Highlights of Israeli Ruthlessness

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Last year was devastating for long-suffering Palestinians, the way things have been for over seven decades.

B’Tselem compiled examples of Israeli ruthlessness in 2018. Its security forces murdered 290 defenseless Palestinian civilians, including 55 children.

The toll includes 254 Gazan deaths, mostly during peaceful Great March of Return demonstrations, assaulted by extreme Israeli violence. 

Another 34 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two others in Jewish state territory – all of it stolen from Palestinians.

Repeated incidents throughout the year, and every year, “are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system,” B’Tselem stressed, adding: 

“As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass.”

Extremist settlers killed at least three Palestinians, harmed many others, including young children. A Palestinians woman threatening no one, Aishah Rabi, was stoned to death in a car she was riding in.

Most Palestinian deaths are because of Israel’s shoot-first-ask-no-questions policy, its longstanding contempt for Palestinian lives and welfare.

Israel considers cold-blooded murder self-defense. Soldiers given unlawful orders use live fire against peaceful demonstrators in Gaza and elsewhere in the Territories.

“Despite the predictable lethal outcomes, Israel has refused to alter its policy,” said B’Tselem, adding:

“This ongoing profound disregard for the lives of Palestinians is broadly backed by senior policy-makers in the military, the government and the judicial system.” 

Almost never is anyone “held accountable for these incidents, and the military law enforcement system whitewashes them. Given this sweeping support and the lack of accountability for these deaths, such incidents will continue” – as they have since the Jewish state’s creation.

Law enforcement in Occupied Palestine is “a whitewash mechanism,” B’Tselem stressed. Investigations when conducted, including violent incidents causing deaths and injuries, are routinely whitewashed.

Senior government and military officials are never held accountable for the worst of high crimes against Palestinians – rank-and-file military personnel almost never. The rarest of rare exceptions prove the rule.

Military law enforcement shows almost no attempts to punish Israeli wrongdoers when it comes crimes against Palestinians.

Settlers nearly always go unpunished for violent and vandalism incidents. One aggrieved Palestinian said the following:

“The settlers have the army, the state and the law on their side to protect them. We don’t have anyone. We’re guilty even if we did nothing. We’re always the guilty ones. It’s really hard to feel that your life is in danger and your property is being destroyed in front of your eyes.”

A Palestinian woman recounted the horror of a settler attack she and her husband endured, saying the following:

“At first, I thought that the people standing by the road were Palestinians who work in the settlements. As we got closer, I noticed that they were masked, and then they started to throw stones at us.” 

“One of the stones shattered the front windshield and I hollered in fear. I told my husband to drive quickly.” 

“I heard the stones hitting the car and felt that we were about to die, especially when the settlers chased after us after we’d passed them.” 

“Iman asked me to recite verses from the Quran and to trust in God. I was shaking with fear and cold, because the window had been broken and it was very windy.” 

‘Small fragments of glass got in my eye and I felt stinging and pain. I couldn’t open my eye and lots of tears were coming out.” 

“When we got home, I left Rital with my sister and went to see the doctor at the village clinic. He cleaned my eye and gave me some liquid to rinse it with.” 

“I got home at about eleven o’clock and I couldn’t sleep because I was so scared. I couldn’t get the images of the attack out of my mind.” 

“It’s like they found live prey to attack. I still panic when I think about it. On Saturday my husband went to Nablus to replace the front windshield. It cost us 700 shekels. The body of the car also need to be repaired, and that will cost us more money and take time.”

Countless other horror stories are similar to the above ones. Yesh Din volunteers for human rights include lawyers, human rights experts, and other professionals.

They document, compile, and disseminate information on human rights violations in the Territories – by security forces and settlers, complicit with each other against defenseless Palestinians.

Numerous incidents happen almost daily. Palestinians are longstanding victims of a ruthless occupier, Gazans suffering most of all.

