Netanyahu Took Trump to New Heights of Global Tension and Dropped Him

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

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Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed he personally convinced the US president Donald Trump to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA agreement, and wished Iran to “disappear with the help of God”. Israel is much more experienced in dealing with the Middle East than the current US president and his entire team in this administration. Even if Israel itself was not convinced, they evidently managed to convince the Americans that a show of US “superior force with the will to use it” would compel Iran to back off and submit to the US 12 conditions dictated by Secretary Pompeo, as Israel’s former Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon said would happen. Israel, the instigator of this strategy that has been refuted by two clear messages from Iran and its allies– is nonetheless coming out unharmed by this rhetorical escalation. Trump seems the only loser, waiting by the phone that is not expected to ring.

It is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s belligerence which obliges Iran to take a strong stand; Netanyahu has boasted that his influence led Trump to give him the Syrian Golan Heights, move the US embassy to Jerusalem, give Jerusalem to Netanyahu, and to revoke the JCPOA deal with Iran. He is also very likely behind the 12 conditions Trump seeks to impose on Iran since, unlike the inept US administration, the Israelis know well that Iran cannot accept them. The US president has sabotaged the peace process and squandered the position of his country as a mediator between the Palestinians and Israel.

When Netanyahu asked Trump to give him all these gifts, the US president did not hesitate to save the Israeli prime minister from criminal prosecution for fraud and breach of trust to boost his re-election and give him what doesn’t belong to him!

And now it is Iran’s turn to be in the US frying pan. Nevertheless, it seems things haven’t turned out the way Trump planned. His own image has been damaged, but not that of Netanyahu, who has instructed his cabinet to keep silent and stay out of the Iran-US contention. The Israeli Prime Minister can wash his hands of the US non-act of war against Iran and watch in silence, keeping Israel out of the Iran-US tensions as though he were far from being involved. He is trying to pretend that the ongoing bras-de-fer between the US and Iran and Trump’s retreat after the al-Fujairah and Aramco attacks have nothing to do with him.

Netanyahu’s military officers are mistaken to believe “Iran has an unsettled account with the Israeli Army because it has delivered several hits (in Syria) to which Tehran has not had the chance to retaliate”. Here again, Israel is far from understanding the Iranian mode of action: In February 2018, Iran shot down an F-16 bombing Syria. Iran delivered to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad the most efficient Kornet, the anti-tank laser-guided missiles and the technology to fire destructive long-range missiles from Gaza. It is arming Hezbollah with the most sophisticated anti-ship, anti-air, surface-to-surface missiles for possible use against Israel oil platforms and harbors and is spending billions to maintain the strength of its allies: Hezbollah, Iraqi non-state actors, the Syrian government, and the Houthis in Yemen, to name but a few.

But from where does Hezbollah derive its legitimate presence and survival? The answer is simple: from Israel’s wars and its violation of Lebanon’s sea, territory, and airspace. Israel is still occupying the Shebaa farms and Kfarshouba, disputing Lebanon’s territorial waters, and it continues to assassinate Hezbollah leaders. Hezbollah would have nothing to do if Israel opted for peace.

In Syria, Moshe Yaalon (former Israel defense minister) says Israel would rather have ISIS on its borders than Assad and Iran. Trump has given Israel a gift, the Syrian Golan, that belongs to neither country. It has bombed the Syrian Army and its allies that were fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda. Assad was negotiating peace with Israel in exchange for land in 2010, as his father did before him. Netanyahu refuses peace, logically enough since the alternative is to manipulate Trump and collect gifts from him, including all of Jerusalem.

If Israel wanted to end the raison d’être of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and all the non-state actors around it, it could start by implementing the Oslo accords as a first step, recognizing a state of Palestine, as the Palestinians recognized a state of Israel. A next step would be to return the Lebanese and Syrian territories to their owners (President Hafez Assad and his son Bashar were both prepared to sign a peace deal with Israel in exchange for this land) and to refrain from bombing (Israel acknowledges it has bombed over 200 targets in Syria) and violating its neighbours’ sea and airspace (daily violation of Lebanese sovereignty). Then Iran would have no need to build up a necklace of states and non-state allies in the Middle East.

And last but not least, Israel seems to be behind the intelligence misinformation provided to the US, indicating that Iran “is moving missiles by boat”, speeding up the US sending of additional forces to the Middle East. Nevertheless, the US had to find a way out of this seemingly “false flag”, because it says now that “Iran has unloaded missiles from its small boat” to ease the tension.

Iran is unwilling to give Trump an easy escape from the climate of tension he and his team have created. Netanyahu is keeping quiet to avoid criticism from the US, since he is clearly the one who pushed Trump towards confrontation with Iran.

