The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord

The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The immediate prospect for significant improvement in U.S.-Russia relations now depends on something tangible: Will the forces that sabotaged previous ceasefire agreements in Syria succeed in doing so again, all the better to keep alive the “regime change” dreams of the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists?

Or will President Trump succeed where President Obama failed by bringing the U.S. military and intelligence bureaucracies into line behind a cease-fire rather than allowing insubordination to win out?

These are truly life-or-death questions for the Syrian people and could have profound repercussions across Europe, which has been destabilized by the flood of refugees fleeing the horrific violence in the six-year proxy war that has ripped Syria apart.

But you would have little inkling of this important priority from the large page-one headlines Saturday morning in the U.S. mainstream media, which continued its long obsession with the more ephemeral question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would confess to the sin of “interference” in the 2016 U.S. election and promise to repent.

Thus, the headlines: “Trump, Putin talk election interference” (Washington Post) and “Trump asks Putin About Meddling During Election” (New York Times). There was also the expected harrumphing from commentators on CNN and MSNBC when Putin dared to deny that Russia had interfered.

In both the big newspapers and on cable news shows, the potential for a ceasefire in southern Syria – set to go into effect on Sunday – got decidedly second billing.

Yet, the key to Putin’s assessment of Donald Trump is whether the U.S. President is strong enough to make the mutually agreed-upon ceasefire stick. As Putin is well aware, to do so Trump will have to take on the same “deep-state” forces that cheerily scuttled similar agreements in the past. In other words, the actuarial tables for this cease-fire are not good; long life for the agreement will take something just short of a miracle.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will have to face down hardliners in both the Pentagon and CIA. Tillerson probably expects that Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo will cooperate by ordering their troops and operatives inside Syria to restrain the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels.”

But it remains to be seen if Mattis and Pompeo can control the forces their agencies have unleashed in Syria. If recent history is any guide, it would be folly to rule out another “accidental” U.S. bombing of Syrian government troops or a well-publicized “chemical attack” or some other senseless “war crime” that social media and mainstream media will immediately blame on President Bashar al-Assad.

Bitter Experience

Last fall’s limited ceasefire in Syria, painstakingly worked out over 11 months by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and approved personally by Presidents Obama and Putin, lasted only five days (from Sept. 12-17) before it was scuttled by “coalition” air strikes on well-known, fixed Syrian army positions, which killed between 64 and 84 Syrian troops and wounded about 100 others.

In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days before the air attack on Sept. 17, showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (an important provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin).

The Pentagon’s resistance and the “accidental” bombing of Syrian troops brought these uncharacteristically blunt words from Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russian TV on Sept. 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the U.S. military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the U.S. Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia … apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov specifically criticized Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia despite the fact, as Lavrov put it, “the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama [who] stipulated that they would share intelligence.” Noting this resistance inside the U.S. military bureaucracy, Lavrov added, “It is difficult to work with such partners.”

Putin picked up on the theme of insubordination in an Oct. 27 speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in which he openly lamented:

“My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results. … people in Washington are ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”

On Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, meanwhile, even expressed sympathy for Kerry’s quixotic effort, giving him an “A” for effort.after then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter dispatched U.S. warplanes to provide an early death to the cease-fire so painstakingly worked out by Kerry and Lavrov for almost a year.

For his part, Kerry expressed regret – in words reflecting the hapless hubris befitting the chief envoy of the world’s “only indispensible” country – conceding that he had been unable to “align” all the forces in play.

With the ceasefire in tatters, Kerry publicly complained on Sept. 29, 2016: “Syria is as complicated as anything I’ve ever seen in public life, in the sense that there are probably about six wars or so going on at the same time – Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sunni, Shia, everybody against ISIL, people against Assad, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate]. This is as mixed-up sectarian and civil war and strategic and proxies, so it’s very, very difficult to be able to align forces.”

Admitting Deep-State Pre-eminence

Only in December 2016, in an interview with Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, did Kerry admit that his efforts to deal with the Russians had been thwarted by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – as well as all those forces he found so difficult to align.

“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation [of the ceasefire agreement] extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But it … could have worked. … The fact is we had an agreement with Russia … a joint cooperative effort.

“Now we had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that,” he said. “I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you’d have a different situation there conceivably now if we’d been able to do that.”

The Globe’s Viser described Kerry as frustrated. Indeed, it was a tough way for Kerry to end nearly 34 years in public office.

After Friday’s discussions with President Trump, Kremlin eyes will be focused on Secretary of State Tillerson, watching to see if he has better luck than Kerry did in getting Ashton Carter’s successor, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and CIA’s latest captive-director Pompeo into line behind what President Trump wants to do.

As the new U.S.-Russia agreed-upon ceasefire goes into effect on Sunday, Putin will be eager to see if this time Trump, unlike Obama, can make a ceasefire in Syria stick; or whether, like Obama, Trump will be unable to prevent it from being sabotaged by Washington’s deep-state actors.

The proof will be in the pudding and, clearly, much depends on what happens in the next few weeks. At this point, it will take a leap of faith on Putin’s part to have much confidence that the ceasefire will hold. 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  As a CIA analyst for 27 years, he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, conducted the early morning briefings with the President’s Daily Brief.  He now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

This article was first published by Consortium News 

See also – New study shows Clinton lost election because of growing working class opposition to war

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Russian Foreign Ministry makes public parts of agreement with US on Syria

Now U.S. regime ask Russia not to bomb al-Nusra ~ Sergey Lavrov: “U.S. seems to want to use al-Nusra to overthrow al-Assad”



Syria Free Press

The United States seems to want al-Nusra Front terrorist group to remain in some form in Syria and use it to achieve own goals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) ~ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the US earlier this month to convince those rebel groups which they support in Syria to leave areas where al-Nusra Front militants are present.

Earlier, Washington asked Moscow to direct its airstrikes solely at al-Nusra Front and refrain from targeting so-called “moderate” rebels, working with al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

“The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the ‘good’ opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime,” Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The US-Russian brokered ceasefire entered into force on ceasefire agreement came into force across Syria on February 27. Terrorist organizations such the Daesh and al-Nusra Front are excluded from the truce.



Washington’s Achilles Heel in Syria:
Why US Asked Russia Not to Bomb Nusra

In a slight turn of events, Washington asked Moscow to direct its airstrikes solely at al-Nusra Front and refrain from targeting so-called “moderate” rebels, working with al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, but, Russian officials and experts have said it is not rational since these militants are coordinating attacks against government forces and civilians.

(Sputnik) ~ In other words, those who work with al-Nusra Front even if they do so from time to time are de facto not moderate – whether they are described as such or not.

“The Obama Administration thus continues with the fiction that there are completely separate, vetted, moderate rebels who are dedicated to creating an inclusive, multi-cultural, multi-confessional, secular and democratic Syria as soon as both [Daesh] and the Assad government are defeated,” political analyst Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, noted ironically.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the US to convince those rebel groups which they support in Syria to leave areas where al-Nusra Front militants are present. The Americans “are telling us not to hit [al-Nusra Front], because there is ‘normal’ opposition next to it,” the diplomat said. “But that opposition must leave terrorists’ positions, we long have agreed on that.”

In fact, this agreement was reached months ago, but it has not been implemented yet, making counterterrorism efforts in Syria less efficient.


Interestingly, both Moscow and Washington view al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization. In this context, distancing itself from al-Qaeda’s offshoot should have been a non-issue for what Russian officials often have referred to as “patriotic” opposition. Why are they not severing ties will al-Qaeda then?

Some have tried to defend these groups by saying that they have been forced to stay with al-Nusra Front.

“To be sure, it has been clear for years that the US-allied anti-Assad rebels in Syria lean on al-Qaeda’s military prowess for their survival. Some US officials stress that Nusra and opposition forces currently are working together on occasion and that such cooperation is not born out of shared ideology but practical wartime necessity,” the Daily Beast asserted.

But what wartime necessity could justify killing civilians? For instance, in May, al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, a group that the US considers to be moderate, killed 19 civilians in a joint attack on the Alawite village of Zara, located in the Hama province.

“They killed elderly people, took children and women as captives,” Abdou Khalifa, a villager wounded in the attack, told RT last month. Another villager, Munzer Qasem, referred to the attack as a massacre. “I heard of two or three entire families killed. Abu Naval’s family was killed. He was an old man and was killed together with his daughters. They were slaughtered in their own house.”

Meanwhile, al-Nusra Front have managed to regroup and resupply, taking advantage of the nationwide ceasefire and “moderate” rebels in their midst, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on Saturday.

In the last few days they have launched attacks on Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, as well as Ard al-Wata, Rasha and Kinsibba in the ‪‎Latakia‬ province, Tesnin in the Homs province, Marj al-Sultan in the Damascus province and the northern region of al-Manshiya neighborhood in the ‪‎Daraa‬ province.

The latest assaults claimed the lives of more than 270 civilians.


“Why is no one asking why … moderates would want to associate themselves with al-Qaeda in the first place? Why do they seek to integrate into al-Qaeda command structures? How are they not to be considered ducks when they walk like ducks and quack like ducks?” Daniel McAdams asked.

click on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link

Submitted by SyrianPatriotsWar Press Info Network at:

Syrian Army Targets ISIL Positions in Homs, Deir EzzorLocal Editor

Syrian ArmyUnits of the Syrian army and armed forces, supported by the Syrian air force continued on Saturday combating terrorism in several provinces in the country, destroying terrorist positions, dens and vehicles as well as killing and injuring scores of them.


Units of the army, supported by the army’s air force, destroyed 3 positions and a bomb car for ISIL near al-Rayan village, al- Tleilah and Ark in Homs eastern countryside, a military source told SANA.

The Syrian army also repelled an attack launched by ISIL terrorists on it positions between Qasr al-Heer and al-Qaryatain.

Meanwhile, an army unit destroyed an explosive-loaded vehicle for ISIL before it reached al-Rayan village turn some 20 kms to southeast of Homs city, the source added

Deir Ezzor

The army’s air force carried out special raids on the dens and sites of ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzor countryside.

A military source told SANA that the raids ended up with destroying two positions and vehicles for ISIL in the south and west parts of Deir Ezzor airport.


Army units foiled an ISIL attempt to attack military posts in the eastern countryside of Hama province.

A field source told SANA Saturday that army units heavily clashed during the past hours with groups of ISIL terrorists sneaked into the vicinity of military posts near the village of al-Mefakr at the eastern countryside of Salamiyeh city.

The clashes ended up with killing and injuring a number of ISIL terrorists and destroying their weapon-loaded vehicles.


Army units destroyed a mortar launcher of al-Nusra Front (Qaeda branch in the Levant) terrorist organization at the northwestern side of al-Masbah on the road of al-Sadd, a military source told SANA.

A terrorist group which was fortifying positions located southern Khazan al-Karak neighborhood in Daraa al-Balad was also eliminated, according to then source.

Source: Agencies

18-06-2016 – 16:56 Last updated 18-06-2016 – 16:56

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Speak-out and organize to stop the US-led destruction of Iraq and Syria now

Oct 4, 2014, Tony Seed’s Weblog

Windsor – Rally and Speak-Out: Stop the U.S.-Led Destruction of Iraq and Syria Now!

Saturday, October 4 — 11:00 am
Meet at City Hall Square — Speak Out starts at 11:45 am
Organized by: Windsor Peace Coalition
For information: of 226-975-2010

The Windsor Peace Coalition calls on all those in Windsor and Essex County who stand for peace and justice to join us in saying NO! to the U.S.-led destruction of Iraq and Syria.

The only “debate” about it in Parliament is over how Canada will be involved in a new US-led war in the region. Canadians don’t want debates on how best to invade, destabilize and interfere in other countries’ affairs; we want to end it.

It is brutally ironic that October 7 marks the 13th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan that was launched under bogus pretexts and which Canada is still embroiled in today through NATO.

Don’t let the warmongers in Parliament speak in your name! Don’t let them embroil us in another war of aggression under bogus pretexts that will only lead to more chaos and violence and crimes against the people of the world!

We call on all unions, political parties, community groups and everyone else to speak out NOW! Spread the word far and wide to co-workers, friends and family and through social and other media. Join in!

Invest in our Communities, Not in War!
Anti-War Picket every Saturday — 11:00 am-12:00 noon
Corner of Ottawa St. and Walker Rd.