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Israel Has Been Weakened by The War on Syria: Only 5% of The Iranian And Hezbollah Arsenal Has Been Destroyed in Syria

By Elijah. J. Magnier
Source

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Intelligence sources said “Israel wants Syria to return to the era before 2011 when the leaders of the country were less powerful and experienced than they are today after seven years of warfare, the delivery of Russian advanced equipment mostly for air defence, the supply and manufacturer of sophisticated Iranian missiles in Syria and the formative presence of Iranian and Hezbollah advisors”. The sources reveal that “Israeli officials told their American counterparts that it would be inappropriate to withdraw forces from the northeast of Syria, leaving Iran and its allies behind. The withdrawal – which now seems partial – of US forces should be done, if not before, at least simultaneously with the departure of all foreign forces operating on Syrian soil to create a balance of power on the ground. Also, it is important to stipulate that President Bashar al-Assad must refrain from using his mid-range precision missiles against Israel any time in the future as part of any US withdrawal from Syria deal. Israel argued that the US is delivering the Levant to Russia and the ‘Axis of the Resistance’ without any concessions in return”, according to the source.

The US establishment seems unwilling to cater to Israeli’s exaggerated anxieties. US officials visiting Tel Aviv told local officials that “the Israeli army holds enough military power to defend itself and that since 1974 Israel has no longer been on the defensive in the region. On the contrary, Israel has been on the offensive, taking the initiative to attack targets in Syria during these seven years of war”. According to western officials, the US reminded Israel that thousands of American forces are based in the country, in the Mediterranean and in various military bases the Middle East. These can intervene in favour of Israel in a timely way whenever appropriate. Therefore, Israel should stop screaming for unneeded help, when it is the one inflicting damage on its adversaries”.

Israel has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria belonging to the Syrian army and the “Axis of the Resistance”. It pushed the red lines even further when it bombed Iranian officials at the T4 airbase in 2018, killing several Iranian officers. In 2019, Israel already bombed a warehouse at Damascus airport, hours after the off-loading of Iranian military cargo. Although most of the Israeli missiles were shot down, a few managed to reach their target. Nevertheless, these bombings have little meaning on the strategic level because, although Israel has shown the long reach of its missiles, it has dramatically failed in its goal of crippling the missile capability of Syria and of Hezbollah in the Lebanon and Syria. During his recent visit to Cairo US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Hezbollah today has “over 130,000 missiles”.

If, as Israeli Chief of Staff General Gadi Eisenkot says, Israel “has complete intelligence superiority in the area” of Lebanon and Syria, how can he explain the arrival and deployment of a hundred and thirty thousands missiles – according to Pompeo – in Hezbollah’s hands? Eisenkot misled the Israelis when he said “Hezbollah possesses no accurate missile capabilities, except for small and negligible ones”. Indeed, when the leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, warned Israel that he would “respond against any Israeli attack on Lebanon”, Israel heeded his warning and refrained from attacking any target in Lebanon. Throughout the war in Syria, Israeli jets violated the Lebanese airspace and flew over Lebanon to bomb Syria but didn’t dare to attack any Hezbollah objective in Lebanon, limiting themselves to attacking Hezbollah’s military trucks, Syrian and Iranian objectives in the Levant.

According to well-connected sources, Israeli jets fired warning missiles in front of targeted trucks – before destroying the target later on – to avoid human casualties for fear of Hezbollah retaliation. If Israeli intelligence about the supposedly limited military power of Hezbollah is accurate, it makes no sense for Eisenkot to boast about his allegedly almighty military power against a “negligible enemy,” as he describes the military capability of the Lebanese “party of God”.

Sources operating in Syria and Lebanon agree with Israeli statements that Israel has bombarded various objectives in Syria with thousands of bombs, as announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Nevertheless, they claim that only 5% of the total weapon supply was intercepted and destroyed.

“Israel’s bombing of targets in Syria has been neither strategic nor tactical. They were political attacks aimed at boosting Netanyahu’s image. These strikes did not weaken the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) nor Hezbollah. Israel contradicts itself all the time. For example, the Israelis say: Hezbollah is the fifth most powerful force in the world, but is very weak and has limited power… Hezbollah is digging four tunnels which represent a serious threat to Israel’s national security, etc.”, said the source.

