli District Court held a session on Wednesday morning to consider appeals submitted by Baten al-Hawa residents who are under threat of forced displacement. Before holding the session, dozens of the neighborhood residents and other Palestinians gathered in front of the court and raised banners demanding the international and local community to intervene immediately in order to stop the displacement of 70 Palestinians from the neighborhood. Afterwards, IOF deployed in the area and placed iron barriers at all entrances leading to the court to prevent Palestinians from reaching the area. IOF suppressed the protestors and beat them up. They also arrested Sultan Sarhan 916) after punching his face and beating him with riffles’ butts.
  • Yazeed Qa’war, lawyer of Baten al-Hawa families, said that during the court session that was held in the morning, he pleaded on behalf of hundreds of persons and dozens of families whose houses are under the threat of eviction in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood. He added that he submitted two appeals to cancel the eviction orders issued against two families. He also clarified that the legal claims made by the lawyers are strong and the court will seek the opinion of the legal advisor in the coming days.

It should be noted that 7 families in Baten al-Hawa neighborhood submitted appeals after eviction orders were issued against their houses, while dozens of other families are waiting to consider their cases.

  • At least 51 families comprised of 720 persons, from Baten al-Hawa neighborhood, are facing the same fate of the residents of al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which is under the threat of forced displacement in favor of settlement associations. It should be noted that Atarit Cohenim Association seeks to seize 5 dunums of lands and 200 square meters from al-Wusta neighborhood in Baten al-Hawa, under the pretext that its ownership is for Jewish from Yemen. In September 2015, Atarit Cohenim Association distributed eviction orders to Baten al-Hawa residents who challenged these orders. Many judicial orders were issued by Israeli District and Magistrate Courts supporting the ownership claims made by Atarit Cohenim Association.

It should be noted that Baten al-Hawa neighborhood is adjacent to al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan village, and its eviction is a prelude to demolish al-Bustan and other nearby neighborhoods that surround al-Aqsa Mosque. Also, Silwan village is the nearest village to Jerusalem’s Old City walls and gates from the southern and eastern sides. About 55 thousand people are living there. Israel divided Silwan village into many neighborhoods, including Wadi al-Helwa, which is the most targeted neighborhood by settlers, in addition to al-Bustan neighborhood that Israeli authorities seek to remove in order to establish the Talmudic parks.

Incursions and arrests:

Thursday, 20 May 2021:

  • At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Um al-Rokba area in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Abed Zeyad Arafa’s (16) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 00:15, IOF moved into Qabalan village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Ja’far Marwan Aqraa’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Fureidis village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Nour al-Dein Mahmoud al-‘Ammour’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Bidu village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Tareq Fadel al-Sheikh’s (46) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (5) civilians. The arrestees were identified as Islam Haitham Da’bs, Ibrahim Mahmoud, Omar al-Safa, Abd al-Qoddous Issa and Mohammed Khudair.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit ‘Anan village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Baker Rabea’s (27) house and arrested him.
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  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced by 3 military vehicles moved into Yatta, south of Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses and arrested 3 civilians namely Mohammed Ibrahim Huraizat (40), Fadi Ayed al-‘Ammour (30) and Mohammed Bassem al-‘Ammour (38).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Surif, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Islam Arafat al-Hidmi’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron governorate, and stationed in Kuseise area. They raided and searched the house of the former Minister of Endowments, Nayef Mohammed Mahmoud al-Rajoub (64), and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohannad Mo’een Tabanja (24), from Khillat al-Amud neighborhood, southwest of the city, and Ahmed Yousef Awwad (47), from al-Makhfiya neighborhood, west of the village.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Iraq al-Ta’eh village, adjacent to Amman Street, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Yazan Musbah Yousef Jaber’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Wad neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Mohammed Salman Abu Sbeih’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with 3 military vehicles moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Ali Sami ‘Adi’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:50, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into Irqan Awad area, west of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Yousef Abdul Aziz Qazzaz’s (48) house, assualted his wife and daughter, and arrested him.

