Dozens of Palestinians Injured by Zionist Occupation Forces during 43rd Return Protests

January 18, 2019

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Thousands of Palestinians flocked after Friday prayers to Gaza border with the Zionist settlements, protesting against the blockade imposed by the enemy on the Strip and stressing their right to return to their occupied land.

It is worth noting that the Gazans have been holding the Return Protests for 43rd consecutive weeks amid the Israeli intensifying assaults.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured today by the Zionist occupation soldiers who deliberately fired live bullets at the upper parts of the protestors’ bodies.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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The Enemy’s Main Threat In 2019: Hezbollah’s Precision Missiles

Al-Ahed News

A report authored by “Israel’s” Institute for National Security Studies [INSS] outlined next year’s strategic assessment as well as the threats facing the enemy entity.  According to INSS, these include a full-scale war in the north against Iran and the classification of Hezbollah and the Syrian state as the most dangerous threat of 2019.

The head of the institute, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, submitted the report to the president of the “Israeli” entity, Reuven Rivlin. The report notes that “in early 2018, Iran intensified efforts to strengthen its military capability in Syria and provide Hezbollah with advanced military capabilities.” The report alleged that the enemy “applied firm military activities against the Iranian attempt and that its attacks damaged the Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”

The report questioned “whether Iran will abandon its positions in Syria,” warning that “stabilizing the Syrian state’s strength and rearming the Syrian army by Russia, will limit the freedom of the “Israeli” army’s work in the region.”

“Because of the developments in Syria, Iran has transferred part of its accumulating strength – used to fight “Israel” – to Iraq and Lebanon,” the report added.

“It is true that Iranian support for building Hezbollah’s strength in Lebanon is not new. However, the quality of the weapons transferred in recent years from Tehran to Hezbollah is worrying.”

According to the report, the main source of concern for “Israel” is the transformation of Hezbollah’s inaccurate and heavy rocket-propelled projectiles into precision missiles as well as improving the party’s air defenses and supplying it with long-range naval missiles.

The report pointed out that the enemy’s efforts against the Iranian “precision project” in Lebanon will be managed in different and more complex circumstances than was the case in Syria throughout recent years.

It warned that should a full-scale confrontation take place in the north, it will not be restricted to one front. “We will find ourselves in a situation where “Israel” will be confronting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in the north and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip [i.e. the Palestinian resistance factions].”

It noted that “the possibility of war with Hamas in Gaza is very likely in the coming year, even if the seriousness of the threat has diminished substantially.”

The report explained that “the main reasons for a possible escalation in the south is the continued deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip, the pressure exerted on Hamas by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and the erosion of the deterrence achieved by the enemy during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.”

The report warned of the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank, pointing out that the entity must be prepared for the weakening of the Palestinian Authority’s stability and the possibility of the end of Abu Mazen’s era.

Massive campaign to defend 5 jewish terrorists accused of stoning to death Palestinian mother of nine

Massive campaign to defend Israeli religious students accused of killing Palestinian mother of nine

Jean Shaoul — WSWS Jan 14, 2019

Demonstrations against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Demonstration against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Far-right and ultra-Orthodox groups have created a media storm over the arrest of five Jewish youths on suspicion of carrying out “serious terror offenses,” including the killing of a Palestinian woman last October.

The defence of the accused is being used to stoke nationalist tensions in the run-up to the general election on April 9, and to shift Israeli politics further to the right. All the mainstream parties are complicit.

The five boys, students at the Pri Ha’aretz yeshiva (religious seminary) in the Rehelim settlement in the occupied West Bank, are accused of the stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian car October 12 that killed Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, a mother of nine, and injured her husband, Yacoub.

The past year saw a threefold increase in racist attacks on Palestinians over 2017, with 482 politically motivated crimes by Jews reported in the West Bank. These included beating and throwing stones at Palestinians, painting nationalist, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars, and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The murder and its aftermath highlight the utter lawlessness and racism inherent in the Greater Israel project from which the settler movement stems. Speaking to Ha’aretz after the attack, Yacoub Rabi said, “I don’t have any doubt it was the settlers. There were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young.”

As is common in such stoning attacks, the police dragged their feet over their investigation, to the extent that few believed any action would be taken.

According to the public broadcaster Kan, the day after the stoning attack, settlers from Yitzhar broke with the strict religious rule of not driving on the Sabbath and traveled to the Rehelim yeshiva. One of those in the car was reportedly Meir Ettinger, a grandson of the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has accused of being a ringleader of an underground group that spawned the racist filth legitimising attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Ettinger spent time in administrative detention, which enables the state to order someone’s arrest without informing the detainee of the reason or providing any evidence of wrongdoing, and to detain him for unspecified periods and interrogate him without lawyers in attendance. Administrative detention orders are routinely used against Palestinians, but rarely against Jewish Israelis.

Ettinger’s arrest followed attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and churches and mosques in Israel by right-wing Jewish extremists, including the torching of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed an 18-month-old baby.

