Hezbollah Warns Israel With Hellfire If It Strikes as Gantz Threatens to Make Lebanon ‘Tremble

By VT Editors -June 7, 2021

Sputnik Moscow: The Lebanese Shia political party and militant group has engaged in dozens of skirmishes with the Israeli military in recent years, and fought a major war against the Israel Defence Forces in 2006.

Israel is advised to stop making threats against Lebanon, and will face a previously unimaginable response in the event of hostilities with Hezbollah, Hassan Baghdadi, a member of the group’s central council, has warned.

“They should not err in their calculations again. If there is a war with Hezbollah, they will see the fire of hell as they have never imagined even in their dreams,” Baghdadi said, his comments quoted by Sputnik Arabic.

The official suggested that the problem with Israel’s leaders was that they “do not learn lessons and do not understand real politics,” and that their “aggressive and criminal nature always drives them to adventurism…adding to our faith the hope that this entity will cease to exist at a record speed.”

Baghdadi’s comments come in the wake of remarks by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz late last month warning that Israel would stage massed strikes inside Lebanon if Hezbollah dared attack.

“We are ready as ever to protect Israeli citizens. If an attack comes from the north, Lebanon will tremble,” Gantz warned on 26 May in a speech marking the 39th anniversary of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982. “The houses in which weapons and terrorist operatives are being hidden will become rubble. Our list of targets for Lebanon is bigger and more significant than the one for Gaza, and the bill is ready to be settled if necessary.”

Gantz’s comments came following last month’s fighting between the IDF and Hamas, during which the Palestinian political and militant group fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel, while the IDF pounded Gaza with hundreds of missiles. The conflict, the largest of its kind since the 2014 Gaza War, led to the deaths of over 250 people in Gaza and the West Bank, and caused over a dozen Israeli fatalities. It was sparked by the Israeli Supreme Court’s threat to evict Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and police attacks on worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Rockets are launched from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, in response to an Israeli air strike on a 12-storey building in the city, towards the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021

© AFP 2021 / ANAS BABARockets are launched from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, in response to an Israeli air strike on a 12-storey building in the city, towards the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021

IDF military exercise

© FLICKR / ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCESIDF Launches Massive Military Exercise to Simulate War on ‘Multiple Fronts’ Amid Flaring Tensions

Hezbollah, whose rocket and missile power is widely considered to be far greater than that of Hamas, has repeatedly warned Israel against possible aggression. Earlier this year, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah suggested that “should war erupt, Israelis will see events they haven’t witnessed since Israel’s inception,” and urged Tel Aviv not to “play with fire.” 

In March, Israel’s Home Front Command stated that the country would face a barrage of as many as 2,000 rockets and missiles a day in the event of war with the Lebanese militant group, and that such an assault would pose a challenge to Israel’s military and civil defence capabilities. Even the recent clashes between Israel and Hamas proved to be a challenge for Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, with Israeli defence observers expressing concerns about the militant group’s ability to partially overwhelm air defences using massed volleys of rockets, which have shown improved range characteristics since the 2014 war.

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‘A120’ Missiles Introduced in the Gaza Battle, Resistance Rockets Continue to Surprise “Israel”

‘A120’ Missiles Introduced in the Gaza Battle, Resistance Rockets Continue to Surprise “Israel”

By Staff

Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip announced that they had targeted Al-Quds, Askalan, and “Israeli” settlements in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip with rocket salvoes, following the “Israeli” escalation in occupied al-Quds.

The Izzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, revealed that they had used ‘A120’ missiles in the strike on al-Quds on Monday evening.

In a brief statement issued at dawn on Tuesday, the group said these missiles were named after martyr Commander Raed al-Attar. The statement went on to explain that the missiles carried explosive warheads with a highly destructive capacity and a range of 120 km. It also noted that the missiles entered service for the first time.

Al-Qassam Brigades launched another large missile strike on Tuesday morning on the occupied city of Askalan in response to the targeting of residential areas west of Gaza City.

“If the enemy repeats the targeting of safe civilian houses, we will turn Askalan into hell,” the brigades warned.

Meanwhile, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], targeted a gathering of “Israeli” military vehicles east of Khaza’a as well as the Sufa military complex with mortar shells. The brigades also targeted the vicinity of the occupation’s military Red Tower east of Rafah with 100ml mortar shells.

The Palestinian resistance’s strikes in the current round of escalation surprised the enemy. The “Israeli” Walla! news website stated that about 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards “Israel” since the start of the fighting.

Amir Bohbot, Walla’s military correspondent, said that he “does not believe that Ashkelon was subjected to the type of intense missile attacks like this one during the 2014 Gaza war.”

In terms of the enemy’s losses, three Zionists were wounded at dawn on Tuesday in intense missile strikes from the Gaza Strip targeting three homes in Ashkelon. This was confirmed by ‘Israeli’ Haaretz Newspaper, which reported that three people were injured by missile strikes on Ashkelon that caused massive damage to the place.

According to “Israeli” sources, Ashkelon was hit by several rocket-propelled grenades, as some 46 rockets were fired.

Images showed extensive damage at one of the “Israeli” settlements following the missile strike as well as settlers lying on the ground fearing further attacks.

Meanwhile, Zionist War Minister Benny Gantz declared a 48-hour state of emergency on Monday, especially in “Israeli” settlements that are located 80 kilometers away from the Gaza Strip. This gives the “Israeli” army the power to impose restrictions on gatherings, evacuate areas based on intelligence, and to close or impose restrictions on educational institutions.

Gantz demanded that soldiers comply with his orders and stay clear of streets and areas that he prohibited entry to.

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The Illusion of a Palestinian Kingmaker in Israel

As we look forward, we shall see yet another Israeli government dedicated to destroying Palestine and its people led once again by Benjamin Netanyahu.

Source

April 14, 2021

MARCH 3: Head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh (2nd L), the members Heba Yazbak (R), Mansour Abbas (L), Mtanes Shehadeh (3rd L), Aida Touma (4th R), Ahmed Tibi (4th L) and Ofer Cassif (2nd R) attend a program in Israel’s northern city of Shefa-Amr on March 2, 2020, after polls officially closed in Israeli general elections. Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf. Anadolu Agency.

There are two things that are certain after Israel’s fourth election in two years: the first is that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to be Israel’s Prime Minister. The second, that no Arab party will have any part in Netanyahu’s continued reign as PM. These elections had given an undeniable victory to Benjamin Netanyahu. In a strategy that can be seen as divide and rule, Netanyahu has been very successful at dividing his opposition and now he may rule over them as they come begging him for a piece of the pie.

One of the strangest misconceptions that has risen immediately after the results of the elections were announced is that Mansour Abbas, who leads the Islamic United Arab Party will somehow become “kingmaker.” They claim that his vote in the Knesset will tip the scales and that the next Israeli prime minister will be in his debt. This claim stems from a lack of appreciation for the racist Zionist ideology and how, like a thread, it runs through all of Israel’s Zionist political parties, left, right and center.

But who needs a king maker when the king, Benjamin Netanyahu sits on his throne comfortably and unchallenged? In the previous elections, one may recall Netanyahu did face a serious challenge and his decade long tenure seemed as though it was going to end. The President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, had given the official mandate to form a government to Netanyahu’s challenger, former IDF Chief Benny Gantz. Everyone was sure that Ganz would finally unseat Netanyahu, as he had promised to do in his campaign. He even had the numbers to do it.

VIDEO: Israeli PM decries “coup attempt” in his corruption trial

However, Netanyahu managed to get Gantz to go back on his word to the voters. He agreed to sit in Netanyahu’s government even though this meant destroying the political coalition he had created, which included two other former IDF Chiefs, and the first real challenge to Netanyahu in a decade fizzled away. Gantz ended up working for Netanyahu as Defense Minister and his reputation and following practically disappeared.

He was promised that Netanyahu would vacate his seat when half of his term was over and that Ganz would be Prime Minister for the second half of their term, but really, no one believed that Netanyahu would follow through. In agreeing to sit in Netanyahu’s government Gantz sealed his fate to be a footnote in Israeli politics, and in this last election his party received only eight seats in the Knesset. This is after being a step away from the Premiership.

Netanyahu, having successfully destroyed any chance of another coalition being put together to unseat him now sits comfortably with thirty seats in the Knesset, followed by Yair Lapid’s party with 17 seats.

In the past, Gantz ran as leader of not only his own party but of a coalition of parties that agreed to follow him under the slogan of “No to Netanyahu.” It was that coalition that almost brought Netanyahu down. But it was disbanded when Gantz broke his promise. Netanyahu, having successfully destroyed any chance of another coalition being put together to unseat him now sits comfortably with thirty seats in the Knesset, followed by Yair Lapid’s party with 17 seats.

Read: Gantz, Netanyahu, Bennett and Israeli Politics in a Stalemate

Now the horse training begins. Who will join the government and what portfolio he or she will receive in return? As was said before, there is no better, more politically savvy, and more experienced political horse trader in Israeli politics than Benjamin Netanyahu.

As Netanyahu has already shown, even the most ardent “No to Netanyahu” supporters forget themselves when they are presented with the possibility of getting a seat at his table. In his current government coalition, the one that now sits as a lame-duck government, he even managed to get members of the Labor Party to join him, even though Labor is historically Netanyahu’s biggest opposition.

Breaking the logjam and building a coalition is always a long and tedious process. The Israeli political system allows small parties to wield more political power than the voters had given them because the larger parties need them to seal the deal, and they know it. Historically, the religious parties were the ones who broke the logjam as they were willing to sit with whoever agreed to provide them with their demands.

Who Wags the Dog? Israel’s Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle East

Who Wags the Dog? Israel's Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle  East - Islam Times
Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi April 22, 2021

Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby.

Donald Trump, who was elected President of the United States in 2016, may have won due to voters attracted by his pledge to end many of the “stupid” wars that the American military was involved in worldwide. In the event, however, he ended no wars in spite of several attempts to withdraw from Afghanistan and Syria, and almost started new conflicts with cruise missile attacks and the assassination of an Iranian general. Trump was consistently outmaneuvered by his “experts” on the National Security Council and at the Pentagon, who insisted that it was too early to disengage from the Middle East and Central Asia, that America’s own national security would be threatened.

Trump did not have either the experience or the grit necessary to override his generals and national security team, so he deferred to their judgement. And as has been well documented he was under constant pressure to do Israel’s bidding in the region, which mandated a continued substantial US military presence to protect the Jewish state and to provide cover for the regular attacks staged by the Israelis against several of their neighbors. Motivated by the substantial political donations coming from multi-billionaires like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Trump conceded more to Israel than any previous president, recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital as well as Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights while also giving the green light to settlement expansion and eventual incorporation of all of the occupied West Bank into Greater Israel.

President Joe Biden has already indicated that he will if anything out-do Trump when it comes to favoring America’s persistent “ally” and “best friend” in the Middle East. Biden, who has declared himself to be a “Zionist,” is responding to the same lobbying and media power that Israel’s friends are able to assert over any US national government. In addition, his own Democratic Party in Congress is also the home of most of the federal government’s genuine Zionists, namely the numerous mostly Jewish legislators who have long dedicated themselves to advancing Israeli interests. Finally, Biden has chosen to surround himself with large numbers of Jewish appointed officials as his foreign policy and national security team, many of whom have close and enduring personal ties to Israel, to include service in the Israeli Army.