Yousef Qazzaz’s wife said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“We woke up to presence of Israeli soldiers in our bedroom, so I started shouting at them for how did they enter our house in this way. The Israeli officer said that he does not need a permission to storm any house. The soldiers took my husband to the living room until I wore my clothes and followed them. One of the soldiers ordered me to give him my cell phone but I refused, so he pushed me hard to the wall. Immediately my 14-year-old daughter, Jana, intervened and attempted to defend me, but one of the soldiers hit her with his riffle’s butt on her left shoulder and then took my husband to where their military vehicles stationed. When I checked the house I found that the soldiers messed up my bedroom and scattered some contents in store at the stairs”.

  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Ashraf al-Rajabi and Mohammed Awad, and arrested them.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Zakariya Hazina (29), from the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while present in his workplace in West Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested Siraj Mahmoud Abu Sbeitan (22), from al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while heading to his place of work in the occupied city.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into al-Wad neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Yousef Emad al-Ghoul’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Ya’bad and Zibda, southwest of Jenin; Beit Kahil and Shuyukh in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 21 May 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Eizariya village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mohammed Qatamira and Nasim Qatamira, and arrested them.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Samu village, south of Hebron. They raided and searched Ayman Ahmed Abu Awwad’s (39) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched Eisa Najeh al-Sleiby’s (34) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:15, IOF moved into al- Ma’ajin neighborhood, west of Nablus. They raided and searched the house of the spokesperson of “Jerusalem is Our Destinatغ” electoral list, Alaa Ahmed Hmeidan (47), and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:35, IOF moved into the industrial area of al-Bireh, north of Ramallah governorate. They raided and searched Saji Ali Abed’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:20, IOF moved into Jaba’, south of Jenin. They raided and searched Izz al-Dein Farhat Fashafisha’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Marwan Mohammed Abu Fara (39), when he was at the Israeli Intelligence Services’ office in “Gush Etzion” settlement upon a summons sent to him in order to refer to the Israeli Intelligence for an Interview with the Shin Bet.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested Majd al-Dein Abu Adwan (24), while present inside his vehicle in al-Thuri neighborhood, south of the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him out of his vehicle, severely beaten and took him to one of the detention centers in the city.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF moved into Jalajel village, east of Hebron. They raided and searched Wafa’ Abdul Rahman Baradi’y’s house, who was killed by the Israeli settlers at the entrance to “Kiryat Arba’” settlement, east of Hebron, claiming that she had a gun with her and attempted to shoot on 18 May 2021. IOF held her family in one room and searched the house. They arrested her brother, Ramzi Abdul Rahman al-Baradi’y and later withdrew.
  • IOF carried out (7) incursions in Tell and Aqraba, southeast of Nablus; Nazlat Zayd, southwest of Jenin; Hebron, Yatta, Beit Ummar and Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 22 May 2021:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF severely beaten and arrested (4) civilians who were in Bab al-Amoud area in the occupied East Jerusalem, and took them to one of the detention centers in the city. The arrestees were identified as Mohammed Akram al-Basti (22), Ahmed al-Basti (22), Ehab Akram al-Basti (26) and Tamer Amjad al-Basti (23).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Issawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Ashraf Obaid’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Tammun, southeast of Tubas. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Basel Mustafa Bisharat (22), and Izz al-Dein Bani Owda (23).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into ‘Aqqaba village, southwest of Tubas. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Harith Belal Abu Arra (18).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Awarta village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Abdul Salam Mustafa Oud’s (54) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested 2 civilians from Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, when they were in al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and took them to one of the detention centers in the city. The arrestees were identified as Sufian Nidal al-Natsheh (19) and Hamza Zuhair al-Rajabi (19).
  • At approximately 12:45, IOF stationed at Huwara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Ali Hashem Dwaikat (21), from Beita village. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at checkpoint (65) established on the entrance to the closed Shuhada Street in Hebron arrested Ma’moun Hasan al-Natsheh (16) while crossing the checkpoint.