Edmonton Anti-War Picket

Friday, October 10 — 4:30 p.m.
109 Street and 88 Avenue
Organized by: Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism (ECAWAR)
For information:

Weekly Anti-War Picket
Fridays — 4:00-5:00 pm
Corner of Spring Garden Rd. and Barrington St.
Organized by: No Harbour for War
For information:

November 21, 2009: Haligonians mount a vigorous protest against the First Halifax International Security Forum, funded by DND and ACOA.

Rally to Oppose the Halifax War Conference
Saturday, November 22 — 1:00 pm
Halifax Peace & Freedom Park (formerly Cornwallis Park) Hollis & South Sts. 
For information: Facebook

The 6th annual Halifax International Security Forum will be convened on November 21-23 as a platform for warmongering and empire building of U.S. imperialism and the NATO bloc, in which the Harper Government is fully embroiled. 

Warmongers from more than 50 countries will join U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Sen. John McCain, Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and some 300 others at the Washington, DC -based Forum “to learn from each other, share opinions, generate new ideas, and put them into action.”

The first 2009 forum was dedicated to popularizing NATO’s then new “security doctrine.” Ensuing forums have provided a stage to justify NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in Libya and Africa, Syria and Iran. Closely following the NATO’s Summit in September at Newport, Wales this forum will no doubt further the dark plans of NATO to attack and destroy the Assad government in Syria under the guise of destroying ISIL “Islamic terrorism”,  and to use Ukraine as a battering ram and platform on which to foster major aggression against Russia.

The warmongering forums also form the venue for the United States to form new military arrangements to integrate the Canadian Forces under its command. In 2009, US Secretary of State Robert Gates announced that US Marines would henceforth exercise in the Arctic to “defend Canadian sovereignty.” In 2011, Hagel announced that Canada had signed a still secret protocol to join Obama’s Asia Pivot strategy aimed at China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The forum has increasingly put on the table the issue of “energy security” – to ensure that Canadian oil and gas production and export conform with the plans of the U.S. and NATO, in which energy is viewed as a weapon against rival powers such as Russia. Taking into account Fortress America or Fortress North America, the security perimeter agreement, part of the SPP agreement (Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement of North America), their program is a union of North American monopolies in which all the working class and the resources of Canada and Mexico are annexed by the USA so as to compete more effectively with Europe for the domination of Asia.

The HISF is a 100 per cent U.S. operation lock, stock and barrel, paid for by millions of our taxdollars handed over by the Harper government to the US organizers. The agenda is one of nation-wrecking and the usurping of decision-making in the sphere of foreign and military policy of Canada, as shown by the fact that the offices of the HISF are located at 1717 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, DC. This necessitates the elimination of the opposition and resistance of the workers and peoples including the First Nations to the unrestrained plunder of our land, labour and resources.

It is unacceptable that Halifax, or any Canadian city, be used as a venue to plan further crimes against the peace and the peoples of the world. Bring your banners, bring your music and statements, and most of all bring your friends to oppose this war conference.







For further info:

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Another ceasefire in Gaza? No, thank you

Published time: September 03, 2014

A Palestinian sits under a tent next to houses that witnesses said were heavy shelled by Israel during the offensive, in the Shejaia neighbourhood east of Gaza City August 31, 2014. (Reuters)

A Palestinian sits under a tent next to houses that witnesses said were heavy shelled by Israel during the offensive, in the Shejaia neighbourhood east of Gaza City August 31, 2014. (Reuters)

Last week, Palestinians and Israelis agreed to yet another ceasefire of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians appeared triumphant. After more than 2,100 mostly-civilian deaths, tens of thousands injured or displaced and chunks of Gaza buried under rubble, they managed to get Israel to serve up some“concessions.”

Israelis seemed decidedly glum. Only 69 died, but there was no decisive “victory”either, which always rankles with the IDF and makes politicians drop in the polls.

There was more bad news for Israel. The IDF launched a major air and ground military offensives and did not come close to destroying its adversaries’ leadership, organization, military capabilities and alliances. During the seven weeks of brutal attacks against the densely-populated civilian centers, Israel managed to put the Palestinian issue back on the Arab map, draw unprecedented global censure, and give wings to the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign to undermine Israel’s economy. Israel also managed to unify Palestinian political parties across the board – a minor miracle – and make regional heroes out of the “Palestinian Resistance.” With every lash of Israel’s whip, Palestinians found new determination to break the siege of Gaza and end Israel’s occupation.

That’s all well and good, but here’s what needs to be clear: Palestinians did not achieve their goals either.

So then, what’s with all the jubilation over a mere “ceasefire?” When did countless dozens of ceasefires ever end the siege of Gaza or end the occupation? Did ceasefires ever stop Palestinians from getting killed? Did homes and mosques and schools and playgrounds ever get built because of a ceasefire? Did coastal Gaza ever grow lush and rich and free with an Israeli “ceasefire?”

Of course not.

Israel loves ceasefires. It is part of the occupation game. Every so often, Israel flexes its muscles and beats up Gaza. The trigger doesn’t even have to come from Gaza – the place is simply a convenient punching bag and is easily justified by the“Hamas-Terror” language beamed through western media.

The goal is always the same, regardless of what the Israelis publicly claim: To take down Hamas & Company a notch or two; to inflict pain on the population of Gaza in hope that they will turn on their leaders; to cripple Gaza enough to keep Palestinians busy rebuilding lives, but not fighting occupation.

The ideal Gaza attack is short and brutal. The longer it continues, the harder it becomes for Israel to control all the “variables” of conflict, and the more likely it is to “incur loss.” Israeli casualties, surprise Palestinian weapons/tactics, negative publicity…these kinds of things can make a routine exercise of “punishing Gaza” into a public relations disaster for a sitting Israeli prime minister.

So a short-and-brutal Gaza attack is always key.

Palestinians Hamas supporters celebrate with people what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City August 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Palestinians Hamas supporters celebrate with people what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City August 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Israel pursues ceasefires from almost the moment it kicks off an assault. Not directly – that would appear weak – but through interested parties that “seek to promote peace.”

And ceasefires they get. Palestinians in Gaza are naturally grateful for the lull in violence, international players pat themselves on the back for doing something about the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” and Israelis are satisfied that they have met each and every one of their goals.

Until Israel decides Gaza needs another beating.

Who breaks the ceasefires?

A 2009 study that tracked patterns of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza over the course of 8 years reveals some astonishing data. Unlike what western mainstream media coverage of the conflict suggests, Israel violates the vast majority of ceasefires by “killing a Palestinian” first.

MIT’s Nancy Kanwisher, Princeton University’s Johannes Haushofer and Tel Aviv University’s Anat Biletzki concluded the following in their exhaustive study:

“It is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79 percent of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8 percent were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13 percent were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96 percent, and it unilaterally interrupted 100 percent of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.”

In short, Israel can’t sit still when things are calm in Gaza for too long.

The study also manages to debunk a widespread Israeli myth about its need to retaliate against “Palestinian rockets.” The researchers amassed precise quantitative data from the IDF and Israeli human rights group B’Tselem on the numbers of Qassam rockets fired between January 2001 and April 2008: “3,645 Qassam rockets fired, but only 15 associated fatalities.”

The researchers then tracked Israeli actions before and after the rocket firings in order to ascertain if their reactions were retaliatory or not (the study tracks the same behaviors for Palestinians).

Seven years of data demonstrates that “Israeli military actions against Palestinians may lead to escalation of violence rather than incapacitation of Palestinian military operations against Israel.” In other words, Israel knows full well that attacks on Palestinians results in “escalation” of conflict.

The report arrives at a startling conclusion after examining the data patterns:

“If prevention of attacks was the main reason for Israeli attacks, one would expect Israeli killings of Palestinians to occur not only before but also after rocket attacks; in fact, one might argue that killings of Palestinians by Israel should increase strongly following rocket attacks, reflecting Israeli operations to shut down the cells that were responsible for the attacks. However, we find that killings of Palestinians by Israel do not in fact increase significantly following rocket attacks. This result suggests that the killings of Palestinians by Israel preceding rocket attacks are usually not preventative measures to suppress rocket attacks.”

If no ceasefire, then what?

Israel has managed to create a conflict-within-a-conflict: all eyes are on Gaza’s next ceasefire, not on ending the occupation. The terms of most of these ceasefires are violated, either immediately or shortly thereafter. After the last major escalation in November 2012, the ceasefire deal was never implemented. There was simply no mechanism for enforcing the agreement, and there never will be one. It is like the Oslo Agreement – a never-ending “process” that doesn’t ever outline the end game, but leaves things up to “further discussion.”

An Israeli soldier directs a tank onto a truck at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip August 27, 2014. (Reuters)

An Israeli soldier directs a tank onto a truck at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip August 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Israel has also cleverly managed to limit its military theater to Gaza. No more battling across borders with Arab states; no more “Intifadas” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel today has managed to not only physically “Balkanize”Palestinian territories, but also to mentally Balkanize them.

Palestinians are the only ones that can break the occupation and force an end-game, but this will not come about playing by Israel’s rules. Gaza may be the last battlefield, but it is a powerful one. Israel loses every single day it fights with Palestinians – each day brings undeterminable risk to the entire colonial enterprise that is the “Jewish State.”

Palestinian-born Adnan Abu Odeh, a trustee of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and former Jordanian minister, senator and chief of the royal court to King Hussein, framed it this way last week:

“Israel’s locomotive is Zionism. The issue with Israel’s conflicts with Gaza and with southern Lebanon is not about how many Israelis were killed. The issue to them is deeper. Israel is based on two things: bringing Jews from all over world to Israel (Aliyah) and keeping Jews there. Gaza and Lebanon hurt them this way – Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will hesitate. And those already there, they are thinking whether they made a mistake. This is a strike at the core of Zionism.”

Beating up on Gaza periodically is one way of allaying Jewish fears. “See, we are strong, we are masterful, we have this Iron Dome.”

But to see Gaza unbowed after 50 days of conflict – the missile capabilities of Palestinian Resistance undiminished, irrespective of “targeted” Israeli operations… That makes Israelis think twice.

What if Palestinians in Gaza did not cease fire? What if nobody and nothing could halt Palestinian outrage and determination to battle through? What if all“concessions”’ were rejected and only a total and immediate end to Israel’s occupation would stop the fight?

What would Israel do? Would it kill every Palestinian in Gaza? Could it bomb any more schools than it already has? When Palestinians inside Gaza swear allegiance to “Resistance” more than Palestinians outside, who has the right to thwart that spirit?

Israel is built on a narrative of persecution and genocide. There is a point at which killing Palestinians triggers vastly “diminishing returns” and we started seeing that as Palestinian casualties rose toward a horrifying new threshold of 2,000 deaths, and the term “genocide” started to be commonly used in relation to Israel’s behavior.

But when the Palestinian Resistance accepted Tel Aviv’s latest ceasefire, it took that tally down to zero. Next time around, the international community starts counting at “0” and Israel knows full well that it has conditioned people to tolerate a 1,000-2,000 casualty “result.”

The question is: can Gaza afford to stop fighting until it affects fundamental change in Israel’s behavior – until it establishes “deterrence” against further attack or halts the occupation? I think not. The biggest mistake Palestinians made with the first and second Intifadas was halting them and making “deals.”

Israel’s greatest fear is that Palestinians will break out of the ordered processes and patterns set up to control them. That would mean NOT accepting a deal; not participating in the ceasefire game. It also means – and this is crucial – rejecting Oslo, dismantling the compliant Palestinian Authority, reinstating the inclusive PLO as the “sole legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.”

A wheelchair is seen as Palestinians stand atop the ruins of the headquarters of El-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, which witnesses said was destroyed during a seven-week Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City August 28, 2014. (Reuters)

A wheelchair is seen as Palestinians stand atop the ruins of the headquarters of El-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, which witnesses said was destroyed during a seven-week Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City August 28, 2014. (Reuters)

Moreover, it means embracing armed resistance against Israel as a tenet of the struggle against occupation. You need the “stick” to make the “carrot” more palatable– an obvious tactic that somehow manages to elude the “well-behaved natives” that head the PA.

Five days after the latest ceasefire went into effect, Israel announced its biggest land-grab in 30 years, from five Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

On the same day, Israel began its game of unraveling ceasefire “concessions” by insisting on more “process.” A key ceasefire deal term was to allow Palestinians to import building materials to help rebuild the devastation in Gaza. After 50 days of negotiations, Tel Aviv now insists a “bilateral committee” be established to oversee this process, consisting of Israel, the PA and the UN? This post-deal demand, the Israelis know, means that All Things will perpetually be tied up in “discussions.”

Ceasefire? Please.