Tehran is aware of the Israeli sabotage and manipulation of the current US administration to its advantage. Trump’s lack of knowledge in foreign affairs and his eagerness to be re-elected in 2020 are allowing Netanyahu to pull him around by the nose. The Iranian leader of the revolution never trusted either the US or Europe to keep their commitments to the JCPOA.

“The US will never keep its promises and the EU is an acolyte of the US. You shall get nothing from them” Sayyed Khamenei told president Rouhani when he signed off the JCPOA deal with the Obama administration – according to a high Iranian official – who, after a few years, agreed with his “Rahbar” (the supreme leader of the revolution).

Israel’s Mossad provided the US with false intelligence that ballistic missiles were being carried on wooden boats, as though Iran doesn’t have enough deserts and places to hide its missiles. Incredibly enough, the Mossad was believed.

This is just one illustration of Israel’s power to manipulate the US government into a lose-lose scenario, while Israel can only win-win. The US will lose prestige from backing down, but will lose much more if it is backed into a senseless and catastrophic war. The 12 demands Netanyahu has persuaded the US to make on Iran are impossible for Iran to comply with, as Israel well knows. If Iran were to submit, it would be a victory for Israel. If not, the US will try to go to war or will impose more sanctions—both beneficial to Israel’s position. Israel can push the US to a confrontation and push Iran to its limits because Netanyahu has nothing to lose in a situation where the US military assumes the risks of his reckless strategy; Israel has no skin in the game. It is Trump confronting the Iranians not Netanyahu. Israel can sit back, eat popcorn, and watch events unfold. It will consider itself the winner whatever the consequences. Israel’s influence over Trump’s incompetent administration is the greatest threat to peace today.

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Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

By  Whitney Webb
Source

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For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrestsmade in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

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According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Times reportfrom November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn’t seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only two out of the 14 pictures carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a “construction worker” to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report).

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In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 strongly appear to have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks. Kurzberg is seen in both images that display the visible date of September 10, 2001.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo — particularly the state of the towers — is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

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Yet, in either scenario, Kurzberg had simulated the burning of the World Trade Center the day before the attacks took place. That the FBI concluded that Kurzberg was party to a Mossad surveillance operation at the time of his arrest would then suggest that Israeli intelligence also had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Notably, the relevant section of the FBI report that asks “1. Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” is redacted in its entirety, suggesting that the FBI did not determine the answer to that question to be an emphatic “no.”

One of the 9/11 loose-ends coverups?

If images 5 and 7 were indeed taken the day prior to the attack, the question then becomes why the FBI officially concluded that the arrested Israelis had no prior knowledge of the attacks? One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that “Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel].” If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel’s government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel’s behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI  — in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they “determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel’s own government subsequently acknowledgedthat the five Israelis had indeed been involved in “clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion — that “none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack” — was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

“Tourists” with cash-stuffed socks, box cutters, and explosives?

Beyond the photos and observed activities of the so-called “Dancing Israelis,” it is worth revisiting several other suspicious circumstances linked to their arrest that clearly show that the men in question were hardly the “tourists” they had claimed to be. One often cited example is the fact that one of the men, Oded Ellner, had a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash,” as well as maps of the city with certain places highlighted, and box cutters. In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found in the van.

Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:

A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”

In total, the FBI reported that four items related to explosives were found in the ban and are labeled in the report as “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue),” “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves,” “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits),” and “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue.” In addition, a VHS tape and some still photographs found in the van “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ redacted ] (Explosives Unit).”

In addition to the strange nature of some of the Israelis’ possessions in the van and on their person, the company that employed them — Urban Moving Systems — was of special interest to the FBI, which concluded that the company was likely a “fraudulent operation.” Upon a search of the company’s premises, the FBI noted that “little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found.” The FBI report also noted that there were an “unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business” and that “further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”

The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems as a result of the high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country” (page 37 of the FBI report).

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by…the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.”

The company’s owner — Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen — had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC Newsthat “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius, in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company — Granite Telecommunications — that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the “Dancing Israelis,” which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI’s Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the “Dancing Israelis” had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested “was visibly disturbed by the Agents’ questioning regarding his personal email account.”

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the “Dancing Israelis” has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the “Dancing Israelis,” were in relation to an investigation of “an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to ‘penetrate government facilities.’”

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had “intelligence expertise” and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the “Dancing Israelis,” had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’ but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: ‘Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.’”

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME: “Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

CAMERON: “Well it’s very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together a big question they say is, ‘How could they have not known?’ — almost a direct quote, Brit.”

9/11 as a big — and acknowledged — Israeli win

If the “Dancing Israelis”, and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the “Dancing Israelis,” why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained “Dancing Israelis,” Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.”