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In fact, Israel has not provoked or attacked Hezbollah since the 2006 war. The only serious attack was registered in 2015 by a drone in Quneitra that killed Jihad Mughnnieh and the Iranian General Mohammad Ali AllahDade. The attack was not planned but rather an opportunistic attack on an Iranian-Hezbollah convoy of 3 four-wheel drive vehicles who spent several hours playing in the snow in an area in sight of an Israeli observation point. Israel didn’t know who was the target and certainly was unaware of the presence of the IRGC General. In retaliation, Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms killing several soldiers and an officer. Israel turned a blind eye and the tit-for-tat was closed between the two sides.

President Assad and his allies believe that Israel is trying to provoke Syria to respond to its violations of Syrian sovereignty in order to postpone or avoid a US withdrawal from Syria. For this reason, they prefer to not respond directly to Israeli provocations, in the expectation of a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, President Trump’s recent comments about “a 20 mile buffer zone” on the borders is an indication that he now intends to keep some forces in Syria and carry out only a partial rather than a full withdrawal of US troops.

Syria and its allies will need to reassess their strategy in response to Israeli aggression and US occupying troops when the dust settles in the northeast of Syria. So far, it is impossible to ascertain what Trump will decide in view of his ongoing contradictory statements about the US occupation of Syria.

Notwithstanding Trump’s intentions towards Syria and his fickle withdrawal plans, Israel has failed in all of its objectives in Syria: the Syrian government is still in place, the army has been rebuilt and Hezbollah and Iran have trained local fighters who are determined to stand against Israel in due course. Today, in 2019, Hezbollah has received all the missiles and different weaponry needed – as Pompeo has admitted– and Iran is a source of great concern for Israel and the US, present on its Syria front where before it was present only on the borders with Lebanon. Therefore, Israel, despite its heated media declarations and the thousands of targets it has hit in Syria in recent years, feels much more vulnerable today than it did in 2011.

Also, the Iraqi front cannot be discounted: al-Hashd al-Shaabi, the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Force, was created in 2014 to stand against ISIS. Today it is made up of tens of thousands of men highly trained and equipped with a strong ideology comparable to that of Hezbollah and Iran. Iranian influence has expanded from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. Israel has grounds for concern.

But that is not all: Iran is present in Yemen where Saudi Arabia’s destructive war against the Houthis has offered Iran a unique opportunity to support the oppressed against the oppressor. Iran has also managed to create a foothold in Afghanistan: the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was invited to Tehran along with a high-ranking Taliban delegation. Iran licked its wounds when Taliban killed ten Iranian diplomats in Mazar i-Sharif and eventually managed to overcome its differences with Taliban for the greater cause of standing up to US hegemony in Afghanistan.

Iran and Syria have shown patience in biding their time and building their strength. After its 1979 revolution Iran’s government had little international experience. It began support of Hezbollah in 1982. Thirty-five years later, Hezbollah has become an organised irregular army present on many Middle Eastern fronts. While Israel may enjoy provoking Syria with tactical attacks and thousands of bombardments against various targets, the new strategic reality is inescapable. Both Iran and Syria have survived continuous threats and wars but have managed to pull through stronger. At the same time Israel, a nuclear power with the strongest air force in the Middle East, is to-date refraining from attacking Lebanon, a small country hardly visible on the world map. Israel is deterred by three words from Sayyed Nasrallah to the powerful Tel Aviv leaders who enjoy the unlimited support of a superpower (USA): Don’t try us!

Russia Angered Over Israel’s Latest Attack on Syria

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Complicit with US aggression, Israel is waging war on Syria without declaring it. Russia belatedly addressed the threat it should have acted strongly against much earlier – against US-led terror-bombing as well, responsible for massacring tens of thousands of Syrian civilians and destroying vital infrastructure.