Israel and its western/Arab allies have a goal. They plan to dismantle the Palestinian Resistance in this last Gaza battlefield. To do that, they will carefully begin to insert their PA partners into all aspects of Gaza’s administration. We will see more initiatives like this after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s upcoming visit to the region. His Saudi and Egyptian partners are on board. Israel will lead this game.

What should Gaza do? It should beef up its existing alliances and continue stockpiling its weapons arsenal. Israel must continue to endure losses, experience pain, and watch its citizens flee the “unpredictability” – take their second passportsand leave. There is absolutely no other way forward – none whatsoever.

Palestinians will never have political chips worth a dime in negotiations with a right-wing Israeli administration unless they can affect the “Aliyah” of Jews to Israel.

Ceasefire? A hollow victory indeed.

Sharmine Narwani for RT

Follow@snarwanion Twitter

Cairo Talks Resumed: ’Israel’ Warns, Resistance Ready for All Possibilities

Local Editor

Palestinian Delegation

The indirect talks between the Palestinian and the Israeli negotiators in Cairo are to be resumed today to conclude an agreement on a long-term truce in the light of an Egyptian suggestion in this regard.

Egypt suggested implementing a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and resuming the negotiations in a month.

Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said ‘Israel’ would not agree to any proposal which did not offer a clear answer to the entity’s  security needs.

For their part, Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements announced that they are ready for all the possibilities and that the Zionist government has to accept the Palestinian conditions in order to reach a final agreement.

The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank expressed their solidarity with their delegation to Cairo and asserted that they prefer war to a degrading agreement.

The Palestinians also accused the Israeli government of resorting to deception in order to shun implementing any agreement’s provisions which meet the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.

Source: Al-Manar Website

17-08-2014 – 15:45 Last updated 17-08-2014 – 15:45

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Franklin Lamb: Introducing the Syria Resistance (PFLI) and it’s Leader

ED NOTE: Thanks to our friend Dr. Franklin Lamb for introducing the Syrian resistance and its Leader Ali Kayali fighting in all fronts, shoulder to shoulder with the Syrian Arab Army,  the takfirs sponsored by the zionists world order and its tools Saudia, Qatar, Turkey and the So-called March 14 movement. The resistance will continue until full liberation of Syrian Land, including south Syria (Palestine) and every inch of Syrian Land occupied by Turkey.
I added some pictures and the videos
North of Latakia, Syria Posted on
Every school kid here in Syria learns at an early age about the various colonial land grabs that have lopped off key parts of their ancient country, and they receive instruction about their national duty to recover this sacred territory. The concept applies equally to still-occupied Palestine, or at least it did before the 2011 uprising got started, albeit since then a degree of resentment has arisen over participation by some Palestinians with rebel groups seeking to topple the Syrian government.
Be that as it may, one such land grab historically remembered, and which is currently galvanizing resistance on behalf of Syria, is that of Iskenderun, north of Latakia, in a disputed Syria-Turkish border area. As Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari-sponsored jihadists continue to enter the country, well worth remembering is it that Iskenderun is rich in natural resources and that for thousands of years it was part of Syria. But that status changed more than half a century ago when France cut it off from Syria and grafted it onto Turkey—and now some pro-government militias are fighting to get it back.
The name derives from Alexander the Great, who around 333 BC encamped in the area and ordered a city be built, although the exact site of the historic city is subject to dispute. At any rate, the strategic importance of Iskenderun comes from its geographical relation to Syrian Gates, the easiest approach to the open ground of Hatay Province and Aleppo, and the dispute over it has been heating up recently, partly as a result of the current crisis.
It all started on July 5, 1938, when Turkish forces under Colonel Sukril Kanath launched an aggression, with French approval, and ethnically cleansed the local Armenian Christian and Allawi populations. The Turkish invasion was enabled by the French, partners with Britain in Sykes-Picot, who had remained as illegal occupiers of Syria, a holdover from the League of Nations mandate. The French were complicit in a rigged referendum, essentially ceding to Turkey this Syrian territory, which by then was referred to as the Republic of Hatay. It was a land grab. Pure and simple. And it was part of a secret deal to secure Turkey’s help with the fast approaching war with Germany. Paris and Ankara struck a deal: Turkey, while not joining the allies against Germany, declared neutrality and essentially sat out World War II.


Commander Ali Kayali, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun
Syria, rather than being expansionist, as it is sometimes accused of by Turkey and the Zionist regime, has actually been losing territory, not gaining it. “We lost northern Palestine in 1918, Lebanon in 1920, and the Iskenderun area through French duplicity,” said a retired diplomat here. “Surely Lebanon must also be returned to Syria. It was never a real country and it never will be as far as I am concerned. It is part of Syria!”Indeed, as Robert Fisk points out, after the First World War, most Lebanese wished their land to remain part of Syria (see the results of the King-Crane Commission) rather than live in a separate “nation” under French domination. As we parted, the gentleman shook my hand and declared: “Of course Iskendurun is part of Syria. No honest person can deny this!”
Enter one remarkable Syrian nationalist, Ali Kayali, aka “Abu Zaki”. So how did a polite gentleman from this region of Turkish-occupied Syria end up leading one of the most effective resistance militias in the northern theater in the current Syrian crisis? Basically he did it the same way as untold numbers of Palestinians supporting young Syrian men during the early 1980’s.
Ali went to Beirut to resist the 1982 Zionist aggression. There he was baptized by fire, so to speak, carrying the banner of his new group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun (PFLI) under the tutelage of Dr. George Habash and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Ali fought in a number of south Lebanon fronts, and also inside West Beirut, but then after the PLO withdrawal (on 8/20/82), he returned to Syria, to Tartous, joining the rebellion against PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Near Bedwari camp he fought, as part of the Fatah Intifada uprising, this following the PLO split along -pro-Arafat and pro-Hafez Assad cleavages.

Later, Ali undertook study on his own in Tartous (Tripoli, Syria), and at one point escaped from prison in Turkey where he had been jailed for demonstrating against the fascist regime in Ankara. Returning to Syria, he joined Syrian Army battles against the Bilal Shaaban-led Al Tawhid Islamic (Muslim Brotherhood ), following which he and the PFLI moved to the area of Halba in Akkar, Lebanon, and organized a resistance training camp. Eventually, however, he returned to Syria to continue the fight to liberate the Syrian territory of Iskenderun, and while supported by Syrian citizens, the Kayali-led group was not formally part of the Syrian security/resistance apparatus.

Commander Ali discussing PFLI positions
Speaking with non-government analysts in Latkia, this observer was repeatedly told that the PFLI has the reputation of understanding the geography and politics of the Syrian coast area where its fighters are currently active, including Aleppo, Banias, between Tartous and the countryside around Latakia, as well as the Idlib, Homs and Damascus areas.

As PFLI fighters and officials put it, “Syria will not kneel to the Zionist-Arab project to destroy the unity and independence of the Syrian Arab Republic.” According to one PFLI spokesperson, the group “supports and stands in the same trench, hand in hand with the state, confronting two foreign projects—the first being to destroy the achievements of the Syrian people and Syria’s social fabric and multi-cultural heritage, and the second being to infiltrate foreign intruders.”

One place the PFLI is currently fighting is the strategic rebel bastion of Yabrud, in the Qalamoun Mountains, north of Damascus, near the Lebanese border. On 3/3/14, during a meeting with this observer and some of his associates, Ali Kyali received a phone call relaying information that Sahel village, about four miles from Yabrud, had come under control of Syrian and pro-Syrian forces, including the PFLI. Remarkably open with battlefield details, Ali explained that pro-Syria forces do not want to occupy Yabrud, but rather the strategy is to control the villages surrounding it in order to trap al Nursa and other rebel militia inside. Asked about the trapped local population and reminded of the fate of the inner city populations of Aleppo, Homs and a dozen other locations, Ali shrugged and turned up his palms.

Today (3/7/14) the PFLI is fighting to try to cut off the road linking Yabrud to Arsal in eastern Lebanon, whose majority population supports the Syrian revolt. PFIL fighters were involved last week with the fall of Al-Sahl, a town a little over a mile south of Yabrud, and now are fighting in and around Yaboud, preparing for the anticipated final assault. According to Ali’s personal bodyguards, they are facing Al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate, al-Nusra Front. Some of PFLI’s 3000 troops are also fighting this week in Douma, Jobar, Aleppo, the countryside around Lattakia, and Deralcia near Nubek on the main Damascus-Homs highway. They also played a key role earlier in Baniyas, in the battle between Tartous and Latakia. One YouTube clip being given to visitors to the PFLI HQ in Latakia shows the group’s participation, including women, in a recent important battle against the ISIS:

The PFLI organization receives a variety of random and sporadic support from the local community, according to Mr. Kayali and his staff, but they, like most militia, need money and weapons and regular supplies of food. Also needed are places for the fighters to sleep, as well as more uniforms to accommodate a sharp influx of applicants seeking to join their ranks. Additionally there is the matter of funding death benefit payments for the families of PFLI men and women killed during resistance.

PFLI fighters are not paid salaries, which sets them apart financially from many Gulf-backed and Western-trained militia, who can garner monthly salaries from $500-$1,000. By contrast, pro-government popular committees, numbering approximately 5,000, and National Defense units, whose fighters number around 25,000, receive approximately 20,000 Syrian Pounds, or $126 a month. Footing much of this bill are Syrian businessmen such as Rami Mahlouf, cousin of President Bashar Assad. Regular Syrian army recruits get only 3000 Syrian pounds, or about $20 monthly, but they also receive food and lodging and health and travel benefits. Syrian army reservists are said to receive approximately $10.50 per month.


“Joan of Arc” with part of her resistance family
For Ali Kayali, the PFLI is also a family matter. His wife and daughter and two sons are deeply connected with its resistance goals. His sons are fighters, as are his wife and daughter when called upon, though in-between time they do other resistance projects. Nicked-named “Joan of Arc,” his 22-year-old daughter attends medical school, but reportedly is also a ferocious fighter and adept battlefield tactician, with dramatic results in a number of battles against rebels over the past nearly two years. She is a strong, no-nonsense feminist and told me she loves to shock takfiris, who sometimes appear amazed to see her and her female unit chasing them up the side of some mountain.
It is said that an army (or a militia, for that matter) travels on its stomach. This observer was treated to an impromptu roadside lunch with half a dozen PFLI fighters last week. Their favorite cook, Mahmoud, a small guy who always seems to wear the same blue shirt, invited us. Within minutes, Mahmoud gathered some twigs and small chunks of wood, lit a small fire, covered it with a metal grate, grabbed a bag of flour, mixed in water, kneaded it a bit, and shaped and roasted some small, irregular round loaves. On these he sprinkled, from another plastic bag, some handfuls of spices. His fast and hot food was delicious, constituting Mhamra manouche (roasted pita bread with spicy red pepper sauce), Zaatar  manouche (oregano, thyme, & sesame seeds), and Jibneh (cheese) manouche.
Captagon Jihad?
Sitting in the lobby of a run-down, less-than-one-star, dockside hotel opposite the Mediterranean, a lodging establishment occasionally used as quarters by various militia, this observer and his companion spoke leisurely one early morning with one of Ali Kyali’s sons and a companion. When not fighting jihadists (in “Have AK-47, Will Travel”-mode), they are among his father’s bodyguards. I have for a while been interested in claims by Western governments that they are supplying “humanitarian non-lethal aid” to rebel groups, including night goggles, telecommunication equipment, and GPS devices. This observer views all such equipment as misnamed and indeed lethal inasmuch as they facilitate one side killing the other via night snipers or through expedition of troop movements. I was a bit surprised to learn what PFLI fighters thought of this kind of equipment being given to their adversaries and labeled ‘humanitarian aid.’
“Not having night goggles, except for some we take off the enemy, is not much of a problem for us because we can sense where al Nusra fighters are, and they tend not to fight at night,” Ali’s son told me.
I asked why the reluctance to fight at night, thinking maybe it had something to do with a religious edict of some sort, but once more I was mistaken.
“No it’s not that, it’s because they are too paranoid and exhausted, from taking captagon and even stronger drugs, to fight at night.”
According the guys I was sitting with, some with more than two years fighting experience with the PFLI, many, if not most, of the Gulf-sponsored jihadists are given bags of pills to enhance their battlefield courage. And it works to a degree. At dawn each day, jihadists take drugs, including large doses of captagon and other widely available drugs. There also are some particularly potent drugs, known locally as “baltcon,” “afoun,” and ”zolm,” as well as opium, heroin, cocaine, and hashish. The main drug routes into the Syrian battle zones, I was advised, run from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Lebanon, with lesser amounts coming via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. Lebanon’s Bekaa valley apparently produces large amounts of captagon pills for shipment to the Gulf, and now to Syria. Jihadists high on drugs apparently feel invincible, and hostile, and do not fear death. Many are indeed ferocious and fearless fighters during the day, as many media sources have reported. But by nightfall, when the drug wears off, the fighters become exhausted and sometimes are found asleep on the very scene of battle they were fighting from.