The new Secretary of Defense, former Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin has recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he confirmed one’s worst fears about the direction the Biden Administration is moving in. It was a first visit to Israel by a Biden Administration cabinet member. Austin met with his counterpart Benny Gantz and also with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom warned him that Israel considered renewal of any nuclear arms limitation agreement with Iran to be a threat, only delaying development of a weapon. As Bibi expressed it, “Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

Austin responded by the usual two-step avoiding Israel’s expressed concerns, which might be considered a threat of an Israeli veto on Biden’s attempt to revert to the original 2015 JCPOA multilateral pact. He said that the Biden administration would continue to guarantee Israel’s “qualitative military edge” as an element in America’s “strong commitment to Israel and the Israeli people,” adding that “our bilateral relationship with Israel in particular is central to regional stability and security in the Middle East. During our meeting I reaffirmed to Minister Gantz our commitment to Israel is enduring and it is ironclad.”

Wrong answer general. The foreign policy of any country should be based on actual interests, not on political donations and effective lobbying, still less on what one reads in the Zionist mainstream media in the US. Netanyahu has stated that the Iran agreement is “fatally flawed” and has said recently that “History has taught us that deals like this, with extremist regimes like this, are worth nothing.” Israel, which uniquely has a secret nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, is one of the world’s leading violators of attempts to limit nuclear proliferation. It is also destabilizing to the entire Middle East region, an apartheid state – not a democracy – and its government is widely regarded as right-wing extremist. That Netanyahu should feel somehow empowered to talk down to the Iranians, and to the US, remains a mystery.

Beyond what goes on between Washington and Jerusalem, the real center of power, the Israel Lobby, consists of a large number of separate organizations that act collectively to advance Israeli interests. There is considerable corruption in the process, with cooperative congressmen being rewarded while those who resist are targeted for replacement. Much of the legwork on subverting Capitol Hill and the White House is done by foundations, which often pretend to be educational to obtain tax exempt status. “Experts” from the various pro-Israel groups are then seeded into the decision-making process of the federal government, serving as gatekeepers to prevent consideration of any legislation that might be objected to by Netanyahu.

One of the most active lobbying groups is the so-called Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) which is in fact closely tied to and takes direction from the Israeli Embassy in Washington. FDD is particularly focused on going to war with Iran and whenever there are discussions on Iran policy on Capitol Hill one can be sure that an FDD expert will be present and active.

And if you really want to know why America’s foreign policy has been so self-destructive, it has recently been learned that FDD was actually able to insert one of its employees into the National Security Council under Donald Trump. According to a report on Bloomberg, Richard Goldberg, an outspoken anti-Iran hawk and former associate of John Bolton, is leaving the council and would be returning “to [the Foundation for Defense of Democracies], which continued to pay his salary during his time on the National Security Council.”

The NSC exists to provide the president with the best possible intelligence and analysis available for dealing with problem areas, something that Goldberg, due to his conflict of interest, would have been unlikely to provide, particularly as he was still on the FDD payroll and was also being given generous travel expenses while working for the government. Whether he was also being paid by the NSC, which is referred to as “double dipping,” is not known. In any event, there is something very wrong about the appointment of a paid partisan who seeks war with a particular country to a vital national security position where objectivity is an imperative. Ned Price, former special assistant to President Obama on national security, commented “…we now know a White House point person on Iran policy was receiving a salary from and remained employed by an organization that has put forward some of the most extreme and dangerous pro-regime change policies.”

So Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel itself and its demonic prime minister on one side and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby on the other. Unfortunately, one cannot expect the United States to get out from under the Israeli thumb no matter whom is elected president.

Israel election: The triumph of Kahanism

As Netanyahu looks to cobble together his farthest-right coalition yet, western democratic governments and diaspora Jewish leaders need to take a stand

An Israeli man walks past an electoral billboard bearing portraits of Netanyahu flanked by extreme-right politicians, including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, in Jerusalem in 2019 (AFP)
Richard Silverstein writes the Tikun Olam blog, devoted to exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. His work has appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times. He contributed to the essay collection devoted to the 2006 Lebanon war, A Time to Speak Out (Verso) and has another essay in the collection, Israel and Palestine: Alternate Perspectives on Statehood (Rowman & Littlefield) Photo of RS by: (Erika Schultz/Seattle Times)

Richard Silverstein

24 March 2021 15:13 UTC |

The biggest winners in Tuesday’s Israeli election appear to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the little-known Religious Zionist Party. Behind the milquetoast name is an alliance of some of the most extreme Kahanist elements in Israeli politics.

According to the results announced so far, a race that had been predicted as a virtual tie between centrist and rightist parties may offer Netanyahu a narrow path to a renewed term as prime minister. Far-right and religious parties, likely coalition partners for Netanyahu, were victorious in the election.

At the time of publication, however, it remained unclear as to whether this coalition would be able to secure the needed 61-seat majority.

The question is: will the suspicion and hostility with which some of these party leaders, such as Gideon Saar and Naftali Bennett, view Netanyahu outweigh their desire for political power? If history is any judge, they will put aside their personal rancour and play the political game.

Collapse of Blue and White

Election turnout was 67 percent, down from the most recent election and the lowest percentage since 2013. The initial results would suggest that many of those who elected not to vote had previously supported the moderate parties that performed better in the last election.

There are two critical factors leading to this outcome. The first was the near-collapse of the centre-right Blue and White coalition, which won 33 seats in the last Knesset. The decision by its then-leader, Benny Gantz, to desert his partners and enter a coalition with Netanyahu led to a drastic decline in its vote share. With close to 90 percent of Tuesday’s vote counted, Blue and White picked up only eight seats, while Yesh Atid, which split from Blue and White last year, won 17. This fracture essentially destroyed the centre-right as a viable alternative to Netanyahu’s far-right Likud-led coalition.

Diaspora Jewish leaders could declare that Netanyahu has gone too far, and refuse to raise funds for Israel or to attend meetings with Israeli government officials

Voters who abandoned Gantz did not necessarily turn to his former partners in Yesh Atid, which represented a moderate option, nor to Likud, which lost several seats compared to the last election. They were likely disenchanted with Netanyahu and the multiple corruption charges he faces, so they turned to newly formed parties generally even farther to the right.

By fleeing to parties likely to join a governing coalition with Likud, however, they might have guaranteed an outcome they did not foresee. Postponed until after the election, Netanyahu’s corruption trial is scheduled to resume in early April, and Likud sources have pointed to legislative outcomes that could provide him immunity from conviction while in office, including passage of the “French Law”.

A more draconian and controversial method would be for a new justice minister to fire the current attorney general and appoint one who would dismiss the charges, eliminating the greatest threat to Netanyahu’s continuing on as leader.

Extreme nationalist views

Though there are regular protests against Netanyahu’s corruption, which would likely increase if charges were dropped, it is unlikely they would reach a tipping point and lead to Netanyahu stepping down. Even if he did, the rivals waiting in the wings are no less extreme in their nationalist views; the country would merely be swapping one Judeo-supremacist autocrat for another.

Voters who turned away from Blue and White appear to have favoured soft-right parties, such as Saar’s New Hope, and some even farther right than Likud, including Bennett’s Yamina and the Kahanist Religious Zionist Party, led by Bezalel Smotrich.   

Head of Israel's Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party Itamar Ben Gvir (R) talks to supporters through Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, on 19 March (AFP)
Head of Israel’s Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party Itamar Ben Gvir (R) talks to supporters through Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, on 19 March (AFP)

Smotrich was once apprehended by the Shin Bet for allegedly plotting a terror attack to protest Israel’s Gaza withdrawal, although charges were never laid. He once boldly claimed that Jews cannot be terrorists; in other words, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

In 2006, to protest the Gay Pride parade, he organised a “parade of beasts”, in which goats and donkeys were marched through the streets of Jerusalem. He has called himself a “proud homophobe”. He has served as an MK with the Yamina alliance and as minister of transportation.

Smotrich is allied with Itamar Ben-Gvir, whose political evolution as a youth led him into the arms of far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane. According to a Haaretz report: “First, he joined the youth movement affiliated with Moledet, a right-wing political party that advocated ‘transferring’ Israeli Arabs out of the country. But that turned out to be too tame for him. So not long thereafter, he defected to Kach, the eventually outlawed racist party founded by the American-born Rabbi Kahane. ‘I found in this movement a lot of love for the Jewish people, a lot of truth, and a lot of justice,’ says Ben-Gvir.”

Breaking with precedent

As a teenager, Ben-Gvir gained notoriety in 1995, when he vandalised then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s vehicle and brandished its Cadillac hood ornament, boasting: “We got the car. We’ll get to Rabin too.” Rabin was murdered only weeks later by another Kahanist.

Ben-Gvir is now the go-to defence lawyer for settlers charged with terrorist attacks against Palestinians. He is the Israeli equivalent of US lawyer and politician Rudy Giuliani, except instead of representing sleazy crooks, he represents accused mass murderers. He lives in Hebron, among the most violent of settler enclaves, where Jews and Palestinians are separated by barbed wire, locked metal gates and thousands of Israeli soldiers, who protect the settlers from the wrath of the indigenous population.Israel election: Latest results show Netanyahu without clear path to power.

Despite several prior attempts, Ben-Gvir has never served in the Knesset. His alliance succeeded this time for one reason only: Netanyahu made clear to far-right voters that if they weren’t voting Likud, he preferred they vote for the Religious Zionists. He also said the party would be a coalition partner in his next government, a striking break with previous precedent.

In 1988, Kahane’s newly founded Kach Party was so far outside the mainstream that the government banned it, and both Israel and the US have declared Kach to be a terrorist organisation. No Israeli leader has ever promoted an explicitly Kahanist party, let alone agreed to include one in a governing coalition – meaning it’s likely the Religious Zionists will obtain at least one ministerial portfolio representing the interests of their settler constituency. This offers unprecedented access to Israeli protocols and power.

This should not be surprising to anyone aware of the history of the Zionist movement. At least two former Israeli prime ministers, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were accused terrorists, linked to the King David Hotel bombing, the Deir Yassin massacre and the assassination of UN peace negotiator Count Folke Bernadotte, among other crimes.

Flirting with terrorists

There is one powerful way in which the world could respond to Netanyahu’s flirtation with supporters of Jewish terrorism: the US government, UN and EU could declare this government persona non grata, and refuse to have any dealings with it. It would be a diplomatic version of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Israel is united in its determination to pursue racist, apartheid policies. The world is not united in opposing them

Diaspora Jewish leaders could declare that Netanyahu has gone too far, and refuse to raise funds for Israel or to attend meetings with Israeli government officials.

Contrary to what some believe, international pressure works. While Israel may complain grievously about bias towards it, when push comes to shove, such pressure works in modifying Israeli behaviour – though usually not in significant ways, as Israel does the bare minimum to avoid international censure.

Regardless, a united front of western democratic governments and diaspora Jewish leaders would offer a powerful statement, defining a red line that Israel has crossed. And yet, the likelihood of this happening is almost nil. Israel is united in its determination to pursue racist, apartheid policies. The world is not united in opposing them. It dithers while Rome burns.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

‘Israel’ Acknowledges: Hezbollah Precision Missiles Pose ‘Existential Threat’«إسرائيل» تعترف: صواريخ المقاومة تهديد وجوديّ

Ali Haidar translated by Al-Manar

 March 10, 2021

For the first time, the Zionist entity officially admits that Hezbollah’s precision missiles pose ‘existential threat’ to the occupation regime, Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday.

In an article, Lebanese journalist Ali Haidar said: “What marks this acknowledgement is that it was announced by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was briefing the Knesset House Committee, in a statement that is pre-written statement.”

The statement can be considered as a conclusion by decision makers in the Zionist entity on their estimation of the nature of Hezbollah’s retaliation to any possible Israeli aggression, Haidar noted.

“During a Knesset session discussing a draft law on ‘honoring’ Lebanese collaborators with Israeli enemy, Gantz said that Hezbollah’s precision missiles pose, with both quantity and quality, an existential threat to ‘Israel’,” the journalist, who is specialized with Zionist affairs wrote in Al-Akhbar.