Overnight Tuesday, IDF warplanes, operating from Lebanese airspace, reportedly attacked a Damascus area arms depot.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said six F-16 warplanes participated in the overnight aggression – “endangering two passenger jets…”

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, “(t)he airstrikes were again conducted by the Israeli (warplanes) under cover of civilian planes descending to land at the airports of Damascus and Beirut.”

The same IDF tactic in September caused the downing of a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft in Syrian airspace, its 15 crew members killed.

Moscow remains furious over what happened, calling it “criminal negligence,” holding Israel fully responsible. 

Overnight Tuesday, Syria’s military restricted its electronic jamming and other defense capabilities to avoid a similar tragedy against one or two civilian passenger planes.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also accused Israel of flagrantly violating Security Council Resolution 1701 (August 2006), formally ending Israeli aggression in Lebanon, both sides agreeing to halt hostilities.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Israeli’s latest airstrikes on its territory in letters to UN Secretary-General Guterres and president of the Security Council, calling it (like all other IDF attacks) a flagrant violation of Security Council Res. 350 (May 1974), establishing a ceasefire following the October 1973 Yom Kippur war.

The Netanyahu regime is emboldened by US support, Syria’s Foreign Ministry stressed, knowing it can get away with virtually anything unaccountably.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry issued a similar condemnation, calling for the Security Council to hold Israel accountable for aggression, including the IDF’s latest violation of its airspace, while affirming Syria’s right of self-defense.

According to Israeli military intelligence-connected DEBKAfile, Russia warned the Netanyahu regime that further IDF attacks on Syria will be responded to by missile strikes on its territory – “a tit-for-tat strategy.”

Given the Kremlin’s failure to confront US and Israeli aggression in Syria so far, it’s unclear how or if its military will act against further attacks by both countries, virtually certain to come.

A Final Comment

Russian upper house Federation Council Senator Konstantin Kosachev blasted Trump, saying “(h)aving stated…he intend(s) to (continue military occupation of Iraq) as an advanced springboard for actions in Syria, (he’s) trying to have it both ways.” 

“On the one hand, he still wants to demonstrate the intention to abandon the role of global policeman with the subsequent mission where American blood is spilt for the sake of a country, about which most of them can’t find on a map.” 

On the other hand, (he) certainly needs to quell discontent among the Republicans related to his (announced) withdraw(al) (of) US troops from Syria.”

Kosachev failed to explain that Trump has a disturbing habit of saying one thing and doing another time and again.

Whether US forces leave Syria entirely or partially, the Pentagon is unlikely to abandon its reported 18 bases in the country, at least one more being built, along with two new ones in Iraq near Syria’s border.

The US is in the Middle East and everywhere else where its forces are deployed to stay, its endless wars to continue.

All sovereign independent states are on its target list worldwide, perhaps Iran next to be struck before end of Trump’s tenure.

Palestine’s Woes Via The Cartoon — Rebel Voice

Originally posted on Rebel Voice: Carlos Latuff is one of the foremost political cartoonists on the planet. He is a stalwart supporter of struggles such as the Irish desire for freedom and the Palestinian cause for national recognition, protection from oppression and an end to Israeli-inspired Apartheid. The illustrations shown below are examples of some…

via Palestine’s Woes Via The Cartoon — Rebel Voice

Palestine In Pictures – April 2018

Rebel Voice

The following contains a series of very powerful, emotive and poignant photos from Palestine taken over the turbulent month of April. Among them are those who have lost loved ones to Israeli snipers, those who have had their young abducted and imprisoned by the rogue state of Israel, and those who struggle to realize their dreams of living free.

– If you care about these issues, please share these images –

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Israeli Home Demolitions: Ethnic Cleansing, State Terror, and Collective Punishment

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Israel has lots of ways to terrorize long-suffering Palestinians, demolishing homes one of its many oppressive tactics.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), “dozens of actions are taken against Palestinians” in the Occupied Territories daily.

