Palestinian Operations Kill Israeli, Injure 2

 March 20, 2023

Israeli vehicle comes under fire near Huwara (Sunday, March 19, 2023).

An Israeli was killed and two others were wounded in two operations in the occupied territories and the West Bank on Sunday.

A shooting took place near Huwara, south of Nablus, in the West Bank, injuring two Israelis.

Israeli media reported that an Israeli vehicle came under fire on the main street in Huwara.

Two Israelis were wounded, one of them seriously, Ynet reported, adding that the attacker initially managed to flee the scene of the shooting.

Regarding the details of the operation, Walla’s Amir Bukhbut said that the attacker shot the Israeli settlers at point-blank range.

Israeli occupation forces then launched a manhunt that concluded with a shootout not far from the scene, where the attacker was arrested, according to i24NEWS.

The location of Sunday’s shooting is close to the site of Huwara operation which took place last month and killed two Zionists.

Earlier on Sunday morning, a Zionist settler was stabbed to death near an Israeli settlement in the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli occupation Army Radio reported that a settler was killed after being stabbed near the so-called Israeli settlement of Sapir in Wadi Araba (Arava).

Israeli occupation forces opened a probe into the incident, according to Israeli Army Radio.

Source: Palestinian and Israeli media (translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

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In the War Between Judaism and Democracy in Israel, Anything Is Possible

March 19, 2023

Former British diplomat, founder and director of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum.

Alastair Crooke

Bibi is by nature cautious – even timid. His radical ministers, however, are not, Alastair Crooke writes.

Michael Omer-Man writes: Almost exactly 10 years ago, a young star rising in the Likud party, spoke to an audience committed to the outright annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories, laying out his blueprint. A year later, this same speaker set out certain prerequisites to full annexation: Firstly, a shift in the way the Israeli public thinks about a ‘two-state solution’ for Palestine; and secondly, a radical recast of the legal system “that will allow us to take those steps on the ground … that advance sovereignty”.

What was reflected in this statement is the structural dichotomy inherent within the ‘idea’ of ‘Israel’: What then is ‘Israel’? One side holds that Israel was founded as a ‘balance’ between Jewishness and Democracy. The other says ‘nonsense’; it was always the establishment of Israel on the “Land of Israel”.

Ami Pedahzur, a political scientist studying the Israeli Right, explains that the religious Right “has always considered the Israeli Supreme Court to be an abomination”. He points out that the extremist Meir Kahane “once wrote extensively about the tension between Judaism and democracy and the need for a Sanhedrin [a biblical system of judges] instead of the extant Israeli judicial system”.

In Israel’s attempt to balance these opposing visions and interpretations of history, the Israeli Right sees the judiciary as deliberately having been tilted toward democracy (by one part of the Israeli élite). This simmering tension finally exploded with the 1995 Supreme Court claim that it possessed power of judicial review over Knesset (parliamentary) legislation deemed to be in conflict with Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws. (An Israeli constitution has been considered since 1949, but never actuated.)

Well, that ‘young star’ of 10 years ago – who asserted so forcefully “We cannot accept … a judicial system that is controlled by a radical leftist, post-Zionist minority that elects itself behind closed doors – dictating to us its own values – today is Israel’s Justice Minister, Yariv Levin.

And with time, Netanyahu has indeed already brought about that first prerequisite (outlined by Levin almost a decade ago): The Israeli public perspective on the two-state Olso formula is radically changed. Political support for that project hovers close to zero in the political sphere.

More than that, today’s Prime Minister, Netanyahu, explicitly shares the same ideology as Levin and his colleagues – namely that Jews have a right to settle in any, and all, parts of the ‘Land of Israel’; he also believes that the very survival of the Jewish people is dependent on the actuation of that divine obligation into practice.

Many on the Israeli Right, Omer-Man suggests, therefore see the Supreme Court as “the central impediment to their ability to fulfil their annexationist dreams, which for them are a combination of messianic and ideological commandments”.

They saw the 1995 Supreme Court ruling as ‘a coup’ that ushered in the judiciary’s supremacy over law and politics. This is a view that is hotly contested – to the point of near civil war – by those who advocate for democracy versus a strict Judaic vision of religious law.

From the perspective of the Right, Ariel Kahana notes that although

“they have continued to win time and again – but they have never held power in the true sense of the word. Through the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the defence establishment, academia, cultural elites, the media, and some of the economic wheelers and dealers, the Left’s doctrine continued to dominate Israel’s power foci. In fact, regardless of who the cabinet ministers were, the old guard has continued with its obstructionist insurgency”.

Today, however, the numbers are with the Right – and we are witnessing the Israeli Right’s counter-coup: a judicial ‘reform’ which would centralize power in the Knesset – precisely by dismantling the legal system’s current checks and balances.

Ostensibly this schism constitutes the crisis bringing hundreds of thousand Israelis on to the street. Prima Facie, in much of the media, at issue is who has the final word: the Knesset or the Supreme Court.

Or, is it? For, beneath the surface, unacknowledged and mostly unsaid, is something deeper: It is the conflict between Realpolitik versus Completion of the Zionist project. Put starkly, the Right says it’s clear: Without Judaism we have no identity; and no reason to be in this land.

The ‘less said’ fact is that much of the electorate actually agrees with the Right in principle, yet opposes the full annexation of the West Bank on pragmatic grounds: “They believe that the status quo of a “temporary” 55-plus-year military occupation is the more strategically prudent”.

“Formally [annexing West Bank] would make it too difficult to convince the world that Israel is not an apartheid regime in which half of the population — Palestinians — are denied basic democratic, civil, and human rights”.

That other unresolved contradiction (that of continuing occupation within ‘democracy’) is also submerged by the prevalent mantra of ‘Right wing Orbánism versus democracy’. Ahmad Tibi, an Palestinian member of the Knesset earlier has wryly noted: “Israel indeed is ‘Jewish and democratic’: It is democratic toward Jews – and Jewish toward Arabs”.

The mass of protestors gathered in Tel Aviv carefully choose to avoid this oxymoron (other than around the kitchen table) – as a Haaretz editorial a few days ago made clear: “Israel’s opposition is for Jews only”.

Thus, the crisis that some are warning could lead to civil war at its crux is that between one group – which is no longer content to wait for the right conditions to arrive to fulfil the Zionist dream of Jewish sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel – versus an outraged opposition that prefers sticking to the political tradition of buying time by “deciding not to decide”, Omer-Man underlines.

And although there are ‘moderates’ amongst the Likud lawmakers, their concerns are eclipsed by the exultant mood at their party’s base:

“Senior Likud officials, led by Netanyahu, have incited Likud voters against the legal system for years, and now the tiger is out of control. It has its trainer in its jaws and threatens to crush him if he makes concessions”.

The flames lick around Netanyahu’s feet. The U.S. wants quiet; It does not want a war with Iran. It does not want a new Palestinian Intifada – and will hold Netanyahu’s feet to the flames until he ‘controls’ his coalition allies and returns to an Hebraic ‘quietism’.

But he can’t. It’s not possible. Netanyahu is held limp in the tiger’s jaws. Events are out of his control.

A prominent member of Likud’s central committee told Haaretz this week:

“I don’t care if I have nothing to eat, if the army falls apart, if everything here is destroyed … The main thing is that they not humiliate us once again, and appoint Ashkenazi judges over us”.

The ‘second Israel’ genres have wailed against ‘the ten Ashkenazai judges’ who discredited their leader (Arye Dery), whilst breaking into a song of praise for the ‘only Sephardic judge’ who was sympathetic to Dery. Yes, the ethnic and tribal schisms form a further part of this crisis. (A bill that effectively would reverse the Supreme Court decision barring Dery from his ministerial position over previous corruption charges is currently making its way through the Knesset).

The appeal of Religious Zionism is often attributed to its growing strength amongst the young – particularly ultra-Orthodox men and traditional Mizrahi voters. What became abundantly clear and unexpected in recent weeks, however, is that the appeal of a racist such as Ben-Gvir, is spreading to the young secular left in Israel. Among young Israelis (ages 18 – 24), more than 70% identify today as Right.

Just to be clear: The Mizrahi ‘underclass’, together with the Settler Right, have ousted the ‘old’ Ashkenazi élite from their hold on power. They have waited many years for this moment; their numbers are there. Power has been rotated. The fuse to today’s particular crisis was lit long ago, not by Netanyahu, but by Ariel Sharon in 2001, with his entry to the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif).

Sharon had earlier perceived that a moment would arrive – with a weakened U.S. – when it might prove propitious for Israel to complete the Zionist project and seize all the ‘Land of Israel’. The plans for this venture have been incubating over two decades. Sharon lit the fuse – and Netanyahu duly took on the task of curating a constituency towards despising Oslo and the judicial system.

The project’s content is explicitly acknowledged: To annex the West Bank and to transfer any political rights of Palestinians remaining there to a new national state to the east of the River Jordan, on the site of what now is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In the confusion and violence which would accompany such a move, Palestinians would be ‘persuaded’ to migrate to the ‘other bank’. As Hussein Ibish warned two weeks ago:

“We’re getting awfully close to the point where the Israeli government, and even Israeli society, could countenance a big annexation – and even expulsion [of Palestinians] – done in the middle of an outbreak of violence, and it would be framed as a painful necessity,” Ibish said. Such a move, he added, would be justified “as the government saying ‘We’ve got to protect Israeli settlers – they are citizens too – and we can’t let this go on anymore. Therefore we have to annex and even expel Palestinians.’”

To be fair, the unspoken fear of many secular protesters in Israel today, is not just that of being politically deposed, and their secular lifestyle circumscribed by religious zealots (though that is a major driver to sentiment), but rather, by the unspoken fear that to implement such a radical project against the Palestinians would lead to Regional war.

And ‘that’ is far from an unreasonable fear.

So there are two existential fears: One, that survival of the Jewish people is contingent on fulfilling the obligation to establish ‘Israel’ as ordained; and two, that to implement the consequent exodus of the Palestinians would likely result in the demise of the Israeli State (through war).

Suddenly and unexpectedly, into this fraught situation – with Netanyahu buffeted by a whirlwind of external and internal pressures – arrived a bombshell: Netanyahu was stripped of his ace card – Iran. In Beijing, China had secretly orchestrated not just the resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but laid down the framework for a regional security architecture.

This represents a nightmare for Washington and Netanyahu – particularly for the latter, however.

Since the early 1990s, Iran has served both these parties as the ‘bogey man’, by which to divert attention from Israel and the situation of the Palestinians. It has worked well, with the Europeans acting as enthusiastic collaborators in facilitating (or ‘mitigating’ – as they would see it), Israel’s ‘temporary’, 55-year occupation of the West Bank. The EU even financed it.