The use of administrative detention orders under the pretext of combating militant Jewish nationalists facilitated the introduction of such methods as part of the build-up of repressive measures to be used against the working class.

On October 13, Ettinger and his companions went to the Rehelim yeshiva to brief the assailants before any investigation, arrest or interrogation, and thereby prevent them revealing the details of the stoning attack.

Two weeks ago, Shin Bet, not the police, arrested three of the suspects on suspicion of murder. They also arrested two others who were taking part in a protest in support of the alleged assailants. A gag order was imposed on the media to prevent any reporting on the details of the investigation, and the youths were banned from seeing their lawyers, the far right activist Itamar Ben Gvir and Nati Rom and Adi Kedar of the Honenu NGO, which provides legal aid to Jewish activists suspected of terrorist attacks.

The police also called all the yeshiva students in for questioning after entering the seminary amid claims from the staff that they did not have a search warrant. By last Thursday, 30 students had been questioned.

The settlers and their supporters, including religious leaders and the suspects’ lawyers, issued statements condemning the arrests and organizing protests outside the homes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet members, and later demonstrations outside the court proceedings. Neither Netanyahu nor any member of his cabinet had condemned the attack or demanded that those responsible be brought to justice. Rather, they actively encouraged the protests over the arrests and the investigation.

Following an appeal by one of the families over lack of access to lawyers, Ayelet Shaked, justice minister and leader, along with Naftali Bennett, of the newly formed New Right Party, called the mother of one of boys to say that she had discussed his case with State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and urged the mother to “stay strong.”

A week after the youths were taken into custody, they were permitted to meet with their lawyers, who claimed the boys were innocent and accused Shin Bet interrogators of “severe manipulation” and causing “serious trauma.”

The Shin Bet was also forced to lift the gag order on part of the case. In response, it issued statements that it had discovered an Israeli flag with a swastika and “Death to Zionists” scrawled on it in the room of one of the suspects, who were now described as radical anti-Zionists. The lawyer for the five youths, Itamar Ben-Gvir, described this as “a spin” by Shin Bet, stating that there was “no real evidence” against his clients who “are good kids that love the State of Israel.”

On Thursday, a judge ruled that four of the suspects should be released and subject to house arrest, while the fifth should be kept in detention because of the nature of the allegations, the evidence against him and concerns over obstruction of justice.

The Shin Bet claimed that it had respected all the suspects’ rights under law, saying, “Claims of their denial are baseless and aim at diverting the discourse from the serious suspicions for which they were detained and at bringing the service in disrepute.”

The increase in violence and murderous attacks on Palestinians are bound up with the encouragement of all forms of extreme nationalism by Israel’s fascistic settler parties, which sit in Netanyahu’s government, as well as from recently elected municipal leaders. As the World Socialist Web Site explained in its statement on January 3: “The ultra-rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel is establishing the closest relations with extreme rightwing regimes and parties throughout the world. These alliances reflect the growing strength of fascist forces within Israel itself.”

The WSWS drew attention to a column in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on December 31, by the Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who warned:

“We have to face reality. We are witnessing the flourishing of a Jewish Ku Klux Klan movement. Like its American counterpart, the Jewish version also drinks from the polluted springs of religious fanaticism and separatism, only replacing the Christian iconography with its Jewish equivalent. Like white racism’s modus operandi, this Jewish racism is also based on fear mongering and violence against its equivalent of Blacks—the Palestinians.”

Such obnoxious and abhorrent phenomena mirror similar trends internationally and demonstrate the bankruptcy and reactionary dead-end of the entire Zionist project.

Source

After Gaza slaughter, Obama officials met with Israeli generals to counter ‘poisonous’ Goldstone Report and get ‘israeli (apartheid state) story out’

After Gaza slaughter, Obama officials met with Israeli generals to counter ‘poisonous’ Goldstone Report and get ‘Israeli story out’

Michael Posner

During those three weeks of horrifying images, President-elect Obama had nothing critical to say and Israel did him a favor in return: it ended the bombing/invasion two days before he was inaugurated.

Then in September 2009 the UN Human Rights Council issued a bombshell of its own, the Goldstone Report, which documented war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the campaign, chiefly the Israeli pattern of deliberately striking civilian targets, including schools, mosques, homes, and a flour mill and a chicken farm.

The Obama administration worked to stymie the report at international bodies, and in the end the report went nowhere (defused by its author, Judge Richard Goldstone, who under huge pressure from his own community retracted the allegation that civilians were intentionally targeted).

The greatest impact the Goldstone report had was its first impression, on international opinion. Now a State Department cable has been leaked in which US diplomatic officials are shown to have met with seven Israeli generals over two days in January 2010 to discuss ways to counter the “poisonous” Goldstone Report.

The cable shows how closely Obama officials were working with alleged war criminals to counter Israel’s bad press and help Israel “tell its story” and show the “lessons learned” from the massacre.

“It shows how vulnerable Israel can be to public opinion,” Norman Finkelstein, the author of Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom, writes to me. “It’s not been noticed that Israel ceased using white phosphorus after Cast Lead because of the bad p.r… They do worry about public opinion. That’s why I’m skeptical when people say, ‘Israel can do whatever it wants.’ Not true.”