Such remarks indicate the Israeli occupation’s acknowledgment of the nature of the change that emerged while talking on the “equation of power,” Haidar said, noting that they also indicate the Zionist decision makers’ concerns about Hezbollah and the Axis of Resistance’s rising capabilities in confronting the Israeli enemy.

The remarks by the Israeli DM also imply an Israeli acknowledgement that Hezbollah “is already done” with developing precision missiles, as announced by the Lebanese Resistance leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in 2018, according to the journalist.

“This indicates that ‘Israel’ has been now adapted to the fact that Hezbollah managed to cross the red line set by the occupation regime on the issue of precision missile.”

On the other hand, Haidar noted that such acknowledgement doesn’t contradict with Israeli attempts to invest with such threat in order to send messages “internally and externally.”

“Internally, Israeli officials try to justify the occupation’s offensive retreat so far, as they also attempt to prepare the Israeli public to accept the high price which will be paid by the Israeli military in case of any confrontation,” Haidar wrote.

On the external message delivered by the Zionist entity, the journalist considered that the Israeli enemy often doesn’t acknowledge existential threats. “However, Israelis have realized that equations set before Hezbollah’s precision missiles are totally different from those equations set after developing precision missile.”

The journalist also highlighted that the term “existential threat” indicates that Hezbollah’s precision missile also pose strategic threat to the so-called Israeli national security “in the present equations and not in the future ones.”

“This acknowledgment reveals how much Hezbollah’s capabilities represent threats to Israeli decision makers,” Haidar concluded his article.

Source: Al-Akhbar Lebanese daiy

«إسرائيل» تعترف: صواريخ المقاومة تهديد وجوديّ

الأخبار

«إسرائيل» تعترف: صواريخ المقاومة تهديد وجوديّ
(أ ف ب )

علي حيدر

الأربعاء 10 آذار 2021

للمرة الأولى، تقرّ «إسرائيل»، رسمياً، بأن الصواريخ الدقيقة التي يمتلكها حزب الله تشكّل «خطراً وجودياً على إسرائيل». ما يضفي على هذا الموقف خصوصية إضافية أنّ من أقرّ به هو وزير الأمن المسؤول عن الجيش، وأن هذا الموقف يعدّ خلاصة تقدير جهات القرار في كيان العدوّ لطبيعة ردود الحزب على أيّ عدوان على لبنان، يمكن أن تتورط فيه إسرائيل نتيجة تقديرات خاطئة

خصوصية الاعتراف الإسرائيلي، الأول من نوعه، بـ«الخطر الوجودي» لصواريخ حزب الله الدقيقة، أنه جاء على لسان المسؤول الأول عن جيش العدو أمام الحكومة والمجلس الوزاري المصغّر والرأي العام. والأهم أنه لم يأت رداً على سؤال صحافي محرج، أو نتيجة عدم الدقة في التعبير خلال سجال، بل عبّر عنه وزير الأمن بني غانتس في كلمة معدّة سابقاً، وأمام الهيئة العامة للكنيست، في سياق نقاش لتعديل قانون عملاء جيش أنطوان لحد وأسرهم من أجل منحهم «وسام المعركة».

غانتس أقرّ بأن الصواريخ الدقيقة التي يمتلكها حزب الله تشكل، في مرحلة من مراحل تطورها كمّاً ونوعاً، «خطراً وجودياً على إسرائيل». ومهّد لهذا الموقف غير المسبوق، بالحديث عن سعي حزب الله إلى تعظيم قدراته الصاروخية مدى ودقةً، مؤكداً أن «إسرائيل» لن تسمح بهذا التعاظم «بشكل يصبح خطراً وجودياً» عليها.
وإلى ما ينطوي عليه هذا الموقف من إقرار على لسان وزير جيش العدو، فإنه يكشف أيضاً عن أكثر من رسالة وتقدير إزاء معادلات الكباش المحتدم بين حزب الله وكيان العدو ونتائجه، على المستويين الاستخباري والردعي، وفي مجال سباق تطور القدرات. كما يؤشر، صراحةً، الى إقرار جيش العدو وقيادته السياسية بحجم التحوّل الذي طرأ على معادلة القوة، وإلى المخاوف التي تهيمن على مؤسسة القرار السياسي والأمني إزاء مستقبل تطوّر قدرات حزب الله ومحور المقاومة في مواجهة الأخطار التي يُشكِّلها كيان العدو، وفي تعزيز معادلة الردع الإقليمي.

لم يكن حزب الله لينجح في تحقيق هذا الإنجاز الاستراتيجي في سياق المعركة الدائرة مع كيان العدو، بأجهزته العسكرية والاستخبارية، لولا أنه انطلق من رؤية عميقة ودقيقة للبيئة الاستراتيجية التي يتحرك فيها، بشقيها الخارجي والداخلي، ولولا أنه واجه استراتيجية العدو الإسرائيلي، ومعه الولايات المتحدة، باستراتيجية مضادة يمكن رسم بعض معالمها من خلال الوقائع والأداء سابقاً وحالياً. أيّ عملية بناء وتطوير للقدرات الصاروخية والعسكرية في مواجهة عدوّ متفوّق كمّاً ونوعاً، ويشكل تهديداً استراتيجياً ووجودياً، لم تكن لتتحقّق لولا دقّة الأولويات التي تبنّتها مقاومة حزب الله، ووفّرت لها المظلّة التي تحتاج إليها لتطوير قدراتها الدفاعية والردعية، مع الالتزام التام بكل مقتضياتها المحلية والإقليمية.

ففي مواجهة خيارات العدو العملانية الوقائية، تحت عنوان «المعركة بين الحروب»، نجح حزب الله أيضاً في إرساء معادلة ردع كبحت جيش العدو عن شنّ اعتداءات تهدف الى إرباك عملية تطوير القدرات العسكرية والصاروخية. ومن البديهي أن كل ذلك لم يكن لينجح، أيضاً، لولا الحصانة الاستخبارية التي نجح حزب الله في فرضها على كل هذا المسار، إلى حدّ إقرار وزير الأمن الإسرائيلي السابق نفتالي بينت بأنّ «إسرائيل لم تكن على علم بـ 80% من عمليات نقل الصواريخ إلى حزب الله في لبنان» (الأخبار ــــ الخميس 13 شباط 2020). وفي هذا، أظهر حزب الله إبداعاً في مواجهة التفوّق التكنولوجي والعسكري للعدوّ، وفي ظلّ ما يتمتّع به الأخير من تحالفات إقليمية ودولية توفّر له الدعم الاستخباري والعملياتي في مواجهة محور المقاومة، ومن ضمنه حزب الله.

الاعتراف الإسرائيلي إقرار بتجاوز ما سبق أن اعتبره قادة العدو «خطاً أحمر»


معالم الاستراتيجية التي غيَّر حزب الله ــــ بحسن تطبيقها ــــ معادلات القوة مع كيان العدو، أجملها قائد المنطقة الشمالية، اللواء أمير برعام، بشكل صريح، عندما أقرّ بأنّ من سبقوه في منصبه، فشلوا في إحباط عملية تطوير قدرات حزب الله، لأنهم «لم يروا كينونة الموضوع» (مقابلة مع صحيفة «إسرائيل اليوم»، يوآف ليمور، 17/9/2020). بهذا، اعترف برعام بنجاح حزب الله في تضليل قادة العدو وأجهزته السياسية والاستخبارية على المستويات الاستراتيجية والعملياتية والتكتيكية، في كل ما يتعلق بخطته لتطوير قدراته المتنوعة. بعبارة أكثر دقة، لم ينجح قادة العدو وأجهزته الاستخبارية في قراءة وتقدير المدى الذي يمكن أن يبلغه الحزب في تطوير قدراته، ولا في اكتشاف الخطة التي نفّذها على مدى السنوات الماضية، رغم أنه كان منخرطاً في مواجهة تهديدات وجودية للمقاومة ولبنان والمنطقة.

تجدر الإشارة الى أن عدم إدراك قادة جيش العدو لـ«كينونة» مشروع حزب الله وخطّته والمسار الذي انتهجه، بلغ مرحلة بات فيها يُقيِّد مفاعيل تفوّق جيش العدو النوعي في أكثر من مجال. وهو الهمّ الذي أعلنه رئيس أركان الجيش أفيف كوخافي، في أول جلسة لهيئة أركان الجيش بعد تولّيه منصبه (16/2/2019)، عندما حذّر من تداعيات نجاح حزب الله في تقليص «الفجوة بينه وبين الجيش الإسرائيلي الذي عليه التحرّك لتغيير المسار وبسرعة…».

في سياق متصل، تجدر الإشارة، أيضاً، الى أن إقرار غانتس بحجم التهديد الذي يمثّله تطوّر قدرات صواريخ حزب الله الدقيقة على الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي ووجود «إسرائيل»، ينطوي على إقرار، بمفعول رجعي، بما أعلنه الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله عام 2018، عن «إنجاز» الأمر في ما يتعلّق بامتلاك الصواريخ الدقيقة. كما يكشف عن مستوى من تكيّف إسرائيل وتسليمها، حتى الآن، بنجاح الحزب في تجاوز ما سبق أن اعتبره قادة العدو «خطاً أحمر» يُمنع تجاوزه.

ولا يتعارض هذا الإقرار ورسائله مع محاولة العدو توظيف هذا التقدير حول الطابع الوجودي لصواريخ حزب الله الدقيقة، في أكثر من اتجاه. على المستوى الداخلي، من الطبيعي أن تعمد قيادة العدو الى تبرير انكفائها عن المبادرة العملانية حتى الآن، في وقت تتحدث فيه عن استمرار تعاظم القدرات النوعية للحزب. وعلى خط مواز، تعمل على تهيئة جمهورها لتقبّل الأثمان التي ستدفعها الجبهة الداخلية في أيّ مواجهة مفترضة. بذلك، فإن غانتس يدعو الجمهور الى التواضع في تحديد سقف توقّعاته إزاء ما يمكن أن يحقّقه الجيش على المستوى العملياتي. ومن الواضح أنّ هذا الإقرار ينطوي، أيضاً، على توجيه رسائل إلى الخارج، بأنّ «إسرائيل» عادة لا تسلّم بالتهديدات الوجودية… لكنّ كيان العدو، بكل أجهزته يدرك أن معادلات ما قبل الصواريخ الدقيقة تختلف جذرياً عما بعدها. وهذه الحقيقة سبق أن أقرّ بها رأس الهرم السياسي، بنيامين نتنياهو، عندما كان لا يزال يراهن على إمكانية إحباط تطوير قدرات حزب الله، بالقول إن امتلاك حزب الله صواريخ موجّهة ودقيقة يؤدّي الى «تغيير قواعد اللعبة… ويشكل خطراً كبيراً على إسرائيل» (موقع مكتب رئيس الحكومة، 10/12/2017).

يبقى مفهوم أساسي لا بدّ من إيضاحه، وهو أن «الطابع الوجودي» الذي وسم به غانتس الخطر المحدق بمستقبل إسرائيل، نتيجة امتلاك حزب الله الصواريخ الدقيقة، يؤشر أيضاً الى حجم التهديد الاستراتيجي الذي تشكّله هذه الصواريخ على الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي في المعادلات الحالية (وليس المستقبلية كما هي حال التهديد الوجودي). والأهم أن مواقف وزير الأمن التي تتّصل بما تواجهه إسرائيل من تهديدات، تعبّر عن الخلاصة التي انتهت إليها جلسات تقدير الوضع التي يعقدها مع الجيش والاستخبارات العسكرية، ومن ضمنها تقدير حجم المخاطر ومساراتها المستقبلية.