While Marmari’s statement may suggest one reason some of the “Dancing Israelis” were so “visibly happy” in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Israeli prime minister — told the New York Timesthat “It’s very good,” before quickly adding “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari’s claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said:

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. … They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way… 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu — who at the time was not in political office — held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center by “militant Islam” in his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. In that book, Netanyahu had posited that Iranian-linked “militants” would set off a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.

During his press conference on the day of the attacks, Netanyahu also asserted that the 9/11 attacks would be a turning point for America and compared them to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Netanyahu’s statement echoes the infamous line from the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document authored by the neoconservative think tank, the Project for a New Ameican Century (PNAC). That line reads. “Further, the process of transformation [towards a neo-Reaganite foreign policy and hyper-militarism], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then again, years later In 2008, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu had stated that the September 11 attacks had greatly benefited Israel. He was quoted as saying: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

Indeed, it goes without saying that the aftermath of 9/11 — which involved the U.S. leading a destructive effort throughout the Middle East — has indeed benefited Israel. Many of the U.S.’ post-9/11 “nation-building” efforts have notably mirrored the policy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was authored by American neoconservatives — PNAC members among them — for Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

That document calls for the creation of a “New Middle East” by, among other things, “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” As is known now, both of those main objectives have since come to pass, each with strong Israeli involvement.

Israel, Racism and Brutality

By Robert Fatina
Source

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The savagery of the racist, apartheid Israeli regime continues to shock people with any sensitivity, despite its long record of brutality. The recent attack on the Gaza Strip, coming as a precursor to United States’ President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’, was no exception.

For reasons that defy any logic other than ugly racism, Israeli terrorist bombers targeted a private home resided in by a young family. Killed in the bomb were a one-year-old girl and her pregnant mother; two other children were seriously injured. That this is by design cannot be disputed. After the 2014 carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip, what Israel calls ‘mowing the lawn’, some IDF soldier-terrorists wore shirts with the outline of a pregnant, Muslim woman on the front, in the crosshairs of a gun. The caption was: ‘One bullet, two kills’.

The U.S. has never been a friend to human rights anywhere, least of all to those of the Palestinians, and this situation has worsened under the cruel administration of Trump. He has cut funding for Palestinians, renounced international law that recognizes Jerusalem as a future, shared capital, and, like all his predecessors from Harry Trump to Barack Obama, finances and supports all Israel’s brutal, repressive actions, even those considered to be crimes against humanity. He apparently hopes that this will force the Palestinians to accept a ‘deal’ that gives Israel everything and Palestine nothing. The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Riyad Mansour, commented on this on May 7 at United Nations headquarters, when he said this: “Some in the (Trump) administration, they think: ‘Yes, what will help peace is break the legs of the Palestinians, break one arm and five teeth, and when they are on the ground they will come crawling to you for anything you offer them’. Those who think that way don’t know the Palestinians.”

Some details of the ‘deal’ – which is no ‘deal’ at all, since one of the main parties to it had no input into it – have been leaked. It allows Israel to keep all of the land it has stolen since 1967; prevents Palestine from having any military, and requires Gaza to disarm. The West Bank disarmed several years ago, and the result has been constant, violent repression by Israel. Additionally, Israel will be responsible for ‘security’. If ever there was a case of the fox being given responsibility for the security of the henhouse, this is it.

According to other details ‘leaked’, if either party rejects the deal, it will lose all U.S. funding. Currently, under Trump’s brutal, racist administration, Palestine gets no U.S. funding, so it has nothing to lose. It is highly unlikely that Israel would reject the ‘deal’, since it gets everything it wants from it. So the U.S. administration is setting up Palestine for catastrophic disaster, by doing all in its power to destroy it, and then offering permanent, second-class human status to Palestinians. Whether or not they accept the ‘deal’, their repression will continue. Either way, they will lose a significant part of the West Bank. Additionally, the internationally-guaranteed right of return is not mentioned at all.

However, it must be remembered that the U.S. is not the world government. It can propose any ‘deals’ it wants to. When Trump announced the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in violation of international law, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the move by an overwhelming margin. More recently, when the U.S. announced its support if Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric referred to the Security Council resolution of December, 1981, which called the Israeli annexation “null and void and without international legal effect”. He further said that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres adheres to all council resolutions, and that that position remains unchanged, despite any U.S. actions. The U.S. decreeing something doesn’t make it a fact.

The U.S. is, however, in a position to make things extremely difficult for the Palestinians, as it has thus far done. That will only worsen when this ‘deal’ is rejected by Palestine, as it is sure to be, if the information about it that has thus far been leaked is accurate. Israel will violently steal more land in the West Bank; it will react with brutal, deadly force to any resistance there or in Gaza, which often involves blatant violations of international law and crimes against humanity. The bombing of hospitals, homes, schools and United-Nations refugee centers, all crimes against humanity and all of which Israel routinely does, will continue and possibly increase. Israel will continue to withhold tax revenues that for some reason it is allowed to collect ‘on behalf’ of Palestine, causing the country to further cut the salaries of its employees.