But now, that is blown away. Netanyahu may ‘huff and puff’ about Iran, but absent a Saudi and Gulf willingness to lend Arab legitimacy to any military action against Iran (with all the risks that entails), Netanyahu’ s ability to distract from the domestic crisis is severely limited. Any call to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities is an obvious non-starter in the light of the Iranian-Saudi rapprochement.

Netanyahu may not want a show-down with Team Biden, but that’s what is coming. Bibi is by nature cautious – even timid. His radical Ministers, however, are not.

They need a crisis (but only when the ‘prerequisites’ are all lined up). It is clear that the wholesale stripping of Palestinian rights, in tandem with the emasculation of the Supreme Court, is not a project that can be expected to quietly proceed in normal circumstances – especially in the present emotive state across the global sphere.

No doubt, the Israeli Right has been watching how the Lockdown ‘Emergency-crisis fear’ in Europe was used to mobilise a people to accept a compulsion and restrictions to life that in any other circumstance they would never rationally accept.

It won’t be a new pandemic emergency, of course, in the Israeli case. But the new Palestinian Authority-led ‘SWAT-squads’ arresting Palestinian resistance fighters in broad daylight is bringing the West Bank ‘pressure-cooker’ close to blow-out.

Ben Gvir may simply decide to follow in Sharon’s footsteps – to allow and participate in the Passover ceremony of sacrificing a lamb on Al-Aqsa (the Temple Mount) – as a symbol of the commitment to rebuild the ‘Third Temple’, permission for which, hitherto has always been denied.

So what happens next? It is impossible to predict. Will the Israeli military intervene? Will the U.S. intervene? Will one side back-down (unlikely says ex-Head of Israel’s National Security Council, Giora Eiland)? Yet even if the ‘Judicial reform’ is somehow halted, as one exasperated Israeli forecast, “Even if this time the attempt does not succeed, it’s likely that they [the Right] will try again in another two years, another five years, another 10 years. The struggle will be long and difficult, and no one can guarantee what the result will be.”

Mass Funeral for Palestinian Martyrs in Jenin after Brutal Israel Raid

March 17, 2023

Funeral of 4 Palestinian martyrs in Jenin (March 16, 2023).

Palestinians bid farewell to four martyrs who fell after Israeli occupation forces raided Jenin on Thursday.

Mass funeral were held in Jenin, hours after the attack that claimed the life of four Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy.

Among the martyrs were Nidal Hazem, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s Al-Quds Brigades and and Youssef Shreim, a member of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades.

Another 20 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, four of them seriously.

Thursday’s raid saw special forces from the Israeli occupation military along with the Shin Bet security service and Border Police enter the city center in the middle of the day.

A witness said the attack started after occupation forces arrived in two cars and stopped in the middle of a street.

Following the raid, Palestinian resistance movements warned the Israeli enemy that the blood of the martyrs won’t go in vain, vowing that the Palestinian people will go ahead with all forms of resistance against the occupation.

Israeli raids in the West Bank have become increasingly deadly since the start of the year, with occupation forces brutally attacking the Palestinian cities and towns, causing high number of casualties.

The number of Palestinians martyred since the start of 2023 has surpassed 80, Palestinian media reported.

Source: Palestinian and Israeli media (translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Ahead of Ramadan: Over 20,000 Leaflets Distributed to Urge Boycott of Israeli Dates in UK

March 17, 2023

Over 20,000 leaflets were distributed at mosques across the UK to call on Muslims to boycott Israeli dates. (Photo: FoA, Supplied)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

On the last Friday before Ramadan, over 20,000 leaflets were distributed at mosques across the UK, in an effort to urge Muslims to boycott Israeli dates during the holy month of Ramadan.

This is part of the Check the Label Campaign, promoted by the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa organization. 

“Running since the early 2010s, #CheckTheLabel has had an unprecedented impact on the British public’s understanding of the connection between the products they buy and Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine,” FoA said in a statement, adding that: 

“Many individuals have become ethical consumers who avoid buying Israeli produce as a result of this campaign.”

“This Ramadan, it’s more important than ever that we boycott Israel,” said Shamiul Joarder, Head of Public Affairs at FOA. 

“By checking the label and avoiding Israeli dates, we can send a clear message: we won’t give our money to an apartheid state that breaks international law and kills Palestinian children”.

Israel has killed at least 88 Palestinians since the beginning of the year, including 16 children, in the occupied West Bank.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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IOF find UAV near Palestinian-Lebanese borders

March 18, 2023

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Israeli occupation forces find a UAV during a search operation near the Lebanese-Palestinian border in light of panic over the Megiddo operation.

The drone found by the Israeli occupation forces near the Lebanese-Palestinian borders on March 17, 2023

The Israeli occupation forces conducted combing operations on the Lebanese borders with occupied Palestine, during which it found a UAV on the Palestinian side of the Blue Line, Israeli media reported Friday.

This comes days after the Israeli occupation said they were suspicious that the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah was behind an alleged security incident in northern occupied Palestine earlier this week, “in which it infiltrated through the northern borders and detonated an explosive device,” according to Israeli media.

“The security forces neutralized the perpetrator of the operation near the Megiddo junction” in northern occupied Palestine without providing any evidence to substantiate such claims,” all the spokesperson for the IOF, the spokesperson for the Shin Bet, and the spokesperson for the Israeli police.

According to the statement, an explosive device was detonated near the Megiddo intersection, on Route 65, seriously injuring an Israeli settler, and the security forces worked to locate the suspects behind the operation.

The joint Israeli security statement claimed that an initial investigation shows that the person behind the operation apparently crossed Lebanese territory into occupied Palestine earlier this week.

Furthermore, Israeli occupation President Isaac Herzog underlined how the Megiddo incident expresses “the enemies’ accurate diagnosis regarding the disintegration of the Israeli unity.”

The incident is clear evidence that “our enemies are well aware of the disintegration of Israeli unity, and are acting accordingly,” Herzog said.

The correspondent of the Israeli KAN broadcaster said that “the Shin Bet is still imposing a ban on publishing more details.”

He said that “officials are talking about the unknown identity of the perpetrator and investigations are looking to assess Lebanese Hezbollah’s involvement,” pointing out that “suspicions also revolve around the possibility of the involvement of Hamas and its front in Lebanon, which is led by Saleh al-Arouri.”

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper also published that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Security Minister Yoav Gallant instructed Israeli officials not to make any statements about the Megiddo operation.”

Israeli Forces Kill Four Palestinians, Including Child, in Jenin (VIDEO)

March 16, 2023

Omar Awadin, 16, is among the four Palestinians killed by Isreali undercover forces in Jenin. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Undercover Israeli occupation forces on Thursday killed four Palestinians, including a child in the city of Jenin, north of the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The Ministry said in a statement that four Palestinians were killed by undercover Israeli occupation soldiers who broke into downtown Jenin.

The four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were identified as Nedal Khazem, 28, Omar Awadin, 16, Yousef Khreim, 29, and Louay Khalil Al-Zughair, 37.

The Ministry added that over 20 Palestinians were injured, including five minors and four who are reported in critical condition.

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have killed at least 88 Palestinians, including 16 children, in the occupied West Bank.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Mysterious bombing shakes Israeli security establishment

March 15 2023

The explosive device that was planted on the side of the Route 65 highway in Megiddo has been described as very sophisticated in nature, and does not resemble those used by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank

ByNews Desk

(Photo Credit: The Times of Israel)

A mysterious roadside bombing at the Megiddo junction in northern Israel on 13 March preoccupied the Israeli security establishment, which has placed the incident under heavy gag orders and refused to publish specific details on the subject due to its sensitive nature.

According to The Times of Israel, police and medics reported that the explosion took place around 6:00 am on the Route 65 highway at the Megiddo Junction, near the Megiddo prison, leaving a young man badly injured after the bomb exploded near his car.

The victim, 21-year-old Shareef al-Din from the northern Arab village of Salem, is being treated at Rambam Hospital in Haifa and is said to be in serious condition after suffering from shrapnel to his entire body, including his head, according to medical officials.

Official Israeli sources have said that the victim may not have been the intended target, as the roadside bomb reportedly planned to target passing soldiers and settlers.

The bomb was apparently planted on the side of the highway, which remained closed for nearly 10 hours after the incident.

Following the incident, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a series of security meetings that lasted over 24 hours. Additionally, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the incident is being investigated by the Shin Bet security agency.

Israeli Kan 11 channel reported that “most of the details of the case are forbidden to be published according to censorship instructions – the security system is very concerned about the details of the case.”

This news comes following a series of security incidents over the past week, including multiple explosives found on settler buses in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit on 9 March.

The same day, three resistance leaders were gunned down by Israeli Border Police in Jenin – an explosive charge was also found in their car.

Back in November of last year, Palestinian resistance carried out a twin bombing attack in Jerusalem that was described by the Shin Bet as “complex.” The IEDs were placed on the roadside and attempted to target fully occupied buses using a remote-detonation mechanism.

However, the Megiddo incident, in particular, has been under heavy censorship by the Israeli army. Described as a “commando operation” that is “completely unusual in the security establishment,” according to Yisrael Hayom, it is still unknown who planned the attack, which involved an “elaborate and compact device” that does not resemble those often used in the occupied West Bank.

Hebrew sources compared the explosive device to past roadside bombs used by the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah against the Israeli army in South Lebanon.

Israeli military strategist and former Chief of Staff of the army Gadi Eisenkot told Knesset members on 14 March that “the Israeli army is at a crossroads, and we are currently going through one of the most serious security periods since the Yom Kippur war.”

Expert on Israeli affairs, Dr. Adnan Abu Amer, said that “it is clear that we are facing a dangerous and unusual series of explosive device detonations, which raises questions about who planned it, how it reached this sensitive area, and will the coming days carry other devices?”

Recent months have witnessed an increase in the use of explosive devices by Palestinians as opposed to just shooting operations, in what is being described by many as the beginnings of a third intifada. As a result, the security establishment fears advancement in bomb-making by the Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank.

Such bombing operations are reminiscent of those carried out during the Second Intifada, which saw several large-scale attacks, such as the Megiddo Junction bus bombing of 2002 by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

In a 14 March feature by Haaretz, Amos Harel writes: “The Shin Bet and IDF have been concerned for several months about increased attempts” by Palestinians to prepare explosive charges.

Israeli officials have said that publishing the details of the Megiddo bombing will undermine the public’s sense of security at a time when the security establishment is trying to avoid confrontation.Keywords

Nablus resistance fiercely responds to Israeli incursion

March 16 2023

Israeli troops violently stormed Nablus’ Balata region to protect settlers who were on their way to Joseph’s Tomb

Settlers entering Joseph’s Tomb under protection from Israeli troops. July 2019. (Photo credit: IDF)

By News Desk

Israeli troops and settlers raided Balata village in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus in the early hours of 16 March, injuring three Palestinians and subjecting dozens to suffocation from tear gas, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The military raided the area to protect dozens of Israeli settlers who were being accompanied by the troops while on their way to visit Joseph’s Tomb.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), three Palestinians were hit by live ammunition and were taken to the hospital. Palestinian ambulances were reportedly prevented from entering the Balata refugee camp.