في ضوء ذلك، يكشف هذا الإقرار ــــ الخلاصة، عن حجم مفاعيل حضور قدرات حزب الله لدى جهات القرار، لجهة تقديرها لطبيعة ردود الحزب على أيّ عدوان يمكن أن تتورّط فيه إسرائيل نتيجة تقديرات خاطئة.

Iranian Defence Minister Vows to Level Tel Aviv and Haifa If Israel Makes Wrong Move Against Tehran

Source

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz earlier revealed that Tel Aviv is drafting new plans to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure if it believes that Tehran is building nuclear weapons. Gantz noted that Israel is ready to make the move even without approval from its allies or any other state.

Tehran will level two of Israel’s biggest cities if Tel Aviv tries to attack the Islamic Republic, Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami has warned.

“Sometimes, [Israel] makes big claims against the Islamic Republic of Iran out of desperation to allegedly threaten it, even though [Tel Aviv] knows […] that if it does a damn thing, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground”, Amir Hatami stated during a speech on 7 March.

Hatami stressed that Iran today possesses the means to protect the country and its “stability”. He added that Tehran also has “soft power” resources to assure the nation’s security.

Israel Draws Up New Plan for Strikes on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

The Iranian defence minister delivered his remarks in response to a recent interview by his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, with Fox News in which he revealed that Tel Aviv is updating its plans for a potential strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear infrastructure. According to the Israeli defence minister, Tel Aviv will be ready to carry out the updated plan unilaterally and without approval from its allies, if it sees signs of escalating nuclear activities in Iran.

Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of devising plans to build nuclear weapons, continuing to make the allegations even after Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear programme under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that his country’s intelligence obtained documents presumably showing that Tehran did not actually limit its nuclear activities and purportedly did not abandon plans to build a nuke.

Third stage of Israeli space launch vehicle Shavit

© CC BY-SA 3.0 / טל ענבר SHAVIT 3RD STAGEIran Asks Why Israel Gets Preferential Treatment With IAEA Despite Its Arsenal of Nukes

Iran has multiple times rejected the said allegations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, insisting on the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Senior officials in Tehran stressed that the use of nukes goes against the country’s official religion – Islam.

At the same time, Tehran pointed out the double standards of the international community and global bodies, as all eyes are on the Iranian nuclear programme, while little attention is given to similar activities in Israel. The latter, unlike Iran, has never joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and persistently refused to either confirm or deny allegations of having a nuclear arsenal.

BIOGRAPHYGordon Duff, Senior EditorSenior Editor , VTGordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

Israel And The Emirates Sign The “Abraham Accords”

Written by Thierry MEYSSAN on 25/09/2020

The situation in the Middle East has been blocked since the Oslo Accords signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993. They were supplemented by the Jericho-Gaza Agreement, which recognizes certain prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the Wadi Araba Agreements, which concluded peace between Israel and Jordan.

At the time, the Israeli government intended to separate definitively from the Palestinians. It was ready to do so by creating a Palestinian pseudo-state, devoid of several attributes of sovereignty, including an independent army and finances. Labour’s Yitzhak Rabin had previously experimented with Bantustans in South Africa, where Israel was advising the apartheid regime. Another experiment took place in Guatemala with a Mayan tribe under General Efraín Ríos Montt.

Yasser Arafat accepted the Oslo Accords to derail the process of the Madrid Conference (1991). Presidents George W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev had tried to impose peace on Israel by removing Arafat from the international scene with the support of Arab leaders.

Despite all this, many commentators believed that the Oslo Accords could bring peace.

In any case, 27 years later, nothing positive has limited the suffering of the Palestinian people, but the state of Israel has been gradually transformed from within. Today this country is divided into two antagonistic camps, as evidenced by its government, the only one in the world to have two Prime Ministers at the same time. On the one hand the partisans of British colonialism behind the first Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanhyahu, on the other hand the partisans of a normalization of the country and its relations with its neighbors, behind the second Prime Minister, Benny Gantz. This two-headed system reflects the incompatibility of these two projects. Each camp paralyzes its rival. Only time will come to end the colonial project of conquering Greater Israel from the banks of the Nile to those of the Euphrates, the comet tail of an outdated era.

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has implemented the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy aimed at adapting the US army to the needs of a new form of capitalism based no longer on the production of goods and services, but on financial engineering. To do this, they began an “endless war” of destruction of state structures throughout the “broader Middle East” without taking into account their friends and enemies. In two decades, the region became cursed for its inhabitants. Afghanistan, then Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen are the theater of wars presented as lasting a few weeks, but which last indefinitely, without perspective.

When Donald Trump was elected president, he promised to put an end to the “endless wars” and to bring US soldiers home. In this spirit, he gave carte blanche to his special adviser and nevertheless son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The fact that President Trump is supported in his country by Zionist Christians and that Jared Kushner is an Orthodox Jew has led many commentators to portray them as friends of Israel. If they do indeed have an electoral interest in letting this be believed, it is not at all their approach to the Middle East. They intend to defend the interests of the American people, and not those of the Israelis, by substituting trade relations for war on the model of President Andrew Jackson (1829-37). Jackson managed to prevent the disappearance of the Indians he had fought as a general, although only the Cherokees signed the agreement he proposed. Today they have become the largest Native American tribe, despite the infamous episode of the “Trail of Tears”.

For three years, Jared Kushner travelled through the region. He was able to see for himself how much fear and hatred had developed there. For 75 years, Israel has persisted in violating all UN resolutions that concern it and continues its slow and inexorable nibbling of Arab territory. The negotiator reached only one conclusion: International Law is powerless because almost no one – with the notable exception of Bush Sr. and Gorbachev – has wanted to really apply it since the partition plan for Palestine in 1947. Because of the inaction of the international community, its application if it were to happen today would add injustice to injustice.

Kushner worked on many hypotheses, including the unification of the Palestinian people around Jordan and the linking of Gaza to Egypt. In June 2019, he presented proposals for the economic development of the Palestinian territories at a conference in Bahrain (the “deal of the century”). Rather than negotiating anything, the idea was to quantify what everyone would gain from peace. In the end, he managed, on September 13, 2020, to get a secret agreement signed in Washington between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The agreement was formalized two days later, on September 15, in a watered-down version.”

Press in the Emirates
The press in the Emirates does not have the same version of the events as that of Israel. None of them has an interest in expressing itself frankly.

As always, the most important thing is the secret part: Israel was forced to renounce in writing its plans for annexation (including the territories allegedly “offered” by Donald Trump in the “deal of the century” project) and to let Dubai Ports World (known as “DP World”) take over the port of Haifa, from which the Chinese have just been ejected.

This agreement is in line with the ideas of the second Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz, but represents a disaster for the camp of the first Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Not having read the secret part of the agreements myself, I do not know if it clearly indicates the renunciation of annexing the Syrian Golan Heights, occupied since 1967, and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, occupied since 1982. Similarly, I do not know whether compensation is provided for the port of Beirut, since it is clear that its eventual reconstruction would be detrimental both to Israel and to the Emirates’ investments in Haifa. However, the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, has already publicly evoked a real estate construction project instead of the port of Beirut.

In order to make this treaty acceptable to all parties, it has been named “Abraham Accords”, after the common father of Judaism and Islam. The paternity was attributed, to the great joy of Benny Gantz, to the “outstretched hand” (sic) of Benjamin Netanyahu, his toughest opponent. Finally, Bahrain was associated with it.

This last point aims to mount the new regional role that Washington has granted to the Emirates in replacement of Saudi Arabia. As we announced, it is now Abu Dhabi and no longer Riyadh that represents US interests in the Arab world Other Arab states are invited to follow Bahrain’s example.

The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has not had harsh words against the Emirati “betrayal”. He was taken up both by those who remain hostile to peace (the Iranian ayatollahs) and by those who remain committed to the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution. Indeed, by formalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and the new Arab leader, the Emirates, the Abraham Accords turn the page on the Oslo Accords. The palm of hypocrisy goes to the European Union, which persists in defending international law in theory and violating it in practice.

If President Trump is re-elected and Jared Kushner continues his work, the Israeli-Emirati agreements will be remembered as the moment when Israelis and Arabs regained the right to speak to each other, just as the overthrow of the Berlin Wall marked the moment when East Germans regained the right to speak to their relatives in the West. On the contrary, if Joe Biden is elected, Israel’s nibbling of Arab territories and the “endless war” will resume throughout the region.

Relations between Israel and the Emirates had long since stabilized without a peace treaty since there was never a declared war between them. The Emirates have been secretly buying arms from the Jewish state for the past decade. Over time this trade has increased, especially in terms of telephone interceptions and internet surveillance. In addition, an Israeli embassy was already operating under cover of an intelligence agency.

In addition, an Israeli embassy was already operating under cover of a delegation to an obscure UN body in the Emirates. However, the “Abraham Accords” challenge the dominant Arab-Israeli discourse and shake up internal relations in the entire region.

Source: Voltaire Network

“Israeli” Minister: We’ll Act against Sale of F-35s to UAE, Including in US Congress

“Israeli” Minister: We’ll Act against Sale of F-35s to UAE, Including in US Congress

By Staff, Agencies

The “Israeli” entity’s so-called intelligence minister on Friday said Tel Aviv would firmly oppose the sale of F-35 fighters and other advanced weaponry to the United Arab Emirates, while continuing to deny the “Israeli” entity had given its approval – tacit or otherwise – to such a deal.

Eli Cohen told the “Israeli” Kan TV news: “We oppose [it]. We will not agree to any sale… We will act against the sale of any weaponry that will hurt ‘Israel’s’ qualitative military edge, including the F-35.”

His comments came as the entity’s Channel 12 news reported that the entity and the UAE were gearing up for a signing ceremony of their normalization agreement in Washington within the next 10 days.

But the report also said that before such a signing takes place, the UAE is demanding that “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stop making public comments against the potential arms sale.

The prime minister on Friday denied a New York Times report that again claimed he had given his okay to the weapons deal, which Washington appears keen to carry out.

Cohen backed the premier, telling Kan: “I was at the cabinet meetings. Today I spoke with the prime minister who said unequivocally that there is no agreement and he didn’t give an okay.”

Cohen asserted that such reports were concocted by “people on the left who find it hard to see ‘Israel’ manage to make an agreement of peace for peace” rather than in exchange for security concessions.

Asked if “Israeli” would seek to oppose the passage of such an arms deal when it comes to the US Congress for approval, through lobbyist groups such as the American “Israel” Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], Cohen answered in the affirmative.

As for the signing ceremony, the Channel 12 report said one date floated as a possibility is September 13 – the 27th anniversary of the White House signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords between the entity and the Palestinians. Such timing could serve Netanyahu’s narrative of changing the paradigm of land for peace.

This week saw and “Israeli” delegation make a historic trip to Abu Dhabi on an El Al flight to continue work on the normalization agreement. But it also saw continued controversy over the US-UAE weapons deal that appears according to multiple reports to be part of the package.

Netanyahu again denied Friday that he had removed opposition to the sale, after a New York Times report on Thursday said the premier privately stopped opposing the sale of the planes to Abu Dhabi, despite repeated public assurances that he is against the deal.

“Repeating a false allegation against Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make it true,” Netanyahu’s Office said in a statement. “At no point in the talks with the United States leading to the historic breakthrough with the United Arab Emirates on August 13 did the prime minister give ‘Israel’s’ consent to the sale of advanced weapons to the Emirates.”

Yesh Atid-Telem MK Moshe Ya’alon, a former minister of war under Netanyahu and “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] chief of staff, asked for the Knesset “Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee” to discuss the UAE’s purchase of F-35s.