There has been a major shift in the Democratic Party in the U.S. in the context of Palestine. Yes, Democratic Party officials still support Israel, proclaim it -bizarrely – to be a democracy, and talk about its right to exist. Yet they increasingly criticize its policies, something unheard of just a few short years ago. Two of the multitudinous candidates currently seeking to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2020 have actually called the brutal, murderous Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a racist. One freshman member of the House of Representatives has decried U.S. support for Israel that is based on political donations. These are conversations that weren’t being held until very recently.

Unfortunately, Trump still has two more years in office. And even should he be removed for any number of reasons, his vice president, Mike Pence, would only continue the U.S.’s fawning support for apartheid Israel. And to say that Netanyahu has been emboldened by Trump’s moves is an understatement; during his recent re-election campaign, he vowed to annex the West Bank.

It is not from the United States that justice for Palestinians will ever be established; the U.S. has never cared about human rights. The rest of the international community must act, before it is everlasting too late.

How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

By Mark Curtis,

The true extent of the fall-out from the Libya war is remarkable: it has spurred terrorism in Europe, Syria, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa

Eight years on from Nato’s war in Libya in 2011, as the country enters a new phase in its conflict, I have taken stock of the number of countries to which terrorism has spread as a direct product of that war.

The number is at least 14. The legacy of David Cameron’s, Nicolas Sarkozy’s and Barack Obama’s overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been gruesomely felt by Europeans and Africans.

Yet holding these leaders accountable for their decision to go to war is as distant as ever.

Ungoverned space

The 2011 conflict, in which Nato worked alongside Islamist forces on the ground to remove Gaddafi, produced an ungoverned space in Libya and a country awash with weapons, ideal for terrorist groups to thrive.

But it was Syria that suffered first.

After civil war broke out there in early 2011, at the same time as in Libya, the latter became a facilitation and training hub for around 3,000 fighters on their way to Syria, many of whom joined al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State-affiliated Katibat al-Battar al-Libi (KBL), which was founded by militants from Libya.

In Libya itself, a rebranding of existing al-Qaeda-linked groups in the north-eastern area of Derna produced Islamic State’s first official branch in the country in mid-2014, incorporating members of the KBL.

During 2015, IS Libya conducted car bombings and beheadings and established territorial control and governance over parts of Derna and Benghazi in the east and Sabratha in the west. It also became the sole governing body in the north-central city of Sirte, with as many as 5,000 fighters occupying the city.

By late 2016, IS in Libya was forced out of these areas, largely due to US air strikes, but withdrew to the desert areas south of Sirte, continuing low-level attacks.

Libya Map

In the last two years, the group has re-emerged as a formidable insurgent force and is again waging high-profile attacks on state institutions and conducting regular hit-and-run operations in the southwestern desert.

Last September, UN Special Representative to Libya Ghassan Salame told the UN Security Council that the IS “presence and operations in Libya are only spreading”.

Terror in Europe

After the fall of Gaddafi, IS Libya established training camps near Sabratha which are linked to a series of terrorist attacks and plots.

“Most of the blood spilled in Europe in the more spectacular attacks, using guns and bombs, really all began at the time when Katibat al-Battar went back to Libya,” Cameron Colquhoun, a former counterterrorism analyst for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, told The New York Times.

“That is where the threat trajectory to Europe began – when these men returned to Libya and had breathing space.”

Salman Abedi, who blew up 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester in 2017, met with members of the Katibat al-Battar al-Libi, a faction of IS, several times in Sabratha, where he was probably trained.

Other members of the KBL were Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader of the 2015 Paris attacks on the Bataclan nightclub and sports stadium, which killed 130 people, and the militants involved in the Verviers plot to attack Belgium in 2015.

The perpetrator of the 2016 Berlin truck attack, which left 12 people dead, also had contacts with Libyans linked to IS.

So too in Italy, where terrorist activity has been linked to IS Libya, with several individuals based in Italy involved in the attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in 2015, which killed 22 people.

Libya’s neighbours

Tunisia suffered its deadliest terrorist attack in 2015 when a 23-year-old Tunisian armed with a machine gun mowed down 38 tourists, mainly Britons, at a beach hotel in the resort of Port El Kantaoui.

The perpetrator was reportedly an adherent of IS and, like Salman Abedi, had been trained in the camp complex at Sabratha from where the attack was staged.

Libya’s eastern neighbour, Egypt, has also been struck by terrorism emanating from the country. IS officials in Libya have been linked to, and may have directed, the activities of Wilayat Sinai, the terrorist group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has carried out several deadly attacks in Egypt.