As the Israeli army stormed Nablus’ eastern region, they deployed snipers across several buildings. Clashes started as a result, and Palestinian resistance fighters belonging to the Lions’ Den resistance group and other factions confronted the Israeli troops with gunfire.

Israeli troops were also targeted with Palestinian explosive devices, resulting in several injuries among their ranks.

“There are confirmed injuries after an Israeli infantry force was targeted with an explosive device during its storming of the Dahiya area in Nablus,” the Lions’ Den said in a statement.

تفجير عبوة ناسفة وسط جنود الاحتلال الذين يقتحمون المنطقة الشرقية في نابلس pic.twitter.com/pcJBCbltkr

— Hisham Abu Shaqrah | هشام أبو شقرة (@HShaqrah) March 15, 2023

“Our fighters also targeted a military jeep with a locally made explosive device on Amman Street in the eastern region of Nablus city,” the statement added.

🎥لحظة استهداف قوات الاحتلال بقنبلة محلية الصنع خلال اقتحام المنطقة الشرقية لمدينة #نابلسpic.twitter.com/knTKP42muH

— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) March 15, 2023

There has been a marked increase in the use of explosive devices against Israeli troops by the Palestinian resistance, resulting in significant concerns across Israel’s security establishment.

Settlers are regularly escorted into the Joseph’s Tomb holy site under heavy protection from Israeli troops, who violently storm the area for the settlers to enter.

On Thursday morning, Israeli troops stormed other areas of the West Bank, detaining several Palestinians.

As the Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank spreads exponentially, Israeli troops have stepped up their violent raids.

Since the start of the year, Israel has killed at least 84 Palestinians. With Ramadan approaching, tensions are expected to ignite even further, as Israel is known to step up harsh security measures during the holy month.

On 14 March, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement called on Palestinians in all the occupied territories to take up arms and launch a third intifada.

MEDIA IGNORE SEYMOUR HERSH BOMBSHELL REPORT OF US DESTROYING NORD STREAM II

FEBRUARY 15TH, 2023


ALAN MACLEOD

It has now been one week since Seymour Hersh published an in-depth report claiming that the Biden administration deliberately blew up the Nord Stream II gas pipeline without Germany’s consent or even knowledge – an operation that began planning long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Based on interviews with national security insiders, Hersh – the journalist who broke the stories of the My Lai Massacre, the CIA spying program and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal – claims that in June, U.S. Navy divers traveled to the Baltic Sea and attached C4 explosive charges to the pipeline. By September, President Biden himself ordered its destruction. But, according to Hersh, all understood the stakes and the gravity of what they were doing, acknowledging that, if caught, it would be seen as a flagrant “act of war” against their allies.

Despite this, corporate media have overwhelmingly ignored the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter’s bombshell. A MintPress News study analyzed the 20 most influential publications in the United States, according to analytics company Similar Web, and found only four mentions of the report between them.

The entirety of the corporate media’s attention given to the story consisted of the following:

  • A 166-word mini report in Bloomberg;
  • One five-minute segment on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Fox News);
  • One 600-word round-up in The New York Post;
  • A shrill Business Insider attack article, whose headline labels Hersh a “discredited journalist” that has given a “gift to Putin.”

The 20 outlets studied are, in alphabetical order:

ABC News; Bloomberg News; Business Insider; BuzzFeed; CBS News; CNBC; CNN; Forbes; Fox News; The Huffington Post; MSNBC; NBC News; The New York Post; The New York Times; NPR; People Magazine; Politico; USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Searches for “Seymour Hersh” and “Nord Stream” were carried out on the websites of each outlet and were then checked against precise Google searches and results from the Dow Jones Factiva news database.

This lack of interest cannot be explained due to the report’s irrelevance. If the Biden administration really did work closely with the Norwegian government to blow up Nord Stream II, causing billions of dollars worth of immediate damage and plunging an entire region of the world into a freezing winter without sufficient energy, it ranks as one of the worst terrorist attacks in history; a flagrant act of aggression against a supposed ally.

Therefore, if Biden did indeed order this attack, it is barely possible to think of a more consequential piece of news. Indeed, according to Hersh, all those involved – from Biden, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan – understood that what they were doing was “an act of war.”

The Nord Stream attack was also one of the world’s worst ecological disasters, constituting the largest single leak of methane in history – a gas 80 times worse for the planet than carbon dioxide at accelerating climate change.

“The media system has, predictably, tried to marginalize the report,” Bryce Greene, a writer and media critic who has closely followed the press’ lack of interest in scrutinizing the Nord Stream story, told MintPress, adding,

They don’t want to deal with the repercussions. It also reflects poorly on the profession…Even Jeffery Sachs in his Bloomberg interview said that journalists he knew personally understood that evidence, but also understood that the media system they worked in wouldn’t respond kindly to any suggestion of US complicity, so they kept quiet.”

Greene explained that bothersome facts about the war have consistently been swept under the rug, noting that,

This is indicative of the entire Ukraine War coverage. From hiding the history of NATO expansion, to calling Ukrainian Nazis Russian propaganda, to CBS even retracting a story about Ukrainian corruption. The fact that US media figures want to be seen as ‘on the good team’ or ‘on the right side of history’ means that they’re unwilling to confront reality as it exists.”

RADIO SILENCE

This complete radio silence from most of the country’s most influential news organizations is all the more remarkable, considering Hersh’s revelations have been all over newswire services. Reuters, for example, has published 14 separate reports on the topic since Thursday. Every large media outlet in America (and many medium-sized and even small ones) subscribes to Reuters, republishing content from their newswires.

One of the main tasks of a newsroom editor is to follow the newswire and follow up on Reuters’ content. This means that editors around the country have been bombarded with this story every day since it broke, and virtually every single one of them has passed on it – 14 consecutive times. Thus, even when repeatedly presented with free content to monetize, almost every newsroom in the U.S. decided against it. Independent, reader-supported media, however, have covered the story much more closely.

This is not to say that Reuters has been supportive of Hersh’s assertions. Its first article on the subject, for example, was entitled “White House says blog post on Nord Stream explosion ‘is utterly false,’” thereby allowing the Biden administration to set the agenda and downplay Hersh’s investigation as a mere blog post – something those in alternative media were quick to highlight. Hersh self-published his report on the online platform Substack – a fact that either undermines his findings or the credibility of the corporate media apparatus, depending on one’s perspective.

“The most incredible thing about the backlash against Hersh’s article on the U.S. blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines is the fact that it’s clear no establishment media outlet has any intention of carrying out the basic journalism needed to confirm or refute what he’s reported,” wrote journalist and MintPress contributor Jonathan Cook.

Other journalists, particularly those connected to the Western intelligence services, were scathing of the report. “The only people Hersh impresses any more [sic] are the sort of people who carry water for Putin and Assad, or the terminally dumb,” quipped Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins. Christo Grozev, another Bellingcat writer, labeled Hersh “senile,” “corrupt,” and an “obsessive liar” whose “irresponsible single-anonymous-source reporting by a name with legacy authority is among the worst damage to journalism anyone ever caused.”

Fact-checking website Snopes also sprung into action, calling Hersh’s claim a “conspiracy” that rested on a single “omnipotent anonymous source.”

In an interview with the Radio War Nerd podcast, Hersh fired back, claiming:

The New York Times and the Washington Post have just ignored me. What they think I should do is use [the source’s] name, get him put in jail, stuff like that, which would end my career. I’ve been doing this for 50 years. My Lai started in 1969, and I will tell you something…I will protect people.”

He also noted that he actually cultivated multiple corroborative sources for the story.

A STORY LIKE NO OTHER

According to Hersh’s source, last June, under the cover of an international NATO exercise happening in the area, U.S. Navy divers based in Panama City, Florida, planted remotely-triggered C4 explosives on a section of the pipeline. Then, three months later, the order was given to blow it up. Navy divers were assisted by the Norwegian military, who found the perfect location; calm and shallow water just off the coast of Bornholm Island, Denmark.

An earlier Nord Stream pipeline was already supplying Germany and Western Europe with Russian gas, providing a cheap and readily available source of fuel to heat and power the continent. With the introduction of the second pipeline, Europe would have become effectively energy-independent of the United States, raising the possibility that the continent might move in a neutral or independent political direction too, creating a powerful regional bloc of its own rather than the current Atlanticist (i.e., U.S.-dominated) model that prevails. The 760-mile pipeline travels along the Baltic Sea floor, from western Russia to northeastern Germany, transporting liquified natural gas into homes and businesses throughout Europe. As such, it represents a vastly more cost-efficient form of energy than purchasing American liquified national gas or fracked oil – something Washington had been leaning hard on Europe to switch to.

Successive White House administrations had long made their opposition to the new, multi-billion dollar project publicly known. But Hersh alleges that the Biden administration began planning the sabotage in 2021, many months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Feature photo
Tubes are stored in Sassnitz, Germany, during construction of the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, Dec. 6, 2016. Jens Buettner | DPA via AP

The choice to use Navy divers rather than members of America’s Special Operations Command was reportedly down to secrecy. Unlike Special Ops, by law, Congress, the Senate and House leadership do not need to be briefed about Navy operations. “The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks,” Hersh wrote.

Nevertheless, many in the know had cold feet. “Some working guys in the CIA and the State Department were saying, ‘Don’t do this. It’s stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out,’” Hersh’s source said.

In the end, Biden himself gave the mission the green light, and three months after it was completed, Washington pressed the button, destroying the pipeline.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, Western corporate media were coy about the culprit, even suggesting that Vladimir Putin himself was by far the number one suspect in the case. They also actively suppressed any other opinions on the matter, sometimes to a near-comical degree. Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, for example, was abruptly taken off the air by Bloomberg as he ran through circumstantial evidence suggesting Western forces could be behind the attack.

CAN WE BELIEVE THIS?

Hersh’s account adds weight to Sachs’ assertions. But is it credible? On the one hand, Hersh is a veteran investigative journalist who has built a stellar reputation over decades, working closely with government sources to break important news stories. On the other, his bombshell relies almost entirely on unnamed sources. It is standard journalistic practice to name and check sources. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics states that “reporters should use every possible avenue to confirm and attribute information before relying on unnamed sources” and that they must “always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity” because too many “provide information only when it benefits them.”

Without a name to go with a claim, there are no consequences for sources (or journalists, for that matter) simply lying to further their agenda. Hersh, therefore, is implicitly asking readers to trust his credibility and his judgment. Moreover, Hersh’s sources are government and intelligence insiders. Part of their role is placing false or inaccurate information into the public domain to further the state’s agenda. Journalistically speaking, then, anonymous government or intelligence officials are about the least credible sources imaginable.