  • IOF carried out an incursion in Ya’bad village, southwest of Jenin. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 23 May 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Khalil Kamal Abu al-Hawa’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Beit Hanina, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Shady Sa’d al-Mtawar’s (44) house, the Secretary of Fatah movement in Jerusalem, and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Balata al-Balad village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ibrahim Mohammed Dwaikat (20).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Askar village, adjacent to Amman Street, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched Bara’ Ramzi Dwaikat’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Azzun village, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Mustafa Ahmed Mansour’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Qabatia, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Saif al-Dein Abdul Rahman Nazzal’s (36) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched Tareq Mohammed Qabha’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to the activists Fadi Abdullah Mtawar (46) and Nour Saleem al-Shalabi (23), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Kafr Dan village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched Fo’ad Nayef Kamamji’s (56) house and arrested him along with his sons, Sha’s (22), Emad (32), Majd (27) and Muharram (31), to pressurize his son, Ahed (26), to surrender himself.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested Mohammed Ali Hamajna (22), from Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) children; Mustafa Ahmed Abu al-Hawa (17), Mustafa Ashayer (17) and Ra’ed Hazem al-Sayyad (16). Meanwhile, IOF handed Ameer Hazem Abu al-Hawa (19) and Dawoud Mahmoud Abu al-Hawa (19) summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  •  
  • At approximately 10:30, IOF moved into Shufa village, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Fathi Ma’zouz Mousa (22), and his brother, Mohammed (20), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 10:55, IOF arrested Abdul Rahman Kmeil (22), from Qabatiya village in Jenin, while passing through a temporary military checkpoint established on the entrance of Jit village, northeast of Qalqilya.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF and police reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Tuwani village, east of Yatta. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to al-Rab’i family, assaulted the residents and confiscated their cell phones. As a result, Deema Mohammed Fadel Rab’i (6) sustained bruises and was taken to Hebron Governmental Hospital. Also, IOF arrested Fadel Mohammed Rab’i, Belal Fadel Ahmed Rab’i and Mafdi Ahmed Rab’i.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Ras al-Amud neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed al-Bazlamit’s (17) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Nour Abu Jom’a and Anas Abu Sami, and arrested them.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Bayt Ula, Tarqumiyah, Beit Ummar, Fawwar refugee camp and Karma villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 24 May 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into several neighborhoods in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (5) civilians, including a child. The arrestees are: Waheed Marwan al-Bakri (25), Mohammed Jawdat al-Shawish (26), Ibrahim Abu Sneina (22), Mohammed Isma’el Hushiyah (17) and Wadea Hushiyah (18).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Walaja village, northwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians; Mohammed Isma’el Mousa al-A’raj, Fadi Mahmoud Rabah, Mohammed Nabil Abu al-Teen, and his brother, Mahmoud.
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Tabqa village, south of Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched 2 houses and handed Adel Musaiaf al-Atrash (41) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into Beit Kahil, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Sa’eed Maher Asafra’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. They raided and searched Mohammed Yousef Khudair Awad’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Ras al-Amud neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Majeed al-Zughul (19) and Ahmed Younis al-Ghoul (22), and handed Mohammed Ali al-Ghoul (17) a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in Mascovia investigation center in West Jerusalem.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Bait Fajar village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Khattab Ibrahim Thawabtah (24), Sa’oud Faisal Thawabtah (30) and Mahmoud Ibrahim Balou (25).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Qabalan village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Naser Khaled Abu Zeina (20).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Isawiya village, southeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Faris Ra’fat Dari (23) and Oday Ahmed Dari (24), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (4) civilians. The arrestees are: Naser Khader Abu Khudair (25), Adam Khader Abu Khudair (21), Mohammed Mansour Abu Khudair (22) and Ahmed Hasan Abu Khudair (21).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to ‘Arrabi Sadeq Ghaith (19) and Khaled Waleed Shwaiky (20), and arrested them.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Kobar village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Mus’ab Saher al-Barghouthi’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Dura al-Kari’a village, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Ahmed Ra’fat Yaseen’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Jericho. They raided and searched Husam Isma’el Abu Dahouk’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:30, IOF stationed at Bab Huta, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s gates in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City arrested Ehab Mohammed Iskafi (18), while entering the mosque. IOF took him to one of the detention centers in the city.