“Many of the ‘Gulfies’ are in fact heavily addicted to strong heroin-like drugs. They crave them, and sometimes they even fight with their fellow militiamen to get their ‘fixes.’ We are told by some we capture that sometimes, when one of their comrades is killed, the fallen fighter’s ‘friends’ will descend on his body, not particularly to pray over it, but to rummage his pockets for his drugs.”

In point of fact, in 2011 alone, Lebanese authorities confiscated three amphetamine production labs, in addition to two Captagon-producing labs, which they claim were responsible for sending hundreds of thousands of the pills to the Gulf. The seizure of trucks with captagon in their chassis in Lebanon, and at Beirut airport, shows a growing demand for these products in the Syrian militia market. The UN recently reported that the Middle and Near East are experiencing the majority of drug busts globally.
Al Nusra Front and ISIS—being some of the more extreme “imported jihadists,” as some here call them—claim to be better fighters than Hezbollah, whose units set the fighting skill bar fairly high these days. Some of them claim they have not really started their battle to defeat Hezbollah on its own territory, but will do so when they are ready. But as one PFLI fighter explained, and some of his buddies nodded agreement, only when high on drugs do Qatari/Saudi jihadists exhibit bravery and bravado. Only then do they pose a serious threat, because they ignore normal defensive fighting tactics.
“We know many of these guys quite well. Lots of them were never even religious. There are many who are drug addicts, who get high and lose their fear of dying, so they are dangerous to confront, and they often use strange tactics.”
According to another PFLI source, the “imported Jihadists” die in high numbers because they ignore the battlefield realities. Their average number of dead in any given firefight over the past two years is estimated to be approximately five times the number of Hezbollah casualties, three times the number of PFLI fighters, and twice the number of casualties than the regular Syrian army.
As the Syrian crisis enters its fourth year, with more jihadists arriving and more militia being formed across the political and religious spectrum, the US intelligence community and congressional sources are now predicting the war will continue for another decade or more. It’s anyone’s guess what the post-Syrian crisis period will bring to this region given the rise of ethno-nationalism along with demands for the return of Sykes-Picot land grabs. There are also growing signs of a cataclysmic intifada in Palestine. When you add to all that US intelligence predictions of the overthrow of two, and possibly three, Gulf monarchies, another Hezbollah-Zionist war, plus the deterioration of the social and religious fabric across the region, the future looks bleak indeed.
Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Damascus University and volunteers with the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program (

Kerry visits Egypt to counter Iranian influence

Egypt-Flag-64[1]John Kerry, Obama’s new Crypto-Jew foreign secretary, landed in Cairo on March 2. Ahead of his arrival, Obama called his Egyptian counterpart Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Both leaders talked about Syria, Israel, Gaza, local economy and country’s democratic process.

The two Presidents discussed regional security, and President Obama welcomed Egypt’s continued role in advancing regional peace and maintaining the ceasefire in Gaza,” said the statement issued by Morsi’s office.

John Kerry, on his part, is expected to tell the regime in Cairo about the decision by the Rome conference of The Friends of Syria to provide non-military support to the Syrian rebels, and discuss the UN plans to convene an international conference on making the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. The conference was originally due to take place in December 2012, but was postponed because the Zionist regime refused to attend the conference. The Islamic Republic has already held two such conferences in Tehran.

Billionaire John Kerry’s main agenda, however, is to sell IMF to the new Egyptian regime in order to keep Cairo dependent on pro-Israel western powers. According to US source, Kerry will stress that if Cairo accept $4.8 billion loan from the IMF, that would bring more funds from the US, EU and oil-rich Arab ‘royals’ like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE – all western stooges.

Kerry met with Amr Moussa, top minister under former pro-Israel dictator Hosni Mubarak and current Arab League head Nabil Elaraby. However, former head of IAEA, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate, refused to meet Kerry. Kerry will meet president Morsi on Sunday.
I bet Kerry is going to warn Morsi never to equate Jews with vampires, apes and pigs, as he criticized his Turkish host Erdogan for equating Zionism with fascism recently.

During his first visit to Cairo in February 2013, Iranian president Dr. Ahmadinejad had renewed his country’s offer to provide a long-term loan to Egypt to help free herself of western economic slavery.

Washington-based columnist George Hishameh wrote at Jordan Times (February 21, 2013) that Obama will be visiting Israel in March just to please Jewish lobby groups at home even though he realizes that his chances of launching an urgently needed peaceful settlement between Israel and its Arab neighbors is limited.

Egypt has always been the center of Arab politics.


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Jewish terror state breaches truce 820 times in three months


Israel breaches truce 820 times in three months
Israel has breached its ceasefire agreement with the Palestinians on more than 800 occasions since it was signed last November.

Human rights organisations have revealed that Israel has breached its ceasefire agreement with the Palestinians on more than 800 occasions since it was signed last November. In stark contrast, the Palestinians have broken the truce just twice.

Data based on reports produced by the United Nations, the Israeli Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement (GISHA) and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, as well as Israeli and Palestinian media outlets, found that the three months old ceasefire is not being taken seriously by the Israeli occupation authorities.

According to the data sources, four Palestinian civilians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since November and 91 have been wounded. In the West Bank, meanwhile, six Palestinians have been killed by Israel, with 618 wounded.

A breakdown of the statistics shows that 63 attacks and 13 incursions were carried out by the Israelis in several areas of the Gaza Strip. Israel detained nine people from Gaza during the incursions.
At sea off the Gaza coast, the Israeli navy has carried out 30 attacks on fishing boats belonging to Palestinian fishermen, resulting in several casualties. Thirty-nine fishermen were detained by Israel, including two children. Ten fishing boats were shot at, with 8 being damaged significantly. British Members of Parliament visiting the Gaza Strip last week at the invitation of London-based charity Interpal witnessed Israeli gunboats attacking Palestinian fishing boats well within the 6-mile limit agreed as part of the ceasefire deal.

Palestinians in Gaza launched just two mortar shells in the same period, causing little or no damage in Israel. The human rights groups say that no rockets were fired from Gaza during the three month period covered by the survey, from November 22, 2012 to February 22, 2013.

The ceasefire agreed between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel brought to an end the eight-day Israeli offensive on the besieged territory. Around 170 Palestinians were killed, including 43 children, 15 women and 18 elderly; more than 1,250 people were injured, including 430 children, 207 women and 88 elderly. Three Israelis were killed and about 240 were either injured or treated for psychological trauma. Research in the Gaza Strip claims that 86 per cent of Palestinian children there now suffer trauma at the sound of the Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft which overfly the territory frequently.

– See more :

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Israel’s ‘self-defense’ argument against Hamas holds no water

فتوى حماس المحرمة للعمليات العسكرية ضد إسرائيل

Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas is holding, but unless Israel completely lifts its blockade and includes Hamas in two-state negotiations, renewed rocket attacks from Gaza are likely.

Should that happen, Israel would not be justified in arguing self-defense.

As part of a November ceasefire agreement with Hamas, Israel has partially lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip, at least allowing construction materials into the region pummeled by Israeli airstrikes. It’s a single, forward step that ends a five-year ban on such materials. But without progress in settling the overall conflict, Palestinian rocket or suicide attacks and heavy Israeli responses will almost surely resume.


If the past is any guide, even those who would criticize such Israeli attacks as “disproportionate” would hasten to add: “Of course, Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Israel, however, is not defending its homeland against unprovoked attack. Rather it is “defending” a nonexistent right to continue its occupation (direct or indirect) and repression of the Palestinians – and that is what provokes Palestinian attacks from Gaza.
The eight days of Israeli bombing and air strikes on Gaza last November were essentially a continuation – though on a much smaller scale – of “Operation Cast Lead,” the three-week Israeli attacks that began in late December 2008. Then as now, Israel and its supporters justified Cast Lead as a legitimate use of force in self-defense to end Hamas’s terrorist attacks on Israel’s civilian population.

After Cast Lead, a number of major human rights investigations – including the Goldstone Commission, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch – concluded that Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportional attacks against the Gazan population, economy, and societal infrastructures constituted war crimes. At the same time, none of these groups sought to refute Israel’s claim that it acted in self-defense.

Essentially, Israel and its supporters argue that even though Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli population centers have continued, and thus justify Israel’s right to defend itself.

Their argument is wrong on several counts. First, even though Israel withdrew its Jewish settlements from Gaza in 2005, it continued its indirect occupation of the strip – especially through its land and naval embargo that followed the violent takeover of the strip by Hamas in 2007.
Israel continues to wield great power over Gaza’s economy, water, electricity, telecommunications, and transportation networks. Among other measures, it has refused to allow Gaza a functioning airport, seaport, or commercial crossing on its border with Egypt, radically cutting Gazan trade and commerce with the outside world.

The stated reason is for security purposes, but the result is widespread hardship on ordinary Gazans, including heavily restricted movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza; inadequate imports of water used for drinking and irrigation; farmers prevented from tending to and harvesting their fields and crops in border areas, and inordinate harassment of Gazan fishing boats.

Additionally, Israel has continued to assassinate Palestinian militants and periodically attack Gaza’s governmental and police institutions, electrical generating system, roads, bridges, farms, and olive orchards – and many of its bombs and shells have fallen on schools, ambulances, and hospitals, whether intentionally or not.

It cannot be seriously maintained that Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel – even though morally wrong – are “unprovoked” or have nothing to do with this history.

A second reason that the self-defense argument fails is that even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation and repression of Gaza, it has not ended its direct occupation over East Jerusalem and much of the West Bank. Instead, it has expanded the number of Jewish settlements and land-grabs in those areas.


Gaza is not a separate country or people from the West Bank, and the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo agreement specifically states that Gaza and the West Bank are “a single territorial unit.”

Consequently, the Gazan people retain their right of resistance to occupation and repression.

To believe otherwise is like believing that, if the British had withdrawn from New Jersey in the 1770s but continued to occupy the other 12 colonies, New Jersey residents would no longer have had the right to take up arms to support American independence.

To be sure, the right of resistance does not include the right to employ terrorism. At the same time, it is certainly relevant that the Palestinians have no hope of gaining their freedom by defeating the Israeli armed forces. Nor is nonviolent protest and resistance likely to succeed, for Israel has either repeatedly ignored it or suppressed it, often meeting demonstraters (including Israelis) with beatings, rubber bullets, and sometimes real bullets.

The final flaw in the Israeli self-defense argument is that Western morality proscribes the use of force unless all nonviolent means of conflict settlement have been exhausted.

Israel, however, has repeatedly refused to negotiate long-term truces with Hamas, and it has even broken past agreements. While Hamas still refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, since 2009 there has been substantial evidence that it is ready to go beyond ceasefires and join with the more moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank in supporting a two-state political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although Hamas’s position has been ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, this does not justify Israel’s refusal even to negotiate with Hamas to explore the peace possibilities.

As long as the Israeli occupation, repression, and intransigence continue, Israel has no legitimate or persuasive claim that it is defending its homeland against unprovoked Palestinian attacks. To stop those attacks and make last year’s ceasefire permanent, it needs to fully lift its blockade and bring Hamas into the negotiation process.

Jerome Slater is professor emeritus of international politics, US foreign policy, and international security at the State University of New York at Buffalo. A longer version of this piece ran in the journal International Security.