Nevertheless, it seems clear that, given Washington’s war on whistleblowers, no source would ever publicly disclose this sort of information unless they were ready to risk decades in prison. Therefore, they could reasonably qualify for anonymity.

Greene took a nuanced position on the story’s credibility, stating,

Is everything Hersh alleged correct? While it would surprise me if there were evidence of any other power being behind the pipeline explosion – which would mean Hersh’s report is a complete fabrication – it would not be surprising if a few of Hersh’s details don’t line up, but that is common in journalism, and not always the result of bad faith or incompetence.

“The thing to remember is Hersh’s sources are in the world of military and intelligence. They will lie, exaggerate, obfuscate – and of course get things wrong by mistake,” Greene added, “But The compartmentalized nature of any bureaucracy – and the intelligence world especially – means that the full picture is sometimes murky, even to those considered to be ‘in the know.’ The fact that Hersh’s source knows so much detail is remarkable but certainly not implausible given the history of high-level leakers.”

WHO BENEFITS?

If the United States did indeed sabotage Nord Stream II, it was one of the least well-hidden and most signposted attacks in history. The U.S. and NATO had, for years, publicly made clear that they were exploring options to stop the project.

A few weeks before the Russian invasion last February, Biden summoned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to the White House, where the president made him participate in a bizarre press conference in which Biden stated, “If Russia invades — that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine — then there will be no longer a Nord Stream II. We will bring an end to it.”

The event had the air of an adult chastising a misbehaving child, yet Biden was, in effect, telling Scholz to his face that his country’s infrastructure might face a U.S. attack.

To be fair to the president, he was merely repeating what many in his administration had been publicly saying for months. Both Victoria Nuland and State Department Spokesperson Ned Price had independently stated that “one way or another, Nord Stream II will not move forward.”

Likewise, after the attack, the U.S. barely tried to hide its satisfaction. “This is a tremendous opportunity,” Antony Blinken beamed. The Secretary of State continued,

It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy, and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity.”

NordStream Pipeline feature photo
Police accompany a protest against sanctions on Russia while a banner with the inscription “Open Nordstream 2 immediately” is held, Sept 05, 2022. Sebastian Willnow | DPA via AP

Other prominent officials thought U.S. culpability for the blast was so obvious that they assumed that they would take credit for it rather than claim Russia carried out a false flag attack. Member of the European Parliament and former Foreign Minister of Poland, Radek Sikorski, for example, tweeted out a picture of the blast with the words “Thank you, USA.” Sikorski, married to U.S. national security state insider Anne Applebaum, later deleted his post.

For Greene, the United States is near the top of the list of potential culprits. As he explained,

The charge of U.S. complicity is supported by a good deal of circumstantial evidence: The clearest answer to the ‘cui bono’ [who benefits?] question is obviously the U.S. Even before Hersh’s reporting, German officials reportedly said they were open to the idea of Western complicity. So in that sense, Hersh’s reporting is in line with what we already know (and what the mainstream media refuses to seriously discuss).”

Certainly, Washington has significantly benefited from the explosion. Its major competitor (Russia) has been seriously economically weakened, and European purchases of expensive American liquified natural gas have more than doubled since last year. Norway, too, has gained from the blast and is now Germany’s principal supplier of gas, allowing it to make billions in profits.

A REPORTER LIKE NO OTHER

Born in 1937 into a working-class Jewish immigrant family, Hersh cut his teeth as a crime reporter in early 1960s Chicago. He first came to national attention in 1969, however, when he exposed the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops at My Lai – a scoop that won him the Pulitzer Prize. His revelations were far from welcome in establishment media, though, and he had to fight to get even a small startup newswire to take a chance on his story.

In 1974, Hersh again caused a national scandal after exposing a massive Nixon-era CIA spying operation targeting hundreds of thousands of left-wing activists, anti-war dissidents and other anti-establishment figures. Again, far from being heralded, the majority of the corporate press attempted to defend the national security state and discredit him and his reporting.

Thirty years later, he dropped yet another bombshell on the American public, exposing the U.S.’ widespread torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Whether it was reporting on the U.S.’ role in the 1973 coup in Chile or undermining the Obama administration’s claims on chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Hersh has courted controversy and attracted flak throughout his career. Yet his fearlessness has won him respect the world over. As journalist Glenn Greenwald stated,

Seymour Hersh is beyond any reasonable dispute one of the two or three most accomplished, important and courageous journalists of his generation. Very few journalists on the planet – and virtually none who still work inside the nation’s largest media corporations – can even get close to him when it comes to having broken more major, history-changing stories.”

SEVERE CONSEQUENCES

It is for this reason that Hersh’s reporting is so important – and why corporate media’s steadfast refusal to cover it is so noteworthy. If Hersh is correct, the United States and Norway essentially attacked their supposed NATO allies, something that could have gigantic geopolitical implications. Article 5 of NATO’s treaty states that if a NATO member is attacked, then all other NATO members must defend said country. Several NATO members, including the United Kingdom and France, possess nuclear weapons.

Of course, NATO will not declare war on the United States, precisely because it is, since its very inception, an unequal alliance. As Lord Ismay, the organization’s first secretary general, explained, “NATO’s role is to keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in”. In other words, it is a U.S.-dominated confederation meant to stifle the pan-European project that sought to reorient the continent away from serving the U.S. and towards becoming an independent regional bloc.

While the culprit of the attacks still remains in doubt, many of the consequences are not.

Germans – like much of Europe – have had to endure freezing winters amid enormous fuel price spikes. The dearth of energy has helped spark double-digit inflation in Germany that has eroded the savings of tens of millions of people. Energy costs are causing vast numbers of businesses to permanently close and presents a crisis of competitiveness for European industry, which is struggling to compete with American and Asian manufacturers enjoying cheap fuel.

Moreover, huge numbers of European businesses are closing or reducing their domestic workforce in favor of moving production to the U.S., where, alongside cheaper energy costs, the Biden administration is offering them financial incentives to do so. The European Union has accused Washington of breaching World Trade Organization rules.

Thus, it could be said that the invasion of Ukraine has marked a turning point in geopolitical history, whereby the United States is not only carrying out a proxy war against Russia, but engaged in an economic war against the entirety of Europe. If Hersh’s Nord Stream story is true, it could send a shockwave throughout Europe and should cause long held beliefs about the nature of Europe’s relationship with the United States to be challenged. Therefore, given the massive negative consequences of all this for Washington, perhaps it is no surprise that the revelation will not be televised.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

نقاش في الكونغرس الأميركي حول «اتفاقيات أبراهام»

الكونغرس: العمل أكثر في لبنان لمنع تأثير إيران

الجمعة 17 آذار 2023

التعاون الأمني بين إسرائيل ودول في المنطقة يحدّ من قدرة إيران على إيصال مواردها الفتاكة إلى حدود الكيان (أ ف ب)

غسان سعود  

قبيل ساعات من تتويج المباحثات الإيرانية – السعودية بـ«مصالحة بكين»، كان الكونغرس الأميركي يشهد نقاشاً بين نواب وخبراء معنيين بالشرق الأوسط حول «توسيع اتفاقيات أبراهام»، والتزام «الشركاء المفترضين»، وفي مقدمهم السعودية، بتنفيذ الأجندة الأميركية في ما يتعلق بالصين وروسيا وإيران وأسعار النفط. ويتبيّن، بالصوت والصورة، أن مرادف «التأثير الإيجابي» بالنسبة للإدارة الأميركية هو «حماية مصالح إسرائيل أكثر، فقط»، مع تركيز واضح على تسويق الولايات المتحدة كصديقة للشعوب تتطلع إلى ازدهارها ورفاهيتها، تمهيداً لإدخال الدول في مسارات التطبيع… مع اعتراف ضمني بأن عدم وجود رؤية مشتركة بين الولايات المتحدة وشركائها لمواجهة «النفوذ الإيراني الخبيث» يهدد كل الطموحات الأميركية في المنطقة

عُقد الاجتماع الدوريّ للجنة الفرعية للشؤون الخارجية في مجلس النواب الأميركي حول الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، الخميس الماضي، عشية إعلان «مصالحة بكين»، تحت عنوان «توسيع اتفاقيات أبراهام» (فيديو الجلسة). حضر الاجتماع، إلى جانب أعضاء اللجنة، كل من رئيس معهد اتفاقات أبراهام للسلام روبرت غرينواي والجنرال الأميركي المتخصص في شؤون الشرق الأوسط جوزف فوتيل والسفير الأميركي السابق في إسرائيل دانيل شابيرو مدير «مبادرة N7» (الحرف الأول من n أي تطبيع، و7 للدلالة على إسرائيل والدول العربية الست التي طبعت معها: البحرين، مصر، الأردن، المغرب، السودان، الإمارات).