They constitute an endless Israeli reign of terror on millions of beleaguered people, the world community dismissive about what’s gone on unaccountably for the past 70 years.

Since illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem in June 1967, Israel destroyed “52,000 (Palestinian) homes and structures,” ICAHD explained, high crimes against humanity without punishment.

Israel gets away with mass murder and much more because the world community doesn’t give a hoot about Palestinian rights and welfare.

Throughout the history of the Jewish state, no Israeli political or military official was ever held accountable for what legitimate tribunals would throw the book at.

Key for the Jewish state is sustained US political, economic, and military support. As long as the special relationship exists, Israel is free to flagrantly breach international laws, norms, and standards multiple times daily with impunity.

Demolishing the homes, structures, and other property of Palestinians is one of its most vicious tactics, thousands of families left homeless.

ICAHD earlier reported on the demolition of Atta Jaber’s farm. His family home was demolished twice.

Calling his case “special,” ICAHD said “(h)e and his family represent every level of resistance to Israeli occupation, from just trying to eke out a living from a tiny farm whose land Israel claims, to having a roof over their heads, to having to defend their home from nearby settlers (who once occupied and burned it), to being beaten and imprisoned by the Israeli army, to testifying before the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.”

Israel’s Civil Administration illegally and repressively declared  land he, his family, and ancestors legally owned and lived on for generations “state land.”

Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by soldiers, destroyed his home and “crops in the family’s tiny fields, the terracing Atta had painstakingly done stone by stone for years and the cistern he had dug to collect rainwater (which Israeli authorities stated also belongs to the State).” 

“One hundred and fifty fruit trees were uprooted, including olives, figs, grapes and almonds, along with grape vines. Atta estimates the damage at $50,000.”

He’s “ruined. His family, which barely eked out a living from its small plot of land, is destitute.” Asked what he’ll do, he said he’ll “keep on struggling,” rebuilding what he can” until bulldozers and heavily armed soldiers return.

Years earlier, Atta tried and failed to get a virtually impossible permit to build on his own land. So in desperation he did it anyway, knowing the risk.

ICAHD helped him rebuild his home after it was first demolished. A second demolition came weeks later. He was “severely injured and arrested” at the time. Yet he courageously persists.

Imagine if the following happened in America, other Western countries, and most others:

“In January 2000, hundreds of settlers invaded the Jaber home…(T)hey smashed and burned it.” Israeli police and Civil Administration officials there at time did nothing to stop what went on, complicit in the vandalism that occurred.

Settlers responsible for what happened were unpunished, “despite video documentation of the attack,” ICAHD explained.

Atta, his wife and children endured numerous state-approved acts of violence against them, along with wanton destruction of their property.

Video documentation showed extremist settlers coming to Atta’s property, “carrying machine guns…escorted by Israeli authorities” – permitting violence and vandalism to go on unchallenged.

In March 2013, Atta testified at the UN’s Human Rights Council, explaining repeated Israeli criminal actions against him, his family and property.

Despite an Israeli court giving him written assurance that his home no longer will be demolished, Israel declared land he, his family, and ancestors legally owned and lived on for generations is now state land – to be used for exclusive Jewish development.

Ruthless Israeli actions against Atta have been and continue to be repeated against tens of thousands of Palestinians.

It’s all about flagrantly illegal Israeli ethnic cleansing, state terror, and collective punishment, part of longstanding policy for maximum Jews and minimum Arabs in historic Palestine.

It’s what the scourge of Zionism is all about, along with the long sought aim for a greater Israel on stolen land from bordering countries, redrawing the Middle East map, and achieving regional dominance together with America’s presence.