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Jerusalem Big trail: Hamas betray Iran and Syria

درب أورشليم الكبير : حماس تخون إيران وسوريا
فداء دكروب
عندما وصل أمير دولة قطر، حمد، الى قطاع غزة على رأس وفد كبير يضم زوجته موزة، ورئيس وزرائه حمد –وهو شيخ وليس أميرا- استقبله رئيس حكومة حماس، إسماعيل هنية، ونظم حفلا كبيرا بهذه المناسبة. ووقف الرجلان جنبا إلى جنب عندما عـُزف النشيدان الوطنيان الفلسطيني والقطري. بالتأكيد، تم فرش سجاد احمر على شرفه، بعد ذلك استقبل حشد من مسؤولي حماس الأمير، منهم وزراء حكومة غزة وقيادي من الحركة في المنفى “صالح عروري” جاء إلى الأراضي الفلسطينية خصيصا لهذه المناسبة المجيدة جدا.(1).
وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، صرح السيد طاهر النونو، المتحدث باسم رئيس حكومة حماس في غزة، الذي ابتلع لسانه عندما قرأ الولاءات للأمير الجديد، أن الزيارة كانت ذات أهمية سياسية كبيرة، لأنه أول زعيم عربي –بالأحرى “عارب” حسب اصطلاحاتنا(2)- لكسر الحصار السياسي(3).
أطلقت صواريخ استبشار، بطبيعة الحال، في سماء غزة، المحاصرة منذ ألفية ونيّف على يد العسكرة الإسرائيلية والخيانة العربية.
في الشوارع، تعانقت آلاف الأعلام الفلسطينية والقطرية وعلقت صور عملاقة للشيخ حمد: “شكرا لقطر التي تصون وعودها”.. أو “مرحبا”.. يمكن أن نقرأها في لافتات على طول شارع صلاح الدين، في الأراضي الفلسطينية من الشمال إلى الجنوب.
وقال السيد هنية ان الأمير وافق على زيادة الاستثمار القطري من 254 الى 400 مليون دولار، وذلك خلال احتفال أقيم في خان يونس، بحضور الشيخ حمد، لوضع حجر الأساس لمشروع إسكان للأسر الفلسطينية المحرومة سيحمل ايضا اسم سعادته: حمد أو أمير دولة قطر.
لهذا التواجد الكلي لسعادته الذي سبق العملية العسكرية الإسرائيلية المسماة “دعامة الدفاع”، هذا التسارع المفاجئ للتأثير القطري في غزة، هذا الانتشاء من قادة حماس في معبر رفح الذي استثارته روح الاستبداد الظلامي العارب، صعود الأمير هذا في الوقت الذي ينحدر.. هذا الظهور في الوقت الذي يختبئ، هذا الصمت في حين يتحدث، هذا الضجيج بينما يصمت.. لم يكن ميزة طبع كما أعلن الامير ومتملقوه، ولا هلوسة جماعية، كم يقول ثالبوه، وليس مجرد خطأ في حسابات قادة حماس غداة خيانتهم البغيضة لسورية وإيران.
خيانة حماس لسورية وإيران
بدءا، إن ما افتقدته وسائل الإعلام “المقاومة” خلال الدورة الأخيرة من أعمال العنف في غزة هو الشجاعة ! ليس لشتم “عدوهم”، وهو هنا اسرائيل، بل الشجاعة لتشريح ما يسمى بـ”الحليف” عندما يتحول إلى دليلة، و “الحلف” معه شعرَ شمشون المشتهى(4). هذا ما لم تجرؤ وسائل الإعلام الموسومة بـالـ”مقاومة” على القيام به كرد فعل على خيانة حماس لسورية وإيران.
وعلاوة على ذلك، بعيدا عن ضجيج القذائف والصواريخ من كلا الجانبين، فرض سؤال بسيط جدا نفسه منذ اليوم الأول من العمليات العسكرية في غزة، لم يتكرم بالاجابة عنه اي من وسائل الإعلام العربية الـ”مقاومة” أو تلك التي لـ”إسرائيل”: أية بعوضة لسعت رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي، نتنياهو، حتى يعطي الضوء الأخضر لعملية عسكرية؟

بداية، بساطة سؤال كهذا، لا يستبعد صعوبة في الرد، في النهاية، وبـ”الاجابة” لا ننتظر، طبعا، هرجا اعلاميا أو مرجا، لا يؤدي الى تقديم حقائق موضوعية عن عملية كهذه أو “الإجابة” على السؤال المطروح. بعبارة أخرى، كل ما قيل، وكل ما نشر، وكل ما كان من وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية أو “أعدائهم”، الإعلام “المقاوم”، لا يشكل -من وجهة نظر تحليل الخطاب- أي مادة تحليلية لوقائع موضوعية، تفضي إلى عملية “عمود الدفاع”.. والخلاصة الوحيدة من الخطابين الإسرائيلي و”المقاوم” هو أن الطرفين سيطرا بشكل جيد خلال سير العمليات العسكرية، على فن الدعاية!
في الواقع، ومنذ بداية الحملة الامبريالية على سورية في مارس 2011، انزاحت حماس نحو معسكر ما يسمى “الثورة السورية” أو حتى الحرب الإمبريالية ضد سورية، بتبرير انتقال البندقية من كتف إلى أخرى”، وفقا لتعبير لبناني، كـ”خضوع لإرادة الشعوب العربية” في خضم ربيع العرب(5).
يكفي موازاة الزيارة التي قام بها رئيس وزراء حركة حماس الاسلامية الفلسطينية اسماعيل هنية الى القاهرة، يوم 24 فبراير 2012، عندما أشاد بما وصفه “سعي الشعب السوري الى الحرية والديمقراطية(6).

 ”أحيي شعب سورية البطل، الذي يتوق الى الحرية، الى الديمقراطية والى الإصلاح”، هكذا قال السيد هنية أمام حشد من مؤيديه تجمعوا في مسجد الأزهر، وذلك في تجمهر مخصص لـ”دعم المسجد الاقصى في القدس والشعب السوري”(7).

ومن المهم أيضا أن نعرف أن أول زيارة رسمية لرئيس الوزراء هنية، خارج غزة، كانت للإخوان المسلمين في حارتهم العامة “المقطم”، بالقاهرة، حيث علق هناك بأن حماس حركة جهادية لـ”الإخوان المسلمين بوجه فلسطيني”.
وتحدث السيد هنية أمام حشد من أنصار الإخوان المسلمين الذين هتفوا “لا إيران ولا حزب الله”، “سورية إسلامية”، “ارحل بشار، ارحل ايها الجزار”، في حين ظل قداسته، السيد هنية، كأنما قـُدّ من الرخام(8).
وعلاوة على ذلك، تجب الاشارة إلى أن حماس ليست مجرد حركة اسلامية فلسطينية، ولكنها أيضا سليلة ايديولوجية دقيقة، هي فكر الإخوان المسلمين، أسوأ أعداء السلطة السياسية في سورية. مؤسسوها الثلاث: أحمد ياسين، عبد العزيز الرنتيسي، ومحمد طه هم ايضا من جماعة الإخوان المسلمين، وهو ما يفسر انقلاب قادة حماس على الرئيس بشار الاسد، مؤيد القضية الفلسطينية التاريخي، بعد أن تلقوا سنوات عدة دعما من سورية في مواجهة إسرائيل، ليتحولوا فجأة 180 درجة الى التموقع في المعسكر الآخر المعارض لدمشق، ويخونوها بالوقوف في صف تركية ومصر والإمارات والسلطنات العاربة في الخليج الفارسي، ويضعوا أنفسهم في تناقض مع “محور المقاومة”، أو القوس الشيعي، وفقا لمعجم العاربين والامبريالية العالمية.
حماس على درب الى اتفاق أوسلو 2
قبل كل شيء، وحسب عاموس هاريل، محلل صحيفة هآرتس الإسرائيلية، فمنذ بداية العملية العسكرية الإسرائيلية في غزة، لم يكن لحماس ولا لإسرائيل مصلحة في في أن يتيها في مواجهة عسكرية تستمر طويلا، أو الارتهان من جديد في “مهزلة” مثل حرب غزة 2008- 2009. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، أضاف هاريل أن تقييم الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية، المعد لمكتب رئيس الوزراء بنيامين نتنياهو، يفيد أن حماس تعتبر خارج المواجهة العسكرية، ولا مصلحة لها في التدخل. وقال ايضا انه كلما خـُيّرت حماس بين القيمة الفعلية للمقاومة والسلطة السياسية، اختارت الثانية دوما(9).
مؤشرات عدة تقودنا الى الاستخلاص هنا أن حماس تتجه إلى “أوسلو” جديدة، تفضي الى الاعتراف بإسرائيل.
أولا، بالتخلي عن “محور المقاومة”، بخيانة سورية وإيران، بتلقي نعمة الروح القدس العارب، بالتموقع في معسكر ما يسمى “المعتدلين العرب” أي في حضن الحرب الإمبريالية ضد سورية.. تفتح حماس، في الواقع، بابا لـ”أوسلو” جديدة، من شأنها أن تؤدي إلى الاعتراف بإسرائيل، برعاية إمارة قطر هذه المرة. تؤكد ذلك الزيارة “لفخيمة” لسعادة امير قطر في غزة ، خصوصا بعد اعلان الأمير تقديم مساعدة قدرها 400 مليون دولار لغزة(10) وملياري دولار لمصر(11).
ثانيا، هـَدَفَ اشراف مصر على اتفاق وقف إطلاق النار بين إسرائيل وقطاع غزة، وخاتمتها المفاجئة، الى قطع الطريق –اولا- عن المنظمات الفلسطينية الأخرى التي تتبنى خيار المقاومة دوما، والتي لم تتورط حتى الآن في التحالف المقدس ضد سورية، مثل الجهاد الإسلامي، والجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين.

يضاف الى ذلك ان تدخل مصر وتسرّعها لإعلان وقف إطلاق النار يهدف أيضا إلى الحفاظ على سلطة حماس في غزة في مواجهة حركة الجهاد والجبهة الشعبية.
وتجدر الإشارة هنا إلى أن حماس لم تشارك في المناوشات التي سبقت اغتيال الجعبري بين إسرائيل من جهة والمنظمات الفلسطينية من جهة أخرى، وبأن مقاتلي حماس لم يطلقوا رصاصة واحدة ضد إسرائيل خلال المناوشات السابقة. لم يرد قادتها الانزلاق الى مواجهة مع إسرائيل، حتى لا تتضرر خطتهم المتضمنة الدخول تحت عباءة أمير قطر، حمد. في وقت لاحق، اضطرت حماس الى المشاركة في العمليات العسكرية فقط بعد اغتيال أحد قادتها، الجعبري، وإلا لكان المقلب فضائحيا!
ثالثا، عند اقرار وقف إطلاق النار في القاهرة ، لم تصدر عن زعيم حماس خالد مشعل أدنى إشارة إلى دور سورية أو جمهورية إيران الإسلامية في دعم القضية الفلسطينية خلال سنوات عديدة، وخاصة حماس، ما دفع بالأمين العام لحزب الله، حسن نصر الله، الى التلميح إلى جحود قادة حماس ونكرانها جميل إيران وسورية(12).
رابعا، “مفاجأة المفاجآت” التي حضرها لنا قادة حماس، كانت الفتوى الاخيرة(13) التي تحظر، تكفيرًا، الهجمات ضد إسرائيل(14)! إن من شأن فتوى مثل هذه إرساء أساس وشرعية دينية من اجل اتفاق سلام مستقبلي بين إسرائيل وحماس، وعلى ثلاثة مستويات: مستوى العلاقات مع إسرائيل، مستوى العلاقات بين الفلسطينيين مستوى العلاقات العربية العربية.
أولا، على مستوى العلاقات مع إسرائيل، فإن مثل هذه الفتوى تسهل، في المستقبل القريب، إعلان غزة ارضا “مستقلة”، ليس عن إسرائيل، ولكن عن الضفة الغربية، حيث يُمضي زعيم السلطة الفلسطينية، محمود عباس، في رام الله بقية حياته في الكفاح -إذا جاز التعبير- مع سيمون بوليفار ضد الفراغ والملل، في مطاردة ذباب بطالته الشاقة الاخضر، في متاهاته(15).
وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، تؤكد هذه الفتوى، قبل أي شيء آخر، حدود “فلسطين” وترسيمها! ليس فلسطين 1948، ولا فلسطين 1967، ولا حتى فلسطين 1992، بل نوع مصغر ومجهري من اي فلسطين كانت، تمتد على طول ساحل البحر الأبيض المتوسط من شمال غزة إلى جنوب القطاع!
تهانينا حماس ! مادري دي ديوس، نوسترو سنيور(16)..
ثانيا، على المستوى الـ”بين-فلسطينيي”، فإن فتوى مثل تلك تحرم أي عمل عسكري ضد إسرائيل، تفرض، بذلك، حماس وكأنها السلطة العسكرية والسياسية والمدنية والدينية الوحيدة في غزة، التي من شأنها وحدها تقرير أمور اعلان الحرب أو تطبيع السلام مع إسرائيل. بيد أن “ارتقاء” حماس هذا الى مصاف الآلهة سيضفي الطابع الرسمي والمؤسساتي ليس فقط على قوتها في غزة بل أيضا على الانقسام الفلسطيني، ويعمل على تسريع إنشاء “كينونتين” اثنتين معزولتين ومنفصلتين عن بعضيها بإقليم إسرائيلي: إمارة حماس في غزة ومقاطعة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية الضفة الغربية.
يا لها من مهزلة ! يا لها من مأساة ! كان الرب مع يسوع، حيث ذاع صيته في جميع أنحاء البلاد(17)..
ثالثا، على المستوى العربي، تنشئ الفتوى إقرارا من جانب حماس، واضحا مثل سماء بيروت الزرقاء في عز يوليو، مشيرا إلى قطيعة تامة مع بقية الدول العربية التي لا تزال تقاوم التطبيع مع إسرائيل، ومؤكدا أن المقاومة لم تعد خيارا، في خسارة كبيرة لخطاب النصر عند متباسلي الاعلاميين الفلسطينيين المتشدقين وهؤلاء المنتمين الى ما يسمى اعلام الـ”مقاومة” غداة إعلان الهدنة بين إسرائيل وقطاع غزة.
كما حدث مع الحاج نصر الدين جحا عندما قطع الغصن الذي كان يجلس عليه..
فقد كان الحاج نصر الدين جحا جالسا على فرع كبير في شجرة كرز، منفرج الساقين، سراويله الفضفاضة وبرنوسه الأبيض الطويل يلفان خصره، وساقاه تتأرحجان من جانب إلى آخر كلما لامس فأسه.