وفي مداخلته، أشار شابيرو إلى تقدم مسارات التطبيع عبر مجموعات عمل تشمل أكثر من 150 مشاركاً من الدول السبع في أبو ظبي في كانون الثاني الماضي، إضافة إلى اتفاقية التعاون في مجال الأمن السيبراني بين البحرين والمغرب والإمارات وإسرائيل والولايات المتحدة. أما الطموحات الكثيرة لتكريس التطبيع فأبرزها برامج تلفزيونية «تثقيفية وترفيهية»، ليخلص المجتمعون بسرعة إلى ضرورة أن يتجاوز الدعم الأميركي في المنطقة التعاون العسكري، إلى المجالات التجارية و«المناهج التربوية والتعليمية» والتعاون الصحي و… «مكافحة الأوبئة»، مع تركيز خاص على لبنان. فبعد إشارة النائب الديموقراطي براد شيرمان إلى نجاح إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن في إنجاز الاتفاق بين لبنان وإسرائيل حول الحدود البحرية، قال رئيس اللجنة الفرعية الجمهوري جو ويلسون إن هذا الترسيم مهم للاقتصاد اللبناني، ويسمح لإسرائيل بمواصل إنتاج النفط وإرساله إلى مصر لتكريره وتصديره إلى إيطاليا للتخفيف من اعتماد أوروبا على روسيا، في سلسلة تبيّن الترابط الاستثنائي بين الملفات: لبنان يفوز، إسرائيل تفوز، مصر تفوز، إيطاليا تفوز ومجرم الحرب بوتين يخسر. وقال ويلسون «هناك أهمية كبيرة لدعم لبنان الذي يجب أن يكون عظيماً لكنه ليس كذلك». هناـ تدخلت النائبة الديموقراطية كاثي مالينغ لافتة إلى أن «لبنان على وشك أن يصبح دولة فاشلة»، فيما «سوريا مصدر مشكلات لا حصر لها في المنطقة»؛ ما يدفع إلى السؤال ما إذا كانت لدول «اتفاقيات أبراهام» القدرة على «التأثير الإيجابي» في هذين البلدين؟ ليجيب فوتيل، كما تفهم الإدارة الأميركية «التأثير الإيجابي»، بالقول إن «التعاون الأمني والدفاعي بين إسرائيل ودول أخرى في المنطقة يعزز فرص اتخاذ تدابير تحدّ من قدرة إيران على إيصال مواردها الفتاكة أكثر فأكثر قرب حدود إسرائيل». وأكد أن القيادة المركزية الأميركية «تحاول» وضع شبكات استشعار وطائرات من دون طيار لمراقبة حركة «نقل المساعدات الفتاكة»، بحراً اليوم وجواً غداً، ومع مزيد من الاستثمار يمكن معالجة «بعض من النفوذ الإيراني الخبيث» الذي ينتشر في سوريا ويؤثر على إسرائيل. ورداً على سؤال مالينغ عن كيفية توسيع «اتفاقيات أبراهام»، قال شابيرو إن هناك المفاوضات التي ترعاها الولايات المتحدة وهناك «التعاون الأمني الذي تقوده وزارة الدفاع والجيش مع جيوش المنطقة، وهناك مجالات صحية وثقافية وتجارية يمكن تحقيق اختراقات مهمة بواسطتها». أما غرينواي فركز على «توفير القدرات لشركائنا بما يمكّنهم من الدفاع عن أنفسهم بشكل أفضل، ويخفف في المقابل العبء الملقى على عاتق الولايات المتحدة للدفاع عنهم». ورأى أن الممر الإلزامي لتكريس التطبيع هو التبادل التجاري بين هذه الدول وحاجتها الاقتصادية إلى بعضها البعض.
بدوره، شدد فوتيل على أن «المشاركة الدفاعية المنسّقة للتعاون المعلوماتي» هي الأساس، عبر ربط المعلومات الأمنية بين مختلف «شركاء الولايات المتحدة»، فيما قال غرينواي إن عدم وجود اتفاق مشترك بين الولايات المتحدة وهؤلاء الشركاء على كيفية التعامل مع التهديد الإيراني يحول دون إحراز تقدم، حتى على مستوى التعاون الأمني. وأكد أن الصراع الإسرائيلي – الفلسطيني يهم دول المنطقة، لكن ليس بقدر «التهديد المباشر لبقائهم من طهران اليوم»، و«الحاجة ماسة لقيادة أميركية مباشرة رداً على هذا التهديد الإيراني»، مشيراً إلى أهمية دعم الولايات المتحدة لإسرائيل في هذه المرحلة، حيث تراقب بقية دول المنطقة هذا الدعم عن كثب «بشكل لا يصدق».

يمكن تحقيق اختراقات مهمة عبر التعاون الأمني مع جيوش المنطقة وفي المجالات الصحية والثقافية والتجارية

ولا يمكن لدول المنطقة أن تكون أكثر تأييداً لإسرائيل من الولايات المتحدة. مع العلم أن «بناء الدعم يضيف نفوذاً وشركاء للولايات المتحدة»، مطالباً الإدارة الأميركية في ختام مداخلته بتأمين الموارد أو إعادة النظر في الموارد الحالية لاستخدامها بشكل أكثر فعالية لدعم «اتفاقيات أبراهام» والمبادرات التطبيعية الأخرى. وهنا، أشار شابيرو إلى أن الرواية المتداولة في الشرق الأوسط عن «انسحاب أميركي أو غياب أميركي أو تحول أميركي نحو مناطق أخرى» مبالغ فيها ومضر جداً. ولا بد من القول بوضوح «إننا ما زلنا هناك»، و«لا تزال القيادة المركزية الأميركية الجامع الرئيسي والشريك الرئيسي لجميع هذه البلدان، تتقدمها إسرائيل». «قد تكون لدينا وجهات نظر مختلفة حول طرق التعامل مع مشكلة ما، لكن الولايات المتحدة ملتزمة بشراكاتها، وملتزمة بالتأكد من قدرة شركائها على الدفاع عن أنفسهم، وملتزمة بالتواجد هناك كسند نهائيّ. ونحن نتوقع أن يتصرف شركاؤنا الإقليميون بما يتماشى مع المصالح الأميركية الأساسية عندما يتعلق الأمر بالصين وروسيا وأسواق النفط، حيث لا بد أن تتوقع أن تتدفق الشراكة بالاتجاهين، حين تكون شريكاً جيداً ومخلصاً. ولفت في ختام مداخلته إلى أن التدهور الأمني بين الإسرائيليين والفلسطينيين سيؤدي حكماً إلى زعزعة استقرار الأردن، ويصعّب الأمور على مصر، ويوتّر علاقة إسرائيل وشركائها العرب الجدد، ويؤخّر التقدم بين إسرائيل وشركاء لم ينضموا إلى «أبراهام» بعد، مركزاً على أهمية إظهار الولايات المتحدة دائماً بمظهر «المستثمر المهتم بمحاولة تحسين أوضاع الشعوب الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، قبل وقت طويل من إمكانية التفاوض فعلياً للوصول إلى حلول تطبيعية إضافية».

Israeli Protests Go Ahead Amid Warnings of ‘Civil War’, ‘Threats to Existence’

March 16, 2023

Israeli protesters on Thursday take part in what they called a day of “escalating resistance to dictatorship” against controversial judicial overhaul presented by government of Benjamin Netanyahu, a day after President Isaac Herzog warned of a civil war in the Zionist entity.

Acts of disruption and protest began before dawn, with demonstrators painting a bright red line in the street leading up to the Supreme Court in Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and staging many other protests across the occupied territories.

Roads blocked across Tel Aviv and Haifa, with several protesters being arrested and reportedly oppressed by occupation police.

Lapid Blames Gov’t over Violence

Opposition leader Yair Lapid condemned rising violence against protesters and blamed the government.

“The violence against protesters this morning is growing. Government of Israel — the responsibility is on you,” he tweeted after at least one incident in which protesters were attacked with pepper spray.

“Stop inciting against the protesters, they are wonderful Israeli protesters and you are responsible for their safety,” Lapid said.

The video below, posted by an Israeli account on Twitter, shows an Israeli protester sprayed with pepper.

“Threats to Existence”

In Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the need to “obstruct evil designs early on.”

Alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Platform 17 memorial in Berlin’s Grunewald train station, Netanyahu said that ‘Israel’ faces threats to its existence today, adding that “we have learned that the Jewish people must have the capability to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Protesters held demonstrations in and around Ben Gurion International Airport on Wednesday afternoon in an effort to disrupt Netanyahu’s flight to Germany on a state visit. The premier’s flight took off about five hours later than expected.

“Civil War”

In an address on Wednesday night, Herzog warned of a brewing “civil war” and an approaching “abyss” if a compromise on the radical judicial changes could not be reached.

The opposition has repeatedly demanded the government pause its relentless legislative push during negotiations, which the coalition has refused to do, moving the legislation forward despite widespread opposition.

“Those who think that a real civil war, with human lives, is a border we won’t cross, have no idea,” said the Israeli president, adding that in the 75th year of the Zionist regime, “the abyss is within touching distance.”

“A civil war is a red line. At any price, and by any means, I won’t let it happen,” he added.

While the Netanyahu coalition quickly dismissed Herzog’s plan, opposition leaders expressed cautious approval for the framework as a basis for talks. They also lashed the government for so readily dismissing what Herzog had presented as the last, best chance to avoid a catastrophic tear in the fabric of Israeli society.

Source: Israeli media

ISRAEL PROTESTS SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY

MARCH 16TH, 2023

RAMZY BAROUD

ِAs hundreds of thousands throughout Israel joined anti-government protests, questions began to arise regarding how this movement would affect, or possibly merge, into the broader struggle against the Israeli military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.

Pro-Palestine media outlets shared, with obvious excitement, news about statements made by Hollywood celebrities, like Mark Ruffalo, about the need to “sanction the new hard rightwing government of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”

Netanyahu, who sits at the heart of the current controversy and mass protests, struggled to find a single pilot for the flight carrying him to Rome on March 9 for a three-day visit with the Italian government. The reception for the Israeli leader in Italy was equally cold. Italian translator Olga Dalia Padoa reportedly refused to interpret Netanyahu’s speech, scheduled for March 9 at a Rome synagogue.

One can appreciate the need to strategically use the upheaval against Netanyahu’s far-right government to expose Israel’s fraudulent claim to true democracy, supposedly ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’ However, one has to be equally careful not to validate Israel’s inherently racist institutions that had existed for decades before Netanyahu arrived in power.

The Israeli Prime Minister has been embroiled in corruption cases for years. Though he remained popular, Netanyahu lost his position at the helm of Israeli politics in June 2021 following three bitterly-contested elections. Yet, he returned on December 29, 2022, this time with even more corrupt – even by Israel’s own definition – characters such as Aryeh Deri, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the latter two currently serving as the ministers of finance and national security, respectively.

Each one of these characters had a different reason for joining the coalition. For example, Smotrich and Ben Gvir’s agenda ranged from annexing illegal West Bank settlements to the deportation of Arab politicians considered ‘disloyal’ to the state.

Netanyahu, though a rightwing ideologue, is more concerned with personal ambitions: maintaining power as long as possible while shielding himself and his family from legal problems. He simply wants to stay out of prison. To do so, he also needs to satisfy the dangerous demands of his allies, who have been given free rein to unleash army and settler violence against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, as has been the case in Huwwara, Nablus, Jenin and elsewhere.

But Netanyahu’s government, the most stable in years, has bigger goals than just “wiping out” Palestinian towns off the map. Instead, they want to alter the judicial system that would allow them to transform Israeli society. The reform would grant the government control over judicial appointments by limiting the Israeli Supreme Court’s power to exercise judicial review.

The protests in Israel have very little to do with the Israeli occupation and apartheid and are hardly concerned with Palestinian rights. They are led by many former Israeli leaders, like former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former minister Tzipi Livni and former prime minister and leader of the opposition Yair Lapid. During the Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid stint in power, between June 2021 and December 2022, hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the West Bank. UN Special Coordinator described 2022 for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, as the “deadliest” in the West  Bank since 2005. Illegal Jewish settlements expanded rapidly during that time, while Gaza was routinely bombed.

Yet, the Bennett-Lapid government faced little backlash from Israeli society for its bloody and illegal actions in Palestine. The Israeli Supreme Court, which has approved most of the government actions in Occupied Palestine, also faced little or no protests for certifying apartheid and validating the supposed legality of the Jewish colonies, all illegal under international law. The stamp of approval by the Supreme Court was also granted when Israel passed the Nation-State Law, identifying itself exclusively as a Jewish state, thus casting off the entirety of the Arab Muslim and Christian population, which shares the same mass of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Rarely did the Israeli judicial system take the side of Palestinians, and when little ‘victories’ were recorded now and then, they hardly altered the overall reality. Though one can understand the desperation of those trying to fight against Israeli injustices using the country’s own ‘justice system,’ such language has contributed to the confusion regarding what Israel’s ongoing protests mean for Palestinians.