“I intend to demand close parliamentary oversight of the strategic dialogue between ‘Israel’ and the US. This dialogue can’t be managed any longer by Netanyahu and the national security adviser [Meir Ben-Shabbat] because there’s a heavy suspicion that the decisions being made are tainted with considerations not in line with the strategic interests of ‘Israel’,” Ya’alon was quoted saying by the “Israeli” Walla news site.

The New York Times report, which cited unnamed sources involved in the talks, claimed that along with the ultra-advanced jets and Reaper drones, the deal also includes radar-blocking EA-18G Growler jets, which could erode the effectiveness of “Israel’s” air defense capabilities and put the UAE at a considerable military advantage.

The centerpiece of the deal, however, are the F-35 fighter jets, which the UAE has sought to purchase for several years. The sale has seemingly been held up due to a US commitment to protect the “Israeli” entity’s military edge in the region, which would preclude selling weapons of the same caliber to both the entity and Arab states without an okay from Tel Aviv.

A recent announcement that the UAE is normalizing ties with the entity has brought the weapons deal back to the fore, though after an “Israeli” report that linked the forging of ties with the lifting of the entity’s objection, Netanyahu insisted that he still objects to the sale and that he has repeatedly informed Washington of his opposition.

But officials told The New York Times that Netanyahu’s statements were “false.”

The report also quoted Hussein Ibish, a researcher at Washington’s Arab Gulf States Institute, who said officials from the US, UAE and the “Israeli” entity all told him Netanyahu gave the weapons deal a green light.

Netanyahu told the Emiratis that “there would not be substantive and categorical opposition,” he said.

While the Emirates initially reacted angrily to Netanyahu’s comments against the deal, US officials have since made clear to them that the sale remains on the table and Netanyahu’s comments were intended to soothe a public outcry over the sale, according to the report.

Among those who have expressed concern over the weapons deal is Minister of War Benny Gantz, who was kept out of the loop on normalization efforts with the UAE, but has since spoken out strongly against the sale. His ministry would normally be given the task of vetting any proposed sales to determine the entity’s position.

US officials and some Netanyahu allies insist that the jets would not erode the entity’s edge as they would be used to defend against the common enemy of Iran, as well as the fact that the UAE and the “Israeli” entity are now moving to cement their alliance. But others fear that the planes could be passed to another country or be used against the entity by Abu Dhabi should the region’s complicated network of alliances and enemies shift significantly.

Media commentators have noted that with US and “Israeli” officials touting further potential normalization deals with Oman, Bahrain, Sudan and even Saudi Arabia, a sale of advanced weapons to the UAE could set a precedent for further such regional deals, eroding the entity’s military advantage.

Abu Dhabi has indicated that while there is no direct link between the diplomatic initiative and the arms sales, normalization with the “Israeli” entity should make it easier to push the deal through.

Netanyahu has touted the UAE’s decision to establish open ties with the entity as the crowning achievement of his years of diplomatic work aimed at opening up the Gulf to the entity. “Israelis” have generally welcomed the deal, which came with an “Israeli” promise to suspend plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Military Escalation in the Middle East: Is Israel Planning a Multi-Front War against Its Arab Neighbors?

Source

 July 31, 2020

If you watch the US mainstream media’s 24 hour news coverage on recent events around the world no matter what time of the day it is, Covid-19 and China dominate the headlines while ignoring recent escalations in the Middle East involving Israel and its Arab neighbors as they come closer to another war in an already devastated region.

The Times of Israel reported that the Israeli government

“sent a message to Hezbollah warning the Lebanese terror group against any retaliatory action in response to the killing of one of the organization’s fighters in an airstrike in Syria on Monday night, which was attributed to Israel.”

According to various reports, Israel has killed one of Hezbollah’s fighters Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad in another cross-border attack in Syria last week and now fears that Hezbollah will retaliate, but Israel’s military and intelligence community has issued a statement aimed at Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria warning them not to retaliate considering that Israel would most likely launch a multi-front attack on all entities involved. The report said that “the airstrike attributed to Israel on Monday night hit weapons depots and military positions belonging to Syrian regime forces and Iran-backed militia fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.”

For the record, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is a UK government funded pro-opposition group to the Assad Government. In a statement by the Israeli army, “The IDF holds the Syrian regime responsible for the fire against Israel earlier today” and that “the IDF will continue operating with determination and will respond to any violation of Israeli sovereignty.” What was revealing was an unannounced meeting between the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and Israel’s top military leaders including Defense Minister Benny Gantz:

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, made an unannounced visit to Israel, meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi and Mossad director Yossi Cohen, along with other top brass. 

Israeli television commentators speculated on the possible significance of the visit, particularly regarding the threat posed by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah. “In light of a situational assessment in the IDF and in accordance with the Northern Command’s defense plan, the IDF’s deployment will change in both the military and civilian arena. with the goal of strengthening defenses along the northern border,” the IDF said in the statement. In a tacit threat, the IDF preemptively warned Beirut that it sees the state of Lebanon as “responsible for all actions emanating from Lebanon”

Something big is about to take place as the IDF “cleared some troops out of positions directly along the border, moving them deeper into Israel, so that they would not represent a clear target for Hezbollah, while still allowing them to defend the frontier” according to the report.

However, Milley’s visit at the Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel is significant according to another report by the Times of Israel ‘US military chief visits Israel to talk regional threats, amid tensions in north’ stating that “the visit came at a time of heightened tensions with Iran and its allies across the Middle East.” General Milley was briefed by Israel’s Intelligence agencies including Mossad and Israel’s military intelligence unit, Aman on the threat they face from Iran and its allies. After the briefing, Gantz declared that “the need to continue the pressure on Iran and its proxies that threaten regional and global stability” signaling to it’s neighboring enemies “not” to test Israel.

Lebanon has two major problems to deal with besides another catastrophic war, for starters it has a severe economic crisis with a collapsing currency.

The other problem is their newly discovered offshore oil and gas reserves which the US and Israel would love to get their hands on. Lebanon’s offshore oil reserves is estimated to be at 865 million barrels and has gas reserves that range from 25 trillion cubic feet (an estimate published in 2018 by the Chatham House which is part of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a think tank based in London) to 96 trillion cubic feet in 2013, an estimate claimed by the Lebanese Energy Minister at the time, Gebran Bassil. Either way, Lebanon hosts Hezbollah on its territory and has discovered an abundance of natural resources in its offshore territories, its a prime target for Israel and the US.

War Will Begin in the Middle East, Not Asia?

The recent incident involving Iran’s Mahan air passenger plane traveling from Tehran to Beirut over Syria and a US F-14 fighter jet who apparently came dangerously close to the plane according to Iranian media is a sign of aggression that sends a message to Iran and its allies including Hezbollah that the US and Israel is prepared for war. Israel does not want Washington to focus on China since the upcoming US elections are months away and Israel is not sure what is going to happen come this November with Trump and his pro-Israel administration. Israel cannot afford to have Washington start a new war with China so for the time being tensions between the US and China will lead to a new Cold War 2.0.

The Middle East is an important region that remains a strategic part of the world’s economy with its valuable natural resources, a fact too important to ignore for western Big Oil interests and Israel. The meeting between US and Israeli military officials is significant and should be taken seriously, but the world is consumed with news on Covid-19 and China. Another Middle East war can happen either before or after the November elections and that depends on how desperate Israel becomes. Israel can pull Washington’s strings and ignite a war between the US and Iran before the situation intensifies in the South China Sea.

While the world is occupied by a virus and the tensions in the South China Sea continue between the US and China and an upcoming Presidential election, a new conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors is a real possibility, making it one of the most dangerous periods in human history.


By Timothy Alexander Guzman
Source: Silent Crow News

US-ISRAEL MEETING: WHEN IS THE HEZBOLLAH RESPONSE EXPECTED?

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The last time that the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, visited Israel was shortly before the assassination of Major General Qassim Soleimani at Baghdad Airport. General Milley re-visited Israel a few days ago and met with Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the chief of staff Aviv Kochavi, and Mossad Director Yossi Cohen. The visit, which lasted for a few hours in the context of “confronting Iran and its allies in the Middle East, especially the threat posed by the Lebanese Hezbollah”, may be announcing a “hotter” summer. The topics were Iran but also the dangerous escalation between Hezbollah and Israel. Israel has removed forces along the Lebanese borders and deployed tanks and artillery brigades. Is this an act of intimidation or a mere precaution? Are the US and Israel preparing to ignite a war and change the rules of engagement? Are these defensive or offensive measures? And when will Hezbollah respond by selecting an IDF target to kill?

On Monday, Israel opened fire against a suspected movement in the occupied Shebaa Farms that turned out to be the apprehension and the excess of security procedures by the Israeli deployed troops along the Lebanese borders. It is inevitable for a nervous army waiting to be attacked, knowing that this government will accept the losses and turn the page, to fire against an non-existing enemy.” Hezbollah said “Israel was firing against an imaginary enemy and will be held accountable for damaging a Lebanese house during the Israeli artillery bombing of Lebanese territory, triggered by fear of a Hezbollah’s retaliation”. Hezbollah ended its communique’ saying to Israel: “Wait for the punishment”.

However embarrassing the incident is, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked “all ministers should avoid releasing any information about the event”. Netanyahu also stated that he would hold “Lebanon and Syria responsible for any attack,” and that he is “ready to respond if soldiers are hit.” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said, “any action that violates our sovereignty will be met with a strong response. We advise our enemies not to test us.” Israeli chief of staff Kochavi visited the border with Lebanon and told the commanders of the 91st Brigade, preparing for a possible retaliatory operation (reinforced by the Golani Brigade), that “tensions will continue in the coming days; Hezbollah will respond before Eid al-Adha,” celebrated by Muslims this Thursday.

Kochavi’s words are mere speculation: in fact, the decision is in the hands of Hezbollah, not Israel. The Chief of Staff is attempting to reassure Israeli soldiers that the state of alert, with them hiding inside their barracks, will not last long. According to a well-informed source, Hezbollah’s response will not follow Kochavi’s timing, thus excluding this week. It

By sending a message through UNIFIL, Israel not only recognized the superiority of Hezbollah but that it has definitely lost the balance of deterrence, probably permanently. Israel admitted that it was unable to impose its own rules of engagement and is being subjected to the balance of terror imposed by Hezbollah. The Israeli intensification of sorties by drones and warplanes is a psychological effort to dissuade Hezbollah from striking “comfortably”, and to avoid heating up the frontline. However, speaking from decades of experience, the source considers that “when the decision is taken to hit an Israeli target, all these Israeli measures will be disregarded. “

For now, Hezbollah has decided … to remain silent.

Proofread by:   Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

‘Israeli’ Security Establishment: Hezbollah SG ’Getting on Our Nerves’

‘Israeli’ Security Establishment: Hezbollah SG ’Getting on Our Nerves’

By Staff

‘Israeli’ War Minister Benny Gantz ordered on Monday evening the Chiefs of Staff to keep up high readiness and preparedness along the norther borders fearing from Hezbollah operations, after the Lebanese resistance movement announced that the account with ‘Israel’ is still open.

According to ‘Israeli’ Walla! News website claims: “The ‘Israeli’ security establishment doesn’t only fear operations from the Lebanese side, but also from inside the Syrian territories where Hezbollah operates under a secret cover codenamed within the intelligence as the ‘Golan portfolio’, where it founded an infrastructure in Damascus and the villages of al-Hadhar and al-Quneitra in the Golan Heights.”

Meanwhile, sources within the ‘Israeli’ security establishment estimated that “although the ‘Israeli’ army avoided a security deterioration in the region on Monday, yet Hezbollah Secretary General [His Eminence Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah has scored an achievement in pressurizing ‘Israel’, and he is getting on the ‘Israelis’ nerves away from media noises.