After the fall of Gaddafi, the Western Desert became a corridor for the smuggling of weapons and operatives on their way to the Sinai.

Egypt conducted air strikes against militant camps in Libya in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017, the latter following the killing of 29 Coptic Christians near Cairo.

Into the Sahel

But Libya has also become a hub for jihadist networks stretching south into the Sahel. Libya’s 2011 uprising opened a flow of weapons into northern Mali, which helped revive an ethno-tribal conflict that had been brewing since the 1960s.

By 2012, local allies of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had taken control of day-to-day governance in the northern Mali towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

After France intervened in Mali, the ongoing lack of governance in Libya precipitated several groups to relocate their operational centres to Libya, including both AQIM and its offshoot, Al-Mourabitoun, from where these groups could acquire weapons more easily.

With Libya as its rear base, Al-Mourabitoun under its leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar was behind the attack on the Amenas hydrocarbon complex in eastern Algeria in January 2013, which left 40 foreign workers dead; the gun attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali in November 2015, which killed 22 people; and for the attack on Hotel Splendid in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which killed 20 people in January 2016.

Al-Mourabitoun has also attacked a military academy and French-owned uranium mine in Niger.

Disastrous foreign policy

The fall-out from Libya spreads even wider, however. By 2016, US officials reported signs that Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists, responsible for numerous gruesome attacks and kidnappings, were sending fighters to join IS in Libya, and that there was increased cooperation between the two groups.

The International Crisis Group notes that it was the arrival of weapons and expertise from Libya and the Sahel that enabled Boko Haram to fashion the insurgency that plagues north-western Nigeria today.

There have even been claims that Boko Haram answers to IS commanders in Libya.

In addition to these 14 countries, fighters from several other states have joined IS militants in Libya in recent years. Indeed, it is estimated that almost 80 percent of IS membership in Libya is non-Libyan, including from countries such as Kenya, Chad, Senegal and Sudan.

These foreign fighters are potentially available to return to their own countries after receiving training.

The true extent of the fall-out from the Libya war is remarkable: it has spurred terrorism in Europe, Syria, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic State, although now nearly defeated in Syria and Iraq, is far from dead.

Indeed, while Western leaders seek to defeat terrorism militarily in some places, their disastrous foreign policy choices have stimulated it in others.

Mark Curtis is a historian and analyst of UK foreign policy and international development and the author of six books, the latest being an updated edition of Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam.

What Strikes Bernie Sanders as “Extremely Unfair” Is a Catastrophe for Millions of Palestinians

By Miko Peled
Source

JERUSALEM — Palestinians are being treated extremely unfairly.” This quote by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came to mind as I was watching the documentary film 1948: Creation and Catastrophe. The terms “fair” and “unfair,” and even “extremely unfair,” come to mind when children quarrel on the playground, or maybe in a family feud when parents are treating one of the siblings in a way that is “extremely unfair.” Not so when discussing a national catastrophe.

When we view what Zionists have done to Palestine, when we understand the sheer magnitude of what was done to Palestinians, no term short of “catastrophic” seems appropriate. In the documentary itself, wonderfully directed by Andy Trimlett and Ahlam Muhtaseb, Dr. Farid Abdel-Nur of San Diego State University asks:

Was the establishment of the State of Israel so important, that no matter what price Palestinians had to pay for it, it was worth it? Or was there something fundamentally wrong with a project that can only be realized by displacing hundreds of thousands of people?”

He ends by saying, “If the establishment of the state of Israel was a historic wrong, then the question now arises, how does one redress this wrong.”

No expression of hope

Abu Ramzi was born and raised in Yaffa and he lived the 1948 catastrophe. He remembers Yaffa well. “What is missing in this film,” he said to me a few days after viewing it at in Washington, “it does not show how we used to live together.

Only the conflict and the bombing, but we used to live side by side, the Jews and the Muslims and Christians.” He was unhappy that the movie focused on the tragedy and left no room for hope.

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“People from the outside who will see this film,” Abu Ramzi continued, “will not understand that the only solution is one country, one state with all of us living together again without the strife.” This documentary shows us how — as the late Yoram Kaniyuk, a veteran Israeli writer and journalist who is interviewed in the film extensively, put it — “the whole tragedy was there in one moment.” He was describing what he saw as a young soldier who participated in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian cities of Lydda and Ramle: “Here are the Arabs who used to live there, and here are people who came from Auschwitz and Majdanek, and they won, they took the city.”

Kaniuk ends his description of this immense human drama by saying, “and it’s not that it was right or wrong; it’s just a fact.”

Displacing and replacing

Kaniuk was one of Israel’s leading writers and journalists. Though considered progressive by many, he could not bring himself to say that what was done in Palestine, and particularly in Lydda and Ramle, was categorically wrong. He described what he saw with his own eyes, how survivors of the Holocaust who were brought by the Zionists from Europe were promised a life and a future in a mythical, rather than a historic homeland.