  • At approximately 07:00, IOF severely beaten and arrested Nidal Hamad Abu Diab (46) and his son, Mohammed (24), from Jerusalem’s Old City, while heading to their workplace in the city. IOF took them to unknown destinations.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF moved into the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Malek Basem Asaliya’s (20) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services at the Moscovia interrogation center in West Jerusalem.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Jabel al-Mukaber village, southeast of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Ahmed Mashahera’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Husam Ghunaim (21) and Bashar al-‘Ajlouni (19), and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF severely beaten and arrested Mo’ath Adel al-Kaswani (20) after stopping his vehicle on Salah al-Dein street in the occupied East Jerusalem. IOF took him to one of the detention centers in the city.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ali Waleed al-Sayyad’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF arrested (5) civilians while present near Jabal al-Madaris in Hizma, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. The arrestees are: Mohammed Ahmed Abu Khalil, Hussain Owad Sbeih, Mahmoud Owda Sbeih, Adam Hasan Abu Khalil and Mahran Mahmoud Owda Sbeih.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into Shaikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohannad Issa Abu Ta’a’s (48) house and arrested him along with his son, Issa (20).
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Basam Mazen al-Keswani’s (10) house, enticing fear among the children, and arrested him, as IOF claimed that al-Keswani was throwing stones at a settlement outpost in the city. A recorded video went viral on social media, showing a 5-year-old girl, Ruba, crying and pleading the Israeli soldiers to release her cousin, Basam, by saying “We will never do this again, leave him, I am scared that you will take him and he never comes back to play with me… when his father come, you will release him right?”
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF stationed at Mevo Dotan military checkpoint, southwest of Jenin, arrested Islam Isam Abu al-Hija (23), from al-Yamun, west of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Sa’ir, Aroub refugee camp, Hasaka area and Kharsa villages in Hebron; and Tell village in Nablus. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Mohammed Hatem Abu al-Hawa’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into the southern entrance to Hebron. They raided and searched Osaid Zuhair Zaheda’s (29) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Bait Duqu village, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Mustafa Dawoud’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched the house of a candidate on the “Jerusalem is Our Destination” electoral list, Yaser Ibrahim Badrasawi (52), on al-Quds Street, and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into Jaba’ village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched Ammar Ibrahim Hamamra’s (27) house and arrested him. Also, at approximately 09:30, IOF stationed at Za’tara military checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, arrested his brother, Murad (35), and took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF arrested Mahdi Hatem Abu Asab (18), when he was in Bab al-Amoud area in occupied East Jerusalem, and took him to one of the detention centers in the city.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF arrested Mahmoud al-Jundi (29) while walking on al-Wad Street in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into al-Tuwani village, east of Yatta, south of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Osama Fadel Rab’i’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Khaled Rab’i (32), from Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, while present at his workplace in the occupied city. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • At approximately 18:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta neighborhood, one of the occupied Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Wisam Mohammed Thalji Sidir’s (28) house and arrested him. It should be noted that IOF severely beat him that required to refer him to the hospital to receive treatment while handcuffed and under arrest.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into Issawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Rasheed Mohammed Darwish’s (19) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed al-‘Ammouri’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Bir al-Basha village, south of Jenin. They raided and searched Saddam Basem Ghawadra’s (30) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 22:30, IOF stationed at a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance to “Ofra” settlement, east of Ramallah, arrested 4 civilians while crossing the checkpoint, and released them later. The arrestees were: Muntaser Abdul Raheem Abdul Baset (19), Obada Zain Hmaid (20), Mohammed al-Qadi (20) and Omar Wael Hmeid (19), from al-Mazra’a al-Sharqiya village, east of the city.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Beit Ummar, Sa’ir, Tarqumiyah and Dhahiriya villages in Hebron; and Asira al-Qibliya village, southeast of Nablus. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 25 May 2021:

  • At approximately 01:30, IOF reinforced by several military vehicles moved into Abu Katila neighborhood in Hebron. They raided and searched Lo’ay Ali al-Hashlamoun’s (39) house, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into al-Harayiq area in Hebron. They raided and searched Tareq Anwar D’ais’s (40) house, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into the southern area of Hebron. They raided and searched 3 houses belonging to Maher Ali Barqan, Taher Mahmoud Barqan and Awni Ayed Abu Hadid, but no arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 04:25, IOF moved into Tayasir village, east of Tubas. They raided and searched Zahi Ahmed Abu Ali’s (47) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in al-Hadab and Nuba villages in Hebron; and Tubas. No arrests were reported.

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

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • On Sunday dawn, 23 May 2021, a group pf settlers from “Havat Ma’on” settlement outpost established on the Palestinian lands of eastern Yatta, south of Hebron, moved into Kherbet Sarourah and burnt a cave used by Palestinian and international activists to protect farmers and shepherds from the settlers’ attacks. It should be noted that the cave was repaired and furnished by the activists 2 years ago.  The Settlers also burnt a field of winter crops belonging to al-Hreini family in al-Samrah area.
  • On Sunday morning, 23 May 2021, a group of settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque yards in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City via al-Magharbah Gate, under the IOF’s intensive protection and amid intense tension prevailing the mosque and its surrounding only 2 days after the cease fire was declared in the Gaza Strip and cease of such raids over the past 3 weeks.

Jewish extremist groups called for raiding al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, 23 May 2021, via posts and ads published on social media; thus, IOF intensified its measures and presence of its members in the vicinity of al-Aqsa Mosque and at its gates.  Moreover, they banned the entry of crowds of muslim worshippers into the mosque in order to perform the dawn prayer and pushed and beat them up.  IOF then allowed them to enter on one condition that they hand their ID cards at the gates to the police officers.  When the settlers raided the mosque at 7:00, tension broke out in its yards and IOF forcibly kept the worshipers away from the al-Qibli Mosque and beat them up.  They banned them from chanting slogans or saying Allahu Akbar or even using their cameras or phones.  They beat one of the worshippers and confiscated his cell phone after he documented the setters’ raid.  During the 2 tours, which 250 settlers participated in and continued until 14:30 instead of their usual time at 13:30, IOF arrested 9 Palestinians, including a girl and 4 Islamic Endowments officers in al-Aqsa Mosque, its surrounding and at the gates.  The arrestees were identified as: Fadi ‘Ali ‘Alian, al-Aqsa Mosque’s guard, ‘Issa al-Dabbagh and Basem Zughayer, the Reconstruction Committee’s officers; ‘Ali Wazouz, an officer at the Manuscripts Department; Ashwaq Rasem ‘Abdul Wahad, ‘Issa ‘Arabat, Anas Mohammed Abu al-Hummus; Mahmoud al-Shakhshir; ‘Omer Fawzi Muheisen.

It should be noted that IOF held the ID cards of 30 civilians, who tried to confront the settlers’ raids into al-Aqsa Mosque and referred them to al-Qashlah police station after refusing to hand their ID cards.   Lawyer Sanaa’ al-Dweik said in this regard that the Israeli authorities handed 13 Palestinians decisions to ban their entry into al-Aqsa Mosque for a week after the Israeli police and intelligence officers held their ID cards before entering al-Aqsa Mosque.  They were then handed summonses for interrogation.  After interrogating and detaining them for hours at al-Qashlah detention center in Bab al-Khalil in East Jerusalem, they were released on condition that they would be banned entry into al-Aqsa Mosque for a week and would attend again for interrogation in case the entry ban decision would be extended.  

  • At approximately 15:40 on Sunday, a group of settlers along with 60 cows moved into Qana Valley area in Deir Istiya village, north of Salfit. After the farmers attempted to prevent the settlers from raiding their planted lands, settlers heavily fired rubber-coated bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at the farmers. As a result, 6 of the farmers suffocated and were taken to Darwish Nazzal Hospital in Qalqiliya.  The settlers broke windows of 5 vehicles belonging to civilians who ariived at the area after calls via loudspeakers to protect the farmers.  The settlers’ attack continued for 5 consecutive hours, including completely closing the area, detaining the farmers and assaulting the vehicles, which belong to Sa’id ‘Ali Sa’id Yadan, Bilal Khader Mansour, Nafez Khader Mansour and Mohammed Hasan Mansour.
  • At approximately 23:00 on Sunday, a group of settlers from “Kiryat Arbaa” settlement, east of Hebron, threw stones at houses belonging to Abu S’eifan Family in al-Hussein Valley area next to the settlement. No casualties were reported.
  • On Monday morning, 24 May 2021, a group of settlers from “Beit Hagai” settlement damaged 30 olive seedlings, planted 5 years ago, and uprooted 100 one-year-old olive seedlings in Ar-Rihiya village, south of Hebron. Those seedlings belonged to Mohammed ‘Issa Halayqah (62).

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

The Gaza Strip:

Although a ceasefire was reached on Friday, 21 May 2021, the Israeli authorities continued to close Kerm Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossings and the sea, banning entry of goods, food supplies or fuel, tightening the closure that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006.