The same sources went on to say that Sayyed Nasrallah has caught more the ‘Israeli’ nervous system, adding that he won’t send delegates to transfer information or make statements.

Relatively, preserving a large number of troops in the north is one of the challenges the ‘Israeli’ army is facing, no to mention maintaining practical readiness and preparedness all the time, according to Walla!.

The website further noted that officials inside the intelligence branch will demand an analysis for the regional reality, Hezbollah’s behavior, and the situation on the ground to study the changes to learn whether Hezbollah fighters will return to their routine or continue preparing themselves for an additional operation against the ‘Israeli’ army on the border.

It is expected that an estimation session will be held on Tuesday between Gantz and Chief of Staffs Aviv Kochavi to discuss the security situation in the region in wake of the letter launched by Gantz to Hezbollah, Syria and Iran that threats won’t deter the army from “operating in all required places, whether near or far.”

Increasing readiness and ‘additional’ reinforcements

In parallel, Zionist sources discussed ‘Israeli’ media reports that the occupation army doubled its preparedness on the border regions via additional military reinforcements in the course of getting ready to any possible Hezbollah retaliatory operation.

As part of those steps, security officials in the ‘Israeli’ settlements along the border won’t make patrols late at night for fears of being exposed to an attack by Hezbollah members.

Additionally, the enemy’s government Secretary General ordered ministers not to make any statements regarding the latest security incident.

If not for the Arab collusion, the annexation plan would not have been passed: Palestinian expert

Source

By Mohammad Mazhari

July 19, 2020 – 20:4

TEHRAN – A Palestinian analyst believes that the Arab collusion provided an opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to take steps toward the annexation of the occupied West Bank.

“The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan,” Zakarya Al-Ahmad tells the Tehran Times. 

He argues that if it was not for the Arab collusion, Israel would not have embarked on annexing the West Bank.

Following is the text of the interview:

Question: What are the reasons that some Israeli parties oppose the annexation of the occupied West Bank?

Answer: Here are three types of opposition to the annexation plan inside Israel. The first one is supported by the left-wing parties that talk about a peaceful solution for Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  Labor Party adopts this approach, but they are in the minority. 

The other critic of the annexation plan is the religious Zionists, especially the leaders of settlements. They believe that the West Bank is part of Israel, and therefore merely annexing parts of this area is not enough, and here lies the dispute over the scope of annexation.

The third group comprises of moderate parties, such as Blue and White and its allies. This party opposes annexation based on its leftist background and believes that it can lead to strategic problems in their relations with the Palestinian Authority and the U.S.

They call for harmony with the U.S. and the international community, emphasizing that the annexation without American approval, may result in problems at international level.

Q: Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned Benny Gantz that he would either have to accept the annexation plan or hold early elections. Do you think that annexation would lead to the collapse of the Israeli government?

A: As for Netanyahu’s warning to Benny Gantz, I rule out that it will lead to the collapse of the government for two reasons: The first reason is that Netanyahu actually works within the U.S. framework, and this is the reason for a delay in annexation, and therefore when he wants to take a step or take a final decision concerning annexation, he will consider into account Washington’s agreement, and Benny Gantz has no problem in this regard. The second reason is that Benny Gantz will be a loser in case of dissolving the coalition government for an important cause. 

If new elections are held, Netanyahu will win with a greater difference, given that the coalition or the powerful bloc (the Blue-White bloc) that had re-run the elections three times disintegrated after Benny Gantz joined the government and defected from his alliance with Yair Lapid.

Benny Gantz has no chance to win if he enters the election race, and so far he has no achievement on the ground. His coalition disintegrated, and he will lose if he competes Netanyahu, according to opinion polls.  Benjamin Netanyahu is able to win more than 40 seats in the Knesset, and he can form a government with right-wing parties.

Q: How do you see the positions of Western countries and international institutions toward the annexation plan? Will it affect relations between the European Union and the Zionist regime?
A: With regard to the positions of the European Union and international institutions, the important point is that European countries often limit themselves to condemning and objecting, but nothing will translate into action. Three cases proved this approach during the last period: The first case is the annexation of the Golan and recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The second case is moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the third point is the “Deal of the Century.”
“If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.”There was indeed opposition from some Western countries and international institutions, but it was not translated into real policy. 
Consequently, he does not believe that these international institutions can change the annexation decision or prevent Israel from implementing the plan, or imposing sanctions on Israel. 
In addition, even if these institutions could change something, Israel possibly would be affected minimally. Still, soon Israeli diplomacy will restore balance to relations, and relations with these institutions will recover. Since Israeli diplomacy is rooted in these institutions, it cannot be affected in the long run.
During the past years, the European Union was against settlement and imposed sanctions on the settlements and their products, but Israel continued to build many Jewish settlements and did not stop, on the contrary accelerated it.
Q: What will be the reaction of the Palestinian factions if the West Bank is annexed? Do you expect a new uprising?
A: The Palestinian factions threatened that the annexation plan would be considered declaring a war. It may be an escalation, but it will not lead to a comprehensive war. 
I believe that the Palestinian factions are not interested in entering an all-out war because any war will be disastrous, and post-war is more complicated than before, and will not prevent Israel from taking the annexation step.
In the event the Palestinian factions respond, the responses may be limited, but to enter into a comprehensive confrontation, in my estimation, is not in their interest.
 The Intifada (vast uprising) is linked to an issue; the decision of the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority. One of the most significant obstacles that undermine the Intifada in the West Bank is the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This obstacle has long prevented the Palestinian resistance from achieving any progress and execution of any operations against Israel in the West Bank.
“The Arab countries are an essential part of ‘deal of the century’.”The second point is intelligence penetration or Israeli intelligence control of the West Bank.
 If the Palestinian Authority decided to confront Israel and let the people resist on their own, I think we can expect a new Intifada.
Indeed, we can bet on the continuation of individual operations with an individual weapon. This can give a result, but it needs continuity and media support against Israel and help and sponsor the families of the people who resist Israel, especially since most of these families are subject to the demolition of their houses and harassment.
The resistance is facing a difficult situation in the West Bank because of the policies exercised by the Palestinian Authority. Still, if Fatah decides to push and invite people to uprising and give them a weapon in order to carry out operations, at my discretion, that could lead to problems for Israel and will bring a long-term achievement, or at least they will send a message to the world that there are resistance groups who stand in the face of this occupier racist regime.
Q:  How do you evaluate the attitudes of Arab countries towards the annexation plan?
A: If it was not for certain Arab states’ consistency with the Israeli vision, the Zionist regime would not have actually dared to take such a step. 
The Arab countries are an essential part of the “deal of the century,” and the annexation comes in this context, and it is not separate from this deal. There are some distinct stances, but they are fragile. One of these positions which may affect the American administration is Jordan’s position, but can Jordan continue to oppose the annexation plan? 
In my opinion, it will not be able to continue. The question is that can Jordan cancel the peace agreement or at least overlook some provisions of the peace process? I think it is not easy because of its relationship with the international community and U.S. influence and its miserable internal economic situation. In the best condition Jordan can allow a flow of arms to Palestinian factions in the West Bank.
Nevertheless, the annexation plan will eliminate the possibility of forming a Palestinian state, and Jordan will bear the burden of displaced Palestinians from the West Bank in the future. 
Although it has been said that the annexation is partial in this phase, on the strategic level, Israel will not give up a single inch in the West Bank due to (the so-called) religious and strategic considerations. In fact, it will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.
 The alternative is displacing the Palestinians and forcing them to go to Jordan. In this case, Jordan will face a big problem.
So Jordan’s opposition comes from this point of view. But can it stand alone? In my opinion, it will not be able to stand alone.


The Arab reality is catastrophic, and this provided a window and opportunity for Israel to take advantage of some influential Arab countries to pass the annexation plan. If not for the Arab collusion, it would not have passed this plan.

’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion – Report

Source

’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion - Report

By Staff, Agencies

‘Israel’ is responsible for the explosion that took place at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site on July 2nd, by means of a “powerful bomb”, The New York Times [NYT] reported, citing an unnamed source described as a Middle East intelligence official.

According to the NYT source, the incident is not connected with other explosions that took place in Iran earlier, in particular a blast near Tehran’s Parchin military complex, which some reports have suggested is a missile production facility.

Relatively, former US national security adviser John Bolton questioned whether the recent explosions could have been connected and represented “a precursor of a larger attack”.

The NYT also cited a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC], who confirmed the explosive at the Natanz site, adding that investigators “have considered the possibility” that “a cruise missile or a drone” was used to attack Natanz, but saw a bomb scenario as more likely.

“The episode will probably accelerate plans to move more of Iran’s most sensitive facilities underground”, the IRGC member reportedly said.

The damage caused by the incident was described by Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as “significant”, noting that it could slow the development of cutting-edge uranium enriching centrifuges.

The cause of the incident has not yet been officially confirmed, but some reports suggest that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] has determined the reason behind the episode, and the facts will be announced “at a proper time”.

Iran also announced plans to replace the damaged Natanz site with a larger building with more advanced equipment.

Responding to unconfirmed media reports that suggest Tel Aviv’s involvement, Zionist war minister Benny Gantz stated that “not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us”, however he repeated that “nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region”.

Iran has consistently stated that it does not aim to develop a nuclear weapon, outlining that the goals of the country’s nuclear program are exclusively peaceful.

Netanyahu and Covid19

 

BY GILAD ATZMON

netantahu  and Crona.jpg

FNA*: Netanyahu was very quick to administrate a lockdown at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel. Was Covid-19 his only reason for the lockdown?

 Gilad: You are tapping here into a crucial aspect of the Covid 19 affair which none of the Western media has been brave enough to look into. As early as March 12, the Israeli PM announced nationwide school closures and urged the formation of an emergency unity government to “save the lives of tens of thousands” of Israelis from the coronavirus, Netanyahu presented a profoundly stark assessment in which there would be “tens of millions of deaths” worldwide unless the pandemic was stopped.  Political analysts who follow Netanyahu closely immediately understood that Netanyahu desperately needed the pandemic and the hysteria around it. And it is clear that the Israeli PM managed to utilize the corona crisis to serve his cause. He postponed his trial. He formed a large unity government and practically destroyed both his rival party (Blue & White) and its leader Benny Gantz.  So it was no surprise that once Netanyahu was finally able to form his unity government, Israel was relieved of its lockdown: Israelis were free to enjoy the sun again. Far more peculiar is the fact that the rest of us needed Netanyahu to form his government so that our leaders would also allow us to enjoy the blue sky.

FNA: The political deadlock came to an end with the formation of an emergency cabinet to address the coronavirus outbreak. Why did Netanyahu unite with his forever rival Benny Gantz after they competed with him for power for over a year? Why did he make such an abrupt political u-turn?

Gilad: We are often misled into believing that the Jewish state is a pluralist political entity divided between Left and Right political blocks. The truth can’t be further. The Jewish State is a hard-core nationalist entity. It is institutionally discriminatory. It differentiates racially between Jews and the indigenous people of the land.

Though it seemed for a while that the Israeli Knesset was divided between Netanyahu’s block and the so called ‘centre Left block,’ the vast majority of the Knesset Members within the so called Centre Left block are actually to the right of Netanyahu.  This applies to Avigdor Lieverman and his party. Many of the Blue & White’s politicians, some of them war criminals, ended up in Netanyahu’s government. Even the Labour party is ardently right wing in its approach to the Israeli Arab conflict. In Israel there is only one left party that upholds universal and ethical philosophy. It is called the United Arab List.    

FNA: When all of the courts, including the court in which his case was pending, were closed as a measure to counter the coronavirus outbreak, Netanyahu formed a unity cabinet,  became  Prime Minister and was granted immunity against the court’s decision in his case. Do you believe that at some point in the future justice will be served, and he will be held accountable for the allegations of bribery and favouritism? 