Finkelstein also notes the role of an Obama aide as a general-whisperer: Michael Posner, then assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor.

“[I]t’s telling that instead of advocating the indictment of Israel for its war crimes, as one might expect of the founder and president of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights [later Human Rights First], Posner counsels Israel how to evade prosecution.”

Indeed, throughout the cable, Israeli generals admit that mistakes were made and promise that there will be consequences. The American officials urge the Israelis to do independent investigations so as to salvage the country’s reputation. But there’s been nothing to show for that. Israel indicted three soldiers in connection with the massacre, and the longest sentence was for a soldier who stole a Palestinian’s credit card.

The Goldstone Report was in the news for two full years. And this meeting was as much of an accounting as the top Israeli brass ever got: discussions with a handful of American State Department officials who were concerned about the report’s conclusions, including Posner who had met with Goldstone. That was all. And they got off the hook!

Here are some excerpts from the cable, which was leaked by Wikileaks

It begins by saying that Posner and the US ambassador, James Cunningham, met with seven Israeli generals (Chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Yoav Galant, Amir Eschel, Avishai Mandelblit, Yossi Heymann, Ido Yuval, and Yuval Halamish, a former general now heading the “Goldstone committee” for the army) and the Israelis promised there was going to be accountability!

Posner’s interlocutors agreed that mistakes had been made at times by Israeli soldiers and reported that, although it was too early in the investigatory process to draw firm conclusions, that internal investigations would likely result in accountability for some soldiers involved — either criminal prosecutions or disciplinary action.

Posner was very sympathetic:

Posner stressed the purpose of his visit was to “listen and learn” from Israeli interlocutors, and to confer about how the Government of Israel could most effectively tell its “story” regarding Operation Cast Lead to the international community… [A]ddressing broader doctrinal issues and compilation of lessons learned could help change the debate internationally.

The Israeli generals insisted that they had not targeted civilians, but it was asymmetric warfare in which terrorists worked in civilian settings. One general gave Posner a lesson in terrorism.

Eshel noted that the IDF was “chasing the worst terrorists on the face of the earth,” but in many cases could not act against them due to the presence of civilians.

One of the headings in the cable is, “Getting the Israeli Story Out.”

James Cunningham, former ambassador

to Israel. Now at the Atlantic Council.

A/S [Assistant Secretary] Posner asked how the GOI planned to convey the investigation results to a larger audience…. [W]hile the Goldstone Report was a fundamentally flawed report, it had a certain credibility internationally. He asked … about a broader review by a prominent Israeli group apart from the IDF to validate its investigations. Ambassador Cunningham said the objective was not to appease the international community, but to dilute the poisonous effects of the Goldstone Report. He noted a great deal of skepticism among many in the international community regarding the Goldstone Report, but with no credible alternative narrative, the Goldstone allegations would be the focus of deliberations. The Ambassador stressed the importance of getting the word out employing a variety of means — perhaps YouTube or other outlets afforded the opportunity to help re-tell the story.

But the world wasn’t really listening.

Ashkenazi said the GOI [Gov’t of Israel] was “under attack” by international media.

The officials discussed several atrocities, including the targeting of a house where a large number of members of the al-Samouni family had taken refuge. Twenty-one were killed. Mandelblit was the chief investigator for the Israeli army as head of the Military Advocate General (MAG) Corps.

Mandelblit said the case will be referred to LTG Ashkenazi following the investigation’s completion, that the IDF would study this case carefully from an operational standpoint for
“lessons learned” and that he had reached no conclusions as yet about individual accountability.

That investigation two years later concluded that the attack was an innocent mistake. B’Tselem, the human rights group, condemned the finding, saying it was never a “serious” investigation and it had been undertaken too late. “The investigations were all opened at a very late stage – the first, to B’Tselem knowledge, in October 2009, a full ten months after the operation had ended.” I.e., after the Goldstone Report came out and embarrassed Israel.

Israel Air Force Commander Major General Ido Nehushtan went further than the other generals in his meeting with Posner, saying that the air force took precautions not to hurt civilians that the army did not.

Nehushtan admitted, however, that IDF artillery and tank units did not follow the same procedures and caused most of the Palestinian civilian casualties in Cast Lead…

The Israeli generals also emphasized what was widely reported at the time: that the Israeli public was all for the Gaza massacre. Notice the generals don’t say what the news reports do say (here in 2012,  and in 2014) that it’s Israeli Jews who are so overwhelmingly in support.

MG Eshel also was skeptical that the Israeli public would understand the purpose behind an outside review process. He noted that there was broad public acceptance in convening committees following controversial military operations such as the Yom Kippur War or the Second Lebanon War. But Operation Cast Lead enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Israeli public — “no one will understand” why an independent committee would be convened following Cast Lead, he said.

Here is the pressure that the U.S. applied:

A/S Posner accepted the argument that a military should be responsible for its own investigations and discipline. He reiterated, however, the utility of telling Israel’s story from an outside point of view — independent voices to deliver the message in a way that is credible….