ناداه صوت من الاسفل :
ـ سلام عليكم، حاج نصر الدين حجا أفندي!
قال الحاج نصر الدين جحا الجالس متوازنا على الغصن. وقد ضع فأسه وأصلح عمامته التي مالت على جانب:
– وعليكم السلام، خالد أفندي !
حذره خالد:
ـ ستسقط عن تلك الشجرة ! انظر كيف تجلس !
رد الحاج نصر الدين جحا:
ـ ستفعل حسنا لو ابصرت طريقك، إن الناس الذين يحدقون في رؤوس الأشجار والغيوم واثقون من طرق أصابع أقدامهم..
فجأة، وُجد الفرع على الارض، ثم الفأس، ثم الحاج نصرالدين جا. لقد كان منشغلا جدا عن ملاحظة انه كان يجلس على الجانب الخطأ من الفرع الذي كان كان آيلا للانكسار.
ختاما، يبدو أن مصير حماس بعد القطيعة مع سورية وإيران، وبعد تسرع قادتها في الدخول تحت عباءة أمير دولة قطر، ليس أقل مأساوية من مصير الملا الحاج نصر الدين جحا في شيء عندما قطع الغصن حيث كان يجلس، وبقطع جبهتها الخلفية – إيران وسورية- يجد قطاع غزة نفسه الآن ضحية لأمزجة ملوك إسرائيل.
الدكتورة فداء دكروب
دكتوراه في الدراسات الفرنسية (جامعة ويسترن أونتاريو، 2010): فداء دكروب كاتبة وباحثة وناشطة من أجل السلام والحقوق المدنية.
ترجمة: خالدة مختار بوريجي
الموقع الرسمي للكاتبة
[1] لوريون، لو جور. (23 أكتوبر 2012). « L’émir du Qatar, “premier dirigeant arabe à briser le blocus politique” à Gaza ». Récupéré le 15 novembre 2012
[2] نحن نميز بين “العربي” و”العَارب” أي ساكن شبه الجزيرة العربية، الذي –بالنظر الى أرضيته الثقافية- يتعارض مع الأول، أي العربي. هذا الأخير أنشأ في سوريا، وتحديدا في دمشق، وبتداخل الحضارتين السريانية واليونانية، أو المسيحية السورية، إحدى أعظم الحضارات في تاريخ البشرية، هي الحضارة العربية.
[3] نفسه.
[4] في نصوص الكتاب المقدس التي ألهمت الفنانين، نجد ملحمة شمشون ومغامراته المؤسفة مع دليلة. هذه القصة تظهر في كتاب الحكم (13: 1-16: 22).
[5] تستخدم المؤلفة تعبيرا ساخرا “ربيع العرب” بدلا من “الربيع العربي”
[6] فرانس 24. (24 فبراير 2012). “« Le Hamas officialise son divorce avec le régime de Damas ». معاد في 26 نوفمبر 2012 في:
[7] نفسه.
[8] نفسه.
[9] هاريل، عاموس (15 نوفمبر 2012). “Gaza escalation doesn’t necessarily mean Israel is headed for war”.، نشر في صحيفة هآرتس. معاد في 26 نوفمبر 2012 في:
[10] رودرون، جودي. (23 أكتوبر 2012). Qatar’s Emir Visits Gaza, Pledging $400 Million to Hamas”. ، نشر في صحيفة نيويورك تايمز. معاد 26 نوفمبر 2012 في
[11] هندرسون، سيمون. (22 أكتوبر 2012). « Qatar’s emir visits Gaza ». ، نشر في واشنطن انستيتيوت. معاد في 26 نوفمبر 2012 في
[12] إعلان عام للأمين العام لحزب الله، حسن نصر الله. معاد في 26 نوفمبر 2012 في:
[13] الفتوى، في الإسلام، هي حل قانوني يقدمه المتخصص في الشريعة الإسلامية بشأن مسألة معينة.
[14] كمال، سانا. (27 نوفمبر 2012): “حماس تحرم خرق التهدئة وتسير دوريات حدودية”. نشر في صحيفة الاخبار. معاد 26 نوفمبر 2012 (مع مراعاة فرق الزمن بين لبنان وكندا).
[15] إشارة إلى رواية غابرييل غارسيا ماركيز في “الجنرال في متاهة”.. حكاية رومانسية عن الأيام الأخيرة من حياة سيمون بوليفار، محرر وزعيم كولومبيا، تروي أيضا الرحلة النهائية لبوليفار من بوغوتا إلى الساحل الشمالي لكولومبيا في محاولة منه لمغادرة أمريكا الجنوبية الى منفى في أوروبا.
[16] والدة الله، ربنا. المخطوطة من كانتيغاس سانتا ماريا، هي واحدة من أهم مجموعات الأغاني الاحادية الصوت، في أدب العصور الوسطى في الغرب، كتبت في عهد ملك قشتالة ألفونسو العاشر المعروف باسم سابيو أو الحكيم وأو (1221-1284).
[17] سفر يسوع، 6: 27.

Rimawi to “Voice of Russia”: Meshaal told me that Assad was calling every night to ask him about the required to support Gaza!

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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First Palestinian Martyred by Israeli Fire Since Ceasefire

Local Editor

In the first breach of the ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli occupation forces open fire on a group of Palestinians killing one and injuring seven others on Friday.
Israeli soldiers firing
The Palestinian emergency service identified the martyr as Abdelhadi Qdeih Anwar, 21. They said he was killed in the southern Gaza Strip village of Khuzaa. Seven other Palestinians suffered gunshot wounds.

“The occupation forces opened fire on a group of farmers,” Gaza emergency service spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya said.

An Israeli occupation army spokeswoman could not confirm the incident, saying only that “disturbances” had broken out on the Palestinian side of the Gaza border early on Friday, “prompting Israeli soldiers to fire warning shots.”

Gaza ceasefire took effect late Wednesday after eight days of Israeli offensive against the besieged enclave.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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Gaza Offensive between Ground Invasion and Truce Efforts

Local Editor

As Israeli officials were mulling a possible ground invasionNetanyahu in Israeli cabinet meeting in Gaza, efforts to reach a ceasefire were going on with an Egyptian mediation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened an expanded offensive that might reach a ground invasion.
“The army is prepared to significantly expand the operation,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

But Israeli occupation military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich said no decision on a ground offensive has been made yet but confirmed it is ‘still an option’.

“We still have hundreds of targets in Gaza, including rocket launchers ready to fire rockets on Israel,” she said.

“The only thing of concern is how to stop the rockets threatening three million people – just under half of the total Israeli population,” Leibovich added.

For his part, US President Barack Obama said on Sunday it would be “preferable” to avoid an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza.

Obama, weighing in with his first comments on the crisis, made clear he was firmly on the side of the Zionist entity against the Palestinian resistance, but he also seemed to appeal to Netanyahu to allow more time for Middle East leaders to “rein” in Hamas.

“There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Obama told a news conference during a visit to Thailand. “So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.”

For his part, British Foreign Minister William Hague warned the Zionist entity that a ground invasion to Gaza would cost Tel Aviv international support.

“The prime minister (David Cameron) and I have both stressed to our Israeli counterparts that a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation.”

Meanwhile, only 30 percent of the Israelis support a ground operation in Gaza, according to an Israeli daily Haaretz-Dialog poll taken on Sunday.


Mursi meeting Meshaal (archives)On the other hand, Egypt is at the center of efforts to broker a ceasefire; with Palestinian officials said it was possible a deal would be reached “today or tomorrow.”

Senior Hamas officials, who were in Cairo, said Egyptian-mediated talks with the Zionist entity to end the bloodshed were “positive” but now focused on the possible stumbling block of guaranteeing the terms of a truce.

Security officials in Cairo said an Israeli envoy also arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday for the talks.

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi, meanwhile, met with both Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Islamic Jihad chief Abdullah Shalah to discuss “Egyptian efforts to end the aggression,” his office said without giving details.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman insisted that “the first and absolute condition for a truce is stopping all fire from Gaza,” and that all resistance grous would have to commit to it.

Earlier, Netanyahu received French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who said his country was willing to help broker a truce.

“War is not an option, it is never an option …There are two key words: urgency and ceasefire,” he told journalists in Tel Aviv.

Gaza Attack Will Break the Siege

Yemeni boys with their faces painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag protest against the Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip in the capital Sanaa, on 18 November 2012. (Photo: AFP – Mohammed Huwais)

Published Monday, November 19, 2012

As Israel’s latest attack on the Gaza Strip continues, both Hamas and Israel appear to support the idea of a ceasefire, but they differ on the conditions. Since neither side wants to carry on fighting, and neither have very radical goals, a settlement must be close.

For the Palestinians, there can be no ceasefire without an end to the siege on Gaza, regardless of how this is reached. There can also be no ceasefire without Israel pledging that they will not resume their assassinations when things are calmer, and attacks by both sides have stopped.

Israel’s history of confrontation with the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine shows that they cannot easily control the outcome of the wars they start. In this most recent assault, the Israelis appear to have assumed that the initial air raids would put an end to the threat posed by Palestinian groups in Gaza; Israel would disable Hamas’ ability to respond with rocket fire, forcing the Palestinian faction to accept Israeli demands.

However, facts on the ground changed things, and the Palestinians are now in a position to set their own conditions. Both sides realize that for Israel to be able to impose its conditions, it will have to launch a ground invasion of the whole of the Gaza Strip, or at least major parts of it. They also realize that this is a gamble with no guaranteed outcome. A ground invasion is a risk which could push Israel into positions it does not want to be in and which it cannot withstand. Israel knows this. Its problem is that the Palestinians also know it.
The Palestinians do not have much to lose. The siege on Gaza is already in effect. The bombing and destruction have targeted Hamas’ political, economic, and military institutions. But through this scene of siege and destruction, rays of light have emerged for the Palestinians. They have demonstrated a clear ability to launch rockets of various kinds, and over long distances. They have also shown an ability to absorb the sudden preventative strikes Israel has always counted on.

The resistance forces in Gaza are firing an unprecedented 200 rockets a day. This is no easy task, from either an intelligence or a logistical point of view. The fighters have to maneuver in very difficult conditions. Israel’s intelligence services watch their every move.

As the battle rages on, the political and indirect negotiations have reached a frantic note. Each side is insistent on their own conditions for a ceasefire. Israel is prepared to go back to how things were before the attack: a temporary ceasefire in exchange for a long-term ceasefire, with third party promises that it will not be broken. But the Palestinians are clinging to their own conditions, most importantly an end to the blockade and the ongoing assassination of their leaders.

Israeli statements, as well as leaks from their politicians and military, reveal that the Palestinian conditions for putting an end to the current round of fighting are now acceptable to the Israeli side. Tel Aviv’s efforts, whether on the ground or in terms of the indirect political negotiations going on in Cairo and Washington, are concentrated on what Israel wants in exchange for lifting the siege on Gaza. This includes the extent to which the siege will be lifted and the guarantees surrounding it, as well as how to announce this news.