Then these survivors were practically dropped off the trucks and told to move into the empty homes, their rightful owners having been evicted only hours before. The Jewish survivors were given homes of Palestinians who had just gone through an experience that, while perhaps not identical to their own, was similar in the intent of the perpetrators and is certainly tragic and traumatic. We saw over and over how, when the Jews came into the Palestinian homes, “the coffee was still sitting on the table, hot.”

No Remorse

Another Israeli voice in the movie is that of Mordechai Bar-On. Bar-On is a well known Israeli historian and former IDF Chief Education Officer. He is moderate, even progressive by Zionist political standards. He too participated as a young officer in the 1948 crime of ethnic cleansing of Palestine, yet he says clearly that he has no remorse. He recalls an instance where he shot and killed a Palestinian attempting to return to his land and he says, “I have no remorse; I had to do it.”

Bar-On also admits that the plight of the Palestinian refugees is a terrible tragedy but adds he does not want them to return because “Israel cannot afford it.” If the refugees return it will no longer be a country in which “I want to live.” Apparently, that in itself is a good enough reason to keep 5.5 million people in refugee camps — so that Israelis will have a country in which they want to live.

Most of the Israelis who participated in this documentary were on the left of the political scale in Israel. Almost all of them express empathy to the plight of the Palestinians. One even says it reminded him of what he experienced as a Jewish boy in Poland from the Germans during World War II. However, they stop short of condemnation. Israelis by and large — be they on the left, right or center of the political map — refrain from condemning the horrific crimes that began in 1948 and continue to this day.

My friend Abu Ramzi was right when he said the movie presents no hope. It is because under the current conditions, when the Israelis have all the rights and live at the expense of Palestinians, there is no hope.

Hope does exist, but only in a post-Zionist Palestine. When politicians like Bernie Sanders will have the courage to call the ethnic cleansing, genocide and apartheid — all crimes that Israel perpetrated and continues to perpetuate to this day — by their real name and not describe them as merely “extremely unfair.”

Abu Ramzi knows, as many do, that there is hope in a free Palestine, a Palestine where people are equal with one set of laws for all citizens, and where the right of the refugees to return is viewed as a blessing and an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

ARE THE US AND ISRAEL PREPARING FOR WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST? (1/2 IRAN)

Posted on

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Many analysts believe a US-Israeli war on Iran and Lebanon is likely despite the lack of evidence of preparations for such a war. Although forces could be quickly mobilised after a political decision to go to war, all indications point to a non-military war situation for the simple reason that the US “strangulation war” is not costly to the US establishment and fits perfectly with the objectives of its main Middle Eastern ally, Israel. Nevertheless, menacing letters are being exchanged among involved parties who are, nonetheless, prepared for the worst-case scenario.

As far as Iran goes, the “zero oil exports” – the US wants to impose on the 1stof May – may be impossible to achieve. It will not be easy for OPEC members to compensate the two million Iranian barrel of oil daily (out of 3.45 million of total daily production), as President Donald Trump would like. The US objective is to curb Iran’s will and force it to the negotiation table to dictate elements necessary for the security of Israel in the Middle East. A goal no US establishment has ever managed to achieve since the “Islamic Revolution” took power in Iran in 1979, notwithstanding the sanctions imposed over four decades.

Iran has land borders with Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey. It is logistically easy to supply these countries with Iran’s high-quality light crude oil at a cheaper price than the market price. During the Bush and Obama eras, Iran never stopped exporting its oil and exchanging it for hard currency or gold, despite sanctions.

Moreover, China needs its 650,000 barrel per day. Several Chinese companies offer technology and industrial services and commerce their expertise and products with Iranian companies in exchange for oil, and these companies are not willing to stop this trade. This alone will be enough to cause the failure of the US establishment’s objective of “zero exports” without necessarily meaning that such a breakdown will lead to a military confrontation.

President Trump is not willing to engage his forces in a major war, even if he has the audacity to ask Saudi Arabia to pay for it. The US President may have to find another achievement in the Middle East to brag about and exploit during the campaign for his second mandate in 2020. This US administration, like previous ones, will likely fail to curb Iran’s will despite the severe sanctions it has imposed. Nor will it succeed in forcing Iran to stop support for its partners in the Middle East (i.e. Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen). The support of Iran to state and non-state actors in the region is a self-imposed obligation cited in many articles in the Iranian constitution.