A/S Posner asked how the IDF would capture “lessons learned,” in response to which most of his IDF interlocutors listed a number of operational decisions they would make differently in the next conflict…

The Israelis do say that bad press about an illegal weapon, white phosphorus, burning civilians had hit home. Bad press caused “Strategic damage.”

General Galant volunteered that use of white phosphorus was no longer politically tenable in Gaza for any purpose, even though it remained a legal munition, because of the strategic
damage to Israel that would result from news footage showing civilian casualties or damage to civilian structures.

(Galant is now a Netanyahu cabinet minister averring that it’s all Jewish land from the river to the sea…)

Again, Norman Finkelstein states that the white phosphorus concession is an important point.

The white phosphorus point has been completely ignored. All the recovered white phosphorus shells from Cast Lead came from the US…. I am quite sure that after Cast Lead the US told Israel to cut the white phosphorus… and of course they did. It is my opinion that the various human rights reports (e.g., HRW’s Rain of Fire) caused people like Posner to intervene and Israel obediently suspended use of it, permanently.

Finkelstein goes on:

Michael Posner was the US Ass’t Secretary for Democracy in the Obama administration. He founded and was the first President of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (Except in Palestine). In other words, your run-of-the-mill hack… He denounced the Goldstone report (“deeply flawed” see p. 98 of my Gaza book). The claim that the Israeli air force showed restraint during Cast Lead is laughable, as I’m sure you know.

In general it’s telling that instead of advocating the indictment of Israel for its war crimes, as one might expect of the founder and president of Lawyers for Human Rights, Posner counsels Israel how to evade prosecution. He performs the same function vis-a-vis Israel as Alan Dershowitz, another famed human rights advocate, performs vis-a-vis Jeffrey Epstein…

They do worry about public opinion…. The trick is, to pinpoint [Israel’s] vulnerabilities; the chinks in its armor. My guess is, right now Israel doesn’t want an ICC indictment. Like the Goldstone report, such an indictment would hamper its ability to unleash another massacre. That’s why it’s so important to lift the curtain shrouding the civil war that has engulfed the ICC over indicting Israel. It’s really quite unprecedented. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda keeps declaring the first of two cases (on the Mavi Mari) a done deal, but other bodies in the ICC keep saying, “Oh no it’s not.”

Let me emphasize that there was no accountability: the Israelis did nothing under Posner’s gentle suasion. B’Tselem reported five years on that “Israeli authorities have proven they cannot investigate suspected violations of international humanitarian law by Israel in the Gaza Strip” and said there had been three indictments in all for Cast Lead.

[A]fter massive harm to the civilian population, more than 300 minors killed, tens of thousands of people left homeless – and grave suspicions that these actions were the result of unlawful orders approved by the MAG [Mandelblit’s Military Advocate General] Corps and the attorney general – the military conducted hundreds of operational inquiries and launched dozens of MPIU [Military Police Investigation Unit] investigations, but the harshest sentence given was for credit card theft.

So in 2014 Israel undertook Operation Protective Edge, and killed 2200 in Gaza over 51 days — 500 of them children.

Posner is now a professor of ethics and finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Cunningham is now a fellow at the Atlantic Council with an expertise in Israel, democracy development, and terrorism. They are hardly alone as Obama officials who pooh-poohed the Goldstone Report. Hillary Clinton did so as secretary of state, Samantha Power as ambassador to the United Nations, and Suzanne Nossel, a State Department human rights official. In fairness, this is a story about the power of the Israel lobby; and Power had to get the absurd rabbi Shmuley Boteach as her sherpa to the lobby in order to gain her U.N. job; and Nossel is now the head of PEN America and has lately taken a worthy action re Israeli human rights abuses

Why israel’s (apartheid state) Illegal Airstrikes in Syria Are a Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

Why Israel’s Airstrikes in Syria Are a Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

– Ollie Richardson

israeli jet

© СТАЛКЕР/ZONE

I will proceed from what seems to be an established fact (SANA confirmed) that on the night of January 11th Israel hit one depot at Damascus international airport. I.e., material damage. 12 projectiles were fired in total. Syrian air defences worked, and by all accounts they were as effective as they were in the previous Israeli bombing run (80% accuracy approx.).

Even if Israel had hit two warehouses or a local farm in addition, then it changes absolutely nothing. What the Syrian Army lost can be replaced with little risk; Iran has seemingly supplied the Syrian Army very well and continues to do so at will.

How many times has Israel hit targets in and around Damascus and its airport since 2015? The answer is “many”. And each attack resulted in more or less the same thing – small material losses. A few times troops were killed in a couple of cases, but this can hardly be described as large losses (yes, war entails human losses – shocking, isn’t it?).

There is some misunderstanding in regards to why Russia sent the S-300 to Syria and upgraded the Syrian Army’s air defence network, integrating it into its own network. Like with the S-400, there was the assumption that Israel would never bomb Syria again, or that a NFZ was created.