The two Palestinian conditions mentioned above – lifting the siege and stopping the assassinations – are not very radical in light of Israel’s race against time. Israel realizes that each day of this war adds to its losses, diminishes its deterrence capabilities, and reduces the effectiveness of the gains it made at the beginning of the attack. Both sides know very well that Israel fears a ground invasion despite its constant threats to carry one out.

Israel’s conditions are concentrated on the guarantees it can secure for the post-ceasefire period, but they also include some unattainable demands. It has been suggested that Israel wants a publicly declared guarantee from Egypt and the US that lifting the siege on Gaza will not result in weapons being brought into Gaza or made there. They also want international monitoring of the crossings into Gaza and they want ships heading to Gaza to set off from specific European ports. They also want guarantees that no attacks will be carried out against Israeli soldiers stationed close to the border fence.
However, the current negotiations in Cairo are focused on trying to get both sides to compromise in order to reach an agreement. It seems clear though that lifting the siege on Gaza is an essential part of any future agreement.

There are still some obstacles in the way of this agreement. Israel might feel that carrying on with its attack for a little longer – with a limited ground invasion – will put more pressure on the Palestinians to capitulate. This is a risky option, but if the Israeli leadership have the guts to take it, then it is crucial for them that it should not last for a long time.

It has become very difficult for any settlement or agreement not to include opening the crossings, at least the land ones, between Gaza and the outside world. Both sides are now concentrating their efforts on the price the other side has to pay. We can only hope that no Arab countries put pressure on the resistance in Gaza to accept a formula which would constitute some sort of achievement for Netanyahu and his attacking army. Such an agreement would only lend credence to the Israeli right wing’s slogan: “What is not achieved by force can be achieved with more force.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

"Israelis to Commit Folly Once They Decide Ground Operation in Gaza"

Eslam al-Rihani

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan NasrallahHezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed on Saturday that “Israelis have been surprised by the steadfastness and reactions of Resistance in Gaza”, noting that the enemy’s talk on a ground operation in the strip is closer to the hype than to reality.

During his speech on the third night of Ashura in Sayyed Al-Shuhadaa complex in the southern suburb of Beirut, Sayyed Nasrallah said that “Resistance reflects a great presentation of its steadfastness, wisdom, courage and ability to fight, along with its surrounding environment, which all represent today the most important elements of power: the action of resistance, the people of resistance and the support this people express towards the resistance.”

”People of Gaza possessing those elements will impose the situation on their enemy, on their friend and on every single man,” his eminence stated, adding that “once the Palestinian resistance expresses a weak will via its people and declared a cease-fire, nobody in this world will stop the aggression, but will rather help the enemy to achieve its goals.”

Hezbollah Secretary General also believed that Gaza has resisted and survived, and still it is, while the Zionist entity appeared invading using its political, security and military echelons.

“After a few days of confrontation, it became clear that they (Zionists) have been surprised, and they are talking about a surprise. Israelis have sinned when they thought they were able to destroy the missile capacity of Resistance, especially since the first strikes,” he said.

So far the Resistance has the capacity to bomb Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other places,” his eminence stressed.

Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say that “just like the July war, the Israeli (the enemy authorities) called to resort to shelters 40 km away after the first day, and was surprised. The Israeli assumed that after the two- or three-day bombing the Resistance was expected to cry and demand a cease-fire at any price. For this reason we heard arrogant statements in the past few days.”

His eminence also assured that “the resistance in Gaza has the ability, the will, the available potential, the plans that have been developed and the gaps that have been filled, which will put it before a very great experience of confrontation, while the Israelis are going to commit a folly if they decided to carry out a ground operation in Gaza.”

Sayyed Nasrallah made it clear that “there is information indicating that Israel has asked world states to urge Gaza to agree on ceasefire,” noting that “the resistance poses its conditions now, which include lifting the siege on Gaza in all forms, along with having international commitments to prevent the enemy from practicing assassinations and aggression.”

“Resistance is not in a situation to ask for a cease-fire, because this is not in its favor.”

Sayyed Nasrallah stated also that “talk has been started about the consequences of deepening the aggression, away from financial and economic repercussions. However, even talk about a ground invasion is still closer to the hype and pressure than to reality.”

As for the Arab official reaction, Hezbollah Secretary General stated that “we are still below the minimum expected from Arabs. Arab states are required to pressure Israel to stop its aggression and respond to the legitimate conditions of Palestinian Resistance.”

“We haven’t heard any threat to cut off relations or annul and suspend agreements, or to use oil as a weapon or raise its prices or reduce its production to put pressure on the U.S.”

Obama can put an end for the war by a single phone call; yet he is still supporting what Israel is doing, which means he hasn’t heard any word from Arabs up till now,” Sayyed Nasrallah noted.

His eminence expressed hope that Arab states will take appropriate position, while expressing fears that some Arab states might exert pressure on the resistance to abandon its legitimate conditions “in order to claim they had a role of calm and present their credentials to the U.S.”

“What is required is a real support and Gaza is able to achieve victory,” Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah concluded.


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Brotherhood Complicity in Israeli aggression on Gaza regime to impose new security arrangements

“Today we declare victory against the blockade through this historic visit,” he said. “We say thank you, Emir, thank you Qatar for this noble Arab stance … Hail to the blood of martyrs which brought us to this moment.”

This aggression came a few days after the declaration of the alliancebetween the “Hamas” Brotherhood and Qatar, the U.S. and Israeli front base in the region, which was crowned on “Nationial Day” by Qatari Emir  LANDMARK, and HISTORICAL visit to Gaza, who fled Gaza after his security found a gun in the Haniya’s headquarters.


It also came after Mursi, instead of easing the siege on Gaza, tightened his criminal siege by closure of the official crossings, and destroyed tunnels used to smuggle arms besides food and medicine in collaboration with USA experts equipped with devices able to detect tunnels fro above the ground.

Moreover, while following the events in Gaza, I noted that Israel tried to assasinate Dr. Mahmoud Al-zahar, who recently met Nasrallah and visited Tehran.

The Israeli military continued its aggression on the Gaza strip besieged by the Zionist Entity and Egyptian Brotherhood. Two days ago, the later brokered a cease-fire that stopped firing of rockets at Israeli cities and towns, as admitted by Hamas leaders yesterday.

In a press statement to Al-Jazeera, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman blamed “Israel” for not abiding the understandings that have been reached through Egyptian mediation.

“The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself,” said a statement from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which vowed its militants would “continue the path of resistance.”

The air, land and sea aggression has led to the martyrdom of nine citizens so far, injuring more than seventy, mostly civilians, including the military commander Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who was martyred by a missile from the drone.

The Israeli military sources said “that Jaabari’s assassination will not be the last, and other leaders are on the list of assassinations.”
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence service has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had killed Jaabari because of his decade-long anti-Israel activities.

Martyre Ahmed Jabari (third from left) before handing over Shalit to the Egyptian side. According to Zionist TV: Jabari was planning for capturing Israeli soldiers

Israel gave al-Jaabari the title “Chief of Staff of the Hamas movement,” and says that it is him who planed and supervised the implementation of capturing Gilad Shalit,al-Jaabari has appeared Jabari days delivery Shalit to the Egyptian side. 
In a later development Israeli television reported that the resistance in Gaza was able to hit Israeli warship with a Korneet” anti-tankmissile which led to the killing of an Israeli soldier and wounding three others.

Feeling cornered by the Israeli strike, and Hamas calling the Egyptians to take the street, Egypt Brotherhood, FJP, demanded Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi Mubarak to reconsider the Egyptian-Israeli relations, and to review all ties with Israel, adding that the Israeli attacks require “swift Arab and international action to stop the massacres.” So, the American Brother’s regime announced the withdrawal of its Ambassador from and called for an urgent meeting of the Security Council.

“The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region,”  Mursi said in televised remarks. “Shortly before dawn, I called President Obama and we discussed the need to put an end to this aggression and to ensure it does not happen again,” he said.

“We discussed ways to promote calm and to stop these acts… and to achieve peace and security.”

“I explained Egypt’s role, Egypt’s position, that we have relations with the United States and the world, but at the same time we totally reject this aggression.”

This move was interpreted by observers as a familiar “Dirty Media Game”, to cover brotherhood’s secret plans to impose new security arrangements on Gaza to stop the flow of Iranians and Hezbollah arms to the Non-Hamas resistance factions in Gaza, such as Islamic Jihad and PFLP and others, given that these factions are the resistance in Gaza, after the involvement Hamas Merchants of Venice (GUN), in the American /Arab /Brotherhood alliance.

Note that on ground Hamas has become Hamasan (Two), that Hamas in Gaza is at odds with its external wing represented by Mishaal and Abu Marzouk, and insisting on resistance priority over anything else as expressed by Hamas leaders visiting Iran and Hezbollah without the consent of Mishaal, The ungrateful “son” of Hamas and his group.

The “quality” of arms that appeared yesterday’s evening in the Gaza Strip in the hands of non-Hamas resistance brings to mind the Israeli media claims that Iran and Hezbollah stopped arming “Hamas” since Khalid Mishaal hired his gun for the destruction of resistance.

 According to a latest reports the Resistance Factions in Gaza were able to target the southern suburbs of Tel Aviv for the first time from Gaza by three long-range missiles, which prompted a hysterical Israelis response to the Gaza Strip. It is reported that explosions were heard in different parts of the Gaza Strip.

As usual, the Majic turns against the Magicians, both the Zionists and the International brotherhood’s magicians. The gate to hell is oppened, a Fajr 5 missele just hit TEL AVIV, leaving parts of it without electricity, 4 settlers are killed, 28 injured. Resistance misselss are not blind. Thanks to Ayyoub.

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Free Syrian Army declares resumption of attacks

Members of the Free Syrian Army’s “Commandos Brigade” go for a patrol near Qusayr, 15kms from the flashpoint city of Homs, on 10 May 2012. (Photo: AFP – STR)
The rebel Free Syrian Army on Friday announced it was resuming militant operations after the expiry of its ultimatum for the regime to respect international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.
“We will now resume defensive operations,” FSA spokesman Kassem Saadeddine told AFP via Skype. “We will not go on the offensive because we do not want to be singled out as the ones responsible for breaking the peace initiative.”

The decision came 48 hours after the FSA’s military council from inside Syria gave the regime until Friday 0900 GMT to observe the Annan plan which calls for the withdrawal of government forces and heavy armor from towns and cities.

“We have tried to remain committed to the plan but it is our military and ethical duty to defend civilians,” Saadeddine said.

“The Annan plan has failed,” he said. “The ball has been in the regime and international community’s court from the start, and the initiative was a failure from the day it was signed.”

But confusion still remains as to which faction of the FSA announced the ultimatum after Turkish-based Colonel Riyadh Asaad dismissed the deadline on Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Militant attacks have also continued unabated despite a UN ceasefire, despite an official FSA commitment to the truce, highlighting the chaotic division among Syrian armed groups.

The decision, however, is still a setback to Annan’s efforts to revive his peace plan, which has failed to take hold.

The FSA call heightens the chance for all-out civil war, raising fears among world powers that the situation could spiral out of control and endanger regional stability.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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Abdel Azim: Adherence to Cease Fire the Beginning of the End to Syria’s Crisis

Local Editor

The head of the Syrian Opposition National Coordinating Committee Hassan Abdel Azim confirmed that “the cease-fire- that went into effect Thursday morning- is important and essential for the beginning of an end to the one year long violence.”

In an interview with “al-Intiqad” website, Abdel Azim stated that “this violence has set Syria on a risky stage to the people, the country, and the sovereignty making all the international and regional forces intervene in the Syrian affairs.

“Kofi Annan’s initiative is an important opportunity to resolve the crisis in Syria as he is the representative of the United Nation’s Secretary General and the Arab League,” the opposition figure viewed.
He further confirmed that “this initiative summarizes all the national, Arab, and regional initiatives and efforts that emerged to resolve the crisis.”

“The top priority is resembled by adherence of the political regime in Syria to cease fire, and that what the Defense Ministry announced, as well as by the “Free Syrian Army”,” he added.
Abdel Azim moved to urge “the need to act responsibly so that this initiative would achieve success in order to save the Syrian blood and to resolve this complex crisis.”

Regarding the Syrian Opposition National Coordinating Committee position, Abdel Azim confirmed that “the committee welcomes all the initiatives to resolve the crisis and the need to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people in freedom, justice and building a democratic system which is open to the Arab nation and integrates with the revolutionary change taking place in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries.”