Gilad: I am not so sure how valid or serious the bribery and favouritism allegations are against Netanyahu. I can tell you that Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are by far more grave than Netanyahu’s cigar consumption. I would like to add here that I believe that it was Netanyahu’s early and radical reaction to the coronavirus that defined the tone and policies of many Western governments. Since we still do not know the origin of coronavirus, what it is all about, I tend to believe in the possibility that the current health crisis is the result of a military affair. If there is any basis for such an assumption, Israel amongst just a few other countries is a major suspect. I do believe that the constant havoc that we see in the world at the moment is there to divert attention from crucial questions to do with the crisis and its possible origin. 

True scrutiny of the criminal possible aspects involved with the pandemic is overdue, as the notorious virus clearly hasn’t killed as many millions as Netanyahu predicted in early March. 

  • An interview conducted by Iran’s FNA

“Greater Israel” in the Making: Netanyahu Regime’s Illegal Annexation Scheme Nears Implementation

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, June 24, 2020

Trump’s unlawful Deal of the Century scheme green-lighted Israeli annexation of illegally established settlements on stolen Palestinian land and the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu earlier vowed to press ahead with annexation. 

Reportedly on or around July 1, he’ll initially announce the annexation of what the Times of Israel called “three West Bank (settlement) blocs,” not the Jordan Valley for now, adding:

“Well-placed sources told The Times of Israel last week that the joint mapping committee tasked with delineating the contours of the annexation move still had weeks if not months of work, and the IDF has not been told precisely what Netanyahu has in mind.”

For starters, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, three large settlements, will be annexed in the coming days, ruling coalition partner Benny Gantz reportedly going along with what’s clearly a flagrant breach of international law.

According to the broadsheet, there’s “relative consensus, domestically and in Washington,” to making the move.

Or is there? The Times of Israel added the following:

“The US initially said it would recognize annexation immediately, but subsequently appears to have at the very least tempered its enthusiasm for the controversial move before the joint mapping committee can complete its work.”

“The (Trump regime) is highly unlikely to approve an Israeli move to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank by the July 1 date envisioned by Netanyahu,” according to an unnamed “well-placed source.”

Annexation of historic Palestinian land in whole or in part will formally end the two-state illusion — what long ago was possible, clearly not now.

Trump regime hardliners are on board with the most extremist of Netanyahu regime policies — time and again blaming victims of US/NATO/Israeli high crimes for what’s committed against them.

At most, Trump and Pompeo et al may only press Netanyahu to slow, not abandon, illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

It’s highly unlikely that Biden will soften US policy toward long-suffering Palestinians if he succeeds Trump in January.

Throughout his time as US senator and vice president, he one-sidedly supported Israel, including three preemptive wars on Gaza based on Big Lies.

On June 16 at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and four Palestinian human rights groups discussed the illegality of Israel’s annexation scheme.

They warned that it’ll “normalize Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation,” adding:

“The Israeli plan would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm, and Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

On the same day, 47 UN special rapporteurs denounced the annexation scheme as “a vision of 21st century apartheid.”

A presentation by Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ international advocacy officer Nada Awad to the UNHRC on behalf of Adalah and the four Palestinian human rights groups said the following:

“Last month, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel swore in a new government seemingly committed to formally annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) in the West Bank in July, in a blatant violation of international law.”

“This annexation, part of the so-called Trump-Netanyahu ‘Deal of the Century’ and the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition agreement, normalizes Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation.”

“The principles of this plan are enshrined in Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Basic Law enacted in July 2018.”

“This law established a constitutional order based on systematic ethnic supremacy, domination, and segregation in the so-called ‘Land of Israel’ and the denial of the realization of national self-determination for the Palestinian people.”

“Article 7 of this law provides that Jewish settlement is a national value to be encouraged and strengthened, giving the state authorities further constitutional legal tools to justify the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.”

“This law intends to justify as constitutional segregation in land and housing that targets all Palestinians in historic Palestine, including Palestinians citizens of Israel, who have suffered decades of systematic oppression.”

“Annexation would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm.”

“In this context, Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.”

“We call on the UN and the international community to call for the dismantling of all settlements, to vehemently oppose any annexation, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.”

Separately, Adalah called Netanyahu’s annexation scheme a flagrant breach of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and other international law, including binding Security Council resolutions.

Israeli occupation, settlements, land confiscations, resource theft, and related abusive practices are “profound” high crimes against peace and the fundamental rights of all Palestinians.

If annexation proceeds as planned, the West Bank will resemble Gaza, a second open-air prison for a bludgeoned into submission people.

It’ll resemble Dante’s hell, its gate bearing the inscription: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

A Final Comment

On Monday, thousands of Palestinians rallied in Jericho against Netanyahu’s annexation scheme.

Dozens of foreign diplomats joined them, including Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for Middle East peace — a position accomplishing nothing because of the US/Israeli regional imperial project.

As long as Washington supports Israeli aims, views of other nations never made a difference because a price to pay by the world community on its ruling authorities for the worst of their high crimes was never imposed.

The so-called peace process was and remains a colossal hoax, a notion the US, NATO and Israel reject.

Yet the illusion of what never was and isn’t now persists, establishment media, Western officials, and UN secretary general fostering it.

Palestinians were abandoned over a century ago by the infamous Balfour Declaration, the beginning of the end of historic Palestine.

Generations of political, military and cultural repression of its people followed, including dispossession from their land, other property, their fundamental rights, and in countless thousands of cases their lives.

Establishment of a nation for Jews on stolen Palestinian land was and remains a scheme to advance Western interests in the oil-rich region.

It led to over 100 years of endless conflict, occupation, dispossession, and repression, along with social and cultural fragmentation,

Historic Palestine and rights of its people were and continue to be abandoned in deference to Western/Israel regional control.

Palestinians are largely on their own, resistance their only option, staying the course no matter the long odds against them.

The world community never offered more than lip service help — the plight of ordinary people everywhere, exploited to benefit privileged interests.

It’s much the same in the West as in the Middle East and Occupied Palestine.

Ordinary people are largely on their own to press for positive change they’ll never get any other way.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Another Day in the EmpireThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Netanyahu Lashes Out against Law Enforcement Before Entering Court

Source

May 24, 2020

Netanyahu

Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust has begun Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court. It is the first time in the country’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial.

The indictments have been read for the three separate cases the enemy’s prime minister has been charged in.

Israel Police reinforced their presence in advance of Sunday’s session, partly in anticipation of protests in front of the courthouse. Two main protests are planned: a motorcade to Jerusalem by the pro-democracy Black Flag group, whose members will then demonstrate in front of the courthouse alongside a group of pro-Netanyahu demonstrators.

The judges will announce the next steps in the trial in the coming days.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty, just like every citizen, adding that he is “sure that the justice system will hold a just trial for him. I reiterate that my colleagues and I have complete confidence in the justice system and law enforcement. At this time, perhaps more than ever, we must act as a state and society for unity and reconciliation, for the State of Israel and for all Israeli citizens.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the panel of judges he has read and understands the three indictments against him.

Speaking to the press before entering the Jerusalem District Court,  Netanyahu told reporters the investigations against him “were tainted from day one,” and called the three indictments against him “ludicrous.” Netanyahu called to allow a live broadcast of his his entire trial.

Source: Israeli media

Israel: A utopian image or merely a mirage?

May 13, 2020 – 21:53

TEHRAN – While the founders of Israel had envisioned a utopia for Israeli settlers, now after 72 years, it has brought no freedom or justice to anyone except for some Zionist Jews and been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians an Israeli-American activist and author tells the Tehran Times.

‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing is the practice of Israel’ 

On promises by the founders of Israel, including Ben Gurion, who had envisioned a utopia for settlers in Israel based on freedom, justice, and peace,  Miko Peled says “Israel is an apartheid regime” which “has been involved in genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

He says Israel is “providing Jewish citizens who are Zionist with all the rights of liberal democracy.” 

He also says it “is true” that some Israelis are returning to their original countries as they are fed with governance.

‘Corrupt Netanyahu main reason behind Israeli political crisis’

Israel has been in a political crisis after three inconclusive elections and it is facing the growing prospect of an unprecedented fourth election.

Peled says it is mainly because “Israeli politics is controlled by the corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu and his racist, violent allies.”

The deadlock ended now that Netanyahu got an agreement that he accepted and protects him and allows him to continue to serve as prime minister, he says, adding there was even social disobedience “about the fact that the man they voted for, Benny Gantz, who promised to unseat Netanyahu, lied to his voters and is now sitting with Netanyahu.”

‘Israel not a democracy but an apartheid’

On claims by Tel Aviv and its allies in the West that Israel is the only democratic country in the West Asia region, Peled says, “Israel is not and has never been a democracy. It an apartheid regime.”
 
He goes on to note that “the problem with West perspective is that it is a Zionist perspective which recognizing the legitimacy of Zionism and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians.”
 
 Israel sees Trump’s reckless policies toward Iran ‘a great thing’ 

Actually, in over a year that Israel has been holding three elections, each time Donald Trump has taken a step to promote chances of Netanyahu in elections. His administration moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and recently Mike Pompeo claimed that annexation of lands in the West Bank does not violate international law. However, each time Netanyahu’s party failed to win enough seats in Knesset to form a government.

“Israelis are actually very happy with Trump. His support for the Israeli regime and his reckless policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians is seen as a great thing,” Peled points out.

‘Racism in Israel comes even at expenses of public health’

Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Israel is refusing to release Palestinians who are held in crowded prisons, he said, noting, “Israel never respected Palestinian rights, even now that the spread of the Coronavirus is dangerous to all people.” 
“Racism in Israel is so strong that it comes even at the expense of public health,” the activist regrets.

 ‘2 million people of Gaza are heroes’

Gaza Strip is considered the greatest open prison on the earth.

Peled calls two million residents of Gaza “heroes” who are victims of “Zionist racism and violence”.

He also notes that except Iran, no country in the world cares about the miseries of the Gazans.

“They are victims of Zionist racism and violence and of the fact that the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, do not care about them.”

RELATED NEWS

خطرُ حكومة الرأسين الإسرائيليّة: كيف يواجَه؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

بعد نيّف وسنة وبعد 3 انتخابات عامة توصّل نتنياهو إلى تشكيل حكومة ائتلاف مع حزب «أزرق أبيض» ضمن فيه رئاسة الحكومة في الكيان الصهيوني لـ 18 شهراً تعقبها 18 شهراً أخرى يكون فيها رئيس حكومة بديلاً. فترة يظنها كافية لتصفية ملفاته القضائية التي إذا فعلت ووصلت إلى منتهاها فإنها تقوده إلى السجن بعيداً عن أيّ منصب رسمي.

في المقابل ضمن بني غانتس رئيس «أبيض أزرق» والذي فشل في تشكيل حكومة بمفرده بعيداً عن الليكود ورئيسه نتنياهو، الوصول لأول مرة إلى منصب «رئيس حكومة بديل» الآن ورئيس حكومة أساسي بعد 18 شهراً أيّ بعد انتهاء مدة رئاسة نتنياهو. ومع تشكل هذا الائتلاف الحكومي ذي الرأسين في كيان العدو تطرح أسئلة كثيرة حول الأداء الإسرائيلي في الإقليم بشكل عام وتنفيذ «رؤية ترامب للسلام» والمسماة «صفقة القرن» التي قد تستوجب من الثنائي الإسرائيلي الأميركي عمليات عسكرية تلزمها لإزالة العوائق من أمامها.