On Tuesday, 25 May 2021, IOF reopened the Kerm Abu Salem Crossing for the entry of humanitarian supplies, including medical equipment, food, medicines, fuel for private sector, and continued to ban exportation of Gaza Strip’s goods.  IOF also partially reopened the Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing to allow the travel of patients to receive life-saving treatment along with intentional workers and foreign journalists.

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

The West bank:

  • In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the movement of goods and individuals.  IOF established 58 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 10 of them. IOF tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints and closed some of them many times for hours.

Jerusalem:

  • On Thursday, 20 May 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to al-Ram village, at the entrance to Biddu village and near the Qalendia village bridge, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
  • On Tuesday afternoon, 25 May 2021, IOF closed Qalendia Checkpoint and banned movement but later reopened it.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday 20 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem, and was re-established next day and on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
  • On Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Gibeah village and at the main entrance to Marah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem.

Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 20 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Atara Village Bridge.
  • On Friday, 21 May 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Abu Mash’al and Umm Safa villages in addition to near ‘Attara Village Bridge.
  • On Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Deir Ibzi and Shuqba villages in addition to near ‘Attara Village Bridge.
  • On Sunday, 23 May 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beitin, Sinjil and Abu Mash’al villages.
  • On Monday, 24 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Ras Karkar village- ‘Ein Ayoub area and Sinjil village.
  • On Wednesday, 26 May 2021, IOF closed the electric detector established at the western entrance to ‘Aboud village, northwest of Ramallah.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 20 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Jericho and in al-Khan al-Ahmar area (on the main road between Jericho and occupied Jerusalem.)
  • On Friday, 21 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF established at al-Hamra checkpoint, north of Jericho tightened its military measures and hindered civilians” movement at the checkpoint by including searching their vehicles and checking their ID cards.
  • On Sunday, 23 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.

Nablus:

  • On Friday, 21 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the intersection of Einabus village, southeast of the city.
  • On Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Madama village, southeast of Nablu. IOF also closed with sand berms and cement cubes the entrance to Beita village, southeast of the city.
  • On Sunday, 23 May 2021, IOF established a checkpint at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, northwest of the city.
  • On Monday, 24 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, at the entrance to Aqraba village, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Tuesday, 25 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the intersection of “Shafi Shimron” settlement, at the entrance to Awarta village, southeast of Nablus.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 20 May 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Idhna, as-Samu and Ash-Shuyukh villages, and at the southern entrance to Hebron.
  • On Friday, 21 May 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Beit Awwa villages, at the western entrance to Hebron, and at the southern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Saturday, 22 May 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Idhna, ad-Dhahiriya, Beit Awwa, and al-Jalajel villages, at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.
  • On Monday, 22 May 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Sa’ir, eastern Dura, southern Halhoul, and Idhna villages.
  • On Tuesday, 25 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Idhna village and al-‘Aroub refugee camp.
  • On Wednesday, 26 May 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to al-Fawwar refugee camp, southern Hebron and Sa’ir village.

Qalqilya:

  • At approximately 10:55 on Tuesday, 24 May 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints under Azzun village’s bridge and at the eastern entrance to the city.

The Iranian presidential shocker

The Iranian presidential shocker

May 26, 2021

The undisputed leader of the tightly vetted pack is soft hardliner Ebrahim Raeisi, the Islamic Republic’s Chief Justice

by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

When Iran’s Interior Ministry released on Tuesday the final list of candidates approved by the 12-member Guardian Council to run for President in the upcoming June 18 election, all hell was breaking loose in Tehran for at least 24 hours.

An “unofficial” list of the 7 candidates for the presidential election was already circulating and causing quite a stir, but not confirmed yet to be final.

The talk of the town was that the list barred a lot of important people. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was out. So was Ali Larijani – a former Parliament speaker, and even the current Iranian Vice President, Es’haq Jahangiri, who should be the top reformist running.

The Fars news agency had broken the story on Monday, announcing the final 7. They got everything right – from the elimination of Ahmadinejad, Larijani and Jahangiri to the fact that no women candidates were approved.

Fars is very close to the IRGC. So what happened makes perfect sense. Including the rumors swirling around Tehran that outgoing President Rouhani went into panic mode, calling Ayatollah Khamenei for a revision of the list.