“Syria is known with its important geographical and political position in the Arab region and the world,” he asserted noting that ” the solution to the crisis is manifested by a democratic pluralistic transition that opens the way for the construction of a national project with positive impacts on Syria’s relations with the Islamic people and the world.”

Source:al-Intiqad, Translated and Edited by

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Egypt Brokers Truce in Palestine Following Days of Violence

Thanks to Islamic Islamic Jihad the most contributor in confronting the occupation and other resistance faction, as expected Egypt brokers truce to prevent shifting the media focus from Syria to Gaza.

The Escalating aggression on the Gaza Strip generated sever critisim  in Gazan street against the silence in Gaza and the West Bank, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Gazans mocked the «silence» of the Ezzedine al-Qassam military wing of «Hamas» movement, for not participating in resisting the aggresion. Iyad Salah said sarcastically: «urgent … Urgent … We lost more than 20,000 of the Qassam Brigades and all its heavy and light weapons, failed to trace their presence in Gaza strip, he, she, who has any information about missing persons should contact the real men in the battle field, the Islamic Jihad and co,  Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (Fateh), The national resistance brigades (DFLP), and  An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din brigades (PRC), in reference to factions involved in rocket attacks in response to aggression.
Activist Abir Ayub Ali wrote on «Facebook» asked : If what is hapenning now, hapenned during mubarak’s days, what Muslim brothers would do” she asked before answering her question sayinh, “they would lead milloins to accuse Mubarak’s postiom and treachery. It seems that any body who may becom an MP would be infected with treason virus!” More
Inshalla I will translate the rest

Egypt Brokers Truce in Palestine Following Days of Violence
Local Editor
Following four days of bloodshed and massacres on Gaza which left 25 Palestinian martyrs, Egypt brokered a truce between the Israeli enemy and the resistance fighters in Gaza to cease hostilities.Palestinian martyr
Under the agreement, which came into force at 1:00am (2300 GMT on Monday), both the Israeli enemy and resistance fighters from Islamic Jihad, as being the most contributor in confronting the occupation with firing rockets at the southern occupied territories.

An Egyptian intelligence official told AFP from Cairo that both sides had “agreed to end the current operations”, with Israel giving an unusual undertaking to “stop assassinations”, and an overall agreement “to begin a comprehensive and mutual calm.”

The agreement was set to take effect at 1 a.m. local time (2300 GMT).

Israeli officials reiterated the longstanding policy that the Israeli occupation forces would “answer quiet with quiet” but stopped short of providing any guarantees to withhold fire, Israel Radio reported.
“Apparently things are calming down and this round of confrontations appears to be behind us,” Israeli Home FrontPalestinian girl in funeral Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli public radio.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman said the resistance group was willing to respect the deal if the Zionist entity would end its targeted killings of Palestinians. “We accept a ceasefire if Israel agrees to apply it by ending its aggressions and assassinations,” Daud Shihab told AFP.

Palestinian resistance retaliated to dozens of Israeli military air strikes during the flare-up, pounding the Israeli enemy with nearly 200 rockets including several that landed in Beersheba and Ashdod despite expensive Iron Dome rocket-defense batteries deployed nearby. Frightened Israelis also ran to shelters fearing the resistance rockets.

Palestinian medics put the total death toll late on Monday at 25 including children, and more than 80 people were injured. 

Source: Agencies

Massacre In Gaza – Mosque Leaders Silent
by Laura Stuart Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 More than 25 people including children have been murdered in Gaza in the last four days. Today is the 5th day since the start of this new massacre, a new ceasefire has been announced between resistance groups in Gaza and the Israeli Occupation Forces.

12 Year Old Ayoub Asalya

What have our Muslim leaders and Mosque leaders been doing to express our outrage at these murders?
You can read here on the Muslim Association of Britain and find NOTHING!
You can read here on M.I.N.A.B. the Mosque and Imam’s advisory board and find NOTHING!
You can read here on M.C.B. the Muslim Council of Britain and find NOTHING!

We are all Syria

The people of Palestine have only Allah s.w.t. as the Ummah (worldwide community of Muslims) and the Governments of the world stay silent and therefore complicit in the injustice against them.

I would add to Laura’s above list the following:
You can read here on Nato-Islam online and find NOTHING!

“Precision bombing” – kills only Palestinians
الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيل
Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah , and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.”

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UPDATED: Scores injured in explosions, Israeli attacks on Gaza

Report, The Electronic Intifada, 3 August 2010

A Palestinian man carries a wounded girl into Gaza City’s Shifa hospital following Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, 30 July 2010. (AFP Photo)

Israeli airstikes killed a Palestinian resistance activist and wounded another early Wednesday morning 4 August, east of Khan Younis in the occupied Gaza Strip, reports Reuters, citing Palestinian medical sources. This latest attack comes on the heels of five days of Israeli missile strikes, Palestinian rocket fire and other explosions that have injured dozens and killed one leader of the armed wing of Hamas.

Tens of Palestinians were injured in a massive explosion on Monday, 2 August in the refugee camp of Deir al-Balah in the south of the occupied Gaza Strip. The Electronic Intifada originally stated, using reports from Ma’an news agency in the West Bank which referred to Palestinian medical sources, that the blast was caused by Israeli missile strikes. However recent reports by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) indicate that “there are reasons to suspect that the explosion was coming from inside the house and occurred for no apparent reason … Internal explosions occurred in the past in houses amidst densely populated areas, because of mistakes in manufacturing, bad storage of bombs or other reasons, which caused many fatalities among civilians and destroyed houses” (“PCHR Calls for Investigations into Injury of 58 Palestinians …“).

Al-Jazeera reported that medical rescue crews dug through rubble to locate injured civilians (“Gaza blast wounds Palestinians,” 2 August 2010). The building rocked by the explosion belongs to Senior Hamas official Alaa al-Danaf, who wasn’t killed in the explosion. Hamas sources told Al-Jazeera that the home was hit by an Israeli missile, but the Israeli military has denied responsibility, saying that there were no aerial operations at that time. PCHR says it is launching a full investigation into the incident, and will publish the results of their findings.

However Monday’s massive explosions followed three consecutive days of Israeli military air strikes, as US-made Israeli warplanes hit multiple areas in the occupied Gaza Strip over the weekend, inciting panic in and inflicting trauma onto a population still reeling from the 2008-09 bombings and invasions. During those three weeks of attacks, which the Israeli government dubbed “Operation Cast Lead,” more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed and thousands of homes leveled.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday, at least five rockets were fired at the southern Israeli port city of Eilat, where no casualties were reported. One of the rockets landed in the Jordanian town of Aqaba, where one Jordanian civilian was killed and four wounded. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that although Israel blamed the Hamas government in Gaza for the rocket attacks, Jordanian security services stated that the rockets were fired from either Egypt’s Sinai or southern Jordan, not from Gaza. Hamas, which has no history of carrying out operations from outside Palestine, also strongly denied any involvement.

Hamas’ armed wing has maintained a renewed unilateral ceasefire policy since 19 January 2009 following Israel’s invasions. Hamas also respected a six-month ceasefire brokered by Cairo in June 2008 even though Israel did not fulfill its obligations to ease the crippling embargo it imposed on Gaza following the election of the Hamas government in 2006. The ceasefire was broken when Israel extrajudicially executed Hamas activists in November 2008 and Operation Cast Lead soon followed.

But Palestinian resistance factions inside the Gaza Strip — unaffiliated with Hamas — claimed responsibility for rocket fire beginning on Friday, and continuing throughout the weekend as Israeli aerial and ground attacks escalated.

A Grad-type rocket was fired from Gaza on Friday afternoon, hitting an area near a residential building in the nearby Israeli town of Ashkelon, just north of the Gaza boundary. Hours later, rockets landed in the Negev desert. Haaretz reported on 1 August that no one was injured in either of the rocket strikes.

In response to the rocket firings, at 11:30pm on Friday, 30 July, 19 Palestinians were injured when Israeli warplanes attacked an area near the presidential compound in Gaza City, firing two missiles on an area designated for civilian police and security vehicles. The late-night explosions hit the Arafat Police College and wounded 16 police officers, as well as two women and a child who were walking near the area when the missiles hit, reported the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The injured were treated at Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

“Traumatic reminder”

According to Adie Mormech, a British volunteer in Gaza working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Palestinians close to the bombings were in shock.

“For many in Gaza, [Friday night’s] attack was a traumatic reminder of the onslaught during Operation Cast Lead when three hundred F-16 bomb attacks took place during the first two minutes of the campaign,” an ISM press release on the strikes stated (“Israel bombs central Gaza City,” 31 July 2010).

“The blast caused buildings far from the epicenter of the explosion to shake, and windows were smashed,” reported Mormech. “When we arrived at Shifa hospital, the scene was chaos.”

According to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), during the air strikes in Gaza City, the Israeli air force simultaneously attacked a tunnel area at the Gaza-Egypt border (“A Series of Israeli Attacks Wound Many Civilians …,” 1 August 2010).

Tunnels, which have become a lifeline for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians who remain under a siege of collective punishment, are often the only way people can receive basic supplies and fuel, as well as livestock, luxuries and other consumer goods.

Approximately one hour after the strikes on the presidential compound and the tunnels, just past midnight on 31 July, Israeli warplanes fired missiles into an open area in the Nuseirat refugee camp west of Gaza City, extrajudicially killing Issa Abdul Hadi al-Batran, a member of the armed resistance wing of the elected Hamas party. Ten Palestinians were injured in the early-morning missile attacks.

Al-Batran was the target of several assassination attempts by the Israeli military, the latest of which occurred during Israel’s 2008-09 attacks; on 16 January 2009, al-Batran’s wife and five young children were killed when Israeli forces bombed their home (“22nd Day of Continuous IOF Attacks on the Gaza Strip,” PCHR, 17 January 2009).

After the assassination of al-Batran and the air strikes against the police compound, the Israeli government released a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, which said “Israel takes the firing on Ashkelon very seriously.”

Israeli ground snipers shot three industrial workers near the northern Erez crossing a few hours later that morning, injuring the laborers who were collecting raw materials from nearby piles of rubble. The Israeli military has declared a vast 67 square kilometers of agricultural areas near the border as “no-go zones,” and regularly shoot Palestinians who tend their farms or collect materials near these areas.

Later that same day on 31 July, the Israeli air force resumed missile strikes over Gaza City, damaging a six-story business center. Several offices of nongovernmental organizations and the office of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Gaza were wrecked.

Palestinian armed resistance groups affiliated with the Salafi movement in Gaza fired another rocket into the western Negev on Saturday evening, saying it was “in retaliation to the ongoing Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people,” according to Ma’an mews. The projectile hit a public building, damaging the second story which was used as a daycare center for people with disabilities.

On Sunday, 1 August, Israeli warplanes launched missiles at open agricultural areas east of Khan Younis and again at tunnel areas at the Gaza-Egypt border.

Direct talks with Israel “waste of time”

After last weekend’s air strikes, the Hamas government announced that it is holding the Arab League and Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank-based Palestinian Authority responsible for Israel’s escalating assaults against Palestinians in Gaza, reported Ma’an. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on 1 August that the Arab League’s decision to endorse direct talks with the Netanyahu administration — while Israel’s human rights violations continue — “endangers Palestinian interests and inalienable rights.”

“Our people in Gaza are paying a toll for the huge error and political sin committed by the Arab Peace Initiative’s follow-up committee against the Palestinian people,” Barhoum stated. “The committee has given the Israeli occupation the pretext and coverage they needed to attack our people and continue with settlement activities and displacement” (“Hamas: Gaza paying for Arab ‘political sin’,” 1 August 2010).

Direct talks between Israel and the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority were canceled in December 2008 when Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip. According to Al-Jazeera, the Arab League last week sought help from the United States to pressure Israel into signing pre-conditional guarantees that settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem would stop before direct talks could resume. On August, the Obama administration in Washington announced that “the time is right” for direct talks.

Barhoum added that waiting for substantial support for Palestinian rights from US President Barack Obama would be “a waste of time.”

Meanwhile, on 2 August the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza called on the international community “to intervene and to ensure that civilians and their property are protected in the occupied Palestinian territories.” Warning of a military escalation, Al Mezan added that the international community’s silence over the last four days of lethal Israeli attacks on Gaza only encourages Israel “to violate international law and human rights with impunity” (“Series of IOF Aerial Attacks Hit Gaza …“).

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was first published.

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