S-300 system

Schematic showing the range of equipment that forms the S-300 system

Like with the S-400, this is not the case at all. As I explained once upon a time in an older article, the deployment of the S-400 was the logical next step after establishing the Minsk Agreements and neutralising what the West was trying to do in Ukraine.

What was the West trying to do in Ukraine? Mainly: drag Russia into a fratricidal sabbath and signing the death warrant of the Russian nation. The collapse (coup) of the USSR was already a bullseye for the West, so managing (weaponising against Russia) “independent” post-Soviet states was the next task. Having created a paradigm whereby the West must pour money into a black hole, being unable to abandon the Banderist monster it created, Russia paved a safe road to Syria (Sukhois touched down at Hmeymim in September 2015). The West was frozen in time and vulnerable to an attack to its rear (collapse of the liberal order).

Incidentally, the Gilets Jaunes protests represents the first stage of this attack to the rear. But it’s not Russia who is behind it; the West is suffocating itself with its own hands – Russia merely created the conditions for such a thing to happen by deploying the S-400 and putting an end to the Skyes-Picot project, thus in turn preventing France from pillaging the Middle East anymore (Russia will toss France out of Africa later). As a result, the internal contradictions that form the equilibrium mood in French (EU) society were raised to the surface, similar to how Ukraine’s dark past (OUN-UPA, SS collaboration) came to the surface (the West assisted this process via the 2014 coup, but did not create it).

The S-300 deployment was needed by Russia in order to take the load off the S-400. I.e., to give Russia more room to manoeuvre in the diplomatic sphere (read more here). Reminder: the S-400 is much more than an anti-air system. It embodies the future of international relations and a transition away from “Responsibility to protect” (it’s ironic because in reality this doctrine enforces the opposite – shirking responsibility). In other words, Israel had carved out for itself room to manoeuvre in Syria that started to pose a danger to Russia’s (and thus International Law’s) “red line” zone in and around Hmeymim and Latakia/Tartus. What do I mean by “red line” zone? Russia was invited into Syria by Assad, and thus it must base its military somewhere. Much like how an embassy is a special kind of territory, a military base is also like a “state within a state”. Russian troops represent Russia’s signature, in the same way that Syrian troops represent Syria’s signature. In fact, the Kurds shot themselves in the foot when they tried to exit from the framework of the Syrian state, because they do not have the leverage to “go it alone” in the big world of International Relations. America has business partners, not friends.

There is another, more vivid interpretation of this “red line” zone: the clear framework, as defined by International Law, whereby Russia is RESPONSIBLE both in the media and before the UN Charter for its action or reaction. I.e., S-400 shooting down an Israeli jet means that the Russian state is responsible for it, and if the S-200 is fired, it means that the Syrian Army is responsible, respectively.

This is why Russia ALWAYS tried to find a way to use the S-200 in order to repel Israel (a few Israeli jets were shot down.. sorry… it was a “bird strike”). This liberates Russia from being blamed in the media and at the diplomatic level (not behind closed doors, however, as all parties understand how the great game works) in front of Israel, and thus gives Moscow more diplomatic room to manoeuvre and also limits consequences to the LOCAL environment (for example, Jews living in Russia will not be made to feel uncomfortable because the country they live in just attacked their “motherland”).

Does Netanyahu know that Moscow gave the Syrian Army the order to fire the S-200 at its precious jets? Of course, but in terms of International Law, it is not a Russian (re)action, it is a Syrian one. And if push came to shove and Assad was taken to the ICC, Syria can say that Israel violated its sovereignty, thus Damascus is also covered by the UN Charter (this didn’t work for Milosevic because Russia was not in a position to offer its allies leverage due to the treacherous Perestroika, which crippled Russia in all aspects).

However, there is a problem. Israel can violate International Law (at the local level, not globally and certainly not against a nuclear superpower) without consequence. I.e., the game is rigged. So, how can Russia push Israel back and coerce it into abiding by International Law? Here we have to be careful to not enter into a paradox: violating International Law (and thus severing diplomatic relations) in order to force a violator to abide by International Law. This is the equivalent of slitting your own throat.

Now let’s speak a little bit about what Russia is trying to globally:

We’ve all seen what the US & Co have done in our lifetimes, and even in the lifetimes of our descendants. A good “modern” example is Yugoslavia: the US definitively spat at the principals of the UN and grossly violated International Law, dropping depleted uranium without a UN mandate.

How the US managed to do this is a topic for another day, but what’s important is that the sovereignty of Yugoslavia was blurred via NGOs and aggressive media work, along with false justifications based on “Russell’s Teapot” concepts. This fact is still alarming even today. So it was learnt pretty quickly in Moscow (and by Putin) where all of this was going. The only way that Russia could survive amidst this post-Soviet onslaught was if it targeted the projected US’ weakness. And so today we have Kinzhal, Avangard, Kalibr, S-400, Pantsir, etc. The West has no answer for these weapons, and is unlikely to have even parity in the next 50 years. It’s like saying:

“You like to use aircraft carriers and your airforce to pummel weaker opponents, hijack their economy and hand it over to the IMF, and then integrate it into NATO to stop it escaping US hegemony? Okay, we’ll develop the necessary toolkit to hit you when the time is right.”