As it stands, the Magnificent Seven who will be running are Ebrahim Raeisi, Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei, Alireza Zakani, Seyyed Amir-Hossein, Ghazizadeh-Hashemi, Albdolnasser Hemmati and Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh.

The undisputed leader of the pack is Raeisi, the head of the Judiciary since 2019. He is technically a Principlist – an Islamic Revolution conservative, in Iranian terms – but says he will run as an independent. Call him a soft hardliner.

Among the others, the only one relatively known outside of Iran is Jalili, also a Principlist, and former top nuclear negotiator as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 2007 to 2013.

At least in thesis, two reformists are left: Mehr-Alizadeh and Hemmati, the current governor of the Central Bank. But they have no national appeal.

So Raeisi now seems to be nearly a done deal: a relatively faceless bureaucrat without the profile of an IRGC hardliner, well known for his anti-corruption fight and care about the poor and downtrodden. On foreign policy, the crucial fact is that he will arguably follow crucial IRGC dictates.

Raeisi is already spinning that he “negotiated quietly” to secure the qualification of more candidates, “to make the election scene more competitive and participatory”. The problem is no candidate has the power to sway the opaque decisions of the 12-member Guardian Council, composed exclusively by clerics: only Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Guardian Council cryptically stated that only 40 out of 592 candidates had submitted “all the required documents” to the Interior Ministry’s election HQ. There was no explanation about the content of these “documents”.

Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaee, the Council’s spokesman, dismissed any politicking: decisions were made based on “election law”. So no one can contest them – except Khamenei. He stressed that the Council “had not been informed” of any action by the Leader.

The end of the reformist era

Vice President Jahangiri, who would have been the reformist standard bearer, did not take it lightly: in a forceful statement, he said, “the Council naturally bears the responsibility for the decision and its legal basis and for the political and social consequences arising from it.”

More crucially for the Tehran establishment, he highlighted a “serious threat” to the system: “I hope that the republican aspect of the establishment, the effective participation of the people in determining their own fate, the national interests, and the future of Iran will not be sacrificed to immediate political expediencies.”

Advisers to former President Ahmadinejad – still extremely popular nationally – told me they are still weighing their options: “It is a very big disappointment, but expected. A big mistake, that will lead to anger and distrust among common people, and eventually backlash.”

Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran remarked, “there’s still some uncertainty about the candidates.” He’s not making a full assessment yet because he’s not sure the vetoing of Larijani, especially, “will be the final say”.

Even as the Magnificent Seven are now free to start campaigning, the overall sentiment is that the Rouhani-Zarif era seems to be over, not with a bang but a whimper.

At the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna, Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi continues to sound as a realist, stressing, “I am not confident that it would be possible to conclude the negotiations but there is a possibility.” That would require “political decisions to be made”, a direct reference to Washington.

Everyone in Vienna knows that what was agreed to far on the JCPOA revival was the easy part. The real problem are the remaining hundreds of sanctions that must be canceled by the US Congress – and that’s not gonna happen.

Besides, the Americans continue to insist that Tehran should first resume the nuclear commitments it has suspended – following its legal retaliation rights as defined by Article 26 of the JCPOA. Tehran’s red line is clear: it was Washington which ditched the JCPOA, so it’s up to the US to first remove all sanctions, “practically and verifiably”.

Tehran has reiterated over and over again it will walk out of Vienna by the end of May if there’s no deal. The IRGC couldn’t care less: they are already in post-JCPOA mode. Focused on the Iran-China strategic deal. Focused on wider Eurasia integration alongside Russia and China. And relying on the perfect candidate placed to become the next Iranian president.

Efforts Underway to Improve Ties between Damascus, Riyadh: Assad’s Advisor

27/05/2021

source

Efforts Underway to Improve Ties between Damascus, Riyadh: Assad’s Advisor

By Staff, Agencies

Political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bouthaina Shaaban, said efforts are underway to improve diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after more than a decade of estrangement between the two Arab nations.

“Efforts are being made to upgrade ties with Saudi Arabia, and may soon have positive results,” Shaaban told local Arabic-language Sham FM radio station on Wednesday.

She also hailed the recent visit by Syrian Tourism Minister Mohammed Rami Martini to Saudi Arabia, stating it was the first such trip by a Syrian minister to the kingdom in recent years.

Martini arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday evening to attend the 47th meeting of the World Tourism Organization Committee for the Middle East on May 26 and 27, according to the official Syrian news agency SANA.