قبل مناقشة هذه الأسئلة والإجابة عليها، لا بدّ من استعادة مقولة قديمة تفيد بأنّ «إسرائيل» في كلّ مرة يتعاظم فيها مأزق داخلي أو يشتدّ بتصورها خطر خارجي أو يتزامن الاثنان معاً فإنها تلجأ إلى حكومة ائتلاف تسمّيها «حكومة وحدة وطنية» تذهب بها لمواجهة المأزق أو الخطر بفتح جبهة حرب تنسي جمهورها المأزق او تبعد او تعالج الخطر.

وصحيح أنّ تشكيل الحكومة الراهنة أملته ظواهر عجز أيّ من الطرفين عن تشكيل حكومته الخاصة رغم محاولات تكرّرت بعد 3 دورات انتخابية، إلا انّ الواقع الإسرائيلي من حيث التحديات الداخلية وما تتصوّره من مخاطر خارجية يوحي بأنّ مثل هذه الحكومة ذات الرأسين الأساسي والاحتياط المتناوبين على رئاستها هي حكومة تشكل مصلحة لـ «إسرائيل» الآن، في ظلّ ما تضخمه حكومة نتنياهو الراحلة من خطر خارجي محدق يتمثل حسب زعمها بالوجود الإيراني في سورية وبتنظيم المقاومة في جبهة الجولان بالتعاون والتنسيق بين سورية وحزب الله الذي بات يملك حسب الزعم الإسرائيلي 150 ألف صاروخ متفاوتة المدى فضلاً عن 1000 صاروخ ذات رؤوس الدقيقة. وهذه ترسانة تغطي كامل مساحة فلسطين المحتلة. وكلّ ذلك لا يعالج برأيهم إلا بالعمل العسكري الذي يجهض هذا الخطر بتدمير هذا السلاح.

أما التحدي الآخر ففيه أيضاً ما يستحق «جمع الكلمة» على حدّ قول أحد خبرائهم الاستراتيجيين حيث إنّ من مصلحة «إسرائيل» أن تبدأ بتنفيذ «رؤية ترامب للسلام» المسماة «صفقة القرن» بما فيها من ضمّ أرض وإطاحة حلم الدولة الفلسطينية، وصولاً إلى التصفية النهائية للقضية الفلسطينية كلياً بإسقاط حق العودة وتشكيل «دولة إسرائيل» نهائياً على أساس أنها «وطن قومي لليهود» أو كما جاء في قانونهم الأخير «دولة يهودية». ومن أجل ذلك وفي غضون 48 ساعة من إعلان الاتفاق على تشكيل حكومة ائتلاف اعلن نتنياهو انه «آن الأوان لتضمّ إسرائيل نهائياً مستعمرات الضفة الغربية وغور الأردن» التي تشكل مساحة 30% من الضفة الغربية.

إذن أمام حكومة الرأسين الإسرائيليين ملفان وتحديان كبيران، فكيف ستعالجهما أو كيف ستتصرف حيالهما؟

بالنسبة للموضوع الأول أيّ إيران وحزب الله، تتمنّى «إسرائيل» ان تواكبها الولايات المتحدة في قرار مشترك للذهاب إلى حرب تدميرية واسعة وخاطفة تفرض على إيران الخروج من سورية، وتدمّر ترسانة صواريخ حزب الله. فهل هذا في متناول يد حكومة الرأسين؟

في الإجابة نقول إنّ الزمن الذي كانت الحرب في المنظور الإسرائيلي بمثابة مناورة تحدّد هي وقتها ومدّتها ونطاقها وحجم المغانم التي تريدها، ثم تذهب إليها وتنفذها كما خططت أو بأفضل مما خططت، إنّ هذا الزمن ولى إلى غير رجعة حيث كانت الصورة الأخيرة لها في العام 1982 في لبنان، أما بعدها فقد رسمت صورة جديدة في العام 2006 وفي لبنان أيضاً حيث كسرت المقاومة التي يقودها وينظمها حزب الله كلّ معادلات «إسرائيل» وتصوّرات قادتها وحطمت مقولة الجيش الذي لا يُقهر، ثم كانت الحرب العدوانية على سورية وتطورات رافقت هذه الحرب لتعزز مقولة الردع الاستراتيجي المتبادل ومقولة ان «إسرائيل يمكن ان تطلق الطلقة الأولى إيذاناً ببدء الحرب لكنها لن تستطيع التحكم بشيء من مجرياتها».

فـ «إسرائيل» اليوم وفي مواجهة محور المقاومة المتماسك والمتكامل في قدراته العسكرية الميدانية تبدو عاجزة عن شنّ حرب تحقق لها ما تشاء وتتحمل فيها الخسائر التي تنزلها بها قوات العدو. نعم «إسرائيل» تملك القوة العسكرية التدميرية الهامة لكنها لا تملك القدرة الكافية لتحقيق الإنجاز العسكري الذي حدّدته أيّ إنهاء الوجود الإيراني في سورية وتدمير سلاح حزب الله، كما أنها غير قادرة على احتواء ردة الفعل على جبهتها الداخلية التي فشلت في الارتقاء إلى مستوى «شعب يعمل تحت النار» رغم كلّ الجهود التي بذلت من أجل ذلك. ونشير أيضاً إلى انّ الوجود الإيراني في سورية ليس من الطبيعة التي يعالج بها بحرب من دون ان تصل إلى مستوى احتلال شامل، فهو وجود مستشارين موزعين هنا وهناك يصعب تحديدهم وإحصاؤهم.

وفي ظلّ استبعاد لجوء «إسرائيل» بمفردها إلى شنّ حرب على الجبهة الشمالية تبقى مناقشة فكرة حرب الثنائي الأميركي الإسرائيلي ضدّ محور المقاومة، وهنا أيضا نقول إنّ أميركا وقبل 6 أشهر من انتخاباتها وفي ظلّ الظروف الدولية المعقدة وبائياً ومالياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً بالنسبة لها ليست في وارد فتح جبهة في الشرق الأوسط وهي التي تتحضّر للمواجهة الأخطر في الشرق الأقصى الذي قد يفرض عليها حرباً مع الصين قبل ان تستكمل انزلاقها إلى بحرها.

وعليه نصل إلى استنتاج أول بن الحرب التي ترى فيها «إسرائيل» علاجاً للخطر الإيراني والصاروخي من حزب الله هي حرب ليست في متناول يدها ويبقى لديها أن تنفذ عمليات عسكرية استعراضية إعلامية في سورية ليست لها أي قيمة عملانية او استراتيجية لتؤكد جدية مواكبتها للخطر المزعوم، رغم انّ جلّ ما تدعيه كاذب ومنافٍ للحقيقة.

أما الأخطر في مواجهة المقاومة وسورية ولبنان فهو ممارسة أميركا وإسرائيل الضغوط في إطار الحرب الاقتصادية الإجرامية التي تشن عليهم، ولذلك تضع أميركا «قانون قيصر» الإجرامي موضع التنفيذ لخنق سورية اقتصادياً، وتثار مسألة الحدود بين لبنان وسورية لخنق لبنان والمقاومة. هنا على لبنان بشكل خاص أن يتوجه إلى الميدان الاقتصادي المشرقي عبر سورية، ويعتمد خطة التكامل الاقتصادي من نواة أربع دول (لبنان سورية والعراق وإيران) لتتسع إلى عمق اقتصادي دولي يصل إلى الصين، فتتعطل بذلك خطة الإجرام الاقتصادي او الإرهاب الاقتصادي التي تمارسها عليه لإخضاعه.

أما التحدي الآخر والذي فيه ضمّ مزيد من الأراضي الفلسطينية في الضفة الغربية وغور الأردن فإنّ هذا الأمر يبدو لـ «إسرائيل» سهلاً ومتاحاً رغم «إشارات القلق» التي يبديها حيناً الجانب الأميركي متهما «إسرائيل» بالتسرع او بيانات الاستنكار الخجولة من هنا وهناك، ونعتقد ان ترامب الذي أعطى «إسرائيل» في رؤيته فوق ما تطلب لن يمنعها من هضم ما قدّمه لها، ولن تأبه «إسرائيل» لمواقف الرفض والاستنكار الإعلامي العربية والدولية لتتوقف عن عمليتها الإجرامية بضمّ الأراضي، لكنها حتماً ستنظر إلى ردود الفعل الأردنية والفلسطينية التي تؤثر عليها جدياً فيما لو اتخذت.

وعليه نرى أنّ وقف خطة «حكومة الرأسين» الإسرائيلية بصدد ضمّ الأراضي يتطلب موقفاً أردنياً فلسطيناً حازماً يؤذي «إسرائيل» كلّ على صعيده وفي نطاقه، فبإمكان الأردن لعب ورقة التنسيق الأمني وورقة التعاون الاقتصادي والمناطق الصناعية وحركة البضائع وأنبوب الغاز وغيرها من مسائل التبادل التجاري والسياحي والأمني مع «إسرائيل» وصولاً إلى وضع مصير اتفاقية وادي عربة على الطاولة، هنا تجد «إسرائيل» ان توسّعها في الأرض يؤدي إلى انحسار في المصالح وبالمقارنة ستضطر لاختيار المصالح فتتوقف.

أما الموقف الفلسطيني فيكفي أن يتمثل بأمرين اثنين: وقف التنسيق الأمني كلياً، ووقف تدابير القمع التي تمنع الشعب من إطلاق انتفاضته المباركة المتنظرة التي تهز الأرض في الضفة تحت أقدام المحتلّ، عندها نستطيع القول بأنّ هناك موقفاً جدياً يواجه العدوان الإسرائيلي ويوقف تنفيذ صفقة القرن فلسطينياً.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.

Israeli MP Presents Bills to Annex Jordan Valley, Impose Death Penalty on Palestinians

By Middle East Eye

Global Research, March 20, 2020

Middle East Eye 18 March 2020

A right-wing Israeli parliamentarian submitted two bills to the Knesset on Wednesday seeking to permanently annex the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and the Hebron desert in the occupied West Bank to Israel, as well as impose the death penalty on Palestinian political prisoners.

Miki Zohar, the head of the Likud faction in the Knesset, said that the two bills he submitted would “embarrass” former army general Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party and Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu.

Gantz is currently speaking with Israeli parties to form a coalition government after receiving a thin majority last week from Israeli Knesset members.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Likud party, is maintaining contact with Gantz in a bid to form a national unity government, though the chances are slim that the two rivals will find common ground.

Netanyahu is facing corruption charges and he could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison if convicted. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first court hearing for Netanyahu’s case was postponed this week to May.

Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage before He Exits?

Gantz is still examining the possibility to enter an alliance with Lieberman and the Arab Joint List, a political coalition of parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, in order to form a government.

Lieberman has long depicted the Palestinian community inside Israel as a “fifth column” and called them “enemies”. Nonetheless, he agreed with Gantz for the Joint List to provide parliamentary support to the coalition but not participate in the government.

The Joint List opposes the annexation of occupied Palestinian lands and the death penalty.

Newspaper Israel Hayom quoted Zohar as saying that his aim was to weaken Gantz’s bloc.

“Let’s see this wonderful cooperation between the Joint List, Yisrael Beiteinu and Blue and White. We will see how they will work together [with] those who work against the state,” Zohar said. “Shall we see [Gantz and Lieberman] oppose these legislations in order to please their new friends from the Joint List?”

In December 2017, Lieberman – who then served as defence minister – introduced a bill allowing the use of the death penalty against Palestinian prisoners. The bill did not go through the Knesset.

Israel has not carried out any executions since 1962, when Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was hanged.

Israel abolished the use of capital punishment for murder in civil courts in 1954, though it can still in theory be applied for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, treason and crimes against the Jewish people.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is Middle East EyeCopyright © Middle East EyeMiddle East Eye, 2020

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