A common theme in everything that I have ever written – whether it be for Russian media or for English media or on social media – is that I place an emphasis on the (relative) long-term. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not in 5 years, but in 20 years+. We are now in an epoch where social media is a far more important (in terms of time) battlefield than the zone of military operations of the ground. They, of course, work in sync, but the US understood that color revolutions are more efficient (consume less resources) and pose less risk for US troops.

Anyway, without wanting to digress, my point is that all actions/reactions must be slotted into an algorithm that produces multiple results based on different time periods in the future. A solution that brings fruits in 5 years but then a catastrophe in 10 years is no good. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a supercomputer, as I have mentioned many times in the past. Today we can say that the algorithm being used allowed Russia (and friends) to encircle the West. Russian media is, frankly speaking, kicking the MSM’s ass.

The algorithm is based on RISK. Russia must be allowed to make mistakes and suffer the consequences as a result. During WW2 the USSR turned a black situation into a victory (the ratio of destroyed Red Army tanks to destroyed German tanks looks alarming on paper, but finds understanding with a wide perspective). The victory was possible because of this same RISK. There was no safety net – Russians (Rus) either win or are exterminated.

And isn’t this true to life? We may consider ourselves to be so distant from our Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon ancestors, with our iPhones and e-cigarettes, but we haven’t changed at all. We still fight for survival, we are always ready to launch arrows and defend ourselves. It seems to me, based on things I’ve read from people who know Syria far better than I do, that Syria dug itself into a hole. Of course, takfiris/Muslim Brotherhood/Wahhabi/Zionist/Anglos took advantage of it, but Damascus tried certain domestic policies, and some worked, some didn’t.

The main problem now is that Syria has a demographic crisis, much like Ukraine. In fact, it seems that this is true for the entire Middle East. This didn’t just happen in 2011 because of terrorists. It is a process that started long before this. So, who is going to solve this crisis? Is it Moscow? Well, I think for many laypeople this would be the ideal scenario. After all, absolving oneself from responsibility is conformable. But what does this ultimately mean? Syria must remain a child who needs help from Daddy?

Surely Syria would like to look after itself and be self-sufficient, whilst at the same time enjoying profitable trade relations and military alliances with allies, where parties have equal status, and not like a vulnerable toddler surrounded by adults? Of course, China, Russia, and all Eurasian friends are going to help rebuild Syria, but at some point Syria will need to depend on its own economy and efforts. The Eurasian Development Bank isn’t an endless pool of funds, nor is Russia a bottomless pit of aid.

So let’s come back to the question asked earlier in this article. How can Russia help Syria, deter Israel, and at the same time preserve diplomatic and historical ties with both countries (only an idiot wouldn’t want to have more allies than enemies)? Simple: by enforcing rules that apply to ALL parties in Syria. By the way, I should make it clear right now that Russia isn’t interested in bombing Israel or any other lunatic actions. Westerners might have a hard time understanding why, but this is because the West has never truly experienced war, only Hollywood movies.

The deployment of the S-400 established the following rules (not an exhaustive list, but some examples nevertheless):

  • Russia’s military (re)actions are clearly distinguished from Syria’s;
  • Parties cannot bluff about what collective leverage (from all theatres of military operations around the world combined) they have or don’t have;
  • Russia controls the tempo (it’s economy is stronger than the other parties’ economies);
  • Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea are lost for the West (the Banderist abscess was isolated);
  • Nord Stream 2 is being built, end of discussion;
  • Association with jihadist groups in Syria now incurs losses and not profits (why would a client continue to fund something that evidently cannot achieve their aims and objectives);
  • Syria’s sovereignty is final, unless a party has the leverage to challenge this;

Let’s expand on some points:

  • As I mentioned earlier: for Moscow, separating Syria’s actions in Syria and Russia’s actions in Syria was a very, very important move. This allowed Moscow to participate in the proxy war without exposing its rear to a US attack (Navalny/Grudinin coup?)
  • The bias of the UN was removed in the grand scheme of things. The RISK paradigm enforced by the S-400 (Russia let Turkey make the anticipated mistake, allowing S-400 deployment) pushed the US to the North East (Washington’s “plan B”) and made the local chessboard easier to read.
  • Turkey’s sphere of influence (SOI) in Syria was isolated to Idlib (operation Annex Aleppo failed); Qatar and Saud were pitted against each other and removed from the game (lack of leverage); Israel’s SOI shrunk due to the strengthening of Hezbollah’s regional status and proximity to Israel’s Syrian-side borders. I.e., the rats started to scatter.
  • The Astana Agreement in many respects is even more genius than the Minsk Agreement. Russia found a way to exploit Turkey’s lack of leverage (after all, the US is ready to unleash a Gulen coup at any moment) and coerce it into reformatting the jihadist matrix (NGO network). As time progressed & the Syrian Army liberated more and more territory, the jihadist groups consolidated time and time again, and the list of terrorist groups became more and more truncated. This is a very interesting aspect of fourth generation warfare that deserves its own article. Anyway, fast forward to today, and there is only Al Nusra left (Zinki and Ahrar are non-entities, since Qatar and Saudi Arabia washed their hands of them). Although we can’t say for sure what “Nusra” (HTS) really is today (terrorists can just change flags and create new allegiances with Ankara’s help), they are the controlling force anyway.
  • Hopefully this helps to understand why Russia was happy to leave Idlib for later. Ankara knows all terrorists in Idlib by name, and they are a burden. Today a relationship with Tehran and Moscow can bring far more fruits than ties with Nusra can. Erdogan is a realist, he puts his finger to the wind. One more point about Turkey: Nusra’s magic capture of most of Idlib and the decimation of Zinki/Ahrar is not a coincidence, nor is it organic. It is Erdogan’s way of handing over Idlib to Assad and saving face amongst his electorate. Of course, he drives a hard bargain (Assad must bring the Kurds to heel and definitively end their separatist “Rojava”project), but it’s a good deal anyway since the big loser is the West and its MENA terrorist allies.
  • Russia indeed controls the tempo not only in Syria, but also in MENA. The little scare we had in the middle of 2018 when the West was close to bombing Syria again was successfully averted because Russia temporarily slowed the tempo down and managed to encircle the US in the media space (the DPR and LPR use the same strategy now to prevent Poroshenko from using the Donbass theatre to further impose martial law and cancel elections). Pay attention to how Russia jumped ahead of the MSM/NGOs in the social media time continuum. Moscow reported a lot that the White Helmets were filming a false flag. What happened here is extremely complex and needs a separate article (or even book!) about NGO media work.

So, knowing that the deployment of the S-400 reconfigured the parameters of SyrianWar.exe, it becomes (I hope) possible to at least understand that the situation is not at all black and white. After all, it if was, then there wouldn’t be a need for supercomputers in MoDs. The conversations that happen behind closed doors are not at all like the statements that are disseminated for public consumption. Not at all.

What’s the real reason Israel still bombs Syria?

Because it has to in order to “stay in the game”. But things aren’t like they were before. Now Tel Aviv must pass through this RISK paradigm and earn its place at the poker table. But is damaging 1 warehouse in Damascus (according to some social media “experts”, this symbolises the end of the Syrian state and Russia’s failure to defend its interests…) worth it?

It is here that we see the importance of having not just local, but also global leverage. The fact that Israel fights upstream and RISKS much more than what it can possibly hope to gain testifies that its position on the grand chessboard has weakened. Netanyahu was forced to call early elections. He is being investigated for fraud. Hamas and Hezbollah are now stronger than ever before. Iran is entrenching itself further and cementing solid ties with powerful countries. The UN demands to give Golan Heights back to Syria. etc. Another big blow for Tel Aviv is that Syria’s air defence were upgraded, and it is Tel Aviv’s own fault. Just like how Turkey blinked, Tel Aviv was involved in the Ilyushin catastrophe, and it must pay the price for it – but in accordance with International Law, not through reciprocal violations of the UN Charter!!!!!! The bear says jump, the snakes ask “how high?”. Syria’s Pantsirs (air DEFENCES) are watching…

Syrian air defences hit an Israeli missile

Syrian air defences hit an Israeli missile – January 12, 2019
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So, too long; didn’t read?

Well think of it like this: Syria is well on the way to being a self-sufficient and independent (not in the American sense, where post-Soviet states are hijacked and turned into liberal springboards) nation, capable of defending itself. An adult. Wanting responsibilities, and not shying away from them. Meanwhile, Israel is dependent on Western aid and becomes more and more childish (Freud used the term “fixation”), incapable of growing up and becoming truly independent. A lot like the US actually, which is the bastard child of London, forever playing the victim and inventing “successes” on Blu-ray.

If you aren’t convinced by anything I said and think that Russia is “weak” or prefers to cower in a corner, then please remember the fact presented below.

soviets dead ww2

I think Syria understands the message now much more than ever before.

5 Jewish Teens Arrested for Stoning Death of Palestinian Woman

 Source 

 

08 Jan 5:18 AM

Palestinians carry the body of 48-year-old mother of eight, Aisha Rabi, who died of her wounds after the car she was travelling in with her husband was hit by stones, during her funeral in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit, on October 13, 2018. – An Israeli police spokesman confirmed a car had been hit by stones but did not identify the perpetrators. He said an investigation was underway but did not give further details. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Five Jewish teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Palestinian woman in the West Bank, three months ago.

Aisha Mohammed Rabi, a 48-year-old mother from Biddya, was driving with her husband Yacoub near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus when the settlers began to throw stones at their vehicle. Rabi was hit in the head and died shortly after being transported to the hospital.