Moreover, Iran will never agree to open its missile industry to inspection or to halt its missile production, as requested by the US establishment. Iran’s missiles represent its main efficient weapon to maintain a balance of forces sufficient to dissuade all its potential enemies. And last, Iran and its Middle Eastern partners will not abandon the Palestinian cause until the last Palestinian group decides to abandon its territory to Israel. Therefore, Trump should be content – as the achievement of his first mandate – with the “gifts” he has given to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The bras-de-fer between the US and Iran will likely not wind down as long as Trump is in power, so long as he is unwilling meet Iran’s two conditions for the resumption of negotiations with Tehran: lifting the heavy sanctions imposed on Iran, and honouring the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor Barak Obama. Trump seems unable to accept the end of unilateral US hegemony over the world.

Proof-read by:  C.G.B

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The “Deal of The Century” Won’t Go Through: The Palestinian Cause Is Behind Iran And Hezbollah’s Success

By Elijah J. Magnier
Source

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Israel is not preparing a military adventure against Gaza, Syria, Hezbollah or Iran because it is in fact already attaining its objectives both internationally and domestically.

Its military apparatus regularly hits targets in Syria with a calculated risk of retaliation from Damascus and its allies. Israel willingly risks a Syrian reprisal. If Syria were to respond to Israel’s continuous violations of its sovereignty, it would help Israel attract world attention. The world powers would then do their best to try and stop an escalation between Israel and all its enemies gathered in one place in the Levant, rather than looking in meticulous detail at Israel’s wrongdoing in Palestine, and its violations of UN and Oslo agreements. Israel is aware that its enemies will evaluate the timing, benefits and reaction to any military response. Syria and its allies believe a war will slow its recovery from 8 years of war. The potential consequences of a war with Israel on the Syrian economy – at a time of ongoing economic crisis – would be devastating. Syria’s allies are not willing to be dragged into a confrontation at Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s whim. They are also aware of Trump’s unlimited support for Israel at all costs and by any means. An Israeli-US war on Syria would be disastrous.

Netanyahu feels very confident, given Trump’s unlimited support and the confirmation of his domestic support in recent legislative elections. He holds the initiative and has managed to concentrate global attention on Iran rather than Palestine. Demonization of Iran as the head of the “Axis of Evil” diverts attention from the Jewish Nationalist law, the dislodging of the Palestinians from the West Bank-Zone C, and the Israeli attempt to wipe out any trace of Palestinians in the occupied Israeli territory.

Saudi Arabia’s record of militant hatred against Iran’s wide influence in the region is nothing new. It dates back to 1981 when Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran. Moreover, Saudi’s extremist Wahhabite Islamic doctrine leaves little room for tolerance towards any other practice of Islam or towards any other religion. Saudi’s takfiri Wahhabist doctrine is the same creed as that of al-Qaeda and ISIS, who consider secular, Shia, Druse, Isma’ili and Zaidi men, women and children as deserving to be killed at sight, and Yazidi and secular women and children as subject to enslavement.

The Israeli Defence Minister has said that he would prefer to have ISIS on Israel’s borders than the Syrian army and its allies; he publicly acknowledges Israeli military and non-military support to jihadist terrorists during the war against Syria. At the same time Saudi Arabia generously invested in support to Jihadists and opened its prisons and borders for Jihadist-tourists to leave the Kingdom in direction of the Levant. Israel and Saudi Arabia agreed and still agree today that their common enemy is Iran not ISIS.

Netanyahu plans to keep up his aggressive rhetoric against Iran while at the same time domestically pushing the one million Palestinian refugees from Gaza towards the Egyptian Sinai territory, so that he can later divide Gaza into parts A-B-C as his predecessors did to the West Bank through the 1993 Oslo agreement. The Israeli Prime Minister is also aiming to normalise Israeli-Arab relationships and establish overt diplomatic and commercial ties with Arab states, isolating Iran and its allies, i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen.

The Israeli Prime Minister was happy to share with the world that “more than two Arab Leaders rushed to congratulate him for his victory in the last legislative elections”, when a coalition of the far-right wing overwhelmingly defeated more conventional right-wing elements.

Gaza Strip:

Gaza is the cornerstone of what Israel calls the “Deal of the Century”. Netanyahu cannot, any more than Hamas, deal with one million refugees and another million inhabitants – when he or his successors decide to move on Gaza. These people need water, electricity, medical care, infrastructure, schools, universities, security, and links with the outside world. The economic situation in Gaza is critical and Hamas is suffering from the sanctions imposed on its administration of the Strip.

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Gaza was under Egyptian administration from 1948-1959. This inspired Netanyahu’s idea to relocate the Palestinians to Sinai. In the 1950s, President Abdel Nasser sent to Gaza his General Mustafa Hafez who in 1955 created “the Palestinian Fedayeen Forces”. Abdel Nasser visited al-Arish with Abdel Hakim Amer and Salah Salem and considered Hafez commander of the “Army of Palestine”. The Egyptian President considered it important not to rely on any UN resolutions, but he proved incompetent to give the Palestinians back their territory. Hafez was confronted with the  Israeli unit 101 led by Ariel Sharon and was assassinated by the Israeli intelligence service.