This is not the first time Israelis have gone out on the streets in large numbers. In August 2011, Israel experienced what some called Israel’s own ‘Arab Spring.’ But that was also a class struggle within clearly defined ideological boundaries and political interests that rarely overlapped with a parallel battle for equality, justice and human rights.

Dual socio-economic struggles exist in many societies worldwide, and conflating between them is not unprecedented. In the case of Israel, however, such confusion can be dangerous because the outcome of Israel’s protests, be it a success or failure, could spur unfounded optimism or demoralize those fighting for Palestinian freedom.

Though stark violations of international law, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions and everyday violence against Palestinians mainly occur within Israel’s legal framework. These acts are fully sanctioned by Israeli courts, including the country’s Supreme Court. This means that, even if Netanyahu fails to hegemonize the judicial system, Palestinian civilians will continue to be tried in military courts, which will carry out the routine of approving home demolition, illegal land seizure and the construction of settlements.

A proper engagement with the ongoing protests is to expose further how Tel Aviv utilizes the judicial system to maintain the illusion that Israel is a country of law and order and that all the actions and violence in Palestine, however bloody and destructive, are entirely justifiable according to the country’s legal framework.

Yes, Israel should be sanctioned, not because of Netanyahu’s attempt at co-opting the judiciary, but because the apartheid and regime of military occupation constitute complete disregard and utter violation of international law. Whether Israelis like it or not, international law is the only law that matters to an occupied and oppressed nation.

Feature photo | Israeli demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv, March 16, 2023. Ilia Yefimovich | C dpa via AP

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.’ His other books include ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth.’ Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

أيام «الخوف» الإسرائيلية: متسلل من لبنان هاجَم قلب الجليل!

 الخميس 16 آذار 2023

الأخبار  

لليوم الثالث على التوالي، عاشت المؤسستان الأمنية والسياسية في إسرائيل حالة إرباك وترقّب، على خلفية «حدث أمني» في الشمال. انسحبت الحالة على كل المستويات الرسمية في الكيان، وكذلك على الإعلام، وأثارت هلَعاً كبيراً في أوساط المستوطنين. ورغم الرقابة التي فرضتها المؤسسة الأمنية على وسائل الإعلام لعدم نشر تفاصيل «الحدث الأمني» المزعوم، إلا أن وسائل الإعلام المختلفة، والسياسيين والمعلّقين، قالوا الكثير، وتطرّقوا إلى معظم جوانب الحدث، مع الإشارة دائماً إلى «الرقابة» المفروضة على نشر التفاصيل. «الحادث» الذي مهما جرى التداول حوله من إشاعات، كان واضحاً منذ اليوم الأول، أنه تفجير عبوة ناسفة على الطريق السريع رقم 65، وتحديداً عند مفترق بلدة مجدو جنوب شرقي مدينة حيفا. انفجرت العبوة، صباح الاثنين، على مسافة أمتار من سيارة كانت تعبر الطريق، طاولت شظايا العبوة السيارة، وأصابت سائقها بجروح. كذلك تضرّرت سيارة أخرى، لكن من دون إصابات. كل هذه المعلومات سرّبتها وسائل الإعلام. ورغم الرقابة، شرعت في تحليل الحدث وأبعاده وتفاصيله التقنية. فأشارت إلى أن «شكل» العبوة مختلف عمّا تم الاعتياد عليه في الأراضي الفلسطينية، وهي «تشبه العبوات الجانبية التي كان يزرعها حزب الله في الحزام الأمني جنوب لبنان (قبل التحرير عام 2000)». 24 ساعة مرّت، ووسائل الإعلام منشغلة في تحليل الحدث، في حين ترصّد المعلقون الإسرائيليون حَراك المسؤولين الأمنيين والسياسيين. ونشر هؤلاء أخباراً مكرّرة حول عقد وزير الأمن يوآف غالانت مشاورات أمنية مستمرة لثلاثة أيام. بمشاركة كل القادة العسكريين والأمنيين، قبل أن ينضم إليهم أمس رئيس الحكومة بنيامين نتنياهو بعد تأجيل رحلته إلى ألمانيا بضع ساعات. ولم يكن ينقص المشهد الدرامي، سوى حملة «التشويق» التي قادتها المؤسسة الأمنية، إذ بدأت صباح أمس بالتلميح إلى أنها ستنشر خلال ساعات جزءاً من تفاصيل الحدث، وسرعان ما حدّدت توقيتاً دقيقاً للنشر.

السادسة مساء أمس، نُشر بيان مشترك، عن الجيش و«الشاباك» والشرطة، يؤكّد التسريبات السابقة، وأن الحدث هو تفجير مجدو، مع تأكيد أن قوات العدو حيّدت منفّذ العملية الذي أوقفته قوة من «اليمام» في سيارة في منطقة موشاف يعارا (خط 899)، لكنها قتلته لأنه «شكّل خطراً على الشاباك وقوات الجيش الإسرائيلي». وأشار البيان إلى أن القوات عثرت بحوزة المنفّذ «على أسلحة وأحزمة ناسفة جاهزة للاستخدام وأشياء أخرى»، لافتة إلى أن التحقيق الأولي يظهر أنه «عبر على ما يبدو الأراضي اللبنانية إلى إسرائيل». وخُتم البيان، بالإشارة إلى أن «الهجوم يخضع لتحقيق موسّع، يجري فيه التحقيق أيضاً في تورّط منظمة حزب الله». بعد البيان، توسّع هامش النشر لدى وسائل الإعلام العبرية، ونقلت القناة 13 عن الجيش «أن الحظ فقط هو الذي حال دون وقوع كارثة كبيرة لأن المنفذ لو نجح في تفجير عبوة كليماغور (عبوة تلفزيونية بكرات حديدية كبيرة)، ضد حافلة جنود أو مدنيين لسقط العشرات». إضافة إلى بث معلومات متضاربة حول هوية المقاوم وما إذا كان فلسطينياً أو لبنانياً.
وأشار موقع «واللا» إلى أن «الجيش طلب من المستوى السياسي الردّ على عملية مجدو، إلا أن نتنياهو ووزير أمنه غالانت، تجاهلا التوصية». كما عبّرت جهات أمنية عن خشيتها من أن يكون «تقرّر ضبط النفس»، مشيرين إلى أن «ذلك سيشكل ضربة لقوة الردع الإسرائيلية». وأكدت التقارير الإعلامية أن لدى المؤسسة الأمنية الكثير من الأسئلة التي تحتاج إلى أجوبة، حول هوية المرسل والمنفّذ، وبالتالي على من ينبغي الردّ، وبأي مستوى، وفي أي ساحة؟

من ملف : هل يمهّد العدو لعدوان جديد؟

فيديوات ذات صلة

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Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (Weekly Update 02 – 08 March 2023)

March 9, 2023

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (Weekly Update 02 – 08 March 2023)

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

7 Palestinians, including a child, were killed, and 32 were wounded, including 3 children and 3 others in serious condition, by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) fire while dozens of others suffocated in IOF attacks in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 02 March 2023, Mohammad Nedal Saleem (15) was shot dead with a live bullet to the back while another child and a teenager were injured with live bullets fired by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in front of a school in western ‘Azzun village, east of Qalqilya. IOF claimed that they chased a group of young men who threw Molotov cocktails at Street 55 where the settlers’ vehicles pass.

On 07 March 2023, 6 Palestinians were killed, and 26 others, mostly civilians, were wounded, including 3 in serious condition, during a widescale brutal military operation conducted by IOF in Jenin refugee camp. (Details available at PCHR’s press release).

Meanwhile, those injured were victims of excessive use of force that accompanied IOF incursions into cities and villages and suppression of peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians, and they were as follows:

On 03 March 2023, 2 Palestinians were injured during clashes with IOF after IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya.

On the same day, IOF suppressed a peaceful assembly in Silwan in East Jerusalem, where dozens of activists and residents of Silwan protested against IOF’s policy of demolishing, evacuating the homes, and displacing their residents.  IOF fired stun grenades, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the protestors and dispersed them by force; as a result, clashes broke out for several hours during which IOF arrested 5 Palestinians, including 3 children.

IOF also suppressed the weekly protest against the occupation and settlement activity in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, assaulted the protesters by pushing and beating them and spraying skunk water.  IOF also arrested 8 International solidarity activists and a Palestinian activist.

On 04 March 2023, IOF arrested a child after wounding him with a live bullet in the foot, during IOF’s raid on agricultural lands near the entrance to Al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron, under the pretext of pursuing stone-throwers. IOF also arrested a child after he was shot with a live bullet in the right foot at the entrance to Al-‘Aroub refugee camp in Hebron.

In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian sustained a mild injury due to the Israeli artillery shelling in eastern Khan Yunis on 08 March 2023. Moreover, 11 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip, and 4 shootings were reported on fishing boats off the western Gaza shores.

So far in 2023, IOF attacks killed 73 Palestinians, including 36 civilians; 12 of them were children and a woman, and the rest were members of the Palestinian armed groups, including 2 children, as well as 5 killed by settlers, and one died in Israeli prisons. Meanwhile, 335 Palestinians, including 45 children, 2 women and 8 journalists, were injured.

Land razing, demolitions, confiscation, and settlement activity

IOF displaced 8 families of 68, including 12 women and 29 children, after demolishing 8 houses, a praying hall, a commercial facility, and agricultural rooms, as well as confiscating a bulldozer in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

On 02 March 2023, IOF demolished a 120-sqm house in Ethna village in Hebron, displacing a family of 9, including 6 children, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area (C).

On 05 March 2023, IOF confiscated a bulldozer, and arrested its driver in the village of Jalboun, east of Jenin, under the pretext of working in Area (C). During the operation, IOF fired tear gas canisters at the citizens amidst clashes that caused suffocations.

On 06 March 2023, IOF demolished 4 tin-plated dwellings, east of Yatta in Hebron, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area (C), rending 4 families of 36, including 13 children and 4 women, homeless.

On the same day, IOF demolished three 280-sqm houses belonging to Totah family in Wadi Al-Joz neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction, displacing 3 families of 23, including 7 women and 10 children.

On the same day as well, IOF demolished an under-construction praying hall and a tin=-plated commercial facility of tin in Bethlehem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

In addition, IOF demolished 3 agricultural rooms built of tin plates and uprooted dozens of trees while razing agricultural lands in al-‘Issawiya village in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction. IOF also delivered 14 notices to cease construction works in 3 inhabited houses, 2 barrack and 9 agricultural rooms in Al-Zawiya village, west of Salfit, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area (C).