New Rules of Engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its Position

By Elijah J.Magnier
Source

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Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

This Syrian political decision is based on a clear position taken by Russia in Syria following the downing of its aircraft on September 18 this year. In 2015 when the Russian military landed in Syria, it informed the parties concerned (i.e. Syria, Iran and Israel) that it had no intention to interfere in the conflict between them and Hezbollah and that it would not stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s planes bombing Hezbollah military convoys on their way to Lebanon or Iranian military warehouses not allocated to the war in Syria. This was a commitment to remain an onlooker if Israel hit Iranian military objectives or Hezbollah convoys transporting arms to Hezbollah from Syria to Lebanon, within Syrian territory. It also informed Israel that it would not accept any attacks on its allies (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies) engaged in fighting ISIS, al-Qaeda and its allies.

Israel respected the will of Moscow until the beginning of 2018, when it started to attack Iranian bases and Syrian military warehouses, though it never attacked a Hezbollah military position. Israel justified its attack against the Iranian base, a military facility called T4, by claiming it had sent drones over Israel. Tel Aviv considered violation of its neighbours’ sovereignty as its exclusive prerogative. Damascus and Iran have responded with at least one confirmed shooting down of an Israeli F-16. Israel started to attack Syrian warehouses, mainly where Iranian missiles were stored. Iran has replaced every single destroyed warehouse with other more sophisticated precision missiles, capable of hitting any objective in Israel.

However, Russia’s neutrality towards Israel in the Levant turned out to be quite expensive. It has lost more than Iran, especially after the downing of its IL-20, and with it, 15 officers highly trained to use the most advanced communication and espionage systems.

Russia then brought to Syria its long-awaited advanced S-300 missiles and delivered them to the Syrian army while maintaining electronic coordination and radar command. The S-300 poses a danger to Israeli jets only if these violate Syrian airspace. Tel Aviv has kept its planes out of Syria since last September but launched long range missiles against a couple of targets.

For many months, the Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to receive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Only through real harassment by the latter did Putin finally accept to briefly meet with Netanyahu over lunch or around the dinner table during a large Summit or meeting of Heads of State, without however accepting any compromise or reconciliation. Russia has now taken a clear position and has no intention of extending its embrace or pardon to Israel. Russia felt that its generosity (by closing its eyes to Israel’s activities in Syria) was neither recognised nor sufficiently appreciated by Tel Aviv.

This week, Moscow agreed to receive an Israeli military delegation led by Major-General Aharon Haliva,  following Israel’s insistence on breaking the ice between the two countries. However, Russia’s position is not expected to change in Syria and no Israeli bombing of Syrian or Iranian targets will be tolerated.

According to these sources, “Russia has informed Israel that there are Russian officers present at every Syrian or Iranian military base and that any strike against Syrian or Iranian objectives would hit Russian forces as well. Putin will not allow his soldiers and officers to be struck down by Israel’s direct or indirect bombing”.

Moreover, Russia has given Syria the green light – said the source- to strike Israel at any time if and when Tel Aviv’s planes launch raids against Syrian military targets or launch long-range missiles without flying over Syria (for fear of the S-300 and to avoid seeing its jets downed over Syria or Lebanon).

The source confirmed that Syria – contrary to what Israel claims – now has the most accurate missiles, which can hit any target inside Israel. The Syrian armed forces have received unrevealed long and medium-range missiles from Iran. These operate on the GLONASS system – the abbreviation for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, the Russian version of the GPS. Thus, the delivery of Iran and the manufacture of missiles inside Syria (and Lebanon) is now complete. Israel, however, claims it has destroyed Syria’s missile capability, including that of the missiles delivered by Iran. According to the source, Damascus controls a very large number of precision missiles, notwithstanding those destroyed by Israel. “In Iran, the cheapest and most accessible items are the Sabzi and the missiles”, said the source.

The new Syrian rule of engagement – according to the source – is now as follows: an airport will be hit if Israel hits an airport, and any attack on a barracks or command and control centre will result in an attack on similar target in Israel. It appears that the decision has been taken at the highest level and a clear “bank of objectives” has now been set in place.

The rules of engagement are changing and situation in the Levant theatre is becoming more dangerous; regional and international confrontations are still possible. The Middle East will not be quiet unless the Syrian war ends—a war in which the two superpowers, Europe, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have played essential roles. The final chapters have not yet been written.

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