According to the PNN, Israeli police soon arrived at the scene and opened an investigation. Five teens have been arrested since December 30, as part of a major Jewish terrorism probe in the West Bank. The Shin Bet internal security agency said, in its Sunday statement, that all the suspects were students at the “Pri Ha’aretz” yeshiva, in the nearby settlement of Rehelim. A gag-order has been placed to prevent publication of more details in the investigation, including the names of the attackers.

A group of far-right Israeli activists gathered outside the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest the arrests and call for his intervention on Saturday night.

Occupied Palestine in 2018: Record Deaths and Injuries, Food Insecurity, Demolitions, Record Low Humanitarian Funding

Global Research, December 30, 2018
ReliefWeb 27 December 2018

Trends affecting humanitarian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory

Today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) released a summary of data collected during 2018. Further breakdowns and statistics from previous years are available through the links below.

Record numbers of Palestinian deaths and injuries

A total of 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 were injured in 2018 by Israeli forces. This is the highest death toll in a single year since the Gaza conflict of 2014 and the highest number of injuries recorded since OCHA began documenting casualties in the oPt in 2005.

About 61 per cent of the fatalities (180 people) and 79 per cent of the injuries (over 23,000) were in the context of Gaza’s ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations by the fence. Across the oPt, 57 of the Palestinian fatalities and about 7,000 of the injuries were under 18 years of age. At least 28 of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in 2018 were members of armed groups in Gaza and another 15 were perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.

A total of 14 Israelis were killed during the year by Palestinians and at least 137 others were injured. While the number of fatalities is nearly the same as in 2017 (15 people), the proportion of civilians among these fatalities (50 per cent) increased compared to the previous year (27 per cent).

Uptrend in attacks by settlers

In 2018, OCHA recorded 265 incidents where Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property, marking a 69 per cent increase compared with 2017; as a result, one Palestinian woman was killed, and another 115 Palestinians were injured (another two Palestinian suspected perpetrators of attacks were killed by Israeli settlers). Palestinian property vandalized by settlers includes some 7,900 trees and about 540 vehicles.

There were at least 181 incidents where Palestinians killed or injured settlers and other Israeli civilians in the West Bank or damaged Israeli property, a 28 per cent decline compared with the previous year. However, the number of Israelis killed in these incidents in 2018 (seven), increased compared to 2017 (four).

West Bank demolitions continue, but fewer Palestinians are displaced

In 2018, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 459 Palestinian structures across the West Bank, mostly in Area C and East Jerusalem, overwhelmingly on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain, slightly more than in 2017. Such incidents displaced 472 Palestinians, including 216 children and 127 women, the lowest such figure since OCHA began systematically recording demolitions in 2009. In Area C alone, there are over 13,000 pending demolition orders, including 40 issued against schools.

The blockade on Gaza still extremely restrictive

The land, sea and air blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposed by Israel citing security concerns, continued, with people being able to exit on an exceptional basis only. On a monthly average, in 2018 (Jan-Nov) there were some 9,200 exits from Gaza by permit holders through the Israeli-controlled Erezcrossing, a 33 per cent increase compared to 2017, but 35 per cent less than the 2015-2016 average. The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing has opened on a regular basis since May, recording about 56,800 exits in all of 2018, up from a yearly average of less than 19,000 in 2015-2017.

The rate of approval of permit applications for UN national staff to leave Gaza stood at 59 per cent during 2018, up from 47 per cent in 2017. However, the total number of applications submitted in 2018 dropped by 24 per cent, primarily due to the larger number of staff that were denied for security reasons and banned for reapplying for 12 months, currently 131 compared to 41 staff by the end of 2017.

Kerem Shalom, controlled by Israel, remained the almost exclusive crossing for the movement of commodities to and from Gaza, with limited imports also allowed via the Salah Ad Din Gate on the border with Egypt. On a monthly average, about 8,300 truckloads of goods entered Gaza via both crossings in 2018, 17 per cent below the equivalent average in the previous two years, while 209 trucks exited Gaza on average, mostly to West Bank markets, nearly the same as in 2016-2017. Access to fishing areas and to farming lands near the fence inside Gaza remained restricted.

More people in Gaza food insecure

About 1.3 million people in Gaza, or 68 per cent of the population, were identified as food insecure in 2018, primarily due to poverty, up from 59 per cent in 2014, when a similar survey was conducted. The unemployment rate in Gaza reached an average of almost 53 per cent in the first three quarters of 2018, an all-time record, with youth unemployment at 69 per cent. By contrast, in the West Bank, 12 per cent of the Palestinians are food insecure, down from 15 per cent in 2014, while unemployment stood at an average of 18 per cent.

Record-low in humanitarian funding

While humanitarian needs across the oPt rose during 2018, funding levels for humanitarian interventions declined significantly: only US$221 million had been received, against the $540 million requested in the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan

Note: Data on casualties and demolitions is as of 26 December 2018 and is subject to caveats and definitions available in these links. Israeli fatalities exclude a baby delivered prematurely after the injury of his mother. Data on exits via Erez crossing is up to 30 November 2018, and data on imports and exports, as well as on the Rafah crossing are as of 15 December 2018.

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