Since the beginning of 2023, IOF made 60 families homeless, a total of 383 persons, including 76 women and 171 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 62 houses; 16 were forcibly self-demolished by their owners and 6 were demolished on grounds of collective punishment. IOF also demolished 55 other civilian objects, razed other property, and delivered dozens of notices of demolition and cease-construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Settler-attacks and retaliatory measures

Settlers carried out 4 attacks in the West Bank, where they uprooted olive trees and attacked Palestinians in the West Bank. Details are as follows:

On 06 March 2023, settlers uprooted about 80 olive trees in Yasuf village, east of Salfit.

On the same day, settlers, from “Yitzhar” settlement, which is established on Palestinian lands in Nablus, attacked and threw stones at the western outskirts of Huwara village, and assaulted a family inside their vehicle, breaking the windows and wounding the elderly driver. The settlement’s guard opened fire at the vehicle and sprayed pepper gas at the passengers.

On 08 March 2023, settlers, from “Otniel” settlement, which is established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from Hebron, raided an archeological hill in the village of Raboud, near the settlement, under the protection of IOF, and performed their rituals on the hill, denying the villagers’ access to their lands.

Since the beginning of the year, settlers have conducted at least 143 attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property. As a result, 5 Palestinians were killed and dozens of others were injured; most of them after being beaten and thrown with stones. Also, dozens of houses, vehicles and civilian facilities were set ablaze.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

IOF carried out 211 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 83 Palestinians were arrested, including 11 children and 2 women.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF arrested 3 Palestinians; 2 of them, including a child, tried to infiltrate in eastern Rafah and eastern Beit Hanoun on 02 March 2023, while the third was arrested at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, while accompanying his sick daughter-in-law in her travel for treatment. (Details available in PCHR’s press release).  Also, IOF carried out limited incursions into eastern Juhr al-Dik, south of Gaza, and into eastern Khan Yunis on 02, 07 and 08 March 2023.

So far in 2023, IOF conducted 1,976 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 974 Palestinians were arrested, including 18 women and 130 children. Also, IOF conducted 8 incursions and arrested 15 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip: 6 were fishermen, 8 were trying to infiltrate into Israel, and a traveler at Erez Crossing,.

Israeli closure and restrictions on freedom of movement:

Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly-update in the Gaza crossings.

The Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossings with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank from the evening of 06 March 2023 until the evening of 08 March 2023 on the occasion of so-called “Purim” Jewish holiday.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continue to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 110 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 133 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and arrested 2 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

During this week, IOF closed checkpoints in Jerusalem and Bethlehem several times and reopened them later.

So far in 2023, IOF established 1,207 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 52 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

‘Israel’ Alarmed by Palestinian “Lone Wolves”, Sayyed Nasrallah’s “Spiderweb Theory”

 March 15, 2023

Marwa Haidar

‘Israel’ is alarmed by an “unusual incident” in which an explosive charge was detonated next to the Megiddo junction on a road near the West Bank seamline facing Jenin on Monday.

The incident, which injured a person seriously, was likely a roadside bomb of the type detonated in the past, mainly against Israeli occupation forces in south Lebanon during occupation before 2000, Haaretz Israeli daily reported on Tuesday.

Scene of a bomb blast at Megiddo junction in pccupied Palestine (Monday, March 13, 2023).

“The Shin Bet and IDF have been concerned for several months about increased attempts by terrorists in the West Bank to prepare explosive charges,” the paper’s Amos Harel said, referring to Israeli occupation forces.

Palestinian “Lone Wolves”

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a group named “Galilee Forces – Lone Wolves”, claimed responsibility for Megiddo junction attack, vowing to stage more attacks against Israeli occupation forces.

“One of our wolves planted a roadside bomb at Megiddo junction. The bomb went off and the wolves were unhurt after withdrawing the area,” the group said in a statement.

It also released a video showing Israeli outposts that the group intends to target soon. “Target is monitored and the weapon is ready,” the Galilee Forces – Lone Wolves group said in the video.

Rise in Explosive Charges

Harel reported that there has been, recently, a rise in the level of explosive charges being made and the number of Palestinian operations, noting that such upsurge comes after the situation was relatively calm in the occupied territories following the Second Intifada.

Since the Second Intifada, there’s been almost no sophisticated know-how in the West Bank on the preparation of explosive charges, the report said, listing a series of attacks which took place in the last three months.

There is concern in the Zionist entity that Palestinian attacks in the West Bank will soon rise, Harel reported, citing a clear increase of attacks for close to a year.

“But intelligence agencies are concerned about another escalation ahead of Ramadan, which begins in about a week,” the Israeli journalist said.

Resistance Warns

In this context, Palestinian resistance threatened the Israeli occupation that changing the status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque will trigger an “earthquake” in the entire region.

Marwan Issa, Deputy Chief of Staff of Hamas’ Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said that “allowing the resistance in the West Bank to take action, doesn’t mean that the resistance fighters in Gaza won’t patronize their brothers in the occupied territories.”

The Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has been accumulating power in order to reach the full liberation of Palestine, Issa stated.

“Spiderweb Theory”

On the other hand, Haaretz’ Harel correlated between rising motivation for Palestinian attacks and what he described as the Zionist entity’s “unprecedented political and constitutional crisis” represented by the mass protests over judicial overhaul planned by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He cited recent remarks by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah about the Zionist entity’s collapse.

“Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah recently delivered two speeches in which he repeated his “spiderweb theory” regarding Israeli society’s weakness, which he initially presented after Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Now he’s forecasting that an internal schism in Israel will lead to the country’s collapse, meaning that Israelis won’t be celebrating the country’s 80th anniversary in five years,” the Israeli journalist wrote in his Tuesday’s article.

In his latest speech last week, Sayyed Nasrallah described Israeli protests as historic and significant, noting that Israeli officials are now concerned about what he called the “third ravage” of the Zionist entity.

“Nasrallah is Not Completely Wrong”

In his article, Harel said that one of the worries occupying the Israeli “security system currently is that Nasrallah is not completely wrong.”

“Not only is the judicial controversy tearing Israelis into two camps, the rage against the regime coup led by the Netanyahu government is harming the military’s cohesion and may, in the long run, compromise its operational fitness. The biggest concern was raised in recent weeks by the Air Force, against a backdrop of growing protest by reserve pilots and navigators, the tumultuous discussions within squadrons and petitions in which hundreds of reserve pilots threatened to stop volunteering to fly should the extremist legislation pass in the Knesset,” Harel wrote.

Source: Israeli and Palestinian media (translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Disengagement law repeal advances, EU and UK condemn

15 March 2023

Source: News websites

By Al Mayadeen English 

A new bill repealing the disengagement law passed in 2005 has passed in Knesset’s first reading.

Saleh Abu Diab, a Palestinian resident of Sheikh Jarrah, takes part in a protest against his possible eviction after an Israeli court accepted Jewish settler land claims, in his neighborhood in Al-Quds on June 11, 2021 (Reuters).

Several EU member states, as well as the UK, denounced the Knesset’s approval of a bill that will allow Israeli settlers to return to areas across the West Bank that were previously evacuated as part of the 2005 Israeli-known Disengagement Law, which represented the liberation of Gaza and the partial liberation of the West Bank.

The Palestinian foreign ministry denounced the Knesset’s decision and called on the international community to denounce the bill as well, and to pressure the Israeli government to back down from the decision.

“Proceeding with steps to enact this legislation is a dangerous escalation in the conflict and a belittling of the efforts exerted to reduce tension and achieve calm,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said.

On Monday, a joint statement by the UK, France, and other EU countries, urged “Israel” to refrain from “demolishing Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East-al-Quds [Al-Quds] during the month of Ramadan,” as they referenced the forced evacuation of Palestinian families from the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.

The statement noted that the signatories found it “very worrying that Israeli authorities intend to continue” the domicide of Palestinians and declared their “strong opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion policy.” 

Read more: All Israeli settlements are illegal, they must stop: UN Chief

Disengagement law repeal

In February 2023, the Israeli occupation’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill revoking clauses of the 2005 Disengagement Law, which had led to the dismantling of four illegal Israeli settlements in the northern West Bank, as well as all the settlements and military presence in the Gaza Strip.

At the time, The Times of “Israel” said that “the bill, which only relates to the parts of the law pertaining to the northern West Bank, is key to the current government’s goal of legalizing the illegal settlement outpost of Homesh.”

On Monday, the bill passed its first reading in the Knesset, and the introductory text of the repeal read: “There is no longer any justification to prevent Israelis from entering and staying in the evacuated territory in northern Samaria [West Bank], and therefore it is proposed to state that these sections [of the disengagement law] will no longer apply to the evacuated territory.”

Read more: Row over illegal West Bank settlement outpost splits Israeli cabinet

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UAE suspends Israeli arms deals until far-right govt ‘brought under control’: Report

 March 13 2023

Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi have developed deep economic and security ties since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020

(Photo Credit: EPA)

By News Desk

The UAE has temporarily suspended the purchase of Israeli defense systems due to the chaotic actions of Jewish supremacist officials belonging to the far-right coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

“Until we can ascertain that Prime Minister Netanyahu has a government he can control, we can’t work together,” UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) reportedly told Israeli officials.

Channel 12 noted, however, that intelligence and security cooperation between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi is continuing.

Netanyahu’s office vehemently denied the report, calling it “baseless” and saying that Israel and the UAE are constantly holding “fruitful diplomatic contact … including today.”

Earlier this month, US news outlet Axios revealed that Netanyahu’s planned trip to the UAE – initially scheduled for January – was postponed due to “Emirati concerns” that the visit would exacerbate “regional tensions with Iran.”

No new date has yet been set for this visit.

Netanyahu said following his victory in last year’s elections, his first foreign trip as prime minister would be to the UAE.

According to Channel 12, Emirati leaders are particularly peeved over National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s recent raid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the statements made by Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, calling for Palestinian villages to be “wiped out.”

Smotrich’s comments were made after Israeli settlers carried out a pogrom in Huwara, killing one Palestinian, injuring nearly 400, and destroying dozens of homes and vehicles. This rampage also drew the ire of the UAE.

Last year, Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi inked their first arms deal since the signing of a normalization agreement in 2020. At the time, this was described as “one in a series of even bigger deals.”

In recent weeks, the two nations unveiled a jointly developed, unmanned naval vessel and coordinated to strike down a resolution at the UN Security Council for a “complete and immediate” cessation of Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territory.