David Ben Gurion decided to join the British and the French in their  war against President Abdel Nasser following his decision to nationalise the Suez Canal. Israel saw in the charismatic Egyptian President an existential danger; Israel wanted control of Gaza and demanded that France build its  nuclear military facility in Dimona.

Ben Gurion entered Gaza, Rafah and al-Arish and attacked the 200,000 Palestinian refugees (the population in those days). They had come from Haifa, Yafa, Gallilea, Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. The Israelis killed in cold blood between 275 to 900 civilians during the nine-day massacre. In the 50s, Ben Gurion already wanted to implement the “Deal of the Century”. Israel was also responsible for another massacre, in Kfar Qassem, killing 49 farmers returning to their home because they hadn’t heard about a sudden curfew imposed by the Israeli army, as ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak later acknowledged.

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Israel adopted the “open door” policy, encouraging or intimidating Palestinians to leavetheir country. But the Israeli massacres didn’t persuade the Palestinians to leave their territory, like those who left in 1948. These were no longer affected by the Israeli “Ironing policy” and decided to stay even in wretched conditions.

These days, Israel is using Trump to try and twist the Palestinians’ arms. He gave Jerusalem (and the Golan) to Netanyahu and will probably give him the West Bank-zone C too. Trump also halted fundingfor the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in an attempt to force the Palestinians to accept Netanyahu’s objectives.

This is pushing the Palestinians to adopt what now appears the only solution–to join the resistance, to fight for their land. Those who have decided to stand up to Israel believe it is “weaker than the spider’s web”. Despite the murder of children, the elderly and women by Israeli bullets, Palestinians demonstrate weekly for the right of return. The Palestinian resistance (for the first time 14 groups have united in one military operational room joining their decisions, military actions and capabilities against Israel) has shown its capability to bomb Tel Aviv, forcing Netanyahu to positively respond to some Palestinian demands.

“Netanyahu said he will allow the re-opening of the passage between Gaza and Egypt; he will allow money to reach Hamas; he has agreed to enlarge the fishing space and allow trucks to supply Gaza with most needed goods. The Palestinian resistance agreed to stop using “rough methods” (flying burning kites) and managed to bring out of Israeli jails 1027 prisoners in the Gilad Shalit  exchange deal. The Palestinian resistance has now halted all negotiations with Netanyahu in regard to the 5 Israelis detained by the Palestinian resistance. In turn the Israelis have re-arrested 56 prisoners who were released during the Shalit deal. Unless these are first released unconditionally, negotiations between the resistance and Israel will not be resumed”, said the Palestinian source.

The Palestinians find it difficult to reconcile amongst themselves to unite against Netanyahu’s “deal of the Century”. President Abbas wants to control Gaza, and Hamas is happy to pass on political leadership to him provided the armed resistance keeps its autonomy. Hamas is in organisational and economic trouble in Gaza and would like to take such responsibilities off its back. Hamas didn’t learn from the Hezbollah experience in Lebanon. Despite its huge military power Hezbollah wisely refuses to exert political control, thus avoiding blame for bad administration. Abbas believes in verbal resistance rather than armed resistance. Netanyahu supports the Palestinian President’s peaceful methods because he believes that talking has never won back any territory for the Palestinians. Abbas wants Hamas to retain control of Gaza if it won’t give up its weapons. This condition has been rejected by all resistance groups in Gaza.

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Hamas has made many mistakes in the past. In Iraq and Syria, many ex-Hamas joined al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (ISIS) with the aim of establishing an Islamic State. Many of them had been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon but reappeared later as suicide bombers and on the battlefield, fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian governments for a purpose unrelated to Palestine. The political leadership jumped from one alliance to another and declared enmity to President Bashar al-Assad who still today refuses reconciliation with Hamas. Other Palestinian groups acted as a “guns for hire” in the service of Muammar Ghedaffi, Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad.

Netanyahu has failed to tame the resistance because he has no intention either of giving the Palestinians any territory, or of giving back territories Israel is currently occupying or has received from Trump. Netanyahu’s policies vindicate Hezbollah’s raison-d’être, justify Iran’s continued presence in the Levant, and provide strong motivations for President Bashar al-Assad to reject any future negotiations with Israel and to stick with the “Axis of the Resistance” for good. He is also offering to Iraq a motive to sympathise with the cause of the Levantine peoples and is dooming Israel to a state of ongoing war with its close neighbours.

The last word does not belong to Netanyahu or Trump. It belongs to the Palestinians. The wealth of the Middle East is being invested in Middle Eastern wars and is now being used in the service of Netanyahu – through Trump – to divide and reshuffle the Middle Eastern map. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

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