His visit came upon an official invitation from the Saudi Tourism Ministry and the World Tourism Organization Committee for the Middle East for Martini to participate in the meeting, SANA added.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief met with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus.

London-based Rai al-Youm news outlet reported that Director General of General Intelligence Directorate Lieutenant General Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan met with President Assad and Director of Syria’s National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk on May 4 to discuss restoring diplomatic ties.

The Guardian independently confirmed that Humaidan met with Mamlouk.

Having failed to achieve any of its objectives in the Yemen war and with a change of administration in Washington, Saudi Arabia appears to be recalibrating some aspects of its regional approach, striking a more conciliatory tone with Iran and Syria.

Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic relations with Damascus were severed at the outset of the foreign-sponsored devastating militancy in Syria in 2011.

Riyadh has been central to the large-scale supply of weapons and ammunition to various Takfiri militant groups wreaking havoc in Syria.

Islamic Jihad to Al-Ahed: Quds Sword Imposed New Equations, Resistance Making Confident Steps to Defeat ‘Israel’

27/05/2021

Islamic Jihad to Al-Ahed: Quds Sword Imposed New Equations, Resistance Making Confident Steps to Defeat ‘Israel’

Al-Ahed Exclusive

The leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Daoud Shehab, said the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Resistance and the subsequent liberation of southern Lebanon coincided with the victory of Operation Al-Quds Sword.

According to Shehab, the victory carries important implications. The most significant of these is that the resistance persevered – the people of the nation decided not to retreat, and the resistance, whether in Lebanon or Palestine, is recording achievements and accumulating victories in the face of the “Israeli” enemy.

“There is no way back. We are making confident steps to defeat this entity and liberate every inch of the land of Palestine,” Shehab said in an interview with Al-Ahed News.

He pointed out that the Al-Quds Sword battle bore the meaning of the liberation of all Palestine.

“This unification in all the arenas and fields of jihad and resistance throughout occupied Palestine gives an important signal and sends hope again that we are moving towards the fulfillment of God’s promise, the achievement of the great victory, and the defeat of the occupation from all the land of Palestine as it was defeated from southern Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005,” he stressed.

Shehab highlighted the expansion of the achievements of the resistance and the nation’s collective awareness that the main priority is confronting the “Israeli” enemy.

“When Al-Quds was the main title, all Palestinian patriots met in this confrontation, and all attempts by the occupation to sow discord and cracks within the Palestinian society failed.”

The leader of the Islamic Jihad movement pointed out that “the battle of the Al-Quds Sword represents an essential course to victory and liberation.”

Shehab explained that “the battle of the Al-Quds Sword established new equations in the open conflict between the resistance and the enemy, the most important of which is that Al-Quds entered into the rules of engagement. Therefore, we are now facing a new challenge – an aggression on All-Quds will be met with a response by the resistance.”

“The second issue is that the occupation does not surrender easily and does not yield easily to the insistence of the resistance. Ahead of us is a long journey with Al-Quds as the objective. When we called this battle Al-Quds Sword, the name implies that this sword is now in the hands of the resistance that is ready to defend the city of Al-Quds.”

He also stressed that the resistance is ready at any time to make sacrifices and engage in confrontations in order to defend occupied Al-Quds. He confirmed that the resistance throughout the Palestinian homeland from its sea to its river from its north to its south is fully prepared to assume the responsibility of defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We face two main constants in the Palestinian situation. Al-Quds is a fundamental constant that cannot be overlooked or abandoned. Secondly, the resistance is an authentic expression of the Palestinian situation in which our people live under occupation,” Shehab said.

“There is nothing that can unite the Palestinians in the stage of national liberation and occupation but the resistance,” he added, pointing out that other emergency options are futile and have not succeeded. Shehab remains convinced that any national political project has no value unless it’s based on resistance under occupation.

“We protect the state of unity by protecting the resistance. The resistance is a basic pillar to achieve internal Palestinian unity and maintain the continuous mobilization with the status of Al-Quds and what it represents in the Arab and Islamic conscience as part of our faith and our religion.”

Shehab concluded by saying that “what happened is not limited to the Palestinian interior in Gaza, the West Bank, or the occupied interior, but the Palestinian diaspora also got involved, and this is an issue that cannot be ignored.”

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