Israel and the UAE also maintain deep security cooperation in Yemen and have previously worked together in lobbying US officials to re-list the Ansarallah resistance movement as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

Yemeni PM meets with Hamas officials to discuss latest developments

March 12 2023

(Photo Credit: AP)

Ansarallah’s official affirmed Yemen’s full support for the Palestinian cause during the meeting

ByNews Desk

The Prime Minister of Sanaa’s government, under the leadership of the Yemeni resistance group Ansarallah, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, met with representatives of the Gaza-based resistance faction Hamas to discuss recent developments in Palestine.

Bin Habtoor confirmed that Hamas’s acting representative in Yemen, Moaz Abu Shamala, was present during the meeting, where he affirmed to the Palestinian representative that “the Palestinian cause was and will remain present in the conscience of the Arab and Islamic nations,” adding that one of the several moral positions of the Yemeni people is supporting the people of Palestine against Israeli suppression, as well as the sovereignty of a Palestinian state.

Bin Habtoor also praised the Palestinian faction’s resistance against the Israeli occupation and its mission to combat Tel Aviv to ensure regional security.

In response to Sanaa affirming its dedication to supporting Palestine, Abu Shamala expressed his appreciation for Yemen’s position.

Since the formation of Israel’s new far-right coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has increased its aggressive acts against the Palestinians in an attempt to wipe out the Palestinian resistance and acquire more control over Palestinian territories.

Last month, Yemen’s National Salvation Government (NSG) condemned the UAE’s eviction of residents from the Abd al-Kuri Island of the Socotra archipelago off the Yemeni coast, which Abu Dhabi has been carrying out as part of its long-active plan of transforming Socotra into an Israeli-Emirati military and intelligence hub.

This was confirmed by Yemeni journalist and activist Anis Mansour, who on 20 February strongly condemned the “bringing in of Israeli and Emirati forces to the island without the knowledge of the leadership or authorities, in a blatant challenge to Yemeni dignity and sovereignty.”

Mansour also claimed that the Saudi-led coalition plans to ‘secure housing’ in Hadhramaut for about 1,000 fishermen from the island to limit the island to the presence of Emirati-Israeli military and intelligence officials.

Israel is interested in the strategic archipelago because it serves as a potential flashpoint for a confrontation with Iran. In 2020, the Washington Institute published an analysis examining how Israeli submarines could potentially strike the Islamic Republic from positions near Yemen.

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Frankfurt Undermines Human Rights by Canceling a Concert by Roger Waters

MARCH 13, 2023

Photograph Source: GabeMc –CC BY-SA 3.0

BY VIJAY PRASHAD – KATIE HALPER

After a highly acclaimed run in North America, Roger Waters will take his “This Is Not a Drill” tour across Europe. The long journey includes shows in Germany, with the final concert in the country originally planned to take place in Frankfurt on May 28. On February 24, however, Frankfurt’s city council and the Hessian state government announced the cancellation of the Frankfurt concert, for “persistent anti-Israel behavior,” and called Waters an antisemite.

The cancellation of Waters’s concert is a threat to free speech and artistic freedom. It is designed to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s government emanating from the world human rights community and within Israel itself. Waters’s music has captivated the world for more than five decades. Over that time, he has also become a respected human rights advocate. In response to the decision by Frankfurt’s city council, artists and human rights leaders, including Peter Gabriel, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Alia Shawkat, and Glenn Greenwald, have signed a petition calling on the German government to uncancel the concert.

In a more civilized world, Frankfurt would be giving him an award for his courage, not trying to silence him with state censorship.

To be clear, the position of Waters regarding the disparate treatment by the Israeli government of Jews and Palestinians—with numerous legal policies and laws that favor Jews over Palestinians—is well within the mainstream of the international human rights community.

A range of prominent human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as United Nations agencies and experts such as the UN special rapporteur, argue that Israel’s policy has created an “apartheid” state within Israel through its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Indeed, in 2021, the respected Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a strong statement calling the Israeli government “a regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” and concluding, “This is apartheid.” The statements Waters has made about Israel are entirely in line with these criticisms from these respected organizations and institutions.

The conflation of criticism of Israel and antisemitism is dangerous and perpetuates the common antisemitic perspective that all Jews monolithically support Israel. Because antisemitism is a real issue, its weaponization and distortion to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel is reckless, and undermines the fight against antisemitism.

The Frankfurt City Council’s statement offered no evidence for its claim except that Waters has “repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel and drew comparisons to the apartheid regime in South Africa.” The statement about the “cultural boycott of Israel” is a reference to Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), the Palestinian-led movement launched in 2005 that has since gained significant support across the globe.

We reached out to Waters for his response to the campaign against him, and he told us: “My platform is simple: it is implementation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all our brothers and sisters in the world including those between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. My support of universal human rights is universal. It is not antisemitism, which is odious and racist and which, like all forms of racism, I condemn unreservedly.”

The official equation of criticism of Israeli policy with antisemitism is problematic, but it is not new in contemporary Germany. In May 2019, the German Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution that associated BDS with antisemitism. This resolution followed a series of attacks on organizations, including numerous Jewish groups (such as the Germany-based group Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East) whose advocacy on behalf of Palestinians was, at the same moment, being classified by the Israeli government as antisemitic.

In response to this targeting of critics of Israel’s government over its mistreatment of Palestinians, more than 90 Jewish scholars and intellectuals signed an open letter in defense of Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East. The last line of that letter called upon “the members of German civil society to fight antisemitism relentlessly while maintaining a clear distinction between criticism of the state of Israel, harsh as it may be, and antisemitism, and to preserve free speech for those who reject Israeli repression against the Palestinian people and insist that it comes to an end.”

In its attack on Waters, the Frankfurt City Council mimicked the current thinking followed by the extremist Israeli government in its weaponization of antisemitism to try to undermine critics of its official narrative.

The attack on Waters by the Frankfurt City Council is part of a disturbing pattern in contemporary Germany. The Berlin-based Jewish photographer Adam Broomberg, who is well-known for his work on the cruelty and irrationality of violence, found himself being targeted by the city of Hamburg’s antisemitism commissioner, Stefan Hensel.

Hensel has used his social media and various newspapers to attack anyone who supports the BDS movement as being “antisemitic.” His campaign against Broomberg raised the ire of the photographer, who was born in South Africa and who has an intimate and very personal understanding of apartheid. Broomberg told the art magazine Hyperallergic that he was confounded by this attack: “For a commissioner of antisemitism, for his first and most vehement and powerful attack to be on a Jew and to put a Jew’s life and profession at risk, is totally ironic. … I just buried my mother who knew the Holocaust and I come back and I’m accused of being a hateful antisemite advocating for terrorism against Jews. I couldn’t be more Jewish,” he said. “It’s affected me profoundly.”

In early March 2023, Hensel posted a photograph of Roger Waters on Instagram in the film version of his 2010-2013 concert tour “The Wall.” Alongside the picture, Hensel wrote: “The motto should be: ‘Roger Waters is not welcome in Hamburg.’” Adam Broomberg responded on Twitter that Hensel’s image of Waters appearing in character as a fascist villain was taken out of context from an “undeniably anti-war film by Waters and [Sean] Evans called ‘The Wall’ to depict him as a Nazi in an attempt to cancel his concert.”

This distortion, Broomberg wrote, is an example of “German propaganda.”

In July 2022, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor while addressing a meeting of the Palestinian Heads of Mission in Africa said that “The Palestinian narrative evokes experiences of South Africa’s own history of racial segregation and oppression.” Reflecting on the findings of human rights reports and UN documents, Pandor said: “These reports are significant in raising global awareness of the conditions that Palestinians are subjected to, and they provide credence and support to an overwhelming body of factual evidence, all pointing to the fact that the State of Israel is committing crimes of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians.”

Nothing that prominent international artists like Waters or Broomberg have said would be alien to the content of these reports or different from what Naledi Pandor said at that meeting in Pretoria. Indeed, everything she said mirrors the library of UN resolutions demonstrating the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the apartheid conditions being faced by Palestinians inside Israel and its territories. The attack by the Frankfurt City Council on Waters is not actually an effort to call out antisemitism; it is, rather, an attack on the human rights of Palestinians.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor, and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations. His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and (with Noam Chomsky) The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power.

Katie Halper is a writer, filmmaker, and the host of the “Katie Halper Show,” a weekly YouTube show, podcast, and WBAI radio show. She is the co-host of the “Useful Idiots” podcast and YouTube show and the director of the forthcoming documentary “Commie Camp.” Her writing has appeared in places like the Guardian, the Nation, New York magazine, and Comedy Central, and she has appeared on MSNBC, Fox, Rising, and more. She is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Yalla Roma, Solidarity Groups Tell Netanyahu ‘You Are Not Welcome’ (PHOTOS)

March 9, 2023

Italian protesters waved a banner in front of the Colosseum reading “Netanyahu: Not Welcome”. (Photo: Supplied)

By Romana Rubeo

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Rome on Thursday for a three-day visit, the Palestinian Community of Rome and Lazio organized a sit-in under the banner: ‘Netanyahu, You are Not Welcome’.

The protest was held in downtown Rome, where Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday to boost economic ties with Italy and offer natural gas supply. 

In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Netanyahu said that he “would like to see more economic cooperation (between Israel and Italy)”.

In the interview, Netanyahu also called on Italy to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a call that was quickly supported by far-right Italian Minister Matteo Salvini.

Several organizations joined the sit-in, including the newly-formed activist collective Yalla Roma, which aims at bringing together several pro-Palestine groups operating in the Italian capital.

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with Maya Issa, a young Palestinian-Italian activist in Rome, and one of the organizers of the protest. 

“The sit-in was organized by the Palestinian community of Rome and Lazio,” she told The Palestine Chronicle, “but many other groups joined us in our protest, including the Kurd, Cuban, and Sri Lankan communities in Rome. The struggle for self-determination is what unites us.”

“We took to the streets because Netanyahu should not be welcome as a leader and a politician, he should be judged by the International Criminal Court as a war criminal,” Maya said. 

“Following the war in Ukraine, special attention was given to international law, so our question is: Why is international law irrelevant only when it comes to Palestinians?”

Netanyahu’s visit was met with protests in both Israel and Italy by those who believe his far-right government is threatening Israeli ‘democracy’. On Sunday, Israeli media reported that the national airline El Al had struggled to find pilots to fly the prime minister and his wife to Rome. 

Moreover, on Wednesday, Italian translator Olga Dalia Padoa refused to translate for Netanyahu during his speech at the Rome synagogue, scheduled on Thursday.

“Not only do I not share Netanyahu’s political views, but his leadership is extremely dangerous in my view when it comes to democracy in Israel,” Padoa said.

Maya highlights that their protest had a completely different nature. 

“What are they talking about? Israel has never been a democracy. Even organizations like Amnesty International slammed it as an apartheid regime. It is a racist regime that constantly violates the rights of the Palestinian people. Israel is a Zionist, criminal, fascist regime, which has to be tried and condemned,” she told us.

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